Dr. Lucha Steve Sims looks at the protest that could shut down tonight's major CMLL show

Earlier today, at approximately 5:15 am CDT, a large procession of buses, a number of political advocates, luchador Tony Rivera (real name Javier Espinosa Romero), and several other men gathered out front of La Arena Mexico in Mexico City to organize a small strike, calling up memories of the much larger and more- broad-based strike of 1991.

Though Rivera has given several interviews to the media this morning (including almost all of Mexico City’s daily newspapers), and his complaints seem very specific to himself, the issue he has raised has attracted enough labor union activists that the arena is currently encircled (“blockaded" is how some reports list it).

Rivera was a CMLL undercard wrestler (never above the 3rd match on the traditional 5-match CMLL card) who, due to differences with the promotion, has worked there very little in 2011. He has complained in the press today that he received a pay of 200 pesos (roughly $17 US) for each match worked in recent months, no matter the gate or whether the match was taped for Televisa/Galavision TV or not (generally, EMLL has for years paid extra for working Arena Mexico Friday night TV tapings; in fact, a separate pay check would be cut for those taping matches).

Rivera and his associates chose today to make this move because it is the day that the world’s oldest extant wrestling promotion, EMLL (which is more well-known under its marketing brand of CMLL), is running one of its four mega-shows of 2011, a show titled “El Juicio Final” in which the main event will have La Mascara risk his mask versus the mask of Averno, the same Averno who is slated to start with WWE next month. Whether Rivera’s true goal is to start a larger action of wrestlers striking the promotion, or trying to shut the show down, or trying to get attention, the choosing of today for his first move was no accident.

As it stands now, there is a picket line in front of La Arena Mexico, and not a few people in Mexico, whether they be fans, wrestlers, concessionaires, truckers, security, whatever, are reluctant to cross picket lines – almost no one of any stripe crossed the picket lines set up in 1991, even several days after the hubbub died down and only a handful of wrestlers were actually walking the picket line.

As of 12:30 today, it is unclear if tonight’s show will go on as scheduled, though the majority of insiders expect EMLL president Paco Alonso and his cousin, Chavo Lutteroth, to solve this problem – at least for today – before the show starts at 8:30 pm CDT tonight.

For those of you wishing to follow the story more closely, regular updates are appearing at the web site of Mexico’s best lucha libre magazine, Super Luchas (http://www.superluchas.net), and at the Luchablog web site run by The Cubs Fan at thecubsfan.com/cmll.

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