When it comes to the WWE, the notion of 'behind the scenes' is like night and day when you compare the Attitude Era to the product of today. Back in the 90s, the WWE kept everything as secretive as possible. Also, the fact that social media wasn’t as dominant helped to keep the business under wraps.
Today, with the upbringing of technology and social media, everything is documented. The WWE has embraced this new culture and mentality by developing several reality programs for the Network, whether it be documentaries or reality shows like Total Divas. Today, the business is a different animal.
That doesn’t mean however, that the WWE likes to share everything. Especially when it comes to bitter rivals, the company would rather you didn’t know that the two "enemies" are probably buddy, buddy backstage. In this article, we document such relationships and include some other random pairs hanging out behind the scenes with some of the rarest photos you have probably never seen. The pictures on this list come from the 90s, 2000s and today, with photos that came out just days ago. Enjoy this list of 19 rare behind the scenes pictures of unlikely pairs hanging out outside of the ring!
19 19. JBL’s Wedding Party
JBL has been a polarizing subject throughout his WWE journey. Some fans respect his dedication to the company while others flat-out dislike the guy for not only his commentating skills, but for his attitude behind the scenes.
Say what you must, but the fact remains that Vince sees Layfield as a big time favorite of his. The guy’s been in the company since the mid 90s and took upon a role as the locker room enforcer, picking on the weak. Despite the fact that loads of former WWE stars have ripped on JBL, he does in fact also have his fair share of buddies. As documented in this 2005 wedding picture, Bradshaw had several odd friendships as you see from those familiar faces in his wedding party. The likes of The Undertaker, long time rival Eddie Guerrero and heck, even former WWE employee Bruch Prichard, are seen in this iconic picture. At the age of 50, JBL is still a valued employee with the WWE.
18 Khali & The Crew
Khali’s run in the WWE may go down as one of the very worst we’ve seen pertaining to the 2000s. He was intimidating size-wise, but that’s where the mystery ended as his in-ring ability was horrid to be quite frank. Behind the scenes we were led to believe things were worse, as an apparent scuffle ignited featuring the mammoth giants Big Show and Khali. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed on that day.
Now despite all our assumptions, Khali is actually featured in an array of pictures outside of the ring with his fellow colleagues. Despite his terrible ring skills and broken English, it does look like that, to his credit, he managed to make several friendships. This picture shows Khali amongst a plethora of former performers such as Matt Hardy, CM Punk Tommy Dreamer and even a couple of WWE Divas including Natalya and Eve Torres. I guess we underestimated the big fellow!
17 Austin & The Undertaker
This picture might not seem like a big deal to most but due to the fact that it came out of the Attitude Era, it’s pretty significant. Unlike today’s WWE where social media has taken over and documents everything, back in the day it was not as such. With that being said, the WWE was very protective of their product and truly did not want the fans to see what went on behind the scenes and who was friends with who.
This picture broke that rule and features a lighthearted Undertaker pointing the guns while Steve Austin looks on in absolute disgust. Taker’s fan interaction has been remarkable throughout the years; rarely does the guy ever turn down a picture no matter where he is, or at what point of his career he was at. Taker has a plethora of photos online including pics at bars, various at different airports and this unlikely one on a beach, at night, alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin. A true sight 90s wrestling fans thought they’d never see.
16 Vince, Bret & Hulk
In order for the WWE to take the next step, McMahon knew things had to change. Hogan carried the company for quite some time but it was overdue for a change as the business was evolving. The company was slowly transitioning to smaller wrestlers that could bring it inside of the squared circle, and Bret Hart was regarded as one of the first wrestlers that fit that exact bill.
Hogan however, wasn’t buying it. Refusing to pass the torch, Hulk didn’t believe it was “real” enough for a guy of Bret’s stature to defeat the Hulkster. This added tension behind the scenes and resulted in Hogan jobbing to Yokozuna instead of Bret Hart. This rare image shows the three unlikely men altogether for the picture. Vince looks like his usual self laughing away while Hogan looks on with his usual judgmental body language. Hart held a grudge for a long time and still bashes the Hulkster to this very day.
15 Stone Cold & Jeff Hardy
Although Steve Austin refuses to wrestle another match, that doesn’t mean he’s not in touch with the business. Austin remains a huge fan and that’s well documented through his podcast. He’s made several acquaintances over the years and Jeff Hardy is another unlikely buddy you certainly wouldn’t think of. This is a rare picture of the two behind the scenes taken several years back.
Today, Austin remains in connection with the WWE while Jeff Hardy hasn’t been with the company since 2009, if you can believe it. To Hardy’s credit, he’s built a legitimate run alongside his brother with TNA. Both Hardy brothers completely resurfaced their images with Matt being known as Broken Matt, while Hardy is now known as Brother Nero. Despite their success, Jeff remains optimistic about ending his career on the WWE platform. With all his recent success and edging towards his 40s, it seems rather likely that Hardy’s return to the WWE will go down sooner rather than later.
14 Shawn Michaels, Raven & Tommy Dreamer
Here’s a picture you never thought you’d see coming out of the 90s, featuring WWE star Shawn Michaels alongside ECW legends Raven and Tommy Dreamer. Despite the fact that they worked for different promotions, the WWE kept close ties with ECW for the most part of their run. The picture above solidifies that with the unlikely cast of wrestlers posing for the picture.
Michaels put the WWE on his back during the mid 90s. Fans love to praise Austin for changing the game, but Michaels helped to keep the WWE afloat during a very dark period in the company's history. Dreamer and Raven were no slouches either. The two had arguably the greatest feud of the mid 90s and helped put ECW on the map. Dreamer would stay loyal to his roots throughout but Raven would eventually jump ship for greener pastures, joining WCW. His success was nowhere near replicated, but he did enjoy some valuable moments as the leader of The Flock. Today, Dreamer is the only one of the three still actively wrestling for his own promotion, House of Hardcore.
13 Nash, Tamara, Chyna & Triple H
Before we get to the obvious monkey in the picture of seeing Triple H and Chyna together, let’s give Kevin Nash some credit for being one of the only wrestlers in the business to stay married throughout his pro wrestling career. During his Hall of Fame speech, Kevin got emotional discussing his wife and thanked her for always being there for him. The two wed way back in 1988 and are still going strong today. Nash states that keeping his wife away from the business was a huge factor in making the relationship last as long as it has. The two also share a son, Tristen.
The picture is truly odd, not only seeing Nash and Hunter together, but seeing Chyna there as well alongside Triple H (when she was his girlfriend). Ultimately, as most of you know, the relationship ended on awful terms and it not only destroyed Chyna’s career but her personal life as well, turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the situation. After years of a downwards spiral, Chyna tragically passed in April of 2016.
12 Goldberg & Brian Knobbs
Although Goldberg seems to be this genuine, child loving WWE Superstar nowadays, that clearly was not the case throughout his career. Back in his WCW days, Goldberg wasn’t the greatest to deal with behind the scenes. His matches were short and he was ego-driven, refusing to put over smaller wrestlers. This infuriated many and would carry over once he made his WWE debut.
He showed up to the WWE in 2003, but this time, his ego wasn’t doing him any favors and his run flopped terribly. By 2004, he was already out the door. Away from the ring, Goldberg switched into his true self and was all about everything aside from pro wrestling, like his passion for cars or even enjoying a causal beer at his fantastic California residence. The picture above shows a rare side of Bill enjoying a cold one with a fellow wrestler, Brian Knobbs of the Nasty Boyz tag team.
11 Brock Lesnar, Brian Kendrick & Tajiri
A part of SmackDown’s golden age in 2003, Lesnar, Kendrick and Tajiri were all members of the Thursday show. Lesnar was leading the way, while the depth was also performing at an optimal level. It was regarded as one of the best points ever for the SmackDown show.
Ironically, these three unlikely wrestlers in the picture are all still performing today. Lesnar is still at the very top of the company, scheduled to highlight WrestleMania against Goldberg for the Universal Championship. Kendrick returned after a long hiatus taking part in the CWC tournament. He’s now a valuable member of the Cruiserweight roster. And heck, even Tajiri returned during the CWC tournament and is now competing on 205 Live amongst the other Cruiserweight wrestlers. Truly surreal that these three Superstars from 2003 are still in the company today, despite the hurdles they faced outside of the WWE throughout their runs.
10 Jack Swagger & Maryse
It seems like an unlikely duo but it makes sense given their similar time period runs in the WWE. Maryse was signed to a developmental deal after the Diva Search competition. She would report to OVW, the same territory Swagger was at during that time period. The two worked together in OVW and even stayed on board for the rebranding of FCW. With an easier schedule that saw tapings take place in the same venue, partying was a lot easier and the two had various pictures together.
Maryse would ultimately debut in 2008 on SmackDown, while Swagger grew to stardom joining the lackluster ECW brand in 2008 as well. Maryse would depart from the company in 2011 after months of inactivity, while Swagger stayed on board. Today, the two are on the same brand as Maryse continues with her new role as her husband’s manager, while Swagger looks like he’s at the tail end of his WWE career barely staying relevant on the Tuesday show.
9 Jeff Hardy & Candice Michelle
Considering Candice was married at the time of the picture and still is today, we don’t want to look too much into the picture, but it’s still pretty puzzling to see polar opposites Candice Michelle and Jeff Hardy dancing. The two were both in the WWE during 2006 when Jeff returned to the company. That would ultimately be his final run as he left the WWE after his championship reign in 2009 and would not return.
As for Candice, 2006 was a huge year for her as well, as she scored the cover of Playboy and was also finally getting pushed as a singles wrestler and not one of Vince’s Devils. Michelle would reach her goal in 2007 winning her first and only Women’s Championship. Like Hardy, Candice parted ways with the WWE in 2009 and would not return. Today, at the age of 38, Michelle is enjoying the family life with three children along with appearing at wrestling conventions infrequently.
8 John Cena & Sheamus
For the young WWE fan, this picture is haunting as the two bitter rivals enjoy some companionship outside of the ring. For the hardcore fan however, you’re well aware that this pictures makes a lot of sense. Both wrestlers enjoyed massive success in the 2009-2010 time period and it likely brought them that much closer. With a love for fitness and both inching towards their 40s, one would assume the two remain very close nowadays.
For Sheamus, we tend to take the dude for granted because of his relationship with Triple H, but we must give props to him for his long body of work in the industry. He started training way back in 2002 and has been with the WWE system since 2006. He’s a four-time World Champion along with a two-time United States Champion. Today, he’s in the Tag Team Division staying relevant with the company. Despite the fact that he’s destined for his 40s sooner rather than later, Sheamus can still bring it in the squared circle and is surely good for another couple of years.
7 Trump, Arnold, Bruno & Hunter
Despite the fact that they're currently involved in a feud with one another surrounding who was better at hosting the Celerity Apprentice, the two were together and the WWE had the honors of joining the two as both men are a part of the WWE’s Hall of Fame. President Trump was inducted in 2013 and has maintained a fantastic relationship with Vince throughout the years. Arnold was also inducted in the Hall in 2015 in large part, thanks to Triple H and his admiration for the mega movie star/bodybuilder.
With such names going into the Hall, some wrestling fans judge the integrity of the selection process when people that hardly stepped foot in the ring get honored with such a “prestigious” feat. Whatever the reasons might be, the WWE values both President Trump and Arnold, and in all likelihood, the pairs will remain close for a very long time. As for Trump and Arnold, not so much...
6 Water Park Fun
We discussed Khali’s popularity earlier in the article and this is yet another picture that proves how "in" he was with the cool kids. This candid picture was taken at a water park and features an unlikely grouping of former and current WWE stars. The Bella twins are featured, along with Randy Orton, former wrestler Santino Marella and of course the big man himself, The Great Khali.
Seeing the Bellas together with the fellas is quite odd especially when you consider what they're up to nowadays, with Brie expecting Daniel Bryan’s child, and Nikki partnering up with the face that runs the place, John Cena. Although they evolved today, they enjoyed some fun times when entering the business and joining the main roster in 2008. The twins especially enjoyed the party life with a variety of pictures showing both Nikki and Brie partying it up with various WWE stars.
5 Jericho & Kelly Kelly
In terms of randomness, this coupling outside of the ring takes the cake. The two are 16 years apart, and Y2J has been happily married since 2000, but yet these pictures spread like wildfire online. Multiple pictures came out of the two hanging out outside of the ring in bars, clubs and even en route to WWE shows riding together.
Kelly would eventually depart from the company in 2012 after she suffered from a variety of injuries. During her time off, Kelly married former NHL star Sheldon Souray and is currently working the reality show WAGS. Little do fans know, but Kelly is back with the WWE as an ambassador and is rumored to possibly return in the near future. For now, she’s slated to work the Axxess event taking place before WrestleMania 33. She’ll be meeting fans and signing autographs. Still only 30 years of age, a comeback is a big possibility.
4 Randy Orton & John Cena
If you’ve been watching them on television for years now as bitter rivals, it would come as a bit of a shock to know that John Cena and Randy Orton are actually very close outside of the ring, away from the WWE spotlight. The two have various pictures together including the one you see above as Cena plays a prank on his buddy by playing the role of a schoolyard bully and pulling down Orton’s pants.
Veterans in the WWE, the two maintain a strong relationship and are both pivotal parts of SmackDown Live. Orton, who is now 36 and a 12-time World Champion, is now slated to main event WrestleMania after he won the 2017 Royal Rumble. They’ve been there forever, but the two will continue to dominate the WWE landscape for at least the next couple of years before they finally ride off into the sunset.
3 Jericho’s New Year’s Party
Hard to find a WWE Superstar better than Chris Jericho during 2016. Despite the fact that the company is under a PG label, Chris found ways to remains hilarious with memorable in-ring promos and his work rate inside of the ring is somehow still optimal despite his older age.
Along with his in-ring success, Jericho is one of the most popular WWE Superstars behind the scenes and a huge locker room leader. He hosted his very own New Year’s party and the guests were a little random, with some that you wouldn’t expect. Braun Strowman, Dana Brooke, Jinder Mahal, Mike Knox and hell, even former fellow WCW friend Dean Malenko, were all on hand to celebrate the festivities. It remains to be seen how much longer Jericho will stay with the company before he departs again but looking at his body of work in the last year, we hope he stays put for an extended run.
2 Stephanie, Bray & Rene
An unlikely picture you thought you’d never see, Bray, Stephanie and Renee are seen hanging out backstage. Although Stephanie plays the role of the evil heel boss on-screen, she’s actually the exact opposite away from the camera and regarded as one of the biggest sweethearts there is. This picture proves that by showing Stephanie’s lighter side away from the WWE spotlights.
The other two have also grown leaps and bounds. Renee continues to blossom for the WWE hosting various network programs. As for Bray, he’s not doing too shabby either recently winning the WWE Title at the Elimination Chamber PPV. Bray is currently slated to walk into Mania as the champion defending his newly crowned title. In terms of accomplishments, Bray and Renee are quite hot at the moment. Maybe it’s cause they took this pic with Stephanie? Or maybe because it’s about damn time the WWE realizes great talent. Either or, either or.
1 The McMahons & The President
So here’s a picture you probably thought you’d never see in a million years featuring the McMahon family alongside the President of the United States, Donald Trump. No matter who you are, nobody, but we mean nobody, could have predicted such a picture.
It’s no secret, the McMahon family and the Trumps have kept close ties throughout the years. The McMahon family even aided in Trump’s election funding. The two have remained close and heck, Donald Trump even ate a Stunner by Steve Austin at one point in time because he truly believed it would have helped Vince (on a side note, hilarious that Austin stunned the President of the United States).
As the picture shows, the two remain extremely close and Linda is now set to work alongside Trump as the head of the Small Businesses Administration. Those featured in the picture are Shane and his wife, along with their three boys, Stephanie and Hunter, along with their three girls and of course, the President, Vince and Linda. Not to mention the awesome photo of Trump shaving McMahon’s head bald. A true classic!