As most professional wrestlers could probably tell you, there are a lot of hazards involved with becoming a WWE Superstar. Not only do wrestlers have to put their bodies on the line week in and week out, performing death-defying stunts that would make the average person wet their pants, they have to deal with the risk of potentially career-ending (or even life-ending) injuries every time they step into the ring. Throw in the limited job security and the fact that wrestlers have to travel around the world on a weekly-basis, spending little time at home with their families and it’s no wonder only the most committed performers actually make it in the industry. However, one hazard that a lot of wrestlers aren’t prepared for is dealing with their fans.
Given the WWE’s massive worldwide success, any wrestler that signs the dotted line to join the wrestling giant is also signing up for a life of fame, adoring fans and all the good (and bad) that comes with it. This often means fans encroaching on any bit of privacy a superstar can find for themselves, showing up at airports and bothering them in restrooms just to get an autograph or selfie to post on Instagram. And while this rabid fandom can be a major headache for WWE performers, it sure does produce some entertaining fan photos.
The following list showcases some of the most awkward and cringeworthy photos wrestlers have taken with fans. From fans who went a little too far at their meet and greets to candid photos that wrestlers most definitely did not want to be in, here are 15 photos of wrestlers with fans that will definitely make you cringe.
15. Sasha Banks Bothered At The Airport
If you follow Sasha Banks at all than you’re probably well aware that the Boss is no fan of the airport selfie. While the four-time Women’s Champion is one of the most popular women in the WWE with a rabid fanbase, she’s also an intensely private person who isn’t afraid to set boundaries about when she is and isn’t willing to interact with fans looking for an autograph or candid photo. Something that was made all too clear in this photograph, which was taken in 2016. It’s a photo New Day member Big E is so fond of, he even had custom socks made featuring the scowling Banks, calling it his “favorite moment in photographic history.”
Banks recently found herself at the center of a heated debate when she spoke out about fans who track down her flight information and follow her to her hotels in the hopes of meeting her, saying, “To me, that’s stalking. I don’t tweet out what hotel I’m at. I don’t tweet out what airline I’m flying. I’m so happy to sign at the arena, that’s fine because I’m telling you where I’m going to be at. If I see you in public, that’s fine but when I’m at the airport at four in the morning and I see someone with a carry-on and they open it with a hundred items of everyone and they’re bothering everyone to get an autograph and I see it on eBay, that’s not okay to me.”
14. Roman Reigns’ Fan Wants A Squeeze
Many WWE Superstars make appearances at Wizard World conventions. It’s a chance for them to get up close and personal with their fans in a controlled environment without having to be followed to airports or hotels and the crown jewel of these conventions are always the meet and greet photos. It’s a portion of the event that most fans take very seriously, sometimes even planning elaborate poses to make their photos extra special.
However, in the case of this one, it doesn’t look like Roman Reigns quite got the memo. The only explanations for this photo are that either this woman was trying to make her encounter with the Big Dog as awkward as possible or her planned pose didn’t quite work out. Either way, it’s safe to say the end result she walked away with is far better than anything she could have imagined.
13. Triple H Is NOT Interested At All
Anyone looking for so bad it’s good photos of wrestlers with fans surely struck a goldmine when this snap made it’s way online. In what has to be the most awkward wrestling fan encounter ever, Triple H can be seen looking none too pleased next to a fan in what appears to be a hotel lobby (have we found the moral of this story yet?).
In fact, there’s so much wrong with this photo that’s it’s hard to settle on just one thing, from The Game’s uninterested expression to the fact that the fan is wearing a t-shirt featuring three wrestlers who are not Triple H, to the photobomb from a very pregnant Stephanie McMahon, this candid surely belongs in the Hall of Fame of bad wrestling photos.
12. So This Isn’t Bothering Seth Rollins?
Imagine this. You’re chilling out, going about your business in public when you spot one of the biggest superstars currently in the WWE out an about. You want to get a photo with him but he seems busy and you don’t want to bother him. What do you do?
Well, the answer probably isn’t stand in front of him and try to discretely get a photo under the guise of taking a selfie. However, that’s what this photo seems to show, featuring a perturbed Seth Rollins who looks to be on his way to (or way back from) the gym. Knowing how the Raw Tag Team Champion feels about being ambushed by fans in public, it’s hard to imagine that he was a big fan of this stealth tactic.
11. Randy Orton Can’t Even Go To The Bathroom…
Anyone who knows anything about Randy Orton knows exactly how he feels about taking pictures with fans in public. The third-generation superstar found himself in quite a bit of hot water earlier this year when he caught a fan attempting to take a sneaky pic of him at the gym after being spurned by the Viper, leading to a heated confrontation. So it goes without saying the prickly vet probably didn’t take too kindly to this young fan, caught red-handed trying to take a mirror selfie with the superstar at the sink of a public restroom.
And while a picture may be worth 1,000 words, it’d still be nice to know what he said to fan afterwards. Probably something along the lines of this tweet he sent out after gym-gate. “Apparently I hurt a fan’s feelings when I told him to F off at the gym yesterday. That’s news? Been happening for 15 years. #getalife.”
10. The Bella Twins Meet Some Weird Fans
Another popular attraction at the Wizard World conventions (and any convention really) is cosplaying as your favorite fictional characters. Fans spend countless hours and even more money replicating the costumes of people from television, film and as it turns out, the world of wrestling too. And it’s a good thing they do because if they didn’t, we’d never have this priceless photo of Brie and Nikki Bella posing with Nikki’s bizarro-world doppelgänger.
In the photo, fans cosplaying as the WWE’s ultimate power couple, Nikki and John Cena, can be seen posing alongside the purveyors of Twin Magic. However, if you look closely, you might notice that Nikki’s look-alike has one thing she doesn’t; a Y chromosome. While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, judging by the looks on the Bellas’ faces, this probably didn’t go over well with them.
9. JBL Really Needs A Bed
One of the biggest downsides to being signed to the WWE is the intense travel schedules that performers are subjected to. Superstars are often in a new city five days a week, meaning that they spend an awful lot of time on airplanes. And of course, after braving a five-plus hour-long flight across the country, the last thing most people want to do is pose for photographs. Probably because they end up looking like this one.
Here a disheveled-looking John Bradshaw Layfield can be seen posing with a fan, despite clearly wanting to be anywhere else in the world. Between his exhausted gaze, messy hair and general out of it expression, the man captured here is hardly the put together commentator fans are used to seeing on television. However, given the circumstances at least he stopped for the photo?
8. The Fan Strikes Again With The Miz
As you can see here, some fans show up at the airport to take pictures with as many wrestlers as they can find, as evidenced by this photo which looks to have been taken on the same day as the one with JBL. And much like the photo with JBL, The Miz does not look too pleased to be taking it.
While the A-Lister always appears camera ready on television, his character never having met a camera flash or adoring fan he didn’t like, the real Miz looks far less amused, flashing the camera a pained, barely-there smile. The whole thing does ask the question, if these are the photos you’re going to get ambushing wrestlers at the airport, what’s the point in even trying?
7. Brock Lesnar “Take the picture and leave me alone”
As far as Brock Lesnar fan encounters go, this one could have been a lot worse. After all, at least he stopped to take a picture in this case. The Beast Incarnate has never been known as being the most agreeable WWE superstar, having said multiple times during interviews, “I’m not a nice guy.” So if you were hoping to get a quality snap with the Universal Champion, you should probably make other plans.
Here, Lesnar can be seen posing with a large group of people while flashing the camera his signature disinterested scowl. It’s not the first time the Behemoth has gone viral for the way he treats his fans. In 2014, a video was posted online showing Lesnar and his wife Sable, seemingly rejecting a female fan at an Orlando airport for an interaction that can only be described as cringeworthy.
6. Guy Grabs Too Much Of Paige
As any of the WWE’s female superstars could probably tell you, being a women’s wrestler comes with its own set of complications, especially when it comes to interacting with fans. Given that the WWE’s fanbase is largely male and over the age of 35, female talent have to be particularly guarded when approached by their fans of the opposite sex as many have a history of being downright inappropriate towards the oft objectified performers.
Just ask this guy who can be seen getting a little too close for comfort with the wrestling giant’s resident Anti-Diva, Paige. While the former Divas Champion can be seen smiling for the camera, her body language screams discomfort, especially considering how uncomfortably high his hands are across her torso.
5. New Day – Intentional or Not
This is either a really good intentionally awkward photo, or an even better natural one. The New Day is known as one of the most popular and family-friendly factions currently in the WWE, selling Booty-Os cereal to households across the country and making people “feel the power.” However, even the nicest wrestlers have off-days as evidenced by this candid, showing what might be the most awkward fan encounter ever.
The snap, which appears to have been taken at the airport, shows the longest reigning Tag Team Champions, each looking at the camera in various stages of awkward, Kofi Kingston looking completely out of it, likely due to exhaustion, while Xavier Woods and Big E both show variations of cringe-face. Seeing as the fan has an equally awkward expression on his face as well, lets hope this was intentional.
4. Jeepers McCreepers And Kelly Kelly
Like we mentioned earlier, the women of the WWE have to deal with an entirely different experience with their fans, especially when it comes to unwanted attention from overzealous male admirers. However, it seems like Kelly Kelly is handling it a lot better than most in this candid, seemingly taken in a parking lot, potentially outside of a wrestling venue.
In the image, a male fan can be seen wrapping his arms around the fan favorite Diva’s waist and smiling wide as Kelly appears to be in the middle of a phone call. And while it’s nice that the former Diva’s Champion was kind enough to smile for the borderline intrusive photograph, it’s easy to imagine that many other superstars would understandably not have been so giving under the same circumstances.
3. The Shield Has Their Guard Up At The Airport
Our final example of what happens when you try to bug a WWE superstar for a photo at the airport is brought to you by The Shield. The legendary WWE stable, made up of current-day powerhouses Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose is fondly remembered as one of the most dominant and popular factions in the history of the company. However, if you’re looking to take a photo with the iconic trio, maybe try your luck at the venue?
Here, yet another fan can be seen trying to get a photo with popular team at the airport and judging from the end result, it doesn’t seem like they were too thrilled about granting the request. In fact, Ambrose looks so caught off-guard by the photo-op that it almost makes you wonder if said fan even asked permission before taking it. For his sake, we’ll hope the answer to that is yes.
2. Don’t Touch AJ Lee
Of all the awkward things a wrestler has to deal with when it comes to meeting fans, the most awkward has got to be inappropriate touching. It’s something that can be at best, an uncomfortable moment and at worst, cause for a lawsuit. I mean, after hours of posing for photos with countless fans, someone’s hand is bound to land too low or brush past something it shouldn’t, right? Which is why some superstars have begun to fight against it, setting boundaries for what’s acceptable when meeting with their fans.
One of those superstars is AJ Lee who has expressed in the past that while she’s happy to meet and pose with her fans, she’d prefer it if they don’t touch her. It’s this sentiment that’s likely responsible for this photo which shows a less than pleased looking Lee, standing unusually far away from a smiling male fan.
1. The Undertaker With Cosplayers
Let this picture be a lesson: Not everyone is a fan of cosplay. While the nerdy hobby has grown increasingly in popularity over the years thanks to the normalization of comic book conventions, dressing up like your favorite celebrity is always going to be a risk. If your costume is terrible, it’s insulting. If you look better than them, even more-so. And then there are cases like this where frankly, we’re not even sure The Undertaker knows what cosplay is.
Here, the WWE legend can be seen posing alongside two fans, dressed up as Kane and the Phenom respectively. And while their costumes are actually quite good, there’s something about the look on the Deadman’s face that adds an air of discomfort to the photo. It’s hard to tell whether Taker is confused, annoyed or just downright tired but either way, this is probably not the portrait these fans thought they’d walk away with.
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