In a world far away from the high places of fashion, there is wrestling, this perfect blend of drama and physical prowess. Now, don’t get me wrong, both worlds are never linked together, and for a good reason. What fashionista would watch wrestling without mocking it sarcastically? What kind of wrestling fan reads Vogue? Hell, how many wrestling fans even know the existence of Vogue? The same way people interested into fashion don’t wear the latest John Cena shirt, the wrestling fans don’t usually go shopping at Saint Laurent.
But this does not mean both worlds do not interact with each other. All wrestlers portray a character. But every character is unique and lives his own life. They all think differently, move, act and fight in a specific manner. They all dress differently. Would The Undertaker be the same without his hat and his long black coat? Would Ric Flair still be “The Nature Boy” without his robes?
So why not look more carefully as some of wrestling’s most iconic gear sets and learn more about them, their role and how they fit a specific character.
Since NJPW’s Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall show is coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to start with Kazuchika Okada’s pants he debuted this January at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12.
Most wrestling fans, critics and others laughed, cried, threw up and mocked his new set of gear. Guess what? News flash: none of them (and most likely you too) have any fashion sense. Imagine the outrage if baseball fans would tell you that Baron Corbin is the best…
Luckily, this is where I, Chris Taylor, can help. I am here to help you understand about more about the fashion world and well, educate you on the matter. I’ll only discuss wrestling related fashion because well, let’s be honest, if I mention Balmain or a piqué chances are you will think I am talking about a bath item brand and a football player…
First, let’s remember Okada was wrestling in shorts for the last few years. His gear is generally centered a few colors, mostly purple, red, gold and silver. He always only had two things written on all of his gear: Kazuchika Okada, Rain Maker. Sometimes in this long form and sometimes in it’s shorter form, KO RM. Never is it Rain Maker first, as what really matters is his name, since he gives you enough clues through his character to make you understand that he is, indeed, the Rain Maker. It is also interesting to note that it says Kazuchika Okada, and not Okada Kazuchika, in the Japanese way. This means his will to be understood globally, and not just in his own country. This already makes him look bigger.
Now, let’s not kid ourselves, he’s not making rain fall. The Rain Maker moniker stands for the money he generates. His whole character is based around this. He is, in some way, the Floyd “Money” Mayweather of professional wrestling. So how can he portray is opulence and his wealth? Well, he can flood an arena with money bills, like he does at major shows, but the way he dresses is also critical. So how does he portray this in his gear and his new pants?
His gear is very heavy, very gilded. There is a lot going on and too much information to be processed at one go. Seriously, looks at his pants every show and you will notice something new every time. For instance, there’s a part of his pants that is slightly ripped close to his hip. Everything. Every square inch is there to show you how rich he is. This is why gold and silver are such important colors for him, since they represent money and two very expensive metals.
But let’s focus on the pants.
The problem he had with his biker shorts was that they were…short. they barely covered one third of his thighs, therefore not fully using the potential gear to put his character forward. Moreover, Okada doesn’t physically look like Tanahashi (but who does), his eternal rival. He does not need to show his legs. This is where the pants come in.
With all that extra fabric, he can display his character in every extra inch of fabric that has now been added. The pants work much better with the jacket, making him bigger, taller and more awe-inspiring. Speaking of awe, the fact that is gear is so heavy and loaded with different patterns and colors can remind us of the Orthodox Church and their idols. Where Catholic churches are more conservative in their display of wealth, the Orthodox Church uses it much more frequently. This again, make Okada a bigger character, a more godlike character. And that fits him since he is bigger than life.
The gold tassel he has on the sides gives a 3D look to the pants, making him, once again, bigger. And should I mention the fact that his pants are bootcut and not tights? Just think about it. Wouldn’t you laugh if he had switched to long tights? Do you honestly think it would have fitted his character at all? So just keep thinking and tell me anything would fit him and his character better than pants?
Now, going forward, how can he improve his look even more? I personally don’t think there is too much to do, except, maybe, have new pants for every major show. This would make them special, unique, a bit like an actress, who would never wear the same dress twice. Cody did that with his boots when leaving WWE. That little detail did a lot for him and his character.