Just days after the passing of Perro Aguayo Sr., lucha libre has been struck with another loss, one that may shake the very foundation of the profession. Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) owner and promoter Francisco Alonso Lutteroth, better known as Paco Alonso, has passed away at the age of 67. CMLL first reported the news over social media.
Born in 1952, Alonso was the grandchild of Salvador Lutteroth, the “godfather of lucha libre” who first founded CMLL (then known as EMLL, Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre) in 1933. He would join the promotion in a promotional capacity under his uncle, Salvador “Chavo” Lutteroth Jr., who took over for the elder Lutteroth the same year. It’s unclear when Paco took over for his uncle, but by 1987 he had taken control of CMLL and would run it until his death. Under Alonso’s watch the promotion would rebrand themselves in 1991, form a partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling starting in and compete with rival promotion AAA (formed by Alonso’s former booker Antonio Peña in 1992), while continuing to promote out of Arena Mexico, Arena Puebla, Arena Coliseo and Arena Guadalajara. Most importantly Alonso’s tenure would see CMLL become only the second promotion in North America to draw $1 million at the gate (for the 81st Aniversario in 2014), as well as an estimated 80 million fans drawn between the start of Paco’s tenure in 2008. Such accomplishments have led to Alonso being inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, the same Hall of Fame his grandfather is a part of.
Outside of his success, Alonso was known for being arguably the most reclusive owner in pro wrestling. A private person, Alonso rarely gave interviews and would not appear often in public; his last notable public appearance was in 2016, when he teased an unexpected main event for the 83rd Aniversario. What information that’s out there on Alonso has painted him as a “hands off” owner who would handle the business side of the promotion while leaving the wrestling side to his handpicked front office. He was also known for holding grudges; following the departures of Peña, Konnan and Octagón to form AAA, Alonso promptly banned all three of them from ever appearing in Arena Mexico again. A falling out between CMLL and El Hijo del Santo in 2007 would lead to a similar ban to Santo, one that would lead to the severing of CMLL and IWRG’s relationship after Santo appeared for the latter. While Konnan, Santo and Peña (who wasn’t even honored after his death) have remained banned, Octagón would return to Arena Mexico in 2015 as part of Lucha Libre Elite and would eventually return to CMLL in 2017, suggesting Alonso had softened his stance towards certain luchadores as time went on. In recent years Alonso had also handed more duties to his daughter, Sofia, who has largely been seen as the public face of CMLL over the past year. It is likely she will succeed her father as the new owner of CMLL.
Lucha Central would like to offer its condolences to Sofia Alonso, the rest of the Lutteroth family and CMLL at this difficult time. Godspeed Paco; may we carry you forever in our hearts and souls and fists.