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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Mysteries Behind The Masks
March 15, 2006 by Joe Parisi


I recently decided to begin collecting wrestling masks. With all the merchandise and memorabilia available these days, why masks" To me there has always been a certain mystery behind those superstars who dared conceal their true identity from the fans. This mystery goes far beyond storylines and gimmicks.

Wrestling may be considered a "mainstream" fascination by some, but by others it is "what the weird kids are into". Growing up within the catholic school system of St. Louis, MO I was always viewed as sort of an "outcast" because I was a wrestling fan. For someone with my level of interest in wrestling, you didn't dare make that known around the playground unless you wanted to end up on the receiving end of a clothesline.

Are some of these masked wrestlers in the same boat as I am" Do they conceal their identity so they aren't embarrassed" Do they want to protect their families from being the objects of ridicule" Did they used to have a bad gimmick and they want a new start" Whatever their reasons, I am truly fascinated.

Now it goes without saying that wrestlers often don't have any say in their character's "look", but I'm talking about the one's who decided on their own to go under the mask. Do they want to keep their privacy while they're not at wrestling related events" We don't know. I think that's where my fascination in masked wrestlers stems from. They are mysterious individuals.

Since beginning collecting masks, of course I've put them all on and taken a look in the mirror. In no way am I ashamed to say that. I'm also not ashamed to say that when that spandex gets laced up in back, you feel a sense of power. I've wondered what life would be like if I could wear my mask everywhere I went. I think I would be a braver person. Is that weird" Is that what the wrestler thinks every time he suits up"

Regardless, I think the history of the masked wrestler is one of the most intriguing things related to this obsession we call wrestling. I'll continue collecting my masks wondering just what story lies behind each one.

by Joe Parisi ..


James Watts wrote:
Many of the wrestlers out there that wear masks are either Mexican or Japanese wrestlers. In both countries, masked wrestlers have a deep sense of tradition and honour tied to them. For example, Rey Mysterio Jr. wears the mask because it is a family tradition to do so, and because both his grandfather and his uncle (the original Rey Mysterio) wore masks. Incidentally, the name "Rey Mysterio" means "King of Mystery". In the cases of wrestlers like Kane and the Hurricane, they wore the masks because their gimmicks required them to do so (Kane's being a horribly burnt freak and Hurricane's being that of a superhero).
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