John Carbery, Brian Damage and Jamie Lithgow
A previous Top Five looked at the worst wrestling attire in the history of the business. This time around we switch it round and look at guys, and girls, that were fortunate enough to be able to count having excellent ring attire, if nothing else, on their side.
5. Natalya (Hart Dynasty): I always thought the Pink and Black of the Hart Foundation was a really cool look. Bret, Anvil and Owen all had great gear but for me Natalya’s gear was probably the best use of the motif’s. The short ring jacket along with the high contrast tights were just plain cool, a perfect update of a classic style.
4. Macho Man Randy Savage: I don’t think I need to go into detail on this one. Savage’s gear really spoke for him when he didn’t have a mic in his hand. It was loud, colourful and somehow managed to make sense for him, though if anybody else wore it they’d look like an idiot.
3. Ultramantis Black: An indie wrestling hero who really put his all into his gear was the “Evil Insect Overlord” Ultramantis Black. MIxing occult influences with a lucha libre aesthetic really worked for him. His mask was beautifully designed and the rest of his gear had a level of quality you don’t see every day on independent shows.
2. Seth Rollins: Post Shield, Rollins really showed his former teammates how this whole gear thing is done. Evolving his Shield look while seemingly adding some style reminiscent of Snake Plissken was great. That he could keep the same style of gear while changing up the colour scheme really added to the look. Next to Dean Ambrose in his jeans and Roman Reings in his hand me downs, Rollins looks like the true star of the Shield.
1. Drago: I’ll never forget seeing this guys ring gear for the first time. It looks uncomfortable to wrestle in but it also looks so damn cool! A modern innovation on the lucha libre style using some crazy materials. How he wrestles in it I have no idea, but if I was a kid his would be my favourite action figure.
5. Seth Rollins: All three former Shield members still appear to pay homage to their WWE beginnings with their ring/entrance wear i.e. long tights/pants and a tank top. While Roman Reigns’ top half looks cool – albeit spoiled somewhat by his lame cargo pants – and Dean Ambrose somewhat resembles John McClane, Seth Rollins tops the list for me. He seems to have combined what looks like a genuine athletic gear with a Marvel superhero outfit, and it looks fucking awesome! There will come a day when looking like a superhero/supervillain will be considered lame again, but as of right now Seth Rollins is on point.
4. Ric Flair: This is essentially a best dressed list, which would not be complete without The Nature Boy. Yes, he borrowed the name from Buddy Rogers and his look was identical to dozens of other wrestlers in the 70’s/80’s, the difference was that Ric did it with Flair. He didn’t change either, into the 90’s and 00’s The Nature Boy was rocking the flashy robes and looking like a million bucks.
3. Mankind: When I got back into wrestling in the late 90’s I specifically remember seeing Mankind and immediately feeling a desire to know more about him purely based on the way he looked. A rounder chap wearing a bizarre mask and shirt and tie was not what I expected to see, so I wanted answers. Before Mick Foley said a word he already had more depth of character than any other wrestler I had ever seen before.
2. Cactus Jack: It’s Mick again, and this choice is deeply ingrained in my childhood memories. Firstly, his name was Cactus Jack and he was from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, so why would he wear Leopard print? It didn’t make sense, but for some reason it worked. Secondly, the images of Cactus I saw in magazines when I was younger featured him wearing said leopard print usually covered in blood. I was genuinely scared of him because he looked like a wild animal.
1. Sting (Crow version): What guy reading this would not wish to be able to pull off The Crow costume at Halloween? It’s awesome, too awesome, so should not be attempted by mortal men. Sting, on the other hand, is no mere mortal. He somehow managed to completely rip-off Brandon Lee’s look as The Crow but still have people associate it with him. His silent character, the baseball bat, the trench coat, the long hair. Perfect, absolutely perfect. I also like how he evolved the look, but Sting in 1997 was the coolest looking wrestler I’ve ever seen.
5. Sting: Yes, of course I am referring to his homage to the Crow in the late 1990’s. It seemingly gave his character and career new life. Not only that, but it just looked simply bad ass.
3. Hakushi: I absolutely loved the look of Jinsei Shinzaki’s ‘Hakushi’ gimmick. He was dressed all in white and was tatted up with countless Japanese symbols. It looked fantastic.
2. Mantanza Cueto: Mantanza currently wrestles for Lucha Underground and the best way to describe his look…he is a cross between Bane of Batman comics and Leatherface from the horror movies. He is intimidating to look at and it makes him look like a true monster.
1. The Great Muta: Honestly, Keiji Mutoh has changed his look countless times and each time looks better than the next. Whether it’s with face paint or wearing a mask…Muta always captured the look of a major star.
Which wrestlers do you consider to have the best in-ring gear? Leave your top five below.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.