Cassandro: Is Gerardo AKA El Comandante Based on a Real Wrestler?

Amazon Prime Video’s biographical film ‘Cassandro’ revolves around Saúl Armendáriz AKA Cassandro, an exótico who becomes a sensation in the lucha libre circuits of the 1980s and 1990s. The film explores a young Cassandro’s rise as a luchador and his life as a gay man. He gets into a relationship with a fellow luchador named Gerardo AKA El Comandante. Although Cassandro initially cherishes their relationship, the same gets threatened when Gerardo fails to publicly accept Cassandro as his partner. Intrigued by the intricate character, we have found out whether Gerardo has a real-life counterpart. If you are eager to know more about Raúl Castillo’s character, you are at the right place!

Is El Comandante a Real Wrestler?

Yes, Gerardo AKA El Comandante is based on a real wrestler. During his early years as a wrestler, Saúl Armendáriz AKA Cassandro was really in a relationship with a married man. “I spent twelve years with a straight married lover. From the age of eighteen to thirty,” Cassandro told William Finnegan of The New Yorker. Like Cassandro, the man was also a luchador but the latter couldn’t rise to the heights the former reached. “He was a luchador. We both went to Mexico City. But only my career went up and up and up. He was with his wife, in Juárez,” he added.

Cassandro’s experience with the man isn’t a pleasant memory for the wrestler. As Gerardo doesn’t accept Cassandro as his partner publicly or in front of their fellow luchadors in the film, the inspiration behind the character didn’t treat the wrestler well, as far as the latter is concerned. “It [the relationship] was very damaging. There were five, ten, fifteen minutes of heaven in bed. Otherwise, he was bitching at me,” Cassandro said in the same interview. In the film, Gerardo is fearful of the homophobia around him, which stops him from accepting Cassandro as his partner.

Cassandro found the love he couldn’t receive from his partner among the audience who came to watch him. “On the stage, I feel all the love. It’s me, the world champion, Cassandro,” he told Finnegan. Still, Cassandro had to deal with the challenges of being a gay man while he was seeing this person, whose identity wasn’t revealed by the wrestler. “Homosexuals still have a big stigma. We’re considered to be prostitutes, drug addicts, seducers, etc. But we’re not all the same. Some of us are seen now as positive role models. I’ve had straight people tell me that they’re more accepting of gay people because of me,” he added.

Cassandro got into this relationship, which was “damaging,” after dealing with sexual abuse as a child. “Boys in the neighborhood, including my own relatives, used me as a sex toy,” the wrestler told Finnegan. In the film, Gerardo only cares about hiding Cassandro so that his wife won’t discover his extramarital affair and leave him. Even when Cassandro asks Gerardo to give their relationship priority, at least a single time, the latter dismisses the same. Gerardo makes it clear that he cannot accompany Cassandro to a match since he doesn’t want to leave his wife and children.

Cassandro eventually decides to break up with Gerardo since the latter doesn’t treat him well enough. When the wrestler celebrates his rise, which leads him to a match against the famed Son of Santo, he witnesses Gerardo failing to be happy about the same. Through Gerardo and Cassandro’s closeted relationship, the film shows the challenges and obstacles the latter had to overcome to become a gay icon.

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