Bawdy, scandalous and wickedly entertaining, Cassandro, the star of Mexican lucha libre wrestling, found himself under a different spotlight last week when highbrow US magazine The New Yorker profiled the flamboyant wrestler in its September 1 issue. The magazine’s renowned for its in-depth, often offbeat profiles, and William Finnegan’s piece doesn’t disappoint.
The story describes Cassandro, aka Saúl Armendáriz’s, struggles as a gay kid battling his machista truck driver dad; quitting school at 15 to apprentice himself to a lucha trainer in Juarez; debuting two years later as Mister Romano and later becoming an Exotico – a wrestler fighting drag. In the ring, 44-year-old Cassandro has had hot chilli peppers thrown at him and knife stab between his ribs (and that’s just the audience!). But the bad boy of Mexican wrestling now gives lectures at US Embassy and National University in Mexico City and fights in rings all over the US. The problem with gringo wrestlers, he says, is that they don’t know how to catch).
At close to 9,000 words, this isn’t an article you can whip through while waiting for the bus. After Hours suggests you kick back and enjoy some longform writing: you might even learn something. Start reading here and check out the video of Cassandro in motion below.
Hasta la próxima!