CASSANDRO: QUEEN OF THE RING!
Flamboyant Mexican wrestler Cassandro (real name, Sual Armendariz) is the country’s most famous exótico fighter, nicknamed the Liberace Of Lucha Libre. In 1992, Cassandro became the first exótico to hold a championship in the Universal Wrestling Associati
DNA: You’re called “The Liberace Of Lucha Libre.” How fabulous!
Cassandro: Fans and co-workers have also named me “The Queen Of The Ring.” I do invest loads of money in my wrestling gear and make-up and gowns, so it’s an honour.
Tell us what exactly an exótico wrestler is and how it differs from other wrestlers?
An exótico luchador is flamboyant, elegant and, for the most part, we are LGBTQ, continuing to prove that once inside a ring I do my best to please fans and show our Mexican culture.
What’s the history of the sport?
Lucha Libre came to Mexico around the 1930s. It became the second biggest sport after soccer and has been part of Mexican tradition, honouring our ancestors, especially our Mexican native tradition in our mask and wrestling gear. It’s about good versus evil. Lucha Libre is a free therapy session for the fans!
How did you become involved?
I watched movies of it when I was a child and was hooked – but never thought I would become one. It’s my 30th anniversary of wrestling this year. I’ve been professional since 1987 and I’m very grateful and feel blessed for my career and legacy. Congratulations! You’ve also been called Mexico’s most famous drag queen fighter. Do you identify with the drag queen title?
I don’t identify as a drag queen; I am an exótico. I have paved the way with tears, blood and sweat. I am humbled that most exóticos contact me for guidance and feedback. Throughout my life I have been a big supporter of drag queens. They have my upmost respect as they are strong and live life on their own terms.
So we won’t see you on RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Ha! Not as a contestant. I am not a drag queen. Only when I wrestle I do the glamour look.
When you’re performing what can we expect? The unexpected! From when the door opens to me entering the ring – it’s like Cirque du Soleil in the ring for me.
You also have a protégé, Cassius The Neon Explosion. What can you tell us about mentoring him?
I met him in London a little while ago and started training with him. My message is be yourself, always do your best and demonstrate why you are in the ring. Never forget the pain you go through to shine.
How easy is it to be openly gay in your sport?
It has been a rollercoaster. It’s never easy as we’re in a machista sport and culture. That’s why I continue to work double- or triple-times harder to prove we belong. We are the diversity that makes Lucha Libre stronger.
Are there romances between the wrestlers? Ohhhhhh yeahhh! That’s all I’ve dated, as well! We also become like a wrestling family.
Wrestling outfits are a must-wear at gay dance parties. How do you feel about that?
It’s a beautiful thing happening, honouring some of us that are already part of the history. I have been made into cakes, piñatas, doors and wrestling figures.
What’s your best/sexiest outfit?
I’ve had many through the years, but I love what I call my Princess Diana gown in purple. I have most of the input into [the design of] my wrestling gear but I don’t make the outfits myself. I have a personal seamstress. My sexiest outfit is a seethrough bathing suit I used as a Playboy bunny. Are you romantically attached?
Not for the moment as my career makes it hard to be at home but my heart is filled with love.
Do you see yourself as a role model for the gay community? Not only our gay community. I bloody love my community. Last year I was honoured to be the Grand Marshall for our Pride Parade and this year I will be the main speaker for Homeland Security And Agencies.
We imagine you must have a strict diet and exercise regime?
It’s super important to maintain a good diet with food and exercise, especially cardio. I exercise twice a day for cardio and Lucha Libre training is two-tofour-hours daily and five healthy meals.
Where can we see you perform next?
As an independent wrestler I work for many companies, so I’m doing a comeback tour of Europe. I’ve been recovering from two major surgeries on my left knee, which makes a total of seven surgeries on my body. There is much pain due to the force and impact of Lucha Libre. It’s wrestling not a beauty parlour. Also coming up is the book of my life, which is almost ready, a documentary, and I continue to teach the next generation. Grow and shine through adversity to happiness.
There is much pain due to the force and impact of Lucha Libre. It’s wrestling not a beauty parlour.
MORE: To find out where to catch Cassandro live go to luchalibreworld.co.uk