Ah yes, the time honored tradition of wearing your favorite wrestling t-shirt, sweatshirt, shorts, gloves, underwear(!), jacket, backpack, rubber bracelet, key-chain or hat.
There is a lot of wrestling apparel available to the fan base…and a lot of places to purchase these items. When I open my wallet, I prefer it to be face-to-face; I try to remember that my $10 or $20 dollars can make the difference between a wrestler making it to her or his next show (or not). For those who live on the fringe and give their heart and soul to their art, a few dollars seems like the least I can do. However, I can’t buy everything, no matter how much I would like to, and – to be fair – few independent wrestlers even think about their female fan base. I’m not asking for pink sparkles, but maybe something not in the XXL size department would be nice.
Regardless of women’s sizes, I have to say there are some shirts or other items that I have turned down due to their poor quality, inappropriateness or lack of wearability outside the world of pro-wrestling. That being the case, I don’t want to write about those items. Instead here are my 3 favorite pieces of wrestling apparel, and a short explanation as to why they get their high marks.
- My absolute favorite wrestling shirt has been Donovan Dijak’s New England patriots homage with his beloved number 44 on it. This is a throwback shirt at its best: creatively displaying his New England pride with the old school Patriots logo, while allowing me to mark out for the 6 foot 7 phenom. I can wear this shirt anywhere and get high fives and boos from football fans, who possibly have no idea who Double D may be…along with representing(!) at my local promotion. Nicely done Donovan Dijak: I’m thinking you may have a second career in fashion design if this wrestling thing gets old for you.
- Operation Cherry Bomb t-shirt comes in almost tied for number one, but we will call it a close second. A masterfully creative shirt depicting one of my favorite wrestlers as the classic Operation board game, complete with moveable parts to include a warrior’s heart and wounded knee. This was made quickly for a sad reason, due to needing to raise money to help her afford a critical surgery after a ring induced injury. No other wrestler is likely capable of taking their pain and turning into this wonderful comedic piece of hopefulness. Now that she is on the mend, I will keep wearing my Operation shirt to remind me that healing is possible for us all, no matter what obstacles we are facing. Beautiful fun shirt for a wonderful, strong person.
- Last but definitely not least, is one of the first wrestling shirts I ever purchased; my “I Star Colt Cabana” shirt. There is not much to this one, but it is well loved by me for a few highly personal reasons. One is that I love that there are likely 100’s of wrestling fans who have never met a single Jewish person in their lives sporting this shirt simply because the amazing Cabana wrestled in their tiny town. Secondly, I love that he had the chutzpah to make this design in the first place, as it is sometimes easier to hide one’s Jewish identity than wear it with pride. And third, I have had so many nice people coming up and talk to me at wrestling shows just by wearing this shirt, eager to tell me about the time they met Cabana or how much they love his podcast. This shirt is like a magnet for happy memories, good conversation and warm exchanges. While I can be mostly certain Colt Cabana won’t ever read my tiny blog – one in an endless sea of wrestling blogs – I’d still like to say thank you from one member of the Tribe to another.