How Salvador Lutteroth Made Lucha Libre What It Is Today?

Salvador Lutheroth Gonzalez was born in 1897 in Colotlan, Jalisco, shortly after his family relocated to Mexico, where he attended agriculture school.

Sadly, at a war-stricken time, he had to serve as a lieutenant in the Mexican revolution movement at the tender age of 17. He would serve in the revolution until he met the love of his life, whom he tied the knot to within 1924. 

After Salvador’s marriage to Armida Camou Olea from Hermosillo, Sonora, they had four children together.

Salvador started working as a Tax property inspector. He would get his first exposure to professional wrestling after relocating to Ciudad Juarez, and it was a match made in heaven.

Lutteroth would become enchanted by the varying persona’s on show at the Liberty Hall in El Paso.

Salvador Lutteroth
Salvador Lutteroth

How the dream started?

Like a kid at a candy store, Salvador wanted to take all the amusement and joy he got from watching the wrestling matches at El Paso to his home and that he did.

In 1933, Lutteroth created Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL) with his partner Francisco Ahumada.

The two would later chatter the company. Lutteroth needed a place to call home for his dream sport, and he found refuge in the Modelo arena after unsuccessful attempts at trying to book the premier national Arena from boxing promoters, the Modelo arena would become the first home of Lucha Libre in the world.

How did he become the father of Lucha Libre?

Although Lucha Libre had found its home, it was not the complete package until the anniversary of the EMLL when the company adopted an American wrestler who wore a black leather mask and was named the “The Masked Marvel” by Lutteroth.

From that moment, the Lucha Libre movement began and Salvador Lutteroth became the father of Lucha Libre. 

As the fame of the masked marvel grew Lutteroth decided to incorporate wearing masks in wrestling matches and created superheroes and villains alike.

The acceptance of this adaptation was unprecedented and the fame of the Lucha Libre grew beyond the borders of Mexico and to the rest of the world. 

Lutteroth would have another masterstroke on July 26 1942, when the man regarded the rest of the Lucha Libre world as the greatest luchador of all time El Santo made his Lucha Libre debut.

El Santo

El Santo would become one of the most successful luchadores starring in several movies and winning multiple honors across several brands.

Lutteroth would further unearth some gems like Gory Guerrero who later became a tag team partner to the great El Santo. 

Then he won the lottery and invested all his money into Lucha Libre without hesitating

One of the biggest events of Lucha Libre in the Modelo Arena
One of the biggest events of Lucha Libre at the Modelo Arena

Salvador Lutteroth had successfully brought his wrestling dream home to Mexico, but he needed to transmit that love and passion to the people around him.

After bringing in the sport there was a need for sustenance, and that required money to achieve. Lutteroth set about doing that through captivating high-flying moves, flips and other flamboyant movements associated with the Lucha Libre

In 1934, at the first anniversary of Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL), he made his first promotional breakthrough taking in an audience of over 5,000 people. The numbers kept going up and there became a need for bigger venues. 

In September 1934, the answer to those pressing needs arrived through Lutteroth as he won the Lottery for 40,000 pesos.

He immediately drove all his winnings into the Modelo renovation of the roof and getting in more seats to accommodate larger crowds.

Regardless of renovations and space creation, the Modelo could not keep up with the fast-rising popularity of the sport.

Lutteroth would later have to find a new home for his Lucha Libre franchise, and the Arena Coliseo would become the home of the sport.

He would enjoy even greater success there with more investments and televising his matches 

And finally he passed the torch to his son

As Lutteroth began to get older, he decided to hand over the authority of the EMLL to his son Salvador “Chavo” Lutteroth II who had grown around the business and commanded almost as much respect as his father from the wrestlers.

The Lucha Libre franchise successfully transitioned from a young man’s dream to a full-fledged sport.

After gaining recognition from the then authority over wrestling territories that the N.W.A, Lucha Libre would thrive with the ban placed on having any matches televised by the Mayor of Mexico. 

Here is an interview of Salvador “Chavo” Lutteroth II (son of Salvador Lutteroth)

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