Induction: Vito in a dress – Vito in a dress

22 Submitted by on Thu, 06 November 2014, 20:00

WWE, 2006

Vito LoGrasso has always been a tough customer, whether in ECW, WCW, or WWE. So when word got around the Smackdown locker room in 2006 that the Full-Blooded Italian was a cross-dresser, there were those who just couldn’t face the truth. But, like it or not, we all found out firsthand that not only did Vito raid the fairer sex’s wardrobe, but that it wasn’t just the former Baldie’s scalp that was totally hairless.

Nunzio certainly didn’t want to believe the transvestite rumors swirling around his buddy, chalking up Vito’s nervous disposition to psychological scarring from See No Evil. vito02
vito03 Eventually, though, the cross-dressing allegations became impossible to deny, as Vito arrived to bail out Nunzio while wearing a full-length dress and sandals. Nunzio couldn’t believe it (“What? You’re wearing flats? What kind of cross-dresser are you?”).
It turned out that all his life, Vito had kept a secret. vito04
vito05  No, he didn’t exactly want to be a woman, nor did he like to act like a woman, really, judging by the completely butch way he marched to the ring.
Nor was he all that interested in dressing up like a woman except for the dress, what with his lack of hair, makeup, earrings, bra, and heels. But he did like wearing a dress, and that affinity for unrestrictive lower-body attire had haunted Vito for years. vito06 
vito07  But now he could be himself — a guy who likes to wear a particular article of clothing — and that new openness and honesty brought out a new focus in his in-ring work, not to mention a newfound popularity with the fans.
Some heel wrestlers weren’t happy about Vito’s creative expression, though. Booker T refused to wrestle the gown-wearing paisano.
vito08

(though Teddy Long replaced him with… )

vito09 William Regal even threatened to sue for sexual harassment after being forced to wrestle Vito. What kind of lack of professionalism did it take to refuse to wrestle someone just because he didn’t fit the narrow societal mold of what a man should be?
Just because Vito wrestled in women’s clothes didn’t mean he was going to, I don’t know, lift up his skirt and stuff his opponent’s head under there. vito10
vito11 Oh, okay, well, even if he did extradite his opponents to his banana republic, I’m sure it was tasteful… even beautiful in its own way, so shame on Regal for being so darned closed-minded.
Besides forcing his genitals into people’s faces while applying wrestling holds, another of Vito’s new passions was flapping his dress and skipping around the ring, which led to censorship on the taped Smackdown broadcasts. vito12 
vito13 The blurring effect created (like when they used to censor Melina’s upskirt shots) the perception that Vito wasn’t wearing any underwear at all.
Here’s what Wikipedia says:

“At the same time, WWE began to ‘censor’ any incidents of Vito’s dress raising and exposing his (bethonged) buttocks.”

vito14 
vito15  (Hey, what’s this about his buttocks being “bethonged”? If you’re wearing a thong, your buttocks aren’t bethonged, they’re naked. The rest of your lower bits are what’s “bethonged.” It’s contradictory, in the same way that the term “assless chaps” is redundant; if they weren’t assless, they’d just be pants)
Vito’s antics sparked lots of criticism from the then-entertaining-and-listenable JBL, from accusations of homosexuality (which Michael Cole always denied) to the strings of “damn”s that would make Esther Rolle blush. vito16
vito17  Just because he wore a dress didn’t mean he acted lady-like, as, besides the stomping to the ring and underwear-flashing, Vito occasionally wrestled topless, if by accident, much to JBL’s disgust.
For a while, Vito would show up in a different location every week in his dress, with a camera following him around to catch people’s reactions. Vito went everywhere from the Mall of America… vito18 
vito19 …to the Mall in Washington…
 …to a Roanoke department store… vito20
vito21 …to a Detroit cop car…
…to a Brooklyn gym… vito22
vito23 …to a Puerto Rican resort. WWE really dropped the ball on that Caribbean appearance, failing to show Vito relaxing in a literal banana hammock.
Billed as “the toughest man to ever wear a dress,” Vito’s new attitude put him on a months-long winning streak, although that didn’t translate into any pay-per-view matches or title shots. But damn if he didn’t beat Simon Dean and the Brooklyn Brawler. vito24
vito25 And he did manage to get onto a pay-per-view, appearing with William Regal in a backstage skit in the showers where Regal’s John Thomas was exposed to a pay-per-view audience.
Vito was on such a roll that he even asked Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro out on a date, an interesting choice to say the least, given that Wrestlecrap writers in the past used to call Ms. Massaro a certain politically incorrect name that rhymed with “granny,” “cranny,” and “tranny.” In fact, it rhymed perfectly with that last one. vito26 
vito27  Vito explained that he might dress like a woman, but he was still all man. It was good to know that he wasn’t, you know, a fairy or anything. And if there’s one thing Vito wasn’t, it was gay. The announcers reiterated that Vito was a straight man who was just having fun and being himself. And as long as “being himself” didn’t include having sex with other men, then he was A-OK! (See also: Goldust’s first face turn)
I must say, though, that for a straight guy, Vito certainly did enjoy cramming men’s faces into his crotch a little too much. vito28
vito29 Eventually, Vito did what no other wrestler had done before (except for Shawn Michaels) — pose for Playgirl.
Still, Vito was a pioneer, becoming the first wrestler to pose for that magazine while knowing ahead of time that its readership was mostly gay men. vito34
vito31  Although billed as “non-nude,” if it were shown on television, Vito’s spread would definitely warrant a rating of TV-MA (for Male Asses).
Whoever did the write-up was clearly not a wrestling fan, referring to Vito as “Skull Von Krush,” a nickname he hadn’t used since the early 90s… vito32 
vito33 …and which he even modified for his appearances on early episodes of RAW as an enhancement talent.
Sadly, just a month after his not-technically-nude spread, Vito was released by WWE. vito30
   

Just typical. Once they’ve seen you naked, they just toss you out like yesterday’s garbage.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
22 Responses to "Induction: Vito in a dress – Vito in a dress"
  1. WrestleTrekker says:

    “Still, Vito was a pioneer, becoming the first wrestler to pose for that magazine while knowing ahead of time that its readership was mostly gay men. ”

    That’s not-
    Okay, that’s 100% true.

  2. JTMack says:

    Playgirl? No way. Us gay men have way better porno choices than that.

    • Rick says:

      Hey, Straight guys want a better choice than Playboy. At the end of the day, we’re all guys, so even the weakest smut option will get the job done.

  3. Thomas Crain says:

    I saw Vito at an indy show at Keesler AFB in late 07- early 08. He wrestled Orlando Jordan in the semi-main and was still rocking the dress gimmick. Code of Silence is still a boss finisher.

  4. LoyalCrapper says:

    Now wait a minute. Wasn’t Shawn Michaels the first wrestler to pose in Playgirl back in the mid 90s?
    And why do you call Massaro a tranny? Is she really one? Is that why she was gone all of a sudden?

    • gobias says:

      No, she’s not, it’s a joke from the days of Wrestlecrap Radio. (one I always though was kind of mean and not funny, and kind of out of place compared to the rest of the site)

    • Art0Donnell says:

      Yes, Michaels was the first to plose for Playgirl, but he didn’t realize that mostly men bought it until after the issue came out.

  5. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    This is one of those “How is this supposed to get the guy over or advance him in any good story lines?” gimmicks.

  6. Rose Harmon says:

    I’m glad we can agree that JBL is no longer entertaining or listenable.

  7. Down With OPC says:

    Don’t forget, the Tranny was also referred to as “Gung Ho”!

  8. Captain Ron says:

    “The toughest man in a dress.”

    Adorable Adrian Adonis would like a word…

  9. Velvet Al says:

    Come on, wrestlecrap, Be a STAR, don’t try to bully Vito.

    (for those who don’t get my somewhat obscure reference, Vito claimed WWE was trying to bully him when they listed this gimmick among the “biggest turkeys” in a wwe.com article a few years back)

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is one of those surprised-it-wasn’t-inducted-sooner angles. Just utter silliness is a bad way.

  11. Rob says:

    I remember watching Smackdown around this time, and this gimmick seemed pretty over (of course, it was Smackdown, so crowd noise was likely added) – I remember Teddy Long granted Vito a WHC title shot one Smackdown. This was when King Booker was champ and Smackdown’s roster was arguably at his weakest, but still. Then the title match just never happened. I was convinced they were just building up suspense and even thought he might have a chance of winning (considering the way WWE was being booked at the time) but the match just never happened and he got released. Worthy induction nonetheless, good read!

  12. Tia Nadiezja says:

    Guys, could we please just drop the “tranny” jokes? It’s a transphobic slur, not an acceptable source of humor. I come here to laugh at billionaires signing off on stupid ideas, not to read slurs against a group I’m a member of.

  13. Mister Forth says:

    They really weren’t sure what the heck they wanted to do with this.

  14. Ze Frenchie says:

    This was the most over Vito ever got in the Fed. Same with Saturn with moppy.

  15. Idi 'Big Daddy' Amin says:

    I refuse to believe that boorish, braying, bigoted loudmouth in the cowboy hat has ever been entertaining or listenable.

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