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The 20 coolest tattoos in WWE history
A Superstar’s signature style isn’t always limited to his entrance music, ring gear and their particular arsenal of maneuvers. Many WWE Superstars have chosen to express themselves by adding distinct, instantly recognizable works of art to their skin as well.
WWE.com decided to tackle the task of compiling a list of the 20 coolest tattoos from throughout WWE history. From captivating full sleeves to eye-popping back designs, these tattoos have left an indelible mark on the WWE Universe with their originality and visual appeal.
20. Hornswoggle | Tattoo: Muppet characters | Location: Various parts of body
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, BunsenandBeaker, the list goes on …
It's hard to separate one of Hornswoggle's many Muppet tattoos from the larger whole, but they're all pretty impressive and fitting tributes to Jim Henson's fuzzy, lovable gang. Hornswoggle has spent hours upon hours under the needle at The Body Shop in Appleton, Wisc., to honor the Muppets with inked portraits, all of which include colorful details. ( PHOTOS)
"My love of the Muppets really started when I was young and first saw 'Muppet Babies' and then a show called 'Muppets Tonight,' " Hornswoggle told WWE.com when he added Gonzo to his tat collection in 2011.
The mischievous grappler has admitted he's spent "thousands of dollars" on Muppet merchandise over the years in addition to his growing list of Muppet tattoo tributes. Now that's dedication.
19. Sean O'Haire | Tattoo: Spider webs & flames | Location: Both wrists/forearms
When Sean O'Haire took a darker, more sinister turn as an in-ring competitor, his choice of ink soon followed suit.
O'Haire intense devil's advocate persona during his time in WWE included an obsession with spiders — a trait that manifested itself in his entrance video as well as the matching tattoos on both of his wrists. The pair of tats included black flames along with red and blue spider webs, adding another layer of menacing depth as O'Haire preached to members of the WWE Universe to break the law and embrace their vices. Who in their right mind would dare say no to a guy with fire and spiders coming out of his wrists?
18. Umaga | Tattoo: Tribal design | Location: Right arm
We know what you're thinking: What about that crazy tattoo that was on his face?
Believe it or not, Umaga's face was actually painted, not permanently inked. The tribal design on his right arm, however, was definitely real and served as a formidable complement to The Samoan Bulldozer's presence every time the rampant drums of his entrance music sounded.
Also worth mentioning: The ring-wrecking warrior had a tattoo on his right forearm in honor of his cousin Yokozuna (both were members of the legendary Anoa'i family), further demonstrating Umaga's connection to his Samoan roots. This particular tattoo was partially obscured since it was on the same arm that was taped up for his feared Samoan Spike finishing move.
17. Mideon | Tattoo: Doc Holliday portrait | Location: Left arm
Mideon, best known for his deranged role in Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness, has numerous pieces of ink on both arms as well as an image of an eyeball tattooed on the back of his head. But the one that stands out for its coolness factor is the portrait of Doc Holliday on his left arm. The notorious gunslinger of the American Old West left behind a trail of legendary stories — both factual and exaggerated — and earned a reputation as one bad dude you didn't want to mess with.
Supposed photos of Doc Holliday vary wildly, leading to skepticism over which portrait is the correct interpretation of Wyatt Earp's good friend, but that doesn't take away from Mideon's skin art.
16. Santino Marella | Tattoo: Conan the Barbarian | Location: Chest
Judging by his comedic antics alone, you wouldn't expect Santino Marella to have such deep and serious ink etched across various parts of his skin. But as an in-ring competitor, Marella is certainly fierce, just like his tattoos. Santino's tats include a dragon on his forearm, a winged figure on his bicep and a giant lion on his back. The one that comes across as the most visually appealing and all-around awesome, though, is the image of Conan the Barbarian perched on the left side of his chest. ( PHOTOS)
"[Conan the Barbarian] was born a peasant in a common village and became king by his own hand," Santino explained to WWE.com in 2007. "I, too, was born into a simple family and now I'm a WWE Superstar on a journey to become king of my domain."
15. Rey Mysterio | Tattoo: Pair of wings | Location: Chest
Rey Mysterio mastered the art of aerial maneuvers and getting tattoos that hold meaning for the masked Superstar. From a prayer to Jesus that a WWE fan gave him to the names of his daughter and son, Aalyah and Dominik, The Human Highlight Reel filled his skin with ink that represents his enduring ties to family, religion and tradition.
Perhaps the piece that most accurately displayed his identity as a Superstar is the set of wings emblazoned on his chest. The matching tattoos are designed in the same vein as his signature luchador mask and also resemble the intricate groove marks of the Aztec calendar, further showing Mysterio's connection to his Mexican heritage.
14. Goldberg | Tattoo: Tribal design | Location: Left arm
Tribal tattoos in the U.S. may have developed a bit of a reputation for being unoriginal and cliché, but when Goldberg first charged onto the sports-entertainment scene in the late '90s, his tribal ink was the perfect representation of his brute strength and ferocious attitude.
The former World Heavyweight Champion's simple yet distinct tribal design was more than a tattoo on his left arm — it became his trademark insignia, a frightening symbol that warned opponents that the one and only Goldberg was coming for them. Rarely did you ever see Goldberg photographed without the tattoo visible, and for good reason.
13. Edge | Tattoo: Great wave | Location: Left arm
While it's not the most recognizable of his tattoos, the ink on Edge's left arm has the greatest artistic appeal of the bunch, and one that stands out from many other Superstar tattoos. The image of the big wave appears to be directly inspired by "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," a famous woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. The artwork depicts a massive wave threatening boats near the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa, with Mount Fuji visible in the background of the stormy sea.
"For me, body art is all about expression," Edge told WWE.com in a 2007 interview. "It's a lifestyle and can serve as a reminder that when my career is done, I'll have a story to tell on my body. And it will be my story of my life on my body."
12. Wade Barrett | Tattoo: Red rose & song lyrics | Location: Right arm
Wade Barrett has large-scale, standout tattoos on both of his arms, but it's the classic red rose intertwined with song lyrics that is more visually impressive in its composition and design.
The rose tattoo, which very much has an old-school feel, is intertwined with a banner reading "boredom, culture, alienation & despair," which is a line from the Manic Street Preachers' 1992 single "Little Baby Nothing."
The Welsh trio is one of Barrett's favorite rock bands, something that the group has become fully aware of. James Dean Bradfield of the Preachers recently offered to record Barrett's future entrance theme, to which the British Superstar responded on Twitter: "Mind: Blown."
11. Roman Reigns | Tattoo: Intimidating battle tattoo | Location: Right arm
Throughout history, the right arm has enjoyed a special place in art and literature, an image commonly used to represent the strength and justice of authority. It is fitting, then, that Roman Reigns’ epic tattoo extends the entire length of his right arm, representing a true reflection of his powerful intensity as a competitor.
The distinctive tattoo of Roman Reigns seems to extend directly out of his flak jacket, making it look as if the arm was less a part of him and more of a weapon of pure intimidation, added to him for battle. It’s also one of the last things many unfortunate Superstars have seen before the three-count, as it marks the shoulder that enters their gut as they’re getting speared.
10. Bam Bam Bigelow | Tattoo: Flames | Location: Scalp
It takes a certain type of man to be able to get any kind of head or face tattoo and not look ridiculous for it. On the flip side, just try telling "Iron" Mike Tyson that the tat around his left eye looks stupid. For Bam Bam Bigelow, not only did his scalp tattoo make him appear even meaner and more aggressive, but it's also impossible to envision The Beast from the East without it.
Standing 6-foot-4 and 400 pounds, Bam Bam had a flame motif that resonated throughout his ring gear and across the top of his head. The tattoo of flames, which reportedly cost him a whopping $4,500 to get done, was a staple of Bigelow's very being and arguably the most memorable ink in WWE history.
9. Lita | Tattoo: Three-eyed demon | Location: Right arm
Lita is remembered for being one of the most accomplished Divas in WWE history — and also one of the most devious ones. It's fitting, then, that her sinister side is on display with a three-eyed demon tattoo on her right arm.
Easily the most noticeable of Lita's tats, the demon appears somewhat reminiscent of the Oni, a brooding creature from Japanese folklore. The four-time Women's Champion decided to get the colorful tattoo as a souvenir while on a trip to Amsterdam because she was a fan of the artist's work.
8. Batista | Tattoo: Chinese dragon | Location: Back
Batista's moniker in the ring is The Animal. His defining piece of skin art, however, is a fire-breathing dragon that nearly spans the length of his entire back. The huge Chinese dragon is very impressive not only for its scope, but also for its powerful line work across the creature's many scales.
The tattoo also does a great job of working with the natural contours of Batista's body by accentuating his hulking trapezius muscles, adding another level of intimidation for the already fearsome six-time World Champion.
7. Chris Jericho | Tattoo: Iron Maiden's "Eddie" & Lady Justice | Location: Both wrists/forearms
Chris Jericho's transition from a clean-cut bad boy to a full-blown Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla has been an interesting ride, complete with several tattoos to round out the fresh image. Jericho, frontman of the heavy metal band Fozzy, has a pair of visually striking tats of a chain-biting mummy and Lady Justice running up his wrists and forearms. If the mummy looks familiar, that's because it's actually "Eddie," Iron Maiden's ominous mascot which appears on every one of the heavy metal group's album covers. And this tatted version of Lady Justice mirrors the cover art for Metallica's album "...And Justice for All."
Another Jericho tattoo worth noting is the winged skull-and-bones emblem on his left arm, a recent addition inspired by the album cover art for Fozzy's latest release, "Sin and Bones."
Please note: The photos above show Jericho's tattoos in an unfinished stage at the time they were taken. To see the completed version of Jericho's "Eddie" ink, click here.
6. Brock Lesnar | Tattoo: Demon skull | Location: Back
On a scare meter of 1-10, Brock Lesnar's back tattoo notches a 10 and then some. In fact, it's arguably the most wicked-looking piece of ink in WWE history. Brock's back tattoo includes a monstrous demon skull with a sword going right through it, and if that wasn't menacing enough, there are two armless hands grasping ice picks on each side of the demon skull. Yeah, it's pretty much evil incarnate.
Lesnar also has another large piece — a sword which spans the entire middle of his torso — but it's the back tattoo that has become Brock's insignia on merchandise and the figure that strikes fear into the hearts of all the behemoth's unfortunate opponents.
5. Randy Orton | Tattoo: Tribal design | Location: Back and shoulders
One of the points of emphasis for a strong tattoo is how well the lines follow the natural contours of the body. Randy Orton's tribal design definitely accomplishes this by coiling around The Viper's neck, shoulders and upper back. The tattoo also complements Orton's signature full sleeves, which are strewn with various skulls down his arms.
Orton, who's had the back piece since his days training in Ohio Valley Wrestling, also makes sure to get his tats touched up once a year — a process that takes about six hours — to prevent any unwanted fading. ( PHOTOS)
The poster for Backlash 2009 really captured the intimidating feel of The Viper's design, with Orton's tat appearing to blend in with the tangled tree branches in the dark shadows. But the tattoo regularly intimidates Orton's foes on its own accord — it's the last thing they see before they get RKO'd.
4. CM Punk | Tattoo: Skull & snake | Location: Chest
To pick only one of CM Punk's pieces to showcase might be an exercise in futility. Practically every inch of The Straight Edge Superstar's upper body is covered with tattoos, each with its own unique story worth telling. And while Punk's text tattoos such as "drug free" and "straight edge" seemingly attract the most attention due to his image, it's the dangerous combo of skull and snake across his chest that's immediately eye-catching on first glance, partially because of how fresh that ink still is.
When asked for his take on getting tattoos, The Second City Savior once told WWE.com: "Tattoos are like wearing your heart on your sleeve. It's about showing who you are on the inside by showing it on the outside. … Each tattoo you get should have some deep, deep meaning."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Punk.
3. Jeff Hardy | Tattoo: Full sleeve of roots | Location: Right arm
Jeff Hardy once said he regards his tattoos as his "artistic impulses." His impulse led him in the right direction with the visually stunning roots that weave from his neck all the way down to his right hand.
"The roots are my way of connecting with the earth: The earth's roots carry water like a human's veins carry blood," Hardy explained to WWE.com in 2007. "I thought it'd be something different besides tribal; you know, a lot of guys have tribal [bands]."
From his colorful face paint to his innovative maneuvers in the ring, The Charismatic Enigma has always found a way to separate himself from the pack with his artistic style. Hardy's interwoven roots tattoo is further evidence of that style with its fascinating, one-of-a-kind look.
2. The Undertaker | Tattoo: Full sleeve of demons & skulls | Location: Right arm
Opponents who take one glance at the demonic ink that covers The Undertaker's entire right arm probably feel like they're stepping one foot into the underworld. While The Deadman's left arm follows a mystical theme, his right arm features tattoos with a variety of frightening demons and skulls.
The most recognizable and spellbinding piece on Undertaker's right sleeve is the "Thinking Demon," which was done by famous tattoo artist Paul Booth of Last Rites Tattoo Theatre. With a waiting list that runs thousands deep and regular clientele that includes band members from Slayer, Slipknot, Pantera and The Phenom himself, Booth has mastered the art of macabre tattoos with impeccable shading for more than 20 years.
Just as the flame tattoo was Bam Bam Bigelow's staple, we couldn't imagine The Undertaker without his full sleeves of infernal ink. They are indispensable parts of The Phenom.
1. The Rock | Tattoo: Polynesian tribal half-sleeve | Location: Left shoulder and arm
In 2003, The Rock took a trip to Hawaii to get inked by famous Tahitian tattoo artist Po'oino Yrondi. Three emotional 20-hour sessions later and The Great One now had the most electrifying tattoo in sports-entertainment sprawled across his left shoulder and upper arm.
The Rock's tribal design holds a great deal of meaning, with numerous symbols that represent the WWE Champion's struggle, success, spiritual guides and loyalty to his family. The custom tattoo was remarkably composed freehand, with the artist working directly on Rock's skin without a stencil or transfer.
In the documentary "Once in a Lifetime: The Rock vs. John Cena," The Brahma Bull broke down exactly what the intricate skin art means to him. "As detailed and elaborate as this entire tattoo is that I'm very, very proud of, it all comes down to three things: my family, protecting my family and having a very aggressive warrior spirit that you can't hold down. I will continue to fight and overcome." ( VIDEO)
By telling his life story through ink, The Rock captured his very essence in what should be recognized as the coolest tattoo in WWE history.