The 8-Ball 02.23.13: WWE Ring Entrance Outfits
Welcome, ladies and gents, to the 8-Ball. My name is Ken Hill and, as always, I am the fire starter, the party-meister, and YOUR “Kennection to All Things Wrestling.” Counting down the randomness of professional wrestling seems to be a thing on here, so let’s do it, to it!
This week, we’re covering the various iconic outfits worn by various WWE wrestlers young and old in the last couple decades. For some, what you wear out to the ring, the first impression you make on the crowd, is so important, so much that you want everyone to remember that night, not just for the match you wrestled, but so people will remark, “You should’ve seen what this guy wore to the ring last night, it was awesome!”
On that note, I’ve ranked my eight choices based on one or more of the following categories:
Originality: Whether a wrestler’s outfit is more of an original idea, a blend of personal fashion and past wrestling wear, or simply a subset (i.e. ripoff) of a more iconic outfit.
Longevity: Whether it’s an item that a wrestler has worn for the longest time, sporadically, or is strictly a one-time deal (Like “Conan” Triple-H at WM 22, as kick-ass as that throne was).
Crowd Effect: Whether a crowd pops at the first glance of said ring wear, or even when it’s simply being removed or put on (hint, hint).
If Daniel Bryan’s really intent on calling himself “The Dazzler”, John Morrison could make an argument for being called “The Bedazzler.” Introduced along with his new persona in ECW circa 2007, Morrison’s fur coat could be seen by some, including myself, as a symbolic representation of Morrison’s true in-ring character; while it may seem flashy, shiny, and gaudy with too many meaningless bells and whistles, it belies the inner truth of Morrison; a tough, rough-and-tumble competitor who can brawl, strike, pound, and take to the air as good as anyone else, and look damn good doing it too. Not to mention you’d have to be a tough son of a gun to walk around in a spangly fur coat like Morrison’s.
Rey Mysterio must have spent a lot of time in former tag partner Rob Van Dam’s “Five Star Comics” before it closed in ’06…The Master of the 619 has never fallen short when it comes to iconic Wrestlemania outfits. From the Daredevil in his very first Wrestlemania match against Matt Hardy to the “Captain Mysterio” seen above combating Cody Rhodes in 2011, Mysterio never fails in keeping up with the current trends of pop culture.
Cena’s rag on HBK in 2005 being a little “too friendly” with the chaps, chains and leather made me chuckle a little because there’s a lot of truth to it. Looking at all of HBK’s outfits throughout his career, I honestly couldn’t picture Shawn wearing anything different. Like with Morrison’s coat, all these baubles and trinkets hanging on Micheal’s arms, chest, and and legs carry some significance. The chaps represent his nature as a Texan “sharpshooter,” how he can reel off Sweet Chin Music like a sudden shot, something Lawler has often dubbed “#1 with a bullet.” In later years, we’d see crosses adorning his outfits in various ways, harkening to his role in real life as a born-again Christian. And the chains…well, HBK just made them look that damn cool when he’d wear them out to the ring.
I’ll be damned if Road Warrior Animal and Hawk and company didn’t at least get a mention here. Innovators of the face-painted wrestling persona in the 1990s and originators of the Doomsday Device, one of the best tandem moves in wrestling today, L.O.D.’s entrance wear was truly symbolic of their in-ring nature: Brash, bold, and dangerous to the touch. And just like their spiked pads, L.O.D.’s strong physiques and and power-based offense could run right through you if you weren’t careful.
Like his various wacky to refined hairdos, going from long tights to shorts, and changing up his moveset, Jericho has adapted new styles of ringside wear throughout his years; from the gaudy, flashy shirts of his introduction to WWE, to the shiny vests of his 2007 return, and to the “Honest Men’s Warehouse” wardrobe from 2008-2011, Y2J has kept up with the times, adopting outfits to match his personality shifts throughout his career. While initially meant in 2012 as a mocking caricature of his early “rock star” persona, Jericho has since re-embraced his “Y2J” roots and wears the “Lite Brite”-esque jacket with as much flash and panache as he shows on the mic and in the ring.
Intimidation. Soul-shaking, fearful intimidation. That’s what the wide-brimmed hat of the 20-0 Deadman represents. The macabre music and the lightning catch your attention. His approach to the ring, ironically enough, often makes an opponent feel as if they’re walking the proverbial “Green Mile” to their doom. When Taker enters the ring in his methodical way, every step is a mind game. When he removes his jacket, you see the obstacle, the man, the impossible myth you must venture past to achieve that yet-to-be-seen victory. The hat? In the pause of him lowering it, opponents are made aware of the soul-searing stare they are about to receive, one that tests their very resolve and fortitude and determines whether or not they have already lost. Once the hat is lowered and the rolled-back, demonic stare is unleashed, the fans roar and know the Deadman is ready to clear out his yard.
Curious why I didn’t mention the outfit in this one? It’s a rather simple reason: Savage was the outfit. He was every bit the multicolored streamers hanging from his arms, the ruffles on his tights and boots, the “MACHO”-frosted sunglasses, and the “funky like a monkey” cowboy hat. Then there was Savage’s “reign” as the “Macho King” with a shimmering, star-studded cape Austin Aries could only dream of and a crown that Lawler would envy to the end of his days. It was madness, he was madness, and the crowd was just taken along for the roller coaster ride.
Let me ask you all this question: How luxurious, awe-inspiring, and kick-ass would it have been to have a feathered robe with your own name scripted on the back in sequins? Heck, I once took an old bathrobe, sparkle-glued “Nature Boy” on the back, bought a boa and blonde wig, and did my own impression of Ric Flair to “Also Sprach Zarathustra” for a high school contest. Was it embarrassing? Hell yes. Did I feel like a million dollars? YA DAMN RIGHT. The irony is, that’s almost how much “Naitch” spent on all the robes he’s worn over the decades. All that money for decked-out-to-the-max custom robes that are likely only worn once, like the teenage girl’s much-vaunted prom dress; at his peak, “The Man” was the epitome of extravagance, arrogance, money, and being the very best in the business.
Thank you all for reading on my post of the 8-Ball, and I certainly promise to bring you more exciting, unique topics in professional wrestling to count down. However, don’t be afraid to suggest your own topics in the comments section. In the wacky, wild world of professional wrestling, there’s a multitude of ideas to explore and you never know when you might stumble on a fresh idea no one’s considered before. Ciao for now, boys and girls!