Oh the good old days, where backstage altercations seemed to be like a weekly occurrence. The times today have certainly changed, and the company is as professional as its ever been. The days of backstage brawls are pretty much done. The WWE’s current strict policies do not allow for these actions to take place any longer. Despite these new rules put into place though, it should be noted that most of the time the fights that occurred in the past began because of passion for what these wrestlers did, something that often seems to lack in today’s generation of wrestlers. Some of the industry’s top and most iconic stars have been involved in most of these incidents.
The backstage fights featured in this article range from problematic in-ring performances, to a long history of bitterness between the two wrestlers. Here are 12 rare backstage incidents involving former WWE stars. Enjoy!
12) The Rock & Bubba Ray Dudley
As a guest on Chris Jericho’s Podcast, Bubba Dudley discussed the time he and The Rock got into a heated altercation backstage before a match. Bubba was extremely ticked off when The Rock refused to take a spot that Bubba had come up with. The plan was for Stacy Keibler to distract The Rock, allowing the Dudleys to take over the match. The Rock agreed with Bubba that it was a good idea, but just not for him. Bubba at first thought it was a joke, but ultimately realized it was not and The Rock was really not on board. This angered Bubba who proceeded to get in The Rock’s face. The wrestlers were backed away by D-Von and Chris Jericho, who were also involved in the match. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.
11) Mark Henry and Vince McMahon
To be quite frank, many were reportedly very afraid of Mark Henry backstage. Mark was always very serious, and it took a talk from The Undertaker to finally loosen him up a little bit. Henry was always very serious because of his aspirations to one day be the face of the company. After a series of ribs, Henry allowed cooler heads to prevail, though one night he finally had enough. During an off-air match, Vince McMahon thought it would be funny to play another wrestler’s music while Henry would make his way to the ring. Mark was so upset that he grabbed the microphone to voice his displeasure about the rib, only to have it also cut off. Following the match, Henry realized everyone had already left the arena. He proceeded to destroy thousands and thousands of dollars of equipment. He then called Vince saying he quit and also threatened McMahon. Henry’s wife finally convinced Mark to go back to work. After meeting with Vince, McMahon realized Henry was not to be messed with any longer. McMahon apologized for the rib.
10) Ric Flair and Mick Foley
Pretty cool to see these two legends laughing about the situation together years later, as the situation is actually quite hilarious. This altercation began after Mick Foley refused to shake Ric Flair’s hand at a live event because of past bashings by Flair towards Foley, calling him a “glorified stunt man”. Following this, Mick asked Flair to sign a copy of his book so he can auction it off for charity. Flair allegedly socked Foley straight in the mouth. Rhyno and other members of the WWE personnel proceeded to separate the two legends. The two had a big laugh about it during a live podcast interview. Flair apologized for the act, while Foley said he deserved it. Pretty funny stuff.
9) Kevin Nash and Roddy Piper
Kevin Nash rubbed many former wrestlers the wrong way during his time with the WWE and WCW, and Roddy Piper was one of them. During a tag match, Piper claimed Nash would always override what he was actually told to do. After the match, Piper was extremely angered with how bad the match was because of Nash and his inability to not only do what was told, but also to put on a decent match. Following the match, Nash yelled at Piper telling him, “you think you’re running things around here?” Piper responded by hitting Nash in the face and threw him out of the dressing room. Nash reportedly left the locker room yelling at Piper, and telling him he’d get him back the next time they were alone (which ultimately never happened).
8) Rick Rude and The Ultimate Warrior
As much as we all loved The Ultimate Warrior dearly, he supposedly wasn’t the easiest wrestler to work with backstage and in the ring. Following a match between Rick Rude and Warrior, Rude reportedly told Warrior to lighten up in the ring. Warrior didn’t take too kindly to these comments and told Rude he’ll do whatever he wants because he is the Warrior. In return, Rude didn’t take too kindly to these words and punched the late Warrior in the face.
7) Ric Flair and Gangrel
Yes, another situation involving ‘The Nature Boy’. Gangrel never understood why Flair would always neglect him. Several times the two wrestlers were in the same building or even the same airport, and Flair would apparently still refrain from saying say hi to Gangrel after so many years. The former leader of “The Brood” had so much respect for Flair that he let it slide and didn’t make anything of it, till one night, during a tour in Australia together, things got heated at a bar. Gangrel’s wife decided she wanted to have a glass wine so the two went to the restaurant bar, where they ran into Flair. Brian Christopher (aka Grand Master Sexy) was also there and heavily intoxicated. Christopher was feeling sick and began to vomit in the place. Gangrel, who was in charge of the tour, didn’t want to make a big scene so he tried to downplay the situation. Suddenly, Flair began to cut a real life heel promo on the two. Flair began to poke Gangrel on the chest and proceed to tell him, “you never were and never will be”. Gangrel finally lost it but was so torn because he had so much respect for Flair. The hilarious part was that every time Gangrel would cuss at Flair, he’d reportedly back it up with the word “Sir”. Just when Gangrel was about to get physical with Flair, Brian Knobbs and Eric Bischoff intervened and calmed the situation down.
If you haven’t yet, I strongly advise you to watch Gangrel tell the story of what happened during a shoot interview; it’s absolutely hilarious.
6) The Undertaker and Bret Hart
The Undertaker is one of the most respected wrestlers backstage in WWE history; when Taker talks, wrestlers listen. Although, this situation was more of a yelling match, as opposed to an actually physical fight. The Undertaker exploded after Bret Hart refused to lose a match to Nash via powerbomb. Hart said it just wasn’t right for his character. The Undertaker exploded on Bret, telling him to do his job and put others over. Eventually, Bret went to Vince and told him he would not do it. Ultimately, Bret still got his way despite getting an ear full from ‘The Deadman’.
5) Chris Benoit and The Miz
During an interview on the Chris Jericho Podcast, The Miz recalled how badly one of his first days as a WWE wrestler went. The Miz decided he would eat his chicken in the locker room, and some wrestlers came in and told The Miz that he was making it fall all over everyone’s bags. The Miz laughed and thought it was a joke. As he left, Benoit began to yell off the top off his lungs. Benoit proceeded to kick Miz out of the locker room with all of his stuff, and Miz was banned from using the locker room for the next 6 months. What a brutal start to his career.
4) Kamala and Andre The Giant
The two giants were reportedly not only feuding in the ring, but also out of it. The situation really got nasty when Kamala pulled a gun on Andre the Giant. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the situation was halted. The story has it that the two were overly physical against each other in the ring. Kamala was very angry after a match and decided to pull a gun on Andre. Kamala also admitted to bringing a gun with him following this encounter as protection against Andre. Crazy stuff.
3) Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart
As you probably already know, Shawn Michaels was quite the rebel back in the 90s. While shooting a promo, Shawn used the term “Sunny Days” when talking about Bret Hart (he was referencing Bret’s alleged affair with Sunny). Bret was apparently very upset following the promo, so much so that he did not speak to Shawn for the next upcoming weeks. Finally, weeks later Bret decided to talk to Shawn, but Michaels wasn’t having any of it, saying, “oh now you decide to talk to me? No thanks.” This comment set Bret off, and according to Jim Cornette, a bottomless Jerry Lawler, who was in the bathroom at the time, ran out of the bathroom in order to stop the fight. Following the brawl, Michaels threatened to leave the business claiming it was an unsafe work environment. Cooler heads ultimately prevailed.
2) The Rock and John Cena
Oh yes, the two men that are considered wrestling royalty got into it for real backstage. The heat between the two began way back in 2007, when John Cena made some negative remarks towards The Rock. Cena told the UK publication The Sun, that The Rock never comes back because it doesn’t help his film career, it only benefits the WWE. Cena added that it’s a joke if you truly believe that The Rock actually loves the wrestling business. The Rock was furious about these comments, so much so that he responded with an online video claiming that Cena only worked for the paycheck. Things finally blew up during a live show. The Rock was extremely ticked off when Cena said The Rock was never there, and this lead to a heated exchange between the two. Thankfully, today the two wrestlers are on great terms.
1) Big Show and The Great Khali
Jericho recalls watching this encounter in complete and utter shock; two giants going toe to toe backstage. Big Show recalls a lot of built up frustrations with Khali that finally blew over. Show was reportedly already frustrated with Khali using many moves that the Big Show made famous (like his Massive Chop). The situation finally blew over after a match between the two, where Big Show was disgusted with Khali’s performance and decided to tell him. What began with yelling, ultimately lead to an actual fight. Jericho recalls it looking like Godzilla versus King Kong. The fight itself was extremely awkward, as the two beasts were fighting with a table between them. Big Show describes the fight as being “the worst fight on the planet”. On a brighter note, Big Show says the fight was actually good and blew off a lot of tension and frustration between the two.