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Who cares about hair? If you’re a fan of the WWE, that’s the kind of seemingly innocent question that can quickly draw a pretty mean dead-eyed glare. Pro wrestling history is all about winning with the biggest personality, and there’s a direct thread of style-aware hair history that’s been making fans shout “Wooo!” even before the days when the spotlight stayed stuck on Ric Flair’s long-flowing mane.
Superstar icons like Flair and Hulk Hogan (whom we’ll get to in a bit) have never been shy about letting fans know they’re more than a little image-conscious, especially when it’s time to stage a good old-fashioned stare-down. But wild styles these days are doing more than just staking out instant image recognition for a Superstar’s larger-than-life brand: Just ask Bianca Belair how handy a healthy head of hair can be when a competitor like Becky Lynch has you on the ropes.
Yep, hair has achieved legit weapon status in today’s WWE, which is why it’s probably time to start taking those lavish locks a least a little more seriously. Here’s a peek at some of the wildest looks that WWE Superstars have sported both past and present…with a dapper dollop of insight into why the pros themselves pay so much attention to doing their ‘do up right.
Long, black, and perpetually slick ’n’ shiny, Roman Reigns’ cascading locks are a big part of the current Universal Champion’s unmistakable image. And while his soaking-wet tresses haven’t undergone nearly as much change over the years as some of the wild ‘dos we’ve seen from icons like Chris Jericho, Paul Heyman, or even Sheamus, they’ve ended up suiting his present-day persona perfectly ever since he made the infamous pivot from good guy to not-so-good guy.
Flip out the lights and put him in silhouette, in fact, and we could even see Reigns’ shadow-backed likeness passing for a malicious movie menace like the Predator — a lethal look that no doubt only amplifies the Samoan standout’s villainous vibes. Sure, the Tribal Chief likes to bun it back all neat and tidy at times — especially when he’s not about to hop in the ring to deliver devastation. But make no mistake: That wild, black waterfall spouting from his noggin’ is the product of planning and careful calculation. As Reigns has even confessed himself, he spritzes his hirsute head with leave-in conditioner and H2O on purpose before every match…simply because it looks cool.
Fans aren’t the only ones who get to feel the power of Bianca Belair’s notoriously big, bad braid. Thanks to that giant rope swinging from her scalp, she’s laid the whip to just about every WWE Superstar she’s come across — from Becky Lynch to fellow well-coifed style connoisseur Sasha Banks.
Sporting a snaky skull stinger that’s as long as an elephant’s trunk (and probably more powerful), the pain artist known as EST has managed to tease more than stagecraft from her unforgettably awesome black braid. As Superstars like Lynch have learned the hard way, tugging at Belair’s mane comes with real-world consequences…the kind that tend to leave a lasting impression that’s more than just skin deep. Of course the braid does pull double duty as a totally killer branding move: As she explained to Inside the Ropes last year, “even if people come to the show for the first time, they might not remember your name the first time. But they always remember the girl with the ponytail, the braid.”
There’s little doubt that the WWE Superstars who’ve tasted Bianca’s tail of terror firsthand can definitely vouch for that.
For a while there, it was all the rage for fans to chant “You look stupid!” at the Celtic Warrior. But that was never gonna work: Piling on has only served to throw more fuel on his flaming red-headed fire. Now locked into a hard-edged look that’s somehow both feral and civilized, Sheamus’ streamlined brow sports a blowback up top these days, paired with a savage mustache and mutton chops — but who knows when the Dublin winds will blow in to change things up again?
Wherever the scissors dare to venture next across Sheamus’ ginger mane, the overall concept behind his fierce features really hasn’t changed. Whether it’s the braided beard and mohawk from his previous WWE days or the more beveled, streamlined scheme that graces his face in 2022, the idea has always been to capture the unbridled ancestral fire of his Irish roots — right down to the last flaming-red follicle.
At least no one can accuse him of being a bad sport about it: Right at the height of his meanest mohawk days (which sort of had him rocking a spiky, Jimmy Neutron enforcer vibe), he even cracked a smile while playing the Blarney barber, giving fellow Irishman Conan O’Brien a momentary mohawk on TV…while trading jokes, naturally, about how to weaponize potatoes.
Guess you could say we’re splitting hairs here, because we almost went with Sasha’s tag-team pal Naomi for this one. Naomi and Banks both sport ever-shifting takes on street-stylish hair, but it’s The Boss’ attention-seeking penchant for tapping a deep palate of neon day-glo hair hues that ultimately won us over — at least for now, while the two are still friends.
Bling’s the thing that stakes out Banks’ “look at me” bad girl energy, with a wavy mane that the Legit Boss freely confesses is intended to turn heads. Rising through the early wrestling ranks under her plain-Jane “Mercedes” moniker, Banks admitted in her WWE Evil special that she wasn’t content to carve out a career that would merely keep her style vibes on the sidelines.
Intrigued by big-ticket braggarts that knew how to put their money where their mouth was, she flagged pop culture behemoths Kanye West and Floyd Mayweather as sources that eventually inspired the attitude that’s come to define her present-day sass — but, crucially, she also gave a shout-out to…Bratz dolls?! Fair enough, but what do Bratz dolls really have in common with Sasha Banks?
Plenty, it turns out: In addition to one of the O.G. Bratz babes rolling out in the doll line’s early-2000s heyday with the name “Sasha,” Bratz is all about flexing the hair while caking on the makeup — two aesthetic areas that naturally attract Snoop Dogg’s cousin like a moth to flame.
Are we saving the best for last? We’d call it a blast from the past, except in the Hulkster’s case, that blast has somehow managed to feel more or less consistent, bandana and all, right to this very day. One of the benefits of gaining a receding hairline early in life is how it pretty much locks you in to a handful of styles you can stick with. And from his late-1970s debut on through the ensuing decades, those blonde wisps framing the back half of Hulk Hogan’s imposing head have remained a key, unwavering component of his universally-recognized brand.
Hulk’s hair isn’t so much outlandish as it is distinct and durable: Peek any early-career photo of a leaner, lighter Hogan, and it’s still impossible to mistake his youthful looks for anyone else. That’s not to say he’s always hewed to tradition, though. Longtime fans either recoil in horror or fondly recall some of his most radical hair swerves from the late 1980s and into the 1990s. Those years saw some pretty dramatic hair-mood swings, especially for a dude whose basic tonsure template only has so many tricks it can pull.
Right at the height of the Hulkster’s mid-‘90s Dungeon of Doom feud, Kevin Sullivan and The Giant managed to do the unthinkable and keep him still long enough to completely shave away Hulk’s signature Fu Manchu. In his “Hollywood Havoc” appearance just a year later, Hulk strutted in the ring with a chickadee-fuzzy short buzz cut — but we’ve gotta say, as ridiculous as it was, he still looked like Hulk.
Even when he reverts to his classic straight hair and facial chops, he’s still managed to throw fans (and even black-robed magistrates) a batch of coiffed curve balls in smaller ways — including that time in 2016 when he showed up in court sporting an all-black version of his trademark bandana (which was just the Hulkster’s brotherly way of complying with a judge’s order that forbade clothing in court that featured words or graphics). We’ve gotta wonder, though, why he didn’t seize the occasion to pick up a few powered-wig pointers. T
hen again, no one would likely dare give Hulk Hogan too harsh a note of advice — especially when it comes to “fixing,” even at the ripe young age of 68, a hall of fame hair style that indisputably still works.
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