I’ll be the first to admit that I know jack-shit about my own personal haircare.
I’ve got a naturally good shock of moussey brown scalp whiskers atop my head. When I was born, it was red. Then at some point it went bone white. And by age 3 or so it had settled on brown.
As far as maintaining it goes, I’m a shambles: I wash it daily with off-the-shelf supermarket-ass Pantene. Classic Clean only, nothing fancy here. I’ve never used conditioner. I drag a grotty comb that I should’ve replaced ages ago through it. Somehow, I emerge from this hot mess looking entirely ok.
I should be taking better care of my scone. I’m trying to learn, slowly. And frankly, there’s no better hair mentor than WWE Superstar and current reigning, defending NXT Champion, Adam Cole.
Cole – the leader of the dastardly on-screen foursome known as the Undisputed Era consisting of himself, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly – has a remarkable head of hair.
It’s airy and emotive, but dense and heavy at the same time. It squares the upper echelons of his forehead with laser-like precision, drawing the eye down to the rest of the face from whence the money is made. It is both friend and foe, a powerful ally and a devastating offensive weapon in an already well-stocked arsenal. It switches effortlessly from business to leisure, semi-formal to formal, kickin’ back to kickin’ ass. It is not at all weird that I’m writing about it like this.
At a recent media preview event for the new WWE 2K20 video game in Las Vegas – which this writer travelled to as a guest of 2K Games – I got the chance to speak with Adam Cole about, almost literally, any topic I wanted.
I chose his hair.
How does he achieve it? How does he maintain it? What cursed demi-god must I offer blood sacrifice to to attain locks half as magnificent?
Adam Cole’s answer was wholesome, straightforward, and life-changing.
“I wash it every two or three days, not every day, number one,” Cole quipped with a grin, fellow good-hair-haver Roman Reigns peering enviously over his shoulder two feet away.
“And then normally all I do is get it as wet as possible, and then I put some nice conditioner in my hair to keep it all wet and flowy and shiny.”
“That’s the trick,” he winked. “I’ve gone through so many bottles [of conditioner].”
The routine doesn’t stop at that either. Wrestlers, almost notoriously, avoid the threat of aerobic-induced lion manes by dumping drought-breaking amounts of water over their heads immediately prior to walking to the ring. The Wet Boys of the squared circle.
But for Cole, it’s a little more involved than simply cracking open a bottle of Evian and squeezing the bejesus out of it above the follicles.
Nowadays, that process is a little more eco-conscious.
“I hate having to use the bottle of water, I used to be a spray bottle guy but I lose them every time. So now I just find a sink, and just dump my head under there. Or better yet, if there’s a shower, that’s significantly easier than the sink; trying to stick your head in the sink with the faucet there.”
“If I can find a shower, I’ll just get it drenched, and then just put a little dab of conditioner in there. Otherwise, if I don’t put the conditioner in there, it fluffs up and dries up in five minutes and then I look like a goof. I’m chokin’ on my dry hair, it’s no good. I can’t perform.”
Rattled by this influx of information, I gamely pressed on with the interview.
I asked him soft-ball questions to buy myself time.
I asked him whether he was happy with his player rating in WWE 2K20 (he is, because “it’s an improvement,” he was 81 overall in 2K19, now 84 in 2K20, and “next thing you know I’m gonna be 96, 98, it’s just gonna take some time. It’s a journey”).
I asked him about whether there was an Undisputed Era group chat (there is, it’s called “The Dude Crew”) and whether anyone gets dunked on particularly hard in there (nope, they’re all “pretty sweet to each other,” and talk about “what we had for breakfast,” “what our weekend’s lookin’ like,” or “what movies we’ve seen recently,” because “we’re good friends”).
But ultimately, I walked away from our brief chat a changed man. A different man. A man who now views his hair not just as scalp accoutrement, but as a fully-fledged character unto itself; a whole entity, not just the sum of its strands.
The hair I have is a gift. I should probably stop treating it like a ratty 16-year-old who only knows what “cologne” is because he’s seen it in an ad in Maxim.
Will I ever get my hair to a level like Adam Cole’s? Hard to say. But if I exhibit even a fifth of the perseverance he has, I’ll be on the right track.
I don’t know what kind of man I am just yet, having spent those brief, revelatory few minutes with him. But I know that I’m a better man for having talked about hair care with Adam Cole. I know that. I know that for sure.
That much, is Undisputed.
WWE 2K20 is out on all major consoles on Tuesday, October 22nd.Image: Instagram / WWE NXT