If you’re anything like me, you know there’s a hell of a lot WWE should be doing with their merchandise, and they’re not. Especially if you’re a woman. Women have 100% fewer items on the US WWE shop than men, and only three items more than children. Now, you might think the most important thing is that there’s enough t-shirts for everyone, and that the kids can get the merch they want for their favourite superstars. That’s awesome, yeah, but they’re missing out on a lot of specific items they could be selling to the women in their crowds – and with their tight hold on merchandising and copyright, there’s no way we can make our own in the way many fans of other things do. As it’s very essence, WWE is a fandom, it’s something we enthuse about, want merch for, and feel like we’re involved in the developing story. Certain sorts of clothing can help with developing the fandom, and getting people interested in what they represent.
To start with, The New Day have already proven themselves to be a merchandising wonder, with shirts and socks and unicorn horns selling out time after time. But the one thing they haven’t got yet, which I clamour for every time I see Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, is their leggings. If I could buy new day leggings, even if they weren’t the same as the ones they wear in the ring, I’d be all over that! Blue, with unicorn New Day members on them, with a green meadow at my feet – it seems like the sort of item that could frankly coin money.
Other superstars with wrestling tights we see often could have similar success – think of Dolph Ziggler, now he’s started wearing pants, think of Heath Slater’s leggings, a faux-slashed version of Brie Bella’s, think of AJ Styles, Tyler Breeze. Being able to wear something that looks like the in-ring gear of your favourite wrestlers would be really, really cool. It would be a way to make women feel like a part of the business, to make them feel like they’re not only supporting their favourite stars, but that their strength and their style is imparted to us.
I’m mentioning a lot of male ring gear here, and this is because – let’s be honest here – the ring gear for most of the women is derivative, looks like panties and awkward bra-like tops, and don’t look very supportive or comfortable. None of the women’s gear looks like something you can work out in, or wear to your yoga class, and that’s a huge shame. Bayley has the odd top here and there that looks like WWE could make an amazing sports bra in that style and sell it to us, but they just don’t bother. Imagine the money they could make from not just branded sports bras and yoga pants, but items that look like the ring gear of our favourites. I know I’d be a lot more into it at the gym if I was dressed as Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, or Paige.
Hell, even the shorts Becky’s wearing in this shot, they’d be amazing to sell as branded merchandise. WWE are missing out on a huge market, and the proof is in companies like Black Milk, Her Universe and Living Dead Clothing, all of which make leggings, dresses, skirts and other apparel revolving around fandoms and cool patterns.
The above shot is from Her Universe, and it shows us exactly what’s possible when you have the design ideas. Can you imagine being able to wear a dress like this, or a bodycon dress of the same style, with a print on it to give the appearance of ring gear? Stardust, Kalisto, Roman Reigns – all of these looks would be possible and interesting on a dress pattern – I mean, imagine Seth Rollins’ white and gold outfit and all the permutations you could have of that. Leggings, crop tops, dresses, skirts… the possibilities are huge, and that’s just with one outfit of one superstar. WWE are missing a huge opportunity to make money.
Again, the shot above is from Her Universe, and shows how you can use subtle branding on actual work out gear so people can enjoy their workouts and show off their favourite fandoms and interests at the same time. This is where WWE could really be making the big bucks, where they’re really missing out, because workout gear can be this simple to design and print, so all that’s involved is a multitude of black yoga pants, and then small designs.
What’s so disappointing is that WWE have a wealth of options they could be doing, a number of ways they could be making their merchandise more female inclusive, and also ways they could be making more money. It’s a win for everyone involved, and I don’t understand why they haven’t thought of it. If they think t-shirts and sweats are going to cut it forever, they’re wrong.