Aldo Montoya wore what has been called a "yellow jockstrap" on his face during his 1994 run in the World Wrestling Federation. "The Portugese Man O'War" had lower-card success against Jeff Jarrett and Ted DiBiase before leaving the WWF and becoming better known in ECW as.... Justin Credible.
Who was that masked man? I forgot to rank him.
Dumb jokes aside.... the wrestling mask is one of the oldest gimmick in professional wrestling history, dating back as far as 1865 with a man known as "The Masked Wrestler" competing in Paris.
Since then, the mask has been a constant, not just in Mexico where it remains the costume accessory of choice, but in virtually every major wrestling promotion. Whether the mask partially or completely covers a wrestler's face, it manages to enhance and not detract from their overall aura.
Some masked men are seen as superheroes, some as jobbers, and yet others are huge icons of the wrestling landscape.
In selecting the Top 50 Masked Men, Canadian Bulldog's World used the following criteria to rank wrestlers?:
How closely is the mask tied to their overall persona?
Did the mask enhance their character?
How much did they accomplish while under the mask?
How creative and distinct is their mask?
One last note: Because our knowledge of Lucha Libre is.... well, somewhat limited, most of the luchadore picks are based on worldwide reputation, as well as the recently-viewed season of Lucha Underground. So if we missed one of your favorite luchas... let us know.
Ready? Here we go!
Curry Man first surfaced in Japan during the late-1990's, with his silly yellow gremlin-like mask and bowl of curry on top becoming a cult favorite among independent wrestling fans. He resurfaced in ROH and later in TNA after Christopher Daniels was fired; conveniently, it was Daniels under the mask!
Based off of a Willie Nelson song, The Midnight Rider wore a black mask with with silver highlights in the NWA just as his good friend Dusty Rhodes was suspended (see where this is going... again?). Rider even defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World Title, but the decision was reversed after he refused to unmask.