The WWE recently returned from a massive trip to Saudi Arabia. The company didn’t pull any punches booking a star-studded card with lots of faces returning, including Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker, John Cena, Triple H and Chris Jericho, just to name a few. The press was out in full force during the recent weekend and it led to several photos surfacing that Vince likely could have done without. Lots of pictures exposed the business, including a playful video of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Scroll down to the last entry to see what that was all about. We’ll include photos from the event along with recent botches and other backstage moments that took place. These are photos that Vince likely wants us to forget about.
Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to share it with a friend, because they’ll certainly get a kick out of the photos featured. From Triple H conversing with Strowman and Reigns, to Daniel Bryan attempting a pin in the Greatest Royal Rumble event, these are recent instances that Vince McMahon wants DELETED from our minds! We begin with a surprising photo recently taken just prior to the Greatest Royal Rumble event, during a dinner featuring the most prominent WWE stars. Let’s get started!
15 Triple H Sitting In The 'Honor Seat' At Saudi Arabia Dinner
Triple H is a pretty big deal behind the scenes these days. Not only is he the brains behind NXT but he’s also the Executive President of talent, live events and creative. Not to mention, an on-screen character and like his wife, a global ambassador for the WWE.
Once Vince steps down, it appears as though Hunter is labelled as the next in line to drive the business into the future. Such a revelation is quite odd, especially due to the fact that Shane McMahon is back with the company...
Proof of Triple H’s high powered status was shown during the Saudi Arabia dinner. Hunter sat in the honor position at the head of table alongside Vince McMahon. Shane however, had a regular seat next to the boys; he was seated with Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns.
If there was any doubt as to who holds more power, this photo pretty much says it all. Of course, Vince wouldn’t want such a photo floating around as it would only create more tension behind the scenes with his family. Shane also loves the business and his apparent departure years ago was due to the fact that his father wasn’t willing to give him more responsibilities.
14 Brock Lesnar Playing Soccer
Brock Lesnar literally flew across the world for this event. Not only is there a nine hour time difference between Jeddah and Brock’s residence in Saskatchewan, but the estimated flight time is nearly 15 hours. Yikes! Nonetheless, the event was a big deal to Vince and despite his hatred for travelling, Lesnar had no choice but to show up to the event. Of course, he wasn’t present for the following Raw in Montreal. Seriously, who knows when we’ll see him next? He’s not even booked for the upcoming Backlash PPV. It helps that the event is now dual branded though, at least we’ll see a World Championship match!
We’re led to believe that Brock’s quite the loner behind the scenes but such wasn’t the case during the WWE’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia. All the behind the scenes clips showed Brock having a great time whether it was joking around with Roman, conversing with Undertaker or the most surprising photo of them all, playing soccer with the boys.
You can argue that there was no reason for Lesnar not to play nice, especially given the fact that he was nearly 7,000 air miles away from home. However, Brock playing shirtless soccer alongside Cesaro and Seth Rollins is something we never thought we’d see.
13 Daniel Bryan & Nakamura For The First Time
As if the return of Daniel Bryan wasn’t enough, SmackDown Live got a massive boost to the program following the Superstar Shakeup. The brand clearly got the better of Raw; they kept their best stars such as AJ Styles, Nakamura and Randy Orton. In terms of additions, the brand absolutely thrived welcoming in the likes of Jeff Hardy, Asuka, Andrade Almas, Samoa Joe and Cesaro. Yeah, they clearly got the better hand. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, they cut ties with Baron Corbin and Mojo Rawley.
These changes present the opportunity for a handful of marquee matches. One of the most obvious we’re all looking forward to is a program between the returning Daniel Bryan and Shinsuke Nakamura. Surely the WWE’s waiting for the right time to book such an encounter.
However, Montreal fans are likely laughing at the rest of the world as they got a sneak peek of the contest during a recent dark match on SmackDown Live.
Granted, the match was quite short and ended with a lackluster finish as Nakamura hit Bryan with a low-blow, ending the bout with a DQ finish. Still, it must have been a great experience to see the two in the ring, though don’t expect WWE to make any mention of it. Oh, the things WWE does to make fans stay for 205 Live!
12 Undertaker Backstage At Greatest Royal Rumble Event
The WWE made a lot of money with their trip overseas. McMahon went all-in, especially with the talent. Undertaker was one of the prominent names featured at the event. His mystique is the greatest quality of the gimmick, however we saw that exposed a few too many times during the weekend overseas.
Whether it was 'dressed as Corporate' Taker at the dinner wearing a suit or taking backstage photos like the one above, these shots didn’t help the mystery that surrounds his gimmick.
However at this point in his career, we’ll give him the pass. Many are wondering if Taker’s back for more matches, especially given his fantastic shape, which is better than we’ve seen in years. Hunter recently addressed the topic and here’s what he had to say;
“If there's one person who has earned the right to call the shot the way they want it to be called, it's The Undertaker. I think this will all depend on him and I think it should all depend on him. At this point it should be about what he wants to do and what he feels comfortable doing. I know that he as a performer always wants to be able to give his best and if he can't then he doesn't want to do it. When he's in a position like he is right now, where he feels great, he wants to be out there and show The Undertaker to the world. But it really comes down to what he wants to do, as it should."
11 Triple H, Braun Strowman And Roman Reigns Conversing
Another surprising video image the WWE didn’t want fans to find was an awkward conversation between three rivals. Yes, we know it’s all pretend but it was still odd to see them in casual conversation. Roman and Braun tore each other to shreds last year in the best rivalry the company had to offer. Due to the storyline, Strowman was able to get over with the crowd and the company had no other choice but to turn him face. Let’s not forget Triple H either... didn’t he have beef with both these guys in the past? At the end of the day, Vince would rather we didn’t see such behind the scenes images but hey, with all the money he made, McMahon likely wasn’t losing sleep over it.
Strowman and Roman are actually very close behind the scenes. When you work with someone for so long it’s only normal that a bond is created, and that’s what happened with these two. Strowman discussed the closeness between the two and here’s what he had to say;
"When I do something that isn’t good, he’s right there to let me know that I did something that sucks. That’s the cool thing about the locker room right now, everyone is trying to make the product better.”
10 Daniel Bryan Attempts A Pin On Goldust During Greatest Royal Rumble
The return of Daniel Bryan is still so surreal. Not too worry folks, he’s only injured in storyline. As we mentioned earlier, he appeared at the recent episode of SmackDown Live in a dark match. He’ll be competing at the upcoming Backlash event going one-on-one with Big Cass.
He put on a phenomenal performance during the 50-man Royal Rumble.
Fans caught a peculiar moment - we’re not sure if it was ring rust or Bryan pulling a rib on Goldust but during the match, he attempted a sunset flip pinfall. Adding to the hilariousness, he actually held the pin. Seeing as though an entrant was about to make their way to the ring, perhaps Daniel thought the cameras wouldn’t catch it. We’ll give him the pas though, and assume it was a joke, not a botch.
The wrestling community continues to rejoice over Bryan’s return. WWE Champion AJ Styles compared the return to HBK Shawn Michaels. Here’s what he had to say;
"Selfishly, I was hoping he [Bryan] would have gotten cleared before. Did I expect him to be cleared? No, but the fact that he did is awesome. Reminded me of when Shawn Michaels came back. I remember just praying for him to not get hurt because you just never know, and then he goes out and becomes Shawn Michaels. I feel like I am in the best run of my career as well."
9 The New Alexa Bliss
Fans started to worry when Alexa Bliss was only taking part in backstage segments and managerial work. Even on the recent episode of Raw, her most notable part of the action saw her get chased by Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax. Physical activity was once again very minimal. She’s rarely taken any time off as of late so in a way, she’s earned the in-ring hiatus (even though there’s a reason for it).
It turns out, there was a reason for the hiatus and the WWE Universe was made aware during a post made by Alexa Bliss via Instagram.
The former Women’s Champion posted a photo poolside, wearing a bikini top. Her new look confirmed why she was out. Surely, Vince and the WWE would have preferred it if she kept things on the down-low until her first match back, but hey, in the world of social media it’s hard to keep anything a secret these days.
You can expect the former champion back in the ring this upcoming Sunday as she’s set to take on Nia Jax in a WrestleMania rematch for the Raw Women’s Title. Don’t expect anything of the “Not So PG” nature and certainly do not expect the WWE to make any mention of the enhancement at any point.
8 More Saudi Arabia Candids
Lots of photos from the event overseas went viral. Poor Undertaker was featured in most of them, whether it was The Deadman having dinner in a suit, backstage before his casket match against Rusev or heck even inside of an elevator with Mark Henry (as you see in the photo above). It wasn’t easy to steer clear of the masses during this special event.
Mark Henry was another unique addition to take part in the event. He recently called it a career entering the Hall Of Fame but was one of the many that laced up the boots one more time for the special event. He was in good spirits during a recent interview when asked about his Saudi Arabia experience;
"I am enjoying it. The people have been very accepting and friendly and it has been fun. I have been kept busy and made a few meet and greets, and I was at the tryouts over the weekend, and we have been out in the desert so there has been a lot of stuff and I have enjoyed it. I always try to enjoy the moment. The one common denominator is seeing whether people are happy that you are coming and then how happy they are afterwards that you came. We are hoping to put on a great show for the audience so they will look forward to us coming back”
7 Jeff Misses Whisper In The Wind... Jinder Falls
Like his entire WWE run, Jeff’s current return has seen some ups and downs. Thankfully, things are back on the upswing for the WWE veteran. While out with an injury, Jeff resorted to his old vices back home in North Carolina. The WWE was none too pleased with his conduct, so much so that he was deleted (pun fully intended) from most of the Ultimate Deletion match. However, since his return, things are nothing but positive for the WWE Superstar. He returned as a fixture in the main event alongside Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Hardy was also chosen to win the US Title from Jinder Mahal, another huge promotion.
He still has those skills from years back. Though this epic fail is a moment Vince will want us to forget about. Let’s be honest, the action wasn’t the best during the Greatest Royal Rumble event, nor did it have to be.
This botch was just silly as Hardy completely missed the Whisper in the Wind and if that wasn’t bad enough, Jinder still sold it as if Jeff hit him. It was an uncomfortable moment and one even the commentators had to make up for.
6 Adam Cole Gets Emotional With Shawn Michaels
The night before WrestleMania, NXT once again did their very best to steal the show. Most fans would argue that the Saturday event was hands down better than the Sunday show. Following the TakeOver: New Orleans event it was clear that the WWE was pushing one star in particular, and that’s Adam Cole.
He opened the show taking part in a brilliant match to crown the inaugural North American Champion. Cole saw his hand get raised in the match and as if that wasn’t enough, he also left the show retaining his Tag Championship in a Triple Threat Tag match.
He plays the role of a heel, so the WWE likely wouldn’t want you to see this emotional moment he took part in alongside his idol, Shawn Michaels.
You can expect great things from Adam while holding the championship. Here’s what he had to say about the pressure of it all; "There absolutely is that pressure. Any time guys move to Raw and SmackDown, I think that is what has kept NXT so relevant and has kept the fans so invested because they are now conditioned that whoever leaves or comes in, NXT, as a product, is going to give really exciting sports entertainment every time," he said. "You do have your different generation of guys, and those generations before did an excellent job, so it does put pressure on guys like me, Aleister [Black], Bobby [Fish] and Kyle [O'Reilly], and everyone else involved in NXT now. I think that is when guys are at their best, when you put pressure and have something to work towards and have something to compare yourself to, or try to best them, it really does make you better."
5 Ronda Rousey Gets Emotional With The Bellas
WWE did well to stir up some controversy between Ronda Rousey and the other female stars. One wrestler in particular who took a shot at Rousey was Nikki Bella. The Total Bellas star took a dig at the former UFC Champion for the attention she was getting following the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble. It was a nice way to set up some future heat between the two, though the company completely ruined all of that with a video put up on the Bellas YouTube channel.
The clip showed just how close the three really are as opposed to what we were led to believe.
The Bellas, along with Natalya, were some of the first Superstars to congratulate Ronda. Rousey was clearly overwhelmed by their praise, so much so that she was moved to tears (yes Rousey’s passionate about new career). It was obvious how close these Superstars really are behind the camera. Just prior to the meeting, Nattie and the Bellas watched Rousey’s match backstage and they were clearly blown away by the encounter just like the rest of us. It was a great authentic moment but a lot of us wish the company kept kayfabe alive here for future storytelling.
4 Recent Backstage Visits
Former talent showing up backstage to a WWE event is very common these days. Heck, we recently saw James Storm backstage with the company thanks to Paige posting a shot of the former TNA star. Access backstage isn’t always the easiest, just ask poor Victoria who was snubbed by the company;
“The WWE Women's Ladder match was incredible. Wanted to congratulate the gals, but the office said that I couldn't go backstage”
She removed the post via Instagram, however that’s a major reason as to why the WWE likely wants to keep visits quiet and oh, the last thing Vince would want is his backstage atmosphere filled with former stars (which he released).
Former WWE star Elijah Burke was recently featured backstage during an episode of SmackDown Live. Casual fans hadn’t seen the Superstar since his ECW days almost a decade ago. The 39 year old maintains a great shape today. He downplayed his backstage appearance writing a funny caption under his photo with WWE’s Byron Saxton;
“So cool seeing @TheRock again @wwe Smackdown Live. I didn't imagine that I'd be physically bigger than him but as I understand he's slimming for a new movie role. Class act! Nonetheless anytime you have your picture taken with greatness you must share it with the world.”
3 Undertaker & John Cena’s WrestleMania Botch
WWE kept this match a surprise until the day of the actual event. It all made sense given the way the match went. Building up to a three minute encounter seemed like a bit of a waste, though it was still great to see the two legends in the ring together. The match served more as comedic relief when it was all said and done.
Cena’s sprint to the WrestleMania stage went absolutely viral with numerous memes being made. One of the best was, “when your girl’s home alone”. The humor continued during the match with a terrible botch. Surely, this was a moment Vince McMahon wants us to forget about.
Taker totally missed his big boot and if that wasn’t bad enough, Cena tried blocking the move with both his hands. It looked terrible in actual time, though the picture of how off the botch was might have been worse.
It seems as though we might not have seen the last of The Deadman just yet. A rumored encounter between the two might be set for next year’s WrestleMania. Another ongoing speculated story suggests Cena beats Taker for the title, ending The Deadman’s career and capturing the championship for a record-breaking 17th time.
2 Roman’s Feet Touch Before Brock’s
Once again the WWE swerved the fans as Lesnar retained against Roman at the Greatest Royal Rumble event.
The intended finish was a spear through the cage while Brock’s feet would touch first. However, in a botch that wasn’t supposed to take place, Lesnar’s feet never touched the ground and his body stayed on the cage while Roman’s feet clearly hit first.
The commentators went along with the act claiming Brock hit first. However, things got eerily quiet when watching the replay and seeing Roman’s feet clearly hit first. It was a bizarre situation and one the company tried to salvage by claiming the negligence of referee Chad Patton. He even issued a “statement” on Twitter;
“I understand I made an incorrect decision & want to apologize. During the #UniversalTitle match at #WWEGRR, i saw Brock Lesnar go thru the cage first and was concerned for the health and safety of both superstars”
So if he made a mistake, shouldn’t Roman be awarded the championship? We’ve seen rulings get changed in the past, haven’t we? Yup, it was a clear mistake and one the company wants us to forget about ASAP. The spot was cool and all but the result truly wasn’t.
1 Brock Playfully Laughs At Roman During The Saudi Arabia Dinner
Footage of the WWE’s dinner in Saudi Arabia caught a lot of hilarious moments, one of which was Brock requesting a small bottle of water and his boss Vince McMahon just looking at him with a blank look. However, in terms of moments the company didn’t want us to see, this one took the cake from the footage of the dinner featuring the WWE’s top stars.
While recording the table, Brock was caught playfully laughing at Reigns from across the table, he then put up the L sign (perhaps forecasting what was to come the very next day?).
Again, we’re led to believe that Brock’s this evil human being; however this was another instance that told us otherwise. It’s very possible that the two developed a friendship during this lengthy feud. The moment showed us that both are normal humans around each other and the apparent tension really isn’t there. The WWE loves to sell the real-life element however, so with that said, it’s best for business that such a moment was not caught.
It remains to be seen what’s next for Brock. It’s believed that he’ll hang onto the title a little longer as the WWE might be intending on Lesnar breaking CM Punk’s lengthy title streak.