No Holds Barred – But Plenty Heads Bald – in Pro Wrestling




As any fan of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) or TNA (Total Nonstop Acting Wrestling) can tell you, the colorful, fiery personalities that have dominated, and continue to dominate, the world of professional wrestling include quite a few who are proud members of the hair loss club.

A November 23, 2000, editorial written by Alex Ristic from the SLAM! Sports Web site and titled “Bald Is Beautiful” even opines that in professional wrestling “the hottest and brightest superstars have smooth skin and don’t wear rugs to cover it up … Real men do their talking with chrome domes.”

There’s certainly evidence to back up that claim. Bald men have been a part of wrestling since the beginning, but baldness seemed to increase markedly in the 1980s and has continued to be significant right up to today.

Indeed, two of the sport’s biggest — arguably, the biggest — stars of all time are “Hulk” Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, both of whom have scalps that shine. Hogan may have worn his hair long on the sides and in back and has frequently sported a bandana, but there was no disguising that beautiful bald dome. Austin actually started out with hair, at a time when he was known as “Stunning” Steve Austin and was doing very well; however, it wasn’t until he made the decision to abandon the locks and come out as “Stone Cold” that he really made his mark.

Hairless heroes of the wrestling ring

There have been numerous other hairless heroes of the wrestling ring, including:

  • “King Kong” Bundy, whose lack of locks was dwarfed in importance by his incredible size: 6 feet 5 inches and a remarkable 450 pounds
  • “Bam Bam” Bigelow, who decorated his de-follicled dome with a staggering array of tattoos
  • Kurt Angle, who was shaved bald after losing a match and then decided he really liked the new look
  • Jesse “The Body” Ventura, whose bald pate didn’t hurt his postwrestling career as a politician
  • Big Van Vader, whose baldness is definitely secondary to the legendary 1994 match in which he punched an opponent’s ear clean off his head

Today, bare heads are still big in the business. A look at the WWE’s “Power 25” for February 23, 2010, reveals such bald or balding hot shots as Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway, Paul “Big Show” Wight, Ezekiel Jackson and “Big Red Machine” Kane.

Christopher Daniels, known to wrestling fans as “The Fallen Angel,” currently is signed with TNA Wrestling and has also been involved with Ring of Honor and World Championship Wrestling. Daniels has earned numerous awards and titles, including being named All Pro Wrestling Worldwide Internet Champion and Ultimate Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.

A hairless “Fallen Angel” shares his perspective

Daniels cuts a striking figure in the ring, and part of that effect is achieved through his proudly gleaming dome. “I’ve been wrestling since 1993,” he says, “and I’ve always had a receding hairline, the same that Bruce Willis had. It was in 1999-2000 that I realized that not only was my hairline receding, but I was also thinning on top. To offset that look, I spent about a year bleaching my hair platinum blonde. I got away with it for a while, but in January 2002, I realized it had gotten to the point that I had to either get some sort of hair transplant surgery or shave it off. When I looked at the ordeal, both physically and monetarily, that I’d have to go through for a hair transplant, it made shaving my head the only option. I have to say that it was the best thing I ever did, and I should have shaved my head about two years earlier.”

Since hair pulling is not allowed in wrestling, the lack of locks presents no physical advantage for Daniels; however, there is a psychological advantage. “I will say that shaving my head makes it hard for people to guess my age, so being bald has taken years off my appearance. In a business where youth is often rewarded, it helps to have a somewhat ‘ageless’ look. I have been told by friends that I look the same now as I did ten years ago. If you’re only as old as you feel, then I feel a lot younger than I really am.”

Concerning the seemingly higher proportion of bald athletes in wrestling as opposed to some other sports, Daniels has a theory. “I believe that wrestlers, as well as bodybuilders, deal with supplements meant to raise testosterone levels,” he says, “and the higher testosterone levels sometimes lead to that testosterone being converted to dihydrotestosterone [DHT],” which is believed to be a contributing factor to baldness.

Daniels has a great attitude about his hair loss. “I don’t really look at my baldness as a positive or a negative,” he explains. “It’s just who I am at this point. And right now in society, it’s more of a prevalent look, so I don’t stand out as much as I might have 30 or 40 years ago. My wife likes it, that’s for sure. It’s been a part of my image for almost 10 years now, and I’ve accepted it … I encourage men to come to grips with it. If you’re going bald, either take steps to counteract it (if you want to and can afford it) or embrace it and shave it off.”

As Daniels notes, looks are important in the wrestling world. Nowadays, professional wrestlers are admired and lauded for their physical perfection. It’s significant that for so many, that perfection includes a noticeable lack of hair.