SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
It takes a lot to become a WWE wrestler: Hard work. Dedication. A great look. Charisma. A two-letter signature.
Wrestlers’ autographs have gotten progressively worse over the last two decades. Sure, there’s the occasional Charlotte Flair or Alexa Bliss, a wrestler who takes her or his time on each signature. But for the most part, WWE wrestlers’ signatures have devolved into squiggles or two-letter abbreviations: RR, SR, DA, AC, AB, AE, BE, XW and KO, just to name a few.
Sloppy signatures are hardly unique to pro wrestling. Each year’s draft class in the NFL, MLB and NBA seem to get worse than the previous year. In some cases, it’s hard to tell one person’s terrible autograph from another. Here’s a list of five wrestlers’ signatures that could easily be confused with another pro athlete’s autograph.
- Vince McMahon, Velveteen Dream and Vernand Morency. Morency was a third-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2005. Back then, he had the consensus worst autograph in sports: a letter “V” or a checkmark, sometimes with a short squiggle next to it. David Lee, then-editor for Beckett Football Monthly, watched Morency sign his rookie cards at the 2005 NFL Rookie Premiere. “This guy was just throwing down checkmarks,” Lee told me at the time. “I thought he was just testing the pens, and then I realized that was his autograph.” Velveteen Dream and Vince McMahon have basically the same autograph, a “V” that sometimes includes a short line or small squiggle. McMahon has been one of the most requested autographs among card collectors for years, and what they got in this year’s Topps WWE Transcendent was hardly worth the wait.
- Chris Jericho and Cyrus Kouandjio. Aside from each of their first names starting with the letter “C,” Jericho and Kouandjio don’t’ have a whole lot in common. Jericho is a wrestler with a career worthy of a legitimate hall of fame. Kouandjio was a second round pick out of Alabama by the Buffalo Bills in 2014 who made headlines for wandering around a field naked in 2017. And yet their awful signatures are nearly identical. Both autographs basically read “Cy,” and Jericho completes his with a loop while Kouandjio trails off with a straight line. Roll tide, maaaan.
- Dean Ambrose and Roberto Aguayo. There’s a fine line between “DA” and “RA,” and when your autograph is as bad as these two, that fine line can disappear altogether. Collectors scoffed at Ambrose’s first certified “DA” autograph in 2013, and it has somehow only gotten worse with time. Buccaneers fans scoffed when the team drafted Aguayo – a kicker – in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, ahead of players such as Dak Prescott and Jordan Howard.
- Roman Reigns and Rajon Rondo. Reigns was a pioneer of lazy wrestling autographs. His 2013 Topps Best of WWE autograph was the hottest card in the hobby for a brief period in 2014, despite the sloppy “RR” signature. He’s signed thousands of cards since then, with little variation. Sometimes he adds an extra squiggle or an “X” after the second R, but that’s about it. Ditto for the former Boston Celtics star Rondo. The only real difference between the two is that Reigns signs his signatures with a slightly counterclockwise slant. Many of Ronda Rousey’s more recent autos have also started fading into a sloppy “RR” signature.
- Aleister Black and Arrelious Benn. Many collectors were excited for Black’s first autographed trading cards, but were left disappointed by his lazy “AB” signature. It’s nearly identical to the signature of Benn, a 2010 second round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who once went five years in between scoring two touchdowns.
Have you ever noticed similarities in bad signatures between pro wrestlers and other athletes or celebrities? Share your thoughts with PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or @MMooreWriter on Twitter.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN 5 COUNT: The Worst Wrestling Toy Lines
Five Count is a new format for the Pro Wrestling Torch’s long-running collectibles column, which began in 2011. PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be contacted email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.