Ever since professional wrestling attained mainstream status and revealed everything happening is actually scripted, the wrestlers were told to never break away from their characters when the show is on. The wrestlers may be completely different people in real life than what they seem when the camera is on, but they cannot break kayfabe when the shows are being televised as it's the only thing which has kept wrestling so entertaining among the fans over the years.
There have been some cases of wrestlers breaking kayfabe when the cameras were rolling which fans didn't realize when they initially took place. These wrestlers found some sneaky ways to break their characters and portray their real selves, and the fans didn't have a clue that the wrestlers weren't portraying their gimmicks at the time. While breaking kayfabe is the ultimate sin of professional wrestling, these wrestlers were forced to subtly break their characters because of their emotions getting the better of them in certain situations.
18 Kevin Nash And Scott Hall Go For A Swim
Scott Hall has quite the misfortune of having the reputation of being an alcoholic, as he almost ruined his life with his addiction to alcohol before he was saved by DDP a few years ago. But when he was enjoying his peak at WCW, he didn't care about what happened. He was untouchable in WCW and grew so arrogant that he was drunk during one live TV show. In an episode of Nitro, Hall and Nash were talking trash about The Giant (aka The Big Show) before the big man showed up. But both were actually quite drunk during the show, as Hall slipped outside the ring while trying to run from The Giant. He was finally dumped into the water by The Giant.
17 Randy Orton Consoles Shane McMahon's Son
Randy Orton has been quite the vicious, unpredictable character in the WWE over the past few years as The Viper can strike anyone at any time when he's around. Orton is someone who, even as a face, has a shady vibe to him, but he's actually a very good human being and even became a father for the second time recently. So he could probably feel Shane McMahon's son's concern when he saw his dad being beat up badly at Survivor Series last year. The caring Orton would go to console Shane's son and tell him that his dad was alright in a startling kayfabe-breaking moment, as the video was circulated on the internet after the event. Orton may never break kayfabe in the WWE because of how much of a professional he is, but he had to console Shane's son after the horrific beating he took.
16 CM Punk Hits A Fan
CM Punk had the reputation of being quite the outspoken individual in the WWE and despite being a very popular figure among the fans, he often berated them about how they were hypocritical. Punk was known to play his character perfectly and maintained kayfabe throughout his stint in the WWE, but even he lost his cool and lashed out during an episode of RAW in 2012. After his match against Vince McMahon in October 2012, Punk ventured into the crowd but was being smacked and trash-talked by the fans. He kept his cool until a fan smacked him in the head, to which he retaliated by hitting the wrong fan! He actually hit a fan, which was disastrous for the WWE, as Punk breaking kayfabe and going violent on a fan almost cost him and the WWE being sued for a lot of money.
15 Hulk Hogan & Vince Russo At Bash At The Beach
Hulk Hogan was definitely one of the major reasons for WCW's success in the 90s, helping them win the ratings war against WWE fora period of time with his new persona as the leader of the nWo. But he clashed with Vince Russo who came to the company when the Hulkster was already very powerful. At Bash at the Beach 2000, Hogan was originally booked to lose to WCW Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett. But he refused to do so and invoked his creative control as he didn't like what Russo was doing with his character. In the end, Russo literally made Jarrett lay down for Hogan in the match which provoked Hogan to break kayfabe and say "this is why the company is in a shape like this, because of bulls*** like this". He was later "fired" by Russo who also broke kayfabe, turning the event into an absolute circus.
14 Roman Reigns Laughing During Kevin Owens' Headlock
Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens had quite the hard-hitting feud earlier this year when KO was the Universal Champion as they battled quite a few of times. They had really good chemistry and because of how comfortable the two were working with each other, WWE had them often compete at live events as well. While live events don't get televised, they are recorded. It was during one live event when Roman Reigns broke kayfabe, when he couldn't hold his laughter when he was in a headlock by Owens. KO was trash-talking a fan like he usually does and was hilarious; Roman couldn't hold a straight face as he let out a laugh. One can understand Roman's amusement at this hilarious scenario.
13 The Whole Kurt Angle-Daniel Puder Debacle
Kurt Angle would show off his genuine wrestling skills on an episode of Tough Enough in 2004 when he took down Chris Nowinski and challenged anyone else to a shoot fight on an episode of SmackDown. Daniel Puder accepted the fight and the two went at it, but the tides quickly turned on Angle when Puder had him in a legitimate Kimura Lock. The referee improvised and pinned Puder (despite his shoulders not really being on the mat) and saved Angle from getting his arm broken. That shoot fight showed Angle and Puder breaking kayfabe, as Angle was in real distress when the kimura was locked in. Fans all thought that it was probably scripted, when it really wasn't.
12 Triple H Tackles Rogue Fan To Save Linda McMahon
Triple H has been very close with the McMahon family ever since he arrived at the WWE and his relations turned into a family after he got married to Stephanie McMahon. The two started falling for each other in the late 90s/early 2000s when the McMahon-Helmsley faction was created. It was during this time that they were shocked to see Linda McMahon on an episode of RAW in 2000. Linda came out to Vince's music playing in the arena as it seemed she would ruin Triple H and Steph's fun, but it was just then when a fan jumped the barricade and jolted towards her. Triple H broke character and took the fan down as the camera just lingered on Linda for the next few seconds. Triple H normally never breaks kayfabe, but when it comes to saving his mother-in-law, he had to take the fan down.
11 Shawn Michaels Has Battery Problems
Shawn Michaels was on top of the world back in 1998 as he was the top star of the WWE and also the WWE Champion heading into WrestleMania. HBK had defeated everyone and was pretty cocky thanks to his friends in D-Generation X, who helped him along the way. During a WWE event in 1998, Michaels was cutting a heel promo on the audience when he was suddenly hit by a battery from a fan. Michaels completely lost his cool there and broke his character by downright walking out of the arena without even finishing his promo. The cocky Michaels, who didn't care about what people thought of him, looked genuinely angry at what had transpired, as he decided to break kayfabe by walking out without uttering a word after that incident.
10 Stupid Kofi Kingston
Randy Orton may have his doubters because of his character turning stale since becoming a face, but nobody can deny that the man is one of the best in-ring performers of his time. Orton is a professional in the ring and definitely doesn't like when someone doesn't follow the script. Orton lost his temper many years back when he faced Kofi Kingston in a match on RAW. Kingston originally was supposed to stay down in the ring for the punt kick, which he'd dodge, only to get hit with the RKO. But he got up too soon which resulted in Orton hitting him with the RKO, but he broke kayfabe and shouted "Stupid" at Kofi. The Viper won the match, but he looked genuinely angry and even though fans thought it was all scripted, him shouting "stupid" and getting angry definitely wasn't.
7 D-Generation X Replays The Curtain Call On Raw
D-Generation X was definitely one of the most fun aspects of WWE during the Attitude Era as these guys did whatever they wanted in the company and the fans absolutely loved it. There were times when they went over the line with a few things but nothing probably comes close to when they decided to kick down the fourth wall and show the curtain call on an episode of Raw. Triple H and Michaels were trying to rile up Mr. McMahon as they showed the "curtain call" incident on the Titantron, a segment where they completely broke kayfabe and Triple H even said something like "what's the big deal about it". Mr. McMahon looked genuinely angered at the announcer's table and while he was soft on DX, he was definitely angry at them for breaking kayfabe on live television.
6 The Undertaker Shoots On Vince McMahon
The Undertaker is known to have a lot of respect for Vince McMahon as we've seen in the past just how much Vince loves Taker because of everything the Deadman has done for the company. But during the Attitude Era when he wasn't getting as much as attention as the others, Taker did a worked shoot on an episode of Raw in 1998. He broke kayfabe and indicated how he made WWE safe for Vince and "all his hand-picked champions" and also went on to berate McMahon for how he treated The Undertaker when he had the belt on him. The Deadman spoke about how he was a two-time WWE champion but not for very long, indicating that Vince didn't want someone like him representing the WWE. Taker would later get back into character and speak about things related to him, but this shoot revealed some tensions between the two at the time.
4 Terry Funk Runs To The Aid Of Mick Foley
Terry Funk and Mick Foley shared quite the friendship in the WWE during the Attitude Era as they had an unconventional tag team of Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack. But then they both went their own ways, as Foley would place himself into the history books in quite the brutal manner. He had the iconic Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker at King of the Ring 1998 and after Foley fell from the top of the cell to the announcer's table, Funk was one of the first guys to dart out to his aid. Funk was a good friend of Foley's in real life and that wasn't him playing a character. People were too shocked to realize that Funk was actually breaking kayfabe, as he later would receive a chokeslam from The Undertaker as well for trying to save his good friend from even more pain.
3 "Mean" Gene Drops The F-Bomb
Gene Okerlund was the voice of WWE back in the 80s and the 90s as he was the one who interviewed many wrestlers backstage. He was also a very good announcer and was known by every WWE fan at the time because of how frequently he appeared and did his job like an absolute professional. While Gene was never deterred by anything and never broke kayfabe, he couldn't help himself at SummerSlam 1989 when he was about to interview "Ravishing" Rick Rude. Just as the interview was about to start, the SummerSlam backdrop fell in the background to which Gene said "f*** it". He broke kayfabe which bewildered the fans at the time as the mistake would lead to commentator Jessie "The Body" Ventura absolutely ripping into him for the mistake of dropping an F-Bomb at an event like SummerSlam.
2 Sasha Banks Tears Up After Winning The NXT Women's Championship
Sasha Banks was quite the nasty heel back in her NXT days when she was eyeing the NXT Women's Championship and had quite the lengthy feud with Charlotte in her quest to win the gold, making of fun of Ric flair in the process. Banks was heavily disliked because of how much of an evil heel she was, but that didn't stop her from letting her emotions get the better of her when she eventually won the title. Sasha started to tear up after winning the NXT Women's Championship, something which a heel definitely doesn't do and the fans didn't realize that The Boss was actually breaking kayfabe at that point. It was Sasha's childhood dream to win a championship in WWE and despite being that nasty, evil heel, she broke kayfabe by tearing up in the ring and proving how much of a fan she is of the product.
1 Dean Ambrose & Jake Roberts' Snake
Dean Ambrose has been quite the lunatic in the WWE ever since breaking through as part of the Shield many years ago and while he has maintained his crazy persona amazingly well over these years, he couldn't help himself when he was part of a segment with his idol Jake "The Snake" Roberts on the Old School version of Raw. The Shield were laid out by CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws when Roberts came to the ring. Jake laid his pet snake Damien on top of Ambrose and when the camera zoomed in, you could see that Ambrose was smirking and trying to hold back his laughing. "The Lunatic Fringe" couldn't hold back his excitement and broke kayfabe in this moment, which proves just how big of a wrestling fan he was before attaining fame in the WWE.