It’s hard to believe that back in the 90s, our only form of backstage gossip was through magazines or hell, calling a hotline. Making matters worse, most of the time the rumors were completely false (yes, I called... damn you Eric Bischoff). Nowadays, the landscape has completely changed. Some would argue that the Bret Hart documentary Wrestling With Shadows changed everything. Today, we’ve got loads of content from backstage, whether it be through the internet or the WWE Network with a laundry list of behind the scenes programming.
In this article, we climb out of the ring and take a look at some of the most recent emotional moments to take place. With Raw 25 and the Royal Rumble kicking January off, we’ve got countless emotional photos from the events featuring both stars of then and stars of now. We even have photos featuring both the past and present together. This is definitely a must-see article for wrestling fans.
Enjoy folks and like always, be sure to share the article with a friend. Without further ado, here are 20 emotional unscripted backstage photos of WWE stars you need to see. Let’s get started!
20 Lita & Bayley Tear Up
The Women’s Royal Rumble was historical, to say the least. The women in the bout were extremely emotional behind the scenes and the WWE caught some of the best moments backstage. One particular interview featuring Lita and Bayley tugged at our heartstrings as the two got emotional discussing the match. Lita got particularly flustered when thinking about the Divas that couldn’t be there, such as Chyna, a brilliant pioneer in the women’s division. It was a heartfelt moment featuring both the past and present.
Of course, Lita would go on to enter the Rumble. We all held our collective breaths when she went to the top rope attempting to hit her dangerous Moonsault. Thankfully, the move was well executed and her Royal Rumble cameo was a definite success.
19 Sasha & Vickie Get Emotional Talking About Eddie
It’s no secret; a big inspiration for Sasha is the late great Eddie Guerrero. We’ve seen countless examples of Banks paying homage to her childhood hero from wearing Eddie-like tights at WrestleMania to hitting her version of his frog splash.
Every time Sasha discusses Eddie’s career she gets choked up talking about the late legend. So one can only imagine how emotional things got between Sasha and Vickie when the two sat down face-to-face discussing Eddie’s legacy and the trail he left behind. The conversation was filled with tears between the two, though in truth, most of them were tears of joy. It’s a must-watch discussion between the two and one that was truly from the heart without a script holding anybody back.
18 The Kliq Reunited Before Raw 25
It was a surreal moment for die-hard wrestling fans seeing some of our favorites back in the Manhattan Center for Monday Night Raw. Now the show wasn’t well received by the live audience as it lacked compared to the other telecast at the Barclays Center, though at the very least, it did provide us with some great moments such as The Undertaker shooting a promo, along with an appearance by The Kliq.
Before The Kliq went out, they enjoyed an emotional unscripted moment behind the scenes. Emotions ran high the entire day as wrestlers reminisced discussing their past at the very same venue. Who can forget 1-2-3 Kid’s shocking defeat over Razor? What a moment that was (and still is)! It was great seeing the band back together for one night - at the very least, the fans on-hand got their money’s worth with the segment.
17 Paige Sheds A Tear Talking About The Inaugural Rumble Match
Paige’s emotional return to the WWE was one lots of fans thought they’d never see. Her hiatus while sidelined with an injury wasn’t on the greatest terms with the WWE, however, both sides managed to work things out and she returned to the ring receiving a monster pop. She returned just in time for the announcement of the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble; Paige was in the ring, very emotional, receiving the news and that continued backstage.
The former Divas Champion discussed her pride in playing a role in helping to revolutionize the division. The emotional words from Paige were completely unscripted. Sadly, Paige would not be able to compete in the match as she would suffer another neck injury. Current word is that Paige’s in-ring days are done, though she hasn’t announced a retirement of any sort just yet.
16 Undisputed Era Gets Emotional Over Cole’s Rumble Cameo
The Royal Rumble is always littered with surprises, and this year it was no different in the men’s matchup. NXT Superstars are usually utilized in the match and this year, Adam Cole was one of the many that represented the brand in the Rumble matches. His appearance was pretty great as the wrestler received a great pop. Tremendous to see the crowd scream “Adam Cole Bay Bay” during his entrance.
It must have been an emotional roller coaster for Cole going from an Extreme Rules match against Aleister Black on NXT programming to entering the Rumble the very next night. Cole continued to play his gimmick backstage during an interview, however his stablemates O’Reilly and Fish, got emotional assessing their leader’s performance on the night - another brilliant unscripted moment that meant a lot to the three.
15 Roman Taking It In (And Met By Shawn Michaels)
For this one, we flashback to last year as Roman Reigns was taking in every bit of the incredible WrestleMania entrance way. Last year’s Mania was the third-time Roman was featured in the main event at the show, expect that to happen once again this year with his bout against Brock set to take place.
Before the show started, Reigns was followed by the cameras walking down the entrance way and walking to the ring. As he stood there, the great HBK appeared. The two exchanged some brief words with HBK calling Roman “young man”. Of course, Reigns was very respectful telling the great HBK that he was ready for the night. How great would it have been to see those two in the ring together? Unfortunately, we can only dream about such an encounter.
14 Nakamura Post-Royal Rumble
Nakamura’s WWE run has been like a roller coaster ride thus far. He started off hotter than a firecracker in his debut match putting on an epic display against Sami Zayn. Fans instantly drooled at the potential of Nakamura, especially seeing his talent on the main roster. Well, things haven’t gone that smoothly, as Nakamura hurt his reputation instantly with those behind the scenes when he dropped John Cena on his neck in a botched back suplex; that’s not the guy you want to botch a move on... Struggles would continue as Nakamura became an afterthought losing out to Jinder Mahal in multiple occurrences.
His struggles finally ended at the Rumble, as Nakamura won the match. He was extremely emotional backstage uttering the words “I made it, I did it” when discussing his victory.
13 The Bellas Reunited
The Women’s Royal Rumble was filled with emotional moments from in the ring to outside of it. We saw chilling moments featuring the likes of old rivals going head-to-head in Mickie James and Trish Stratus; seriously, how awesome was the stare-down between the two? It was quite a chilling moment.
Along with old rivals, we saw old partners reunited, particularly the Bella Twins who hadn’t stepped foot together in the ring since WrestleMania 32. The circumstances were quite different that time as Brie was competing in her final match while sister Nikki was only able to show up at the end with a neck brace on. They got their moment however taking part in the Rumble match together. Before the bout, the sisters shared an emotional moment that clearly meant a lot to the both of them.
12 A Healthy Ric Flair Takes A Selfie With Hunter & Stephanie
It’s pretty unbelievable to think that in mid-August, Flair was rushed to the hospital and not looking so great. Somehow, someway, the Nature Boy not only recovered but he was back in a WWE ring just five months later dressed up as Colonel Sanders and rocking a smile from ear to ear. It’s truly baffling to see how good the 69 year old is doing nowadays despite his recent health scare - that deserves a big-time WOOOO from all of us.
The photo above was an emotional one featuring the man Ric calls his best friend, Triple H. Hunter’s the one responsible for giving Flair a new lease on life as Ric became an afterthought at one point with the WWE. His role in Evolution changed that and he continued to add to his already tremendous legacy.
11 Roman & Hurricane’s Emotional Embrace
One of the most underrated acts from the early 2000s, Hurricane became a beloved fan favorite. His work with the likes of Steve Austin and The Rock was truly amazing stuff to watch back in the day - there was no shortage of entertainment when The Hurricane was around.
In one of the more unlikely Rumble returns, Hurricane appeared in the match receiving a great ovation. He had a great stare-down with John Cena, one the crowd popped hard for. Hurricane even teased a WrestleMania match against Cena using the photo of the two from the Rumble. Another great moment for Hurricane took place backstage as Reigns and Hurricane shared an emotional embrace. Of course, Hurricane was the tag team partner of Roman’s late brother Rosey. Without a doubt, emotions ran high in that conversation.
10 Birdie Crawls To Bryan In The Ring
Daniel Bryan ended his career in 2016 announcing his retirement. Of course, that announcement doesn’t look to be permanent as Bryan has stated he wishes to return to the ring at some point, whether that’s in or out of a WWE ring remains to be seen but Bryan has confirmed that he’s healthy enough to return getting medically cleared by lots of doctors outside of the WWE.
Since his time away from the ring, Bryan has kept busy both in and out of the ring. Along with being the GM of SmackDown Live, Bryan is also the proud father of daughter Birdie. The two shared an emotional moment backstage before the Women’s Royal Rumble as Birdie crawled over to her father from across the ring. It was an awesome moment and one Bryan won’t forget.
9 A.J. Styles Wins His Second WWE Title
Although he’s filled with talent, nobody could have predicted the success A.J. would enjoy on the WWE level. At the moment, he’s the top WWE Superstar, something that’s surreal to think about looking back at his run outside of the company.
Styles ended 2017 on a truly emotional note capturing his second WWE Title during an episode of SmackDown Live. The title change was quite significant as it marked the first time since 2003 that the strap changed hands on the show. Not only that, but the WWE also regarded the title change as the first time a new champion was crowned outside of North America. What a moment it was. The pop when the ref hit the three count was truly something, though his emotional backstage interview was even better as you can tell how much it meant to A.J.
8 Triple H’s Pre-Rumble Talk To The Women
The gorilla position was filled with both stars of then and now during the Women’s Rumble match. However, before the bout took place, Triple H gave the participants an emotional pep talk backstage. Hunter’s role in changing the perception of the female talent has been monumental. He started the change down in NXT as the likes of Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte and Becky started to change the perceptions with the developmental brand. The movement caught heat and now the main roster has been revolutionized forever. Gone are the days of cat fight-like matches and in are the days of actual wrestling bouts between the talents.
Triple H deserves lot of praise for the movement and it was only fitting that he was the one to give an emotional speech before the inaugural matchup.
7 Cena Gets A Surprise
You can dislike the John Cena you see inside of the squared circle but you can’t dislike the man behind the gimmick. The most charitable person in all of sports or entertainment, John has granted a staggering number of wishes, over 550 (if you can believe it). He’s a source of inspiration to many children that struggle.
In this rare instance, Cena was the one to be surprised. John surprised Nick on The Today Show way back in 2013; it was a beautiful sight seeing the look on Nick’s face when his childhood hero showed up out of nowhere. Well, most recently, The Today Show surprised Cena and Nick made a return to the show looking great and fully decked out in John Cena attire. It was another emotional moment as the two reunited five years later.
6 Rey Mysterio & A.J. Styles Reunited
At one point, two of the top talents outside of the WWE were A.J. Styles and Rey Mysterio. Rey parted from the company after a lengthy run; he grew tired of the rigorous travel schedule and opted to take a break from the company. He’s done really well for himself since leaving getting booked on the regular with a plethora of indie promotions. Fans have been asking for Mysterio, though it was unclear if he’d return as he was also in talks with Impact. However, it now seems as though a WWE return is in the very near future. He appeared at the Rumble after a lengthy hiatus receiving a monster pop. It was an emotional return to say the least.
He was emotional backstage as well, reuniting with lots of familiar faces including the shot you see in the photo above alongside A.J. Styles. We hope to see the two in the ring together again sooner rather than later with Mysterio currently close to signing a new WWE deal.
5 Bryan And Brie Embrace Before Rumble
Brie’s WrestleMania 32 match wasn’t the greatest memory for Daniel Bryan. Bryan went from main eventing WM XXX to winning a WM 31 ladder match – to seeing his career come to an unexpected end. The wound was still fresh and it resulted in Daniel missing the show and missing out on what was Brie’s final match before parting ways with the company.
The couple recently got some redemption as Bryan was backstage this time around as his wife returned to the ring entering the Rumble match. The two shared quite the moment backstage before the inaugural bout. It was an emotional embrace and one both of them will never forget. We hope to see a similar backstage moment once Bryan finally returns to the ring.
4 Rousey & Trish Post Royal Rumble
We could have done an article alone on emotional Ronda Rousey moments. The former UFC star has already shed a couple of tears both in and out of the ring with the realization that she’s now a WWE Superstar, a life-long dream of hers. She received a monster pop back at WrestleMania 31 and ever since, the rumors haven’t disappeared pertaining to a Rousey WWE contract. She’s here to stay as the UFC legend signed a full-time WWE deal; we can’t wait to see her inside of the ring at the big event in just a couple of weeks.
This emotional moment features Rousey welcomed by her peers backstage following her Rumble cameo in the main event segment. We can expect lots of similar moments down the line.
3 Nikki & Vince Hug It Out
Vince McMahon made it clear, he invests in the person behind the gimmick rather than the talent of a certain wrestler. For that reason, McMahon has been all-in on John Cena for quite some time. We saw another example of how close the two are when McMahon let Cena propose on the Grandest Stage Of Them All last year. In another emotional twist, Vince McMahon was the only one that knew about John’s proposal. Truly great stuff.
The unscripted moment was an emotional one inside of the ring and it continued behind the scenes. Knowing Vince was the only one that knew, Nikki and the boss shared an emotional hug as McMahon looked overjoyed with what had just transpired. It’s a WrestleMania moment we’ll be reliving for quite some time.
2 Finn & Shawn Share An Emotional Moment
Here’s a duo you never thought you’d see; both the past and present exchanging some pleasantries. WWE caught up with the two and things got pretty emotional. Finn thanked Shawn for his tremendous career starting from his match on the first ever edition of Raw. Michaels was humbled by Finn’s comments stating that it meant a lot to him seeing wrestlers with smaller shapes becoming the biggest players nowadays, a path HBK no doubt helped to forge years ago. HBK even talked about a dream match between the two, wouldn’t that be something?
Finn got the opportunity of a lifetime during Raw 25 sharing the ring with the members of The Kliq and putting up the 'too sweet' hand gesture with his idols – what a moment for Balor.
1 Taker & The Boys At Raw 25
Raw 25 featured a plethora of terrific nostalgic moments, none better than the return of The Deadman. Even if his promo made no sense at all, just his presence was enough on the reunion show. In a hilarious twist, it was said that The Undertaker completely botched his promo feeling flustered at how small and intimate the venue was. We’ll give Taker the pass since he hadn’t been in the Manhattan Center in quite some time.
It remains to be seen if we’ll see Taker for one final ride at this year’s WrestleMania. In all likelihood, he’ll take on John Cena at the event for a match we’ve wanted to see for quite some time now. The WWE might be swerving us with the latest rumor of Mysterio taking on Cena – it remains unknown at this point whether or not we’ll see The Undertaker.