Happy Sunday TJR Faithful! I hope each and every one of you is having a spectacular weekend, I know that I am. I’ve spent most of this weekend attending shows for Toronto’s NXNE Festival, and it’s certainly been fun, albeit time consuming. All that said, I knew I needed to deliver a little something for you guys this weekend, and thought there would be no better time than now to talk about what’s been going on with the former members of The Shield.
No I’m not here to harp on the fact that The Shield’s breakup obviously wasn’t planned for (though I could), or to take umbridge with the fact that the group deserved a more interesting break-up, as far as storytelling is concerned. I wanted to take this time to talk specifically about their wardrobe.
As you may all know, there are many factors that go into how we judge characters, be it their moral compass (or lack thereof), their physical appearance, their abilities or their attire. Little know fact: what a superstar wears is kind of a big deal to me. What you wear when you debut, what kind of gear you break out for Wrestlemania or other special events, what you wear goes a long way when it comes to making an impression. It can be the difference between selling your character or being forgotten. As far as I’m concerned, what Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and to a certain extent Seth Rollins have been wearing in the weeks following their surprising break-up has been pretty awful, which I blame mostly on the fact that their break-up wasn’t particularly well planned for.
This week, just for fun, I’m going to examine the current ring gear of the former members of The Shield, among other superstars’ attire in a one off piece that I like to call A Matter Of Attire. Let’s Do This!
What is there to say about Seth Rollins’ new gear? Fellow TJR writer Heather Hickey likened the outfit to a Sexy Batman Costume in her Smackdown review, and I have to say that she’s pretty much right on the money. The guy looks like he was going to audition for the next X-Men movie.
Now I will say that I like the fact that he’s wrestling in actual wrestling trunks, unlike his former cohorts, and it is better than him continuing to wear his Shield apparel, but the fact still remains that the gear leaves a lot to be desired. It’s pretty bland as a matter of fact, once you get past the fact that it’s a re-purposed SCUBA suit. The WWE can do better and they know it.
On Monday night when Dean Ambrose came out and attacked Seth Rollins, I thought what he was wearing was pretty cool. He looked pretty badass for all intents and purposes, and when he was unexpectedly put in a match with Bad News Barrett, I was completely okay with the fact that he was wearing street clothes for the impromptu bout. As civilian attire goes, it was a nice break from suits or the “your own WWE T-Shirt” look that everyone seems so fond of. I mean check out the picture from Smackdown below.
Is that Dean Ambrose or James Dean? The look works spectacularly as his street attire. He looks cool, and what lady in that crowd didn't swoon when they saw him on the Tron?
Then in his match on Smackdown, it became clear to me that those aren’t his street clothes but rather his new ring gear, and I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Another little known fact about me: if you wrestle in jeans, I kind of hate you. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but for the most part jeans are the worst possible ring attire. They’re just awful, motion restricting eyesores that most can’t pull off, and Dean is no exception. Don't get me started on the tank top. I get that he wrestled with a shirt on with The Shield, but it is okay to take your shirt off Dean. The look didn't work with Corporate Kane and it's not working for Dean Ambrose. To quote Heather once again, he looks like a dockworker. He looks like the third member of Deuce n’ Domino n’ Dean. I’m okay with his street clothes being a tank top, jeans and a leather jacket, but when he’s wrestling, get this guy some appropriate ring gear.
Now while the worst offenders are behind us, that certainly doesn’t mean that Roman Reigns continuing to wrestle in his Shield wardrobe gets a pass. That attire certainly worked as a member of a group where all members dressed fairly uniformly, but now that he’s representing only himself, it just seems low rent.
It’s not that it’s a bad look obviously, as we were all sold on it when The Shield were still together. That being said, as a singles competitor, Roman Reigns just looks like Big Boss Man 2014, which isn’t the guy you want to be drawing comparisons to if you’re looking to be one of the WWE’s next cornerstone superstars. He needs to ditch The Shield outfit sooner rather than later.
The WWE deserve a little slack here, as it took them a couple of weeks to get The Shield uniform right when they first appeared together. That being said, I can't help but look at them now and think about how cool they used to look. If I were in the WWE, I would set Money In The Bank as the deadline to have these three guys in new gear that they will wrestle in going forward. Rollins’ gear can mostly stay the same. Just add something to it, like an insignia or some color so that it doesn’t just look like he’s The Hurricane’s bland arch nemesis. Dean needs to save the greaser look for outside the ring and get some actual ring gear, not unlike what he wore when he was in FCW, which for those who don’t know was wrestling trunks that said “Explicit Ambrose Violence”. Roman just needs something brand new, that doesn’t hearken back to The Shield. Those days are gone and he needs a brand new distinct look to coincide with the next phase of his career.
Now with those guys out of the way, why don’t we look at a few of the best-dressed superstars in the WWE, shall we?
The Wyatt Family
These three without question have the best ring gear on WWE TV right now. It’s just that so much of who they are as characters is reflected in their choice of attire. Rowan’s garbage man jump suit is oddly perfect for the group’s biggest weirdo, and when he pairs it with the sheep mask, it’s legitimately frightening. Also, I know I said jeans are the worst ring gear ever, but Luke Harper is one of the only exceptions. His filthy tank top is a perfect touch. He just looks filthy (weird question: did he own a horrendously filthy shirt before this gimmick, or do the WWE have a bunch of those lying around?). Which brings us to Bray, whose apparel is so fitting of a crazy, terrifying, backwoods cult leader. His duds tell you exactly who he is before he says a word, which is perfect.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods
Now that the dream of Law & Disorder (David Otunga and JTG as a tag team) is dead, my new pipe dream is for Black Nerds To Unite! Both Kofi and Xavier are legitimate black nerds, and both have expressed their inner nerd in their ring attire, as pictured above. Here are a few more examples:
These guys have drawn inspiration for their gear from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Ghostbusters, Marvel & DC Comics, and that isn’t even mentioning the fact that Xavier dressed up as Kano from Mortal Kombat for Halloween once. These guys (particularly Kofi) have an affinity for these properties, and infuse that into their gear on a regular basis. If you ask me, that love for comics, videogames and classic cartoons should be infused into their on-screen personas. As a black nerd myself, I would get a kick out of seeing them unite as a tag team and express their fandom of various properties in their ring gear. From Marvel Comics to Dragonball Z, the possibilities are nearly limitless.
Nobody has better ring gear than Tyler Breeze. Period, end of story. From the color schemes, to the furry vests, to the freaking tassels of his boots; his gear makes him stand out in the best possible ways and it is certainly part of the reason I’m a big fan of his, along with his in-ring skill and promo work… but mostly the tassels.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you guys think! Does ring attire matter to you? What are your thoughts on The Shield members’ new looks (or in Roman Reigns’ case old look)? Do you agree with my favorite attires in the WWE? What are some of your favorite ring attires in wrestling, past or present?
This has been a lot of fun, but until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying Happy Summer! We are officially on the road to Summerslam! You know, that road the WWE doesn’t pay nearly as much attention to. Have a great week everybody! Oh, and GO SPURS GO!