To succeed in professional wrestling, you have to accessorize.
Coats, capes, glasses and shirts are all integral to getting over. Sadly, wrestling gimmicks have like a 1 in 20 success rate and not everyone can have Bret Hart glasses or an nWo shirt. For some reason, there have been a lot of shitty hats.
Before we go any further; Randy Savage is the undisputed king of wrestling headgear and managed to wear hats that made Liberace cringe but still retained his manhood. But there are some wrestlers’ hats that are awkward, embarrassing and downright baffling, with the potential to tank a gimmick in an instant.
Let’s remember them now.
How do you take the edge off of a 6’3, 384 lb. bearded behemoth? Put him in the smallest sailor’s hat you can find.
Hatless, he looks like he could rip my arm off and beat me to death with it. But put that little white cap on, and Tugboat is adorable. I want to find him in my Happy Meal and put him on my dashboard. Furthermore, does Tugboat not have the least nautical body shape ever? No one looks more ill equipped to man a small sea-going vessel, especially with a candy-striped tank top and pristine white pants.
Maybe on the Good Ship Lollipop.
Poor Nikolai has a severe case of temperature indecision.
The Russian fur hat is the warmest in the world, designed to withstand the harshest Siberian climates. Naturally, such a warm hat would be worn with other similarly insulated clothing. Which makes Nikolai’s complete refusal to wear pants one of the great swerves in wrestling history.
Nikolai isn’t even wearing kneepads, fully bearing the thickest, whitest legs known to man. Does he have a thigh fetish? How poor is his upper body circulation? Or maybe he just needed to hammer home his ethnicity. Because the sickle on his tights, the “U.S.S.R.” on his shirt and his insistence on singing the Russian National Anthem during every entrance was a tad vague.
Ron Simmons was a football All-American and played in the CFL, USFL and NFL. No gimmick needed. Which is precisely why he was given one; Farooq Asad, the gladiator.
The black gladiator.
The black gladiator from the future.
And what does a futuristic black gladiator wear? A blue-ish, Nerf-y helmet-type thing. I usually dismiss wrestling’s sexual undertones, but I can’t look at this outfit and not see a giant dildo in a maid’s costume. Farooq would quickly trade this look for a leather kufi and become a black militant leader, which is actually much less offensive.
Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat:
Ricky Steamboat was one of the greatest wrestlers of the ‘80s. Always a fan favorite, he was nicknamed “the Dragon” for his intensity, agility and vaguely Asian presentation. But once the ‘90s hit, the WWF entered its “we mean this literally” phase.
You want to be called ‘Dragon’? You’re going to be a dragon.
Ricky had to don a scaly, rubber crown, attached to giant wings and a tail. And if this heavy rubber headgear wasn’t enough; he had to breathe fire during his entrance. As ridiculous as this getup sounds, if even one simple-minded hillbilly child turned to his father and said “Daddy, is that a real dragon?” it was all worth it.
Was “the Dragon” not literal enough for you? Meet Mantaur. Half man, half…taur.
Okay, obviously they’re going for some kind of mythological minotaur/bull/equestrian fetish, but this may be the laziest, most uncreative headgear of them all. No need to get fancy, just throw the entire bull torso over your head. It’s an amateur taxidermist’s nightmare. Could they find a less intimidating bullhead? It looks like he murdered the Buffalo Bills’ mascot. And nothing strikes fear into opponents like a guy who can only see through the mouth hole.
Fuck peripheral vision, I’m Mantaur!
Terrible hats can happen to even the best of them.
Hulk Hogan is the King Midas of pro wrestling; everything he touched turned into red and yellow, Reagan-era gold. I suckered my parents into buying me slippers and an electric toothbrush simply because Hogan’s head was on them. He was untouchable.
But, for one brief spell in the late 80’s, he flew too close to the merchandising Sun (which explains his tan). No one can rationalize this fist helmet, which seems to be crafted from an arm wrestling arcade machine. Did they want to market this to kids suffering from Encephalomalacia? And he called it his “war bonnet”. Not since “death beret” has there been a more conflicting term.
Sadly, he took it off before the bell rang. If you’re going to wear a helmet with a fist on it, at least try to head-butt your foe. As impractical as this hat was for wrestling; with a loose enough woman, this could be the logical evolution of the “chindo.”