The performance piece that has been professional wrestling has always had its ups and downs. Ring Attires. There is no denying that every wrestler is an incredible athlete, but that is where the buck sometimes ends… As good as athletes as these wrestlers are, they get nowhere without the proper presentation. There is a visual component to professional wrestling that trumps nearly everything else. How a wrestler is packaged can be the determining factor in their success.
The presentation involves a myriad of factors, but an important one is the ring attire. It is the first thing we see from the wrestler. It is how we form an opinion about the wrestler and it can be good or bad.
Throughout the years we have seen how ring attires affect wrestlers positively and negatively. With that, we can take a look below at some of the best and worst ring attires in the history of wrestling.
Best Ring Attires: Ric Flair Styling and Profiling
Ric Flair personified the flashy lifestyle. He had the rich clothes, the jets, the cars, and the women. He was a great heel and one that got tremendous heat from the crowd because of his lavish lifestyle. This lifestyle translated well into his ring attire. The flowing robes adorned with sequins and jewels were fantastic. It was the perfect accompaniment for Flair and one that will forever be linked to the Dirtiest Player in the Game.
Worst Ring Attires: Ding Dongs
Jim Herd was not a well-liked man in wrestling. As the head of WCW, Herd was responsible for many terrible gimmicks, but none were worse than the Ding Dongs.
Having a tag team with that name is horrible enough. Then Herd made things worse by having both men wear full-body suits covered with bells. It was laughable to see both wrestlers trying to get that gimmick over.
Best Ring Attires: The Road Warriors
From a laughable tag team to a downright terrifying one. The Road Warriors were the most popular tag team in the world for close to 20 years. Outside of their rough style in the ring, their presentation was matched by no one. The painted faces and the spiked shoulder pads were fantastic. The red and black colours made for a very intimidating look. It struck fear into opponents and got an instant reaction from those in attendance.
Worst Ring Attires: Bastion Booger
In the 1990s, WWE was in a transitionary phase, and this created some truly terrible ideas. Near the bottom of the list of the man known as Bastion Booger.
Booger was a terrible wrestler, for starters, but he was saddled with a vomit-inducing ring gear. The skin-coloured tights that the man wore were awful. There were straps strewn across his chest and stomach, exposing the man to the world. Bastion was not a small man and seeing his flesh pushing through the straps was disgusting and made his matches hard to watch.
Best Ring Attires: Sting
Sting was a great talent and the face of WCW for years. His blonde hair and colourfully painted face connected with the fans but it wasn’t until the late 90s that he took off.
Adopting a darker ring attire, Sting mimicked his look after the main character from The Crow. The black and white face paint coupled with the trench coat was the perfect style for the 90s. It was a massive shift for the Stinger but created a freshness in his character. He instantly became the biggest face in the company and kept the look for the rest of his career.
Worst Ring Attires: Giant Gonzales
Many look at the career of the Undertaker with fondness, forgetting that he started off feuding with some terrible wrestlers. The worst of these was Giant Gonzales.
Debuting at the Royal Rumble, in 1993, Gonzales was a massive sight. His immense size was awesome but that is where the positives ended.
Coming to the ring in a full naked bodysuit Gonzales looked like a joke. It was an odd choice for WWE and one that got more laughs than jeers from the audience. It was also hilarious to see tufts of hair covering the more sensitive areas of the wrestler.
Best Ring Attires: Kane
Yes, many will yell and whine that Kane is on this list over The Undertaker, but he is here so deal with it. Kane’s debut is one of the most memorable in WWE history. Storming out to the ring and ripping the door off Hell in a Cell was a fantastic way to introduce the character. It also helped that Kane looked amazing.
The full red bodysuit was a great compliment to his ripped physique. That matched with a downright terrifying red and black mask created an amazing visual for the crowd. It instantly set Kane up as a force to be reckoned with.
Worst Ring Attires: Mantaur
WWE had the bright idea to have a man come out dressed as the mythical Minotaur. This could have been something that worked had WWE put any effort into the character.
The singlet worn by the man, matched with his baseball-style face paint, made very little sense. It made the man look ridiculous but that was not the worst offense. We had to see a man walking out with a fake bullhead fitted over the top of his head. It made it impossible for him to see and made for a tough time getting in the ring.
These struggles got more of a laugh from the audience as opposed to whatever WWE was going for.
Best Ring Attires: Steve Austin
As he skyrocketed to the top of the WWE ladder, Stone Cold proved that sometimes less is more. Austin was your everyman. His character worked because he was a reflection of society, at the time, and this created an instant connection. His simple character was matched perfectly with his ring attire.
The simple black boots and tights were exactly what Austin’s character needed. It was a way to connect him with the audience as the common man. It, again, proved the trope that sometimes less is more.
Worst Ring Attires: Oz
Nash was never a great wrestler, but when his character was flushed out he was able to become a memorable character. So why, oh why, would WCW think it a great idea to affix him with this terrible gimmick.
Coming to the ring in a gaudy lime green singlet, Nash looked like a fool. Things were only made worse by saddling the 7-footer with a green cape and having him wear a creepy wizard mask.
Nash looked like an idiot making his way to the ring. This didn’t get the desired reaction from the fans as there was no reaction. This was not a great way to present a heel character and luckily it did not stay with the big man for very long.