The locker room is a very sacred place in the world of professional wrestling. Most promotions and the wrestlers that work there try to keep the backstage aspect of the industry private. We get very few glimpses into what goes down outside of the ring in the realistic life of the wrestling world. Various pictures have emerged over the years showing the backstage life in WWE. There are a few photographs circulating around the internet that the company or people involved in the pictures clearly didn’t intend to have become public.
We'll take a look at some of these images that range from breaking kayfabe to showing someone in a new light to things being downright chilling. All of these pictures have different individual stories but are bonded by being the ones that weren’t meant to become things fans could easily find with a good enough internet search. WWE has embraced or sensationalized some of them due to getting something out of a picture that probably shouldn’t have been released. Others got around without WWE wanting and makes it even more surprising to be on the internet. These are fifteen WWE backstage pictures that the wrestling world was not supposed to see.
15 Warrior Makes Peace With Hulk Hogan
The rivalry between the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan turned very personal following the end of their working relationship. Warrior trashed Hogan for being a terrible person and accused him of being a drug abuser. The insults would get progressively worse making for an awkward moment when meeting each other at WrestleMania XXX.
Both men were back in WWE and forced to interact backstage for the first time since their petty trash talk made them enemies. Hogan embraced Warrior and apologized for his role in the drama. Warrior accepted it and the two shook hands to squash the beef. Neither man expected this moment to become public until WWE cameras caught it and included it on WWE 24’s documentary about the show. This ended up being a great thing for Hogan as no one would have believed he made peace with Warrior days before the latter died unless there was proof.
14 Undertaker Loves His Rivals
The Undertaker is one character that very rarely breaks kayfabe. WWE has done a great job going out of their way to protect his mystique. Undertaker is the one man that is never seated at the Hall of Fame and very rarely appears in the WWE documentaries. A rare photograph has been revealed showing Undertaker backstage at one of the Hall of Fame events.
Not only is Undertaker shown in his normal clothes, but he's interacting with friends Shawn Michaels and Triple H. They were arguably his two best rivals having back to back WrestleMania match series with him in recent years. The love shown between Undertaker, Triple H and Michaels is clearly on display and portrays Undertaker as a regular human being. It is a cool image for us diehard fans, but not one the wrestler would like to have floating out there.
13 Luke Harper Fan Club
Luke Harper is arguably the most underrated and underutilized wrestler in WWE today. The big man can do it all in the ring despite having very little presence on the television product. It appears the rest of the locker room feels the same way about Harper that the fans do. Chris Jericho posted a picture of many wrestlers wearing custom made shirts showing support for Harper.
The reason this picture created controversy is that it showed some of the wrestlers that were feuding with each other on television at the time breaking character. Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt were in the middle of a personal feud before Jericho uploaded them hanging out in the Harper shirts. WWE was reportedly unhappy with this picture making the internet and it may have done more harm to Harper than help his cause.
12 New Generation Breaks Kayfabe
Another instance of wrestlers in the locker room posing for a picture together and breaking character is shown here with this picture of talent from the mid-90s. Someone is getting a photo-op with popular wrestlers such as Bret Hart, Razor Ramon, Tatanka, Lex Luger, Doink the Clown, Mabel and Alundra Blaze. All of the wrestlers are smiling and laughing as they pretend to beat him up for the fun of the picture.
During this time dubbed the “New Generation era”, wrestlers protected their characters and were supposed to avoid taking pictures like this. Everyone smiling together and taking the silly photograph is something that the company wanted to refrain from at the time. This remains one of the more surprising pictures you'll be able to find online and the wrestlers likely never expected it to surface when taking it.
11 John Cena Helps NXT
John Cena is very passionate about the wrestling industry as a whole and it shows with this picture. It appears to be one of the NXT TakeOver specials that Cena attended. While the wrestlers are working in the ring, Cena is backstage giving advice to others. Sami Zayn is the one pictured here getting some words of wisdom from the biggest star in the company.
The candid and personal moment is not one Cena nor Zayn expected to be online. Cena is never discussed as someone that gives advice or help to the younger NXT stars. It's just something extra he'll do if he has the time to attend a show. This is a very rare picture of Cena backstage that shows just how much he cares about helping out others that value his opinion.
10 Vince and Shane Meet Hayabusa
Hayabusa is a legend that saw his career end due to a neck injury that paralyzed him. The wrestler was mostly known for his work in Japan but made an impact on North American fans as well. Some remember him for his appearances in ECW while a few wrestlers were actually inspired by him when scouting work from all over the world.
Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon showed respect for Hayabusa when he visited the WWE during Summerslam 2006, he was backstage to meet wrestlers and embrace old friends. Hayabusa took the picture with the McMahons before their big match against D-Generation X. It's a very rare picture of the McMahon family interacting with a talent known for outside work. The power of wrestling eventually brings everyone together.
9 Daniel Bryan Breaks Down Following Retirement
The retirement speech of Daniel Bryan back in February 2016 is one of the most heartbreaking segments in WWE history. Bryan spoke for a long time thanking all of the fans and wrestlers who helped make him one of the most successful stars in the industry. This picture shows Bryan collapsing backstage in tears overwhelmed at the emotion of the event while being consoled by his wife Brie Bella.
Bryan has stated he went straight to the back after his speech and avoided the wrestlers on stage because he knew he was going to break down. The fact is he wasn’t ready to retire and recently has stated he plans to return at some point soon. Despite it not being his official retirement from the ring, this picture showed how emotional of a moment it was when he thought it was all over.
8 Steve Austin Loves Mr. Socko
Steve Austin was the toughest S.O.B. in the wrestling industry during the Attitude Era. Once you heard the sound of the breaking glass for his entrance theme, you knew how intense things were going to get. Austin has stated he tried to always protect his character. This picture clearly is not one he wanted fans seeing at the time.
Austin is shown here interacting with Mick Foley backstage during one of the shows in the late 90s. Foley is wearing the Mr. Socko sock puppet on his hand that he would become known for. Austin and Foley have always been close friends going back to WCW. They're having fun with Foley’s sock and we get treated to a candid picture thanks to it. Austin may be more accepting of this being out there today than he would have in the past.
7 CM Punk & John Cena Go Old School
The rivalry of John Cena and CM Punk lasted many years on screen, but the two ended up becoming pals backstage. This was shown in the picture displayed here from one of their tours in Japan. Punk and Cena decided to have some fun by wearing the old school wrestling fashion choices from many decades ago. Both Superstars rocked the Zubaz pants and the Ribera Steakhouse jackets.
Any wrestler to visit Ribera Steakhouse gets a fancy jacket that has become a rite of passage for any worker performing in Japan. The Zubaz pants are an item almost every wrestler rocked in the late 80s and early 90s. WWE likely didn’t enjoy seeing their two biggest stars having such a laugh backstage at one of their biggest international shows. Still, it was great for fans to get a glimpse of Punk and Cena’s friendship.
6 Bone Street Krew
The Bone Street Krew remains one of the most interesting secret entities in WWE. Back in the 90s, The Undertaker formed this backstage group to combat Shawn Michaels and the Kliq. Most of the locker room hated the Kliq and Undertaker wanted to have his own group of friends. The Bone Street Krew consisted of Undertaker, Yokozuna, Rikishi, Savio Vega, The Godwinns, The Godfather, Paul Bearer, Brian Adams, and Mr. Fuji.
This is one of the rare pictures of the group hanging out together. All of the members got matching tattoos to show their loyalty for the B.S.K. bond. While they were made an actual faction on-screen, they remain infamous for the mystery surrounding it. The Bone Street Krew was originally meant to be a secretive group but fans have read about it today after stories were shared from members of the locker room from the time.
5 Braun Strowman The Rosebud
The man challenging Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at No Mercy was once a dancing Rosebud for Adam Rose. WWE used a lot of Performance Center talent to appear as extras for Rose’s bit of dancing to the ring with his Exotic Express pals. Braun Strowman was one of the more noticeable Rosebuds to wear a wacky costume and party with Rose before and after matches.
You can also spot Becky Lynch and a few other known performers in this photo. However, Braun is the one WWE doesn’t want you to see. The idea of video existing of Strowman dancing it up in a preliminary gimmick is not something WWE can be thrilled about considering how successful he has become. Vince McMahon wants him to become a top tier star for WWE’s future but some of us will always remember his star in the Rosebuds.
4 Friends Forever
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have one of the best rivalries in WWE today. Both men have been feuding since their days on the independent circuit and brought it to WWE. The story helped lead NXT to a boom period in terms of interest and success coming to the developmental brand. Owens and Zayn then went on to have classic matches and moments on the main roster.
A recent image from the Kevin Owens Show DVD looking at his life featured a very real moment. Following the biggest win of his career capturing the Universal Championship, Owens was embraced by a few of friends backstage such as Neville and Jimmy Jacobs. Zayn is the one that stands out the most as the first person he hugged. Owens proclaims the belt as theirs rather than just his. Neither man expected fans to witness it but it's now a cool moment that exists forever.
3 Cena Watches The Legends From The Side
WrestleMania XXX gave us one of the coolest moments to start the show featuring Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Steve Austin standing together in the ring. All three legends are known for being the top stars in WWE history with John Cena right behind them representing this era. This picture shows Austin, Rock and Hogan embracing following their special segment with Cena standing in the background.
To make matters worse, Cena is standing close to the Wyatt Family showing the enemies at the time talking over their match. This moment was definitely not meant to be used on anything in the minds of the four legends here. Hopefully Cena gets to appear in a future segment designed to showcase the Mount Rushmore of wrestling instead of being spotted in the background.
2 Vince McMahon Crying
Vince McMahon tries to stay away from being filmed too much when it comes to his role backstage. At the age of 72 years old, McMahon is still running WWE with no plans to leave anytime soon. One very candid and intimate moment was captured on WWE 24 when Vince embraced his son Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 32.
It was Shane’s first match in many years due to him leaving the company to start his own projects. Shane wrestled The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 in a grueling Hell in a Cell match. The picture shows Vince crying from the emotions of having his son back in the business and the pride that comes from him having a standout moment on the show. Vince likely isn’t happy with people seeing him cry but it helps paint him in the light of a human being rather than corporate robot.
1 Jerry Lawler’s Heart Attack
The shocking moment of Jerry Lawler having a heart attack shortly after a tag team match on Raw is still surreal. Fans were informed of the news after he was rushed to the back when it occurred at the commentary table. It looked really bad with the potential of Lawler dying before the night ended. WWE’s medical team did a great job saving his life and fans were comforted by the news that Lawler was okay before the show ended.
However, one terrible thing to exist is photo and video from WWE cameras of Lawler being rushed backstage. Given how badly things could have gone, WWE having cameras rolling during this serious issue seemed very tasteless. Thankfully Lawler is okay and this is just another thing to criticize WWE for. It could have been much worse if Lawler did pass away and WWE used this footage.