One of the classic storylines in pro wrestling history, has to deal with hair. Many wrestlers throughout the years have had glorious heads of hair. Some have used their follicles to advance storylines and in many cases…their very own careers. Hair versus hair, hair versus mask and/or hair versus career matches have had a place in wrestling for a very long time. These type of specialty matches were popularized in Mexico starting in 1940 when the first luchas de apuestas (“matches with wagers”) took place between luchadors Octavio and Murcielago in a hair vs mask match. There have been countless matches with hair being put on the line ever since.
Sure there have been instances where a wrestler agreed to have his hair cut just as an excuse to further a feud and change up his look a bit. Look no further than Andre the Giant when he had his long hair cut by Big John Studd and Ken Patera. Vince McMahon agreed to have his head shaved bald at Wrestlemania 23, just to sell tickets and pay per view buys for the event. The angle paid off in many ways as over 80,000 fans attended the event and saw a then record 1.2 million buys for the show. Looking deeper into hair matches, we have found some interesting backstories…
Gorgeous George Vs The Destroyer (Hair Vs Mask)
For years, Gorgeous George used his bleached blonde locks to become on of the biggest stars in the early days of television. He was a wrestler that transcended the wrestling business and became so much bigger than that. His looks and mannerisms inspired many in the “outside world” including famed boxer Muhammad Ali. In November of 1962, a huge hair versus mask was set up between Gorgeous George and the masked Destroyer Dick Beyer in Los Angeles’ Olympic Auditorium.
It was a 2 out of 3 falls affair with the Destroyer winning two matches to George’s one. George then had his world famous hair shaved clean off his head. Gorgeous George agreed to the stipulation because he knew he was towards the tail end of his career. Years of alcohol abuse had significantly slowed him down in the ring as he developed cirrhosis of the liver. This would sadly turn out to be George’s final wrestling match as just a year later, George died from his illnesses.
Adrian Adonis Vs Roddy Piper
‘Adorable’ Adrian Adonis faced ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper in Piper’s retirement match at Wrestlemania 3 in March of 1987. After losing to Piper, Brutus Beefcake came to the ring and shaved the head of Adonis. There were rumors that Adonis’ bald head was a sort of punishment by Vince McMahon as the both McMahon and Adonis had a love/hate relationship through his “adorable” run. McMahon was not happy with Adonis’ outside the ring behavior with substance abuse and his weight ballooning to close to 400 pounds.
Vince wanted Adrian to look more like Humpty Dumpty by shaving off his bleached blonde hair leading into a feud with Brutus Beefcake. While this may be true, Adonis getting shaved bald was also an excuse to tone down the flamboyant side of Adrian Adonis and return a little more to his tough guy style gimmick before he became Adorable Adrian. Unfortunately, Adrian continued his poor behavior away from the WWF ring and was subsequently fired.
Jeff Jarrett Vs X Pac (Hair vs Hair)
In August of 1998 at Summerslam, Jeff Jarrett and Sean Waltman aka X-Pac agreed to both put their long hair on the line in a traditional Hair vs Hair match. X-Pac ended up winning the contest and Jarrett subsequently had his long, blonde hair cut. The story is, this was the plan all along, as Jarrett wanted to lose his hair.
His wife Jill had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing radiation treatments that took her hair. Jarrett wanted to shave his own head in solidarity with his wife. Rumors were that while WWF management agreed to a hair vs hair match, they were not keen on Jeff’s head being shaved bald. The two parties agreed to cut his hair short, but not completely hairless.
El Santo Vs Enrique Llanes (Hair vs Mask)
In July of 1949 in Mexico City, a huge Hair vs Mask match was booked between the masked El Santo and Enrique Llanes. Llanes was the brother in law to Gory Guerrero (Patriarch of the famed Guerrero Family). El Santo defeated Llanes to win his hair. Fans did not want to see Enrique lose his hair, they were so upset they rushed the ring, picked him up and carried him out of the arena.
At the time, Santo was a major heel, but well respected. When Enrique got home, his mother saw he had a full head of hair and she started to cry. She thought El Santo lost and had his mask removed. When Enrique told his mother what really happened, the mother demanded he return to the arena and live up to his word by having his head shaved. He reluctantly agreed and returned to get his head shaved.
Luna Vachon (No Match)
This particular entry, did not involve a match, but was a televised segment for the Florida territory in 1985. A young Luna Vachon developed her gimmick in this segment where she was slapped and kidnapped by Kevin Sullivan and his ‘Army of Darkness’ faction. To prove her allegiance to Sullivan, Vachon had a half of her head shaven by Fallen Angel aka Nancy Sullivan.
The idea to shave her head, was apparently from Luna herself. She was very good friends with another female wrestler named Mad Maxine. Luna said she always admired Maxine’s bravery for being a woman sporting a mohawk hairstyle. Luna always believed that Maxine’s look was a money maker and when this angle came about, Luna was all onboard with the hair cutting segment.
Kurt Angle Vs Edge (Hair vs Hair)
In May of 2002 at the WWE’s Judgement Day pay per view…Edge took on Kurt Angle in a hair versus hair match. Leading up to the match, Shane McMahon had pulled a rib on Edge by convincing him that it was he who was going to be shaved bald. Edge began to worry that he was going to lose all of his hair and wondered what he would look like hairless. He wasn’t made aware until 4 hours before the show.
In reality, it was Kurt Angle who was getting his hair shaved off all along. According to Angle, he had a receding hair line that was annoying Vince McMahon. Vince approached Angle about shaving his head bald which Kurt agreed to. McMahon had started to grow tired of Kurt being used in comedy acts and wanted to transition Kurt from comedic wrestler to a very serious, hardnosed wrestler. McMahon felt by changing Angle’s look, he could achieve that.
Poison and Ice Cold vs. Lana Star and Patti Pizzazz (Hair vs Hair)
This match took place on WOW’s (Women of Wrestling) only pay per view event in 2001 called WOW Unleashed. It featured a tag team match between Poison and Ice Cold vs. Lana Star and Patti Pizzazz with the loser of the match getting their head shaved bald. Apparently, WOW promoter David McLane booked the hair match before asking the women involved which one was willing to lose their hair.
Naturally, all four wrestlers balked at the idea. Despite that, McLane did advertise a wrestler would lose their hair and after going back and forth countless times, McLane chose wrestler Ice Cold to get her head shaved. The reasoning, was due to the other women having long hair and Ice Cold was the only wrestler who had a short hairstyle. So she was made to do the deed and get shaven.
Jerry Lawler Vs Bill Dundee (Hair vs Hair )
For years, ‘The King’ Jerry Lawler and ‘Superstar’ Bill Dundee feuded on and off with each other in the Memphis territory. In 1977, the two were involved in a hot feud where Dundee’s real life wife was a part of the angle. Lawler would poke fun at Beverly Dundee, leading her to come out and slap Lawler. The King would then accuse Bill Dundee of having his wife fight his battles for him. The two wrestlers would clash where their hair was on the line.
The story goes that Bill bragged to his wife how much he was going to get paid to lose his hair to Lawler in that match. Amazed of the high payday, Beverly told her husband to reach out to promoter Jerry Jarrett and let him know that she would be willing to lose her hair for a big payday as well. The couple would both lose their hair to Lawler with a rumored $3,000 going to Mrs. Dundee for her participation. The money that the Dundees were paid for this angle allowed them to put a down payment on a new home and Beverly’s pay went to furnishing it.
Dump Matsumoto Vs Chigusa Nagayo (Hair vs Hair)
The feud between Dump Matsumoto and the very popular Chigusa Nagayo was a television ratings and box office smash in Japan. In August of 1985, the two met in a hair versus hair match. Nagayo surprisingly lost the match and had her head shaved to the very shocked and upset fans watching.
As popular as that feud was, there were rumored concerns that Nagayo losing her hair would turn fans off and away from the promotion. To make amends to the upset fans, a second hair versus hair match was booked in November of 1986 between the two wrestlers. This time, it was Nagayo who won and Dump Matsumoto who has to lose her hair. Dump’s hair wasn’t shaved bald, but her trademark mohawk was cut off to let the fans go home happy.
Victoria Vs Molly Holly (Hair vs Title)
The story behind this match happened a few weeks before Wrestlemania XX in 2004. Molly discovered that there wouldn’t be a WWE Women’s title match on the card because as she was told…’There wasn’t enough room.’ Molly decided to take drastic measures and began writing storylines and came up with the idea to lose her hair at the event.
To further convince WWE creative, she took photos of herself in a bald cap to show management what she would look like bald. She presented the idea to Vince and Stephanie McMahon, Brian Gewirtz and other writers and executives in the room. Molly convinced management to add a women’s match to Wrestlemania XX with her sacrificing her hair in the process.