A Study of “Big Dick Energy” in Professional Wrestling

Big Dick Energy is a newly minted phrase. I suppose the concept has been bubbling around the collective unconscious for a while, but according to Know Your Meme, it wasn’t until Anthony Bourdain died that someone put that concept into an easily digestible phrase.

But what is it, exactly? We, as a society, haven’t given a definition to the concept which everyone agrees with. And yet clearly Bourdain had it.

Bourdain pictured here sitting next to Iggy Pop, because why not. Look and bask in some pure BDE. (From Bourdain. Iggy’s a bit too thirsty to truly have it.)

The phrase has spread in the subsequent months to include Pete Davidson1 by way of fans of his fiancée Ariana Grande. Because, it seems, Pete is packing? But does actually packing heat down there mean that you have BDE? Is it the actual meat and potatoes or is it how you present that meat. Or is it the perception of one’s “soul meat”?

Let’s delve in and find out.

Definition 1. “Confidence without cockiness. It is never misplaced and it cannot be simulated. It is the sexual equivalent of writing a check for $10K knowing you got it in the bank account.”2

Definition 2. “Aspirational levels of confidence and security, which may not be dick-dependent. The true BDE-haver is respectful to those around them, but with swagger. Someone with BDE will never text an unsolicited dick pic, because it would simply never occur to them. As well as being the opposite of damaging ideologies like that of incels and the alt-right. In fact, according to Vox, Toxic masculinity is an unsuccessful attempt to mimic BDE and the resentment that occurs when that mimicry becomes impossible.” The lack of the energy means that people can tell right off the bat that it IS mimicry. 3

Definition 3. “Someone with big dick energy is someone with a relaxed confidence in themselves. They’re not shy or quiet, but they’re not arrogant either. And they’re certainly not overcompensating for anything. You may walk with a bit of an attitude, but it’s not try-hard. You don’t put on a cocky swagger in the hope of making a point or drawing attention to yourself, you just stride with confidence.” 4

So if we take those three definitions and delve down to the base ideas of them, we find the following.

1. A relaxed confidence5.

2. A lack of cockiness regarding that confidence6.

3. The perception that you aren’t trying to enhance or lie about that confidence, yet one still has the swagger that comes from the confidence. Without, it must be stressed, needing to be an ass about things7.

4. Now the gorilla in the room is that presumably the reason you have the above 3 things is because you have a big dick. It’s right there in the name. However based on the above definitions, BDE does not require you to actually have a big dick. Nor does it even require a dick in the first place. But I believe it does include a bit of a masculine energy.

So as an example, someone with BDE does not need to buy some overly sized truck or expensive Italian sports car to try to impress anyone. Certainly, you can have one of those things, but presumably, people can sense the reasoning behind it. Either you just happen to like those vehicles or need them for lumberjack work, or it is a façade to try and impress people. If you can’t pick up someone by yourself, perhaps your wealth will be able to do it. And it probably will! But you sure as hell don’t have BDE. 8

Based on the above concepts, we can infer that toxic masculinity kills big dick energy dead. People will easily see that one is putting on a façade. And since if you have big dick energy, you don’t need a façade, the façade itself proves that you do not have BDE9.

So now that the definitions are out of the way, let’s take those concepts and try to determine the wrestlers who exude or exuded BDE! This list isn’t in any particular order. I think you either got it or you don’t meaning that everyone is effectively tied. Lastly, I would like to show you this picture.

The way that Ariana Grande is looking at Pete Davidson? That’s the look of a person looking at a BDE-haver.

Andre the Giant.

Starting off the list is the very first inductee into the WWE hall of fame and the third inductee into the W.O.N. hall of fame, the eighth wonder of the world, and a giant everywhere it counted, Andre “The Giant” Roussimoff!

I just want you to look at the woman’s face who is standing just to the left of Andre. (On Andre’s right) and compare that with Ariana’s.

William Goldman, the author of the The Princess Bride, said that despite Andre’s size, he was one of the gentlest and most generous people he ever knew. Whenever he went out, he’d always pay the bill, not to show off, but because he knew he didn’t have a lot of time on this earth and he apparently just liked having company. Dude could put away alcohol like no one else in history, apparently drinking whole cases of wine or dozens and dozens of pints of beer to get started. Everyone loved the guy. And while Andre didn’t start shit, he was more than capable of finishing things quickly if he felt his friends or innocent people were being taken advantage of. Plus, according to several people in the locker room who had seen the guy shower, the 7’4” giant was proportional…everywhere10.

Braun Strowman

Next up, we have Braun Strowman. A former strongman competitor currently signed to the WWE. He’s relatively new to the world of pro wrestling, but has impressed everyone with being fairly agile for a 6’8” 300 plus pound giant.

I count seven dudes all staring at Braun here and trying to figure out what to do about him.

In his personal life, he appears to be an easy going and thoughtful guy. On his off days he apparently just walks into the forest for hiking and general outdoorsmanship. He seems very willing to admit that he will be learning the pro wrestling craft for the rest of his life and is willing to take lessons from anyone around him. That said, you take notice when he walks into a room and the dude definitely has a strange aura which surrounds him, which I’m pretty sure is BDE. Plus, I would like to compare the way that Alexa Bliss looks at the guy…

That look, tho

to the way Ariana Grande looks at Pete Davidson, and note that Alexa Bliss isn’t that great of an actor, so I believe that look is real.

Alexa Bliss

And speaking of the devil, next up we have Alexa Bliss!

Despite her 5’1” frame, I have to give a nod to Alexis “Alexa Bliss” Kaufman. WWE very often has no idea how to write stories for female characters. This is likely do to the fact that they have no women on the writing staff and of the 17 producers the WWE has on staff, only two are women11. It’s actually a huge problem, in general in the entertainment world and it definitely shows at WWE. For all of Stephanie McMahon’s12 crowing about how we’re in a new era for women wrestling, the actual writers tend to just write all of their women as conniving b-words or simply crazy most of the time. So…seriously WWE…you might want to get on that, but I digress. I don’t blame the character traits she often shows on Alexa herself. The woman behind the character from all accounts just shows up and wins shit. Now I’m aware that these are staged matches, but someone in the back is making those decisions for a reason. Girl definitely gives me a bit of a Rihanna/Cardi B feel. In almost any group, men or women, she’s the dominant, and even with men, they’re very much ok in the submissive role.

Alexa shown here commanding Blake and Murphy to go take care of shit.

Plus, The lady knows that she’s young, rich, and talented but doesn’t seem braggadocious about it. She just is those things.

Shinsuke Nakamura

Coming along for the ride13 is Shinsuke Nakamura. Now we’ve established that too much cockiness disqualifies you, but is that what Shinsuke has? Cockiness? Truthfully, I have no god damned idea what he has. I know that my lady saw him and noted that he had “it”. So I don’t think it’s cockiness, per se. What he does have is a bizarre kind of swagger and dude really doesn’t seem to give any fucks. He supposedly only took the WWE job because they were paying him to work down at NXT on a very light schedule, where housing was cheap, and he could go surfing. He looked at the biggest wrestling company on the planet as a nice way to take a paid beach holiday. And when they brought him up to the main roster, he still didn’t seem to care. He just swaggered around like some kind of mad lizard before putting his body through hell. I don’t even think he knows what the hell he’s doing, but that seems to be part of the BDE deal.

And super last but not least. I’m assuming that the author of this missive has it. Just look at him!


Ironically, by declaring that I have BDE, I may have inadvertently disqualified myself from actually having it. It’s hard to say at this point.

So there we have it! Some wrestlers who all might have Big Dick Energy once we can all agree on what the hell BDE actually is. I’d also like to give out a HUGE thank you to my girlfriend for help with this one, as she seems to be much better at identifying BDE than I am. Especially within pictures. I also apologize to all you Indy/NJPW/ROH/TNA/AAA/etc. guys out there. I just usually only watch WWE. But by all means! I will update the hell out of this article, or write a second if I get some suggestions.

You can argue with me about this on twitter @PhilippeTCA if you have further input. I’m always up for an important debate about current issues. Share and Enjoy!


1 Easily one of the very best reasons to watch Weekend Update in the past year.
2 N. (n.d.). Big dick energy. Retrieved July 7, 2018, from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=big dick energy.
3 Abad-Santos, A., & Gracy, C. (2018, June 27). How Big Dick Energy explains modern masculinity. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/6/27/17506898/big-dick-energy-explained
4 Hosie, R. (2018, June 28). What is ‘Big Dick Energy’ and how do you know if you have it? Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/big-dick-energy-bde-explained-ariana-grande-pete-davidson-what-is-it-a8421601.html
5 Which eliminates the likes of CM Punk, Seth Rollins, The Rock. Really, it’s anyone whose confidence appears to come more from an insane push to prove themselves to other people. Like. The Rock gives way too many fucks and as such does not have BDE.
6 This eliminates the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Vince McMahon, Cena, etc. This list is fairly long actually. That comes with the territory of wanting to be the center of attention, which, to be fair, one often needs if they’re going to be a television star.
7 Eliminating Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Macho Man, etc.
8 I originally had a Hummer as an example of an extravagant car which you could both possess while maintaining BDE. I spoke with my girlfriend and while she broadly agreed with my definition summary, she was quick to point out that nobody with a Hummer has BDE. Nobody can appreciate the inherent beauty of a Hummer because there’s nothing artful there. So take note Hummer owners. You do not possess BDE.
9 Eliminating…sigh. A number of wrestlers. Sorry William Regal. You can’t pee on a flight attendant and still have BDE. Austin, Macho Man again, etc.
10 Which, again, isn’t indicative of having BDE, but also again, we don’t have a strict consensus for what “it” is.
11 Producers for the WWE plan out the matches and “spots” which the wrestlers will then go out and perform, so you can think of them as writing the action scenes of the show
12 The daughter of owner Vince McMahon and chief brand officer for the company. Which…say what you will about nepotism, but without Stephanie going out and pushing the brand the way that she did, WWE doesn’t get no Billion dollar TV deal from Fox. Not that she’s the only person who worked on that. Far from it. But she was a huge part
13 that’s what she said

About Philippe L.

When not out exploring the stars with his good friend Hotblack Desiato, he makes his living here on Earth keeping other people's money safe from the hands of thieves and spinning the occasional yarn. He enjoys beer and coffee very much, but unfortunately he can't eat shellfish or tomatoes.

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