There are a few sports like beach volleyball, diving and swimming where athletes wear as little clothing as professional wrestlers, but none of those have storylines written by a creative staff constantly looking at ratings. Wrestling’s lack of clothing gives it the credibility of similar sports like boxing and MMA fighting, but it also gives it the sex appeal of a Miami beach.
In 2014, Cosmopolitan magazine said 89% of women they surveyed around the age of 21 had taken naked photos of themselves and less than 1-in-5 regretted it. Clearly, we like to be naked and we don’t mind it being documented. Famous people also like to be naked and we like to look at them which probably explains why celebrity nudity is one of the largest adult entertainment website and magazine genres.
WWE’s Attitude Era was a time when the product, formerly geared toward families and young children, became increasingly adult, going with a TV-14 rating. Now that those little boys were older and starting to like girls, WWE went through a puberty of its own and began experimenting with its content. The dramatic rise in sexual storylines and skin being shown did attract viewers, as the ratings attest, but it also turned off a lot of people.
With a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mindset, other wrestling companies at the time followed suit by easing their restrictions on how many clothes their performers could wear. It’s hard to imagine the ladies of NXT agreeing to take part in some of the shenanigans of this time period, when big hair and big boobs, not in-ring talent, was the criteria by which women were judged. And it wasn’t just the women, plenty of guys got in on the action, too. Some of them even happened outside of the Attitude Era. Here are 18 instances of nudity in professional wrestling.
When the WWE entered The Attitude Era, they debuted a new syndicated show on Saturday nights called Saturday Night Shotgun. The idea was that the show would be live and come from places like nightclubs. The whole feel was supposed to be more racy and adult. For instance, the first episode debuted the tag team of The Flying Nuns, who went on to become The Headbangers when it was clear the gimmick sucked. That first episode is more known for Terri Runnels, known as Marlena at the time, flashing Goldust’s opponent, The Sultan. She was facing the audience with her back to the camera, but still photos that came out showed she was wearing large pasties.
17. Kimona Wanalaya
When there’s an unexpected delay in the action and you’ve got to improvise, who does Paul Heyman turn to? The experienced stripper, of course! Considering its extreme, outlaw attitude, ECW had relatively little nudity compared to the Attitude Era of WWE at the time. Perhaps WWE could easily pay fines or take heat where ECW was always one stunt gone bad away from going out of business. One night, at the ECW arena, there was a technical problem and the crowd was beginning to get restless. Heyman scrambled and asked Kimona Wanalaya to do a striptease for the crowd. She obliged, giving fans seven minutes of pasty-covered adult entertainment.