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Lucha Libre Weekly 3/17/92 (Vol. 1, Issue 4)


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I figured that I might as well start doing this to join in the fun since I have a pretty good collection of these and will be getting some of what I'm missing soon. Lucha Libre Weekly was Steve “Dr. Lucha” Sims’ newsletter in 1992-1993. Before that, he was a key source for both the Observer and Kurt Brown and Jeff Larson’s Viva La Lucha newsletter, sending them detailed news faxes every week. These newsletters are fantastic, so I figured that I’d do for them what Loss and others have done with the Observers. We start with the earliest issue I have, the fourth one. Let me know what you think of these and if you want to see more.

 

- Cover story is "Upset of the year (Already!) America defeats Fuerza Guerrera, wins CMLL World Welterweight Title!" Guerrera had become the first by defeating El Khalifa. America had been an opening match wrestler for years, only appearing on Galavision 3 times since Steve started watching in 12/89, and suddenly started to get a push over the last month, though he still worked in some openers. He was repackaged from La Aguila del America to simply “America,” with a new costume based on the Mexico City First Division soccer team and given a new, soccer-themed ring entrance.

 

- In the 3/12 edition of La Prensa, Mexico’s top national newspaper, Fuerza said he was moving up in weight from welterweight (172 lbs.) to middleweight (192 lbs.) because he could no longer make the lower limit. “Let’s not discuss how Guerrera has put on so much weight between his 38th and 39th birthday, all muscle.” He challenged Atlantis to defend the NWA World Middleweight Title against him and Blue Panther to do the same with the CMLL version of the title. He will continue his feud with Octagon (National champion in the division), but their mask match, which was expected to happen on 3/20, was postponed for the third time for 12/90 (and obviously never ended up taking place). He congratulated America and conceded that he was beaten fairly. “Guerrera also made one other surprising announcement, saying that on Sunday, March 15, 1992, his son would debut in Tecozaulta, Hidalgo, Mexico, under the ring name ‘Fuerza Gimm.’”

 

- “Now, I have written the first page story as the casual fan sees it. It turns out, as reported [in] ‘The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’ that America is the wrestler who used to me El Pantera II, who, as part of the lighter-weight trio team, ‘Las Saetas del Ring, with Ciclon Ramirez and La Aguila Solitaria, are the State of Mexico Trios Champions. So El Pantera II is no stranger to La Arena Mexico. But ‘America’ is! And what will the cause (i.e. 99.5% majority) fans say about America, who they see as a below rank jobber, as winning the World Welterweight Title, and from Fuerza Guerrera?” [is this how it was presented on TV, that Aguila del America (Bobby Bradley) and America were the same guy? Looking at LuchaWiki, the costumes were definitely really similar.]

 

Other EMLL news:

 

- Ultimo Dragon announced that he was moving up in weight from middleweight to light heavyweight so he can challenge Jerry Estrada for the CMLL title and/or Lizmark for the NWA title. In the 3/28 issue of Weekly Gong, they reported that Dragon and Lizmark will start feuding over the belt when EMLL returns to Arena Mexico in May with Dragon expected to win the title. [They ended up being right. Sort of. Satanico was used as a transitional champion.]

 

- There are a few newcomers in EMLL. Super Bowl [Maquina Salvaje in a football player gimmick] debuted as a tag team partner of the similarly attired Rams, who had started recently. Masao Orihara and Toshiyuki Nakahara came to Mexico on 2/17 to train with Blue Panther and Pepe Casas at the EMLL gym on the fifth floor of Arena Mexico. They debuted on 3/7 as Iga and Koga, respectively.

 

- At the 2/25 show at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City, Javier Cruz upset Apolo Dantes in the main event. “The finish of the third fall was the old ‘Butcher Vachon/Mario Galento handman hold!’”

 

UWA news:

 

- Los Espressos Canadienses consisting of Buffalo Allen (“Bad News” Allen Coage), D.N.S. Funas, and Phil Lason (Phil “Danny Kroffat” LaFon) have gotten over huge and are main eventing everywhere. Some of their matches included Furnas & LaFon vs Mil Mascaras & El Canek, Allen & Fishman vs Villano III & El Fantasma, all three vs Mascaras, Canek, & Villano III, all three vs Las Panteras Rosas (Villanos I, IV, & V), and all three vs Dos Caras, Enrique Vera, & El Gran Hamada.

 

- Rambo was the subject of a lengthy interview in the 3/12 issue of La Prensa. He was coming off a very successful (“in drawing heat and drawing money”) tour of France, Spain, and the Middle East in Late November through early December. This has gotten him more over as he’s now seen as a “successful veteran ambassador” for Lucha Libre. He wanted to do another tour during the year, this time bringing Carlos Plata and Herodes with him.

 

- Mil Mascaras “has been persuaded to” extend his UWA tour through at least 3/26. He’s still a huge draw in Mexico City, believed to be because he only goes through the UWA circuit for a few weeks every two to three months, keeping him fresh. Television wrestling being only a few years old in Mexico City just adds to that.

 

- The third annual Toreo Cup, which teams rudos with technicos, is set for 5/1 at El Toreo. Rudo El Gigante Warrior and technico El Brazo de Plata won the previous year and the year before, as a trios’ tournament, Sangre Chicana’s team won. Over the previous two years, it became so popular that many fans considered it the highlight of the year. Steve wonders why no other promotions have tried this idea.

 

- The wrestlers’ union strike (over the possibility that TV in Mexico City would kill business) was formally settled on 3/12. Nobody would end it even though they allowed the TV shows to go on months earlier. EMLL/CMLL, UWA/LLI, the Sindicato union, and the arena promoters signed agreements that allowed certain arenas to be taped for television. For EMLL, it was Arena Coliseo and Arena Mexico in Mexico City. For the UWA, it was El Toreo, Netzhaulcoyotl, and Querertaro. In return, the wrestlers and union got “financial guarantees” and the union “promised” not to strike (since they couldn’t legally forfeit the right). Arena Naucalpan representatives didn’t sign the agreement due to concerns over some of the wording, but they are expected to join in shortly.

 

- TV rundowns:

UWA 2/15 on Imevision (Taped 2/9 at El Toreo “before what appeared to be a very sparse crowd”)

 

The show started with a video about the Hijo del Santo-Negro Casas feud.

 

1. Fishman & The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu) defeated El Fantasma & Los Cowboys (Silver King & El Texano) in three falls. (**1/2 - “King and Texano worked great with the Samoans and really this match was pretty good.”)

 

Tala Menendez interviewed El Fantasma & Solar I (with their wives) at Fantasma’s house.

 

2. Dos Caras, Tinieblas I, & El Hijo de Tinieblas (w/ Alushe) defeated Kokina [Yokozuna], El Gigante Warrior, & El Canek in three falls. (*1/2 – “Kokina and El Hijo del Tinieblas were the only saving graces in this match, which was pretty poor.”

 

Arturo Ruiz interviewed “the UWA lucha libre queen, Eria I.”

 

3. The Killer (w/ Andy Barrow) defeated Enrique Vera in three falls after Barrow hit Vera with an invisible foreign object to win the UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Title (***1/2 – “This was well-booked and well-worked for two fair athletes.”)

 

UWA 2/22 (Taped 2/16 at El Toreo)

 

1. Baby Face I, El Indomito, & El Engendro drew Super Raton, Super Pinochio, & El Sicodelico in three falls due to a “ridiculous” double knockout/double pinfall combination (“A DUD, though Indomito and El Engendro tried. This is the worst face team I have ever seen in Mexico.”)

 

Tala Menedez interviewed playwright Oscar Villegas. “This shows how different the UWA show is from the EMLL show, as the EMLL pretty much gopes with straight matches and the UWA has a lot of serious interviews and features.”

 

2. The Killer, La Muerte, & El Espanto Jr. (w/ Andy Barrow) defeated Enrique Vera, El Fantasma, & Solar I in three falls (DUD – “This was a really bad match [especially by La Muerte who was horrid] but amid the ashes was a beautiful glowing flame in the form of El Espanto Jr., who was absolutely outstanding, and there is little doubt that his pareja with Jose “El Negro” Casas is already the second best in all of Mexico.”

 

3. Negro Casas, Tigre Canadiense, & Dr. Wagner Jr. defeated Los Cowboys & El Gran Hamada (****1/4 – “The finish of the third fall was the only letdown in the match; it was not built to and was anti-climactic; Texano pinned Tigre with a straight power bomb, that was all, in 3:23. Otherwise, this was the best UWA match I have seen on their weekly TV shows. Casas, King, and Hamada were excellent while Wagner, Tigre, and Texano were super. It was the best I have ever seen either Tigre and particularly Wagner look. Casas’s spots with both Silver King and his girlfriend’s dad (Hamada) were the stuff of dreams. Highly recommended. Even better than Canek and Dos Caras from two weeks earlier.”)

 

4. Bam Bam Bigelow & The Samoan Swat Team defeated Fishman, Canek, & Dos Caras in three falls (*** - “The third fall had a lot of action and everyone looked good in their spots [which the Americans won a lot of], but nobody seemed to mix together that well. […] Pretty good, but not so good as the semifinal.”)

 

 

EMLL 3/15 on Galavision in the USA (Taped 3/1 at Arena Mexico):

 

1. Highlights of Mascarita Sagrada defeating El Espectrito in three falls to win the first ever CMLL World Super Mini Estrellsa Tourneament. Approximately 2:30 aired including all three finishes. Sagrada countered a press slam into “la rana” for the pin.

 

2. Ciclon Ramirez & America defeated Hussein el Gran Sheik & El Felino in two straight falls (*1/2 – “Everyone looked fair here but nobody looked real good.”)

 

In the Cartometro del Ring fan poll segment:

 

Technicos: 1.Octagon, 2.Ultimo Dragon

Rudos: 1.El Brazo de Plata, 2.Cien Caras

Luchadoras: 1. Lady Apache, 2.Martha Villalobos

Super Mini Estrellas: 1.Mascarita Sagrada, 2. Espectrito

Trios: 1.Los Intocables del Ring (Masakre, Jaque Mate, & Pierroth Jr.), 2.Los Nuevos Infernales (El Satanico, MS-1, & Pirata Morgan)

El Revelacion de la Semana: Los Guerreros Mayas debuting as a trio

El Lance de la Semana: El Dandy’s tope on Emilio Charles Jr.

 

3. Octagon, Ultimo Dragon, & Kato Kung Lee I defeated La Bestia Salvaje, Javier “El Monarca” Cruz, & Blue Panther in two straight falls (***3/4 – “As soon as this match ended, Salvaje attacked Lee and left him bloody; after the cameras went off, Lee challenged Salvaje to a caballera contra caballero match which took place 3/13. I thought that hair match was not set up well by this match. Octagon, Dragon, and Panther were the three best wrestlers on the card, in my opinion, and Salvaje was super over as well, while Cruz was solid. Lee, however… A really good match.”)

 

4. Salomon Grundy, Aaron Grundy [Mike Shaw], & Lizmark defeated Nitron, El Pirata Morgan, and El Satanico in three falls (** - “This was a comedy match for the most part, with little actual wrestling spots, but it served as a change of page from the match before and after it on the card…Lizamrk looks super for nearly 42”

 

5. Cien Caras, Máscara Año 2000, & Sangre Chicana defeated Konnan el Barbaro, Perro Aguayo, & El Rayo de Jalisco Jr. in two straight falls (“****3/8 (no joke) – “Just a wild all-out brawl loike last week which went into the stands and all over! Chicana pinned Aguayo with a left hook to end the match. Just a wild match that I highly recommend to anyone. Reminiscent of FMW style brawls (sans blood).”)

 

Late news:

 

- In the main event of the 3/15 card at El Toreo, Buffalo Allen and The Canadian Express (new name and now wearing masks on their last show before going to Japan for the Champion Carnival tour) defeated Enrique Vera & Villanos IV & V. The Villanos replaced Dos Caras and Villano III, whose plane back from Japan was running late. Furnas’s mask had an American flag theme in spite of the gimmick. The finish suggest that Furnas and LaFon will be back.

 

- EMLL had a big show on 3/15 at the Plaza de Toros Monumental in Monterrey. Cien Caras defeated Vampiro Canadiense in the main event to retain the CMLL World Heavyweight Title. The finish saw Vampiro hit Caras with a running silla to the floor, knocking both men out, but Caras was helped out in some way by his second Sangre Chicana. Sims wasn’t clear if Chicana rolled Caras back in or stopped Vampiro from entering, as the report he saw said that “Caras owed his victory to Chicana’s help.” They ran such a big show in Monterrey because they ran the first annual CMLL convention there. They announced the CMLL Women’s Tournament for 3/27 at Arena Mexico with Akira Hokuto and Yumiko Hotta coming in from Japan. More on the convention and Paco Alonso’s press conference there in the next issue.

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For Lucha illiterate's trying to learn these are good references so keep them coming.

 

Random comments: I had no clue Hokuto/Hotta ever worked Mexico or that women's wrestling is something that ever really went on in Mexico.

 

Also did not realize Furnas/Lafon worked there though it's not surprising. I wonder how there stuff from Mexico was? They were disappointing everywhere other than AJPW that I have seen.

 

Also "wrestlers union!"

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Hokuto went to Mexico many times, sometimes as Rena Jubuki.

 

A decent amount of the Furnas/LaFon stuff is on tape but I don't remember much about what I watched. I know their match vs Los Cowboys was well regarded.

 

The existence of a wrestlers union(!) that went on strike(!) because they feared television would kill the gates(!) is still weird.

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The existence of a wrestlers union(!) that went on strike(!) because they feared television would kill the gates(!) is still weird.

Yeah this has to be the biggest "WTF?" thing I've read in a while. I literally had no fucking clue a wrestlers union was possible. I kind of assume Mexican wrestlers union was probably a vehicle of the PRI at that point and there may have been some dirty politics behind all of this but it doesn't make it any less awesome.

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The idea of television killing gates and possibly killing smaller arenas isn't that crazy, and I think it's one that is argued in the US at different points as well.

 

I doubt there is a ton of PRI wrestler union connection outside of the basic PRI being involved in everything on some level.

 

It's worth remembering that the Lutheroth's were involved with lobbying for the creation of your government wrestling commissions. We think in the U.S. of promoters fighting with government commissioners. And so the model of business calling for the creation of regulating bodies (in an effort to help institutionalize their own business and keep out competitors) is foreign (although I wouldn’t be surprised if commissions functioned in the same way in the U.S. to protect the local monopolies during the territory days).

 

It would not surprise me if the Lutheroth’s were also involved with creation of wrestling union. It’s not the way University of Chicago teaches the business model. Creating institutional structures like commissions and unions at one point was the type of thing a smart business did to help create barriers to entry for competitors. It can byte you in the ass but sometimes it's a smart risk worth taking.

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Was it argued much in the US until recently? Until the Monday Night Wars, most promotions used TV as a straight up commercial for house shows & PPV. In Mexico it wasn't.

 

For the territories where the house show was the TV show, I'm not quite sure where the idea came from and why they did it as opposed to how other promotions did it with studio and studio style shows.

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