Over the course of the last couple of years the WWE has used their ‘behind the scenes’ footage to their advantage, creating numerous DVDs and TV shows out of this material. The newest show on the WWE Network entitled Breaking Ground is yet another way the WWE takes their fans behind the scenes for a raw and candid look of what goes on every day at the NXT Performance Center.
Despite the WWE now capitalizing on these kayfabe storylines, this wasn’t always the case. In the 80s and early 90s the world of pro wrestling was obsessed with keeping what went on backstage behind closed doors. Wrestling promoters were like magicians, they had no intentions on revealing their secrets. After the Kliq did there infamous “curtain call”, the business changed and turned into a program that was much more reality based. The next thing you know, there were wrestling rumor sites around every corner online.
As much as the WWE likes controversy and kayfabe storylines, some things are just not meant to be shown to the public. These 15 pictures are exactly that; pictures that the WWE probably didn’t want you to see.
15) Rivals Enjoying The Outdoors Together
Had this picture gone viral in the 90s, McMahon and the WWE would have had a mega fit. One of the most important elements of wrestling in the early 90s was keeping the business as real as possible outside of the ring. Some wrestlers used to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure this (like Bret and Owen Hart who during their feud with one another stopped riding together from show to show).
When ‘The Kliq’ pulled their infamous “curtain call”, wrestling fans were shocked because this had been the first time the wrestling business had been exposed. This opened the door for a new era of wrestling which was much more reality based. With this being said, I’m sure a leaked picture of Austin and Michaels would have only made things worse. Thankfully, this picture was not released to the public at the time it was taken.
14) The McMahons Exposed
One thing that’s been very consistent over the past decades is the McMahon family’s privacy outside of the ring. Despite their openness in the ring, the McMahons are very quiet about what goes on outside of it. As you can imagine they are a very close knit family. As a matter of fact, Stephanie and Hunter live just minutes away from Vince in Connecticut. The two residences are also close to the WWE headquarters in Stanford, Connecticut.
As you can see in this picture, the McMahons are a close family outside the ring. The family gets together on a regular basis despite their crazy road schedules.
13) Vince Goes In The Casket
Vince had a rule in the 90s; he wouldn’t make any wrestlers do any kind of stunt without him trying it out first. This picture of Vince getting into the casket is only a small example of other stunts he attempted before the wrestlers did them. Before Michaels came down from the rafters at WrestleMania XII, McMahon had tried it out himself the night before. Those that know McMahon are aware that he isn’t afraid to try anything.
12) Chris Benoit’s Passing
There are some situations that the WWE just wants to sweep under a rug and pretend like it never happened. This situation is a prime example of this. After the disturbing details of Benoit’s death were made public, the WWE simply stopped acknowledging Benoit on all shows. It’s like he never existed. After the tribute to Benoit on RAW, the following week the show continued as if nothing ever happened. After the events that transpired, you really can’t blame the WWE for taking this route though, despite Benoit’s accomplishments in the wrestling business.
11) Stephanie Gets Crucified
On April 26th, 1999, the WWE once again pushed the envelope way too far in the midst of their Attitude Era. The WWE thought it was a good idea to crucify McMahon’s daughter on live television. The storyline went that The Undertaker would offer Vince’s daughter back in exchange for control of the WWE, which sounded like a pretty good storyline (minus the crucifying). Thankfully, Austin ended up stopping the crucifying/wedding angle. We can pretty much guarantee that we’ll never see something like that again. Then again, we can never say never when it comes to the WWE.
10) Undertaker Breaks Character
One of the reasons why Vince McMahon considers The Undertaker his favorite wrestler of all time is the fact that The Undertaker, throughout all these years, has never broken his character in and out of the ring. That mystique we saw in the ring was as real out of it. This picture shows one of those rare times that Taker did in fact break his character. Undertaker was considered a locker room leader throughout his career, so it’s no surprise he had some fun out of the ring. It’s still quite bizarre to see Taker pull out a genuine smile after all these years.
9) A “Rocky” Reception
Last year’s Royal Rumble event was one that the WWE certainly wants to forget. What should have been an iconic picture with The Rock and Roman Reigns, turned into a picture that WWE wants to forget about in a hurry. Reigns was booed throughout the entire match. The Philly crowd got even worse following the elimination of Daniel Bryan. Ultimately, not even an appearance by The Rock could have saved Reigns from the crowd that night. The reactions to Reigns winning were so bad that the WWE actually considered once again adding Bryan to the WrestleMania main event for the second year in a row. I’m pretty sure the WWE’s looking forward to putting that moment past them with this year’s Royal Rumble match.
8) Declining Attendance
The WWE likes to keep their attendance records on the down low, especially the live events which generate some pretty awful turnouts. In 2014, the WWE drew some crowds of 2,000 fans in places like Glens Falls and Kalamazoo. In the same year, it was said that the average number of attendance during live events in the US and Canada was a little over 4,800 per show. This is extremely problematic due to the fact that more than half of WWE’s live events per year are house show-type events. Whether the WWE wants to admit it or not, the product is nowhere near the numbers it used to draw in the 90s (whether it’s attendance or rating wise). RAW’s ratings were more than double than what they are today. It remains to be seen how the WWE will take care of these ongoing problems.
7) Lana and Rusev Post Engagement Picture
Vince McMahon and the WWE’s creative team were furious when TMZ decided to leak a picture of Lana and Rusev’s engagement. This break of character by the two wrestling stars caused many re-writes for WWE’s creative team. In addition to these impromptu photo releases, the Lana, Rusev and Dolph Ziggler love triangle was officially laid to rest.
6) Two Worlds Collide At The Peak Of The Battle
The internet would have certainly blown up back in the 90s if this picture had a bigger platform. Most of the prime superstars from both promotions are featured in this picture, from Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Big Show, Billy Gunn, British Bulldog and the face of the WWE at the time, Steve Austin. This picture is iconic in the hearts of wrestling fans for so many reasons; most notably, the particular era it was taken in has changed the landscape of pro wrestling forever. A true once in a lifetime type of picture in the prime of the battle. One can only imagine what this picture would had done to the WWE had it been leaked.
5) Sneak Peak At The Airport
There is a tremendous mystique element in the air when you think of watching two icons like The Undertaker and Sting in the ring together. For this very reason, the WWE was very upset when photos were leaked of the two men talking with one another at the airport following WrestleMania 31. It remains to be seen if these two wrestling legends will tie the knot at some point with their careers coming to an end very soon.
4) The Golden Boy’s Mugshot
Vince McMahon was not too pleased to see a picture of his golden boy behind bars. On June 15th, 2002, things got heated between Austin and his ex-wife, Debra. Debra was found bruised and hysterical by the police, while Austin had already fled the scene. On August 14th, Austin was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. Steve plead no contest and was given 80 hours of community service, along with probation. Debra finally spoke out about the whole situation years later. She claimed that it was an act of “roid rage”, telling Fox News that Steve had hit her three times and claimed the WWE put a “gag order” on her so she would not reveal the truth. The WWE did not respond to her allegations.
3) The Faces Of The Attitude Era Out Of Character
It really doesn’t get any better than this in terms of behind the scenes pictures the WWE doesn’t want you to see. This picture features the core of the Attitude Era, with ‘The Kliq’ alongside Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Gerald Brisco and Paul Bearer. The picture shows the wrestlers doing a little bit of partying while on their way to their next destination. This is certainly a kind of picture you will never see again, especially today with so many rules and regulations on how to conduct yourself outside of the ring. This picture is certainly a treat and reminds wrestling fans of one of the best eras in the history of pro wrestling.
2) Anything Chyna
When it comes to Chyna, the WWE probably doesn’t want you to see any picture with her in it, never mind a picture with the COO of the company Triple H. Hunter made it clear during the Stone Cold Podcast that although Chyna is Hall of Fame worthy, her career moves have made it hard on the WWE to acknowledge her. Those in the company don’t want children to Google Chyna and find adult content. It remains to be seen if Chyna will ever step foot in a WWE ring again.
1) CM Punk With UFC Gear
For the time being, it seems like CM Punk has been swept under a rug by the WWE. As much as Vince McMahon doesn’t want to admit to it, losing a talented wrestler to MMA certainly does hurt. UFC will profit even more out of this situation because of Punk’s popularity in the WWE. Don’t expect to see Punk get any sort of recognition come time for his first fight with the UFC.