Buongiorno! Thanks for making a return to Baiamonte’s Casa, where all wrestling insights, no matter how surreal or far fetched are catered for.
Before I start, may I just say a big ?Grazie? to everyone who entered the Casa last week and I?m glad you enjoyed your stay. Your feedback was much appreciated.
Now onto the topic at hand. If I were to ask you to name some of the biggest stars in WWE/F history, who would immediately spring to mind? Hulk Hogan obviously, Steve Austin as well no doubt. I?m sure Randy Savage would get more than a few mentions, as would the likes of The Undertaker, Triple H, Mick Foley and some of you relics will no doubt namedrop former Champions ?Superstar? Billy Graham and The Iron Sheik. Outside of the Mcmahon jurisdiction, you?ve got your Jerry Lawlers, Terry Funks, Harley Races? and Bruiser Brody’s.
Noticing a pattern? Take a second to Google image the above superstars and I?m sure you?ll get there. Got it? Good. Yes, each of the wrestlers I mentioned, plus countless others, are inextricably linked through the historical pro wrestling phenomena that is facial hair. Be it beard, moustache or pork chop sideburns, they?ve all adorned their faces with excess hair, and without this facial foliage, I think it’s safe to say that pro wrestling wouldn?t have enjoyed half the success it has done over the years.
In this wacky world of what we now call sports entertainment, facial hair is just as integral a part of the show as a bodyslam or a ref bump. Just try and picture The Hulkster without the walrus whiskers. Impossible isn?t it? Without them Terry Bollea wouldn?t have graduated past being Sterling Golden. The Hogan ‘stache is part of the Real American package alongside the 24 inch pythons and his bizarre hairline.
My point is, is that face fur is essentially character development. It makes the evil guys look more evil (see The Sheik and the eerie Iranian caterpillar that resides on his top lip), the bruisers look more intimidating (see, well, ?Bruiser? Brody obviously) and the crazy guys more crazy (see The Moondogs and Mick Foley). Their beards are synonymous with who they are. Without these carefully grown facial follicle strands, would these superstars and former world champs have even caught a break?
“There are two kinds of people in this world that go around beardless ? boys and women ? and I am neither one.” ?Greek saying
What’s so different about a fresh faced youngster with neat hair and a pearly white smile? Nothing. He can be athletic and have as deep a moveset as Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero combined, but he’s just another face to go alongside the Mavens of the wrestling world. The unshaven look only works on so many guys, and for reasons I will divulge shortly. Now, here comes a guy of the same age and experience as the aforementioned teeny bopper rookie, only he’s sporting a handlebar moustache and a beard ?fro. Who sounds like the more interesting character? You?d go for the weirdo with a beardo every time. It’s what promoters across America have been doing for years. Why do you think Mike Knox is getting a push at the moment? Look no further than the Amazon rainforest that’s growing out of his chin and cheeks.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking, there’s some immensely talented guys who have never had so much as designer stubble who are considered legends. Namely, ?The Nature Boy? Ric Flair. Now, ?Naitch? should just get a ?beard free? pass because he’s Ric Flair, but yet again, the greatest worker to ever lace up a pair of boots didn?t go into something half arsed. He entered into the world of pro wrestling based facial care with meticulous planning. Firstly, he set about having the greatest head of hair the wrestling world has ever seen. Mission accomplished. Then part two of his face fuzz masterplan was simple. To associate himself with two already well established bearded workers in the Andersons. And let’s face it, Arn and Ole had enough facial hair for all the Horsemen.
Another reason some guys get passes for rejecting the advances of even the most harmless of soul patches is to do with contrast. A nutcase like the late, great Bruiser Brody wouldn?t look as crazy when going face to face with grizzled facial hair Hall of Famer Terry Funk would he? But put Brody up against a John Cena or a Rock, and all of a sudden people realize just how brutal looking the guy is.
“A woman with a beard looks like a man. A man without a beard looks like a woman.” – Afghan Saying
Say what you like about Afghans, they sure know a good beard quote. Because not only is a chin curtain or a Fu Manchu a facial declaration of independence, it’s also a declaration of toughness. It shows that you don?t care what other people think, you?re going to look like Martin Scorsese on coke and not give two shits about it. And where better to express this toughness than in the squared circle? There’s no way that Harley Race would have dared to rock lamb chop sideburns if he couldn?t break your face with one punch. Likewise The Wild Samoans. If they ate raw fish during interviews just for kicks, chances are they could decapitate you with a single headbutt. And let’s face it, if wrestlers weren?t tough, then what would be the point in watching?
Some beards even inspire others! ?Superstar? Billy Graham’s 80’s blonde and black mix ?n match would prove the catalyst for Hogan’s NWO look, as well as Scott Steiner’s ?Big Poppa Pump? chin fur. HHH may as well just have shaved Harley Race’s sideburns off and stuck them on his own face from ?05 onwards as well.
If ever there was proof needed that beard maketh the wrestler and not the other way round, look no further than Edge’s one month WWE Title reign from Survivor Series to Armageddon at the end of last year. Edge makes his return at Survivor Series, complete with a glorious serial killer beard and wouldn?t you know it? He becomes WWE Champ the very same night. However, Adam Copeland being somehow blissfully unawares of how his new Title reign being directly linked to his newfound face bush, decides to go and shave the thing off and hey presto! Jeff Hardy (complete with a sharp, stylish designer fuzz AND FACE PAINT to boot!) takes the Title off him at Armageddon. Now, I know Edge has the Title back in his possession now, but that’s only because Vince wants to punish him further by having him job the Title off to full time beard connoisseur Triple H. The message to Edge from the powers that be is a simple one: ?Don?t tease us with a Serpico beard just to get a Title run!? Post ?Mania, be prepared to see Edge being jobbed out to Carlito, Chavo Guerrero, Ezekiel, a returning Jake Roberts and Michael Cole. No matter how much stubble he grows in from now on, Edge can count himself lucky he hasn?t seen himself on the ?future endeavoured? list for his crimes against professional wrestling based facial hair.
And finally, it would be remiss of me to not mention everyone’s favourite Italian, Santino Marella. The only guy I can think of in wrestling at the moment with a perfect beard AND unibrow combo. Creative like his dedication so much he’s getting a ‘secret admirer? storyline, which means a new woman in his on screen life, and more air time, all due to not shaving. Pretty sweet deal no?
So, until next week, it’s arrivederci once again from the Casa. If you have any wrestling related beard stories or rants you want to get off your chest, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And just to tie in this column with last weeks ?celebrity wrestling roster? column. Remember how Chuck Norris was one of my picks to be on the WWE roster? Well, thanks to wwe1873 over in the forums here on WrestleView.com, I have discovered that in fact everyone’s favourite and most feared bearded martial artist has indeed been involved in the WWE universe already. He was the special enforcer for the Undertaker/Yokozuna casket match at Survivor Series ?94. Click the link to catch the greatest round house kick in the history of professional wrestling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KTZUvx5WtU
Next week, the art of the perfect ring attire. Required viewing; Anything involving The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, The Macho Man, Kane, The Rockers, High Energy and Mick Foley.