With the development of technology came the intrigue of the professional wrestling rumor mills intensifying online. Fans seemed obsessed with finding out exactly what was going on behind the scenes and more importantly, who held all of the power in terms of management and wrestlers.
This topic has created quite the discussion and has even gone as far as linking the WWE talents to an underground society which foresees all. Although this might sound really bizarre, could there be any truth to it? The Kliq emerged in the late 90s and basically confirmed that there was in fact an underground society of wrestlers pulling the strings behind the scenes. The Kliq took their backstage political manoeuvring and brought it into the ring, becoming the most dominant group on television. This only proved that the society does and might still exist.
Societies don’t just end, and looking at news from throughout the years, it’s pretty obvious that certain Superstars enjoy more success and freedoms than others. This has opened up new speculation that an underground society exists filled with wrestlers and non-wrestlers that keep the WWE moving. On this list, we explore that a little deeper with the 15 rumored names to be in the WWE’s version of the Illuminati. Read this article with an open mind and enjoy these members of the WWE’s mysterious underground society!
15 Vince Russo
We begin this article with the members of the underground WWE society acknowledging a former worker who is according to the illuminati rumors, getting paid by the WWE for life due to his work with WCW.
Russo began with the WWE in 1992 and stayed on board during the Attitude Era. Even the greats like Shawn Michaels credits Russo for several of the brilliant ideas to come out of the Attitude Era. Despite his great mind and success, Russo left the WWE because of an alleged increased workload with the WWE which seems rather odd, wouldn’t you say? This was especially puzzling when Russo left for WCW and took on a similar schedule, once again, pretty odd wouldn’t you say?
Russo would join WCW and rumor has it he was sent to kill the company once and for all. Looking at the evidence, this doesn’t seem too far-fetched with Russo absolutely sealing the faith of the promotion with some of the worst ideas in pro wrestling history. According to the urban legends, Russo was awarded for destroying WCW by getting paid by the WWE for life while enjoying his time at home.
14 Kevin Dunn
Kevin Dunn has been Vince McMahon’s right hand man for a long time now, dating way back to the days of Vince just getting the company. Throughout the years, Dunn has managed to climb the corporate ladder and he is now one of the most influential people behind the scenes. Nowadays, Dunn is regarded as the Executive Vice President of television production. He’s also a Minority Owner in the company and a member of the Board of Directors. The question remains, how has he stayed in power for so long as Vince’s number two?
According to urban legends, Dunn sealed his faith with the WWE when his father saved old footage from the WWE before it was about to go potentially extinct. Because of the act, Vince felt forever indebted to Dunn and took him under his wing for a very long time. Rising up the ranks throughout the years, Dunn is regarded as a major member of the underground society; although, things seem to be rocky as of late with Dunn’s old school views and Triple H’s modern take on the business, butting heads on the regular.
13 Michael Cole
The journalist turned backstage interviewer turned broadcaster has been a part of the WWE family since 1997. His professional career started off as a political journalist and he later branched off into the wild world of sports and entertainment after he was recommended by former WWE employee Todd Pettengill.
His journey started off quite bumpy, but all of a sudden, Cole began to make waves as the broadcaster for SmackDown. It was around that point that some skeptics linked Cole’s involvement with the WWE’s underground society. Despite J.R.’s tremendous body of work, the company felt the need to replace him with Cole, even if it didn’t seem all that merited. Despite Cole’s unpopularity with pockets of fans, he remains the mainstay voice for the WWE at the age 48. With his strong links to the underground society, don’t expect Michael Cole to be going anywhere, anytime soon.
12 Bret Hart
Could it be? Was the Montreal Screwjob all a work as a part of the mastermind underground society? According to urban legends, Bret Hart volunteered to the job creating one of the biggest moments in wrestling history. With such a departure, Hart helped boost the WWE’s rating to an all-time high while going to WCW as a plant to further injure the promotion.
The evidence seems to support this claim. Instead of banking off of the screwjob, Bret showed up to the competition show once the dust had settled. In addition, his work rate suffered immensely and Hart just didn’t look the same in comparison to his WWE days. Although Bret loves to rip WCW and their lack of direction, Bret wasn’t the easiest going member of the roster, being often bitter towards officials and providing the company with subpar matches. In the world of conspiracy theories, the Montreal Screwjob remains one of the most prevalent topics (and is still discussed to this day). The question remains, was Bret in on it? If he was, The Hitman’s an underground society member for life.
A member of the WWE family since 1995, the urban legends indicate that JBL has been a member of the underground WWE society for more than a decade. He worked as a tag wrestler to start off his career but would later make a mysterious upper-card run as the company’s Champion. Today, he isn’t doing too shabby either serving as the WWE’s color commentator for SmackDown Live.
According to conspiracy theories, JBL was planted by the WWE higher ups to serve as an enforcer behind the scenes, weeding the weak out of the company. As a thank you, the higher ups gave JBL the biggest push of his entire career in 2004 by giving him the WWE Championship. The exposure also helped the veteran to gain notoriety with the likes of CNN and other news media outlets. At the age of 50, JBL is still very much a part of the company and continues to grow as a personality with his own show on the WWE Network, Legends With JBL.
10 The Undertaker
Similar to JBL in terms of backstage role, The Undertaker expanded his job within the company for his contributions behind the scenes. Taker is regarded as the most respected pro wrestler to ever lace the boots and his behavior backstage only added to the legacy. Undertaker became a general behind the curtain and was often viewed as the leader. Young wrestlers looked up to The Deadman while the veterans would often approach the legend for advice of any kind, whether it be career or life related.
Because of all those factors, The Undertaker became a huge part of the WWE internally. If an underground society does exist, you most certainly believe that The Undertaker has a hand in it, somehow, as one of the higher ups in the underground society. With his remarkable WrestleMania run and insane longevity spanning since 1990, Taker is without a doubt one of the prime players in the WWE’s Illuminati.
9 Brock Lesnar
Debuting in 2002, perhaps nobody could have predicted the success Brock Lesnar would have more than a decade later. Looking at the WWE in the 2000s, Lesnar has become one of the greatest stories in the last 16 years.
According to urban legends, Brock was instantly put as a member of the underground society. The company gave him the title at the age of 25 but then decided to purposely boost his draw value away from the company to a more commercial audience that attracted other fans. The legend has it that the WWE first sent Lesnar to the NFL but once that fell through, the growing sport of MMA became the next target. He gained huge success as a UFC fighter and took the sport by storm. With his stock higher than ever as a combat fighter, the WWE happily welcomed him back with the plan falling perfectly into place. With such credentials, the company banked on Lesnar even more by having him defeat The Undertaker, the other underground WWE member. Although it might look like all a coincidence, conspiracy theorists believe otherwise.
8 Ric & Charlotte Flair
The long time WCW man was finally welcomed back into the WWE family in 2001. With Triple H having such a strong voice in the underground society, he welcomed the veteran because of his long standing love for the legend which spanned many years. Despite being of older age, Flair rose up the ranks and worked a storyline alongside Triple H in the faction, Evolution. Hunter helped re-cement Flair’s status as one of the greatest of all-time.
With a growing role behind the scenes, Flair welcomed in the next generation of the family, Charlotte. Immediately after her debut, the WWE higher ups brought her into the mix and labelled the young star as a huge future piece to the company moving forward. Already a three-time WWE Champion, look for the Nature Boy’s daughter to eventually rival her father’s reign before her time comes up. Looking at her pace, it seems like she's destined for superstardom because of a certain underground machine, wouldn’t you agree?
7 Roman Reigns
According to legends, Roman is the newest member of the WWE’s underground society filled with the higher ups that pull the strings. Looking at The Rock’s success, the company attempted to duplicate another clone similar to Dwayne, enter Roman.
Despite his lack of experience, the WWE brought him in and made the Superstar a huge deal right out of the gate. His developmental time was limited to only a couple of years and he was later catapulted onto the main roster very quickly. CM Punk, a huge threat to the underground society, bashed the WWE and their treatment for Roman behind the scenes. According to Punk, the WWE was very specific before matches on making Roman look like a million bucks and by all means, not making him look weak. Looking at his body of work, it seems like we can confirm that, with Roman dominating his opponents on a nightly basis and rarely looking weak (aside from the time he failed the Wellness Policy which led to a couple of rare defeats).
6 The Kliq (Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & Shawn Waltman)
Back in the 90s an underground society faction was exposed to all. The infamous Curtain Call lives on as one of the most memorable and controversial stunts ever pulled in the wrestling industry. It infuriated many because it exposed the business. Although many believe Vince gave his blessing and knew about the entire ordeal all along, the facts truly speak for themselves, even if Triple H was initially punished, that punishment was only temporary as he would grow into one of the biggest heels the company had ever seen. So really, who got punished for the act?
Conspiracy theorists believe the Kliq has always been the main influence behind the scenes. Some go as far as to say that Nash and Hall were plants extorting the WCW for money while putting the company in the ground with Kevin’s role as a booker for the promotion. Nonetheless, their involvement truly speaks for itself as the group was dominating the landscape of the WWE back in the mid 90s and that all began with their underground work behind the scenes in the ear of the leader, Vince McMahon.
5 Hulk Hogan
Looking at pro wrestler involvement with the WWE’s underground society, Hulk Hogan is regarded as the very first pioneer to be bestowed with the honor. When Vince took the company over from his father, he was driven to take the company into an era of entertainment instead of pro wrestling. With that in mind, McMahon used Hulk Hogan to represent everything he wanted wrestling to be like and the two profited immensely from it.
Hogan would later leave the WWE, but on good terms as he took his talents to film and the WWE was ushering in a new generation. Despite his WCW involvement, Hogan was welcomed back to the company with open-arms, and re-kindled his tremendous legacy with the WWE. With his racist remarks going public, the company had no choice but to release the legend. Though, given his underground status with the WWE brass, you can expect Hogan to return once the heat finally subsides.
4 The Rock
Although the WWE was thrilled with Hogan’s mainstream popularity, he failed to sustain a legitimate role as a mainstay in Hollywood. Looking at the WWE product over the years, it’s quite obvious the company is obsessed with creating global Hollywood stars and they got exactly that on their second try.
After Hogan failed, the company set their sights on Dwayne Johnson, who had no experience in the wrestling field, but oozed with personality and charisma. Soon after, he grew as the face of the company and the underground society once again tried to usher in a global entertainment star by casting Rock into various films and TV shows. This time around, the WWE created a monster and something bigger than they had ever anticipated. The Rock has now become the highest paid actor in all of Hollywood and even the sexiest man alive, labelled by People Magazine. Throughout the experience, The Rock has only helped the WWE’s exposure and he remains loyal to the underground society to this day despite all of his successes elsewhere.
3 John Cena
With The Rock setting his sights on Hollywood and Hogan becoming older with age, the underground society set their sights on ushering in the “next one”. With limited experience, the WWE chose a dude by the name of John Cena. The goal of the underground society was to once again create a global star by combining both characteristics of Hogan and The Rock into one Superstar.
It took some time, but Cena is now more over than ever before. Nowadays, the boos are simply fans having a little fun. Most WWE crowds respect the hell out of Cena and at the age of 39, we can safely say he’s become the biggest star of the era. The next chapter of his journey is now starting to take place just as the WWE’s underground society planned. Cena is now working a part-time schedule as he begins to weave his way into Hollywood. With his recent role as the host on Saturday Night Live, it’s pretty obvious that his days as a WWE Superstar are numbered. It remains to be seen who the next in line will be.
2 Stephanie McMahon & Triple H
Asides from Vince, this power couple is regarded as the higher ups in the underground society. Once Vince’s journey comes to an end, you can expect the power couple to take over the proceedings of the WWE.
Triple H has been at the helm for years now. He dominated the WWE to end the 90s and he continued his rise during the 2000s as one of the most dominating wrestlers of the era. No matter what the story was, it seemed to surround Triple H somehow, someway. This shouldn’t seem too odd considering his relationship with Stephanie McMahon throughout the years, another higher up in the company. Stephanie continues to move her way up the ladder as the brand’s ambassador and one of the best heels on television weekly. There’s no denying the work ethic of the two whether it be internally for the WWE or down in development with NXT. No matter how you look at it, get ready to see these two in charge for a very long time.
1 Vince McMahon
We finish the list off with the leader of the underground society, Vince McMahon. As legends go, the goal of his society was to create a class of greatness behind the scenes that led the WWE through its different eras. With that in mind, Vince created a group of people that helped him behind the scenes in all of the facets of the industry, whether it be on-screen or behind the scenes. Vince used a select few to advance the company into the new eras.
In the last couple of years, McMahon has revised his model rebuilding the company internally with a new PG rating. The change has allowed the WWE to expand its company globally while creating a ground breaking WWE Network, which should only pay dividends as time goes by. With that said, McMahon has also paved the way with the next higher ups in Stephanie and Hunter one day taking over the business. As of now however, McMahon remains at the top of the underground society.