Party in the Back: Wrestling's All-Time Best Mullets

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterJune 13, 2013

Party in the Back: Wrestling's All-Time Best Mullets

0 of 20

    The mullet.

    Two words in and I can already see your knowing sneer.

    Who wears a mullet these days? Relegated to the people of Walmart, Canadians and Dog the Bounty Hunter, it's an anachronism. A joke, one surely accompanied by a denim jacket and the music of Motley Crue.

    The mullet, they say, is all business in the front, yet a raging party in the back. But it's more than that. It's also an exploration of the feminine in a tough guy's business, a venture into high fashion conceivably even less masculine than rolling around with another fellow, both half naked and both fully oiled up.

    It was wrestlers, along with hockey players, who took a haircut made famous by David Bowie and made it butch again. They led the way for the mainstream acceptance.

    Could Mel Gibson have worn a mullet in Lethal Weapon if Ricky Morton hadn't already been there first, making it okay for tough guys to go long in back?

    I think not.

    Wrestlers, unfortunately, didn't know when enough was enough. Like Tab and the music of El DeBarge, there was something particularly and peculiarly 1980s about the mullet. It was the product of its time—but apparently the wrestling industry didn't get the memo.

    I've assembled here, a tribute to the mullet in wrestling. It would be impossible to include them all. It pains my heart to leave out amazing specimens like Brutus Beefcake, Crush and Dr. Tom Prichard. But the 20 who made the cut provide a cross section of all the mullet was capable of, both in glory, size and variety.

    And it's a list that will continue to grow with the years.

    To this day, in high school gyms and National Guard Armories around the country, wrestlers will enter the squared circle with their best Tatanka haircut. And, in the moment before the sneer forms, we will first smile. How can you not? The mullet is more than a haircut. It's 140,000 strands of keratin-based nostalgia.

The Mullet: Mike Awesome

1 of 20

    Who

    The former ECW and FMW star rocked a mullet long after nobody but hockey players and  rock groupies from glam metal bands would be caught dead in one. At least non-ironically.

    The master of the Awesome Bomb (and getting hit in the head with chairs) Awesome was a great big man on wrestling's independent scene. Though he got a chance in the big leagues, his act was harder to pull off when everyone in the promotion was 6'3" and 250 pounds.

    Circa

    2000

    Mullet Type

    The classic. Short on top. Long in the back. Awesome's mullet was straight forward and plain, which somehow made it even more amazing. This wasn't a statement or part of his wrestling act. Mike Awesome would have rocked this haircut if he worked in the warehouse of a Sam's Club. It's that kind of authenticity that earns him a spot on this list.

    Verdict

    Just plain awesome.

Mullet De Morte: The Undertaker

2 of 20

    Who

    Who was the Undertaker?

    Who wasn't he?

    An undead warrior powered by an urn? A mortician in makeup? A super powered zombie brought back to this world to win wrestling titles and get neck tattoos—in that order? A redneck biker with a penchant for MMA moves? 

    All of the above.

    Whatever the Undertaker's official backstory, it automatically became twice as poignant the moment you saw that tremendous mullet. Perhaps he refused to stay dead because he missed Slayer just that much?

    Circa

    1991

    Mullet Type

    The Deadman mullet. There's nothing special about this mullet per se—except that it's being worn by the Undertaker. That immediately vaults it up about 12 notches on the comedy scale.

    Verdict

    The wrestler's court just declared him guilty. Guilty of rocking a lofty, main event level mullet that is.

Classic Redneck: Steve Austin

3 of 20

    Who

    Before he was "Stone Cold," Steve Austin was this guy. A babyface technician with a big smile and the beginning of a skullet

    The bottom line? He looked terrible.

    Say what you will about his great character and impeccable interviews. And they were undeniably great. But Austin's success in the WWE can also be attributed in a major way to getting rid of this awful haircut.

    Circa

    1991

    Mullet Type

    I call this one the Myrtle Beach. It's a combination of bleach, too much sun and the power of genetics that can only be found in the deep south.

    Verdict

    Simply stunning.

The Multi-Mullet: Barry Hardy

4 of 20

    Who

    You know the kind of wrestler who would team with another jobber to take on a monster like Hulk Hogan or Vader? And still lose, despite the advantage? That was Barry Hardy in a nutshell. A veteran of the independent scene, he was somehow the least successful member of a tag team that also featured Duane Gill.

    Circa

    1993

    Mullet Type

    Oh you think you have a nice mullet? Think again chump. Barry Hardy doubled down on his sweet do, combining the mullet with some next level dye job and highlights. Still wrestling today, despite being approximately 75 years-old—and still rocking the mullet.

    Verdict

    He may have been an enhancement talent, but Hardy's hair was worth a push.

Nastiest Mullet: Brian Knobbs

5 of 20

    Who

    One half of the Nasty Boys, Brian Knobbs was a solid midcard act for more than a decade in both WWE and WCW. A close friend of Hulk Hogan, Knobbs is still riding that Hulkamania gravy train and making appearances in a variety of the orange-skinned goliath's various awful reality television series, including Hogan Knows Best and Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling where he trained pseudo-celebrities for a match in the ring.

    Circa

    1992

    Mullet Type

    A combination mullet/mohawk that doesn't quite do justice to either style. Sometimes great tastes do not go great together.

    Verdict

    Nasty.

The Rat: Lance Storm

6 of 20

    Who

    Lance Storm is what happens when you pull all the drugs, skirt chasing and chair shots out of the wrestling business. He looks awesome at first glance, but is actually kind of boring and awful. Storm is like a real life version of Kurt Angle's over the top babyface, complete with all three I's.

    Has a wrestler ever been a worse fit for a locker room than Storm in ECW? In the midst of debauchery and violence here comes Storm, the drug free Canadian paragon with the absolute worst faux violence in the history of the business.

    You've heard wrestlers complain about how wrestling these days is a choreographed gymnastics act? They're talking about Lance Storm.

    Circa

    1997

    Mullet Type

    Say what you will about Lance Storm. I've said plenty above. But his decision to combine a buzzcut worthy of the Canadian Army with a rat tail worthy of any and every extra on the set of Smokey and the Bandit is pure genius.

    Verdict

    Storm's redemption.

The Curly Que: Rick Rude

7 of 20

    Who

    Do all you fat, out of shape desk jockeys really need me to tell you who Rick Rude is? He's the guy who slapped your dad with an open hand in a bar fight, knocking out three of his teeth. He's the guy who slept with your girlfriend—and your sister.

    More importantly, he's the guy who dragged the likes of the Ultimate Warrior to a series of great matches. Yes, that Ultimate Warrior, the one who blew up about half way to the ring and spent his second wind shaking the ropes before the bell rang.

    There have been many great men to walk this planet, but only one Rick Rude.

    Circa

    1988

    Mullet Type

    There's something about the mullet that attracts the same kind of dude who insists on dying his hair blond until it's the basic consistency of straw. Rick Rude was not that kind of man. He had a luxurious mullet, all curls and conditioner. A sexy mullet. What a man.

    Verdict

    Put both hands on your head and sway your hips out of respect when gazing upon this haircut.

The Blond Bomber: Bobby Eaton

8 of 20

    Who

    One half of the immortal Midnight Express. The good half to be more accurate, whether his partner was Loverboy Dennis or Sweet Stan.

    I always thought his nickname "Beautiful Bobby" was one of wrestling's cruelest ribs. He may have had an amazing leg drop off the top rope, but Eaton's face looked like it had been hit by 1000 frying pans in utero.

    Circa

    1983

    Mullet Type

    Eaton took the normal blond redneck mullet, the kind Steve Austin couldn't quite pull off, and added six inches. Some people would argue that a mullet can't really be great unless it's been dyed blond and lays nearly lifeless on the head. While I don't hold that view, I certainly can't refute it. 

    Verdict

    Alabama jamming.

The Feather: The Rockers

9 of 20

    Who

    Shawn Michaels, before he was arguably the greatest wrestler of all time, was first a tremendous tag team worker. Teaming with Marty Jannetty as The Rockers, the two were the perfect yin to the oversized mammoth yangs that populated much of the WWE roster in the late 1980s.

    Michaels and Jannetty were a blatant ripoff of The Rock and Roll Express, right down to the fabulous mullets. But that just didn't matter that much in the 80s. When the champion and top star is a Billy Graham knockoff, why can't the undercard acts be derivative too?

    Circa

    1989

    Mullet Type

    You've got to love the Rockers, and really, every babyface team of their era. They combined an aerobics instructor's tremendous pastel leotard with an aerobics instructor's gorgeous feathered hair, added an aerobics instructor's dangly earrings and proceeded to confuse teenage boys all across the land.

    Verdict

    Rock on.

The Skullet: Hulk Hogan

10 of 20

    Who

    Sure he was going bald. And by going I mean gone. But that wasn't going to stop Hulk Hogan from rocking a mullet if he wanted to rock a mullet. Hulk Hogan is not a man who would ever let mother nature limit his follicle fashion choices. After all, this is a guy who, in the 2000s, straight sprayed on his facial hair to make himself appear more evil for his run in the NWO. Nothing as quaint as genetics could stop the power of Hulkamania.

    Circa

    1984

    Mullet Type

    The skullet is now a bona fide classic. Often completed with the addition of a do-rag, it's the perfect haircut for a man who can't let go of his past.

    Verdict

    Leg dropping genetics for a 1, 2, 3 count.

The Meximullet: Eddie Guerrero

11 of 20

    Who

    While some would argue that A.C Slater had the definitive hispanic mullet, I'd point the finger at the late, great Eddie Guerrero. One of the smoothest workers in the history of the business, is it any surprise that he knew how to work a great haircut too?

    Circa

    2000

    Mullet Type

    Be honest—when you think of the mullet, there's generally a Caucasian face attached. But, in wrestling at least, it's a look that has international appeal. From Negro Casas to El Dandy, the mullet invaded the lucha libre scene in the 1990s. And who are we to question El Dandy?

    Verdict

    Sizzling Latino heat.

Management Mullet: Paul E Dangerously

12 of 20

    Who

    For years Paul Heyman, AKA Paul E. Dangerously, was never seen without a black ball cap, three day's worth of facial hair and a check book full of bounce-able promises. This picture shows why. In a business filled with the most virile of the virile, he looked like a grim insurance salesman, pulled from his cubicle to unleash years of pent up rage with his over-sized cell phone.

    Circa

    1989

    Mullet Type

    Paul E. looks so despondent in the picture above, like Bill Watts had just delivered his famous edict barring top rope moves and fun. Or could it be he somehow knew that 24 years later a smarmy jerk would be making fun of him on the internet?

    Verdict

    I'm a Paul Heyman guy, but I can't co-sign this haircut. Sorry Paul.

The Perfect Mullet: Curt Hennig

13 of 20

    Who

    Curt Hennig was the master of the rib. Famous for pooping under the ring, destroying the personal property of others and always putting the blame on his unsuspecting comrades, ironically it was Hennig's barber of all people, and not the wrestler himself, who laughed longest and loudest. This was a rib that lasted 15 years.

    Circa

    1988

    Mullet Type

    A true combo platter, Hennig managed to bring together the curly cue, the feather and the blond bomber for a truly unique look. Or so we thought. Curtis Axel may be his actual son, but Dolph Ziggler is his hair apparent.

    Verdict

    Perfection.

Lady Mullet: Selina Majors

14 of 20

    Who

    Whether she was Selina Majors or Bambi, you could count on two things from this bombshell—one heck of a mullet and the presence of Peggy Lee Leather, aka Thug, in the other corner.

    Circa

    2000

    Mullet Type

    The mullet is inherently funny, a social statement usually delivered by the kind of person who would be mortified by the idea of delivering a social statement.

    Part of what makes this haircut special for a man is the knowing decision to take your gender stereotypes, run a crimping iron over them and shove them right back in your face.

    Long hair on a woman? That's not special. That's what you're supposed to do. This doesn't make the lady mullet any less terrible a haircut— just less amusing.

    Verdict

    Still stunning.

The Oriental Spike: Tenzan

15 of 20

    Who

    Tenzan took his name from an airplane favored by Kamikaze pilots in the second World War, which tells you everything you need to know about his ethos. Fill in whatever blanks remain with the fact that he proudly sports a multi-colored mullet.

    Circa

    2002

    Mullet Type

    Worlds collide! Tenzan is equal parts Barry Hardy and Brian Knobbs, proving the sum of two parts can have greater style impact than could have conceivably been imagined.

    Verdict

    Strong style.

The PermaMullet: Sid Vicious

16 of 20

    Who

    I know this is a product of Photoshop. I know, in my head, that Sid Vicious doesn't really emit rays of light like a glorious Greek god. Just don't tell my heart.

    "Psycho" Sid is known for his chiseled physique, indescribable charisma and bizarre love of softball, allegedly leaving behind the wrestling business during his top earning years to spend months playing recreationally. That's even more tremendous than this admittedly tremendous haircut.

    Circa

    1992

    Mullet Type

    The only haircut arguably goofier than the mullet is the perm. Wrestlers, of course, loved them both equally—but only Sid thought to combine them in one devastating package. Truly an innovator.

    Verdict

    The power bomb of hair.

The Ironic Indy: Stevie Richards

17 of 20

    Who

    As part of the Blue World Order in ECW, Stevie Richard's whole act was meta. Somehow he went from parodying the NWO to working with many of them, transforming from Raven's lackey to a solid undercard player who worked for nearly a decade in the WWE.

    As the unofficial representative of ECW's rabid fans, I have only one thing to say about that:

    "You sold out! You sold out!"

    Circa

    1996

    Mullet Type

    Richards led the way for what is now a cottage industry—the ironic mullet. His character was devoted to poking gentle fun at the wrestling business. Somehow I suspect his choice of haircut was just part of the act.

    Verdict

    Boss.

Modern Mullet: Cody Deaner

18 of 20

    Who

    I don't know much about TNA's Cody Deaner. I haven't seen much of his work in the ring, but he was named the 168th best wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2009. Whether that is a compliment or a enormous insult is in the eye of the beholder.

    One thing I do know? According to Wikipedia, he's Canadian. That's good enough for me to proclaim his mullet as the real deal. Eh?

    Circa

    2009

    Mullet Type

    A standard mullet. But a standard mullet in 2009, after we've all been bombarded by anti-mullet propaganda for decades, is way more hardcore than all but the most glorious 1980s dos.

    Verdict

    Mixed.

The Rockstar: Ricky Morton

19 of 20

    Who

    Ricky Morton is the most southern of southern wrestlers. Morton called everybody brother or cousin, partied like there was no tomorrow and generally just raised Kane in whatever Dixie paradise he found himself in on a given night. How's this for southern—Morton avoided the WWE for years, we can only speculate because of its association with New York City and winter weather.

    He and partner Robert Gibson teamed as the Rock and Roll Express, one of the hottest acts in the entire business in the 1980s. Wherever Morton appeared, teenage girls flocked, making him a favorite of both promoters and dirty perverts at arenas throughout the south.

    Circa

    1985

    Mullet Type

    Timeless. As long as there are ratty Mustangs zooming around Panama City Beach, Florida, playing Skynyrd at obscene decibels, there will be a place for this haircut. This haircut is forever.

    Verdict

    A double dropkick of 1980's splendor.

Ultimullet: Marty Jannetty

20 of 20

    Who

    Marty Jannetty doesn't have much. It was partner Shawn Michaels who went on to fame and fortune in the WWE. Michaels who became a global icon and Hall of Famer. Life had a different plan for poor Marty.

    After being tossed threw the window of Brutus Beefcake's Barbershop set, Jannetty slunk around the margins of the business, a cautionary tale of excess. A redneck Andrew Ridgeley, he watched while Michaels ascended to the top. But Marty always had one thing his partner never would—a haircut that transcended wrestling itself, a haircut so amazing it could compel in any context.

    Circa

    1989

    Mullet Type

    Like Garbage Pail Kids, Big League chew and unprotected sex, the mullet was a product of a gentler time. This was its ultimate expression. True confession—before I saw this picture, I was intent to crown Ricky Morton "king of the mullet." But Morton has had a full life, one allegedly filled with cocaine, loose women and missed child support payments.

    Ricky Morton doesn't need this. Jannetty does. Let no man say I don't have a sensitive heart.

    Verdict

    The ultimate.