In the past year, the use of props in wrestling has returned in a big way. Two of the most over things in the business have been Chris Jericho’s List and Matt Hardy’s cadre of props from his dilapidated boat to his drone, Vanguard 1. Props have a long history though, and the following lists look at the best and worst of them.
Top Three Best Props
- Rick Martel’s atomizer
This is almost certainly a subjective pick, but how could anyone deny the hilarity of “The Model” Rick Martel’s atomizer full of his cologne with the absurd, yet perfect name of Arrogance? A class worker such as Martel being reduced to a midcard gimmick that oozed early ‘90s might have been disheartening, but he made the best of it with his commercials for Arrogance and using the atomizer as a weapon to blind his opponents.
- Paul E. Dangerously’s cell phone
This is another early ‘90s prop that, in the modern day, might not be as noticeable considering everyone has a cell phone in his or her hand. But Paul E. carrying one of those late ’80s/early ’90s ginormous monstrosities around ringside made his character the ultimate douchebag – a self-absorbed, swanky Gordon Gecko-wannabe who closed deals at ringside and, when needed, wielded the phone as a weapon.
- Jim Cornette’s tennis racket
Jim Cornette is a polarizing figure to say the least, but no one who watched wrestling in the 1980s or 1990s can think of him without thinking about his infamous tennis racket. Cornette would wield the racket like it was an extension of his arm. It would accentuate the wildly waving of his hands when “Sweet” Stan or “Beautiful” Bobby was in a pinfall predicament; it would elongate his arm as it pointed to blame a face for some shenanigans that was really his doing; and it would replace his entire arm as he brought it down over the back of some poor babyface’s unsuspecting head. No explanation existed for the racket’s existence, but it didn’t stop him from being allowed to bring it to the ring. The added benefit of the racket is it was “loaded,” and at one point, it was revealed to contain a horseshoe taped to the net, which certainly explains its effectiveness as a weapon.
Top Three Worst Props
- Jeff Jarrett’s guitar
Plenty of wrestlers have used guitars before, but none as much as Jeff Jarrett. So why does his guitar make this list when others do not? His use of the guitar makes this list simply because it was completely derivative and overdone like most of his career in front of and behind the camera. It was an ‘80s prop that he stole from the Honky Tonk Man and beat into the ground. No one could watch RAW or Nitro in the late ‘90s (he oscillated back and forth because he was such a loyal guy) without seeing Jarrett slam the guitar over someone’s head to end a match in DQ. He continued this in TNA, and now that he’s running that show again, expect to see it again soon.
- Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s shears
Brutus’s shears were merely the extension of a nonsensical gimmick. Why would a barber want to me a wrestler? Nobody knows. He was a precursor to Vince McMahon’s more ludicrous occupation-based gimmicks, such as T.L. Hopper and Isaac Yank’em. Nothing was more ridiculous or boring, even to me as a child, than seeing Brutus holding his shears above his head and clipping them for the crowd as he approached the ring. The worst part of the shears is all the poor carpenters who earned a couple measly hundred dollars to have their hair cut after the match by this supposed babyface.
- HHH’s sledgehammer
Many have joked that Hunter should have had a shovel as his weapon of choice during “The Reign of Terror,” but the sledgehammer was his choice instead. Never in wrestling history has anyone ever wielded a weapon as powerful as this, and there’s good reason: it’s simply an idiotic idea. If anyone was actually hit with a sledgehammer it would incapacitate him. It would break bones, damage internal organs, and potentially result in death. For someone who seems to cherish the old ‘70s and ‘80s territory system and its style as much as Hunter, why he would choose such an unrealistic prop is a hard question to answer.