Merch Watch #2: Muscle Man Dance-wear, Mr. Miz becomes a shirt & more!

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T-Shirts matter a lot in pro wrestling. It’s how independent wrestlers supplement their income, and where WWE tends to create its most hideous abominations. So, to continue where I started with Merch Watch 1 because WWE’s ever-stale TV product is just depressing, let’s review some wrestling shirts!

In this edition, not only do we have a mixed bag from Bray Wyatt, but now there’s a must-cop out of NJPW, a politically charged gem from Zack Sabre Jr., and a really dumb one for Brock Lesnar.

Bray wins one, loses one

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Bray Wyatt’s got a problem with consistency. This time, it’s his merch, as WWE’s released two new shirts, one each that falls on either side of the Skip/Buy line.

To be nice, let’s start with the positive.


WWE Shop

The Wyatt Gym shirt is pretty dang cool, because it fits into the world appropriately, being equal parts mundane and creepy. Yes, it’s just a gym shirt, tying into the Firefly FunHouse segment where Bray debuted The Muscle Man Dance. But if you look closer, you’ll see he’s depicted on the shirt wearing the shirt itself in the graphic, and he’s bigger than his own house. This ties all the way back to the Firefly FunHouse introduction, where we see a toy house in disrepair.

They’re also selling it as a tank top, which is definitely the right play, and the version of it I’m inclined to order.


WWE Shop

Rating: 4 out of 5 Ts — Consider buying before they change it and make it worse.

And Bray’s other shirt, based off the June 10 episode of Raw, is just a black shirt with a jar of Ramblin Rabbit Jam on it.


WWE

I’m not particularly mad at the idea, or that WWE needs to make a shirt out of each Firefly Funhouse episode. It’s just that there’s such a better option right here: just make the whole shirt the label of the jar, like Cena’s knockoff PBR shirt.

Rating: 2/5 Ts — For Bray Wyatt stans only.

The Best or Worst Shirt Ever


WWE Shop

I’m conflicted. This one is so low-effort, much like the way that George Mizanin tends to present himself, that it might be perfect. But then again, it’s just … would you ever wear it in public?

Also, as much as I despise the Miz sleeve logo, look at that upside-down WWE logo in the graphic on the front of the shirt. The only thing I’d do to change this is add “I FEEL LIKE GEORGE” a la Kanye’s “i feel like pablo” merch.

Rating: ?/5 Ts — I’m serious, this thing breaks the damn scale.

This Razor Ramon shirt is too sweet


rafzombie at teepublic

If you have a Razor Ramon fan in your life, who loves great shirts, this devilishly hot tee should be on your radar and in their closet. Available in 27 color options, it’s a great find at TeePublic, where customization is easy.


rafzombie at teepublic

Rating: 5/5 tees — What do I need to say? It’s for everyone, not just the bad guys among us.

This shirt is close to Bliss


WWE Shop

The running gag that Alexa Bliss needs her coffee has barely born actual fruit, and this shirt is actually great. Not only does it reference a thing fellow wrestling fans will recognize with just a subtle wink rather than a headbutt, but it looks like it could actually be a real shirt for a real coffee company. Extra points for the heather-gray shirt color, as they could have easily slacked and gone with black, because coffee.

Rating: 4/5 Ts — Well done, WWE. Well done.

WWE hates letting things breathe

WWE has been so desperate for a hit lately that it decided to print the Brock Party (get it, he’s Brock Lesnar and he’s got a boombox like you’d have at a block party?) shirt. Yes, it was neat to see Brock actually enjoy himself with the boombox version of the Money in the Bank briefcase, but this is not fun.


WWE Shop

This is WWE strangling the fun out of something, like Lenny from Of Mice and Men, screaming “TELL ME ABOUT THE GIMMICK, GEORGE! TELL ME ABOUT THE GIMMICK!” Nothing can be fun for a moment before they just beat it into the ground.

Rating: 2/5 Ts — Maybe buy it because you live off of cringe-worthy bad ideas.

Dustin & Greg go jamming


Chuck Taylor’s Pro Wrestling Tees store

Inspired by Chuck Taylor’s love of basketball and NBA Jam, this tee for the AEW-signed Best Friends is so excellent I bought one myself. Not only does it capture their expressions so well, just look in their eyes, there’s a great joke for those who look closely.


Chuck Taylor/Pro Wrestling Tees

Yes, the Poppin’ Dogs and Talkin’ Hogs show hosts rate their “HOG SZ.” at zero. And, yes, that means what you think it means.

Rating: 4/5 Ts — I almost want to frame it.

The golden Takeover


New Japan Pro Wrestling

When Hideo Itami rebranded himself as KENTA, who knew he’d make his big return with a not-so-subtle reference to his previous job? Emerging at NJPW Dominion on June 9, KENTA was rocking a gold-on-black version of Katsuyori Shibata’s “Takeover” shirt.


Katsuyori Shibata’s Pro Wrestling Tees store

While it would have been a stretch to see the previous versions of this shirt as a dig at WWE or their NXT TakeOver shows, KENTA’s NJPW debut in this shirt — in colors similar to the black-and-yellow brand’s — after years of borderline criminal amounts of misuse and injury, sent a loud and clear message. Yes, I needed another black shirt like I needed a hole in my wallet, but the Godfather-lookalike logo was already neat enough, and in gold it’s just chef kiss-good.

Rating: 5/5 Ts — Spent days looking for it, was elated to see it listed on PWTees.

The worst wrestling tee to wear around conservatives


Zack Sabre Jr.’s online store

So, this one’s gonna be divisive, and that’s the point. But good news for all those who have been waiting for it: Zack Sabre Jr. is making this tee (which is named “ZACK SABRE HATES TORIES” on the shipping label) again. It’s a bit too wordy for some, and a bit too political for others, but it wins points for being true to Zack the person. After he sold units in limited quantities at live shows in 2018, it’s finally back in stock online (in select sizes).

Rating: 4/5 Ts — Not for everyone, but heavily coveted by fans of Sabre Jr. and those who cheered Theresa May’s retirement.


What do you think of these selections? Any great or especially horrible designs you’ve seen of late you want to discuss with the class? Comment away below, Cagesiders!





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