Ashton Vuitton enters and disrobes with assistance from his brawny valet, Eric St. Vaughn (three cheers for the return of the male valet, by the way, bonus points for making him muscular). Ashton entrusts his "six-figure" fur coat for safekeeping to Eric's hands (this is important). The good guy, Puerto Rican high flyer Mr. 450 enters solo, mounts the corner ropes, and unmasks (a trademark of 450's is to wear his mask only for his entrance: this too is important).
Late last year Bruno of Beefcakes of Wrestling commented on the art of robing and disrobing in wrestling:
Flamboyant wrestlers like Gorgeous George dressed in elaborate sequined-and-feathered affairs (something Ric Flair would copy at the height of his popularity); thereafter, wrestlers who wanted to gain media attention started putting more effort into their pre-match ring attire. Nowadays, we see a lot of variety when it comes to this type of garb. There are still a few wrestlers who are "old-school" while others go for a more casual look (too casual if you ask me ... I like the pageantry and pomp of robes. Plus, ... when the wrestlers disrobe, it's like a striptease).As much as I hate pre-match microphone hogging, I could forgive it if the wrestlers made a spectacle of laying aside their unessential articles of clothing. It's exactly like a striptease, as Bruno says. It's also like those painstaking montages of Rambo, Rocky Balboa, or any other Stallone character preparing himself for a big battle--a formal element of the Stallone oeuvre that I'm not alone in noticing and that's more about gear porn than combat readiness.
Wrestling Arsenal has a page devoted to wrestling vests, most of them revealing more than they conceal. The truth is that often an open unbuttoned shirt packs more wallop than no shirt at all. Any stripper knows that a slow revealing of the body gives the performer a way of framing the body in a number of ways before the final, explicit "full monty." In a 1981 essay for the New York Review of Books, Alison Lurie psychoanalyzed the impact of clothing on the erotic imagination, saying, "[T]he garment which is partially unfastened not only reveals more flesh but implies that total nakedness will be easily achieved." Ashton's removal of a heavy ("expensive") coat both symbolizes his vanity and maximizes the ultimate effect of his skimpy, crotch-cradling white trunks underneath.
Mr. 450 knows exactly what he's doing, too. He's got a handsome face, so why keep it enmascarado until somebody unmasks him, a desecration symbolic of humiliation and defeat? He accentuates his face's impact on the fans by keeping it covered till the best possible moment--legs astride a solid erect ring post strikes me as ideal timing, under the circumstance. His careful placement of the mask atop the post is as much ritual as preparation for Ashton's later re-masking of him, less dramatic than unmasking, but it still works as a sign of disrespect, and it seals Ashton's doom.