What we see on television is not how things really are in the WWE. Characters built by the company in an effort to sell "sports entertainment" promotes heroes and villains, friendship and betrayal, adversity and triumph and, as Booker T likes to call it, checks and championships.
Understandably, our minds are sometimes blown to find out that what we see on our screens isn't how thinsg are and that kayfabe (keeping the characters and storylines real in and out of the ring) is dead. To find out our bitter rivals are actually friends or to see the sheer amount of work that goes into the things we take for granted is a shock to the system.
Things are getting easier though. Now that the WWE no longer pushes its product as real, they've created original programming on the WWE Network that highlights behind the scenes realities. Social media is full of pics and videos, the WWE's website discusses wrestlers personal lives in an effort to get fans to better relate to them and fans get to know their favorite wrestlers almost intimately.
Still, every now and then we see photos that make us second-guess whether or not we want to be this close to the realities of wrestling. These photos make us think differently about the product we've fallen in love with as fans.
Here are 15 photos from the behind the scenes that we either wished we'd never seen or completely changed the way we viewed the company. Did you know this much work went into what you were watching? Did you realize how close you were to some major changes in storylines? Maybe the wrestlers got it right and maybe the company did. These photos may change your view on things.
15 Gorilla Position
If you didn't realize just how much the company is watching every move that happens on television, or for that matter, how much wrestlers watch each other, take a look at this photo of the Gorilla Position backstage. The Gorilla Position is the place near the entrance curtain where guys like Vince McMahon and Triple H watch the matches and make sure the story they are trying to tell comes off well. They'll give notes to announcers, instructions to referees and notes to wrestlers as they enter the arena.
You can also see how much other wrestlers watch each other. Just look at all the female talent huddling around the monitors to watch John Cena. Clearly, they are not all hating on each other as they appear to be on tv.
14 The Folks Behind NXT
We know Vince McMahon and Triple H are the main guys behind everything we see on WWE programming like Raw and SmackDown Live, but who runs the show at NXT? Even though NXT is Triple H's baby, he's hired a number of people to ensure the proper training of talent and translation of their training to NXT broadcasts.
In this photo alone you have Shawn Michaels, Michael PS Hayes, Joey Mercury, Terry Taylor and even Paul Heyman in the back watching on. Even though many may view NXT as the minor leagues to the WWE, it takes an entire crew to run NXT shows just as it does other the programming. These are the folks who make it all happen. This photo also tells us that Hayes is still rocking the fanny-pack.
13 Sting Vs. The Undertaker
Just take one look at this photo and think about what might have been if the Icons of the WWE and WCW had squared off against one another. Instead of getting the Sting versus The Undertaker match that almost everyone wanted, we got Sting vs Triple H in a match that made little to no sense.
Triple H versus Sting could have happened eventually, but the WWE made it a priority and Sting eventually ran out of time, his career shortened due to injury. The Undertaker also retired before these two could ever face off and now WWE fans will never get to see the dream match that, unlike so many others, could have actually happened. Shame on you WWE and Triple H for not giving the fans what they wanted. Now it's simply too late and all the WWE Universe has left is wondering what could have been.
12 Photo Shoot
It's easy to take the images we see on television or the WWE.com website, social media and other avenues for granted. Fans senses are inundated with messaging and we see so many images on a daily basis, as a fan of wrestling and sports entertainment, we don't know what goes into these images we see. If you look at the above photo, you might have some idea now.
Look at the mass amount of people and equipment around just for a few pics with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. What we see as a couple people before or after a workout is really hours of setting up, lighting, makeup and so much more to get just the right look. Imagine if the company didn't go to these great lengths? You'd see photos of people that look a lot more like everyday individuals. There's even a video camera crew there shooting the photographers.
11 The Shield
Explain to us again why the WWE broke up The Shield? Look at this photo and tell me that you don't think the WWE ruined an incredible thing by splitting these three up way too soon. This photo would have been taken only a few weeks before Vince McMahon decided to have these guys go their own separate ways and it can be fairly argued that each individual has not done nearly as well as they could have if they'd stayed together (even if only for a little longer).
Instead of being the next best thing to the Four Horseman we get weekly programming where the WWE teases them reuniting but it doesn't have the same effect since they didn't accomplish nearly as much as a group as they should have. They were simply dominant and they could have been as a team for years (while still having successful singles matches).
10 WWE And The Community
If you ever wondered how much work the WWE does in the community, understand that it's a lot. Between Make-a-Wish and Superstars for Kids among other initiatives, the company, and its Superstars are spending a ton of their time working with families, organizations and kids trying to make the world a better place.
Sure, some of this is a huge plus on the public relations side of the business for the company, but Vince McMahon understands his market is families and it outside of doing a good thing, it's the reason the WWE is now PG. There are so many ways to promote to a family-wide audience that the community work the WWE does just scratches the surface of their work outside the ring. The WWE often catches a lot of flack for things. This is an area where they should be commended.
9 Everything Is A Work
OK, maybe not everything is a work, but almost everything is. This photo showing Kane and John Cena planning out a confrontation at a public signing and promotional spot for an international show demonstrates just how much WWE Superstars work together to plan their angles, spots and confrontations.
You can see here how hours before they actually pulled off their battle in front of a live crowd, the two got together (happy as can be) and planned out the sequence of events. Then, when it came time to put on the actual show, the audience got to see what looked like a real heated exchange. It was nothing more than two friends doing their job. Planning things this way gives the fans the best show lets others surrounding the area know what to expect and avoids any potential injuries due to uncertainty.
8 WrestleMania Stage
If you're a fan of wrestling, you know WrestleMania. If you're a fan of WrestleMania, one of the reasons is because it's the granddaddy of all wrestling shows. The matchups are bigger, the celebrity quota goes up, the storylines are important and the stage is massive! This photo shows just how massive the stage actually is.
The WWE will get into each stadium arena weeks before the actual show and start production. It takes hundreds of crew workers and countless hours to build their massive set designs and get everything tested and working properly. The construction alone is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and the WWE spares no expense to get it right. As fans, we take it for granted, but this is no small undertaking by the WWE and tons of workers in the area they employ each WrestleMania season.
7 Working Their Way Up The Ladder
Sometimes fans don't know where the biggest stars in the company come from. It used to be that wrestlers showed up, became main event guys and went on to huge careers. Now, with NXT and shows like Tough Enough, fans get a bit more of an insider look at to where these WWE Superstars got their start.
Look at the above photo of Adam Rose and his Rosebuds. One quick peek and you can see at least three members of this party crew that went on to have bigger careers than he did. Braun Strowman and Becky Lynch stand out the most, but there are others hiding under costumes and terrible gimmicks. This is just one example. Alexa Bliss, Charlotte and Sash Banks first appeared at WrestleMania under masks during a Triple H entrance.
6 It's Just Business
This photo of Shane McMahon and The Undertaker after their WrestleMania match just goes to show that the WWE is all about doing business. This was a match that sort of came together last minute. They had no real reason not to like each other and no real reason for a match, but the fact that McMahon was known to plan a jump off the Hell in a Cell structure the minute the match became official meant buys and eyeballs for the show.
You can see by this photo that they're friends and thanked each other for a good match. McMahon, probably still hurting from his fall, is all smiles and he appreciates and respects The Undertaker. The Undertaker likely has a level of respect for Shane, having just put his body on the line to make the match memorable. 5. M
5 Losing Control And Knowing the Line
This image will show you how fine the line is between a wrestler being accommodating to fans and fans going overboard. Jericho has somewhat of a reputation for being difficult, but at the same time, he's a wrestler out there to please the WWE Universe. In this case, a fan took liberties and crossed the line.
Jericho is not unique in this regard. If you're a fan, that's great. But, if you go too far, invade personal space, hound the WWE Superstars or try to make contact with them, they will lose their cool. There has to be a healthy respect for both sides and the talent is there to entertain you, that's all. If you can't distinguish the difference between right and wrong when it comes to fan and Superstar interaction, you need to take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
4 Lawler Heart Attack
If there's one thing you should remember as a fan of the WWE, it's that your Superstars can be taken away from you in an instant. In this case, Lawler survived and is back with the WWE, but others aren't so lucky.
Wrestling fans have seen their fair share of talents pass away far too soon. From Curt Hennig to Eddie Guerrero to Chyna, Test and many many others, it doesn't take much. Wrestlers place a major strain on their bodies. Some of it is to continually entertain through injuries and some of it is because they're hooked on substance abuse. In Lawler's case, his health just caught up to him and he luckily came out of it on the other side fine. He's in the minority.
3 Press Junkets
If you think the WWE Superstars have it easy because they show up twice a week on television and wrestle for a couple minutes, then you don't know the schedule these WWE Superstars keep. What we see on tv is only a fraction of the work they're asked to do to promote the shows they're often headlining.
This photo shows Samoa Joe doing one of the likely countless interviews he has to do on a regular basis. WWE Superstars are paraded around to events, autograph signings, radio stations and other outlets just to promote local shows. When it comes to WrestleMania, the interview is endless. It's a much less glamorous part of the job, but perhaps no less important. The WWE is a promotional machine and always trying to get the word out to come see their product.
2 CM Punk Not Hating On The WWE
If you listened to every second word that came out of the mouth of CM Punk, you'd think he hated everything about the WWE and his time there. These photos tell a different story.
Even a seemingly miserable CM Punk found time to reflect on his upcoming match at WrestleMania and then enjoyed a moment with one of the best wrestlers ever to wear the tights in Shawn Michaels. Punk actually looked happy here and it tells the story that perhaps the WWE does, in fact, make dreams come true for people and that life as a WWE Superstar has some pretty awesome moments and memories you can hang onto. It's too bad Punk chooses to reflect back on only the negative parts of his experience. It's robbing him from some pretty great times.
1 Security and Social Media Issues
The WWE has to recognize they have a problem. With the sheer amount of leaked photos that are making their way to the Internet, the company has to wrap their head around finding a way to get their talent to stop putting sensitive material on devices that can be hacked or they have to find a way to get their Superstars motivated to stop taking pictures that can be leaked online.
In a business that is so driven by personal appearances, that could be difficult to do. The amount of fame and recognition that comes with having your photos "leaked" and that these people are arguably bigger stars after the incidences than before make people realize that the WWE is just like any other Hollywood or celebrity crazed business. Scandal equals publicity.