WWE Superstar Alexa Bliss has a difficult challenge tonight at the No Mercy PPV event. The defending Raw Women’s champion has to fight off Sasha Banks, Bayley, Emma, and the powerhouse Nia Jax to retain her title. But the biggest question is, what comic book character will her ring gear be based on?
When Alexa Bliss came out to the ring at WWE Backlash in September 2016, she had on a new two-toned outfit, with alternating pink and blue highlights, hair in pigtails, and her blonde tresses dipped in pink. It was clear to comic book fans, or those who’d seen Suicide Squad since its release, that she was channeling Harley Quinn. Bliss wasn’t shy about it, either, posting this closeup on Instagram and very specifically calling it an “homage to #harleyquinn.”
While she didn’t win the title that night, it was a turning point for Alexa Bliss as a performer. Suddenly the WWE was doing a full photo shoot of her in the Harley-inspired gear. She also went full heel – the pro-wrestling term for a bad guy – embracing a chaotic, entitled character who felt very much like what Harley might be in the ring. She’d go on to win the Smackdown Women’s championship, get transferred to Raw, and win that title, too – she even currently holds it (though tonight may be writing a different story). Little Miss Bliss was born.
But “The Goddess of WWE” has been the queen of cosplay in the ring since before and after the Harley look (she’s largely kept the dyed tips of hair since). When performing at NXT, the WWE’s development brand, she was teamed with the men’s tag team Blake and Murphy, and all three wore Iron Man-inspired gear. It was Murphy’s idea (he’s now Alexa’s real-life fiancé after being her in-ring teammate), and it opened the floodgates. They also did a Freddy Krueger ring gear look for a little creepy intimidation.
“I'm such a villain fan. I love comics, I love anything Disney – everyone knows that about me, I'm a big Disney fan – anything that's fictional, I'm a huge fan of,” Bliss told Yahoo Sports of her cosplay-inspired ring gear. “I just like portraying characters but making it my own. The Harley Quinn thing I was really excited about.”
Since her Harley look took the world by storm, Alexa has gone with other villains – and heroes – to inspire new looks. At the Elimination Chamber event, she came out in Supergirl-inspired gear, with red and blue boots and her own emblem on the chest. At Wrestlemania and that week’s following Smackdown Live, the green and purple outfit had question marks and a vest that said “Riddle Me Bliss” – yes, she rocked Riddler gear.
Bliss is not the only WWE Superstar to be inspired by comic books, of course. Roman Reigns, who goes up against John Cena at No Mercy, has a signature move called the “Superman Punch” that has even made its way onto T-shirts and ring gear. Speaking of Superman, Braun Strowman has a tattoo of the famous S symbol on his right upper arm. Cruiserweight champion Neville’s high-flying finishing move is called the Red Arrow, and the superstar even teamed up with Arrow star Stephen Amell for a match. Nikki Bella has dressed in Wonder Woman-inspired gear, and she and her twin sister Brie rocked Batman and Robin for a Halloween match. And of course, going back to some hall of famers, Sting performed with a gimmick based on The Crow for decades, and Hulk Hogan took his character name from the rage-filled hero.
There’s no word yet on whether Alexa Bliss will show up in a new hero-inspired costume for tonight’s event, but the intersection of comic books and WWE is clearly stronger than ever.
WWE No Mercy airs Sunday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.