A wrestling costume is an essential element in the creation of a WWE superstar. It’s a visual statement about a character, and it's one of the first things fans will begin to associate with any given performer inside the ring. While many sports athletes don uniforms of some sort, a wrestler’s outfit has an unusual sense of importance behind it when compared to other sports. WWE superstars find themselves in a league centered on over-the-top entrances and fake fighting. Look closer and you’ll notice the extreme emphasis on the visual senses, whether it be the vivid lighting, pyrotechnics, or the acrobatic moves of the wrestlers themselves. Wrestling outfits are another piece to that visual puzzle, and we’d argue it’s one of the most important.
A wrestler’s outfit can make or break their portrayed persona in the eyes of the fans. A wrestler may have everything else in the bag: a vivid and dramatic backstory, eye popping wrestling moves, and talent on the microphone, but if they’re wearing a pair of lederhosen it’s all for naught.
Some have nailed their outfits right on the head. Wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin kept things sleek and laid back, while the monstrous Kane wore a mask concealing his identity for much of his career, adding to the already mysterious and intimidating aura his character gave off.
Others, well, their costumes have become memorable for all the wrong reasons. We’ve gone back through the history of the WWE to find the superstars who have swung and missed on their costumes. It’s an entertaining list, one full of suspenders and even a jetpack or two, so buckle up for the ride!
What follows are ten of the most outrageous outfits WWE superstars ever wore:
Mike Rotunda began his career when the WWE was still the WWF in 1984. His infamous Irwin R. Schyster character didn’t see the light of day until seven years later in 1991. Playing off the initials of his character, Rotunda portrayed a sleazy businessman fresh off of Wall Street. It’s no surprise that he was typically billed as the heel, or WWE bad guy for those unfamiliar with the term.
Rotunda’s oversight was in overplaying his character into a gimmick. Sure, a sleazy businessman is a character people love to hate, and thus has some potential, but Rotunda went a bit too overboard. When he stepped into the ring, his hair was greasy and slicked back, he wore red suspenders over a white dress shirt, and wore dress pants to boot. He certainly looked the part of an IRS employee, but unfortunately he also looked like he simply didn’t belong inside a wrestling ring. Rotunda proved critics wrong and continues to make sporadic appearance in the WWE, but his costume is definitely remembered as one of the worst.
The son of WWE Hall-of-Famer Dusty Rhodes should have picked up some advice on WWE costume creation while growing up. Goldust is a frequently recurring character within the WWE to this day, though his outfit leaves us wishing that were not the case. He debuted in 1995 and has maintained a consistently poor presence in the wardrobe department throughout his wrestling career.
Goldust heaves globs of golden paint on his face before each and every match, using the colors black and gold in various patterns. While we’ve surely seen worse color combinations, they are the only colors Goldust chooses to don, leaving the overall effect rather underwhelming as a whole. His actual wrestling clothes don’t help in this regard either. A word of advice, Goldust, latex doesn’t look all that great, especially when you have the physique of a wobbly old man.
8 Shawn Michaels
He’s one of the more decorated wrestlers in WWE history, and we mean that literally. Early in his career, Michaels’ wardrobe was a sight to behold. Before he was sporting championship belts, he was sporting insane vests of all varieties. We’re talking rhinestone vests of beet red, vests clad in peace signs and dangling pieces of who knows what, and even vests of zebra stripes! It seemed nothing was off limits except, of course, sleeves. His ensemble was complete with his iconic mullet. Luckily for us, his mullet is the only thing that has persevered.
Michaels has since toned down his style a bit, appealing to a less flamboyant modern crowd. He ditched the vests and went for the shirtless look, and while his wrestling pants were still flavorful, they were a far cry from where he began his career.
Sometimes you just have to roll your eyes and sigh. Man, oh man, where do we even begin? Well, how about some general background information before we get into the meat and potatoes. Tatanka’s true name is Christopher Chavis. He’s of Native American descent and is part of the Lumbee tribe located in North Carolina. His Lakota originated wrestling name translates to “bull buffalo”, and it was an apt choice. Before wrestling Chavis took up bodybuilding, and even earned a few NFL tryouts in 1987. He was a beefy guy, and a fantastic wrestler. We applaud the WWE’s approach to diversifying their superstars, we just don’t condone exploitation.
As you might have guessed, the WWE ran away with Tatanka’s heritage, and they went way overboard by today’s standards. He dressed in full headdress, war paint, and colorful ribbons. He would even dance around the ring chanting traditional Lumbee songs. We now live in an age where Native American mascots are being morally questioned in many sports, and while Tatanka wrestled in a past era, you still have to look back and cringe.
6 Max Moon
A man from outer space shooting rockets out of his arms, how’s that for a WWE entrance? Max Moon was a spaceman wrestler here to become not merely the best in the world, but the best in the entire galaxy. Unfortunately for him, his own clothes seemed to hold him back.
Moon’s outfit was a neon rainbow of disaster. Pink and blue and yellow blended together with occasional white stripes all combined to form quite the unsightly scene. His costume is one of the most expensive in WWE history, but boy it turned out downright awful. His mask is confusing, and his knees, shoulders, and elbows all look as if they’ve been afforded extra padding. Someone who wears pads like a toddler learning to skate certainly doesn’t make for an intimidating wrestler. Nevertheless, Moon did experience limited success throughout the 1990s, earning an Intercontinental Championship bid against Shawn Michaels.
We’ve begun to notice a bit of a trend here. Sometimes wrestlers find a theme for a character and take it beyond the realms of common sense. Take Bezerker for instance, the man thought a Viking would make a good wrestler. Who could blame him? Vikings were notorious warriors who relied on brute strength - sounds like a wrestler to me. Where he oversteps his bounds, though, is when he literally dons a Viking outfit inside a wrestling ring.
Imagine a Viking and you’ll essentially picture Bezerker as he was inside a WWE ring. He donned a two-horned Viking helmet, a leather like vest, and sometimes even a shield and sword. Bezerker took his Viking inspiration to heart, and his character featured characteristic uncontrollable anger. He once even tried to stab the Undertaker during a match! We’d like to offer up some advice: just take a chill pill, Bezerker, and maybe change up the wardrobe.
4 Aldo Montoya
The WWE called Peter Polaco in 1994 and offered him a wrestling gig as the Portugese Aldo Montoya. We wonder if he ever looks back on that day with an ounce of regret. At the time, it was the chance of a life time. Imagine the disappointment on his face when they wheeled out the costume.
His bright yellow mask is a thing of nightmares, and has since become infamously known as one of the ugliest wrestling masks ever seen. Some have even likened it to a jock strap, certainly not something you’d want strapped around your face. The color scheme was also horrendous: bright yellow mixed with green and red. Polaco’s WWE career eventually floundered, but the man fortunately found success in other leagues, wearing other outfits.
3 Bastion Booger
Michael Shaw was best known for eventually wrestling in the WWF under the moniker Bastion Booger. As the name suggests, he wasn’t a very cleanly character. In fact, Bastion Booger was probably one of the more disgusting WWE superstars ever to have debuted, though he wrestled in a time when the league was still known as the WWF.
Booger’s character was a gluttonous man-child dressed in some of the grungiest singlets you will ever lay eyes upon. The fact that they resembled stringy diapers did not do the character any favors. He frequently landed TV time backstage, where he’d seize upon the opportunity to immediately stuff his face full of food. Needless to say, he wasn’t really a fan favorite. His career was short-lived, and he wrestled in his final WWF match in 1994.
2 Giant Gonzalez
What do you do when you’re a wrestler but you don’t have those sculpted muscles? Common knowledge might suggest working out, building up your muscles from scratch, but if you’re Giant Gonzalez you go a different route entirely. His answer is much simpler: buy a muscle suit.
That’s not to say the man didn’t have size. In fact, he stood an eye-boggling eight feet tall. That’s taller than Andre the Giant, the Big Show, and all the other big name wrestlers considered to be some of the largest the league has ever seen. Throughout his career, Gonzalez capitalized on his size, turning his persona into a giant that rivaled the Greek myths of old. He even went so far as to buy a muscle suit that made him look completely nude. The result was maybe a bit too effective, as fans were relegated to watching a massive man terrorize his opponents with wrestling moves doused in nudity. Cover your eyes kids.
You’ve stuck it out this far? We’d give you a round of applause, but the GobbledyGooker’s picture is on the screen and, well, we only feel like booing. This costume takes the cake as one of the worst the WWE has ever trotted out to the wrestling ring. Debuting in the 1990s (you guessed it), Gooker literally burst into the wrestling scene out of an egg.
What makes matters worse is the way the league hyped up the big reveal. For weeks prior a mystery egg kept appearing on the television screens, and many speculated as to what devious plan the WWE might hatch (pun intended). When the GobbledyGooker finally emerged as a man in a turkey costume, he was immediately booed. The 1990s were littered with gimmicks and ruses that fell flat, the GobbledyGooker is just one more example that the WWE probably looks back on and can’t help but flush with embarrassment.