Back in the day, wrestling was a different animal behind the scenes. In the early to mid 90s, it was almost as if there were more enemies than friends due to the competitive nature of the business, along with the ridiculous amounts of testosterone free flowing. Today, the WWE is very different with numerous relationships forming; we do still have a little bit of animosity between Superstars, however it’s nothing like the way it was back in the day.
Due to all of the friendships forming nowadays, some have probably slid under your radar. However, thanks to the uprising of social media, we’re now aware that some stars are a lot closer than you might have thought. You’ll see a recurring trend in this article of numerous NXT talents creating connections – with a tour bus being the way the Superstars travel to shows and most of the talents living in the Florida area – making a connection a lot easier.
Enjoy the article folks, and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado, here are 15 current WWE pairs you didn’t know are close behind the scenes. We begin with arguably the most disliked wrestler on the WWE’s current roster behind the scenes, forming a bond with one of the biggest fan favorites in the entire company. Yes, the WWE is a weird place both on and off screen!
15. Finn Balor & Enzo Amore
Looking at the current crop of WWE talents, perhaps Enzo Amore is the most disliked amongst his peers. Once the story came out that Enzo got kicked off the bus by Roman Reigns, it was made public that Enzo’s backstage reputation wasn’t the greatest.
However, that doesn’t mean he’s completely alone, as Enzo has a couple of ongoing friendships and one of those includes a bromance with Finn Balor. The two spent a lot of time together down in NXT; Amore was already with the developmental brand once Balor got the call to join. They grew close to one another back then, even taking beach vacation photos alongside one another. It seems as though the two are still close with Amore posting a Snapchat photo of himself with Finn at Balor’s family residence cooking up some breakfast. Perhaps the WWE should pounce on this friendship by adding Enzo to the Balor Club. Wouldn’t that be something?
14. Aleister Black & Drew McIntyre
Another bond formed down in NXT, according to the evidence, both Black and McIntyre are pretty close outside of the ring, both posing for pics together on their social media platforms. Both have endured a similar path making a name for themselves on the indie scene, and taking things a step further with the WWE’s developmental brand. Before his injury, McIntyre was the face of the brand as the NXT Champion. Black, on the other hand, continues on hotter than ever, not only does he elevate his opponents in the ring but he also has the look of a major star in the future. Both have the potential to be future World Champions once they’re called up.
Again, NXT has created a bond between two Superstars and a lot of that has to do with how the brand travels. As opposed to the WWE, where wrestlers are required to get their own transportation, NXT instead travels with a tour bus – a great way to create deeper bonds with a co-worker.
13. Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax & Mike Rome
We all know about Nia and Alexa’s friendship, it’s been well documented by both stars especially on social media, whether it be Instagram or Snapchat. However, there’s also a lesser known friend in the picture and that’s WWE announcer Mike Rome. This bond certainly shows how the times have changed, just imagine an announcer back in the 90s forming a real-life relationship with a talent or numerous talents… No. Just no. Times have changed however, and even the ring announcers are making friends. The trio took to Snapchat filming their journey at a local Target; Rome was a surprise feature in the post, showing just how close he is to the talents.
12. Sasha Banks, Bayley & Danilo Anfibio
Speaking of awkward triangular friendships, we now turn our attention to another lesser known trio. Of course, like Alexa and Nia, we all know about Bayley and Sasha’s relationship which blossomed down in NXT, however what many fail to recognize is a lesser know third wheel in the group, WWE referee Danilo Anfibio.
Like most friendships on this list, the relationship between the three blossomed during their time in NXT, with Danilo refereeing lots of matches featuring Sasha and Bayley. The three were very close behind the scenes even getting together every Tuesday and watching SmackDown Live; now that’s friendship. Until recently, the three were still keeping up with the ritual and that really says something given their rigorous schedules. The love of pro wrestling certainly brought these three together as major fans since a young age.
11. Tye Dillinger and Peyton Royce
While Peyon was getting her pro wrestling career started back in 2009, things weren’t so bright for Dillinger who flunked out of the WWE. His run with ECW was a total fail and he was released by the company. Dillinger would return to the WWE in 2013 while Royce was signed two years later in 2015. Dillinger once again struggled earlier on but would finally catch heat landing on the Perfect Ten gimmick. Royce herself would also gain massive traction forming a tag team alongside Billie Kay, The Iconic Duo.
During their time together down in NXT, rumors floated around that the two were dating. From pics on tour buses to even the photo you see above of the two ice skating, links have persisted between the NXT talents. With Dillinger on SmackDown Live nowadays, it’s unknown whether or not the two are still together but we can safely say they’re extremely close.
10. Kevin Owens and Mike Kanellis
Working the independents can allow someone to make a living, however there comes a certain point in a wrestler’s career in which the stability of a guaranteed contract is much more sought-after. Performing independently since 2002, Mike Kanellis got to the point in where he wanted something stable, a career with the WWE was the ultimate dream.
Once his contract with Impact Wrestling came to an end, Kanellis pondered his next move. He wanted a WWE deal but the company wasn’t calling. However, it was Kevin Owens who spent time with Kanellis over in ROH, who instructed him not to sign a new deal as he was on the WWE’s radar. It took a couple of months but the WWE finally came calling with a contract. He’s got his good friend Kevin Owens to thank for that due to his availability.
9. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose
Just because you are tag team partners doesn’t mean you need to get along in real-life, however it does help, as the two share a bond outside of the ring as lesser known Superstars that are quite close. Once again the bond between the two intensified during their NXT days; it must have been the thrill of a lifetime for the two when they both got called up together joining the Absolution faction.
Outside of the ring the two literally do everything together, from travelling, to eating, to training, to heck even sleeping together. Okay, don’t get any ideas, by sleeping together we mean sleeping under the same roof as the two share a place together. The WWE is capitalizing on their friendship as they joined forces together on Raw. Both are still so young and have incredible potential to be huge Superstars for the company moving forward.
8. Bayley and Carmella
NXT creates friendships and even bonds with people that seem to have nothing in common from the start. Bayley joined NXT as a lifelong fan of the company while Carmella was new to the business coming in with an athletic background in cheerleading for both the NFL and NBA. Despite the disconnection in interests between the two, they would grow close to one another.
The bond began to form once the NXT coaches decided to put Carmella in the ring. She was doing a terrific job as the manager of Enzo and Cass, though the company saw even more in her as a single’s talent. Bayley played a big role in Carmella improving, as she’s now on the SmackDown Live roster showing how far she’s come. Despite the two being on separate brands, they recently got together eating a couple of fancy steaks, proving the relationship is still in fact alive and well.
7. Corey Graves and Tom Phillips
Commentating with a fellow co-worker can turn out in one of two ways; one, it can turn into a great friendship like we’ve seen with Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. Or two, it can turn into a terrible rivalry as we saw with JBL and Mauro Ranallo (where things got so bad that Ranallo stepped down while JBL was booed out of buildings on the regular following the incident).
Luckily for Corey Graves and Tim Phillips, the two are extremely close behind the scenes, though that didn’t seem to be the case after a certain incident. After getting caught sending inappropriate text messages, Phillips was on the other end of a joke via the commentary from Graves. Corey defended his joke which rubbed some the wrong way, claiming he was allowed since the two are the best of friends. Adding to that, Phillips got a good laugh following Graves’ comments on commentary proving how close the two are.
6. Naomi and Tamina
Despite the fact that Naomi is now a babyface, while Tamina continues on as a heel, the two are still quite close behind the scenes. In fact, Naomi recently paid homage to her good friend sending out an Instagram post dedicated to Taminas’s 40th birthday. With connections to The Usos and both entering the WWE system around the same time, all that helped intensify their connection. Also working together was another factor as the two were featured together as a part of Team B.A.D. during the initial Women’s Revolution storylines on the main roster.
Nowadays, their careers are trending in different directions. Tamina is at the twilight of her career at the age of 40, while Naomi is enjoying her prime run as one of the best Superstars over on the SmackDown Live show.
5. Nia Jax and Byron Saxton
One of the most bizarre relationships was revealed during an episode of WWE’s Ride Along. During the show, Jax was riding alongside WWE commentators Corey Graves and Tom Phillips. During the show, Jax talked about Byron’s obsession with her; the two laughed it off, however the accusations would become apparent when Jax put Byron on speaker phone for not only the two to hear, but the entire public watching the show.
During the phone call, Saxton was extremely flirty even telling Jax’s he wanted her to meet his parents during the holidays. Both Phillips and Graves were giggling like little school girls, shocked at what they were hearing. The phone call proved that the two are extremely close and closer than what a lot of people would have ever assumed. Like we stated earlier in the article, ring announcers and commentators are now forming close bonds with the talents, something we rarely saw back in the day.
4. Shawn Michaels and Johnny Gargano
Working behind the scenes with NXT nowadays, Michaels has formed various bonds with numerous talents. He’s helped out The Velveteen Dream with his career along with forming a close bond with some talents including Roderick Strong. Another wrestler he’s taken a liking for his Johnny Gargano.
Gargano has discussed his friendship with HBK numerous times even claiming he once spotted Shawn Michaels at the Performance Center’s fitness facility. The two even had some fun together facing off in an abs competition; when you get HBK to agree to that, then you know you’re close to him. Shawn has even campaigned for ideas on how to get Johnny Wrestling going down in NXT. It seems like the rally worked as he’s now in line for a future NXT Title shot in just a couple of days.
3. Michael Cole and John Cena
Behind the scenes, John Cena took a liking to some of the oddest faces in the wrestling business. His travel partners included Funaki and Michael Cole. However, digging a little deeper, he actually had a great connection with Michael Cole as the two considered each other close friends. Cena showed off that friendship, hugging Cole during his “final match” during the Nexus angle. Out of all people, Cole is one of the last names you’d think would be close to John, but the two hit it off during their time on the road.
Both are now in the twilight of their careers; Cena’s in his 40s while Cole remains at the commentary booth at the age of 49, a year away from the big 5-0. We’ll most certainly get a little more insight on their relationship once either of the two calls it a career.
2. A.J. Styles and Charlotte Flair
Travel partners you likely weren’t aware of, Charlotte and A.J. have been spotted together riding in rental cars and even sneaking pics of one another while sleeping on planes. During the Kevin Owens 365 Series, we saw the two together along with Becky Lynch riding in a car altogether; it just shows how close the two are behind the scenes.
Surely, father Ric encouraged Charlotte to surround herself with the very best in the business. Flair likely told A.J. as well to watch over his daughter. Flair and A.J. also have a history of working together during their days with TNA. Who can forget that silly gimmick that saw Styles try to impersonate The Nature Boy, even rocking a Ric Flair-like robe? Man, was that ever bad?! We seriously hope A.J. doesn’t try that again with one of Charlotte’s robes….
1. Sasha Banks and Seth Rollins
An under-the-radar friendship, the two are very close behind the scenes. R-Truth took a live shot of the pair backstage and they appeared to be quite flirty together, though we’re just speculating. Rollins has been a huge fan of Banks’ work referring to her as the greatest female wrestler off all-time, now that’s some high praise right there.
Another example of how close the two are was shown during Sasha and Bayley’s remarkable TakeOver: Brooklyn match. Rollins was spotted in the crowd teary-eyed at what he had just seen. Granted, the match made a lot of people weep due to how great it was, but you can bet it meant even more to Seth given the relationship between the two. Don’t get any ideas however, as Sasha’s happily married while Seth’s also in a relationship since the end of 2016 to brunette beauty Sarah Alessandrelli.
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