What makes a good heel so great is our inability to see them as anything but that in real life. Today, it seems difficult to create that type of heel for various reasons; for one, some heels are so good at what they do that we actually like them (ex: Seth Rollins). Second, with so much backstage footage pertaining to real life situations, we can see even further that these wrestlers are actually good, normal people (like Kevin Owens for example, who is quite the family man and loving father away from his arrogant and cocky in-ring demeanor).
In this article we will look at some less obvious cases of wrestlers you were probably not aware of that are actually the nicest people behind the scenes. The list includes current and past heels, some of which are regarded as the biggest heels in all of the company today. What makes these 15 so great is that despite their heel-like personas, they are actually regarded as the nicest people behind the scenes and greatly respected for it.
With that being said, let’s dive in and find out who made this list. Here are 15 WWE villains that are the nicest people behind the scenes. Enjoy!
15. Luke Gallows
Luke Gallows pulled off something quite remarkable, a noteworthy accomplishment that not many can say they’ve done in the wrestling business: enduring a failed WWE run only to comeback years later and thrive with an entirely new attitude and gimmick.
Gallows was initially signed by the company way back in 2005, over a decade ago. Following his deal Luke reported to Deep South Wrestling, the WWE’s old developmental system. He got his first call-up in 2007 which was an absolute fail being packaged as Festus Dalton. The persona was a major fail and could have potentially destroyed his career then and there. In a smart decision by the company, Gallows was taken off the airwaves for three months only to return with a fresh gimmick under CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. With this gimmick he was finally able to show off some of his strengths.
Eventually the company would release him which turned out to be the best thing for his career. He absolutely thrived in Japan and the indie scene, and it would eventually earn him another improbable contract with the WWE. He is not only thriving on-screen, but is also said to be very well respected behind the scenes. Numerous wrestlers have said that he’s become a locker room leader very quickly since entering the company. He plays the role of a major heel on television, but is anything but that behind the scenes as it seems.
Asides from his great in-ring work, there is an even greater reason as to why Kane has been a member of the WWE family for two decades now. Behind the scenes Kane is said to be the ultimate professional, with not only the company executives but other Superstar talents, serving as terrific role model. This is one of the major reasons why Kane has been kept for so long after all these years and remains with the company at the age of 49, serving more so as a backstage employee nowadays.
Although he would ultimately thrive under his Big Red Machine gimmick, that certainly was not always the case. Glenn Jacobs bounced around some pretty horrifying characters throughout his run and thanks to his attitude, despite these bad ideas, he was able to keep his job till he struck gold as The Undertaker’s brother. Some notable gimmicks before included a dentist (Isaac Yankem) and an imposture of Diesel, which was by far one of the worst ideas in WWE history.
Through all of that Kane managed to survive because of his tremendous likeability factor behind the scenes. This lead to his Kane gimmick which debut in April of 1997. He never looked back following that cameo against The Undertaker, which is still being discussed today as one of the greatest repackaged debuts of all time.
13. Andre The Giant
Standing in at over seven feet tall, Andre put the world of pro wrestling on the map with his incredible size and dominant in-ring abilities, which made him must-see television during the 70s and 80s. The company booked him as such. He began undefeated, becoming one of the most unstoppable forces in all of sports and entertainment. His title reigns and matches were iconic, to say the least.
He absolutely thrived as a heel in a feud with Hulk Hogan; the story is still regarded as one of the greatest in pro wrestling history. It was truly a David against Goliath type of feel. Though, if you knew Andre behind the scenes he was anything but that. The giant was said to be one of the nicest people behind the scenes and one of the friendliest during that era (the 70s and 80s). He was a terrific role model and someone who had a great sense of humor amongst his peers. Stephanie McMahon remembers Andre as being one of the best guys in history of the company outside of the ring. His contributions will be remembered forever and his greatness will live on for years and years to come.
12. Owen Hart
Owen serves as the poster boy for such an article; on-screen he was the ultimate heel, but off, they guy was an absolute joy to be around. He signed his first WWE deal back in 1988. His first run in the company as a masked superhero was short-lived however, and Owen would leave the company developing his kills even further independently and for a brief time period with World Championship Wrestling.
He would ultimately return for good in 1991, joining one of the most dominant factions in pro wrestling history, The Hart Foundation. Owen would go on to thrive becoming one of the best workers in the company, not only delivering five star matches but by turning into a true entertainer with terrific microphone skills and a solid persona. His career highlights included a two-time Intercontinental Championship reign, a four-time Tag Team Title run and the 1994 winner of the King of the Ring.
What made Owen even more impressive (other than all of his successes and accomplishments) was the man he was behind the scenes. Owen was a loving family man who always put his family first. He was also one of the most genuine performers in the locker room and an absolute joy to be around. He was always the guy that lit up a room. His contributions behind the curtain were just as noteworthy as his on-screen successes.
11. Vickie Guerrero
Vickie’s work might have been one of the most underrated in recent memory. Her role as a heel was truly brilliant and ultimately didn’t receive as much credit as it should have. She generated real heel heat, something many Superstars struggle with today.
What made her accomplishments even more remarkable as a villain was the fact that she was so genuine and nice behind the scenes. Most WWE stars referred to her as the mother behind the scenes who had such a fantastic heart. Crazy to think how she was able to put that aside during her longstanding run with the company as one of most villainous heels in recent memory.
She worked with the company for almost a decade, spanning between 2005 all the way till her departure in 2014 when she left on her own terms to explore new horizons. Her most memorable work was served as the General Manager of SmackDown and some terrific work as a valet for LayCool and Dolph Ziggler. During those runs, she managed some serious heel heat while being perceived as the one of the nicest people behind the scenes. For that, we applaud her accomplishments.
Some will contest the fact that Edge is ranked as a villain; though, we should note that his best work came as a heel when he was regarded as the Rated R Superstar, and his work with Christian as the biggest heels in the Tag division. Following his Money In The Bank cash-in as a heel and claiming the WWE Championship, the very next night on Raw was one of the most watched episodes in recent memory. So for that fact, we find it fitting to put Edge in this article.
Adam Copeland was the prototypical ‘company guy’ since he stared with the WWE back in 1996, making $210 per week travelling as an enhancement talent with the company. His devotion to the business would later land him a full time deal. Ultimately, his career was Hall of Fame worthy (to say the least); a seven-time World Heavyweight Championship winner, along with four WWE Titles. Not to mention a five-time Intercontinental Champion and incredible 12 time Tag Champion.
What made Edge so remarkable was that along with all these accomplishments, he truly was an incredible person behind the curtain. The Road Dogg recalls Edge & Christian as being two of the first pioneers in the company to be “straight workers” who did not party or consume drugs. They went from show to show with so much passion and spent their life training and working hard on their craft while keeping a positive attitude. This was one of the major reasons why Edge and Christian both enjoyed so much success in the business. Their contributions behind the scenes were invaluable during a crazy era in sports and entertainment. For that, they are regarded as pioneers.
9. Nia Jax
Another part of what has made NXT so special is that it is not only about creating serious talents, but it is also developing some great professionals behind the scenes, and Nia is certainly no exception to that rule. Now, more so than ever before, the WWE holds their talent to a very high standard. Down in NXT, not only are they training huge new stars but they are also showing them what it means to be a true pro in and out of the ring. Jax is exactly that and despite her dominant features in the ring, she is actually quite the genuine sweetheart outside of the ring and a joy to be around. Many believe her grateful style is one of the major reasons for her premature call-up.
Jax was signed by the WWE in 2014, and would make her debut almost a year ago on May 7th at a live event. It was rather obvious quickly, she was going to be a star. The former model showed her talents dominating opponent after opponent. Her look was also very unique and something the Women’s Division was missing. This lead to a quick call-up and one that is really well deserved. Look for a very bright future for the Honolulu native; a Women’s Championship is certainly in her reach in the very near future.
After a long independent career spanning from 2000 till 2007, Natalya finally took her talents to a WWE ring in 2007, signing a deal with the company. After a brief stay in developmental, Natty became a mainstay rather quickly on the main roster. Asides from a Divas Championship reign, Natalya became known for her excellent technical abilities in the ring and serves as a great depth talent to the division.
She is currently on the SmackDown brand and provides the Tuesday show with some much needed veteran experience. Surrounded by a crop of young females, her experiences are certainly valuable more so today than ever before. She plays the role of an arrogant heel on-screen but she truly is anything but that away from the ring. Natalya is a wonderful role model that oozes passion. She is regarded as terrific mentor and locker room leader behind the scenes. Once she decides to hang them up in a couple of years, look for the seasoned veteran to get another type of role with the company.
In terms of genuine heel heat, nobody does it better than Charlotte in a Women’s Division stacked with talent. Charlotte has separated herself from the heard and has become by far one of the best all-around performers. The company took note of this and decided to make Flair the first ever WWE Women’s Champion. She thrived with the title taking her work to another level as a vicious heel. What made it all so great was that she looked like a genuine heel that embraced all of the hate that she was getting.
What makes things even more unique is the fact that Charlotte is actually anything but that behind the scenes. She is actually a lovable and grateful human being that is very easy to get along with. She is very genuine and driven to excel at her craft. This has made the WWE and her peers very high on her. She receives lots of praise for her demeanor and work ethic behind the scenes. Look for many more great things to come from the 30 year old in the future.
A journeyman to say the least, Waltman certainly did his fair share of moving around throughout his long standing pro wrestling career. His first big break came as the 1-2-3 Kid with the WWE. He would later bounce around to WCW and back to the WWE where he enjoyed his greatest success with Vince’s company in the midst of the glorified Attitude Era. X-Pac became a great depth worker which helped to take Triple H and Degeneration-X to the next level.
Once his time came to an end with the company in 2002, Waltman bounced around like a bingo ball going from Wrestling Society X, NWA, AAA Mexico, TNA, Chikara and the indie circuit, which he still appears on to this very day.
Behind the scenes, Waltman was always very well received. He did have some demons pertaining to drug problems, but this did not prohibit his interactions with former co-workers. He is also said to be very nice and humble at wrestling conventions. Fans love to gravitate towards the former European Champion for a meet and greet.
5. Scott Hall
You can’t talk about Sean Waltman without discussing his fellow Kliq buddy, Scott Hall. Similar to X-Pac, Hall was a travelled veteran; before signing with the WWE Scott had numerous years of experience wrestling for NWA, AWA, Catch Wrestling Association and a brief stint with World Championship Wrestling.
His first big break came with the WWE, when he was known as the “bad guy”, but was anything but that. Unlike his other Kliq buddies, Hall didn’t care about wins and losses, as his biggest focus was on putting on a good show even if that meant he needed to lose to a younger star.
This mentality carried over in WCW when he helped to put guys like DDP on the map by making them go over on him. Unfortunately down the road, Hall would lose himself as a performer because of some heavy drug induced days which almost seriously threatened his life. Remarkable today, Hall seems to be doing better than ever and is used as a great role model down in NXT. Young talents refer to him as “the nicest guy”. We applaud his life revamp and hope to see more of his behind the scenes work in the near future.
4. Big Show
Man, has Big Show been around forever as it seems. He began with World Championship Wrestling back in 1995. He made a name with the company and carried it over to the WWE in 99’. Since joining the company, Big Show is still a part of the WWE family. His career has been Hall of Fame worthy to say the least, winning two World Heavyweight Championships along with another two WWE Titles.
His accomplishments should definitely be celebrated, but his work behind the scenes is just as noteworthy. During his early beginnings with the WWE, Big Show ate a lot of you know what from various talents and instead of sounding off on them, he decided to get better and work on his craft. For that we seriously applaud him.
Nowadays, he is seen as that loveable teddy bear backstage serving as a valuable veteran presence who helps younger stars further develop. Look for his in-ring days to come to an end in the very near future.
3. Chris Jericho
The typical hardcore wrestling fans absolutely loves Chris Jericho, and well why wouldn’t they? The guy’s been doing this for decades now and is still somehow performing at the highest of standards at the age of 45. What’s most interesting however, is the fact that this was not always the case for Chris. After underachieving with WCW, Y2J signed a deal with the WWE. Though he would eventually find his footing and thrive, that wasn’t always the case, especially early on. Jericho was an outcast behind the scenes being labelled as a “WCW guy”. His work also struggled and it seemed like only a matter of weeks and days before he was gone for good.
He would later do a complete 360 and before you knew it, Chris was the most respected talents in all of the WWE. Today, his passion for the business is mostly apparent on his podcast Talk is Jericho, where he interviews various past and current performers. Just by hearing his guests, you can tell how much respect they have for him and everything he’s done. Chris is regarded as one of the greatest WWE stars to hang around with behind the scenes. We truly want to see Jericho stay with the company for another couple of years, as his work is still one of the best in the entire company.
2. Triple H
I can hear all the moans and groans from fans seeing Triple H‘s name make this list, as countless previous performers have gone on the record speaking of their dislike towards Hunter. Heck, we’ve even made articles just pertaining to stars that quite frankly hate Triple H. The big takeaway: that was then, and this is now. Triple H has revolutionized himself, going from the most hated to most beloved people behind the curtain.
His work with NXT is widely viewed as a father figure; not only is he shaping the future, but he is regarded as an outstanding role model for countless future Superstars. Wrestlers down in NXT love the guy and work hard in an effort to impress the former WWE Champion. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, are just a few of the names that have expressed their deep love for The Game and his vision and passion for the business. Hating Triple H is a massive misconception nowadays, as the younger crop of talents love the guy and have nothing but good things to say about him.
1. Stephanie McMahon
We could not think of a name that symbolizes this article more so than Stephanie McMahon. She began her work on screen as a loveable babyface with the late Test, and would later transition into one of the most hated faces in all of the company, joining forces with Triple H in 2000. The duo dominated the landscape of the WWE as villainous heels. Still to this very day, Stephanie works her heel magic to a tee, as she is regarded as one of the greatest heels of all time to have ever stepped foot in a ring as a full-time wrestler.
With such high praise comes her real life demeanor, which is anything but that. Behind the scenes Stephanie is regarded as one of the most loveable faces and a joy to be around. Her people skills were very apparent when the WWE decided to name her as the Chief Branding Officer, which entails her to spread on a global scale, something she has absolutely thrived in.
Sasha Banks recently added to this, discussing in an interview how Stephanie is a role model behind the scenes. Sasha referred to her as being “absolutely incredible” backstage with the talent. She furthered it by saying, “I have so many good things to say about her”. This just shows how well received Stephanie is behind the scenes. Not hard to see why Stephanie and Hunter are so highly regarded away from the camera. As you can tell from this article, what goes on behind the scenes is a totally different story.