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Posted in: Column of the Month
November 2012 COTM - Boombox: Slapheads
By Dannokaboom
Dec 25, 2012 - 6:29:18 PM

Hi Lords of Pain. My name’s Danno and I’ve been trying to get here on the main page for a while now so this is a good day for me. First let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a thirty year old married man with two kids and I live in the kingdom of Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east of England. At the age of 19, I was handed an incredibly difficult decision. My hair was falling out and I had to face up to the fact that this was happening at a relatively young age. I could have gone in one of two ways. I could take the Homer Simpson route and go for the comb over look in an attempt to conceal my ever more visible scalp. Or I could embrace the baldness and shave it off before it got to the point of becoming an embarrassment. I went for the latter and haven’t regretted it one bit. Baldness and wrestling tends to go hand in hand but in my opinion, having a receding hairline is the key to becoming a wrestling megastar. Don’t believe me? Allow me to take you on a journey of grappling chrome domes.

In the early 80’s Vince McMahon had a vision. A vision that would see him turn his successful North Eastern promotion into a world-wide phenomenon. What he needed was a megastar to be the face of this venture, that megastar was Hulk Hogan. Hogan was almost the complete package when it comes to being a pro wrestler. He was 6’6”, 300lbs, had a body like it had been cut from marble, he could talk better than anyone before him and had the charisma to excite an audience at any given moment. His entrance music totally captured the American culture at the time. His moustache was a blonde masterpiece that added character to his face. The only problem was when you looked above his forehead.

The definition of a forehead is the area of skin between the eyebrows and the beginning of the hairline. Hogan had a huge forehead, some speculating that the distance between his eyebrows and his hairline was as much as two feet. Hogan, much like me, has a hairline that starts at the back of his head. As I said earlier, I’ve embraced my hair follicles ineptitude but Hogan took the opposite route and tried to disguise his impending baldness. It began with wearing a sweatband to the ring, which slowly grew in thickness till he upgraded to the bandana. The bandana would remain on his head until the very last second; savouring the protection it gave to his naked scalp. Think about Hogan’s entrance during his heyday. “Real American” would hit, he would come to the ring high fiving the fans and pointing at his opponent. He would enter the ring, rip his T-shirt of and flex. He would point some more at his opponent, give the odd swirly hand to the ear thing then hand over the title to the Ref. Hogan and his opponent would go nose to nose, talk a little trash and the retreat to their corners. Only when the Ref finally signalled for the bell would Hogan gingerly expose his head like a white teenage boy removing his underwear and entering the showers at an inner city school.

Despite the solar panel, everything seemed to work for Hogan. He headlined the first 9 Wrestlemania in spite of his egg in a nest and you could argue that he was the most successful pro wrestler of all time. Times began to change though and Hogan felt the urge to move on to other things with the title eventually landing in the hands of Bret Hart, Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels, far too hairy for my tastes. Hogan’s scalp had lost a bit of its shine so when he showed up in WCW doing the same routine he had been going through the last 10 years the fans began to turn. They grew tired of the all American shtick and his fan reaction became more mixed. Hogan’s heel turn with the formation of the NWO gave his head an all new coating in Turtle Wax which contributed to WCW leading the Monday Night Wars for over a year. The WWE needed to find a weapon to combat WCW and Hogan’s bald headed bad guy. They needed a chrome dome of their own.

Very few would have predicted that Stunning Steve Austin would end up becoming the most popular superstar of all time. As one half of the Hollywood Blondes, Austin never really stood out as a potential main event star. One thing that was fairly obvious though was that Austin was beginning to thin up top. He joined the WWE as the Ringmaster and the gimmick was turd, but when he shaved his head and became Stone Cold things began to take off.

Austin had the perfect look for an old school heel. Fantastic bald head, piercing blue eyes, bald head, goatee beard, no hair on his head, black trunks, skin head and a bad ass attitude. He didn’t have the physique of Hogan, but his look seemed to capture his character. One of the first things you think of with Stone Cold is his wonderful bald head, perfectly crowning one of the best brawlers the wrestling world has ever seen. Unlike Hogan, Austin embraced his hairless cranium and allowed it to become part of his personality. Legend has it that superstars weren’t allowed to reference Hogan’s well-worn path as it may damage his character in some way. This was certainly not the case with Austin as most superstars who came against him referenced his bald head. I remember The Rock in particular mocking Austin for his bare top. Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street so Austin and his bald head led the WWE to heights never seen before or since.

The WWE started to take the lead in the Monday night wars on a regular basis. WCW needed a game changer as the shine on Hogan’s head began to dull. WCW found Bill Goldberg and his giant Jewish head began to make some inroads into the WWE’s lead. Unfortunately for them, it was too little too late and the WWE machine kept marching on until the demise of WCW in 2001. Goldberg did come into WWE in later years but the shine on the head had dulled and the success that could have been never really materialised.

Austin and Hogan, while probably the most recognised chrome domes, aren’t the only ones who have achieved success. Kurt Angle is still arguably the best professional wrestler in the world and he sports a fantastic slap head. King Kong Bundy headlined Wrestlemania 2 with fellow baldy Hogan. The Rock, the most charismatic superstar in history, finally gave up on his ever increasing forehead and embraced the bald.

Nowadays things are a little different. Business isn’t exactly great in a company that has been dominated in recent years by relatively hairy guys. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Cena, Orton and Sheamus all have no worries about lazy hair follicles. Personally I feel the downturn in business can be directly attributed to the lack of baldies in the main event scene; baldies bring bucks. The future may be bright though, especially in the scalp department. Ryback has benefitted from a fantastic push in recent months, as has the current US Champion Antonio Cesaro. Both of these guys have embraced the bald and are getting over with the crowd with each passing week. I’m not about to predict that either of these will have careers like Hogan or Austin, but the baldy head certainly helps.

Long story short, we in the IWC need to celebrate the scalp. Next time you see a bald man in the street don’t snigger at him, mock him or pity him. That man has a massive attribute in becoming the greatest wrestling superstar of all time; you may be mocking the next Stone Cold.

Take care all, embrace the bald.

Danno

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