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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
(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.
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…
…to the Mall in Washington…
…to a Roanoke department store…
…to a Detroit cop car…
…to a Brooklyn gym…
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
…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.
Just typical. Once they’ve seen you naked, they just toss you out like yesterday’s garbage.