Fashion of Wrestlemania

Wrestlemania: The Super Bowl meets the Oscars. Wrestling’s biggest night, the second being the RAW after Wrestlemania. While some watch for the legacy, the drama, and the competition, I watch because everyone has their flashiest gear on. Forget the Hall of Fame ceremony the night before –  everyone just wears tuxedos and dresses that look like they came from the Macy’s formal sale rack. The real red carpet is that long ramp down to the ring on Sunday night. Join me for a snarky fashion break down of the WWE’s grandest stage.
THE PRE-SHOW
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The announcers
Renee Young kicked off the pre-show in a plunging white tuxedo jacket. She may not have been wearing pants – who knows. With a bold fuscia lip and a silver lariat necklace, Renee looks like pure class. She is later joined by Lita, who is gorgeous in a black lace jumpsuit. The women get the best dressed award as Booker T is just wearing a tuxedo. Cory Graves is as usual trying too hard in a thousand shiny patterns. Seriously, he is rocking a black polka dotted jacket with white lapels, offset by the Regis “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” black shirt black bow tie combo. Thankfully, he eases the over effort with an attitude of indifference. The regular announce teams are just in tuxedos as well, with the notable exception of Byron Saxton  who has given his only indication of a personality with a textured tuxedo coat.image2
Winner: Lita, possibly best dressed of the evening
Loser: Byron Saxton, always.
image310-Diva Tag Team Match
Both team Total Divas and Team BAD and Blonde went with the dominatrix route, but the Divas were the red and dominatrix team and the B&Bs were the purple and dominatrix. The Divas were per their usual, including Eva Marie who made her main roster debut in a typical cross front red lace two piece but with the special addition of a white cape that would have made Gwennie Paltrow jealous. Natalya carried their side in n exquisitely studded variation of her jumpsuit. On the other side, the B&B owned. Emma entered with Mad Max inspired shoulder pads that added to her new villain persona. Lana debuted in a purple halter leotard with a rhinestone embellishment that I want to wear to prom. The cut of the leg was a bit too high for daily wear, though Lana thoughtfully compensated for this with high boots and 0% body fat. Everyone’s extensions were on point, Naomi’s green and purple hair stole the show.
Winner: Brie Bella may have won the match, but Lana won the red carpet.
Loser: all of us who don’t get any Brie Bella after tonight. We’ll miss her being the only reasonable one on “Total Divas.”
The Dudleys vs. The Usos
The Usos took a detour from their usual very very brights and wore classic black – with some very very bright embellishments. Unfortunately, black pleather trunks look like garbage bags. The trunks were in tribute to the Usos’s uncle Umaga. I feel bad about saying they look like garbage bags now, but stand by it. They look like garbage bags with tributes to Umaga on them. Their entrance included leis, which sadly just fell apart. The Dudleys wore the black and grey camo pattern that my college boyfriend’s fraternity adopted as their colors. I was not impressed.
Winner: the tables the Dudleys brought out after their loss
Loser: the tables the Usos broke under the Usos
THE SHOW
image4Fifth Harmony sings “America the Beautiful”
They got five dresses the same exact shade of red. Incredible. It’s as if Stephanie told them, “I don’t care what bridesmaid dress you wear as long as it’s red,” and then they went above and beyond to buy from the same dye lot. And then got the same strappy  black shoes. Fifth Harmony are the best bridesmaids ever.
Intercontinental Championship Match
I didn’t have high hopes for the fashion in this match. Everyone wore kind of what they usually wear, except Zack Ryder who had a robe that looked like something out of a Marvel villain’s closet. The Miz made his entrance in a gold plated King Tut robe. This boxy robe had little give and did not flatter. Sin Cara, on the other hand, was cloaked all in smooth white and looked positively like an angel in a horned luchador mask. Dolph Ziggler rocked some half-ass Bo Derek braids. Sami Zayn looked really great for what he went through only 48 hours prior with Nakamura. Seriously, he was incredibly spry after that ass kicking.
Winner: Stardust, who wore yellow polka dots for Dusty.
Loser: eh, they all just look normal.
image5Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
Y2J enters first in his Light Bright jacket, a choice that does not read well in a match during daylight. Chris Jericho is also wearing blue and pink glittery panties that say “G.O.A.T.” across the bum, which: same. AJ Styles comes to his first Wrestlemania in white tights with black and red embellishments and red gloves. The white gives AJ Styles a really gorgeous pop, particularly since er’rybody’s spray tan game is on point.
Winner: G.O.A.T. Panties
Loser: everything else about Jericho
image1 (1)Maria Menounous interviews Zac Ryder
That’s a bad look, Maria.
image2 (1)The New Day vs. League of Nations in a tag team match with no stakes
THE NEW DAY CAME OUT OF A BOX OF BOOTY-Os DRESSED AS DRAGONBALL Z. You cannot beat that. The New Day is known to take big risks with gear and hair AND bits and they pretty consistently pay off – DRAGONBALL Z is no exception. Last year, Rusev entered in a tank. This year, he and the League of Nations had to walk around Booty-Os. They are all wearing their shiniest panties though. The LoN manage to win but then right as BNB is bragging OH BAH GAW. IS THAT SHAWN MICHAELS’S MUSIC? It is, and he is in gear, despite it being hunting camouflage instead of sweet hot pink. And he’s not alone! He’s got Mick Foley and Stone Cold with him. They save the New Day  with their signature moves and Stone Cold even dances with the New Day – till he stuns them.
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Winner: Socko, who hasn’t aged a day
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Match
This is a chance for two guys who always wear the same thing to change it up from black trunks (sponsored by Jimmy Johns) and a black t-shirt and jeans – oh. Nope. They both went with their old tried and tries.
In a hilarious twist though, Dean Ambrose is wearing a black Suplex City shirt with DA over it. I am considering doing that to my own Suplex City shirt now. This match wasn’t as great as I want it to be either, even with the chainsaw and barbed wire bat teases. Sure, there were 13 suplexes but there were 0    Surprises.
Winner: Brock Lesnar’s sword/brass knuckles tattoo.
Loser: Kendo sticks
Women’s Championship Triple Threat
This was the most highly anticipated match for fashion (possibly tied with Triple H’s entrance). There was also so much potential for terrible costumes, between Becky’s hit or miss steampunk and Charlotte’s tendency towards Victorian Secret looks. Becky Lynch cosplayed as a gilded sea captain. Her purple and gold corset and steam punk shorts are actually gorgeous. Sasha Banks got her cousin Snoop Dogg (née Lion) to perform entrance, though the gal who sings the hook was singing off key along with a very obvious backing vocal track. Her gear was inspired by Eddie Guerrero. Single tear. Miss Flair makes an equally grand entrance with the help of her father. Charlotte wears a robe made from pieces of the Nature Boy’s robe. Her gear is obviously made to match in ode to her father. All three women look amazing. The match is also the best of the night, without question – three extremely capable athletes getting out there and doing good work.
Winner: womankind, who officially get a Women’s Championship after slumming as “Divas” for years.
Loser: malfeasance by Ric Flair
image4Hell in a Cell: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
Shane O’Mac got his own personal Jordan’s from Nike just for Wrestlemania. They are pretty fly. He’s also wearing a run of the mill jersey emblazoned with number 32 crossed to look like dollar signs. It is a very comfortable, functional look, but I would really rather he took his shirt off. He enters with his children for maximum sympathy. Kids, do you want to come watch Daddy almost die? You have to wear the same outfit as Daddy. Undertaker is wearing his usual deep cut black tank, hat and duster. This is the classic Undertaker, the Little Black Tank Top and Leather Pants of the wrestling world, though he probably got the studding done special for the day. The Undertaker has a smart mom bob now, and honestly looks great. It draws focus nicely to his neck tattoo. It’s much better than Taylor Swift’s bob, in my humble, though he could benefit from some waves.  He completes his look by flipping his eyes back into his skull.
Let’s face it: the Undertaker’s entrance is the best part of this match. It got very painful to watch very quickly. Yes, Shane jumped off the cage – but for no reason and to no effect.
Winner: ugh
Loser: justice.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Yeah, yeah, everyone looks normal. This match was where I was mostly checked out – until DDP came in. His yoga program is great! And then…SHAQ?! In TAPOUT gear?! Thank you for the palate cleanser.
Winner: Baron Corbin? Wha?
Loser: Fandango has lost his sparkle since he lost his dance routine.
BAH GAWD, THE ROCK HAS A FLAME THROWER
Pretty cool that the Wyatt Family comes out to interrupt his attendance record lies. Bray Wyatt is wearing a butcher’s apron that looks like the Necronomicon and his best acid washed jeans. But then – surprise Rock match! He isn’t supposed to really wrestle because of his movie insurance, so he takes 6 seconds to win. Having angered the Wyatts, he needs back up – which immediately comes in the form of John Cena! John Cena! He is wearing his formal cargo shorts and his meh Tampa orange t-shirt. Orange is a hard color to pull off, especially since John Cena seems to be more of a spring. He looks better in the cool pastel dress shirts he wears for dates with Nikki. But new t-shirt colors may have spoiled his return. Regardless, he looks very healthy and a lot leaner.
Winner: Rock’s bull panties
Loser: the child who got John Cena’s meh orange t-shirt.
The Main Event: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
Fact: only two people in the entire world can pull off leather bodysuits, and they are Beyoncé and Stephanie McMahon. She looks ah-may-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-zing. Leather body suit with studding, leather top coat, thigh high boots, and a spiked hairband holding back an incredible wavy weave. I believe I can pull this off for work tomorrow. She delivers an incredible speech that orders us to bow before her husband and  raises the question of how soon she will get nodes from an elevated throne. Her husband, Triple H, enters through lines of skull-masked NXT wrestlers. He is just wearing his regular black panties. He has surpassed spray-tan and is now spray-mahogany wood stain.  Roman Reigns enters to…less fanfare (they kicked off the sound, yo) in a gold embellished RR vest and cargo pants. Why do they wear cargo pants and shorts? Are they keeping their wallet and a compass in the side pockets? Steph’s eye makeup continues to be incredible even after she is speared by Roman Reigns. Roman ends up with a new belt to spice up his boring black outfit and the boos are once again turned down.
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Winner: Steph, kween of this Mad Max dystopian future
Loser: all of us who watched 5 hours for an ultimately dull main event

If They Only Knew – Remembering Joanie “Chyna” Laurer

this article was originally published on Wrestledelphia

When I was in sixth grade, I too wanted to be Intercontinental Champion.

Even when a wrestler’s career comes and goes before a fan becomes a fan, that’s not to say their impact on wrestling is forgotten.

And it certainly helps when said wrestler has a book available to be taken out at your public library, which is how one 11 year old who now has a penchant for typing words on the Internet became familiar with Chyna for the first time.

In the midst of the occasional misspelled wrestler name (Rakishi & Sean Michaels in particular will never be wiped from memory), there was the story of a woman who overcame difficult situations in her early life, found a calling and went for it. In the mid 90s.

Chyna was someone who commanded more than what WWF had to offer in 1996 when she came onto the scene. At that point in the company, there were roughly three female personalities on WWF programming–all valets.

Chyna was no valet. She may have arrived in WWF as an accompaniment to Hunter Hearst Helmsley, but she was no valet. She was a bodyguard and it didn’t take too long to figure that out, be it based on her stature or how very easily she would handle Marlena like a ragdoll.

Other women would also be tossed around by Chyna in her time as a wrestler. She was tall, muscular, and could match Triple H’s weights at the gym. It made sense to have her compete against other men, which in part was due to a lack of competition. But for girls watching the product and, thankfully, paying attention to the wrestling rather than what were surely transphobic comments, it sent a huge message, that we could be competitive, dominant, and the personification of superheroines. Girls in wrestling didn’t just have to be the beauty, they could be the brawn as well.

Sometimes when you’re a kid, you miss things that, as a grown up, you realize was in poor taste or just bad. If you’re captivated by someone on TV, you can immerse yourself in how cool they are and let your imagination run wild. That’s what Chyna could do. That’s why she was able to transcend what it meant to be a woman in the WWF/E in her time with the company.

Chyna’s involvement in DX, especially the early days of the faction, was essential to the group’s chemistry. Comedy needs a “straight” character and Chyna was the one rolling her eyes at the manchildren she called her friends and carrying them away if they ever got into too much trouble.

Ultimately, her departure from the company—and in a general sense the way the rest of her life played out—was not dissimilar to a Hugo novel. If you believe the DX book WWE published a few years ago, Triple H says it was Chyna’s idea for the Triple H storyline involving marrying Stephanie McMahon. Subsequently, she’s spurned by her love, tossed aside from the company, and only acknowledged in passing.

Everything did not dry up right away—after all Chyna, was the first woman to ever compete as a wrestler in New Japan Pro Wrestling, which anyone would probably kill for on their resume.

Sadly, the end of Chyna’s road was paved with neglect, being seen as a sideshow rather than a person with problems.

There will be no redemption song a la Scott Hall (who still seems to enjoy creeping Paige’s twitter… questionable). The door was never open for a prodigal daughter to return. But in spite of what WWE wants and allows, thousands will remember her as an inspiration and a pioneer.