San Antonio's Joe Barber pays tribute to Shawn Michaels with WWE-inspired design
Do not adjust your Internet browser, WWE Universe: That really is Shawn Michaels shaved into somebody’s hair, and it’s the handiwork of none other than San Antonio’s own Joe Barajas, a.k.a. “Joe Barber.” A local legend known for his elaborate designs (clients just stop by his shop and pick one out and Barajas will take care of the rest), Barajas’ latest cut is a tribute to the WWE Hall of Famer, another product of San Antonio and one of Barajas' favorites to boot.
As Raw prepares to roll into Barajas and Michaels’ shared hometown tonight, WWE.com caught up with Joe Barber to chat about his work, his inspiration and what he thinks of the current crop of WWE Superstars’ haircuts.
WWE.com: Tell us how you got into the barber game.
JB: When I started back when I was younger, I was cutting hair at home; I would cut my friends’ hair and cut my brother’s hair. The reason I started doing designs was, I would draw a lot, and I was real artistic. And I saw Anthony Mason – he played for the New York Knicks – and he would get designs on his head. And he just sort of inspired me to do that to my little brother. So I got inspired, I got my little brother, and I put the USA Dream Team logo on his head … I just love to do it, I have a passion for cutting hair, I just do the best that I can at all times.
WWE.com: You were always a big fan of WWE growing up, yeah?
JB: Oh, yeah. I used to watch the cartoon growing up, when they had it with Hulk Hogan and Junkyard Dog. We used to have the wrestling buddies, and we used to wrestle outside with them. I used to root for Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior.
WWE.com: It says in your bio you always wanted to be a basketball player. Did you ever want to become a WWE Superstar, too?
JB: When I was younger we all wanted to be wrestlers, I never knew it was possible or what you could do to become a wrestler. We just did it for fun, all the neighborhood kids. It’s funny because I grew up in the projects, and sometimes, people would throw their mattresses away. So if somebody found a king-sized mattress, we would turn it into a wrestling ring. And that’s where we wrestled.
WWE.com: You do a lot of work with the military as well. Can you describe your relationship with them?
JB: My brother-in-law is a GI in the Air Force and we have a big clientele of military people from all over. I give them cuts, there are a lot of military men that come in. We’re close-knit, and it’s just a service that I provide.
WWE.com: Tell us about the HBK haircut.
JB: I was paying tribute to Shawn Michaels, only because he’s from San Antonio and he’s done so much here. It’s a big thing for us, so I was like, “Man, I want to do something for him,” because he’s been doing it for a long time. He’s just the standard in wrestling, to be around that long and doing it at that caliber.
WWE.com: Was there anything special about this particular design?
JB: I do a lot of portraits, I’ve done different celebrities and different athletes, so this is one of the ones I really put a lot of energy into. I really wanted to put it out there as one of my best pieces, and so far it is one of my best pieces. I just wanted to let him know, “Hey man, what you’re doing makes a lot of difference in a lot of people’s lives.” It’s not just wrestling.
(Ed: note: WWE.com reached out to HBK for comment, and it's safe to say The Showstopper was impressed. "Unbelievable!!! I'm honored, humbled, overjoyed and scared all at the same time!!!" Michaels said to WWE.com via text message.)
WWE.com: Do you ever get any other WWE-inspired design requests?
JB: [Yes], there’s a little kid, he’s a big, big WWE fan, and his dad wants me to do something for him, so I told him we’ll work on it. He really wants to go to one of the [Live Events], so we’re hopefully gonna get that done for him sometime.
WWE.com: Can you tell us a story of one of your other designs?
JB: I like to do big pieces. I did a piece of [UFC Hall of Famer] Chuck Liddell. One of his biggest fans came to the shop, I put a picture of Chuck Liddell on there, and he went to Las Vegas to meet him. So he got all this publicity from it, and I just try to connect people. I’m the mediator. If you got a hero, I’m the one who’ll put it on your head and give a lasting impression for that person to remember you.
WWE.com: Last question: What are your thoughts on Randy Orton’s new mohawk?
JB: [Laughs] Randy Orton’s a tough dude! I’d say it matches him, it matches his ego, you know? I like it. I’m with it.