Wrestling Heritage A - Z
When it comes to wrestling's larger than life characters none were more so than this 1960s visitor to Britain. Quasimodo goes back to the birth of Heritage in 1968, when the internet wasn't even a twinkling in anyone's eye, and we had our first two articles published simultaneously, Lord Bertie Topham and Quasimodo. We acknowledge that since then very little primary source information has come to light, though newspapers have brought some revelations, but the character remains one largely surrounded by myth.
The family name Vincente Castilla Sancha certainly seems spot on, though Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs only managed Victor Quasimodo when they wrote to the wrestler in 1967!
His Olympic boxing trials and the oft repeated myth of how he acquired a cyst on the back of the neck seem far less likely. Wrestling codology at the time told of the cyst resulting from lack of medical facilities in the Argentinian village in which he lived. That seems unlikely as Vincente Sancha was almost certainly born in 1927 in the Spanish town of Aranda, as the town council acknowledged when naming a street in his honour. In Britain he was usually billed as French, as would befit a bell ringer of Notre Dame.
Sancha's wrestling persona was, of course, based on Victor Hugo's fictional character, the hideous Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame and a "creation of the devil." Remove the costume and Victor's appearance was far from hideous, and we feel we can confidently state he was no "creation of the devil," though cannot comment on those tax affairs!
Whilst boxing as a teenager can be verified by Spanish press reports it is as a wrestler that Victor Sancha is mostly celebrated, though in his home town he is usually remembered as Torinto Arandino. The transformation to Quasimodo seems likely to have occurred in the late 1950s, by which time he was well known in France and Spain.
Dressed in green boots and jester's jacket Quasimodo rang a large handbell, snarled at the jeering fans and clawed at the air. It got no better when he climbed into the ring. The hunched shoulders, missing teeth and slightly scarey features made him an obvious villain, and he was not one to disappoint.
The moment of revenge when the clean cut opponent would arrive without fail. “Twist, twist,” shouted the fans as the good guy grabbed hold of the cyst. He would turn to the crowd for further encouragement. It all seems so primitive and wrong as we look back almost decades later, but we enjoyed every minute of it.
We find the name Quasimodo on British posters for the first time in February, 1960, an independent promotion in Liverpool wrestling Max Crabtree. It was a match repeated time and again during the year. By then he had around a dozen or so years experience behind him, we have seen one unconfirmed reference to a professional debut in 1943. Quasimodo wrestled all the usual independent top liners Al Hayes, Ray Hunter, Dr Death, and so on. In 1963 Quasimodo began to work for Joint Promotions, though we still find appearances working for Paul Lincoln (evidenced by that letter from the HMRC) and the waters are muddied further by a masked Hunchback on independent bills.
All three of his television appearances, against Vic Stewart, Roy St Clair and Colin Joynson are for Wryton Promotions. Quasimodo remained a regular visitor to Britain every year until 1969, then there was a break until a final visit in December 1971.
Wrestling in Europe, the USA, Mexico and Japan Quasimodo was an international star who, albeit ridiculed, the fans loved to watch. A great gimmick certainly, but also a decent wrestler underneath the bizarre garb, and certainly one of the most colourful characters of the 1960s wrestling scene.
Victor Castilla Sancha died on 20th September, 2004.
Page added 07/03/2021