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.
18 Terri Runnels
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.
16 Drew McIntyre
TNA knockout (and former nude model) Taryn Terrell gets to see Drew McIntyre’s (or Galloway, depending on what promotion he’s working for) backside since she’s his wife, but for fans at a Florida Championship Wrestling show in 1998, it was like they were married to the once-pirate. Maybe he was trying to be funny or maybe he was expressing his frustration of having all the talent in the world but never breaking through in wrestling, but either way, McIntyre let his full moon fly at a show that was taped for television. Fans watching at home never saw the big moment, but those at the show were subjected to his butt.
Jacqueline Moore is often forgotten, but the accomplished grappler carved out quite a career for herself as a women’s wrestler from the late 1980s up until just a few years ago with stops in WWE, WCW and TNA. She is probably most remembered, for good or bad, as one-half of the most nudity-laden feud in WWE history with Sable, who also shows up on this list. Jacqueline’s big show-all moment was at the UK-only pay-per-view Capital Carnage in 1998 when she lost a mixed tag team match. She was wearing a loose tank-top throughout the match and it was clear she wasn’t wearing a bra. Somehow, after the match, she ended up on referee Tim White’s shoulders. Sable ran up to Jacqueline and ripped the tank top off, leaving White running around the ring with a naked lady on his shoulders.
Perhaps more surprising than the fact TNA once had a topless woman on one of its weekly pay-per-views was that fact that TNA thought weekly pay-per-views in lieu of a real television contract was a viable business model. Whether it was to compete with the bawdiness of WWE at the time or just a way to get a few headlines on an Internet website, TNA tried some crazy things early on and we’re not just talking about having a pair of guys who looked like privates called “The Dicks.” A few months into the company’s launch, Lollipop had her top ripped off by a stable called Sports Entertainment Xtreme (get it?) but the real-life Jamie Lynne never found her footing in wrestling and left TNA not long after.
13 Rory Fargo
Rory who? Yeah, we wouldn’t remember him either if it wasn’t for what happened to him at a September 2008 taping of WWE’s version of ECW. The local wrestler had a little bit of an issue in a match with Zach Ryder. When Ryder was putting Fargo on the ropes for his finisher, Ryder pulled down Fargo’s trunks, exposing his man-parts to the crowd. While the incident was edited out of the show before it aired later that night, the unedited satellite feed showed it and it has popped up on the Internet. To an untrained eye, it didn’t look like Ryder accidentally made a mistake. Poor jobber.
12 Mae Young
After Stacy Carter showed her breasts at the Armageddon pay-per-view in late 1999, WWE had to up the ante, so they decided to hold the Miss Royal Rumble bikini contest at the first PPV of the year in 2000. It was your typical Attitude Era skinfest with tiny bikinis barely covering the Rated R parts, including a clever bikini made of bubble wrap worn by Carter. A late entrant to the contest was Mae Young, who was around 80 years old at the time. She wore a typical old-school bathing suit that women’s wrestlers wore in her heyday before 99 percent of us were born. It was always hard to tell when Young was going off script, if she was drunk, just having a lot of fun, or some combination of the three. On this night, she pulled down her bathing suit top and was naked from the waist up. WWE claimed what was seen were prosthetic breasts - just a great makeup job. WWE claims a lot of things we don’t believe.
11 Dawn Marie
You would have thought Dawn Marie’s appearance on this list would have had something to do with ECW, but her moment of nude infamy was actually during an episode of SmackDown and it had nothing to do with the overly-long, uncomfortably sexual storyline she did with Torrie Wilson’s stepfather, Al. No, Dawn Marie’s bare moment came when the WWE did some cross promotion for Girls Gone Wild. WWE sent Torrie Wilson and Nidia to have a PG-13 rated bikini contest one of the GGW pay-per-views and Dawn Marie’s job was to promote it by flashing Michael Cole and Tazz. Of course, the home audience couldn’t see anything because of a strategically placed ring rope. Still photos that hit the Internet showed the voluptuous brunette wearing flesh colored pasties. You'll notice that GGW contest isn't on this list. It's because there was no nudity...on a Girls Gone Wild pay-per-view. That was the last time they did business with WWE.
10 Stacy “Miss Kitty” Carter
WWE was at its Attitude Era best in promoting a evening gown pool match for the WWE Divas title at its Armageddon 1999 pay-per-view between four of its top divas, with Moolah and Mae Young on the outside of the pool to reward the winner with the title. Stacy “Miss Kitty” Carter had been promising on WWE programming that she wouldn’t wear anything under her evening gown. Fans thought this would mean she would win, since the only way to lose the match was to be stripped out of your evening gown. She did win, but told the crowd she was going to take it off anyway with the disappointed warning, “They made me wear underwear.” Carter decided to remove her bra, which caused a WWE official to jump and cover her. The whole thing seemed quite telegraphed, but WWE sent out a press release denying knowledge it was going to happen.
Before it was Extreme, ECW stood for Eastern Championship Wrestling. It was the strongest link in the fading NWA dynasty and their Summer Sizzler Spectacular in 1993 was notable as it was the company’s first live show that was shot for home video. One of the matches pitted Miss Peaches against Terrible Tygra in a catfight humiliation match. Peaches won with the help of her second, a jacked woman called Angel. Following the match, Tygra’s posse hit the ring and in the process ripped off Angel’s top. Like so many characters on the indy circuit, she disappeared without a trace and very little is known about her. If you were the woman who got her top ripped off at an ECW show more than 20 years ago will you let us know? On second thought, you should probably keep it to yourself and never, ever tell anyone.
8 Shawn Michaels
Since most of the men who wrestle are already topless and there’s no way that WWE is going to show male genitals even on their most liberal day, male nudity from the male stars came in the form of buttocks and this founding member of D-Generation X was often willing to oblige. Now a born-again Christian who probably has to explain his late-90s behavior to his kids, Michaels dropped trou several times on WWE programming including an October 1997 episode of Raw. While he could make the argument it was all for entertainment, there is still the matter of posing for Playgirl he won’t talk about publicly.
Talking about Joanie “Chyna” Laurer’s nude moment on television is like talking about a mass murderer lightly shoving someone. Considering she posed for Playboy twice and has done numerous hardcore porn movies, the fact Chyna mooned the crowd during an interview segment on Raw in 1998 seems downright tame. However, for the time, it was a step toward trying to sexualize Laurer in a more female way, prior to the WWE-approved pictorials. Along with getting breast implants the only woman to ever hold the Intercontinental Title also had her jaw restructured at the time from one that looked like Jay Leno’s to one that looked a little more feminine. There are just some things no amount of surgery can do.
Did you ever get the feeling Sable just didn’t care about working in wrestling and saw it mainly as a vehicle for her to be famous? Or maybe it was just to keep her husbands happy, having entered the business as Mrs. Marc Mero and left it as Mrs. Brock Lesnar. For whatever reason, she probably gave us the most lasting sexualized image of the Attitude Era with the moment she took off her top to show nothing but hands painted on her breasts as part of a bikini contest against Jacqueline at Fully Loaded in 1998. Since she wasn’t wearing a bikini, she technically lost, but the real winners were all the boys and men at home who finally saw the line between wrestling and body contests crossed.
5 Stacy “The Kat” Carter
She may not be Hall of Fame material, but Stacy Carter certainly would be in the founding class if the WWE had a nudity Hall of Fame. The day after her infamous swimming pool evening gown match where she shed her bra, she also shed her name, becoming The Kat. A feud with Terri Runnels began which was fought on both sides of the Atlantic. At the UK-only Insurrextion pay-per-view, the two had an arm wrestling match with Mr. Stacy Carter, Jerry Lawler, as the referee. Carter won, but it was the UK fans who were the real winners when Runnels ripped off Carter’s top. It kind of makes you think maybe that press release about her earlier nudity wasn’t exactly on the level.
4 Billy “Mr. Ass” Gunn
Once the tag team of The Smoking Gunns broke up and Bart disappeared into obscurity after getting knocked out by Butterbean, the WWE thought it would be a great idea to repackage Billy Gunn as Mr. Ass, a character who liked ass and liked to shake his, as was evident based on the lyrics to his entrance music, which included: “I love to love 'em. I love to kick 'em.I love to shove 'em. I love to stick 'em. I Love to flaunt 'em.I love to watch 'em. I love to pick 'em. And I'm gonna kick 'em."
Gunn shared his favorite body part with the world during the WrestleMania XV Rage Party, a WrestleMania-eve kick-off party that served as a commercial for the pay-per-view. Between Gunn’s butt and Vince McMahon’s dancing, it was the only party of its kind that ever made TV. He'd also moon during a segment as member of the tag team Billy & Chuck.
3 Sherri Martel
Six or seven years later, when the Attitude Era came with a healthy helping of lady butt during just about every show, this would never have made the list, but this wasn’t the Attitude Era and this wasn’t your typical diva. Sherri Martel, in the waning days of her career, was serving as Shawn Michaels’ valet for a match at SummerSlam 1992 against Rick Martel. After the match, as the camera followed Sherri back to the dressing room. The cameraman went a little low and a serving of Sherri’s butt was served up, clad in a lacy thong. It was the first time WWE had ever shown that much skin intentionally on one of its pay-per-views.
2 Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus was still very new to the WWE when she took part in one of their PG-13 Divas videos, which were a lot like the videos Sports Illustrated was putting out at the time documenting the filming of their swimsuit issues. As was the WWE’s way in those days there were plenty of tiny bikinis and dental floss thongs, but the big takeaway from this video was the “behind the scenes” look at a new diva, Trish Stratus, getting her picture taken for a calendar or magazine. Stratus, in a tight white T-shirt, takes a hose and completely soaks herself. We’ve never seen anything closer to nudity from WWE’s sexiest diva of all time.
1 Vince McMahon
The Internet could have been the tool to lead humanity to new places of technology, science and communication. Instead, it’s a place that documents one of the strangest storylines in professional wrestling, Vince McMahon’s “Kiss My Ass” Club. McMahon debuted the club, forcing people to literally kiss his bare ass on TV in order to keep their job. His explanation of the club was actually pretty funny, with the WWE head honcho explaining how nice his ass was and how “it could do tricks” which he followed with ass flexing. Done by anybody else, it would have been pathetic, however with McMahon it was surreal performance art. We saw the boss’ butt multiple times, with William Regal, Jim Ross and Shane McMahon all joining the club against their will at one point or another.