Now that WrestleMania weekend has been over for a few days, we’ve all had time to calm down and reflect on everything we saw in New Orleans last Sunday. As always, WrestleMania was a time for reinvention, reinvigoration, and showing off your cool new clothes.
See, if you haven’t noticed yet, one of my favorite things about wrestling is the clothing. There’s something magical to me about the way the perfect gear can help a performer display their personality, their gimmick, and yes, their body.
So now that I’ve had time to sort through seven hours of wrestling content, here are my ten favorite looks from WrestleMania, and a few others along the way.
First Of All, Shout Out To These Guys
While Matt Hardy winning was a good choice, this wasn’t a great year for the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Nobody got an entrance, it just started with them all in the ring. Until most of the competitors were eliminated, it just felt like a writhing undifferentiated mass of wrestling, which makes it more trouble than it’s worth to get a good look at the gear these guys are wearing. Still, I like Goldust’s sentimental polka dots, Tye Dillinger looked great, and I’m into the mask choices Sin Cara is making lately.
I have a few other runners up before we really get going. I actually really liked Miz’s “Vash the Stampede, but make it fashion” outfit, although I didn’t care for the glasses he wore with it. I also loved Dana Brook’s red and black gear, but it’s pretty similar to stuff she’s worn before. Carmella was also wearing an uncommonly great version of her usual look, and the more leopard the better, if you ask me. Finally, a shout out to Night’s King Seth Rollins. I don’t know that it worked at all, but it sure was a strong choice.
10. Mickie James
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To my son… Donovan. All I ever want is to make you proud. To be the best mom I can be. To give you everything I possibly can. Everything I never had. Tonight & every night, I fight for you. Forever your warrior! I love you most! #wrestlemania #wwe #wrestlemania34 #maniathoughts #mompreneur #wrestling #warrior #imomsohard #momthoughts
Before her recent poorly-justified-but-glad-it-happened heel turn, Mickie James had some of my least-favorite gear in the women’s division. I don’t want to call the Easter egg colors and bellbottom tights dated, because that implies that there was time when they were cool. But since she went over to the dark side, her gear has consistently rocked. This new Amazonian armor look is no exception. It may be a little over the top, but that suits her, she looks great in it, and it doesn’t involve bellbottoms.
9. Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke pretty much always dresses the same — it’s just a matter of how much black there is mixed in with the red. This new all-red outfit, though, with the Michael Jackson-esque drum major jacket, is probably the best thing he’s worn since arriving at NXT. From the quilting on the front to the metal rings on the epaulettes, this is a masterful combination of rock star and ass-kicker, which is very appropriate for hanging out with Nita Strauss, not to mention it’s the epitome of Shinsuke’s aesthetic.
8. Sonya Deville
For the first openly gay woman in WWE to show up at her first WrestleMania in Pride Flag-inspired rainbow gear is a strong and inspiring choice (she got overshadowed by someone else doing something similar, but we’ll get to that). Unfortunately, when I first saw her on my TV, I didn’t really like the actual rainbow fabric she’d chosen, even though I was still really excited she was doing it. On closer examination, I’ve realized that what I had first mistaken for a floral pattern is actually something more complex and interesting. I also really like the way this rainbow look is restrained by the lines of her usual warrior gear. It’s all very strong, just like she is.
7. Mustafa Ali
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My #WrestleMania entrance gear was made possible by two incredible teams. @rockwellmasks handled all the lighting on the armor jacket and even made an additional concept light up mask for me. Incredible work and great attention to detail. Highly recommend them. @malmeystudios made the customized armor jacket and gauntlets. They were key to completing the super-hero look. Check 'em both out!
Mustafa Ali always dresses like a superhero, but for WrestleMania he really went all out, combining elements of Sub-Zero and Iron Man with a bit of that light-up Tron aesthetic. It made for a great entrance, but even when he took off the mask and gloves for the actual match, he looked like a comic book hero in the best possible way. Cruiserweights tend to be the most superheroic wrestlers, and I’m not sure if Mustafa and Cedric discussed their mutual decision to lean into that for Mania, but it worked regardless.
6. Alexa Bliss
I know I’m not supposed to call Alexa Bliss a queen, because Charlotte is the Queen and Alexa is the Goddess (and Asuka is the Empress and Sasha is the Boss and so on), but let’s face it: Alexa looks like a queen in this outfit. An evil queen, to be sure. The black and silver gear she wrestled the match in was awesome, but the crown and floor-length vest/robe/cape took it to another level. In fact, this long vest looks like the leather vest she’s worn before, if it had transformed when she changed from Hot Rod into Rodimus Prime.
If I have any complaint at all about this outfit, it’s that she looks like Taya Valkyrie‘s kid sister. On the other hand, if they were in the same company that’s an idea that could actually work.
5. Daniel Bryan
First of all, it’s extremely in-character for Daniel Bryan to be the only one on this list who never posted a photo of his cool new gear on his social media. Fortunately Jill Thompson, the veteran comics artist who designs his gear, did it for him.
At first glance, the mix of red, black, and white looks just like a lot of gear Bryan has worn. Then you realize those aren’t just flames — that’s a phoenix. Like a phoenix rising from its own ashes to soar again, at WrestleMania Daniel Bryan rose from the ashes of his in-ring career to fly once more. It’s pitch-perfect symbolism developed into a gorgeous design that also suits his existing aesthetic. Not many guys in short trunks made this list, but these are some uncommonly great trunks. (His kick pads looked cool, too.)
4. Nia Jax
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For #Wrestlemania I broke out a new style of gear. I wore it with confidence in front of over 70,000 people in New Orleans and millions watching! I wanted to show the world that I am proud of me, I want to spread the message that when a bully wants to make fun of you and holds something against you, you go out there and show them you embrace who you are, that you love every inch of yourself & that they have absolutely no control over your HAPPINESS! I love that the #WWEUniverse embraced it and celebrated with me! #ThankYou 🙏🏽💜
I’m still not really a fan of the “Nia gets body-shamed” angle, but if it had to happen that way, at least she not only won the Raw Women’s Championship from her bully, she did it while wearing her most body-positive gear to date. Yes, she’s still quite covered up, but she’s not wearing sci-fi armor anymore. She’s finally dressed to accentuate her beauty and show off her curves. The outfit’s even sheer in places, showing off her legs, cleavage, and even some of her midriff.
I never thought I’d be out here talking about how great it is that a female WWE performer switched to a sexier look, but it’s different with Nia. If she’s going to stand up for body positivity, it makes sense to show how proud she is of her amazing body. Particularly for babyface Nia Jax, she really should be as glamorous as she is unstoppable, and this outfit lights the way.
3. Cedric Alexander
It’s often treated as a joke when pro wrestling references popular culture: Desperate, out of date, trying to seem cool to the kids but never quite managing. Conversely, Cedric Alexander’s Black Panther-inspired gear actually is cool, and suits him perfectly. First of all, it’s timely — sure, it’s been two months since Black Panther hit theatres, but it’s still #4 at the box office and its star was on Saturday Night Live the night before Mania. Secondly, it’s not over the top. If Cedric came out in a black version of Lince Dorado’s mask, that would be taking it too far.
What’s great about this gear is that it looks awesome on him even if you don’t catch what it’s referencing, and if you do it’s even cooler. My favorite part is the way the “teeth” from Black Panther’s collar are moved down to the trunks, so he keeps that element when he takes the top off for the match. The other thing is that Black Panther is more than just a movie. Its narrative themes and massive success have made it synonymous with black excellence, which Cedric Alexander, in his own way, also embodies.
2. Charlotte Flair
Remember how I said that Alexa Bliss looked like a queen even though she’s the Goddess? Well Charlotte, the Queen, looked like an absolute goddess. A sun goddess, if we’re getting specific. The shiny gold, the prismatic silver accents, that collar— Charlotte has gone beyond “doing it with Flair” in robes like her dad’s, and risen to become the God-Empress of WWE (yes I know, Asuka’s the Empress, and she looked great at Mania too, but not quite different enough from usual to make this list).
When Charlotte arrived at NXT, she was a gawky athlete who didn’t seem entirely comfortable presenting herself as glamorous. When she reached the main roster she’d come a long way, but there was still some of that discomfort. Now, almost three years later, she has fully come into her own not just as the most powerful woman in WWE, but as a radiant Olympian warrior queen.
1. Finn Bálor
If you know me at all, you knew from the start that this is where we were headed. Obviously Sonya Deville’s pride gear meant a lot to me, particularly because she’s actually out as gay, but Finn is in a much more prominent (and potentially precarious) place in the company, and to do what he did at WrestleMania is huge.
The inclusive, queer-affirming entrance was one thing, but it seemed at first that he was wearing his usual gear in solid black (which would be even less colorful than the blue or red he’s favored lately), but then you see the rainbows on the backs of his calves and the rainbow Bálor Club insignia on his trunks, and you realize this is more than just an entrance. This is a statement, not necessarily about who Finn Bálor is on a personal level, but about what matters to him in the world. On top of that, he found a way to make it look cool. Finn in all-rainbow gear would look ridiculous, but the rainbow accents on the black gear get the point across while remaining tasteful. Well, as tasteful as wrestling gear ever is.