Although fans love to rant about the current product, it is a great time to be a wrestling fan. The industry seems to be booming both in and out of the WWE. Indie promotions continue to enjoy lots of success, and New Japan is also a solid alternative for hardcore fans. As for the WWE, well they’re also enjoying a wealth of success recently signing a mega billion dollar deal with Fox.
Another major improvement to the current landscape of pro wrestling is the role of social media. For wrestlers outside of the industry, we’re now able to connect with them and see their goods. In the same light, we get a chance to see the true identities of WWE Superstars outside of the ring, something that was frowned upon back in the earlier times. In this article, we pull the curtain back and feature some lesser known parents of WWE stars. Again, you wouldn’t have had access to such photos back in the Attitude Era. We feature the likes of Bayley, Chris Jericho, Finn Balor and many other current WWE stars.
Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Here are 15 unknown moms and dads of current WWE Superstars. Let’s get started!
15 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho grew up with a famous father. His dad Ted Irvine, played left wing for the New York Rangers back in the 60s and 70s. He made various pit-stops along the way that included the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.
Chris owes a lot to his father, especially in-terms of parenting skills. In one of his books, Chris dedicated an entire chapter to his dad. He spoke about what his father meant to him growing up;
“It is selling yourself in the first place. My dad always said that. I am excited to have him read the book. He is a very positive guy. A lot of these things are lessons and principles that I have learned from different people. Each chapter is based on an experience I had over the last 27 years. A lot of those things come from my dad. I think he will enjoy it. He has always been supportive for all the stuff that I have done right from the beginning during my days in the wrestling world.
He always saw the reasons on why it would work and why I should get into a band and go for it. I think that is because he did that himself. He was a pro hockey player. He could relate to that. It is always that cool dichotomy between us. He has been through it and has made it happen. He understands the sacrifices that you have to make.”
14 Nia Jax
The photo above is a shot of Nia and her father. Jax’s heritage is quite unique. She was born in Sydney, Australia only to be raised in Honolulu. The current Women’s Champion eventually moved to North America finding a home in San Diego, California, the place she is billed to be from on WWE television.
Her childhood had many ups and downs. She received unconditional love from her family, however due to her bigger stature, Jax was often bullied. During her feud with Alexa Bliss, Nia opened up about the struggles during her younger days;
“Growing up I was made fun of for always being bigger. I specifically remember, at one of my junior high basketball games, a man, a grown man was making fun of me and my size, as I was playing basketball. They didn’t realize that my Samoan father [Joseph Fanene, first cousin to Peter Maivia, grandfather of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson of the Anoa?i family] was in the audience. And he, he err… beat the crap out of them, but that’s a whole ‘nother story! But yeah, that’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life, people making fun of me and my size. Everything from having a huge forehead, to the size of my feet, and not being able to wear the same size shoes as my friends, definitely.”
13 Alexa Bliss
You would think Alexa Bliss was a spoiled little brat growing up, however that’s not the case at all. Alexa had her fair share of struggles, particularly with an eating disorder. So how does she play her gimmick so well? According to Bliss, she’s tapped into all the little things that annoyed her in the past from others. We can safely say that the gimmick has worked wonders. It is hard to find a better heel in the women’s division at this point.
She has a strong relationship with her mother. Angela Kaufman had Alexa when she was still quite young, and the two often get mistaken for being sisters. Bliss has brought her mom to Hall Of Fame shows in the past as well. Alexa credits her mom as a big part of her current success, especially during the struggles;
“My mom helped me a lot. We'd have promo classes in NXT once a week and me and my mom would make it our thing to come up with a promo and it would be fun. So I was always doing these promos in front of my mom and she'd be like, 'Hmm, that didn't sound very convincing.' She would just be like honest, you know what I mean?”
The photo above is a rare shot of Nakamura alongside his mom just before he left Japan. According to various sources, the reason for his departure was due to the fact that he wanted to wrestle an easier style at that point in his career. However, Nakamura told a Japanese newspaper otherwise claiming he wanted to globalize his fame with the WWE.
His North American career got off to a stellar start, to say the least. Shinsuke put on a clinic in a match against Sami Zayn. It was a chilling bout between the two and one that got fans really excited. He’s failed to meet that consistency ever since, however most fans are hoping a heel turn can change things for the 38 year old veteran.
One of the biggest differences in Nakamura and most of the others is his in-ring style. He uses a “strong style” in the ring, something not many are accustomed to (aside from a few and that includes AJ Styles who spent some time with Nakamura in Japan). Shinsuke touched up on his strong style;
"Hard hit, stiff, I don't think so. So, 'Strong Style' came from the Japanese wrestling founder Rikidozan. 'Strong Style' is a kind of philosophy, expression of emotion. I say something by wrestling. I express my emotion, like, what I think, what I feel by wrestling using real technique."
11 Bobby Lashley
One of the biggest returns in 2018 has to be Bobby Lashley back in the WWE. The company recently cut a video package as Bobby described his current run as one that he’s doing for his family. At the age of 41, he is hoping for a better resolution to his WWE life. However, pure wrestling fans can agree it hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start.
Above is a photo of Bobby alongside his father. It seems like his dad brought him up extremely well as he’s one heck of a family man outside of the ring. Even before signing with the WWE, Lashley explained to ESPN that family might dampen his future WWE deal (although it really didn’t);
"It does to a certain extent. It would have to be the right deal if it was. I don't know if there is even an opportunity. There are certain people in the business who may not want you there and that's why I left the first time. I don't know if there is even a possibility of going back but their schedule is challenging. A lot of their guys are dealing with that. If I were to go back full-time, it would have to be something we sit down and really piece together and make it make sense. I would hate to say yes I'm doing it and get back and then it's, "Oh no. Boo-hoo. What about my kids?" I don't want to have a bad attitude. So I would have to really sit down and say this is what we can do."
The photo above is a rare shot of Rusev alongside his parents. Long before Rusev Day, he was power-lifting back in Bulgaria. However, with the dream of making it in the pro wrestling business, Rusev moved to the US and started his training in California alongside Gangrel and Rikishi. After a brief stint on the indies, he joined the WWE on a developmental deal. He caught instant heat when put alongside Lana by the great Dusty Rhodes.
He’s no longer a heel and in fact, he’s getting the best reactions on a nightly basis. Rusev recently discussed the cheers and the fame of the gimmick;
"I had no idea this was going to happen. This was supposed to be a one-time 'Rusev Day' thing. I never thought in a million years it was going to be what it is today. It was something we planned to do, but just for one day. But it just caught on fire ever since then. Nobody expected that."
He also referenced getting some notable advice along the way, he recalls some valuable information given to him by The Rock;
"The Rock taught me you don't always have to talk or move all the time. You can just stand there and soak it in. Let the crowd just do what they do. Looking back at the segment, I could tell what he was talking about."
9 Peyton Royce
A very happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful, amazing mum who i miss so much every day! I have the absolute best memories of growing up with you by my side & i am forever thankful for moving all the mountains you did for me! ❤️ & also, a Happy Mothers Day to all the incredible mums in my life, my Sister in Law & Step Mum. I’m so lucky to have all these strong women in my life 💜 enjoy your day, sending love from across the world 🌎
Inspired by the late great Eddie Guerrero, Peyton Royce took a liking to the world of pro wrestling at a very young age. She started watching wrestling at just 9 years old and by the age of 17, she was already working matches on the independent scene. Moving to North America, she got her training from the great Lance Storm.
She signed a deal with the WWE in 2015 reporting to NXT alongside partner Billie Kay. The two became a popular duo. Still so young at the age of 25, Royce is already on the main roster with SmackDown Live. Without a doubt, she’s got one heck of a future. Surely, Royce is a potential Women’s Champion down the road.
Despite the success, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. Royce most recently posted an emotional message to her mom. Here’s what she had to say;
“A very happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful, amazing mum who i miss so much every day! I have the absolute best memories of growing up with you by my side & i am forever thankful for moving all the mountains you did for me & also, a Happy Mother’s Day to all the incredible mums in my life, my Sister in Law & Step Mum. I’m so lucky to have all these strong women in my life 💜 enjoy your day, sending love from across the world!”
8 Mojo Rawley
Me and the OG of Hype!!!! My Pops and I!!!! Living the dream! I usually spend almost the entirety of my off days focused on grinding and work but it's been nice to spend some quality family time this week with him and @laithchaz. That's what it's all about! Right now it's 5am and still going strong!! In my family we don't worry about sleep. We make the most of every minute of every day!!! And I wonder where I get it from.....🤔#TeamNoSleep #LivingLife #Blessed
The photo above is a shot of Mojo and his dad taken at 5 AM. According to the WWE star, his family doesn’t worry too much about sleep. We guess he lives the gimmick in his real-life, always staying hyped.
Rawley also considers Rob Gronkowski as family. The two have known each other for quite some time and developed a big friendship over the years. Not only that, but Rawley also has Gronk’s family to thank for his transition out of football and into the WWE. He explains the friendship along with Gronk's family getting him the WWE gig;
"It’s just a friendship that we’ve maintained through the years, especially before anyone had achieved any level of success," Rawley told ABC 15 of his bro-mance with the Pats top tight end. "We all kind of grew up together, trained with each other, kind of coached each other along and helped each other out whenever we could. It’s paid dividends for all of us, every single one of us. They knew how much of a fan I was, and made the phone calls," said Rawley, who got his first interview with WWE during a live event in Washington, D.C. That was it. The rest was history ... I left the NFL to come here, and I couldn’t be happier about it."
7 Andrade Almas
The emotional shot above features Almas and his father as he holds the NXT Championship. Given the route he took to the title, it must have meant that much more to the Mexican wrestler. Success was never a guarantee for Almas especially early on. A drastic change, WWE decided to take off his mask. He struggled with the identity and although he was putting on great matches, his character was largely an after-thought early on. Almas has also stated that he contemplated quitting if not for a conversation with a fellow Mexican star, Alberto Del Rio;
“When I came to WWE I thought about going back because of the lack of opportunities and criticism, but talked to Alberto Del Rio and he told me to stand up for my chance and I kept fighting for what I wanted.”
Del Rio gave him some great advice and thankfully, he decided to stick it out and not flea for Mexico, something we’ve seen far too many times with international performers. Triple H wisely gave Almas a mouth piece and he absolutely thrived alongside Zelina Vega becoming the face of the brand. He’s now a mainstay on SmackDown Live and he’s surely in contention as a potential WWE Champion down the road.
6 Sonya Deville
Sonya is a big advocate for the family life away from the ring. Along with hanging out alongside Mandy Rose, Sonya has also posted numerous photos with her mom (as you see in the photo above) and her older sister via Instagram.
Her rise to the main roster has been shocking to say the least. Just three years ago, Deville was a contestant on Tough Enough. Fast-forward to now and she’s on the main roster performing with SmackDown Live. And oh, as if that wasn’t impressive enough she’s also under 25 years old at the age of 24.
She’ll always be remembered for another reason: Deville came out as the first openly gay female. She spoke about making history and what it meant to her;
"I guess I put a big burden on myself because I want to send out the right message and I want to talk about it properly, and I do want to make sure that people hear my story because I think that it's an interesting one that can help a lot of people. I get tweets and stuff. I tear up now just thinking about it. This little girl the other day was tweeting me – her name's Courtney – and telling me that she came out to her family because she read my post and everything. I gave her the courage... that's the kind of influence I want to have. It's not just being gay. It's just being you."
5 Xavier Woods
The photo above is a shot from Xavier’s UpUpDownDown gaming channel. The woman featured in the photo is none other than his mother. Gaming, like pro wrestling has had a big impact on Xavier’s upbringing. He even mentions that gaming helped him to connect with others during his childhood;
“I was very much a nerd, I read comic books, and I wanted to do well in school. I didn’t have any social skills at all, but my mom noticed I was way more vocal when I had a Nintendo controller in my hand,” said Woods.
“So she’d set up play dates with other kids to come over and play video games. She said I was like a circuit that was finally completed because I was holding a controller, and another kid was holding a controller, and I finally connected with somebody else and opened up my doors of social activity.”
Well, at the age of 31, Xavier continues to enjoy the best of both worlds. His gaming channel is a huge success via YouTube with nearly 200 million views total. What’s also a huge success is the longevity of the New Day faction as the trio continues on together. They remain one of the most over acts in the company.
4 Karl Anderson
Just a little late with this but I knew I was goin to see them for #WWERaw in Detroit, the place I was born and come to visit frequently..... #internationalwomensday couldn’t be summed up any better than these 2 strong, powerful, sweet , kind, loving, caring human beings.... My Mother and My 92 year old Grandmother..... Thank you for helping me become a #Brother Love you guys! #GrandmaNeverSistersSoftly #ComeOnGrandmaiGotRawTonight 😂 Cherish your family, life moves fast.. 👌🏻❤️
Karl Anderson sent out this emotional photo to his Instagram account. The picture features both his mom and grandmother. He made the post while in Detroit for a WWE live event. Here’s what he had to say in the caption of the photo;
“Just a little late with this but I knew I was goin to see them for#WWERaw in Detroit, the place I was born and come to visit frequently.....
#internationalwomensday couldn’t be summed up any better than these 2 strong, powerful, sweet , kind, loving, caring human beings....
My Mother and My 92 year old Grandmother.....
Thank you for helping me become a#Brother
Love you guys!
Cherish your family, life moves fast.”
Nearing his 40s at the age of 38, Anderson opted for a move back to North America following the success of his New Japan stint. With three children and a beautiful wife, Anderson wanted more stability. He initially planned to sign with Impact, however he wisely chose to wait and a WWE deal eventually came along. Although he isn’t getting booked in the same manner as his New Japan days, he is loving the perks of a guaranteed contract along with being able to see his family regularly.
The shot above is a rare photo of Rezar breaking kayfabe and taking a photo alongside his parents. Although he is born in the Netherlands, Rezar is actually of Albanian decent. He started to kickbox at a young age and he would enter the world of MMA briefly before the WWE. Rezar was assigned to NXT in 2015. Given his age, background and size, you knew he was going to be something special. Triple H was aware of the potential and the Authors of Pain rarely lost in NXT. Rezar is only 23 and already on the main roster, what a future this guy has.
Former manager Paul Ellering touched base on the potential of the duo. He sees big things for both wrestlers;
“They have all the tools. They have great amateur backgrounds. Rezar was an MMA Fighter and fought Bellator and Akam was an Olympic caliber wrestler; they just started young and have all they need in the professional ranks. I am just there to sort of guide them a little bit. I like that because that is what life is about when you get to where I’m at, it’s like, okay let’s pass something on here; a little old school along with a little new school, maybe I will learn something too.”
Bayley has her family to thank for allowing her to pursue her dreams at such a young age.
Wanting to become a pro wrestler isn’t exactly the thing most parents want to hear. However, her mother was supportive knowing how much Bayley wanted a career in the wrestling industry. She started attending regional indie events at the age of 11 and by 18, she was already in the ring actively performing.
A deal with NXT put her on the map, seriously speaking it is hard to find a more over babyface in the history of the developmental brand than Bayley. Yes, she’s lost some momentum on the main roster but yet to hit her 30s, she had time to recover.
We dug deep into the archives for this photo. Bayley posted this picture even before her NXT fame and run with the championship. She posted a photo onto her Instagram account alongside her mom as a tribute to her during Mother’s Day;
“Well since everyone's doing it!...Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there. Mine has always been the best and been there to support everything I've done since day one. I want to make her proud. Love my mama.”
1 Finn Balor
You get almost the entire Balor clan in the photo above;
“Keep the family close. Belfast Last week Mam,sis,nephew,me,baby bro, dad”
Finn has a close relationship to his family. We caught a glimpse of that during Balor’s WWE 24 special documentary.
While his dreams came to a crushing halt when he was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship, on the bright side, he got to enjoy some much needed family time - something he hadn’t done in quite some time. Before the WWE, Balor was a mainstay on the international wrestling scene as a part of the New Japan roster. So seeing his parents wasn’t the norm.
He recently sent out another emotional tweet discussing how hard it was for him to leave his family on Christmas Eve due to the WWE having a Christmas episode of Raw;
“It’s always hard leaving home, even harder on Xmas eve.
I told my mum
‘I’m sorry that we have RAW on Xmas day & I have to go wrestle’
‘Well isn’t it better than you NOT being able to go wrestle on raw on Xmas day!’
Although he’s 36, Balor still has a long way to go with the WWE.