Sports Strength

The 11 Best Wrestling Fashions of 2019

Pro-wrestling culture tends to lag a good five years behind the current zeitgeist, but the gap between what the wrestling world finds cool and what’s actually trendy is getting smaller by the second thanks to social media. While the general public still associates pro-wrestling fashion with fringe and neon (which isn’t exactly wrong!), there are some more daring sartorialists in the industry willing to risk their reputation with some edgier and more up-to-date looks.

2019 was a revolutionary year as far as the business of pro-wrestling goes. As the art of live combat theater ambles its way towards cultural relevance once again, the aesthetics of the scene will have to keep up with the capricious whims of the style industrial complex. 

To celebrate this bombastic year in sports entertainment, we’re counting down the grapplers and fighters with the most iconic outfits.

1. Bianca Belair

Bianca Belair makes her own looks and her impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail shows in every outfit. Her NXT Takeover Wargames 3 look was a beautiful experiment in camp — there’s braids on her leggings! — and streetwear sensibilities. She even had her name encrusted in jewels on the back of her scalp!

2. Sasha Banks

Sasha Banks took a months-long hiatus to travel through Japan and train with the legendary Meiko Satomura—and she returned to the United States with a new attitude and a new style. Following a wig reveal heard ‘round the world, the “Legit Boss” leveled her looks up and came out dripping in sequins and sparkles like a heavenly Sailor Moon villainess. 

3. Kabuki Warriors

Both Kairi Sane and Asuka were some of WWE’s better-dressed battlers before they teamed up as the Kabuki Warriors. But the two really stepped their game up following a heel turn, which re-envisioned them as fantastical acid-spitting sisters with a sadistic streak. The current reigning WWE women’s champs swapped out their colorful gear for a more streamlined black and gold palette but kept the ornate, handmade entrance jackets.

4. Sonny Kiss

AEW’s Sonny Kiss has quickly become the burgeoning brand’s fan favorite, and his impeccable style is one reason why. You can tell a lot about his character from his gear, and this particularly on-trend chrome look (designed by fellow pro-wrestler Jamie Senegal) harks back to early 00’s girl groups but with a banjee twist. 

5. Lio Rush

It’s easy to spot both the influences of superhero culture and the opulence of puroresu entrance jackets on Lio Rush’s latest fashions. The former Cruiserweight Champion has always been a bit of a showboat, but his impeccably constructed coat and ornate (but not overdesigned!) tights now match his attitude. Shoutout to the beloved gear maker Yolanda The Designer for this amazing re-design. 

6. Becky Lynch

Wrestling has always been a bit conservative when it comes to gender norms, but the current reigning Raw Women’s champion has bucked the heteronormative order in favor of queer subversion. After taking up the moniker of “The Man,” she’s questioned the integrity of her male and female competitors alike and showed off her newfound power in the form of an impeccably fit suit. Her ring gear also received an overhaul, ditching the long-outdated steampunk steez for a Kill Bill inspired and much more understated black and yellow outfit.

7. Io Shirai

Widely considered one of the greatest living women’s wrestlers, Io also got an all-black makeover after a heel turn earlier this year. Her shiny color palettes were always flashy and fun, but her new, darker look is a smart, 2019 update with nods to Harajuku street style. The neon green highlights are perfect for the evil cyberpunk princess thing she’s got going on nowadays.

8. Aleister Black

A paradigm of gothic fashion, Aleister’s entrance looks combine a sort of cartoony fiendishness with actual menace. This 2019 version of dark glamour is certainly over-the-top but never too silly. And Aleister can clearly pull off funereal formal wear too, an impressive feat for anyone whose daily attire is a pair of pleather trunks.

9. Orange Cassidy

Denim pants paired with a denim jacket used to be known as the Canadian Tuxedo before the look became the standard uniform of the gentrifying denizens of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yet, somehow, Orange Cassidy’s hungover style elides these lesser connotations. There’s something so obvious (and very clearly effortless) about Cassidy’s regular fashion, but being simplistic and lazy has made him an absolute icon—and an easy Halloween costume for kids.

10. Velveteen Dream

Mauro Ranallo frequently describes Dream as NXT’s “sartorial superstar,” and with good reason—Velveteen isn’t exactly subtle with his nods to Prince or a plethora of other genderqueer icons and although his penchant for frills and fringe would look outlandish in other settings, it’s a perfect divergence from the otherwise gender fascist aesthetic universe of WWE. 


SANADA’s ring gear has taken an unfortunate backslide into sky pirate cosplay but despite his more woefully cartoony in-ring fashions, his formal menswear choices are consistently on point. The bleached beard is a huge problem, but we must forgive this great error considering the great lengths he must go to find a suit that fits his massive bulk, especially over in Japan.

Entrepreneurs Grind

5 Companies That Made Big Bets That Paid Off

It’s no secret that to be successful in business or life, you have to sometimes push the boat out and take some risks, whether it’s something as small as spending a little more on your marketing budget during a certain month, or something as large as pivoting the entire business to focus on an entirely different sector, at some stage, all businesses are met with choices, and quite often, it’s how you react to those choices that determine the success or failure of your business.

Below, we’ve outlined five companies that made big bets that eventually paid off.

1. FedEx
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We know FedEx today as the logistical powerhouse that delivers our items in record-setting time, but what most people don’t know is that in the early days of FedEx, the company was mere hours from shutting down, after quickly running out of cash. Down to its last $5,000—and not enough for a $24,000 fuel bill that was due on Monday morning, FedEx CEO Fred Smith traveled to Vegas over the weekend and managed to turn that $5,000 into $27,000, allowing the company to fight another day, or in this case, another month.

Robert Frock, one of the original FedEx executives, describes the instance in his book, Changing How the World Does Business: FedEx’s Incredible Journey to Success – The Inside Story.

“I asked Fred where the funds had come from, and he responded, ‘The meeting with the General Dynamics board was a bust, and I knew we needed money for Monday, so I took a plane to Las Vegas and won $27,000.’ I said, ‘You mean you took our last $5,000—how could you do that?’ He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘What difference does it make? Without the funds for the fuel companies, we couldn’t have flown anyway.’ Fred’s luck held again. It was not much, but it came at a critical time and kept us in business for another week.”

2. Airbnb
John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images

Airbnb is a $35 billion powerhouse that has completely disrupted the tourism industry by making travel more accessible and more of a rounded experience. But back in the early years of “Air Bed and Breakfast,” as it was called back then, things weren’t going as smoothly. Unable to raise money and having maxed out every credit card they had, founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia headed to the end of the road, as they slowly ran out of money. That was until the pair decided to become “cereal entrepreneurs,” Yes, you read that right.

After another failed investment pitch, Chesky and Gebbia decided to take a different route. It was 2008, and the Democratic National Convention was taking place in Denver. The founders came up with the idea of creating a collectible cereal that was related to both candidates at that time, “Obama O’s, the breakfast of change” and “Cap’n McCain’s, a maverick in every bite.”

Incredibly, their plan worked, and they sold more than 1,000 boxes of cereal at $40 a box, generating just over $40,000, which represented their seed round of funding and was enough to get them traction to launch the business.

3. Tesla
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

You can’t think of Tesla without thinking of Elon Musk, and you can’t think of Elon Musk, without thinking about Tesla. Today, Tesla trades at $350 a share, has a market cap of $62 billion and is at the forefront of electric-powered vehicles. However, in the late ‘00s, Tesla was mere days away from failing, as it burned through cash while producing its first-ever car, the Tesla Roadster.

At the time, Musk was also running his other company, SpaceX, which also happened to be struggling financially. In late 2008, Musk needed to make a decision, put all his remaining funds toward one project and let the other one fail, or allocate capital to both companies, with the hope that both could survive. When it came to Tesla, there was enough money in the bank to last a couple of weeks, so, with his remaining money from the sale of PayPal, Musk invested $20 million into Tesla, giving the company enough time to recalibrate and get back on its feet. At the same, Musk received the news that SpaceX had been awarded a $1.6 billion contract from NASA to resupply the International Space Station. Miraculously, both companies survived, and have gone on to do incredible things in both the world of electric transportation and space exploration.

4. Dyson
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Known to people around the world as one of the most popular vacuums on the market, Dyson is undoubtedly deserving of its large market share in the industry. But what most people don’t know when they pick their vacuum is that the company almost never existed, had it not been for the persistence and risk taken by its founder, James Dyson. While building his company, it is said that James Dyson took out three mortgages, created more than 5,000 prototypes and was more than $4 million in debt before the first Dyson product was ever released. This put an immense amount of pressure on Dyson’s first product, meaning that it had to be a success, otherwise all his collateral would have gone to the bank, and those years of trialing and testing would have all been a waste.

Thankfully, the first product as a hit and James Dyson was able to pay back every penny to the bank within the first five months. It had been such a success that the bank used him as an example to future entrepreneurs when advertising its business loans.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Back in the early 2000s, the now trendy footwear brand TOMS was just an idea, and the founder, Blake Mycoskie, was being laughed at by multiple investors with his proposal of one-for-one business model, which means that for every sale the company made, it would give one pair back to kids in developing countries.

Struggling to raise any money or gain any traction, Mycoskie could have easily taken the advice that hundreds of people had given him, which was to go down the traditional apparel business model route. Instead of that, Mycoskie stuck with his idea of rooting social impact and philanthropy into the heart of the business.

It might seem like an obvious move today in 2019, considering a lot of brands are integrating social good into their overall business strategy, but in 2006, giving half of your inventory away seemed like an alien idea—a huge risk. It was a risk that paid off handsomely for Mycoskie. Not only has TOMS become one of the biggest shoe brands of the past ten years, but it also paved the way for large corporations to allocate a portion of their profits to a positive cause.

Like Wayne Gretzky one said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

To be successful, you sometimes have to explore the unknown to really find out how far you can go, and it’s evident that these five companies had to go against the status quo to accomplish everything they have accomplished. The biggest risk is taking no risk at all.

Entrepreneurs Grind

These Are the Most Impactful Cannabis Businesses of 2019

In 2019 the cannabis industry rang in the year for business. As more positive strides were made toward legalization, the industry itself has grown by 38 percent over the last four years, reaching a $12 billion market value. In 2019 alone, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use. Additionally, a solution to lack of outside financing is in the works, through the proposed SAFE Banking Act. 

Other major strides include a rise in the number of commercial banks and financial institutions that now offer financial services to cannabis companies. The number of institutions willing to loan money to cannabis companies is now at 715, where in 2017 only 337 banks were on board. With all the accomplishments we’ve seen in cannabis in just this year alone, we couldn’t overlook the notable work from the business and brands within. Below are four of our favorite impactful cannabis businesses of 2019.


You may have heard the name Sherbinskis, or at least one of the cannabis dispensary’s strains in a hip-hop song. Mario Guzman, also known as Mr. Sherbinski, first started growing marijuana in his California garage. Since then, the company has transformed into a fully legal designer cannabis brand, often defined as the “Supreme of marijuana.” Paying homage to the hip-hop community, the LA location serves as a platform for showcasing collaborations spanning from music to fashion, tech and philanthropy. Additionally, the renowned business, which is responsible for some of California’s most sought-after genetics like Sunset Sherbert and Gelato, has attracted a clientele, including hip-hop artists, designers, creators and cannabis connoisseurs from around the world.


Caliva, the cannabis brand that brought on Jay-Z as its chief brand strategist, is making big moves in the cannabis industry. The startup raised $75 million from former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and former NFL quarterback Joe Montana, placing them as a market leader in California cannabis consumer products. Aside from its popular inventory of premium cannabis products, the brand has gained recognition for social awareness. Last 4/20, Caliva partnered with Ben & Jerry’s and donated 4.2 percent of 4/20 sales to Code for America’s Clear My Record Program, which provides resources for people who have been arrested for marijuana possession-related charges. The progressive stance earned the cannabis company a lot of respect as a woke business in the industry.


We can’t mention impactful and cannabis in the same sentence without noting Besito. The LA-based cannabis vape brand has quickly grown from small startup to big potential. The mission-driven company partners with Equity First Alliance on cannabis racial equity and restorative justice initiatives by offering event sponsorship and a portion of all sales. Additionally, the company is huge on the sustainability movement, offering customers $5 off for returning the hardware to the store. Besito puts diversity and inclusivity at the forefront of its image, showcasing images of people of different racial backgrounds and sexual preferences. With sleek all-in-one designed vape pen combined with a purpose to educated, Besito is making cannabis cooler than ever.

Blunts + Moore
Blunts + Moore

As the first dispensary to open under Oakland, California’s newly established equity program, which offers dispensary permits to those convicted of cannabis-related crimes in Oakland before legalization, Blunts + Moore is backed by ownership with historical and personal ties. Business partners Brittany Moore and Alphonso Blunt Jr. started the brand with Blunt’s prior five-year sentencing for a cannabis arrest in mind. Since then, the business has boomed, and with over 500 products and carrying pesticide-free buds grown in Oakland, this black-owned company is setting the bar for diversity in the industry.

Sneakers Style

Gary Vaynerchuk’s Favorite Sneakers of All Time

Gary Vaynerchuk is a man of many talents. As the acting chairman of VaynerX, an umbrella media company that houses VaynerMedia and Gallery Media Group (ONE37pm’s parent company), he plays an active role in the media and communications plans for Fortune 100 clients and his personal brand across platforms.

Growing up in a studio apartment in Queens, New York—then moving to Edison, New Jersey—Vaynerchuk is the son of Belarusian immigrants. An avid reseller and profit seeker, Vaynerchuk was always getting his hands into projects that would yield a return: a lemonade stand, selling baseball cards and overhauling the family liquor business to utilize the internet and generate $60 million in sales.

Since then, Vaynerchuk has been an angel investor in notable companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, Snap Inc. and Venmo. He’s kept a keen interest in nostalgic products from childhood that could sell for a profit—like sneakers.

Here is a definitive list of Vaynerchuk’s favorite sneakers of all time, from his ride-or-die classic staples to his personal collaboration with K-Swiss and his beloved industry up and comers who are making waves. Take a look. 

Classic Sneakers
1. adidas Conductor Hi Ewing

These Patrick Ewing sneakers hold a special place in my heart. I love Patrick Ewing so much. This 1985 Adidas is money—I hate Michael Jordan and love Patrick Ewing.

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2. adidas Superstar White h

The classic three-stripe adidas were so crucial in hip-hop culture. Run DMC’s track called “My adidas” dropped in 1986, and those guys truly wore adidas in the hood with the tongues out—no laces.

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3. Nike Dunk SB Low Supreme Black Cement (2002)

I’m such a sucker for Nike Dunks—they’re probably my favorite silhouette. This Supreme collab from 2002 is a huge collector’s item.

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4. Air Force 1 Low White ’07

You can’t get more classic than a crisp white pair of AF1s. I wear a lot of Air Force 1s.

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5. Vans Old Skool Black White

I’m obsessed with nostalgia and sneaker culture. These Vans capitalize on both of those things.

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Gary Vee x K-Swiss Sneakers
6. K-Swiss GaryVee 005 ComplexCon Coral

If you told the 24-year-old version of me that I would be paid to be the face of a sneaker, I would’ve laughed you out of my liquor store. There were only 300 pairs of the GV 005 Coral produced, and they’ve sold out, so you can grab a pair on StockX.

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7. K-Swiss x Gary Vee Crushing It

I saw this sneaker as a win/win scenario. If the partnership with K-Swiss worked, then I would be the first entrepreneur with a legacy sneaker collaboration. It’s a legacy play. And this sneaker came out in conjunction with my number one New York Times bestselling book, Crushing It! There were only 600 made.

Favorite Sneakers from Industry Creatives
8. Air VaporMax Off-White “The Ten”

Virgil Abloh’s sign-off on social media is huge today. These VaporMax Off-Whites from his “The Ten” collection are special. When the Virgil and Louis Vuitton deal was announced, it gave hope to aspiring fashion designers from all corners of the world.

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9. Air Max 1/97 Sean Wotherspoon

Sean Wotherspoon is a good homie, and I’m excited to give a hat tip to him and his accomplishments.

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10. Air Fear Of God 1 Light Bone

I see great things in Jerry Lorenzo’s future, and his Nike x Fear of God collab is one to watch.

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Style What To Buy

Our 6 Favorite Brand Collabs of 2019

This year was full of fantastic brand collaborations. New Balance stepped up to the plate with a genius collection partnered with streetwear favorite Aimé Leon Dore, Travis Scott had an unbeaten run with Nike and Kendrick Lamar was in a league of his own.

We tasked our ONE37pm and VaynerMedia teams with pinpointing the single most impactful—and their personal favorite—collab of 2019. The results are as insightful as you’d imagine, hitting the most notable and memorable. Take a look.

1. A.P.C. x JJJJound

“Justin is doing exactly what I started to do in 1987 when I founded A.P.C. in the sense that his approach is extremely obsessive and driven by a search for perfection that is almost impossible to attain,” said Jean Touitou, the founder of A.P.C. These two brands are focused on quality, execution and minimalism. The product’s fit and wearability always come first. Then, the garments are synergized with clean design and typography. I loved this collab.—Thomas Huerta, VaynerMedia

2. Reebok x Pyer Moss

My favorite sneaker collab of the year, other than the hugely hyped obvious choices (Nike x Sacai, NB x Aimé Leon Dore, Nike x Travis Scott, etc.) would definitely be the Reebok x Pyer Moss Experiment 4 Fury Trail. I’m a sucker for chunky, colorful silhouettes, a fascination which I owe to the many Raf Simons x Adidas collabs over the years. I just love the colors on these kicks; the “baked clay” color on the mudguard is especially beautiful. Kerby Jean-Raymond is a hell of a designer, and he masterfully distills his strengths (an eye for color, a willingness to try different silhouettes) into this sneaker collab. Be on the lookout for the second colorway being releasing Dec. 7. —Charlie Kolbrener, Gallery Media Group

3. KAWS x Uniqlo

If I had to nominate one favorite brand collab of 2019, it would be KAWS x UNIQLO. KAWS has always been a popular name in the art and fashion world due to the artist’s invigorating sculptures that have caught the eye of many greats such as Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz. So when teamed up with UNIQLO, an affordable but chic fashion brand, it was a win-win for consumers who wanted to look stylish at a manageable price point.—Omari White, ONE37pm

4. New Balance x Aimé Leon Dore

My favorite clothing/sneaker collaboration of the year has got to be the New Balance x Aimé Leon Dore project. The shoes are absolute heat, that much is for sure. The gorgeous forest green and the mismatch of different materials (buttery suede next to gray mesh) perfectly complement the corresponding clothing collection. Ultimately, both the sneakers and the clothes are about the interaction of textures. Between the drapey, speckled overcoats and the cuffed sweatpants/shirts, the collection comprises a perfect amalgam of both traditional workwear and retrofitted sportswear.—Charlie Kolbrener, Gallery Media Group

5. Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike by You

This collab basically gave customers the opportunity to customize a collaboration. It made you a part of the collab, powered by Nike by You technology. Not many brands have that ability, and for a lucky few, this was a great moment to add a personal touch to one of 2019’s best brand collaborations.—Michael Saintil, ONE37pm

6. Nike x Sacai

The Nike x Sacai collab was the most hyped—and for good reason—collab of the year. The colorways were great, and the LD Waffle was an underused silhouette that’s now stamped as a classic. You can’t have a 2019 list without mentioning this partnership.—Kevin Smith, ONE37pm

Culture Movies/TV

‘Uncut Gems’ and the Undeniable Drip God, Adam Sandler

A24 has fast become one of the most recognizable independent film production companies in the game. With monumental, critically acclaimed releases like Moonlight, Lady Bird and Midsommar, the company’s films have become some of the most anticipated releases in Hollywood year after year. The studio is closing 2019 with arguably its most widely anticipated film yet, Uncut Gems.

Starring Adam Sandler as a New York City Diamond District jeweler named Howard Ratner, the movie has got fans of the Happy Madison actor’s other serious roles (Punch Drunk Love, The Meyerowitz Stories) positively raring to go. One thing these other films don’t have—that takes center stage in Uncut Gems—is an unbridled commitment to letting Adam Sandler absolutely drip. Between gaudy jewelry, flashy glasses and gorgeous leather jackets, Sandler’s on-screen style is one of the things we’re most looking forward to in the final weeks of 2019. 

Peep Ratner in his already iconic look below. The yellow shirt paired with flashes of gold jewelry and a sleek, oversized leather blazer is already one of the most recognizable looks of 2019.

And although Sandler is often criticized for his poorly fitting off-screen dress, his look in Uncut Gems highlights a universal truth: It’s the person who drips, not the clothes. Because even here in his usual genre of get-up, he looks kind of fly, right? 

If Sandler’s looks aren’t enough to get you hyped to see the film, know that he stars alongside legendary NBA power forward Kevin Garnett and Atlanta star Lakeith Stanfield. Make sure to check out Uncut Gems, which opened this past Friday.

We can finally say it once and for all: Adam Sandler is an undeniable drip god. 

Culture Music

Manager Doris Muñoz Talks Touring, Record Deals and Her Non-Profit, Solidarity for Sanctuary

This week on our podcast Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd sits down with manager extraordinaire Doris Muñoz. This interview is special, because Muñoz embodies so much of what is amazing about the role of a manager. She runs her own management company, mija mgmt, while heading up her nonprofit Solidarity for Sanctuary. In both of these roles, Muñoz demonstrates the power that artists/managers have to create change with their work. The nonprofit has a mission “to amplify the voices of immigrant communities through music, advocacy and the arts.”

Boyd and Muñoz discuss her work with her nonprofit, her mija mgmt company (which manages bedroom pop sensation, Cuco), tips on live shows/touring and some advice for landing a record deal. It’s a hell of an episode, highlighting one of the important factors at the core of the Monday to Monday brand. In the words of Dewey Finn, “One great rock show can change the world.” Muñoz’s work embodies this ethos, demonstrating that music (and those who create it) have the power to impact the world we live in.

Boyd and Muñoz also talk about Muñoz’s genesis as a musician, playing multiple instruments throughout her childhood. Mike tells her what everyone else is thinking: “Wow. You play more instruments and have more knowledge about music than a lot of the artists I meet.” Music was in Muñoz’s family from the start, and she cites her family as the ultimate inspiration her commitment to the grind. “I always saw my mom hustling,” Muñoz tells Boyd. And years later, Muñoz has created a management company that is a safe space for artists to communicate and share ideas. “Shoutout to moms, for sure.”

Muñoz tells the story of meeting Cuco at a backyard show when he already had a devoted following. She approached him to have him play at her upcoming Solidarity for Sanctuary show, telling Boyd, “We literally met up for tacos the next day and just talked for like four hours and then just, decided to test run it. And we just kinda never looked back since then.”

The manager also shares some advice on the fast-paced nature of being a manager: “This job is 24/7 and a half. You know? It’s something that if you are not a thousand and one percent passionate about, yo, you’re gonna be miserable.” Muñoz and Boyd also discuss the trials and tribulations of touring, travel nightmares and the path to getting a record deal. The duo talk about all this and much more, so you’ll have to check out the episode to get the full scoop.

Episode 2: Doris Muñoz

If you want to hear even more from managers and artists paving their way, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when Boyd sat down with Cousin Stizz and his manager Tim Larew. 

Culture Music

Westside Gunn Tells Us His Wrestling Master Plan, Favorite Weed Strains and Relationship with Jay-Z

Westside Gunn is a renaissance man. 

At any moment, he could “diamond cut the coke like DDP”—a nod to 1990s wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, or ask for Virgil Abloh, the artistic designer of Louis Vuitton menswear to write “brick” on a brick of cocaine. That’s because those seemingly divergent cultures— wrestling, music, high fashion—are the nexus for a man with a vision so clear he can turn Buffalo, New York, into the home of hip-hop’s hottest rap group, part-owns a wrestling league and actually get Virgil to write brick on a brick.

Debuting in 2012 with the first entry in his Hitler Wears Hermes series, Westside Gunn is a man who’s both methodical and impulsive. He’ll buy a pair of sneakers from high-end brand KITH just because they matched what he wore that day, but he’ll check the price first. His music mirrors this same process, in a way. His grimey records can go down a murderous train of thought before a random wrestling reference interrupts the flow of murder and mayhem momentarily before vividly gruesome tales resume. That’s not simply for shock effect. Gunn is a die-hard wrestling fan.

“I’m front-row WrestleMania everything. My ticket last year was $13,500. This year, it’s actually going to be $14,500,” Gunn revealed to ONE37pm. “I enjoy it that much. I might’ve invested like 50 to 100 grand just going to wrestling events a year.”

Now, the kid who used to watch Hulk Hogan’s main events is part-owner of House of Glory Wrestling with Master P and Brian Baez. He and his Griselda partners, Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine, recently put out their debut project, WWCD, after signing a management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. 

Westside Gunn stopped by the ONE37pm offices in New York to explain just how he got Virgil Abloh’s attention, how much new music we can expect in the first half of the new year and he tells us a story of a wrestling encounter that led to him becoming part-owner of HOG Wrestling.

Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

ONE37pm: Your first project, Hitler Wears Hermes, came out in 2012. This decade you developed Griselda imprint. What do you see when you reflect on this decade?

Westside Gunn: This was the decade of bringing grimey back because for a while it was gone. Ever since I brought that back to the game and the culture, you’re starting to see it more now. Also making the underground scene more relevant. That was the whole purpose of the Flygod imagery with the Jesus. It was deeper. I wanted something to represent like the second coming of me sacrificing my blood, sweat, tears and money bring that sound back. My goal was always to try to make it popular again and make it mainstream again.

The latest Griselda project that came out was WWCD and my favorite track on that is “DR. BIRDS,” with you rapping, “Told Virgil to write brick on my brick.” Soon after, Virgil Abloh was on video doing just that. How’d that happen?

Westside Gunn: [Laughs] I’m a genius, man. I’m a mastermind, bro. There’s only one Westside Gunn. I did that line purposely because I knew this shit was going to work and turn this shit up. Virgil has been a fan ever since I did “Mr. T” on the Flygod album. He posted that back then. I always drop fashion references, so I’ve thrown Off-White and Virgil name a bunch of times. He caught wind of it. I wanted him to just write “brick” on a brick.

You posted a video of him doing that on your Instagram. Did he send you that video?

Westside Gunn: Yeah. Virgil and I have been talking a lot lately. He’s part of the video process. We shot “DR. BIRDS” video with Hype Williams. It’s done. Virgil is co-producing it. 

As you said, you’re big into fashion. Who’s your favorite sneaker designer?

Westside Gunn: I’m a fly dude. If it’s fly, I’m in it. I might wear some Salomons. I wore some shit the other day from KITH. I don’t even know what it was. I still don’t even know what it was. It matched what I had on that day and I put them on. I looked at the price to make sure it wasn’t any bullshit [laughs]. You have to triple-check the price tag. I probably have every last Balenciagas that’s dropped in the last year—I love their kicks. I love Off-White kicks. I love what Just Don does. He’ll tell you. I’ve been Just Don since the beginning. I love Yeezy, of course. I’m not really big into a lot of newer ones. I really liked my older ones. The pirate blacks, Turtle Doves and the 750s.

Let me get your taste on something else. You mentioned smoking on Cookies and different strains of cannabis on WWCD. What’s your favorite strain?

Westside Gunn: I like Billy Kimber. There’s a company Garrison Lane that grows it. As soon as I touch down in LA, they get me right. 

What I also didn’t foresee this decade was the convergence of wrestling and hip-hop. You’ve been at the forefront of that. Where does that love come from?

Westside Gunn: All I can remember my whole life is watching wrestling. My aunt Jenny, rest in peace, she was a big Hogan fan. Back then, Hogan was on every main event, I was going to her house and watching every pay-per-view back then. I went to the flea market every weekend to get the action figures and the wrestling merch. Once I got older, I still just had a love for it. You know how people start buying a whole bunch of shit when they start getting money. People ask, “Why did you buy that?” Because I didn’t have it when I was a kid. Now, I just sit front row at every wrestling event possible.

Now you’re invested in a league, HOG Wrestling. How did that happen?

Westside Gunn: Brian, who is my partner now, got wind that I really liked wrestling. He started looking into it and he saw everything I was doing. Then, he was like, “If you’re ever in New York around this time come check out my show.” I started following it. I saw he was having [Ric] Flair come. I’m a funny dude. I’m from Buffalo, and people don’t come to Buffalo. So, you don’t really see a celebrity. My granddad and I went out to lunch one day and Ric Flair was at the bar. There was nothing between us but the walkway for the waitress. My granddad was like, “That’s Ric Flair.” I’m looking like, “Oh shit, That’s Ric fucking Flair.”

I’m not no dude to ask for pictures or autographs. I’m not! Michael Jackson could come out the grave and start moonwalking and I’d be like, “That’s dope,” and just leave it alone. When I saw Ric Flair, the kid [in me] was like, “He’s by himself and everything.” I’m like, “Fuck it.” So, I just jumped up and was like, “Excuse me, Ric, I don’t mean to disturb you, but can I get a picture if you don’t mind?” He was like, “No.” Mind you, this is the Westside Gunn that’s been in the streets, sold dope and been in shootouts and everything. All wrestling aside, I’m a real nigga. You buggin’. I never asked for a picture from anyone ever again. This was after I already did Flygod. Once I saw that he was going to the HOG event and there was a meet and greet. I got extra flying on his ass, went over there and I got to meet him. This time it was wild cool. He’s admiring everything.

Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

How did that lead to your involvement with HOG Wrestling?

Westside Gunn: I really liked the show. It was underground, low key and had a cult following already. So, I started flying there on my own dime and time. Once I started doing that, the owner was like, “Damn, he’s coming to a lot. He’s coming to nearly all of them.” It became mutual respect. After going for a while I was just like, “Yo, have you thought of having a partner with this.” He was like, “Nah. I built this from the ground up, kind of like how you did with Griselda.” I really don’t need anybody. If I did something it would be with Master P. I admire his business mind and how he moves.

I left it alone. Then, a few more months go by and he hits me like, “I thought about everything you were talking about. But, do you think you could get me P, too, for a sit-down with him?” I told him, “I don’t know P personally.” I know all the other heavy hitters. He ended up meeting with P by himself before my people could activate it. But, he was a man of his word. He finally got the person he wanted. He could’ve had just been like, “Well I got P, I’m done.” But, him just being a real G, he was like, “I’m going to still give you that percent for that buy-in and you’ll be a part owner with P and I.” We flew out to LA to meet with P and started building from there. 

I’m about to design the merch, work on the storylines. There’s so much I want to do. Now, Peter Rosenberg is like, “Oh, man. If you need me.’ Wale is the same. Everybody now is hyped up. I’ve talked to the Action Bronsons and Smoke DZAs. Currensy and Bun B said they were going to fly to an event. 2020 will be crazy.

Speaking of 2020, how many projects can we expect from Griselda in the first six months of 2020?

Westside Gunn: About four. 

One from each member?

Westside Gunn: Of course. We do this shit in our sleep. I can really say I’m going to drop a project on Christmas and it’ll drop on Christmas. As soon as I’m like, I’m going to do a project, it’s done in two to three weeks. 

What was it like signing with Jay-Z at Roc Nation and him bumping to your music? 

Westside Gunn: He’s been a fan for a while. I always was cool with Emory [Jones] for years. Spanish Ran introduced me to the Roc Nation building. I knew Law for years, too. Different people that I know over there for years were always telling me like he was a fan, especially Emory. Emory always like, “I went to his house. As soon as I walk in, you’re the first thing he’s playing.” The first time I ever met Jay was at his house. I was out there. We kicked it for a while. We just talked about the future. I didn’t even know he knew as much as he did. He was like, “Man, this shit should have been done. I’ve been trying to do this.” He’s always like, “Whatever you’re trying to do, I got your back.”

I just talked to him two days ago. We talk about two or three times a month. I don’t really hit anybody. I’m not a phone guy. We just have personal conversations now. But, every single conversation he makes sure I understand, “Yo, whatever you need bro, I’m behind this shit. You got the vision.” Even though I have him in my corner, I’m not that dude to ask for something. Griselda was built brick by brick. I’m hands-on, seven days a week. You know, how much responsibility I have? It’s not only for me, but for Conway, Benny and so many. I can’t take a day off.

Gaming New Releases

5 DLC Character Predictions for the 40th Roster Spot for ‘Street Fighter V’

Just when you think Street Fighter V has reached its limit, it rises up once again to maintain its relevancy within the FGC. Since its lackluster launch in 2016, the fifth official entry in Capcom’s number one fighting game franchise has worked out its kinks and made itself stronger in key areas. Character balance adjustments, new costumes, plenty of fresh stages and a roster jam-packed with variety have filled out Street Fighter V’s total package quite nicely.

Speaking of that massive roster, Street Fighter V’s character count currently caps out at 39. 26 classic street pugilists have returned, while 13 brand-new fighters and a few Final Fight personalities have also joined the fray. During the final moments of Capcom’s 2019 North America Regional Finals for SFV, two major announcements were made—Street Fighter III’s elemental big boss Gill is the next DLC character, plus a new Champion Edition update is set to arrive on Valentine’s Day 2020. With that update comes an oft-requested character balance patch, a secondary V-Skill for every character and a huge helping of SFV’s stages, costumes and additional modes.

The one aspect of the Champion Edition reveal that stood out the most was the number of fighters it promised to include—40. With Gill’s inclusion, that brings the game’s current roster count to 39. Which now begs the question: Who is the mystery 40th person? It won’t take us too long to find out who it is since the 2019 Capcom Cup (which takes place Dec. 13-15) will surely be the place where we find out their identity.

You already know we love to speculate about fighting games and the character DLC that’s rumored to come to them at some point soon. We think there’s a good chance that one of the characters listed below has the best chances of showing up in their own gameplay trailer during the conclusion of this year’s Capcom Cup finale.

1. Seth

Rumors have been running rampant about Street Fighter IV’s boss being the one to take the final roster spot in SFV. Logic dictates that the game’s arcade mode setup needs one final baddie to complete the arcade ladder’s remaining challenge. Sagat, M. Bison and now Gill fill their roles as the main villain for their respective games, so it’d make a whole lot of sense for Seth to hop on the scene for his boss role in SFIV. Seth doesn’t have the most original moveset, mind you—his specials are lifted from character mainstays such as Ryu, Dhalsim, Urien/Gill, Abel, Guile and Zangief. However, he does offer his own spin on each move to give them the extra oomph they need to stand out from their original version. SFV has done a good job of making characters with similar movesets stand apart from each other, so the same concept can definitely be applied to Seth.

2. Oro

One of the cooler aspects tied to SFV’s story mode sequences is its use of non-playable character appearances. A younger version of SFIII’s Sean can be seen with his sister Laura, for instance. Another case of an old SF character popping up unexpectedly during a cinematic sequence is Oro, the one-armed hermit who’s far more powerful than he looks. Oro could be seen chatting with Dhalsim at one point in SFV, plus he also got a name drop during Karin’s story and another appearance during Menat’s journey. The chances of him finally getting the playable character treatment seems to be higher than usual at this point. Oro’s playstyle is very different from the rest of the SF roster, which would make him a refreshing DLC character addition. If he came with a V-Trigger that released his sealed arm for a mega power boost, we’d flip our lids. Old man Oro would make for a very interesting member of SFV if he were to join.

3. Rose

It feels like Rose’s name has been circling SFV DLC rumors for a while. Menat’s attachment to the tarot card-reading combatant has been alluded to in several story mode scenes, so we all know she’s just hanging around the SFV scene. Now we’re pretty used to seeing characters from every corner of the SF universe pop up all over the place in SFV. In Rose’s case, she seems to play a bigger role in the game’s events than we initially realized. Like Oro, Rose may finally come out of hiding and actively involve herself in the current struggle going on between SF’s world warriors. Her playstyle could be altered in a way that makes her quite different from her prize pupil. If she was provided with a new look and some cool looking V-Trigger’s, we’re sure the Italian fortune teller would garner some love from SFV’s ardent player base.

4. Sodom

Taking an extended look at SFV’s character selection screen would have you thinking that the game is a Street Fighter vs. Final Fight crossover fighter. Abigail, Zeku, Cody, Poison and Lucia all hail from Capcom’s classic beat ‘em up franchise. And that should come as no surprise, seeing as how Final Fight’s Metro City area is officially linked to the SF universe. Now we’re sure that there are some fans out there that would love to see Rolento or even Mike Haggar be the one chosen to further represent Final Fight in SFV. While those two characters are fine choices to go wild over, we’re a bit more inclined to choose Sodom over the both of them. Sodom has been relegated to background stage fodder for far too long now. He deserves the opportunity to head into SFV with his trusty pair of jitte blades and katana swords in tow. In the new version, he’s rocking an even longer white wig is the perfect look for a refreshed SFV Sodom.

5. C. Viper

Our final DLC character prediction shows love to one of the few SFIV characters we wouldn’t mind seeing making a return. It’s not El Fuerte, Abel and it’s damn sure not Rufus (ugh). This pick goes out to the badass lady spy known as Crimson Viper. She actually appeared in a SFV cut scene and could be seen rocking a new set of skintight gear. This new sleek costume would look even sweeter on SFV’s playable rendition of the undercover CIA agent. C. Viper is capable of doling out thunder knuckle punches, shockwaves and flying burning kicks with reckless abandon. Her playstyle appeals itself pretty well to SFV and could make her reach top-tier status in a hurry. Since she’s already appeared in the game’s animated stills, we figure she’s high on the list of DLC characters Capcom is considering for SFV’s 40th roster spot.

Sports Strength

Here Are Your Best Bets for Week 15 in the NFL

Hear me out—I’ve been doing this betting thing for a while now as a sports betting consultant and a regular on CBS New York’s Fanalysis and on Twitter at @OldManWhoBets. I report for duty today in order to share my learnings. Let’s get straight to the picks.

Patriots -9.5 (81 percent of bets)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Shocker, but I’m back on the Patriots again. While I do put them on autopilot often, I feel better than ever this week in supporting both Tom and Bill to bring us to a gambling payday. 

What do we like about the Patriots as a bet? First, the macro: Brady covers around 59 percent for his career. Combine that with New England starting hot ATS, but now 1-5 in their last five points to upward regression, getting us back in the ‘cover’ category. 

Now, situationally, hearing that the Patriots are coming off a loss is always music to my ears. And not just any loss—one in which a rare coaching miscue (losing both challenges early) led to at least one touchdown coming off the board. Add in the fact that they lost two in a row? This is borderline uncharted territory. 

After looking a touch deeper into that game, I did like what I saw over the Texans, where their plethora of no-name receivers were getting more targets. In classic New England form, once Brady stops over-targeting Edelman (and historically Gronk), there are some growing pains (for example, point totals for the last four weeks in which they went 2-2). Eventually, they start to bloom. 

Next, let’s touch on the Bengals for just one second. The Bengals have shown a touch of life these last two weeks with Dalton back at the helm and their WR core coming back from injuries.  Even so, some of the best offenses in the league are struggling to put up points against this suffocating defense, and I’m looking for the Patriots to grind out a win and cover. 

Lastly, it’s important to mention some intangibles: Another camera “scandal” leaking, lots of media chatter about Brady being too old and about them being done. We’ve seen how the Patriots bounce back before, so why can’t they do it again on Sunday?

24-10 Patriots

Titans -2.5 (48 percent of bets)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The return of Ryan Tannehill has been nothing short of remarkable. I’m taking the red hot Titans versus the Texans this week, at home and ready to fight. 

Why? First, this looks like a letdown spot for the Texans. Coming off an emotional win at home against the Patriots, an in-division showdown with the Titans should be a barnburner, and the line reflects that. 

Next, the line: Since opening at -1.5, it has since moved to -3 and back to -2.5, where I’m taking it. With only 48 percent of bets, it seems the sharps agree with me that this is a great spot for the Titans. Game on. 

As for ATS trends, the Titans are 4-1 ATS last five, which is a bit concerning, but I equate this more to the lack of public support they’ve been receiving and the lack of Vegas respect.

On the flip side, I do think Houston is consistently overrated. Big names on both sides of the ball often grab people’s eyes, but of course, this is a team game.

Team game? Here is the team efficiency breakdown:

  •     Titans offense: 9th
  •     Texans offense (with Deshaun Watson! And Hopkins!): 12th 
  •     Titans defense: 18th 
  •     Texans defense (with JJ Watt!): 27th in the league 

Bam. That’ll do it. Titans at -2.5 all day, willing to play it up to -3.

Buy low candidate of the week: Cowboys +1 (12 percent of bets)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Wow, just wow. One week off and the Rams are finally playing good football (note: at home is Goff’s specialty) and the public has seen enough. “Pound the Rams! The Cowboys stink!”

Maybe they do, but I’m not sold. The Cowboys (outside of losing to the Jets) have only lost to above-average teams. Yes, I’m including the Bears as an above-average team, especially with their defense (the Cowboys put up 24 points against them, second-most the Bears’ defense allowed all year). Patriots, Bills and Bears—not a bad resumé of recent losses. 

The slide stops here. 

Dallas is currently ranked number two in offensive efficiency, with the Rams at 17. On the other side of the ball is the polar opposite: Dallas is 22 and the Rams are six.  Looking at overall team efficiency, we get Dallas at seven and the Rams at eight. 

So where does that leave us? With two evenly matched teams, one on a “slide” and one coming from a huge win. The public, of course, is expecting what happened last week to happen again this week. 

After opening at -4 for the Cowboys, locking them in after this movement at +1, a home underdog in a pivotal game is where I’ll be placing my bet.

Leans: Chargers +3 (19 percent of bets)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Chargers have been lackluster this year, to say the least. But in looking a little deeper, every loss of theirs (all eight of them) have been by one score or less. Something’s got to give. Coming off their biggest point win of the season, I’m looking to ride that momentum back at home in a fade-the-public way. Let’s break this one down:

The Chargers have been way better than their record indicates. Minnesota, of course, is a good team.

Offensive Efficiency:

  • Chargers rank tenth, Minnesota ranks seventh

Defensive Efficiency: 

  • Chargers rank 21, Minnesota ranks eighth

The biggest delta here clearly is on the defensive side of the ball, but the Chargers defense has shown up in big games against good opponents, holding the loaded Chiefs offense to only 24 and the Packers to 11. Both of these examples were home games. 

Looking at mutual opponents also indicates this should be a close game, and I’m betting on the home team.

Denver: MIN win by four, LAC lose by three, seven

KC: MIN lose by three, LAC lose by seven

CHI: MIN lose by ten, LAC win by one

The only common opponents where MIN has the upper hand is against poor teams where the Chargers didn’t show up. But here we are, with the Chargers at home playing against a good team as a small underdog. I’m all for it.

49ers -10.5 (44 percent of bets)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

The 49ers have taken the league by storm. After playing literally no one for the early part of the season, they have flexed hard, proving they are indeed a very strong team.

What I love about them is their versatility: Their run game has four NFL starting running backs who all eat up yardage (Breida and Mostert seem to get five-plus for every carry, Coleman and Wilson Jr. are talented in their own right), and Jimmy G, with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders and the maturation of Deebo, has stepped up big time. And then there’s George Kittle, and their defense can be categorized as “Beast Mode.” I love it all.

The data backs up their greatness. Their defense is second in defensive efficiency, including number two against the pass, which has been the only way ATL has moved the ball this year. 

On the other side of the field, ATL’s defense has been porous outside of two weeks after their bye, and are 26 in DEF efficiency. That’s not going to cut it this week. ATL’s offense clocking in at 20 in efficiency also isn’t doing them any favors.

In a lost season for ATL, I’m looking for the 49ers to keep the train moving with a massive victory at home.