Oh, the life of a WWE star; for years and years we the fans of the company have loved to hear about all the gossip that goes on behind the scenes. It truly makes for even more exciting television.
Although the juicy details have subsided in today’s WWE climate, some stars still share some awesome stories that you may not know about. Thanks to boat loads of podcasts and rumor mill websites, these great stories went public and are certainly worth revisiting. One story in particular actually happened a couple of weeks ago during KO’s Universal Champion victory, but we’ll have more on that controversial situation a little later in this article.
From being pulled over by the cops and handcuffed for no reason to being tucked into bed by John Cena, stories range from all aspects of life. What makes a lot of these instances so great is the fact that they are less known tales.
Let us know begin the article with a story relating to the current Universal Champion Kevin Owens, and the difficulties he underwent when he first entered the WWE. Be sure to share this article and spread the word! Enjoy!
15. KO’s No Guarantee
After Kevin Owens was signed by the WWE in the summer of 2014, he took the WWE by storm rising to the top of NXT in a blink of an eye. Shortly after, he was on the main roster defeating John Cena in his debut match. Although it seems like he was destined for greatness, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
During the Chris Jericho Podcast, Owens discussed that the WWE made no guarantees when he was signed to a deal. WWE officials were rather blunt with him telling KO they had no idea why he was hired but would try to make things work out for him. Turns out, Triple H was the only man behind the signing, as other WWE employees weren’t too thrilled because of Kevin’s look. Hunter told KO to work hard but the chances of him leaving NXT and becoming a star were very slim. Owens took the opportunity nonetheless, and here we are with Owens as the face of the Raw brand.
14. The Brilliance Of Sami Zayn Out Of The Ring
In the ring, Sami plays the role of the loveable soft-spoken baby face. Outside of the ring, he’s the complete opposite. According to various performers (including Kevin Owens), Zayn is insanely brilliant behind the scenes but at first, he doesn’t come off that way. Sami oozes with passion which makes him very aggressive in his approach when talking to Superstars behind the scenes. In one instance, KO recalls Sami going on and on when talking about what the four men were going to do in a tag match. Poor Cesaro would constantly try to get in a word only to be cut off by Sami time and time again. Even when Cesaro would request to speak, Zayn would turn him down.
This hasn’t changed. Owens admitted Sami has been that way since his ROH days. At first, wrestlers get annoyed of his approach but after a while, they get to understand and appreciate his knowledge for the business. A sentiment many performers have felt regarding Sami throughout his career.
13. Santino’s Call Up
Who can forget Santino Marella and his great contributions throughout the years. Truth be told, Santino making it in the WWE was an absolute fluke and something not even the former Superstar could have predicted.
Santino was down in OVW from 05’ to 07’. His improvements and contributions seemed to be at a standstill. Trainers also didn’t really see much potential in the Ontario native either.
One random day, Santino got a phone call by the WWE. Marella admitted he was sure the call was to release him from his WWE contract. Instead, in a shocking turn of events the company told Santino he would be making his debut on the main roster immediately.
So how the heck did this happen? Well, the WWE was set to put on a show in Milan, Italy. The event was a big deal considering it was an episode of Raw. To get over with the Italian fans, the company wanted an Italian wrestler to debut and win. After looking through their annex, the company stumbled upon an Italian name, Anthony Carelli (Santino’s real name). This was enough to earn Santino a call-up and one that landed him the Intercontinental Championship. What a surreal moment!
12. Batista’s Awkward Debut
Poor Batista has some bad memories when it comes to thinking about his debut with the WWE. Before he exploded with Evolution, Batista served as Reverend D’Von’s enforcer, Deacon Batista. Things got off to an awful start when D-Von butchered Batista’s name calling him “Bastita”. The botch was so awful that the WWE actually had to dub and edit the promo later on.
Things just continued to take a weird turn for the animal during his earlier days. This time, it came from a weird request from his boss, Vince McMahon. Vince told Batista to walk around with a chip on his shoulder constantly. Vince wanted to former champion to look mad at all times. Finally, Batista asked Vince what the purpose was, and McMahon later revealed that it was meant for a future storyline that would reveal Dave to be a “r*pe child”. Thankfully, this awful storyline never made television and boy, are we ever grateful for that.
11. The Legend That Is HBK Shawn Michaels
Hard to find a pro wrestler that didn’t idolize Shawn Michaels at one point in their lives. Kevin Owens was yet another wrestler who admitted to loving Shawn as a child. KO admits, he still gets nervous around Michaels to this very day which is quite significant considering he talks to The Rock and Steve Austin rather easily.
Owens recalls a story that blew him away to another level. Both he and Shawn were at the gorilla position. Both men engaged in a friendly conversation while a producer tried to prep Shawn on what to say during his cameo. Finally, Michaels cut off the producer telling him “I won’t remember a thing you said but I get the gist of it”. Shawn proceeded to hit the ring and nailed an incredible promo and one that was nothing like the one written for him. When he came back to gorilla, McMahon approved in awe and Michaels thanked the producer for his help even though he really didn’t do much. KO was blown away by the entire situation and remembered it fondly during the Chris Jericho Podcast.
10. Punk And Kofi Getting Pulled Over
CM Punk and Kofi Kingston shared a unique friendship during their time together. The two became travelling partners after Punk randomly told Kofi to ride with him after his first day.
Travelling together, the two got pulled over a heck of a lot. Punk recalls one situation in Missouri where things just got out of hand. While travelling with an out of state licence plate the two got pulled over. Punk claims the two would always get pulled over because of their look. This instance however, took things to another level. The cops asked both men to get out of the car; Punk told Kofi not to, though he still would and quickly got handcuffed for basically no reason. After a long dispute, Punk also got out of the car and put into cuffs. Before they knew it, there were six cop cars with canine units as the teams searched the vehicle destroying everything.
9. Flair The Liar
As a young wrestler, feedback is everything. During his days with WCW, Y2J was set on being great, something he is still pursuing today at the age of 45 (and thriving at that).
Well, a little while ago during the mid-90s it was important for Chris to get some feedback following his matches on what he needed to improve. At the time, Ric Flair was “the guy”; wrestlers respected Flair for his tremendous in-ring abilities, after all, the guy is a pioneer in the business. So with that in mind, Chris asked Flair for some feedback following his match. When it was done, Chris asked Flair for his opinion, and Ric told him, “don’t change a thing”. A sceptical Y2J then tested the Nature Boy telling him things about the match that didn’t happen. Flair fell for the bait and it was clear that he hadn’t even watched the match. Ouch!
8. Shawn Michaels: Size Did Matter
Thankfully, times have changed today and size is no longer a crucial factor, but Michaels does remember that it was at one point in time.
Shawn recalls his debut fighting in Madison Square Garden taking on Demolition. During that time frame, size was everything and spots needed to play off that side of the spectrum. Before the Tag Match, Michaels discussed how Demolition was only willing the fall down with Tag Team manoeuvres, anything else was unacceptable. Can you imagine trying to show off your talents with such recommendations?
To make matters worse, Michaels truly wasn’t even that small in comparison to wrestlers today. During his prime, Michaels was 6’1 and 220 pounds. Today, the new school wrestler is 5’9 and roughly 180 pounds. That just gives you an idea how much the business has really changed today compared to back in the early 90s when size was truly everything, to the point that you couldn’t even take down a bigger man!
7. The Genius That Is Pat Patterson
After retiring from in-ring action, Pat Patterson turned his focus on a backstage role with the company during the 80s. He quickly became Vince’s right hand man helping McMahon to write shows every week while the two, along with Gerald Brisco, were poolside.
Still today, the company employs Patterson although his role isn’t as prominent as it once was. Though, Patterson still gives tremendous advice and critiques everything. For that reason wrestlers like Jericho and Kevin Owens have praised him for his constant honesty, something that is hard to find in the wrestling business.
His mind was meant for the business as well. Patterson came up with some of the most brilliant concepts behind the scenes. In one instance, Pat was actually the brains behind Shawn’s finisher. At one point, HBK was actually using a lackluster back body drop reminiscent to the Angle Slam. Patterson instead told Michaels to use “that kick” as a finish. Years later, it is still recalled as one of the most ionic finishers of all time and that’s in large part thanks to Pat Patterson.
6. Heyman Planted Seeds In Crowds
Rene Dupree left the WWE on a bitter note for a variety of reasons. After he left the company, the wrestler dealt with some severe concussion issues. He’d later sue the WWE multiple times; first filing a lawsuit for multiple concussions he had sustained and the second, for royalties by the company for showing his work on the WWE Network.
Along with his lawsuits, Dupree has been very vocal when discussing what went on behind the scenes during a variety of shoot interviews. In one shocking tale, Dupree exposed a dark side of the industry claiming Paul Heyman would plant seeds into crowds in order to put a certain wrestler he favored over. Back in developmental, Dupree recalls Heyman putting fake fans in the crowd during CM Punk matches. His reaction would be great and WWE officials would take note. Dupree claims once that match was done, the fake fans left the crowd and went backstage.
5. McMahon Rarely Talks To Talent
Today, the times have certainly changed and Vince is less hands-on with the talent. Don’t be mistaken though, as McMahon is still a hands-on maniac working countless hours. He’s just less available with talent.
The company uses producers and creative writers to communicate with the wrestlers. Each Superstar has a writer and a producer that is used to be put segments and matches together along with an agent. Vince is usually backstage in his own office and rarely meets with Superstars unless something major needs to be addressed.
Recently, McMahon did embrace Owens following his title victory. KO admitted he rarely talks to Vince but when he does he makes sure to put in the effort. No matter how hard it might be, countless former stars discuss the fact that you must have a relationship with Vince in order to thrive in the business. Looking at recent history, this statement seems right on the money.
4. Cena Tucks Jericho In
Both Chris Jericho and John Cena were quite the party animals during the early 2000s. The two men also got along extremely well outside of the ring. One night, the duo enjoyed some drinks at the hotel bar. As the bar was about to close, the two were just getting started and asked the bartender if he could stay open a little longer. Instead, the barkeep gave the wrestlers a fully stacked cooler filled with alcohol to bring into their room.
As you can imagine, things got wild and Y2J eventually passed out. Chris remembers waking up being perfectly tucked into bed while Cena continued to pound away on the alcohol quietly next to the room’s window. Not sure what’s more awesome, Cena undressing Jericho and tucking him into bed or John quietly pounding down more beers alone. Both cases are just out flat awesome to be quite honest.
3. Kurt Angle Had No Clue Who Shawn Michaels Was
Believe it or not, Kurt Angle claims he had no idea who Shawn Michaels was when he entered the business. Kurt was an average WWE fan growing up. He caught a little bit of the product and recalls going to one show which featured Bruno Sammartino.
When he made his way to the WWE back in 1999, he recalls rumblings of Shawn Michaels and hearing how great he was. Michaels would eventually return and put on a five star match which caught Angle’s eye backstage. Following the match, Angle confronted Shawn telling him, “you’re really good”. A confused Michaels laughed it off and Kurt later told HBK, “I didn’t know who you were”. Michaels continued to laugh with a “this guy’s an idiot” look on his face according to Kurt.
2. Wrestlers Left Before The Universal Championship Main Event On Raw
Kevin Owens winning the WWE Universal Championship was a huge deal for WWE fans, although it didn’t seem to be the same for certain Superstars at the event backstage that night. During his podcast, Jericho was infuriated when discussing that several wrestlers had fled the scene even before the main event got under way. Whether it’s a matter of respect or passion, you need to stay at the show when such a match is taking place, your hotel or food needs can wait.
Jericho later discussed how those certain individuals ever plan on making it in the company when they just don’t care. Chris even referenced extras that go to the show and just stay in catering instead of trying to meet wrestlers and make connections. It appears some talents are just happy to be complacent in terms of their goals.
1. Cena Lives At The Gorilla Position
You can say what you want about John Cena, but the truth is nobody breathes and cares for the business as much as he does.
Behind the curtain, Cena is all WWE. For years and years he has constantly been at the gorilla position or backstage watching the entire show. He does this for a variety of reasons; one, as a sign of respect. Two, his love for the business. Three, seeking to constantly improve and four, because his work ethic is second to none in and out of the ring.
Both Jericho and Punk have discussed stories of Cena’s passion. Chris recalls a time when Cena was the only one watching the show out of the entire roster. Jericho called it laughable how the face of the show is the only one that really cares for the business when the younger stars should be following suit. No matter what the case might be, Cena’s devotion and passion to the business is truly unmatched till this very day.
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