The old saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words, and for the most part that is correct. It’s weird how a single picture can encapsulate a moment of time so well, considering that it is only a snapshot of a single second in time. In sports, this is especially true, as most legendary athletes have their famous picture that most people know them by. For the NBA the picture of Michael Jordan crying with the Larry O’Brien Trophy is prominently featured in their content, and the same is true of Muhammad Ali’s knockout of Sonny Liston. Though it’s not on the same level competitively as other sports, wrestling falls into this same category, as we all have seen a picture of Stone Cold flipping the bird, or The Rock holding his arm up while perched on the turnbuckle during wrestling’s most popular years. But what about behind the scenes in wrestling?
Today we will be looking at some rare photos that you may have never seen before. These pictures while not famous still define an era – the Attitude Era. Most of the photos gathered here today come thanks to an old article on WWE.com, as well as Stacy “The Kat” Carter’s personal collection from her Facebook page.
Hopefully, this article is filled with pictures that you have never seen before, and if you have seen a few keep on scrolling until you find some you don’t recognize. As always feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
20. What’s He Doing Here? Part I
Wait a second, I know that guy. Is that “THE” Brian Kendrick? Well kinda, but he was better known as Spanky back during the Attitude Era. Kendrick was signed to the WWE in 2000 and was an active part of Memphis Championship Wrestling, which was a feeder territory for the main roster at the time. As part of the deal between the two companies, some of the MCW talents would participate in dark matches for the WWE. Kendrick was no exception and is a far cry from the man who currently resides on Monday Night RAW as part of the cruiserweight division.
This picture features a very young Kendrick (the SpongeBob shirt doesn’t help) playing cards waiting for his match backstage. It’s hard to think 16 years later, there he is, still with the company.
19. Taker And Trips
If the ending of WrestleMania XXVIII was supposed to be the end of a chapter for Triple H and The Undertaker, then this picture would be the beginning. The photo is more of a screengrab from Beyond The Mat, a documentary that most notably followed around Mick Foley during the height of his popularity. This film crew had an unprecedented amount of access to the WWE locker room at the time, and in the process caught some of their biggest stars out of character.
The photo above shows a much less influential Triple H with a then locker room general Undertaker. The two are seated at the Gorilla position watching Mick Foley and The Rock’s I Quit Match from 1999’s Royal Rumble. There’s no doubt they’re thinking ‘what the hell if Foley thinking?’.
18. Better Days For Chyna
This photo features a very healthy looking Chyna backstage at an event using her cell phone to make a call. Chyna was at the height of her career during this picture, transitioning from masculine looking bodyguard, into a Playboy model and symbol for positive body image. The picture appears to be taken before Chyna was ousted as a member of the WWE roster, but what we don’t know is whether or not this was during the affair between Stephanie McMahon and Triple H (Chyna’s boyfriend at the time).
In either case, when compared to her pictures prior to her untimely death earlier this year, the woman shown above looks nothing like the version of Chyna who became mocked in pop culture in recent years. It’s sad to think how much potential Chyna had ahead of her at the time of this picture.
17. WCW Bound
Though technically not taken during the official Attitude Era, this photo was taken right before Bret Hart’s tumultuous exit from the WWE in 1997. You could even argue that there wouldn’t have been an Attitude Era if not for the Montreal Screwjob – an event that has become synonymous with Hart’s legacy. That event helped create the Mr. McMahon character. But back to the picture which features Hart with real life brother in law Jim Neidhart backstage following an in-ring segment.
If the crutches look familiar it’s because Hart used his “injury” as an excuse to cancel matches with Shawn Michaels prior to Survivor Series. During his final few months in the company, Hart had turned from a full-fledged wrestling superhero, into a tweener hated by most Americans.
16. What’s He Doing Here? Part II
While this photo wasn’t taken backstage, it was taken when the cameras were off.
So casual fans of wrestling know that Brock Lesnar debuted in the WWE as The Next Big Thing in 2002. Super fans know that the former NCAA Amateur Wrestling Champion wrestled several dark matches as part of a tag team with Shelton Benjamin as the The Minnesota Stretching Crew. Hardcore fans may have seen the picture above. The photo features a young Lesnar wearing purple and gold trunks, being accompanied by Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
Now this was most certainly during the Attitude Era, meaning that Jesse was still the sitting Governor of Minnesota when the picture was taken. This means that the conspiracy theory of him being the original manager of Lesnar couldn’t be true, but for many this photo creates a “what if” scenario that could have changed the direction of professional wrestling.