Cassandro AKA Saúl Armendáriz: Where is the Wrestler Now?

Image Credit: RFI Español/YouTube

Directed by Roger Ross Williams, Amazon Prime Video’s biographical film ‘Cassandro’ revolves around the life of Saúl Armendáriz, an American-born Mexican luchador renowned as Cassandro. The film explores Cassandro’s rise as an exótico, a luchador who fights/performs in drag. Cassandro deals with several challenges, ranging from the death of his mother Yocasta to the homophobia he has to confront as a gay wrestler, to become a popular luchador. As the film depicts, Cassandro’s life story is nothing but inspiring. Naturally, the viewers must be eager to know about his current life since the film only offers a window into his early years as a wrestler. If you are eager to know about Cassandro’s current whereabouts, you are at the right place!

Who is Saúl Armendáriz?

Saúl Armendáriz was born on May 20, 1970, in El Paso, Texas. He grew up in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where his maternal family was based. During his Juárez visits, a young Saúl started to admire “luchadors,” the wrestlers who propagated “lucha libre,” the Mexican brand of wrestling. Saúl had a troubled childhood, mainly because his father, a truck driver, did not approve of his sexual orientation. “He did not want a gay son,” the wrestler told William Finnegan of The New Yorker. His parents got separated when he was thirteen. After quitting school at fifteen, Saúl became an apprentice of a lucha trainer in Juárez and made his professional debut as Mister Romano at the age of seventeen.

Saúl eventually got rid of his Romano character and became an exótico named Rosa Salvaje. “I thought it was a secret that I was gay, so I thought I was coming out. But everybody already knew. I was the only one who didn’t know,” the wrestler added about his first match as an exótico. He eventually took the ring name Cassandro, the name of a Tijuana brothel keeper he admired. In 1989, he joined the Mexican Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) promotion and teamed up with fellow exótico Pimpinela Escarlata to wrestle. In 1991, right before his twenty-first birthday, Cassandro was billed to wrestle El Hijo del Santo, one of the most renowned luchadors the country ever produced.

Although Cassandro lost the match against the “Son of Santo,” he won a world lightweight championship in 1992 to become the first exótico to win a world title. When UWA shut down in 1995, Cassandro began wrestling independently in Mexico and the United States. Although he joined the Lucha Libre AAA World Wide promotion in 2005, he left the same in 2008, only to return to independent circuits. In 2009, he signed a contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) but the partnership ended soon. Despite several injuries, Cassandro continued wrestling for years with occasional breaks for recovery.

Where is Saúl Armendáriz Today?

Saúl Armendáriz AKA Cassandro remains a popular figure in lucha libre circuits around the world. Although he seemingly doesn’t fight professionally these days, the wrestler hasn’t stopped gracing wrestling rings in Mexico and the United States with his captivating appearance. In addition to wrestling-related appearances, Cassandro is also committed to social service. He launched a company named “Mamalucha,” through which he organizes free classes and weekly shows. “We have free English classes here for the elderly, for young people, and then it gets transformed into a dressing room for the fighters,” he told Vice about his activities in Houchen Community Center, located in El Paso, Texas.

In 2019, Cassandro talked about his desire to put an end to his active wrestling career. “This is my 27th year as a luchador and I think it will be my last. I can’t do it anymore. My body won’t allow me to fight every weekend. I’ve had four surgeries on my knees. I’ve been in the hospital eight times for brain convulsions. I’ve lost track of all the stitches I have gotten,” he added in the same 2019 Vice interview. Cassandro had a brain embolism in May 2021. He had to undergo therapy to regain his speech and other motor skills. He is not entirely fit since he is dealing with aphasia, “a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language.”

In 2023, Cassandro signed with Motion Entertainment Lifestyle Networks to create a “new brand and conversation focused on perseverance, inclusivity, and faith,” as per founder John Pina. He was also inducted into the Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide Hall of Fame this year. In September 2023, El Paso County Commissioners Court honored Cassandro by passing a resolution that states that the wrestler has “represented the values and culture” of the region and his “fight for acceptance and representation is a testament to the resilience, diversity, perseverance, and strength of our border community.”

Cassandro was involved in the making of Roger Ross Williams’ film as a consultant. He had been promoting the film by attending the screenings of the same, including its premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. He was also involved in the making of the 2018 documentary film ‘Cassandro, The Exotico!’ directed by Marie Losier.

Read More: Did Gael García Bernal Learn Wrestling For Cassandro?