Gay wrestler Cassius Paule in running for Gladiators reboot: ‘I’d love to be known as Barbie’

Gladiators Neon Cassius Paule

The reboot of iconic 90s gameshow Gladiators could feature its first queer contestant in wrestler Cassius Paule, otherwise known as the ‘Barbie Gladiator’.

The classic 90s series followed groups of ordinary contestants as they attempted to beat various super-strong ‘gladiators’ in a series of physically demanding challenges.

Most queer viewers will remember the show for the gladiators’ extremely camp names such as ‘Blaze’, ‘Nightshade’, ‘Hunter’ and ‘Wolf’ – and more importantly, the buff men and women in lycra.

Cassius Paule, otherwise known as ‘Cassius the Neon Explosion’, has reportedly been approached to star in the highly-anticipated reboot as the series’ first openly queer contestant.

Paule, who is known for wearing sickening outfits with ‘Cassius’ emblazoned across the seat of his lycra pants told The Sun that he intends to be “1,000 per cent as flamboyant on the show as [he is] in wrestling”, after bosses for the franchise’s upcoming BBC One reboot reportedly approached him and asked him to audition.

“I wouldn’t know what else to bring – that is me,” he told the newspaper. “They would love that.

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“I would bring that full force and hopefully they’ll let me wear pink or purple. I could accessorise my Lycra outfit with tassels, and it needs to be shiny. That’s just me,” said the Gladiators hopeful.

“In 2023, if someone from the LGBT+ community could be on there it would be brilliant, and even better if it was me. I’d be the modern day Gladiator,” Paule added.

The gladiators on the original show were a huge part of the programme’s charm, with ‘Jet’, ‘Hunter’ and ‘Ace’ all becoming household names – but Paule has other ideas for a catchy moniker.

I’d love to be known as Barbie, but there’s a good chance that could get ruled out due to trademark issues,” he revealed.

“The other option I like is Karma. I always get revenge on my enemies, in and out of the ring, and it’s a dish best served cold.”

Viewers of the original show might recall that the male cast members were all typically over six foot and completely ripped. But Paule went on to explain that were he to make the cast of Gladiators, he’d have no problem taking on bigger opponents.

“I’ve been doing that my entire career,” he explained. “I’m always outweighed by whoever I wrestle – nobody is my height and weight… If the contenders were coming up against me, I feel like they would presume they had the easy one and they wouldn’t expect much.”

Who is Cassius Paule?

Cassius Paule – or ‘Cassius The Neon Explosion’ – is a 28-year-old gay wrestler who reportedly originally went to university to study TV production. He later gave up on a career in TV to follow his ultimate goal of appearing in the WWE.

Paule secretly joined a wrestling school in his late teens and only told friends and family about his passion after he started practicing the sport professionally.

Has the Gladiators reboot got a release date?

The Gladiators reboot was officially announced in August 2022, with Kate Phillips, director of unscripted at the BBC confirming its return.

Gladiators is back and a whole new generation of viewers can now look forward to watching a Saturday night spectacle like no other,” she said in a statement.

“Will the contenders have the will and the skill to succeed against our mighty new Gladiators? You’ll have to tune in to find out!”

The series will be produced by MGM Television and Hungry Bear Media, and according to recent reports, the show will start filming at Sheffield’s Utilita Area in May and June 2023.

Further information about the series will be announced in due course. In the meantime, the public has until 1 April to apply to be a contender on the show.

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