Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL Worldwide Wrestling Council, also known by its previous name – Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre, or EMLL, which means Mexican Wrestling Enterprise) is a Lucha libre-style professional wrestling promotion based in Mexico City. It was founded by Salvador Lutteroth in 1933 and it is currently the world’s oldest pro wrestling promotion still in existence.
Soon after its establishment, the promotion flourished and quickly became the premier spot for workers. With stars like El Santo, Bobby Bonales, Tarzán Lopez Cavernario Galindo and “La Empresa”, it was at the forefront of the Lucha libre movement and for the next 50 years, EMLL would hold its place as the leader.
In the 1970s, Lutteroth left the company in the hands of his son Chavo, but the company weakened with Ray Mendoza along with a few promoters breaking off and forming the Universal Wrestling Association. UWA ran in Mexico City and in nearby Naucalpan against EMLL. UWA would be a tremendous force for 15 years but due to a weakening talent pool and affiliates, it died in the 1990s. EMLL joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) as its Mexican affiliate under the name NWA-EMLL. In time, however, it pulled out in the 1980s, due to promoter disunity and the NWA’s losing battle to stave off the World Wrestling Federation’s expansion and consolidation of the US wrestling scene. At this time, it changed its name to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre to make itself sound more international. At the start of the 1990s the company began appearing in TV. This led to a big boom in business due to national television exposure (before this, magazines were the sole medium of Lucha libre).
Each year CMLL promotes a number of signature events, both on pay-per-view and on regular television. Over the last couple of years CMLL have held three regular events each year and a number of one off, special events.
Major shows, listed in the order of when they happen during the year, include: CMLL Anniversary Show, Infierno en el Ring (an annual “multi-person” Steel Cage elimination match), and Homenaje a Dos Leyendas (an annual show since 2005). CMLL conducts several annual tournaments which usually signify a big push. Tournaments have been left out of the schedule for unexplained reasons. Some tournaments are conducted as “torneo ciberneticos”, a large multi-man tag team elimination match; others are normal single elimination tournament.
Most CMLL events are held in the famous Arena México, with the biggest weekly show being the Friday night Super Viernes (“Super Friday”) show. Of all the major promotions in the world, CMLL is one of the most conservative. Matches with blood are not broadcast and, other than an annual cage match and specialty matches, are never used.