Get ready to grab a box of tissues because it’s about to get emotional up in here. As wrestling fans, we love two things about the business in particular - one, what goes on behind the scenes and two, feeling an emotion whether it be because of a chilling moment or one that has us gulping with tears ready to come down our faces. In this article, we share a mixture of those moments taking a look at rare behind the scenes photos featuring Vince McMahon and his employees.
In this article, we’ve got a wide range of wrestlers alongside Vince. Some are the more obvious ones with the likes of HBK and The Undertaker sharing a moment with their boss. Though we’ve also got some unexpected names as well, such as Goldberg and Sting having a moment with their former rival. Back in the late 90s, just imagine Vince telling Sting he deserved to be at WrestleMania and following that up with a hug...
From a warm embrace with his son Shane, to a reconciliation with Kurt Angle at the WWE Headquarters, we’ve got it all on this emotional list. Without further ado, here are 15 emotional behind the scenes photos of Vince and his employees. Enjoy and be sure to share the article!
15 Goldberg’s WWE Return
A WCW guy through thick and thin, the WWE rightfully gave Goldberg a shot back in 2003, looking at the outcome however, things couldn’t have gone any worse. Not only was Goldberg struggling with WWE-style booking but things were also quite rocky behind the scenes with Bill, Vince and Triple H (among others). Following his brief run, a return seemed highly unlikely.
Well, in 2016, that all changed as Goldberg made an improbable return. This time around, the circumstances were different as Goldberg was a new man devoting his life to his wife and boy. His new attitude made him a well received figure backstage, even hugging Triple H prior to his WrestleMania match, a sight nobody thought they’d ever see. The picture above is another one of those moments as McMahon and Goldberg share a meaningful conversation as the two expressed their gratitude for one another.
14 Vince McMahon & Kurt Angle’s First Encounter
Similar to Bill Goldberg, Kurt Angle was another wrestler that left the WWE on the poorest of terms. A Kurt return seemed far-fetched as well due to his ongoing personal demons out of the ring but when he finally decided to get cleaned up, he was once again put back on the WWE’s radar. After a decade of being gone from the WWE, Kurt finally got the call. However according to Angle, it took a lot longer than expected as he waited a long-time following Hunter’s initial phone call.
On a Kurt Angle special that aired on the WWE Network, the company gave us access to his behind the scenes return. His embrace with Vince was certainly the most emotional as the two instantly hugged. Kurt talked about the experience emotionally, fighting back tears. Great to see these two back on great terms nowadays.
13 Vince McMahon & Dean Ambrose’s Championship Embrace
With Roman Reigns failing the Wellness Policy, the WWE was forced into reshuffling the deck and finding a new scenario for the WWE World Title picture. In a shocking twist, Rollins would defeat Reigns - fans were shocked as Roman was slated to carry the title for quite some time, though that was ultimately halted due to his suspension. In another twist, on the very same night at the MITB PPV, Dean Ambrose cashed-in his MITB contract and won his first ever WWE Title. It was a moment the WWE Universe went bonkers for.
As per usual, McMahon embraces new champions at the Gorilla Position and that was exactly the case with Dean. Ambrose has admitted that they have a good relationship with the two even goofing around from time to time behind the curtain.
12 All Smiles During Seth’s Return
As we’ve seen in the past, injuries are a part of sports and entertainment. Not only do they take place, but injuries don’t care for timing; just ask Seth Rollins who was riding the highest of highs before his terrible blow that halted his 220-day title run. Seth was not only forced to relinquish the title in late November of 2015, but ultimately, he’d be gone all the way till May. Ouch.
As you might expect, his return was welcomed by all, including Vince McMahon. The WWE documented the highs and lows during his rehabilitation with the ultimate high, coming in the form of his long anticipated return. Once Rollins snuck to the backstage area in time for his return during the main event of the Extreme Rules PPV, he was met and embraced by the boss himself Vince McMahon, who was ecstatic to see him back as the two shared a laugh.
11 One Last Embrace With The Warrior
Over the course of his run as the Chairman of the WWE, Vince has had numerous cases of souring on talent, which lead to bitterness from both sides. That’s exactly what happened with the Warrior as the two shared a rocky history with one another. Things got so bad, that the WWE actually published a DVD documentary ripping the Warrior apart. A return seemed highly unlikely.
However, as we’ve seen, anything can happen in the WWE. He was welcomed back into the company in the summer of 2013 and the next year, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The photo above shows the two sharing a warm embrace and one that was long overdue. Sadly, Warrior would pass away just a day after his Raw return. We’ll always have this emotional picture to remind us of how well things ended between the two.
10 Sting’s WrestleMania Debut Behind The Scenes
Rarely does Vince ever give a pep talk to a wrestler before a match, however that’s exactly what he did with Sting during his WrestleMania debut. Vince congratulated Sting before his big match against Hunter, telling him to enjoy the moment and even stating that he worked hard to get to the WWE – Sting was appreciative of the kind words, though he remained a ball of nerves backstage as documented by the WWE cameras.
It was a moment many thought they would never see; from Sting competing in a WWE ring to sharing an embrace with Vince, the images were truly emotional and surreal for all those involved. His return was ultimately short-lived due to injury, though we’re grateful we got to see the Stinger properly close out his career in a WWE ring.
9 A Warm Embrace With The Late Great Eddie Guerrero
In terms of emotional pics on this list, it truly doesn’t get any more touching than this photo between the boss Vince McMahon and the late great Eddie Guerrero. In one of the most iconic WWE Championship moments off all-time, Eddie defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title at the 2004 No Way Out PPV. Hearing the three count was truly surreal as Eddie was the ultimate underdog in the match. The crowd unleashed a roar following his victory.
Backstage, things got even more emotional as Eddie shared a warm embrace with Vince. It took nearly two decades of work, but Eddie had finally reached the pinnacle of his career winning the biggest championship in his domain. Sadly, he passed away a year later in November of 2015. His legacy will live on forever as the company continues to pay homage in celebration of his fine career.
8 The Miz Gets Emotional
A former lackluster host of the Diva Search competition, it was laughable to think about The Miz winning a WWE Title, let alone main eventing a WrestleMania event. Well, that’s exactly what went down when Miz main evented the XXVII show against John Cena. In shocking fashion, Miz closed out the show retaining the WWE Championship due to some aid from The Rock, setting up a Rock/Cena encounter for the very next year. His title run wouldn’t last as he dropped the belt to Cena at the next PPV.
Behind the scenes, Miz was visibly emotional, hugging the boss at the Gorilla Position. His behind the scenes moments weren’t always the greatest, however who can forget The Game completely snubbing him and not shaking his hand? Man, was that ever weird to watch.
7 Father & Son
This photo really tugs at our heartstrings as Vince shares a tearful moment with his son Shane, following his epic WrestleMania HIAC match against The Undertaker. The lead-up to the match was extremely emotional as the WWE scrambled for an opponent suitable to take on The Deadman. With Cena out with an untimely injury, Shane stepped up to the plate after being out for nearly seven years. His return did not disappoint as the WWE Universe popped, making his return one of the most chilling in WWE history.
A proud father, Vince shared a warm embrace with Shane post-match, one that even Shane’s son joined in on at the Gorilla Position. Gorilla was packed with emotions following the match as the likes of Michelle McCool were also backstage attending to her man, The Undertaker.
6 Reunited With Bruno Sammartino
When you think of the Mount Rushmore of the WWE, Bruno Sammartino has to be the first face up on the monument. Bruno put the company on the map back in the 60s and 70s, giving the entertainment form legs early on. However, once Vince took over from his father, things soured quickly between the two. Bruno would ultimately elect to retire and leave the company in the 80s, claiming he didn’t like the direction the company was taking on from an entertainment standpoint, along with having serious displeasures over the drug use behind the scenes, which was a serious problem at the time.
After a decade of heat between the two, Triple H casted the first stone in rebuilding their relationship and in 2013, he returned to the WWE entering the Hall of Fame. This is a rare picture many of us thought we’d never see. One can only imagine the emotions that went on that day.
5 Shawn & Vince Share A Moment At The HOF
Regarded as the greatest all around wrestler of all-time, HBK forged quite the career with the WWE, though as we know, it came with a lot of controversy. From the Kliq to the Montreal Screwjob, HBK was in the shooting line of controversy one too many times - though a constant throughout the situations, Vince always had his back. Looking back at Vince’s favorites throughout his run in charge of the WWE, it’s hard to find a greater love affair than Vince’s affection towards the great HBK.
The two shared a wonderful moment backstage during Shawn’s 2011 Hall of Fame induction. Retiring from the company as an in-ring performer, it was rather obvious that the HOF was next. Giving Shawn his HOF ring, the two shared a warm moment, and you saw just how much it meant to the both of them.
4 A Reconciliation For The Ages
You can’t talk about Vince and Shawn without discussing the great Bret Hart. Bret’s WWE career initially ended in flames as he was screwed out of the WWE Title, losing in his final match with the company. As you saw, the bitterness between both sides waged on for years up until his unlikely return in 2005. Hart was in a dark and bitter place at the time - returning to the WWE certainly helped his personal life. He was welcomed back in 2005 shooting a special home video documenting his great career. Later, in 2006, he would rightfully get inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame.
The photo above is an emotional picture of the two during the recent times. Back in the late 90s, we’d be baffled thinking about such a picture but as we’ve seen in the WWE time and time again, never say never, especially when it comes to an unlikely return.
3 A Father's Day Photo
Last year, Stephanie posted this emotional photo on her Instagram account. The photo was a tribute to Vince during Father's Day. The emotional message attached to the picture read, Thank you for always being there no matter how busy you are. You will always be my #hero. The message was truly heartfelt and the image was extremely rare as we’ve seen Vince outside of the WWE Universe only a handful of times in terms real-life candid photos outside of the ring.
Of course, the feeling is mutual. Vince really believes in his daughter and that’s been evident throughout the years as she continues to climb up the ranks. Stephanie went from a receptionist at the WWE HQ to a head of creative to now, the global Chief Branding Officer. Talk about big time promotions, huh? When Vince decides to call it a day, it appears as though Stephanie will be the next in line to carry the business.
2 Before The Streak Ended
In one of the most emotional in-ring moments of all-time, The Undertaker’s streak was finally broken as he fell to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX. The chilling silence following the three count summed up the emotions on the night: absolute shock. As one might expect, emotions ran even higher backstage as Taker received a warm embrace from his boss prior to the match, something you rarely ever see with Vince and his talents. In terms of holding Superstars close to his heart, it doesn’t get any closer than McMahon and his love for The Deadman.
Following the match, Taker was rushed to the hospital and McMahon himself left the show to attend to Taker. The bond the two share is immense and one can only imagine what Vince will plan once his marquee attraction enters the WWE Hall of Fame.
1 Reigns & Vince Hug It Out After A Tough Night For Roman
The embrace might appear to be a happy one, however that was not the case for Roman who was pretty disappointed following his WM 31 showing in the main event. The match was well received, though Roman wasn’t too thrilled with the outcome. After scrambling for a finish, the ultimate result saw Rollins cashing-in and closing out the show with the title; it was a hard pill to swallow for Roman who truly felt as though it was his time. Even his father was very outspoken about the result.
The cameras showed Roman backstage overcome with many emotions, particularly hugging the boss at Gorilla Position. For what it’s worth, McMahon looked pleased and that’s really all that counts. Roman would end up getting his WrestleMania moments, main eventing the last two shows, and winning the WWE Championship along with defeating The Undertaker last year.