Francisco ‘Paco’ Alonso, one of professional wrestling’s largest power brokers of the past 30 years passed away on Saturday at the age of 67.
EMLL (La Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre) was founded in 1933 by Salvador Lutteroth, the longest-running professional wrestling company in existence.
Alonso was the grandson of Lutteroth and began working in his family’s business in 1975 alongside Lutteroth’s son, Salvador ‘Chavo’ Lutteroth. Under the younger Lutteroth, the company went through declines and Alonso would ascend to run the company in 1987.
Alonso was behind the changing of EMLL’s name to his modern identification as CMLL (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) and greatly enhanced its popularity through a deal with Televisa.
The landscape changed dramatically in 1992 when CMLL booker Antonio Pena split from Alonso and began a working relationship with Televisa and led to the launch of AAA. Pena had newer ideas that were being rebuffed in the tradition-based CMLL and set forth with his own vision. With Pena, went several major stars led by Konnan. The decision to leave Alonso was something he never forgot.
CMLL was run efficiently with the advantage of owning their own buildings and sending their talent out to independent groups. It was an operation that allowed CMLL to be less volatile than many promotions because of the revenue they could project and controlling costs when business was down.
He was not a promoter that put himself in the spotlight and rarely spoke in public, preferring a behind-the-scenes role in every sense.
CMLL had engaged in ongoing working relationships over the years with New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor, which continue today.
Alonso was voted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 2008 and will be remembered as a long-tenured power broker within the industry that was behind several boom periods for Lucha Libre.