WWE used to be a very closed environment. WWE had their talents appear as evil dentists, repo men, clowns, janitors, animals and whatnot. However, with the demise of kayfabe, the company now finds itself in a position where they cannot just portray characters on the show without ever mentioning their background at some point.
Back in the day, the fans only cared about what Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Ultimate Warrior, Ricky Steamboat or Roddy Piper did in the ring as they didn't care much about what they did before receiving wrestling training or what they generally do in their private lives. However, with the advent of the internet, we find more fans talking about the wrestlers' real life persona, background, personal lives and hobbies than ever before. Why else would a YouTube channel featuring wrestlers' playing video game together or WWE Network shows in which wrestlers discuss their real lives gain a decent following?
Accordingly, WWE sometimes make wrestlers' backgrounds an important part of their character. It works every single time they do that as WWE has been very choosy about the backgrounds they discuss on live television. The following article discusses which wrestler backgrounds WWE is keen to let their fans know about. On the other hand, they try to ensure their fans never know about certain wrestlers' backgrounds as mentioning those on television calls for needless controversy. We'll discuss backgrounds WWE doesn't want you to know about as well.
As always, you can express your opinion in the comments' section.
16 Flaunts: Charlotte Flair
WWE seldom mention family roots on television. One needs to be exceptional in the ring to ever have them do that. In the case of Charlotte Flair, however, WWE did that straightaway as they could utilize Ric Flair’s being her father to further her character. WWE even brought him back to accompany her to the ring and teach her his dirty tricks. In terms of kayfabe, their decision made absolute sense as she has evolved into a dirty player who knows how to win a match, after being portrayed as only a cocky heel in the initial days. It has worked wonders so far as she now does the Flair Strut and many other Nature Boy mannerisms in the ring, much to the delight of those in attendance.
15 Hides: Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal would never have made the list a few months ago as he had only been jobbing to jobbers until recently. His rise to the top has been so sudden and random that WWE has denied themselves the opportunity to discuss his background on television. They have seemingly not missed out on a lot as he hardly has as decorated a background as those whose backgrounds WWE celebrates. The Modern Day Maharaja’s early claim to fame saw him billed as the nephew of former WWE and NWA mainstay Gama Singh; however, that is about it as the 62-year-old has never been seen on WWE television since the ‘80s. He hardly enjoyed a successful career on the indies, leaving WWE with no choice but to never bring anything but his ancestry up.
14 Flaunts: Sasha Banks
WWE has more persons passionate about the business now than at any time during their rich history. Many current WWE main-eventers grew up watching wrestling all day long, and one such wrestler is Sasha Banks. She began watching wrestling at a very young age, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her idol Eddie Guerrero. WWE and the wrestler herself have refused to pass up the opportunity to publicize picture of a young Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado in the front row of a WWE event as a superfan. With her being Snoop Dogg’s cousin and thanks to her stellar work in the indie scene, she has given the WWE head honchos enough reasons to bring her background up whenever the need arises. She is, indeed, what Vince McMahon and co. want in a wrestler.
13 Hides: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe, much like Jinder Mahal, has gone through a sudden rise to the top in the WWE. After wrestling Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura in NXT, he finds himself working with Seth Rollins, Triple H, Kevin Owens and of course, Brock Lesnar. Many WWE fans dig his push thanks to his stellar work on the independent circuit, though. However, WWE are in no mood to ever mention his accomplishments on the indie scene, with his working for Impact Wrestling, WWE’s – distant – rival, for the majority of his career. The most WWE has done is call him a veteran, keeping his Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling laurels in mind. However, WWE has managed to capitalize on his Impact Wrestling fame indirectly as they have made him a credible heel on Raw.
12 Flaunts: Randy Orton
There are definitely a lot of things WWE wants you to forget about Randy Orton. For an instance, his stint as a US marine is one thing they want to wipe off the history books. However, his family lineage is one of the many things they are proud to showboat. Being a third-generation wrestler, he already has what it takes to eke out a living; however, he has perfected the art to an extent that sees him make millions off his talent and family lineage. WWE has brought his Hall of Famer father Bob Orton down to further storylines on many occasions besides creating Legacy, a stable with other three other third-generation talents. He even cut a promo recently, stating how his grandfather Bob Orton dealt with things the American way.
11 Hides: Lana
With WWE now only signing wrestlers with an indie background, only a handful of those have been able to earn a WWE contract merely by sending the company a picture of themselves in a bathing suit, like the good old days. Lana is easily one of the very few exceptions WWE have made in the recent times, as she only performed as a dancer, singer or model before ever setting foot in a squared circle with a view of becoming a wrestler. In her modeling career, she was in some very sultry photoshoots and even posed in her birthday suit on some occasions. Unsurprisingly, WWE have kept mum about her background as they refer to her as either Rusev’s mouthpiece wife or the Russian wrestler who can’t back up her words inside the ring. With the days of Playboy models now over, odds are high that Lana’s background will ever be discussed on live television.
10 Flaunts: Becky Lynch
With WWE finally treating female talents seriously, they need personalities such as Becky Lynch on their show. WWE Universe had hardly heard stories of female talents grinding through the indie circuit before finally earning a WWE contract prior to the days of Four Horsewomen and Mae Young Classic. However, we now have many wrestlers following in the footsteps of the Irish Lasskicker as female talents begin making a name for themselves before having a tryout with WWE. Despite her never winning any notable championship on WWE, they made her SmackDown Live’s first female draft pick, on the back of her stellar work outside WWE and on NXT. WWE definitely seems proud of her background, and it’s evident from how consistently make her a major part of main-event feuds.
9 Hides: Mickie James
Mickie James is definitely the most accomplished female talent on the roster today, as she has won numerous titles with Impact Wrestling and WWE besides making a music album that only Internet Wrestling Community purchased. WWE seems immensely proud of her accomplishments as evidenced by their decision to bring her back after many years away from the company; it’s only a matter of time before she receives a Hall of Fame ring. However, Vince McMahon and co. will never want you to know about her career choices prior to working for WWE. Before becoming a professional wrestler, she made the ends meet by stripping in front of camera. A simple Google search spits out numerous photo albums in which she can be seen in compromising positions with male models.
8 Flaunts: Roman Reigns
The wrestling business has seen the rise – and fall – of many wrestling families, such as the Von Erichs, the Colons, the Runnels, the DiBiases and the Slaters, but the only wrestling family besides the McMahons to show consistent progress ought to be the Anoa’is. From The Rock to Naomi, the Anoa’is now dominate the industry, leave alone WWE. Although WWE only sometimes mention how Tamina Snuka, Naomi, The Usos and Roman Reigns are related, they’ve mentioned their family lineage enough for the fans to know about the legendary family. With his family members in the business often backing the Big Dog, it’s evident that the WWE head honchos are keen to flaunt Reigns’ background. Given Reigns’ sports background, they never miss an opportunity to bring it up on the WWE Network.
7 Hides: Paige
Paige’s background was so marketable that Dwayne Johnson (nah, he’ll always be The Rock, damn it!) decided to monetize it by making a movie on it. The English wrestler started wrestling at an age most people attend high school. Thanks to her family running a wrestling promotion in England, she managed to learn the craft at a tender age. She proceeded to become the youngest Divas Championship holder but, on the back of her falling in love with controversial figure Alberto Del Rio, everything fell apart, as she saw her sex tapes leaked online, received multiple Wellness Policy violations and became a controversial figure herself. WWE probably wants you to never know about her background as of now although how they market or use Paige may change drastically if Fighting With My Family becomes a hit.
6 Flaunts: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar was the Roman Reigns of the early Ruthless Aggression Era. However, thanks to how WWE booked his ascension and his superior talent, he has been able to not just woo WWE Universe but become big enough a star to hold Vince McMahon and WWE ransom at times. WWE brings up his sports background whenever needed as he has the most legitimate background of any WWE star today. Having almost made an NFL team before an unfortunate accident curtailed his chances and won UFC Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he’s done everything a professional wrestler could do outside Hollywood. He also had a respectable amateur wrestling record before receiving pro-wrestling training. WWE never misses out on an opportunity to show his background off, and they’d be stupid not to.
5 Hides: The Miz
The Miz is easily one of the most over superstars on WWE today (good night and good bye, Talking Smack!). He has won numerous WWE titles, including WWE Championship, and has single-handedly (with the help of The Miztourage, Maryse and The Bear, of course) legitimized Intercontinental Championship. However, he boasts a background WWE may not want to flaunt at this moment. When he signed on the dotted lines to become a professional wrestler, WWE marketed him as a former MTV guy as he was only a decent promo back then.
However, making references to his pre-WWE career wouldn’t make much sense now as he has evolved into a main-event talent now. WWE will probably want you to know about his being ‘a Hollywood A-Lister’ and not a random MTV reality show guy.
4 Flaunts: John Cena
John Cena is everything they want in a WWE sports entertainer. He boasts the looks and a 'Real American' family background that makes him the perfect American hero.
*USA! USA! USA!*
Prior to receiving wrestling training, he tried his hand at bodybuilding and was close to joining the US Marine Corps; WWE added his non-existent army background to his persona. WWE has often made videos about Cena’s background and early life that saw him hold wrestling titles and wrestle his brothers in their backyard; they’ve even brought his father down to further storylines. To an extent, his agreeable background is one of the major reasons why WWE made him their franchise guy in the first place. WWE seems proud of his post-WWE fame fame as well, as they discuss his mainstream media appearances on their social media profiles and WWE Network.
3 Hides: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins couldn’t become the next John Cena mainly because of his background, so to speak. The Architect toiled on the indie circuit before finally signing for NXT. During his time as an indie wrestler, however, he did a few things WWE might not be happy to flaunt. He wrestled a handful of matches tailor-made for homosexual audiences, while trying to make ends meet as an up-and-coming indie wrestler. Additionally, WWE seldom mentions their talents’ championship runs on the indie circuit, except for those won in Japan; accordingly, WWE doesn’t even mention his Ring of Honor laurels.
His background largely remains a mystery to the casual audience as they only want their fans to know everything about Seth Rollins and very little to nothing about Tyler Black.
2 Flaunts: Bayley
Bayley is the female John Cena in WWE today although she loses as many matches as he wins. She’s largely been a bust on the main roster as he continues to be a loser on Raw. WWE’s poor handling of NXT legends is hardly unheard of, but how they could make a wrestler whom they often claim grew up watching Lita, Trish Stratus, John Cena, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy lose more often than she wins on Pay-Per-Views is downright baffling. WWE even brought up her childhood in a recent segment also featuring Alexa Bliss as they stated that she was ‘uncool’ to snub parties and other stuff most people do only to watch wrestling at home; although that statement is a widely accepted one (yes, it is!), how they could openly poke fun at their ardent fans – and in turn, their main-event female talent and themselves – is beyond me.
1 Hides: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose is one of the major reasons why Talking Smack became as big as it did. He’s one of the major reasons why WWE managed to stay afloat during a period most main-event talents were on the injury table. However, he doesn’t get the treatment he rightfully deserves. Even his WWE Championship saw a meme in James Ellsworth steal the limelight. Of course, his character is somewhat stale, but he’s proven on Talking Smack that he could be as interesting as the most interesting wrestler on any roster. Perhaps, his background is the reason why WWE have never planned big things for him. He’s had a troubled past having grown up in a dangerous neighbourhood; additionally, his past issues with drugs is certain to ensure he doesn’t ever become as big as Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns, at least until WWE get rid of their TV-PG rating.