Over the past decade or so, WWE has made a concerted effort at advertising towards children, ensuring all programming is rated PG to keep as many kids watching as possible. This might lead people to believe the audience veers young in general, but in fact, recent reports indicate the average WWE viewer is actually getting older. Regardless, close to 20% of wrestling fans are indeed younger than 17 years old, which is a large enough percentage that the industry remains directly and heavily affected by these kids being present.
While some older WWE fans have complained about this trend, the McMahon family has been pretty adamant that the PG era is here to stay. For the most part, the wrestlers seem totally fine with this fact, reveling in the love and adoration given to them by fans of any age. That said, not everyone in the world is necessarily good with kids. Even the WWE superstars who act naturally around children can look pretty weird when seen doing so. Because these kids want something to remember the moment by, they usually ask for plenty of pictures, which the wrestlers pretty much have to grant no matter how ridiculous they look in them.
It’s probably safe to say at least 90% of the children who get to meet wrestlers walk away from the experience with smiles on their faces, and that’s really all that matters. WWE superstars make kids happy, and they deserve to be applauded for it. However, if they look silly when doing so, it’s only fair that silliness gets shared with the whole world. Keep reading to see 15 photos of wrestlers being weird around kids.
15. Triple H Is A Big Bully
The great thing about a photo like this one is that all the pieces add together and make every element better through their synergy. No matter who Triple H was giving a group headlock to, the face he’s making is already a winner. That all of his victims are children is funny enough, and that one of the three girls remains entirely photogenic despite the experience is the real clincher. The one male fan actually selling the move despite HHH barely touching him also deserves a little bit of credit. The other two females seem to think the whole ordeal is pretty hilarious, which would probably be the appropriate reaction. Given the length of his hair, it’s safe to say this was well before Triple H went corporate, meaning the kids probably still viewed him as the evil Cerebral Assassin who beat up a handful of their heroes with sledgehammers. That they don’t care about this is yet another part of why it works so well.
14. Sheamus Meets His Mini-Mes
Kids like playing dress up, and if they’re headed to a WWE event, it makes sense they might go in costume as their favorite wrestler. It’s also completely reasonable that said wrestler would appreciate the gesture if they happened to see the kid, offering a photo shoot and maybe some autographs. Sheamus started making mistakes by grabbing the kids out of the audience immediately after a match, and he kept them coming with his outright bizarre facial expressions as they paraded around the ring. Full video of the event shows Triple H and Randy Orton stuck at ringside while Sheamus and the kids celebrated, and both had trouble hiding their laughter, making it a little hard to believe they typically hated each other in storylines. Once again, it’s fair to point out the kids seemed to immensely enjoy the experience, so more power to Sheamus for giving them something special to remember. Still, he could probably make more normal faces when doing so, because this weirdo might embarrass the kids when the shock wears off.
13. The Big Show Hugs Everybody
Once upon a time, giants were supposed to be scary. Throughout much of his career, The Big Show has been compared to WWE Hall of Famer André the Giant, for obvious reasons. This often included using his massive size to intimidate opponents and using knockout punches to further elaborate his physical power. And then other times, it meant Big Show was the world’s cuddliest athlete as well as the largest, especially when lots of young fans are around. In this particular photo, it looks like Show is doing his best to hug absolutely everybody at the same time, whether they like it or not. Most of the kids do appear to appreciate the giant bear hug they’re caught inside, but at least a couple look a little trapped and uncomfortable, adding an unsettling element to Show’s equally humongous grin. Although it looks a little odd, one thing for sure is that these kids aren’t scared of The Big Show in the slightest, seeing him as a big friendly giant at best, or maybe even a knuckleheaded teddy bear at worst.
12. The Miz Gets His Revenge
Without the full story behind this photo, it looks like The Miz is being pretty harsh toward that young female fan. Clearly, she thinks The Miz is awesome, announcing such on her shirt, and still, the former WWE Champion is angrily placing her in a headlock. It starts making a little more sense once you realize who the fan is and that she wasn’t always a Miz fan, by any means. In fact, this young fan earned Internet meme fame as the “Angry Miz Girl” for her incredible scowl, caught by WWE cameras after The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase against Randy Orton. This picture was taken a few months later, when the girl, whose name is Cayley, won an honorary Slammy Award for “WWE Universe Fan Reaction of the Year.” Although Cayley apparently changed her opinion of The Miz enough to wear his shirt and take this picture, her love for Randy Orton was still intact backstage when she allegedly refused to let go after he hugged her.
11. The Usos Are Always On Their High Horse
Being trained by their father, Rikishi, and teaming with one another throughout their entire careers, twin brothers Jey and Jimmy Uso obviously know what it means to be a close, tight-knit family. Given the extended Anoa’i family history, chances are, the Usos will continue this legacy with their children. If that happens to be the case, maybe one could guess this photo shows Jimmy Uso teaching his kids, Jayla and Jaidan, how to jump off high places and perform the family’s trademark Samoan Splash. Well, that’s probably not the case, and without that explanation, it looks pretty silly to see an entire family on a single oversized chair. Granted, even a chair that size wouldn’t be able to hold even half of the Anoa’is were the entire clan visiting wherever the Usos were when they took this photo. It may also be worth noting that Uso’s two kids were born before Jimmy married his current wife, Naomi, though she has since adopted them as her stepchildren.
10. Good Dads Always… Teach Their Kids To Gamble?
For all the deserved credit WWE receives related to their work with children in general, Titus O’Neil has always taken things to an entirely different level. The former Prime Time Player has dedicated much of his life to charity, helping literally hundreds of students in his native Tampa Bay area get into college one way or another. On a more personal note, he managed to get named the 2015 MEGA Dad Award for being the “Celebrity Dad of the Year.” His two sons, Titus and Thaddeus, are pictured in this poker moment, bonding with their award-winning dad by…gambling? Sure, parents should be spending all the time they possibly can with their kids, and sometimes, that includes teaching them about potential shared interests. Some people might think the O’Neil boys are a little young for poker, though. It’s a pretty adult pastime to the extent that one can almost picture the cigar smoke filling the room a few years down the line. Of course, it might not go that way, and if poker’s the worst habit the boys pick up, O’Neil can rest pretty easy.
9. If It’s Too Loud, Kane’s Too Old
For nearly twenty years, Kane has been walking to the ring following a terrific explosion of fire, and he typically causes more flames to explode moments later, as well. After all those years, Kane’s ears simply can’t take it anymore, or at least that’s the best explanation for why he looks so uncomfortable in this picture. It’s also worth noting how relaxed and unafraid the children look around the so-called Big Red Monster, who looks more like a slightly annoyed uncle than a monstrous professional wrestler. The children’s shirts and the event backdrop imply they all know Kane is a wrestler, but they just don’t care, presumably because of how weak and ineffective his character has been made over time. At the start of his career, chances are, these same kids would run away screaming if The Undertaker’s brother came walking their way, not surround him and mug for the camera. Of course, Kane isn’t doing anything to help himself here with his awkward, pained expression.
8. You’re The New Goldust Now, Kid
If kids want to dress up as their favorite wrestler, who are we to judge? Sure, those kids might not entirely understand the character they’re dressing up as, but they don’t necessarily need to — even if the person originating the role is bestowing it upon them. More so than anyone else alive, Dustin Rhodes should be aware that the Goldust character has done some things that aren’t exactly appropriate for children. Granted, the Bizarre One has become a comedy character in recent years, but initially, he used sexual mind games to freak out his opponents. Needless to say, it feels very, very strange to give that character to a child who can’t be over 10 years old. On the other hand, a kid who only knows Goldust through his palling around with R-Truth doesn’t need to know any of that. If getting the Rhodes stamp of approval on his face paint can make a dream come true, let’s just hope no one ever ruins it by telling him why it was so strange.
7. The Next Paul Heyman Guy?
To an adult fan of the WWE Universe, former ECW mastermind Paul Heyman may just be the greatest manager in the history of sports entertainment. Through the eyes of a child, however, it’s probably hard to view him as anything but the man who controls the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. For this reason, there’s little surprise this young wrestling fan looks damn near terrified over the fact Heyman is whispering something into his ear. In all likelihood, the kid was having the time of his life up to seconds before this photo was taken, meeting some of his heroes and palling around with Triple H et al. Suddenly, Brock Lesnar’s handler walks on the scene and needs a word with him, in private…yikes! It worries one to imagine how terrified the poor kid would have been had Lesnar himself stopped by. Luckily, that didn’t happen, and there are no children in Suplex City, as far as we’re aware.
6. Triple H Isn’t A Heel; He Just Plays One On TV
Though it isn’t immediately apparent, this photo may be one of the most revealing in recent WWE history. One might not even realize it’s Triple H hunched over the guardrail whispering to the young fan, and it’s impossible to know why he’s doing it without the full story. That said, the story is fairly well known. It happened during the main event of Raw on January 19, 2015. John Cena was in a handicap match against Seth Rollins, Kane, and The Big Show, and to make things even harder on the Face of WWE, The Authority was gathered at ringside. For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, something during the match caused the kid in the photo to start crying, which Triple H and Stephanie McMahon soon noticed. Regardless of the fact it happened live on TV, cameras weren’t facing HHH at the time, so he broke character to tell the kid it was all a show, patted him on the head, and stopped the tears.
5. Y2J Rocks Out
In addition to being a legendary WWE superstar and the first ever Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho has also boasted for years that he’s the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah. More than a mere nickname, Y2J has been setting out to prove his “jack of all trades” status by appearing as the lead singer of metal band Fozzy, occasionally taking time off wrestling to go on tour and record albums. Based on this photo, Jericho’s kids might be more interested in the rock star aspect of his life than the wrestling half, as they’re wearing some pretty metal expressions as they all pose for the camera. Jericho’s son, Ash, especially seems to take after the old man, wearing an expression some might call the most rock and roll of the bunch. That one of his two twin daughters is less interested in joining in on the family fun isn’t that big of a deal, considering they were all pretty young at the time. Maybe the Jericho family needs a new portrait now that the kids are more in tune with what rocking out actually entails.
4. Winter Is Coming, And So Are The Rowans
Look, we get it. When you’re taking the family Christmas card photo, it’s not a bad idea to throw some snow into the mix to really drive home the theme. This photo of Erick Rowan, his wife, and children would be entirely normal and not worth commenting on were it not for Rowan himself making some strange wardrobe choices. Instead of wearing a regular winter coat like the rest of his family, Rowan is wearing a blanket that starts to give him a rather Game of Thrones look, especially when coupled with his long red beard. Oddly enough, it seems like Rowan would look a little out of place in his own family no matter where they were, as he seems unable to drop the woodsman look whether with his real family or as a member of Bray Wyatt’s. With that in mind, maybe digging into the GoT look was a good idea after all because there’s no reason to fight the inevitable.
3. HBK Hooks Them When They’re Young
Professional wrestling has been a family business for countless WWE superstars, with plenty of once successful grapplers quietly (or loudly) hoping their kids will follow in their footsteps. While the idea is a little controversial, there’s ultimately nothing wrong with parents wanting their son or daughter to be a pro wrestler, dangerous though it may be. If anyone has the proper information to try and push that sort of profession on their kids, it would be former wrestlers since they at least know the risks going into things. That said, based on this photograph, maybe Shawn Michaels could have waited just a little bit longer before he literally showed the ropes to his children, Cameron and Cheyenne. The elder of the two, Cameron, has only recently turned 17 as of the time this article is being written, and he was clearly quite a bit younger than that when he Irish whipped his sister. Then again, HBK definitely understands how to keep his own heartbreak kids safe in this situation, so maybe it isn’t as bad as it looks.
2. The Neidharts Take A Nap
It’s a photo plenty of dads can probably relate to, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous. Jim Neidhart may have been a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion and the enforcer of The Hart Foundation, yet he was indeed also a parent to three children, including future wrestler Natalya Neidhart, who happens to be sitting on him in this photo. Because things are a little blurry, it’s hard to tell if Neidhart is wearing a pink blanket or was playing some sort of dress-up game with Nattie, considering she’s wearing a pink tutu herself. Either way, Neidhart doesn’t look to be in the best shape, be it due to his lifelong struggle with substance abuse, or possibly just playing too hard with someone who had more energy than he did. Regardless of why, it caused him to pass out on the couch, giving Princess Nattie a new throne on her father’s anvil-shaped back. With family memories like these, its no wonder WWE is more likely to mention Uncle Bret when discussing Natalya’s lineage.
1. Roman Reigns Has A Tea Party
The Guy might be pretty controversial amongst fans of the WWE Universe, yet Roman Reigns is more than content earning the respect of the one fan who matters to him the most. No, not Vince McMahon, to whom Reigns owes his career. The real most important person in Roman’s life is his daughter, who can be seen having an adorable tea party with her dad in the above photo. The snapshot was part of an effort to support a Father’s Day ad campaign, the goal being to explain to dads everywhere that it doesn’t matter who they are or what they do for a living; it’s important to make the time to play with your kids. The Ad Council definitely knocked it out of the park with this one, because just about everyone can have a little bit of fun picturing The Big Dog singing “I’m a Little Teapot” (or watching it on video, in the full commercial). It almost even makes it a little bit harder to boo him…almost.