The professional wrestling scene has become so big and full of entertainment nowadays that it almost feels like a well-produced orchestra. Wrestling is still very much dependent on kayfabe and how well they maintain it during the shows. The heels are the bad guys in the shows; they simply couldn't care less about what the audience thinks about them, going so far as to often shun the fans altogether.
Even though these bad guys might look to be very tough during the wrestling events, they are, for the most part, actually pretty normal, cool people when out of kayfabe. Most heels live to entertain the fans and love to interact with them outside of the ring. These seemingly tough, intimidating guys on the screen can be quite warm and kind in real life, and their kindness sometimes is noticed during the taped WWE shows, as well.
While much of the softer sides of these tough guys are showcased when the WWE cameras aren't following around, some of their kindness is shown by the company (sometimes unintentionally, as you'll see).
Here are 15 examples of wrestling's tough guys showing their softer sides.
15 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is one of the notorious believers of never breaking kayfabe, as the guy might be a rock-star in his real life but when it comes to portraying his heel side in the WWE, he never gets friendly with anyone. While he might be one of the most popular guys on the roster right now with his new gimmick, he's still there to insult the fans and his opposition but he did showcase his softer, humane side once a few months back. During a match with Neville on an episode of Raw, Jericho noticed that Neville had suffered a bad ankle injury and wanted to end the match early with a quick roll-up. But the referee wouldn't give in to it and Jericho started to argue with him, slyly telling him to stop the match as he's injured and pushing him, therefore getting himself disqualified. Jericho's worry for the well-being of a colleague goes onto show the veteran in him, as this breaking of kayfabe went onto show how good a sportsman he really is.
14 Luke Harper
Luke Harper might be the more bizarre, mysterious member of the Wyatt Family who lays down a path of destruction on anyone who tries to harm Bray Wyatt, but he's actually quite the friendly, lovable guy outside the WWE. Harper is known for being quite the good sport with his colleagues, as he also has his own "Luke Harper Fan Club" in the locker room and is one of the nicest guys backstage. Harper might not pay heed to fans in the ring, but he's actually pretty friendly outside as he attends many meet and greets and hangs out with the fans. He also attended a meet and greet a few years back to sign an autograph for a terminally ill boy, as he's since attended many others and has shown his real, softer side to the people.
13 AJ Styles
AJ Styles might be one of the most popular guys in the WWE right now, but that doesn't stop him from being a dastardly heel as he loves to boast about his position right now and insult the fans at the same time. While Styles portrays a tough guy in the ring, he's actually a very friendly, warm person in real life as he loves to interact with fans whenever possible outside the WWE cameras. Styles also made an appearance on the WWE Network's "The Edge & Christian Show Which Totally Reeks of Awesomeness" a few months back when he greeted his biggest fan and seemed to be pretty warm with him at the time. He's still quite friendly to fans despite being a top heel in the company right now, as Styles' love for the product and its fans will always keep him attached to them regardless of the state of his on-screen character.
12 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt is definitely one of the most mysterious elements of the WWE right now, as he is looking to be on the up again with his family getting stronger with each passing week, as the intimidating "New Face of Fear" is someone who doesn't really pay much heed to fans. Though Wyatt maintains his character amazingly on-screen, he's actually a very warm family man in his real life, as he avoids much fan interaction to protect his character's reputation. But when Wyatt (who is quite active on Twitter) got a tweet from a fan suffering from Asperger's syndrome wanting a reply from him, he had to give in to the fan's heart-felt tweet as he replied back to him encouraging him to keep his head up and that he's never alone. This was quite the amazing thing from him, as he went onto show his humane, softer side to the fans with this wonderful reply to the fan and went onto show how good a human being he is before he is Bray Wyatt.
11 Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam Bigelow might be remembered by many as one of the more intimidating bigger men in the 90s, as he steamrolled through much of his competition in WWE, ECW and WCW. Bigelow hated kayfabe being broken in wrestling, but he himself was a very good person outside wrestling as he'd show his softer sides on numerous occasions. The most memorable one comes from when he saved 3 children from a burning building in 2000, getting second degree burns on 40% of his body and spending 2 months in the hospital because of it. Bigelow was quite the real life superhero when he did something like that and even if he'd be that mean, destructive big man when it came to wrestling, he was quite the hero in real life.
10 Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman had quite the memorable 2016, where he was drafted to Monday Night Raw in the WWE Draft and has since absolutely demolished all the obstacles that has been thrown into his path. The mountain of a man is a one man wrecking machine who has no friends in the WWE shows, and doesn't really need anyone to help him either. Even though he might come off as this destructive monster on screen, he's actually one of the coolest dudes in the locker room and is loved by many of his colleagues. Pictures of him hanging out or posing with the locker room guys backstage has resurfaced over the course of months, as he's actually quite warm to fans as well and is nothing like his character who dominates through his opposition in the WWE.
9 Randy Orton
Randy Orton has remained as one of the most kayfabe committed characters in the recent years in the WWE, as Orton portrays his "Apex Predator" character so well that you doubt whether he's any different in his real life. Orton joined Bray Wyatt's family a few months back and participated in the Raw vs Smackdown Traditional Survivor Series match at the event, where the team was led by Shane McMahon. So when Shane received a brutal spear from Roman Reigns in the match, there was some real worries about whether he had a concussion or not as he landed very badly. Shane was escorted back to the locker room as his family watched on from the front rows, but Orton went to his son and assured him that Shane was alright, as this was also caught on WWE camera. The whole WWE universe could see him telling something to Shane's son, as he showcased his softer side by assuring the little kid that it's alright and went onto break character to give comfort to a son who was worried about the health of his father.
The Big Red Machine Kane has been terrorizing the WWE wrestlers for almost two decades now, as the masked "Demon" has been one of the scariest wrestlers of all time and also an amazing servant for the company as well. While he might not have the most friends because of his gimmick in WWE TV, he is actually quite the sweet-heart back stage as he has over the times helped many young wrestlers blend in to life in the WWE. He's also pretty warm with the fans outside WWE, as he has attended many meet and greets over the past few years. The most memorable moment probably comes from 2001, when the terrorizing demon helped a kid get his arcade toy in a segment shown on WWE TV which goes onto show how even a monster like him can have a heart of gold.
7 Andre The Giant
Andre The Giant is one of the reasons why WWE is so popular right now, as his legendary work in the 80s brought many eyes to the product as the Giant of a man pounded through almost everyone and was quite the popular figure as well. While he was this intimidating, terrorizing heel for most of his WWE term, he was a very friendly and warm person in real life as pictures of him playing with a very young Stephanie McMahon have resurfaced in the past few years. Andre was also a very good colleague as he went out drinking with many of his co-wrestlers after the shows, as this big, friendly giant had quite the soft side to his persona in real life and went onto show it numerous times, especially his friendship with Stephanie which has been widely shown in the recent times.
6 CM Punk
CM Punk might have left the wrestling scene a few years back, but he's still loved by his faithful share of fans for all that he did earlier in this decade. Though Punk was mostly a very rude, insulting heel who carried his kayfabe self in his real life at times, he did show his softer side to the fans while he was a heel as well. While he was WWE champion during his 434 day term, Punk once visited a young John Cena fan with his WWE title for a segment on Jimmy Kimmel. He interacted with the child and stated how he's better than Cena and playfully wrestled him. This was quite the sweet segment which was advertized by WWE, as this side of Punk goes onto show he is actually a very good, caring person in real life and even though he can be pretty rude when in his prime heel form, he loved the fans of the product throughout his career.
5 The Big Show
The Big Show has remained as the biggest man in the WWE ever since he joined almost two decades ago, as the World's Largest Athlete is infamous for his face/heel turns in the past few years which has worn out the WWE fans. Although Show is mostly a heel because of his size and dominating nature, he is still a very good and friendly giant in real life as he loves to interact with fans and to meet and greet fans as he's now moving on from the product on a regular basis. Show loves to interact with fans before and after shows (which not many others do) and has remained as the big, friendly giant over the years in the WWE as he's now blending into a more ambassador role for them and is winning fans over with his sweet nature.
4 Michael Cole
Okay, so Michael Cole is definitely not a tough guy considering that he's only commentating the matches and not actually wrestling in them, but he was quite the annoying heel commentator a few years back who angered many with his words. But while he was quite the bully, aggravating everyone on commentary, his persona completely changed during an episode of Raw in 2011 when his partner Jerry "The King" Lawler suffered a heart-attack live on air. Cole would not speak for a few moments to look up on his colleague, but would continue to call the ongoing match and later spoke on the incident in a very distressed state. Cole breaking his character to show his emotions on what had happen was really amazing, as his inner humane emotions being displayed during that show went onto show his own softer side and how he can be quite the caring man when not having to call the matches on air.
3 The Undertaker
The Undertaker has remained as WWE's Phenom for over two decades now, as the Demon of Death Valley is remembered for his chilling portrayal of his iconic character who had laid many a wrestler to rest (in peace) throughout his career and isn't known for his interaction with many wrestlers during his time in the WWE. But when the legendary Ric Flair had his farewell tribute after losing to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV, almost every wrestler seemed to break kayfabe to pay their respects to the Nature Boy and this included the Phenom as well. The Undertaker would come down to the ring and pay his respects to Ric Flair by going down on one knee, Taker-style, paying the ultimate form of respect. Although this wasn't shown on WWE TV at the time, they did show it later on as even The Deadman has a soft side to him and knows how to pay his respects to a legend like Ric Flair!
2 The Kliq
The Kliq were a very influential backstage group in the WWE in the 90s, as the group of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were ruling over the company at the time and were also very close friends because of the fact that they hung around each other all the time. So when Nash and Hall decided to jump ship to WWE in 1996, the group had to part in the two's last WWE event at Madison Square Garden, the four faced each other (Triple H took on Hall and Michaels took on Nash) on the same night as they all came down to the ring in the end and hugged it out for one last time. But what nobody knew that someone had recorded it with their cameras and it was soon leaked out, destroying the kayfabe situation at the time. This was one of the incidents which made Vince McMahon not let "friends" stick together during shows. The "Curtain Call", with all 4 showing their bond and softer sides, will remain in the memory of everyone for a long time.
1 Triple H
Triple H has remained as WWE's "Cerebral Assassin" for a long time now, as he's remained as one of the top heels in the company for almost two decades now and had a change of character when he became "The Authority" a few years back with Kane and Seth Rollins at his side. So last year in a match on RAW where Hunter was sitting in ringside, he saw a kid crying behind him and broke character by going to the kid and consoling him. Triple H was the main bad guy at the time and really surprised many by doing this, as he also would take the kid backstage after the show to give him autographs and show him around. Triple H might be the ruthless bad guy in the WWE, but he's actually quite the caring human being who came into light at that moment and his caring for WWE's fans goes onto show why he's being entrusted to be Vince McMahon's successor and take control of the company soon.