The world of sports entertainment is exactly that; entertainment. The athletes are all simply portraying a character and their gimmicks don't always portray who they are in real life. The script is written for every episode, and many wrestlers need to master their character or invest a lot of themselves into getting that character "over". While it is commonly said that the best superstars are simply playing themselves but turned up a notch, that isn't the case for everyone involved. Sometimes they really need to get creative and step out of themselves.
Of course, many wrestlers have gone on to live vicariously through their gimmicks and take their on-screen character into real life with the likes of Ric Flair and CM Punk blurring the lines so much that fans couldn't tell the difference anymore. Perhaps that uncertainty between truth and fiction was what made them so successful. But much like actors in a movie or a television show, most wrestlers like to put their character to one side after a hard day's work.
Here are 15 WWE superstars who are nothing like their gimmicks in reality.
15 Triple H
Despite having a reputation of burying talent at every opportunity, Triple H's character is nothing like the real man behind the Game. Triple H has certainly been involved in the burying of several talents such as Booker T, stopping any momentum in his tracks, but that is just his character; win at all costs. Paul Levesque, the man who will likely one day run the entire company is entirely different. While overseeing NXT, countless wrestlers have made themselves world-class stars such as Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens. Triple H's softer side has also been evident in the way he treats the women wrestlers who he has also done wonders for. This has been clear during WWE's behind the scenes documentaries, especially the time he told Bayley and Sasha Banks that they would be in the main event; it is clear Triple H isn't the talent burying man that he is often portrayed to be.
14 Nia Jax
She's not like most girls, you know? Well, of course, you already know that but it is true and the real Nia Jax isn't like her character either. I guess her theme song is fitting in that sense. In the ring, her gimmick showcases her as a steely-eyed machine who lets her actions do the talking, often just providing a glare to tell you everything you need to know.
Behind the curtain, Jax is actually a very funny and loveable person who has bags of personality, something that fans are likely to see a lot more of on the upcoming season of Total Divas which she has now joined. On social media Jax tends to be more open. She has been seen in videos making up amusing dance routines with real-life best friend, Alexa Bliss, showing a much different side to herself.
13 Stephanie McMahon
She is the character that the WWE Universe loves to hate and for good reason. On-screen Stephanie McMahon is one of the most insufferable characters in WWE history, constantly making the babyfaces look small and weak, McMahon has yet to be given her comeuppance, which leads her to be incredibly hated by fans.
That is the target for her though, with the bitch character being her gimmick, using her authoritative powers to her benefit. However, in real life, Stephanie is much sweeter and down to earth and plays a vital role in WWE's charity work. The boss' daughter has been heavily involved in WWE's Be A Star campaign and according to Justin Roberts' latest book, also played a key role in helping Connor 'The Crusher' manage to have so many incredible memories towards the end of his life. So, despite her hard-pressed outer shell, on the inside, Stephanie is really just a big softie.
In the ring, Rhyno has been one of the most destructive wrestlers of all time. Causing carnage in ECW, the Gore expert has been involved in some of the most extreme matches in wrestling history. So, it should come as quite the surprise to learn that in real life the former SmackDown Live Tag Team Champion is actually a calm, smart, political man.
His own campaign website itself claimed that he is a "politician by day" and a "wrestler by night," summing his totally different personalities up perfectly. Rhyno used his wrestling character to shape some of his campaigning, asking the Detroit voters to "be a Rhino-Democrat.” While Rhyno unfortunately, failed in his quest to earn a seat, politics are certainly still a key component of his life and he is possibly one of the last wrestlers you would expect it from.
Lana's gimmick couldn't have been further from her real life for a large part of her career as a manager and now as a wrestler on the SmackDown Live roster. The most obvious and clear way that her gimmick differs from her real life is the fact that she is actually an American native and not Russian, despite what WWE will like you to believe.
Lana has also been portrayed as a cheat during her time with WWE, as seen with the awful feud between Dolph Ziggler and Rusev that saw Lana cheat on her real-life partner with the Show-Off. This never spilled into Lana's real life, something I am sure she is happy to state and a feud she is happy to forget about.
10 The Miz
Egotistical, arrogant and annoying are probably three of the first words that come to most people's minds when discussing The Miz and the gimmick he plays on Monday Night Raw. The Intercontinental Champion isn't shy about speaking his mind on his talk show or trash talking his opponents, which can leave a sour taste in some fans minds about who he is as a real person.
In reality, The Miz is actually very down to earth and incredibly hard-working, which is a trait that many WWE superstars have complimented him on in interviews and podcasts. Miz is sent out by WWE to do large amounts of press because the company knows he is reliable and hardworking and will always do a great job, which says a lot about the man himself. This more realistic side of him can be seen on Total Divas since Maryse joined the cast, especially when their house is being robbed and he is solely focused on protecting his wife and dogs.
9 The Undertaker
Perhaps the most obvious entry on this list, The Undertaker has given the WWE Universe the greatest gimmick in the history of the business, one that will likely never be topped. Mark Calaway has done an incredible job at keeping the character alive and that is mainly due to how private of a person he is, very rarely giving interviews and managing to keep his persona intact throughout his career.
Of course, Calaway is not a deadman, he cannot conjure lightning or simply appear out of nowhere and it is unlikely he has druids at his command. Instead, he is simply a very private man who has earned the respect of everyone in the WWE, perhaps now that he is seemingly retired, fans will get a better idea of who the man behind the phenom actually is.
The Rated R superstar had a fantastic career where he played several very different gimmicks from being in the Brood to striking five second poses all the way to his most successful run as the ultimate opportunist. You could forgive wrestlers for getting caught in the character and calling themselves 'Edge' or whatever name they work under, but the WWE Hall of Fame star is not like that in the slightest. Outside of the ring, he is Adam Copeland and he is adamant about it, often telling people in an interview to refer to him as Adam and not Edge.
His new podcast with best friend Christian also shows the real side of the man who played a heel for so many years; a guy who has a brilliant sense of humour and just wants to enjoy life after retirement.
7 The Bella Twins
The rise of reality television and YouTube have allowed fans to have an increased access to celebrities' lives and WWE's resident twins Nikki and Brie Bella have tapped into that market with full force. Fans have been surprised by what they've seen from the ladies in their real lives, which are very different to what they have portrayed in WWE over their career. At times in WWE, they have been nasty and often cheated to win using their famous "twin magic". But Total Divas and most recently the Bella Twins own YouTube channel have shown a totally new side to these ladies.
Both Bella's are focused on empowering women and helping younger females grow stronger, with Nikki having a fierce determination and a never quit attitude. Brie Bella has showcased her hippie-like vibes and her love for nature and animals, especially in her relationship with Daniel Bryan.
6 Sasha Banks
On screen, Sasha Banks is the Boss, she is confident and sometimes cocky and has lots of charisma, but in real life she is much different. At her core, Banks is simply just a mega wrestling fan, much like Bayley, as she lives and breathes the business and its history.
When being interviewed, Banks' softer side certainly comes out which is much quieter and more reserved. Of course, inside the wrestling ring WWE fans expect something totally different and want to see her amped up to the maximum, but in reality, she is a lot more relaxed. Her love for the industry is very clear though. Take the time to listen to her just once in an interview or podcast environment and her knowledge will impress any hardcore wrestling fan as that is exactly what she is.
5 Big Cass
He might be on the injured list right now, but Big Cass' heel turn was about to turn the 7' star into a monster on a warpath. Despite his billed height being the first thing that is different about his real life, as Cass is actually 6'9", he also is a lot smarter than his character, who spells the word 'soft' incorrectly.
In fact, Big Cass is likely to be one of the smartest men in the WWE locker room right now, having formerly been a Pre-Med student at New York University, destined to be a lawyer as he told Sam Roberts on his latest podcast. Instead, Cass swapped the thermometer to kick people in the face... I think it worked out okay for him.
Another one of WWE's most bizarre gimmicks quite obviously didn't take over Dustin Runnell's life. Debuting originally as an incredibly controversial androgenous character that pushed the boundaries at the time, Goldust was one of the most iconic gimmicks to ever be created.
In reality, Dustin, the man behind the paint, has led a relatively simple and relaxed life and enjoys taking in some DDP Yoga and spending quality time with his family, away from the spotlight. He comes from a line of wrestling in the family, which may be how he learned to avoid the negative parts of the business and didn't let his gimmick become his life.
3 Kevin Owens
You will have to do a lot of searching to find somebody who loves zoos as much as the Prizefighter Kevin Owens. His gimmick may portray him as a man with little morals who is willing to do whatever it takes to win and isn't ashamed about it, but that is far from who KO really is.
He might have stabbed his best friend in the back and taken out Vince McMahon, but in real life, Owens is a genuine family man who loves nothing more than his wife and children and that is clear from just one glance at his social media. Owens brought that into his character several times at the start of his career, insisting that everything he did was for them and that is the truth. Spending his free time with his family, KO can often be seen on social media sporting ridiculous Disney hats while visiting their theme parks with his kids and it is clear that in reality, he is an honest, loving man.
2 Mick Foley
Whether it is Dude Love, Cactus Jack or Mankind, Mick Foley has played some incredibly bizarre characters during his WWE career, all of which were unique to the other. But the man behind the three faces of Foley isn't really like any of them. Much like Kevin Owens, the WWE Hall of Famer is a family man who loves spending time with his children, which was evident during his family's WWE Network show; Holy Foley.
Aside from his love for his family and wrestling, Foley's other great love is Christmas, in particular Father Christmas. Having an entire room in his house dedicated to the festive period, Foley can often be seen sporting an item of Christmas clothing all year round and spends his December's dressing up as Santa Claus, both on and off WWE television. Unlike the deranged Mankind, Foley is also very smart and his autobiographies have proven that while his characters were brilliant, he is not like them in reality.
The big red monster, that is how Kane has been portrayed throughout his WWE career, a man who has special powers that can conjure fire and who has been mentally scarred from the fire that caused his 'parents' death. One of WWE's greatest ever big men and a guaranteed future WWE Hall of Famer, Kane has put fear into the heart of the WWE Universe on countless occasions.
So, it is rather shocking to see Kane in real life as an incredibly calm and smart man, who like other WWE superstars has a vested interest in politics. Glenn Jacobs, the man behind the mask, hasn't been seen on WWE television in quite some time, why? Because right now he is running for mayor in Tennessee, becoming the devil's favourite politician. He is often touted by fellow WWE superstars, such as Daniel Bryan, to be the smartest man in the locker room, and now he is looking to put that to good use outside of the wrestling world.
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