Many eons ago – and as a child – I fell in love with 1980’s wrestling. The pageantry, the characters, the story behind the story pro wrestling was willing to tell in the ring. When Sgt. Slaughter donned Iraqi garb against the ‘Real American’ Hulkster, my emotions ran wild. The cognitive dissonance was simply too much to bear, even with Desert Storm Topps cards as a Rosetta Stone.
Who can forget the Iron Sheik’s gorgeous Sultan-esque boots? Nikolai Volkoff’s furry Russian Hat? Greg Valentine’s spectacular robes? Honky Tonk Man’s guitar and supporting Elvis glamour? Koko B Ware had a friggin’ parrot, for chrissakes.
What the heck happened to all the clever ring gear?
Sure, I’m keen to purchase the ring garb that favorite athletes and talent adorn. I confess to fellow Muay Thai aficionado Bobby Fish serving as such. (I splurged on purchasing his ring gear directly from him at a recent Ring of Honor PPV.) With this being said, I would estimate nearly 75% of ring gear is to promote a generic merch table purchase. The result is sheer generic boredom.
There’s nothing wrong with the traditional black trunks and knee pads for the fellas, some sparkly bikini combo for the women (albeit too much cleavage these days). But where’s the darn splendor that is pro wrestling? Flak jackets, fake DDDs in my face, pecs x 1000…I’m not digging it. No wonder athletes can jump promotions with ease; what are they leaving behind?
Pro wrestling is an art form. When Colt Cabana comes out in comic book style themed trunks, I smile. Alexa Bliss ‘current persona is a movie rip-off…but at least embraces different to the nth degree! Then there’s artists like Goldust, Okada, Kobra Moon and the Young Bucks to make the world right again.
Your ring gear and appearance tell the story. In fact, they are the arguable foundation the rest draws from. For every Su Yung utterly dedicated to the genius of her character, someone’s trying to sell me a darn t-shirt unique to that night.
It’s not that expensive to take the plunge. Leva Bates is the poster child of excellence, with a new pop culture character each and every show. Let’s get back to basics in the kabuki theatre that is pro wrestling. Make every color and shade count.