Owen Hart (The Blue Blazer)
Owen Hart’s masked superhero persona, while short-lived, was a creative and popular character. His high-flying skills, comedic moments, and signature “flying somersault” move made him a fan favorite.
While his prime was in the 60s-70s, the legendary Mil Mascaras still holds a special place in wrestling history. His intricate silver mask, flamboyant lucha libre style, and high-risk maneuvers made him a global icon and a source of inspiration for masked wrestlers throughout the years.
Ax (The Masked Superstar)
One of the pioneers of masked wrestling in the US, The Masked Superstar wore a simple white mask that concealed his identity for most of his career. He was a skilled technician and a formidable opponent for many legends, such as Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, and Harley Race. He is a former NWA Television Champion and a WWE Hall of Famer.
A Japanese legend and a master of multiple martial arts, Ultimo Dragon wore a dragon-inspired mask that reflected his name and style. He held 10 different championships at the same time in 1996, and was recognized by the Guinness World Records. He is a former Cruiserweight Champion and a Tag Team Champion in WWE.
Big Van Vader
The Mastodon and the Man They Call Vader, Vader was one of the most powerful and agile big men in wrestling history. He wore a black mask with red horns and a mouthpiece that spewed smoke during his entrance. He is a former WCW World Heavyweight Champion and a WWE World Tag Team Champion.
The superhero of WWE, The Hurricane (Hurricane Helms) wore a green mask and a cape, and had a comic book-inspired gimmick. He was a fan favorite and a comedic character, who often teamed up with other superheroes like Rosey and Mighty Molly. He is a former European Champion, Hardcore Champion, Cruiserweight Champion, and Tag Team Champion.
Helms’ comical persona, superhero gimmick, and colorful mask made him a popular choice for younger fans, showcasing the versatility of masked wrestling characters.
Another skilled luchador, Gran Metalik’s vibrant green and gold mask and dynamic, lightning-fast style made him a fan favorite. His tag team success and exciting in-ring performances solidified his popularity.
The successor of Rey Mysterio, Kalisto is another masked luchador who dazzled the WWE fans with his speed and agility. He is best known for his tag team with Sin Cara, known as The Lucha Dragons. He is a two-time United States Champion and a NXT Tag Team Champion.
The name Sin Cara means “without face” in Spanish, and that’s what this high-flying luchador represented. He debuted in 2011 as a mysterious and exciting new addition to the WWE roster, and impressed the fans with his aerial skills and flashy moves. He is a former NXT Tag Team Champion and a United States Champion.
Inspired by Irish mythology, Bálor’s vibrant body paint and elaborate entrance rituals featuring demon wings added a mystical and captivating layer to his persona. His high-flying style and underdog victories drew significant fan support.
Bray Wyatt (The Fiend)
Though not always masked, Wyatt’s “The Fiend” persona featured a terrifyingly distorted mask and disturbing makeup, amplifying his character’s dark, supernatural aura. His cryptic promos and unsettling matches created a captivatingly bizarre persona.
Cody Rhodes’ masked persona, particularly as Stardust, was a unique character change that showcased his love for comic books.
However, the mask also posed challenges. On January 21, 2011, Rhodes faced Rey Mysterio in a match, during which Mysterio hit Rhodes in the face with his exposed knee brace and legitimately broke Rhodes’ nose, which led to Rhodes declaring he was no longer dashing and had required facial reconstructive surgery. Upon his return, he wore a clear protective mask over his face and colluded with his father to attack Mysterio and remove Mysterio’s mask on the February 25 SmackDown. Rhodes then regularly used his protective mask as a weapon during matches by headbutting opponents and using it to hit his opponents.
He initially portrayed a “grotesque” character, using the mask as a weapon during matches.
The mask was part of the “un-Dashing” gimmick, where Rhodes portrayed himself as a darker, more sinister character, jealous of all the people around him who weren’t in need of facial reconstructive surgery.
Compared to other masked wrestlers in WWE, Rhodes’ masked persona was unique in that it was not a traditional Lucha Libre-style mask, but rather a transparent mask that signified his disfigurement.
The Undertaker (in 1995)
The Undertaker wore a mask in WWE due to a devastating orbital bone injury. In 1995, during a match, he suffered two orbital fractures, one of which was caused by a blow from Mabel, leading to a shattered orbital socket. To protect his eye, WWE designers created a mask, and they chose the Phantom of the Opera mask, which also became iconic. The mask was a significant part of The Undertaker’s character during this period, and it was well received by fans, with the WWE even releasing an action figure featuring the mask. The mask not only protected his injury but also added a unique and mysterious element to his persona, contributing to his character’s appeal
Goldust wore a gold and black mask that matched his eccentric and androgynous character. He was one of the most controversial, weird and innovative wrestlers in the Attitude Era, and had a long and successful career in WWE.
Mick Foley’s deranged alter ego, Mankind, was more than just a mask. The character’s masochistic tendencies, willingness to take brutal bumps, and iconic moments like the Hell in a Cell fall solidified his place in WWE lore. His unique mask, a stitched-together collage of Foley’s other personas, added to the character’s disturbing appeal.
The “Big Red Machine” was a terrifying yet sympathetic character whose mask became synonymous with his imposing presence and fiery pyro entrances.
He debuted in 1997 as the masked brother of The Undertaker, and went on to have a legendary career that spanned over two decades.
His rivalry with The Undertaker, his choke-slam finisher, and his memorable storylines made him a pop culture icon.
He has been a dominant force in WWE for over two decades, winning multiple championships and feuding with many legends.
Arguably the most famous masked wrestler globally, Mysterio’s high-flying style, innovative moves, and lucha libre heritage have captivated audiences for decades.
His underdog persona, iconic mask, and memorable rivalries with Eddie Guerrero, JBL, and many other wrestling stars cemented his place in WWE history.