The rise and fall of the fanny pack: Inside wrestling's most infamous accessory

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March 13, 2014

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Back in the early ’90s, if you spotted anyone wearing super-baggy Zubaz pants, a satin jacket over a Gold’s Gym tank top and a pair of snazzy cowboy boots, odds are, they were a pro wrestler.

However, there’s one item that tied the whole outfit together, an accessory that makes 99 percent of today’s population cringe upon its mere mention—the fanny pack.

“You wouldn’t catch me dead in a fanny pack,” Goldust made clear in a recent interview with WWE.com.

Although many of today’s Superstars wince at the thought of wearing a miniature satchel around their waists, the belt bag remains a symbol of a bygone era in the wrestling business for others. In the days before first-class travel and personal tour buses, grapplers strapped their lives to their stomachs and crammed as many of their burly brethren as possible into a station wagon and hauled thousands of miles across America, trading tales of the craft before the next show.

“I think of the golden age of men who carried every single thing in their fanny pack,” Cody Rhodes said. “If they could have made a fanny pack big enough to hold their boots, they’d put them in there, too.”

Check out photos of WWE Legends donning fanny packs

The fanny pack was a case of function winning out over fashion. Wrestlers wanted comfort on those long hauls between shows, which led to the rise of Zubaz and other gym wear as the outfits of choice for the locker room. While comfortable, they didn’t offer much in the way of pocket space or security, almost making the fanny pack a necessary evil.

“We carried so much stuff,” The Bizarre One said. “If you put all of it in your pockets, it would fall out when you’re working out.”

The Superstars WWE.com spoke with could rattle off the contents of their past fanny packs like it was yesterday: keys, wallets, passports, licenses, pagers, cell phones and maybe a snack or two for the road. Having everything minus their wrestling gear strapped to their waists at all times, it’s no surprise that even the most organized Superstar’s fanny pack quickly became a mess of crumpled cash and half-eaten protein bars. Still, the most seasoned grapplers learned to navigate their belt bag as well as they moved around the squared circle.

“I once had a conversation with Jimmy Snuka,” Rhodes recalled. “He told me he was going to give me his business card. He reached into his fanny pack, which was the size of Ryback’s head. Without ever breaking eye contact with me, he managed to find his card amongst pocket knives, money, candy and thousands of other things.”

There was even a little bit of competition back in the day, to see who had the nicest fanny pack.

“I had a Tumi one, which was pretty cool,” Billy Gunn told WWE.com.

“I had a Wal-Mart,” Road Dogg responded.

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