In Defense Of The Rock, A Brief History Of Wrestlers Dressing Like Total Dorks

Last week, an old photo of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started making the rounds and it had us all howling with laughter. After all, there’s nothing funnier than old fashion styles rocked by famous people, because it’s just about the only thing we can make fun of them for, at least until they eventually get into trouble with the IRS or an ex leaks all of their sordid sex details in a tell-all book. But this photo was one of the funniest we’ve ever seen, because it is The Rock, and he’s supposed to be one of the biggest, toughest guys on the planet. Instead, here he is as a colossal dork…

It took some time, but eventually The Rock acknowledged the photo in a Tweet, referring to himself as a #BuffLesbian, which was both crude and ripped off from the thousands of other people who made the same or similar jokes. But sensitivity and creativity be damned, because here’s a guy who eats a trillion calories for breakfast, takes dumps the size of Buicks and is carving a slot for himself in action movie hero history wearing a turtleneck and fanny pack. Point and laugh at the dork, kids!

But as soon as I saw this hilarious photo of The Rock, I had two thoughts: 1) It was the 90s, man. I was wearing slap bracelets and Cavariccis back then. Hell, my favorite article of clothing for a whole year was my Christian Laettner Team USA basketball jersey. (Sue me, it was the cheapest.) 2) We’re talking about a former athlete and professional wrestler’s fashion sense. The Rock’s current style is everything we’d expect from a wealthy A-lister, and it’s remarkable considering his arms are the size of sycamores…

… so to see him in that old photo is naturally going to make us laugh. However, there were many men who came before The Rock who should be laughed at just as much, if not more.

Pro wrestlers have a long history of questionable style and fashion decisions, and I’m not talking about what they wear inside the ring. For some reason, wrestlers have always tried to dress like either rock or porn stars, and a lot of today’s new wrestlers were just plain, old goobers back in the day. Perhaps that’s why they’ve bulked up and started kicking ass, or maybe it was just the allure of that Superstar lifestyle. Either way, let he who hasn’t dressed like a total dweeb cast the first stone, starting with the man, the myth, the legend…

It’s kind of unfair to include a guy from the 1970s in this trip down memory lane, because everyone dressed like an asshole in that decade. But the fact that Ric Flair thought that this outfit looked so damn good should be talked about long after he leaves this world. Ironically, Flair’s over-the-top in-ring style was elite-level fashion. He should have just stuck to the robes wherever he went.

Speaking of wrestling gods who looked way better in whatever they were wearing in the ring, check out Mark Calaway: Creepy Yearbook Nerd.

Does that look like the face of a guy who would go on to marry Michelle McCool? Well, that’s not a fair question, because women in wrestling routinely make terrible decisions in their love lives. For example:

This photo is less about Chyna and more about HHH’s rad style. Not only is he rocking the tight polo – sunglasses on the collar, natch – but he has the fanny pack (AKA the wrestler’s purse) with a beeper clipped to it. Do you know how easily he could have lost that pager, allowing any random person to find it and discover how often X-Pac was sending him 823? At the same time, terrible fashion choices weren’t limited to HHH and Chyna. It was a group effort.

Fun fact: Just by looking at that photo, you contracted HPV. If I had the time, I’m pretty sure that I could write an extensive series of books based on Shawn Michaels’s fashion sense alone. Talk about a guy who honestly believed that he was a rock star god, both in and out of the ring, Michaels has run the gauntlet of fashion from the above shirtless vest look that I’m sure sent Skoal-toting ladies into frenzies to this Bobby Birkenstocks look that shouted, “I’ll need to borrow your brush in the morning.”

Of course, there was also the infamous Playgirl spread, but I have a feeling that Michaels has never been embarrassed of anything in his life.

Some wrestlers simply never recover from being awkward, and that’s fine when they use it to their advantages. Like John Cena, for instance, who looked like the loner-turned-hero in an 80s movie about bullying at his high school prom.

Eventually, he’d grow into a freakishly large frame that he’d spend hours a day building, and he’d grow some hair to seem less likely to pull our underwear waistbands through our skulls while shouting incoherent profanities until our ears bleed. That’s when Cena finally thought, “Hey, I could be a model.”

Then there are the guys who don’t necessarily offend us with what they wear, but the company they keep. More specifically, for Bill Goldberg it was the company that he kept and what that colossal douchebag (and former WCW Champion) was wearing.

One day, someone will have to answer for David Arquette’s success. I have a terrible feeling that the explanation will reveal this world’s deepest, darkest secrets and eventually expose the real truth about the Illuminati.

For a guy like CM Punk, whose status as a (former) WWE Superstar and Champion was built on being the outsider who wouldn’t conform to the industry standards, it’s hard to think he’d be embarrassed by this photo of him with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin taken years ago.

What’s there to be embarrassed about? We all want to look like Less Than Jake’s Evolution Kid while showing off the new outfit that we picked up from PacSun with grandma’s gift card. But I also can’t sit here and act like this is the most embarrassing thing that CM Punk has ever worn…

Looking back on all of the famous wrestlers that I’ve mentioned so far, I guess that with the exception of Michaels, we should be pleased that they’re all at least wearing clothes. Randy Orton, on the other hand, isn’t as humble as most other WWE Superstars.

I’m sorry about including that, but I had to look at it, and I would not be alone today. Also, I know that I sort of implied that this was all about leaving the ring to explore the personal fashion senses of some of our favorite stars, but some of the WWE’s biggest personalities spend the majority of their lives in the ring, because wrestling is in their blood. Hell, Stephanie McMahon has practically grown up on camera before our eyes, so most of her awkward style moments are well documented, including this hilariously terrible hairstyle:

And that one time that she, um, you know.

What about the new era Superstars of the WWE? I didn’t bother including a photo of Daniel Bryan’s earlier years, because we all know what a normal kid he was, and that’s why he’s a fan favorite. Unless you count this photo of Bryan just messing around:

And you don’t count that, because who would be ashamed of that photo? Let’s take a look at pre-Superstar Sheamus and his tucked in t-shirt look.

It takes a real man who can kick my smarmy ass up and down the street to say, “I don’t need a belt if I’m already tucking in a t-shirt.” On the other end of the spectrum, there’s ECW fan and total party bro Dolph Ziggler rocking the track suit and sunglasses at night because, “Bro, I can’t get this cheap beer pong beer splashing in my eyes, okay?”

But you can’t talk about today’s biggest Superstars and their so-called fashion expertise without talking about the offender of all offenders in Batista. Aside from making his recent return to the WWE looking like someone stuck an air pump in Pitbull’s belly button, Batista has had plenty of questionable in- and out-of-ring moments with his chosen attire, but this one is my absolute favorite:

The thing about Batista is that nobody’s going to tell him that he’s dressed like the world’s most intimidating early 2000s frat boy, so he does what he pleases within the confines of his own suitcase. Chris Jericho, on the other hand, is the guy I’d pick as Batista’s runner-up in the What the F*ck is This Guy Wearing pageant. Obviously, Jericho is an actual rock star as the frontman for Fozzy, but there’s a difference between rock star chic and your closet puking on you.

This was Jericho’s recent red carpet appearance at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, and you can’t see the whole thing, but that’s a smedium t-shirt under an already tight vest, accented with a meaningless scarf, in addition to skin tight jeans with black shoes and a brown belt. Even the guys in Nelson were more organized with their crappy rock star attire.

Unrelated to the theme of fashion, but right in line with regret, is this photo of Eva Marie and her husband Jonathan:

I just wanted to include a photo that shows something they’ll both eventually regret.

This little exercise could obviously go on for days, so I thought I’d wrap it up with a few favorites. For starters, here’s my absolute favorite “Look at this dork” photo of any of the wrestlers that I searched for:

The Miz was every kid that I hated growing up with in South Florida. I guarantee that this kid’s favorite pastime was walking up behind other kids and kneeing the back of their legs so they’d lose balance and fall. Later, he’d scream at his dorm mates that he had sex with all of their moms when they caught him masturbating in the community shower.

I tried really hard to find an embarrassing photo of Stone Cold that didn’t involve his long, golden hair from his early days, but it was pretty tough, because even those were great. So I just settled for this photo of him with The Misfits, because it’s so bizarre and wonderful.

Finally, being the world’s foremost authority on Total Divas, you’d think that I would have been going out of my way to find a photo that humiliated the Bella Twins, perhaps one from Nikki’s old run with Dolph Ziggler, but I instead settled on this photo that is the opposite of embarrassing and dorky. I guess you could say that this is the classiest and most intelligent photo that any WWE star could take.

I left out plenty, so go ahead and light up the comments with your favorites, objections and counterpoints.