Every fan had their favorite wrestler growing up. Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The Undertaker—these and many more were the names that helped elevate pro wrestling.
Many of them broke into the mainstream, either through their exploits inside the ring or by landing major movie roles. It got to a point where many of wrestling’s biggest superstars seemed invincible.
At the end of the day though, they were just rough and tough figures working their way up the ladder trying to make a name for themselves. When the cameras went backstage, they captured wrestlers in their natural habitats, relaxed and down-to-earth.
The following images below reveal pro wrestlers behind the scenes when they’re disarmed and carrying on with their lives like anyone else.
20 Two Rivals Play Nintendo
How can we not feature this one? It’s too good to leave off the list. On the left is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and on the right, Mankind, who are both playing Nintendo 64.
Despite the two being major rivals, backstage they both look like friends having a friendly competition over video games instead of in the ring.
19 Vince And Paul Bearer Having Fun
Here’s just a glimpse of some of the antics that go on backstage at a major wrestling event. While they might be execs and managers, behind the scenes they’re a bunch of pranksters who like to kick back and have a laugh.
According to eBaum’s World, this was during a match between The Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker, which shows Vince McMahon inside the casket and Paul Bearer smiling.
18 D-Generation X
One of the more legendary stables was D-Generation X. Fans will recognize the three former wrestlers seen here, who were once part of the wresting stable.
From left to right, it’s Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg and Triple H, who all continue to play a part in making the WWE what it is today, but from behind the scenes.
17 In The Ring Or Behind A Desk
Wrestlers do more than perform in the ring; they also take a hands-on approach to operations behind the scenes. Bret Hart looks to have huddled up with an AOL expert behind a computer.
Hart’s head appears to be somewhere else, but that’s only because he belongs in the ring, not behind a desk.
16 Veterans And Newcomers
The backstage of a major wrestling event gets packed with stars from the WWE’s long history. Two examples include Brock Lesnar, seen smiling in the background looking on, who at 42-years-old still competes.
Then there’s the next wave of up and coming wrestlers, which includes Ronda Rousey, former UFC star standing on the left.
15 Luke Bryan With A “Good Dude”
Everyone can appreciate pro wrestling and what these stars do in and out of the ring. Country music artist Luke Bryan bumped into John Cena and didn’t hesitate to take a photo with the wrestler and post it to Twitter.
“Good dude here,” wrote Luke Bryan in a caption on Bryan’s Twitter back in December 2016 (Nash Country Daily).
14 Kevin Nash Pulling Up A Lap For A Seat
This comes from what many consider to be the Golden Age of wrestling. Kevin Nash looks comfortable with a glass of beer in hand while kicking back on top of Meng, who's sporting a smile.
The two appear on good terms considering they’re out of the ring and chopping it up. What a fan would give to know what stories and jokes they told at this moment.
13 The Undertaker Shows His Admiration For Bautista
It brings chills to fans when they see fellow wrestlers meet for the first time and exude mad respect for one another. That was the case here when The Undertaker tracked Dave Bautista down during SmackDown 1000 in October 2018.
The clip shows a brief exchange between the two legends, in which The Undertaker expressed his admiration for Bautista and got a thanks in return (Sportskeeda).
12 Run-D.M.C. Hangs With The Harts
The McMahons aren’t the only high profile wrestling family. The Harts have a lineage of pro wrestlers, with two of them pictured here. Both Bret Hart and his brother-in-law, Jim Neidhart, managed to catch up with Run-D.M.C. backstage at a major wrestling event to snap this photo.
It’s always exciting for a fan to see a major artist show appreciation for the WWE’s stars.
11 The Hardy Boyz With Christian
The Hardy Boyz may have had many tumultuous matches against Edge and Christian (the latter of which is sandwiched between both Matt and Jeff Hardy), but behind the scenes they all get along just fine.
No matter how much drama there was in the ring, wrestlers know it’s nothing personal and act like professionals whenever they're outside it.
10 Two Legends
The Undertaker may be one of the most intimidating pro wrestlers to ever step into the ring, but outside of it he’s a teddy bear. In this backstage photo, he couldn’t resist going up to Goldberg and showing the fellow wrestler some brotherly love.
When someone joins the WWE, they’re part of a family.
9 Pitch Perfect
C.J. Perry, better known as Lana, appeared in both movies Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. She got to work with Anna Kendrick, who caught up with the wrestling star backstage at an event.
She even planted a kiss on Lana’s cheek, suggesting the two formed a friendship over the course of filming.
8 Nash And Michaels
Let’s take a moment to thank the photographers who snuck backstage to snap legendary photos like this one. Kevin Nash had his long list of rivals over the years, such as Goldberg, The Undertaker and Triple H.
Arguably the best one though was the one he had with Shawn Michaels, who's seen here locking horns with Nash.
7 Bella Twins
The WWE has had its share of sibling tag teams and the Bella Twins are certainly making a splash today. They’ve even managed to transcend the sport and land themselves a reality show called Total Bellas.
The two look focused backstage as they get ready to appear before masses of fans.
6 Legendary Huddle
This image gives long-time fans goosebumps. Although the context isn’t known, what’s immediately recognizable are the three figures captured here on friendly terms. Vince McMahon is finding amusement chatting it up with Bret Hart while Hulk Hogan looks on in the background.
These three hold a special place in the hearts of fans for all the good shows they put on.
Part of being a pro wrestler—or any kind of celebrity for that matter—is socializing with fans. Braun Strowman not only took the time to connect with a fellow fan backstage but did so with a big grin on his face.
Having been a part of SummerSlam and Survivor Series, he has a lot of accomplishments under his belt.
4 Former Romance
One of the more recent relationships in the WWE was Nikki Bella and John Cena. Although the two broke it off, this photo shows happier days for the couple during the lead up to a SummerSlam.
The two share a kiss before making an appearance at the highly anticipated pay-per-view event.
3 Arena Arrivals
Before a wrestler does their ring entrance, they have to enter the building. Usually they’re dressed up casually and downplay their appearance with sunglasses or a pair of headphones.
This photo shows Samoa Joe, Kofi and Neville all arriving at a major venue in preparation for the evening's big event.
Dustin Patrick Runnels, best known as Goldust, had a long and storied career in the WWE. He had several runs over the years and like many athletes and fighters, seemed destined to keep coming back to the sport.
According to eBaum’s World, he’s seen here backstage at an event signing an autograph for none other than Emma, a current Diva in the WWE today.
1 The McMahons
What would the WWE be without the McMahon family? Vince, who’s seen on the right, has made the family business into a valuable brand known across the globe.
His daughter, Stephanie, is on the far left and, aside from being a former wrestler, now presides as Chief Brand Officer and board member. Triple H, standing in the middle, is an exec at WWE too.
Sources: Nash Country Daily, Sportskeeda, eBaum's World