In an industry dominated by machismo, climbing to the top of lucha libre is a challenge for the “manliest” of wrestlers.
No one knows this better than Cassandro, one of the most famous exótico luchadores to come out of Mexico. Saúl Armendáriz — a.k.a. Cassandro — began wrestling over 27 years ago as Mr. Romano, a rudo (bad guy). But even with a mask and a rude attitude, audiences were quick to catch on to Armendáriz’s sexuality. So instead of acting like something he wasn’t, Armendáriz dropped the bad guy routine and began flaunting his natural flamboyance, saying, “If I’m going to make the transition (to exótico), I’m going to make it the whole nine yards.” Since that time, Cassandro has earned a reputation for being one of the greatest showmen in lucha libre, while also winning matches and fans along the way. The New Yorker recently featured Cassandro with a short documentary, which is available here for free.