The world lost one of its great cultural icons this past month when Randy "Macho Man" Savage was tragically killed in an automobile accident.
He will be missed by all wrestling fans, and remembered dearly by those who knew him as one of the craziest sons of bitches to ever walk the earth.
Somehow, while you kind of knew that most wrestlers were faking, to some degree or another, their shtick, with Macho Man, you never could tell.
Dwelling upon the passing of the Macho Man, it suddenly occurred to those of us at B/R Swagger to wonder: What in the world ever happened to wrestling uniforms?
Somehow, we went from crazy, flamboyant and wild in the 1980s, wrestling's creative hey-day, to the rather simple, non-descript, unexciting uniforms of the modern wrestler.
With this in mind, let's have a look back at 20 of the most awesome old school wrestling uniforms of all time.
This guy is probably before your time. He is definitely before our time.
Backlund was an All-American in both football and wrestling at Waldorf Junior College, and after transferring to North Dakota State University, he actually won a Division II NCAA Championship in wrestling.
That's right, children, wrestlers used to know how to wrestle.
Backlund was the last WWF champion before a run of Iron Sheik, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.
This picture makes it look like he was the last guy to be taking it seriously. This outfit is so old school, it pre-dates old school.
Ah yes, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. A classic 1980s outfit, conjuring Bruce Lee and Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
Of course, that dude was from New York, but whatever.
Interesting note about Steamboat: His real name, as in the name he was born with, is Richard Blood.
If your name was Richard Blood, and you became a wrestler, would you change your last name to Steamboat?
What's wrong with Ricky "The Dragon" Blood?
Sounds pretty awesome, actually.
Uh . . . .
OK, Mr. Beefcake, elephant in the living room:
Are you moonlighting as a Chippendale's Dancer?
Because there's nothing wrong with that.
We just want to know.
The classic: the black Captain Caveman, one-slung strap leotard.
Definitely makes Andre the Giant look prehistoric.
Question: If wrestling had been real, does Andre the Giant ever lose?
Bret Hart made sure we all knew that real men wear pink.
Frankly, nothing says "1980s-era wrestler" quite like pink-and-black leather.
By the way, dude, in retrospect, how much does Bret Hart look like Mickey Rourke?
The "totally got it right" aspects of Mickey Rourke's outfits and persona in this movie are only part of what makes it great.
If you are a sports fan and you have not seen this movie, you must do so tonight.
You're on notice.
(And by the way, the strange parallels between this movie and Black Swan, which is also directed by Darren Aronofsky, are too obvious to ignore. Perhaps Aronofsky was counting on the audience for The Wrestler and the audience of Black Swan being mutually exclusive, so that no one would notice. But we're on to you, Aronofsky!
Are we still talking?)
Here's a safety tip for all you kiddies living out in the suburbs, where no one can hear you scream for miles:
If you ever walk out of your house and in the yard next to yours, your neighbor is wearing this outfit and clipping his hedges, run, don't walk, back into your house, lock the door, and call someone.
Nothing says 1980s-era Jingoism quite like the Iron Sheik, the Middle Eastern foil to the All-American Hulk Hogan.
File this one under: "And we wonder why they hate us!"
To his credit, the Iron Sheik was, in fact, from Iran, so at least he had that going for him.
Somehow it seems like he'd be going to hell if he'd been from Des Moines.
What the hell was up with Sgt. Slaughter?
Was he actually military?
Was he a G.I. Joe figure before he became a wrestler, or vice versa?
Did he ever actually wrestle?
Is his name actually "Sargent" in the same way that "Sargent" Shriver of the Kennedy clan was named "Sargent"?
We do not know the answer to any of these questions.
Mr. Perfect is, in fact, a perfect specimen of wrestling duds in their prime.
Hey, nice construction-zone orange leotard.
Nice bleach-blond hair.
Nice...whatever that is...
By the way, is that thing orange or what? Talk about a deafening glare.
As kids, we never got it.
Dude, you're wearing a skirt. A skirt.
And what kind of name is "piper"?
We think we can all remember the first time we saw a band with bagpipes and thought to ourselves:
One can never go wrong with a cat-print of some sort.
This is absolutely, positively, the most demure photograph of that sociopath you'll ever see.
And by the way, to head off the comments, this is wrestling, people!
When we say things like "crazy son of bitch" and "sociopath" and "that dude was crazy," it is not an insult, and we are not speaking ill of the dead.
In wrestling, we are paying the highest tribute.
Ric Flair fun fact: This dude's name was actually Ric Flair.
Well, all right, it was really Richard Fliehr.
But boy, that's taking lemons and making lemonade, am I right?
Who's with me?
And by the way, why is this guy dressed like Blanche from the Golden Girls?
We never noticed it until we put together a slideshow with all these costumes back-to-back-to-back, but how into their penises are professional wrestlers?
This guy had some woman's face airbrushed onto his.
Sorry, we were totally wrong.
Wrestlers are not into their penises.
Nothing this guy is doing has anything to do with penis imagery.
Gee whiz, this picture would make L'il Wayne blush.
Uhhhh . . . .
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat? Really?
More like Ricky "The Gila Monster" Steamboat.
Or Ricky "The Poisonous Dinosaur from Jurassic Park that killed Newman from Seinfeld" Steamboat.
"Mr. Macho Man, I am here to design your new costume. Can you tell me how it should look?"
"Hmmm! OK, lots of bright colors! Yeah! And sashes! Oh yeah! But no, I repeat, NO, primary colors! Yes! All pastels, oh yeah! If it's yellow, make it pastel yellow. If it's red, make it pastel maroon! Oh yeah!"
Only in the world of professional wrestling, and only in the 1970s and 1980s, could you put a guy in a golden-sparkle tuxedo jacket, white underwear, knee pads and astronaut boots.
But the real beauty of this picture, the real envelope-pushing, the real entendre-doubling, is the girl (Precious).
At what point did someone say: "OK, now, you there, go over to Mr. Garvin, kneed down in front of him, grab his legs . . ."
Seriously, even Jimmy is like: "Uh, what's about to happen here?"
We know one thing for sure:
This guy ain't gettin' no service at the 7-11.
Take a good long look at this picture.
Intuitively, you know that it is a photograph, and not a drawing.
But try to put into words why you know that it is a photograph.
This much is clear: it is not because any part of it looks real.
Because it does not.
The Coca-Cola, Ford Mustang, McDonald's, hot apple pie, American flag, New York Yankees, A-Number One of wresting outfits.
This is the American icon of professional wrestling: the red knee pads, the yellow trunks, the yellow tear-away tank-top, the "what is that thing" in the crotch.
This is old-school wrestling at its finest.
But you know what? All this retrospective has caused us to ask another question:
Is there a chance, an outside chance, a one-in-a-million chance that Hulk Hogan was actually...
...Martin Mull of Mr. Mom fame?
He certainly does have the look, and he certainly is focused on the right things.
It is almost uncanny.