The WWE. One of the most recognizable companies in the whole of the sporting industry. Gracing TV screens for almost 63 years, the brand has become one of the most successful sporting organizations ever. With a growing fan base year in and year out, the WWE continues to develop and establish itself as one of the most powerful and prestigious corporations in sporting history.
As of January 8th 2017, the WWE’s superstar tally stands at 109 athletes. Some of these athletes portray characters who should act as a “face” towards the crowd. In wrestling terms, face means somebody who is liked and cheered on by the audience. Whereas some of these performers are instructed to portray a character who acts as a “heel” towards the audience. The word “heel” meaning somebody who is disliked and booed by the audience.
WWE is staged. The outcomes and characters are staged. What isn’t staged is the years of training, the injuries and the high risk manoeuvres the athletes go through to entertain on a global stage. However not all these personas depicted are fake. In this article, we will bringing you 8 Wrestlers Who Are Tough In Real Life and 7 Wrestlers Who Are Soft.
15. Sin Cara (Tough)
Sin Cara’s backstage record currently stands at 4-0. Jorge Arias, the man behind the mask, began wrestling in high school, establishing a name for himself in the local area. As he grew older, he continued to wrestle at local shows as well as helping out at his family’s funeral home. He began his professional career in 2000 at the age of 23. He signed with the WWE in 2009, after brief stints with TNA, Chikara and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración. Jorge grew up in a rough Mexican neighbourhood where it is reported that many fights, brawls and shootouts have occurred over the years – perhaps this is why Arias is so aggressive?
At 5 foot 7 inches, Sin Cara is known for his aerial and high-flying abilities in the ring, rather than being the big tough guy. However, the Mexican is said to have had altercations with Simon Gotch, Chris Jericho and Sheamus (twice). Not many details were released about the fight between Gotch and Sin Cara, but multiple superstars deemed it a “one sided destruction” that took place at a catering area backstage.
The scrap involving Jericho occurred on the tour bus after Y2J had confronted the Mexican wrestler. Sin Cara snapped and threw a few punches at the Canadian, prompting a group of other wrestlers to pull them apart – but not before Jericho apparently bit his smaller opponent’s finger.
The more notable Sheamus/Sin Cara fight happened in the trainer’s area after an event where Sheamus had instigated that he was more important than the Mexican. Sin Cara called Sheamus out and the Irish wrestler retaliated by throwing the first punch, missing, proceeding to have his legs swept and then receiving multiple punches to his head from the Mexican wrestler. This had followed on from a confrontation between the two a few years ago, where the Irishman had made a remark towards Arias and received a quick right hand to the side of the head. Sheamus repeatedly plays the incidents down, but others in the locker room continue to back up the fact that Sin Cara has had the better of him twice.
14. Kane (Soft)
Although he may be the “Big Red Monster” in the ring, Glenn Jacobs, A.K.A Kane, is actually a very gentle and caring individual outside the WWE. Despite standing at a grand height of 6 foot 10 inches, the big man is a gentle giant who has taken part in multiple events associated with the WWE in which he has visited children’s hospitals, schools and raised money for charity. On March the 12th in 2015, Glenn Jacobs appeared at Star 102.1’s “Dancing with Knoxville Stars” where he danced with a partner to raise money for East Tennessee’s Children Hospital. Before the participating in the event, he commented “back in my college football days, my fellow teammates used to call me Twinkle Toes.” Jacobs appeared on the 2002 WWE version of The Weakest Link where he beat fellow WWE superstar Bubba Ray Dudley in the final round. All of the money won was donated to Jacobs’ choice of charity – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
13. Yoshi Tatsu (Tough)
Yoshi Tatsu didn’t have the most decorated career within the WWE – he didn’t win any titles but was a huge hit with the fans. He was known for his high-flying, acrobatic move set, but was probably best known for his energetic entrance and theme song. As well as being a wrestler, Yoshi is actually a trained boxer and mixed martial artist. Unfortunately for Sheamus, he discovered that Tatsu was much tougher than perceived in spectacular fashion. Sheamus, Yoshi Tatsu and Ted DiBiase Jr. used to share an apartment. Sheamus would act like he completely owned the place, using the other wrestlers’ items without asking or cleaning them. One day, Sheamus had used Tatsu’s protein shaker and hadn’t cleaned it after using it. Tatsu approached the Irishman, confronting him about being a bad roommate. Sheamus reacted angrily towards the Japanese wrestler, so Tatsu proceeded to beat the living hell out of Sheamus, resulting in him begging for mercy.
12. Roman Reigns (Soft)
Despite portraying a hard hitter within the WWE, Leati Joseph Anoa’i is actually a charitable, kind figure. Regardless of headlining many pay per views, setting a new record for the most eliminations in the Royal Rumble and acting as a face to the crowd, many fans see Roman Reigns as “over hyped” and boo him at every event. In the ring, he is a 6 foot 3 inch Samoan man of muscle known for dominating other athletes. Outside of the ring, however, Anoa’i is actually one of the most caring sports performers. Roman auctions opportunities to meet and spend the day with him on CharityBuzz – a website that enables people to bid on events that allows them to meet celebrities or have holidays away. All the money goes to the charity that the person who auctioned the opportunity had chosen. Reigns regularly visits schools and supports the WWE’s campaign against bullying, encouraging children and young teens to speak out if they feel like they are being bullied.
11. The Undertaker (Tough)
The Undertaker has been with the WWE for 27 years. Signing with them in 1990, when the brand was still known as WWF, he has always depicted the same eerie character that is The Undertaker. Mark Calaway, as he is formally known, is a huge fan of boxing and MMA and is actually a black belt in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has introduced some aspects and equipment of MMA into his performances within the WWE, which is very rare considering the company is very strict on superstars only using WWE products.
Throughout his time in the WWE, Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle enjoyed a playful rivalry with his boss Vince McMahon. They would score points against the other by taking each other down. Angle and McMahon had decided to engage in one of these tussles in the aisle of an aircraft on the way to an event, when the Undertaker was suddenly woken by the commotion and witnessed what he thought was his boss being attacked by Angle. His MMA instincts kicked in. He ran and pulled off the Olympian gold medallist and wrapped him up in a choke-hold that was literally seconds away from choking Kurt out until Vince stepped in. His boss explained the scenario, defusing the situation and allowing the three men to have a laugh about it.
10. Randy Orton (Soft)
Randy Orton has been a fan favourite for years. Praised for his difference in character to the rest of the locker room, Orton has been in some of the best feuds the WWE has seen. Winning multiple championships from such a young age, there is no doubt that Orton is and will remain a very decorated member of the WWE roster.
In spite of his character, Randy Orton is actually a happy, warm hearted man who nominates himself for any charity work available involving the WWE. Putting himself forward year after year as a part of the WWE’s Kids Wish Network, he helps grant the wishes of many terminally ill children by meeting them and their families, providing them with full support and even donating money to better lives. Although his character in the WWE may depict him as a sly, manipulative individual, in reality, Randy Orton is one of the most charitable and inspirational wrestlers within the business.
9. Chris Jericho (Tough)
Perhaps one of the surprises on this list, Chris Jericho is known as a heel to the WWE Universe who is disliked by many because of his arrogance and hatred towards other superstars. Surprising to some however, Jericho may actually be one of the toughest men in the locker room.
In a bizarre incident that surprised many people, Chris Jericho was involved in a confrontation with Bill Goldberg, which he won. Goldberg had previously refused to work with Jericho and had began to repeatedly mock Y2J, inferring that he’d never be a successful wrestler due to his size. Jericho stood his ground and insulted Bill before Goldberg grabbed him by the throat. Y2J then proceeded to sweep the leg of 6 foot 4, 285 pounder before applying a front facelock to him, completely restricting his movement. Multiple other superstars then intervened and pulled the two men apart before the commotion could amount even further.
Furthermore, there was also another encounter between Chris and a much bigger wrestler. After Brock Lesnar’s destruction of Randy Orton at last year’s Summerslam event in which he split the wrestler’s head open, Chris Jericho confronted Lesnar questioning why he had done that to Randy. The two began shouting at each other before Brock pushed Jericho away, Chris then got into Lesnar’s face again before others split up the two men. Despite his over the top attitude, Chris Jericho really does seems fearless when it comes to real life confrontations.
8. Daniel Bryan (Soft)
The leader of the Yes! movement is considered as one of the best fan favourites the WWE has ever seen. Daniel Bryan is loved by WWE fans all around the world – not just for his ability and comedic attitude in the ring, but also for his soft side and for his work for others outside of the WWE.
He is perhaps best known for his work with Connor Michalek. Connor was a little boy who, at the age of 3, was diagnosed with cancer in his spine and brain. He was a huge WWE fan and aspired to one day meet his hero, Daniel Bryan. His family and friends started an online campaign which was eventually seen by Bryan, who invited Connor and his family to a local WWE studio to meet. He met Connor and spent the day with him, speaking to him and his parents before suggesting that they should all meet again with Daniel promising to stay in touch. In 2013, Bryan met Connor again, inviting him to a WWE event for a better look around. He spent the day with Connor, talking wrestling, introducing him to other wrestlers, and showing him round the studio before bringing him out to the ring on the night. Without the crowd, Bryan and Connor entered the arena to Bryan’s theme song whilst performing the Yes! motion – with all of the other WWE superstars surrounding the ring and chanting Connor’s name. Triple H then came into the ring and allowed Connor to hit him and pin him to make him champion. After all of this, Connor was invited to WrestleMania by WWE. Connor attended WrestleMania, meeting all of the superstars before witnessing his hero become the World Heavyweight Champion. The first person Daniel went to after the win was Connor. He told the little boy that he had helped him win this title, that he is his inspiration and that he had to keep fighting.
In 2014, Connor sadly lost his fight against cancer and died aged 8. His father reminded everybody that Connor’s last days were among the best of his life, because of everything the WWE and Bryan did for him.
7. Mick Foley (Tough)
Despite being retired, Mick Foley deserves to be on this list, as he’s one of the toughest wrestlers to ever participate in a WWE event. Being a very accomplished man in the ring, Foley continued his career in the film industry, starring in multiple films as well as releasing multiple books before returning to the company as the general manager of Raw. Although he wasn’t known as the most dangerous of superstars in the locker room or perhaps even the most feared, there is nobody who can compare themselves to what Mick Foley has put himself through injury wise.
In his 15 year career as a professional wrestler, Foley has managed to suffer multiple concussions, break his right wrist, fracture his right shoulder, lose his two front teeth and swallow them, separate his right shoulder, break most of his ribs, break his toe, tear his abdominal muscles, break his nose and suffer facial wounds requiring 27 stitches, rip two thirds of his ear off, suffer second degree burns, suffer more second degree burns requiring 54 stitches to close the wounds, break his jaw, suffer internal bleeding, dislocate his right shoulder, dislocate his jaw and break his cheekbone. Foley put his body through hell to ensure that viewers were entertained and, for that, he makes the list.
6. Triple H (Soft)
Despite actually being a tough guy, HHH also has a soft side that many fans may not know of. In the ring, he is the “Cerebral Assassin,” “The King of Kings” or “The Game”, but out of the business he is charity founder Paul Levesque – a man with a lot of time and effort to put into charity work. Always putting himself forward for charity over the years, Levesque created his own charity after the passing of Connor Michalek. After his death, WWE went into shock. Everybody paid their respects and the WWE released an emotional video in dedication to him. Connor was the youngest ever member to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame – and his family were presented with the Warrior Award to commend them and Connor of their strength throughout the hard times.
With HHH and Stephanie McMahon becoming so close to Connor, “Connor’s Cure” was formed. Connor’s Cure is a non profitable charity funded personally by them to help fund research into spinal and brain cancer. Over $1 million was raised when the organization began in order for it to receive the appropriate funding required to allow full development and understanding into the research of medulloblastoma and, last year, in 2016, a further $1 million was raised to allow Connor’s Cure to form a partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research to ensure breakthroughs are made and nobody else has to suffer from medulloblastoma. Triple H is one of the most influential and inspirational superstars to be involved with the WWE.
5. Mark Henry (Tough)
Being a gold medal winning power-lifter must mean you are tough, and that true of the “World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry. Before becoming a professional wrestler, Henry competed in the Olympics twice for the USA and won gold at multiple power-lifting events. He was named the “World’s Strongest Teenager” when he was 18 years old, as many people had already monitored his training and his extraordinary strength. Henry has always been a serious, strict professional throughout his career, and his attitude is one of the reasons he is on this list.
With many people actually fearing Mark backstage, other superstars generally tended to stay out of his way in case anything happened that he didn’t approve of. It took the Undertaker having words with Henry before he even began to loosen up. However, one night at a live event, Mark snapped. Vince McMahon made a mockery of the power-lifting gold medallist when he decided to play another superstar’s theme music when he was arriving to the ring. As it was the end of the show and many fans deemed this a stupid mistake, people began to leave. All of this infuriated Henry who then decided to destroy thousands of dollars worth of equipment and machinery in the empty arena. Backstage, he then quit and proceeded to threaten Vince and the McMahons before continuing to smash more equipment. It took stern words from his wife for Henry to return to the WWE but, upon his return, it was Vince McMahon who actually apologised to him, deciding that he did not want to get on the wrong side of the power-lifter again.
4. John Cena (Soft)
Love him or hate him, John Cena is the face of the WWE and is probably one of the most best known wrestlers of all time. According to www.twm.news, John Cena is the 2nd most charitable athlete in the world and, considering all the work he does for children with disabilities, disorders and long term medical conditions, it really is no surprise to see him so far up that list. John Cena works alongside the Make-A-Wish foundation and has been doing so for a while now. He grants the wishes of terminally ill children, making them and their families happy and giving the children memories to cherish. This is not for cameras, promos or money. Every time Cena speaks about working with the foundation, he speaks with honesty and emotion as he dedicates his time producing great work for those less fortunate. With donations to match all of the personal work he puts into charity, Cena has to be one of the most respected athletes in the world.
3. The Big Show (Tough)
It really is no surprise that The Big Show is on this list. At 7 foot tall and weighing almost 500 pounds, The Big Show – or Paul Wight as he is really known – is WWE’s giant who destroys other wrestlers for fun.
Aged 44 however, Wight’s WWE career may soon be over, as fans grow tired of the same Big Show gimmick that they’ve seen for the past 22 years. One of the superstars that has actually contended with the Big Show’s physicality is The Great Khali. Measuring the phenomenal height of 7 foot and 1 inch, Khali was set to match Wight, resulting in a fierce rivalry between the two. This rivalry formed much quicker than planned, as things got personal very quickly. After Khali had performed in a match in which he used a number of Big Show’s moves, Show confronted him, criticized his ability and then threw a punch connecting with Khali’s jaw, throwing him backwards. Khali retaliated, connecting with Show, and this sparked the giants into continuing to throw punches at each other, until other superstars eventually split the pair up. Jericho described the fight as equal, whereas Show modestly claims that Khali gained the upper hand when he tripped.
This was not the only incident that involved Wight throwing punches. While he was still signed with WCW in 1998, “The Giant” – as he was known back then – actually broke somebody’s jaw. Robert Sawyer, a 30-year-old fan, began shouting abuse at Wight, threatening him and shoving him because he wanted to fight the big man. Whilst standing at an impressive 6 foot 6 inches, a drunk Sawyer stood no chance as Wight floored him with a right hook, breaking his jaw in the process. Do not mess with Paul Wight.
2. The Rock (Soft)
Now, The Rock may not actually be soft, but he is definitely known for his softer side due to his connection with younger fans all around the world. Dubbed “The People’s Champ,” Dwayne Johnson is possibly one of the most decorated athletes in the history of the business. Combining his countless awards and achievements with his brilliant promos and attitude, Johnson quickly and easily became a fan favourite, as well as a company icon, as the WWE Universe began to eat every word he said. Now a semi-retired wrestler, The Rock does appear occasionally at Pay-Per-Views to cut a promo or to participate in a match on the night. Like any event he attends, he always receives an amazing reception from his loving fans out there.
Having helped out at so many charities during his career, making hundreds of donations to better the lives of other individuals, Dwayne decided to form his own foundation with the aim of helping the lives of those most at risk within the youth of America. The disabled, the terminally ill, people suffering from disorders, as well as youngsters that struggle at home or out on the streets are those that foundation aims to benefit most with their work. The “Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation” aims to assist in any way they can to help improve the lives of others.
1. Brock Lesnar (Tough)
“The Beast Incarnate,” Brock Lesnar, is the most feared man in the WWE. The man has proven himself on grand stage after grand stage, as his public image only continues to grow as he gets older.
Being an ex-amateur wrestler, he won 8 Heavyweight Championships at college level, gaining a very impressive record of 106-5 against some of the best wrestlers in America. This fantastic form lead to Lesnar being signed on by the WWE. After a few brilliant years with the company, developing his inhuman like gimmick, Brock decided to chase his dream of becoming an American Football player. Lesnar was a defensive tackle and played a small number of games for the Minnesota Vikings, who were one of many NFL teams impressed with his workout schedules. Unfortunately for Lesnar, due to an injury he attained through a motorcycle accident, he decided to stop his football career to focus on other aspirations.
After this, Lesnar had a stint with New Japan Pro Wrestling for two years before deciding to develop his MMA ability. He signed up for a small event in Las Vegas in 2007, where he quickly beat his opponent comfortably in a time of 1:09 minutes. The UFC then contacted “The Beast” and agreed on a contract. Lesnar fought in the UFC for three years, becoming the UFC World Heavyweight Champion by demonstrating some very impressive MMA performances, picking up a respectable record of 5-3 against some of the better athletes.
Brock returned to the WWE and engaged in some highly exciting feuds with the likes of The Undertaker, John Cena, Triple H, CM Punk and Roman Reigns. As a result of this, Lesnar’s popularity only ever increased and his “Beast” image only grew, as more fans began to support him. Despite claiming that he no longer wanted to take part in MMA, Lesnar then declared he would fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200 on July 9th 2016. Lesnar won the fight, but the result was subsequently overturned to a no contest after he failed two drugs test. Causing controversy and fights wherever he goes, Brock Lesnar has to be one of the toughest men in the sporting world.
With more global wrestling stars being signed onto the WWE, it will only be a matter of time before this list grows. Whether we end up seeing another dominant force living up to Brock Lesnar in the near future is only a mere question that fans may ask each other. However one thing that can be presumed now is that the future is looking bright for the WWE and its fans.