As you will see in these classic behind the scenes pictures, times have really changed. The business today is certainly much more professional, as it seems like someone has a role for every little aspect of the company today. To think that back in the 90’s Vince McMahon, Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson would write the script of the following show poolside at a hotel on a piece of paper. Man, oh man have times changed; today, there is an entire writing team that assembles the storylines months in advance. Some wrestling fans believe this factor lead to the demise of the WWE, and claim it is too scripted and puts way too much emphasis on entertainment.
These pictures will hopefully allow you to breathe a breath of fresh air. This was without a doubt the golden age of pro wrestling! Here are 15 extremely rare behind the scenes pictures from the WWE and WCW. Enjoy!
15) Bret Hart and The Undertaker Enjoy Some Time On The Road
Life on the road has certainly changed quite a bit since this picture was taken in the early 90s. Wrestling was like a circus atmosphere backstage; rules and policies were out the window, and half the locker room would be thinking about which bar they’d be hitting up next following the show. Today, wrestlers are much more business-like going from show to show and spending most of their off time training and recovering from their recent shows.
Notables in this picture include the late greats: Owen Hart, Yokozuna and Paul Bearer. Referee Mike Chioda, The Undertaker and Bret Hart are also a part of this big group of wrestlers. The Undertaker is supporting his “American Bada**” look in the picture. These guys must have great memories of life on the road.
14) The Beginning of Edge
A very young looking Edge made his debut with the WWE in 1996. Edge initially started working with the company on a part time basis without any set contract. Edge made $210 per week. In addition to this, the WWE helped to pay off Edge’s College debt which was right around $40,000. Later on, Edge would make his debut under the gimmick you see in the picture, which was a loner-like character that would walk the streets alone. Following this character stint, Edge would join Gangrel and Christian, and the alliance would be known as The Brood.
13) Behind The Scenes With Austin and Foley
When it comes to the Monday Night Wars it doesn’t get any better than these two men. Foley and Austin are responsible for ultimately causing the demise of WCW. Foley changed the ratings war after winning the championship live on RAW. It was perhaps one of WCW’s greatest downfalls after they announced Foley would be winning the belt later on in the night. This caused millions of viewers to turn away from Nitro and watch Foley capture the championship in the main event match. As for Austin, well, I don’t think anything needs to be said; Steve turned the landscape of pro wrestling forever with his rebellious character that brought the Attitude Era to new heights.
As you can see in this picture, the production value certainly wasn’t what it is today. But you can argue that the program itself isn’t even close to what it was during that era of pro wrestling.
12) Snoop Dogg and The Godfather
Snoop Dogg loves the WWE, and this was the first of many appearances by the famous rapper. Snoop is the first cousin of WWE Diva Sasha Banks. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Snoop again in the future.
As for The Godfather, many fans tend to forget that he actually had a pretty good run in the 90s. After starting as Kama and then joining the Nation of Domination, he later stumbled onto the gimmick as The Godfather. He enjoyed some decent success with this gimmick capturing the Intercontinental Championship. After retiring from the wrestling business in December of 2002, The Godfather returned to Las Vegas to manage Cheetah’s, a gentleman’s club.
11) Shaq Chilling With The Nation of Domination
In this picture is Shaq, joined by Nation of Domination members D-Lo Brown and a very young looking Mark Henry. You can also see the chaos taking place backstage with a very young looking Vince Russo at work with the WWE. Pat Patterson is also in the picture looking sharp as always. The Nation of Domination was a very successful group which ultimately helped to put The Rock’s career on the map. The group would eventually end up disbanding after The Rock decided to run solo because of his rise to fame with the company.
10) David Arquette With WCW
Not only did David Arquette wrestle for WCW, he would go on to win the championship for the company. Wrestling enthusiasts call this the darkest moment in pro wrestling history. Orchestrated by Vince Russo, the thought process was that having Arquette as champion would draw in a global audience. It instead caused WCW to lose its credibility and in the process, losing the only fans it had left. The storyline ultimately sealed WCW’s faith.
9) A Young Stacy Keibler With David Flair
Unbelievable to think that Stacy’s career would get kick-started by winning a contest held by WCW to find the next Nitro Girl. Stacy defeated 300 other contestants for a spot in the group (she also collected $10,000). Her winning routine was a major hit for the company, drawing 4.4 million viewers. She was later involved in a storyline with David Flair, which involved the two dating on and off screen. The storyline between the two came to an end when Stacy announced she faked a pregnancy and followed this up by breaking up with Flair. She would later be taken off television, only to later return under her real name, Stacy Keibler, as opposed to Miss Hancock.
8) Austin on Regis
Many new school wrestling fans tend to forget the impact Austin had on the business, Steve made wrestling mainstream. During his feud with Vince McMahon, Austin revolutionized the business and turned it upside down. Austin brought an edgy style to the program which had never been seen before. Before you knew it, all the kids on the playground were flipping off their teachers like Austin did towards McMahon. His contributions to the business were immense and will never be forgotten.
7) Kiss and Its Epic Failure With WCW
Oh Eric, how you dropped the ball with this one. I must admit, yes, the picture is pretty cool. However, that’s where it ends. For some reason Bischoff thought it was a good idea to have a wrestler named “Kiss Demon” represent Kiss. Not only was the wrestler a massive flop, but the band flopped even worse during an episode of Nitro. Bischoff decided to end the show with the band performing some of their hit songs, but the segment turned out to be one of the lowest rated segments in Nitro history. Seriously, what was Eric thinking?
6) The Nature Boy In and Out Of The Ring
He truly was the Nature boy in and out of the ring. This picture pretty much sums up Flair through the 70s, 80s and 90s. Everything he said he was, he truly was, “a limousine ridin, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin son of a gun!”. Flair was known to be quite the party animal outside of the ring (he literally purchased a limousine to drive him around after shows). He would buy brand suits costing him $1,000 every week. Finally, he would also rally women at hotels to come up and party with The Nature Boy. The rules were simple according to Flair, you had to be between 18 to 26, good looking and without a boyfriend at your side. Got to love the Flair. WOOOOO!
5) Sting Unmasked
Although fans had already seen Sting without face paint various times earlier in his career, there was still such a tremendous mystique element when you saw his face clean. Sting decided to go through an entire new gimmick overhaul in 1996, growing his hair out long and dark, and he also wore all black. This was a drastic change in comparison to his blonde, flat top hair with multi-colored tights. His new look would ultimately revolutionize WCW. He would later become the first wrestler to stand up to the NWO. Sting quickly became the face of WCW.
4) Jay Leno Wrestles With WCW
Yes, even Jay Leno had a run with WCW. Eric Bischoff was hungry for mainstream popularity during the prime of the Monday Night Wars. Leno would go on to team with Diamond Dallas Page, and the duo would take on Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff at Road Wild in 1998. Leno and Page were ultimately victorious in this main event matchup.
3) Owen The Class Act
Those who were around Owen knew what a big heart this guy had. Not only was he the most popular amongst his peers, he was also great with his fans. Owen would go on to work as the co-leader of the Nation of Domination alongside The Rock. Once the Nation slowly faded away, Owen tag teamed with Jeff Jarrett. After turning down an affair storyline with Jeff’s manager Debra, Owen went on to work under the gimmick of The Blue Blazer.
2) A Young Looking Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus
Times have changed. Today, Stephanie has a prominent role in the company, while Trish successfully runs her own yoga studio. Stephanie started in the business after graduating in 1998 with a degree in Communications. She later began with the WWE working as a model for merchandise. She later worked as the company’s receptionist, creative design, television production and later Senior Vice President of creative writing. In 1999, as a suggestion from Vince Russo, Stephanie would make her on-screen debut working a storyline with her father, Vince McMahon and The Undertaker. The rest is history!
1) The Rock Hanging Out With Some Celebs
You just knew this guy was going to become a star. In 2000, The Rock got his biggest break in the entertainment industry when he was asked to host Saturday Night Live, 16 years ago. His successful appearance made way for some big Hollywood offers. The Rock would go on to appear on Star Trek and That 70’s Show. He was later named number 6 on the top 10 list of Celebrities of 2000 on an Access Hollywood list. His appearance on SNL was truly the start of something special.