Appearance in professional wrestling has always been a central point of the business. For decades, not only has one’s physique played a prominent role in the ascension of their career, but also their wardrobe. In fact, for many years in the WWE and other wrestling promotions, one did not have to be a skilled wrestler in the ring to receive a sizable push for the company. For instance, before Sting developed his craft in the ring, his appearance elevated him first. If it was not for his look, fitting the role of appearing like an action figure to further extend his gimmick, many would argue that he would have been put into matches with people who can give him on-the-job training, such as Ric Flair. Thankfully, Sting was so invested in the business that he became a very solid performer, being a part of many memorable matches in his career that spanned over 30 years.
The same can be said for Hulk Hogan. While arguably the most recognized name in pro wrestling history, his popularity was never earned from competitive matches inside the ring. Instead, it was based on admonishing the kids to train, say their prayers, and believe in themselves. His motivational promos not only resonated in children, but crowds would be filled with adults wearing the red and yellow colors of Hulkamania.
Starting in the early 90s, as the demand for exciting wrestling matches grew, names such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels – who both were considered “smaller” competitors – assumed the position of being at the helm of the new generation of wrestling stars. However, gimmicks were still very much an important factor in the company, as names such as The Undertaker, Mankind, The Rock, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would lead the pack in their eras.
Nowadays, in-ring wrestling can be viewed as grossly over-emphasized, and the character element is not nearly as strong as it used to be. For every person who did not have a chiseled physique – Andre the Giant and Mankind, for example – they made it up with gimmicks that captured the attention of the audience. These critical factors have diminished in modern-day sports entertainment.
Former WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback recently shared his thoughts on wrestlers who are considered overweight, and how they fit in the pro wrestling mold.
“I firmly believe that everybody should prime their bodies and take care of themselves like athletes that wrestle. That’s my personal opinion. Because the whole part of it is the illusion of it being a real fight. And if you were in a real fight, you could not get away with doing that in a real fight. So that’s my whole agenda for wanting guys to work out.”
He would also state that not everyone will have perfect physiques when they work out all the time. However, they could have very good conditioning. He believes that Kevin Owens does not work out, be he did put him over for having a “higher threshold for cardio capacity.” Ryback suggests that Owens’ conditioning could be better if he worked out, but he is an overall good performer. He added that people do not watch Owens and feel that he is out of shape. However, Owens should not be used as paving the way for others not to work out, because he is the exception to the rule.
Overall, the feel from Ryback is that people who are not in good physical shape should cover themselves. Aside from names such as Big Daddy V and Yokozuna who benefited from not covering up themselves because of their freakish looks, someone who is not committed to working out and has a not-so-pleasant physical appearance should focus more on how his appearance could change.
[Image By WWE]