Wrestlers today are far more separated from their gimmicks than previous generations have been. While the likes of Bruno Sammartino may have wanted to protect the illusion that wrestling was real and the champions are actually tough, today's wrestlers generally aren't concerned with coming off in such a way behind the scenes. The result is: instead of having a locker room full of legit tough guys, WWE now has a roster full of fairly nice people for the most part.
Now that WWE is a publicly traded company, they can't afford to have bad apples. If someone gets a reputation as a bully or mean-spirited, it could mean bad PR for the company. It's all part of WWE's plan to market themselves as good corporate citizens. That's why they do so much charity work, that's why they've even set up their own charitable foundations. The McMahon family wants to be bigger than wrestling, and in a sense they already are. Without the changes they've made to their company in recent years, Linda McMahon's political career would be dead rather than peaking.
This article takes a look at 15 wrestlers who may come off as tough guys but when the cameras aren't rolling - are actually pretty soft.
15 Bray Wyatt
While his soon-to-be ex-wife probably isn't too thrilled with him, it is believed that Bray Wyatt is considered a big softy. News broke earlier this year that Wyatt and his wife were going through divorce proceedings which were complicated by his new relationship with WWE ring announcer, JoJo.
He's considered a hard worker who has put everything he has into his character. It is said that his dedication is what won over Triple H.
14 Mark Henry
Mark Henry may have fathered an illegitimate "hand-child" with Mae Young, but don't let his indiscretions fool you, he's a big softy at heart. Henry has made a habit of doing charity work during his long WWE career. In 2013, he pulled up in a semi-truck at a charity event which got some press.Also in 2013, Henry was interviewed with the Life of Dad website as a featured father. He spoke about how important being there for his kids is and how much they love watching him in WWE.
Henry has also been involved with the Special Olympics and other charities which WWE has been involved with.
13 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has never smiled. He's smirked a little bit, but nothing that has resembled a full smile has ever appeared on his face. That doesn't mean he isn't a nice guy, as he is someone considered well-respected in the locker room.
Joe also has a history of charity work. He participated in a Gears of War tournament with Forrest Griffin for charity once. Earlier this year, he appeared on the Celebrity Spin Zone to raise money for the Salvation Army in Nevada.
12 Dean Ambrose
Despite being portrayed as an "out-of-control lunatic"- Ambrose is believed to be a down-to-earth and nice guy.
Ambrose isn't just a nice guy outside the ring, however, he's actually quite the nice guy in it as well , though fans aren't supposed to notice. He has a reputation as a safe worker. Nothing he does is considered very ever stiff, as in he doesn't hit people too hard. This is somewhat ironic considering WWE likes to market him as something of a hardcore wrestler and because before WWE, Ambrose really was a hardcore wrestler. He competed often for Combat Zone Wrestling, which focuses on brutal matches filled with weaponry.
11 Braun Strowman
I get asked a lot what my favorite thing is about being a #wwe #superstar This right here is my favorite thing about my job the money fame and all that is great don’t get me wrong but this this right here is what I kill myself for night after night this is worth more to me than any dollar sign. To see the overwhelming joy in the kids eyes that look up to me is priceless!!!! #BeSomeonesHero #MonsterAmongMunchkins #SmilesarePriceless #MonsterHeart #BraunStrowman
34-year old Braun Strowman is not the big tough brute he comes off as. In fact, most say he's a down-to-earth nice guy. Braun has said in multiple interviews he believes Roman Reigns is the best wrestler in the world and has learned a lot from him. He's rarely had a negative word for anyone as well.
10 Kevin Owens
While WWE will never admit this on their programming, one of the nicest guys they have on their roster is Kevin Owens.
Owens frequently gets involved with charitable causes, including donating $5, 000 to his friend Sami Zayn's charity to buy medical supplies for Syria, the country Zayn's family moved to Quebec from. Owens also created a GoFundMe account for those who have been impacted by the Alberto wildfires along with Tyler Breeze. Both Canadians wanted to help out.
Bill Goldberg has never been accused of being soft inside the ring. The time he full force kicked Bret Hart in the head is evidence of this. The opposite is true outside of the ring, however, as Goldberg has always been someone considered a respectable person in the real world.
8 The Miz
This might be hard to stomach for some, but Miz is widely regarded as a hard worker and dedicated WWE employee. This was not always the case, of course. When Miz first appeared in WWE he was seen as the guy from the "Real World" and generally not seen as someone who had enough respect for the business.
7 Luke Harper
As is the case with Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper is someone who has a backstage reputation for being a hardcore wrestler with a heart of gold. He's also a very good wrestler - someone many veterans feel should be pushed more than he is currently.
While Luke Harper seems anything but a family friendly wrestler, he's actually exactly that. Despite him competing against Dean Ambrose in Combat Zone Wrestling, Harper also spent five years in family-friendly Chikara promotion before debuting in WWE. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that nobody has had a bad thing to say about Harper throughout his 15 year career as a wrestler.
58-year-old retired pro wrestler Sting, first got his break in professional wrestling in 1985. It wouldn't be long before he became a big star. Throughout his 30+ year career pretty much nobody ever had a negative word to say about the guy.
Sting was always loyal to WCW and that's why he was labelled the franchise guy. If he had started in WWE, there's no telling if he would've been just as loyal to Vince McMahon. Sting was also very loyal to TNA throughout his 11 year run with the company.
5 Mick Foley
Mick Foley was proof that wrestling did have a heart of gold underneath all of the questionable and downright sleazy programming during the Attitude Era. Foley has been notoriously thrifty with his money but generous with his time and donations to charitable causes.
In many ways, Foley's good nature helped to protect the business when the movie Beyond the Mat became popular. The movie was released in 2000 and featured some aspects of professional wrestling that the general public might find repulsive. The documentary followed Jake "The Snake" Roberts as he spiraled into drug abuse. It followed New Jack, who at the time was enjoying the peak of his popularity in ECW. Many felt the documentary focused too much on wrestling's seedy underbelly.
4 Rey Mysterio
Arguably the most successful Luchador of all-time, Rey Mysterio has an almost unblemished reputation with his fellow wrestlers. The guy is no saint mind you, he failed a few WWE Wellness Policy violations in his day, but that doesn't mean Rey Mysterio Jr. isn't a softy, because he is S-A-W-F-T.
Rey goes out of his way to do charitable work and be a positive role model for kids. He's never really been a heel at all in his careers, something few in the business have ever done.
3 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan likes to come off as a stiff working, strong-style influenced professional wrestler but the truth is - he's an eco-loving, granola-eating, loves the planet and animals hippy. That's not to say there's anything wrong with that, far from it, it's just to say that Daniel Bryan is not the tough guy that perhaps he wanted to come off as during his wrestling career.
2 The Undertaker
Undertaker spent decades as the WWE locker-room's moral enforcer. He has always had the reputation as the guy who will call out his fellow performers for behaving inappropriately.
In terms of wrestlers Vince respects and holds close to his heart the most, it doesn't get any closer than 'Taker, not only for his dedication to the company, but his attitude behind the scenes. We got a sneak peak at that when Goldberg embraced 'Taker with an emotional hug at last year's WrestleMania behind the scenes, Superstars love the guy and there's a reason for all the appreciation, gratitude and affection he receives.
1 Stephanie McMahon
If you don't believe us, take the words from Mick Foley who asked Stephanie to write the forward for his latest book. Foley also feels that Stephanie has brought something to WWE that may have never occurred if she hadn't pushed for it. Stephanie has her father's ear, and many believe that she has helped push for ideas such as an increased charitable presence for the company, Connor's cure, and not to mention how she has pushed for the Women's Divisions to receive more airtime. Getting all that stuff by Vince McMahon isn't an easy task and it's one that perhaps only his daughter was capable of doing.
Stephanie is WWE's moral compass and the company and the wrestling business, in general, is better off for it. She's also a gem with fans and sponsors, hence her Chief Branding Officer role.
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