SummerSlam weekend 2018 has officially come to an end. Yes, you know the party is over when the Chairman and CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon thanked the fans for another successful SummerSlam. Well, since SummerSlam has come to an end, we can all talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re talking about SummerSlam fashion, the coolest ring gear worn by superstars at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 and SummerSlam.
It Was All A Velveteen Dream
Since debuting in NXT on May 24, 2017, The Velveteen Dream has delivered. He’s super over with the NXT fans because he’s proven himself as a WWE superstar. The Dream is tremendously athletic and all around entertaining. He’s also proven that he’s an NXT fashion icon.
Last Saturday, at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4, the Dream managed to get fans talking about more than just his great match with EC3. While most fans are probably talking about the now infamous message on the back of his tights (I’ll get to that in a bit). I’m talking about his homage to Brooklyn’s own The Notorious B.I.G.
Unless you’re a Biggie fan or a hip-hop head, you probably miss the homage. The Notorious D.R.E.A.M. came out to the ring wearing a Coogi sweater vest and a crown, both iconic Biggie references. If you’re a fan of Marvel’s Luke Cage Netflix series, you’re familiar with the “King of New York” photo, taken by Barron Claiborne. The photo plays a central role in the show’s cinematography.
But Velveteen Dream didn’t stop there. As if the Biggie reference wasn’t enough, the Dream took things to a whole ‘nother level. Air-brushed on the back of his tights in a very large graffiti style, “Call Me Up Vince.” Of course, the wrestling fandom exploded in social media conversation. Vince, who? But before the night was over Ryan Satin spoke with Triple H, and Triple H’s reply, “You thought he meant Vince McMahon?!” Apparently, The Velveteen Dream “has a friend Vince who just lost his phone.” Ok.
Tell Me His Name Again? Seth Freakin’ Rollins
And just like that Seth Rollins took his Infinity Gauntlet kickpad/boot and stomped Dolph Ziggler’s Intercontinental title reign to ashes. Rollin’s phenomenal match against Ziggler for the IC title wasn’t the only thing fans were talking about.
Yes, Rollins was inspired by Avengers Infinity War’s hideous villain, Thanos. Designed by Mikaze, the ensemble included a jacket closely resembling the shirt Thanos wore in the movie, a golden kickpad encrusted with gems that resemble all six infinity stones.
While he isn’t the only wrestler to incorporate pop culture/nerd culture into his or her ring gear, Rollins does it well. Not surprisingly, he’s always destroying the ring attire game. Yes, Rollins went and snapped on the ring attire fashion game last Sunday. Well, at least some fans thought so. Some fans took to social media to express their disapproval because they weren’t feeling the look. Or they were just confused, and totally missed the Thanos reference. Rollins’ apparel managed to get a lot of media attention. One thing is for sure, comic nerds and wrestling nerds alike were talking about the Mad Architect.
Pretty in Pink—A Tribute to Hart Dynasty’s Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
On Monday, August 13, tragic news broke that WWE legend Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart had died. Neidhart is most famously known for being a member of The Hart Foundation. The original Hart Foundation was made up of brother-in-laws Bret “Hitman” Hart and Neidhart (managed by Jimmy Hart). Neidhart would later tag up with his other brother-in-law, Owen Hart.
The New Hart Foundation would disband but regroup many years later as The (New) Hart Foundation. Now, more of a stable than a tag team, The (New) Hart Foundation members entailed Bret Hart (leader), Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, The British Bulldog, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. The (New) Hart Foundation is perhaps best remembered for its championship domination at the time. They’re also undoubtedly remembered for their stable’s signature pink and black ring gear, including the iconic pink and black jacket Neidhart once wore.
At SummerSlam, we got a chance to see Neidhart’s daughter, Natalya, wearing the jacket. Seeing Natalya wearing her father’s jacket was a very touching moment. The jacket was worn by Neidhart at SummerSlam 1990, the SummerSlam where Neidhart and Bret Hart won the WWE (then WWF) tag team championships. As a show of solidarity for Natalya, many of the women superstars wore pink. Adding a touch of pink to their typical ring attire was a settle, but heartfelt tribute to The Anvil.
Cedric Alexander Does It For The Culture, The Blerd Culture
Cedric Alexander shocked fans at SummerSlam when he defeated Drew Gulak to retain the Cruiserweight championship. Many fans believed The Age of Alexander was coming to an end since Alexander has been champ since Wrestlemania 34. His win wasn’t the only thing shocking at SummerSlam, so was Alexander’s gear.
Not shocking in a provocative way, but shocking in an electric way. Alexander donned his traditional jacket, trunks, and kneepads combo in electric blue, with a hint of black, and neon yellow trimmed. The colors and designs chosen by Alexander weren’t random. Alexander’s ring attire was inspired by two DC Comics superheroes, Black Lightning and Static Shock.
Both Black Lightning and Static Shock are African-American heroes that possess electrical superpowers. This isn’t the first time Alexander has worn ring gear motivated by a Black superhero. At Wrestlemania, back in April, Alexander would rock Black Panther-inspired apparel.
As mention before in this post, Seth Rollins isn’t the only wrestling to merge pop culture/nerd culture into his ring gear. Alexander does it too, but when Alexander does it, he does it for the culture, the Blerd Culture.
Taking an L Never Looked So Good!
Dolph Ziggler walked into SummerSlam with the actual Intercontinental Championship and with the championship printed on the front of his tights. Ziggler’s tights were cool until he lost the match and the IC belt. Ziggler wasn’t the only overconfident superstar to declare a win via his ring gear. Kevin Owens also wore a special “KO in the Bank” t-shirt in his match against Braun Strowman for the Money in the Bank contract.
For some fans, seeing Ziggler and KO wearing their special ring gear seemed like a sign that they both would be victories. The WWE played us. Well, there will always be winners and losers in pro-wrestling, that’s just how it is. But losing never looked so good.