Amazon Prime Video’s biographical film ‘Cassandro’ revolves around the life of Saúl Armendáriz, who becomes an exótico with the ring name Cassandro. Roger Ross Williams’ movie dives deep into Cassandro’s rise as a famed luchador and his relationships with his mother Yocasta, his secret boyfriend Gerardo/El Comandante, and his trainer Sabrina. As Cassandro’s trainer, Sabrina helps him embrace the spirit of being an exótico and accompany him through some of the toughest periods of the wrestler’s life. Since the movie sheds light on Cassandro’s real life, one may not help but wonder whether Sabrina has a real-life counterpart. Well, here’s what we can share about the same!
Is Sabrina Based on a Real Person?
The character Sabrina is a combination of all the real luchador coaches who trained Saúl Armendáriz AKA Cassandro during his early career. One of the prominent inspirations behind the character is Baby Sharon, who was an exótico like Cassandro. Saúl made his professional debut as Mister Romano, a gladiator-themed rudo or villain. It was Baby Sharon who encouraged Saúl to get rid of the character and embrace the identity of an exótico, similar to how Sabrina advises Cassandro to become an exótico in the film. “It was Baby Sharon who encouraged me to step out of Mister Romano,” Cassandro told The New Yorker’s William Finnegan.
Baby Sharon, like Cassandro, was openly gay. Cassandro also wrestled Sharon in his career. “Baby Sharon did that to me. He hit me with a bottle,” the wrestler told Finnegan about a photograph of himself, with his face and chest covered with blood. “Baby Sharon came out in the seventies. It was really difficult then. He was a tough cabrón. Every exótico that started had to go through him. He was also really good on a sewing machine. […] It was an honor to be wrestling him,” he added.
Baby Sharon died in 2008. “He [Sharon] was a coke addict to the end. He died in a tiny room in Juárez, with nothing. He was a beloved teacher, a gifted costume-maker. He made a lot of money wrestling, but he blew it all. It’s very sad, the life of an exótico,” Cassandro told Finnegan about the death of his mentor. Baby Sharon is buried in Juárez, where Cassandro learned the art of lucha libre. Although Cassandro and others contacted Sharon’s family in Guadalajara, only to learn that the late exótico’s daughter didn’t tell her family about her father’s death. As per Cassandro, Sharon’s family was “ashamed” of him.
“When he [Sharon] died, they put him in a red warmup suit. No, no, no, no, no. That’s ugly. We bought him a pin-striped suit and tie and lifted him out of the casket and changed his clothes. I had been clean then for only four years. It was the first time I had lost a loved one sober. I thought I would get loaded for sure. But no. I was very attached to him. He called me ‘mi hija,’” Cassandro said in the same interview given to Finnegan.
Cassandro was also trained by Rey Misterio Sr., the uncle of WWE icon Rey Mysterio. In an interview given in August 2020, the wrestler described Misterio as a “father figure.” “Rey Misterio Sr. was like the father figure I was lacking. I always thought of him like a role model and till this day, he is just like a father to me,” Cassandro told WrestlingINC. In addition to Cassandro, Misterio Sr. also reportedly trained several famed wrestlers such as Rey Mysterio, Eiji Ezaki, Extreme Tiger, Damian 666, etc. Cassandro’s recollection of his time with Misterio Sr. does reminds us of Sabrina’s training sessions with an emerging Saúl.
Although Sabrina is a fictional character, her roots are in the lives of several real-life coaches who made Cassandro what he is today. Through the character, the biographical film pays homage to those trainers’ contribution to Cassandro’s success as a luchador.