The backstage world of WWE is almost as entertaining as the scripted on-screen product we watch. Various stories of drama have always been reported regarding how wrestlers interact. However, there are also many emotional moments that take place behind the curtains. The most real things about the wrestling business are the pains and joys faced by the performers. Fans get into the stories and it helps create a special feel for the product. A great wrestler finally getting to the top of the mountain usually leads to both emotional moments from the fans and the performer. Christian winning his first World Championship and tearing up while fans went nuts was one of many on-screen moments to showcase this.
There’s another dynamic to it as the performers interact with each other backstage in emotional moments following such wins. The pain of injuries and other sad moments allow emotions to run wild. We'll take a look at some of the most candid photos ever taken and shared from the WWE backstage world. These images each showcase a memorable and important moment that will live on forever as we look back at it. Let’s take a look at fifteen emotional pictures from backstage that made us cry.
15. Bryan's Joy
One of the most emotional moments for wrestling fans featured Daniel Bryan’s improbable run to the main event of WrestleMania XXX. WWE originally wanted him to have a lower card match, but the fans demanded Bryan get added to the main event by delivering overwhelming support. This culminated in Bryan defeating Randy Orton and Batista to win the WWE World Championship.
The memory wasn’t only emotional for the fans as shown by the picture. Bryan and his wife Brie Bella embraced in a wonderful moment minutes after he scored the biggest moment of his career. The love displayed by the couple shows an absolutely heartwarming moment. Bryan has stated the only regret from the WM XXX win was that Brie didn’t get to come to the in-ring celebration due to WWE’s request. The happy couple at least got to share this moment together.
14. Heartbroken Demon
The moment of Finn Balor being crowned as the first-ever Universal Champion at Summerslam 2016 would have been an emotional enough moment for the right reasons. However, sadness struck when Balor suffered a serious injury within the match when Seth Rollins powerbombed him outside of the ring. Everyone greeted Finn with joy backstage, but he knew the injury was bad and that the celebration, was to be short-lived.
This picture shows Balor in the trainer’s room with multiple WWE doctors and personnel. The physical and emotional pain of Balor in this moment is very sad to witness. To make matters worse, all of the employees surrounding Finn show a great deal of heartbreak on their faces. Balor dropping the Universal Championship one day after winning it was the result that everyone in the picture is processing. Few things are as sad as someone getting their dream taken away right when they accomplished it.
13. Even Bosses Cry
NXT has created many emotional moments through the recent years for the fans, wrestlers and even Triple H at times. Sasha Banks winning her first NXT Women’s Championship was the first major moment of her career as she ascended to a major role in WWE. Triple H revealed that he hoped Banks would break her heel character and show real emotion in the ring. While she did have to fight it back, she stayed true to her character for the most part.
That all ended when she reached backstage and fell apart crying her eyes out at accomplishing her childhood dream. Sasha was caught in this backstage moment overwhelmed by her emotion. The tears on Banks face along with the joy perfectly summarize her feelings during this night. Banks has achieved main roster success but no title reign compares to her time as NXT Women’s Champion.
12. End Of An Era
Two of the biggest stars in WWE history to have extremely long careers are Triple H and The Undertaker. Both men stuck with WWE through the New Generation Era, Attitude Era, Ruthless Aggression Era, PG Era and beyond. They had countless matches through the years but ended their rivalry with a series of classic matches at WrestleMania XXVII and WrestleMania XXVIII.
This picture is an emotional moment between both Triple H and The Undertaker after they stole the show with a classic match. Both men knew their time in the ring performing at a high level was at the end of its peak. It was one of their last chances to have a classic match with someone that went through the decades of battle in WWE with them. Any longtime fan has to tear up seeing The Undertaker and Triple H share such a moment.
8 Family Matter
The recent health issues of Ric Flair made fans worry about the legendary performer potentially passing away. Ric appears to have overcome these health issues and is recovering after surgery. Charlotte Flair’s success has been the brightest spot of her dad’s life in recent years. Ric has stated that he gets more joy from witnessing her success than he did during his own career.
Given the recent health scare, this backstage shot of Ric and Charlotte is even more emotional to witness. Their relationship actually grew closer due to Charlotte entering the wrestling business. She never took an interest in the sport when Ric was an active performer until the final years of his career. Now, they share the bond and their love is showcased as they embrace in this picture backstage.
10. This Is Ours
One of the best rivalries in WWE today features Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Both men traveled the world together becoming best friends along the journey before getting to WWE. Their chemistry has been showcased with a bitter feud pitting both men against each other in incredible matches. Owens and Zayn usually try to portray their hatred for each other on social media and other platforms.
This all ended when WWE captured a special moment following Owens’ Universal Championship win. Zayn was the first person backstage waiting to hug him the second he came through the curtain. Many of the wrestlers and various employees applauded them having the emotional moment as Owens said the title was “ours” rather than his. The two will likely battle many more times in their careers, but the bond is clearly still stronger than ever.
7 The Kliq For Life
Another instance of friendship in wrestling lasting features controversial 90s backstage group, The Kliq. Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Triple H and Sean Waltman were best friends that alienated the other wrestlers. The Kliq used the backstage power of Michaels to benefit while making life difficult for their peers. Names like Bret Hart, Bob Holly, Bam Bam Bigelow and countless others trashed them for many years.
All members of the Kliq have changed in many ways through the years. One thing that remained the same is they still have a strong friendship. All five men showed up for the Hall of Fame and it led to a backstage picture like this one. Everyone is throwing up the “too sweet” sign they originated in the 90s and wearing their suits to showcase both the past and present chapters of their lives.
6 Pride Of A Champion
The late Eddie Guerrero is one of the most celebrated performers in wrestling history. It is hard to find any flaw in his wrestling skills when looking back at his matches. Guerrero was one of the few performers that would have equally great matches with Cruiserweights, giants and everyone in between. All of the boys respected the hell out of Eddie, and Vince McMahon was among them.
McMahon was the one to make the decision of putting the WWE Championship on Guerrero in 2004. This picture shows Eddie cracking a smile during his title reign and sharing a moment with the boss. Rumors indicated that Guerrero was often miserable due to overworking himself as the champion. We at least get to see one moment of joy of the legendary talent a few years before his heartbreaking death.
5 Legends Make Peace
The relationship between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior witnessed many ups and downs. Hogan and Warrior delivered a classic match at WrestleMania XI where Hogan passed the torch to Warrior. Unfortunately, this was the peak of Warrior’s career and Hogan continued to thrive in the business for many more years. A rift between the two occurred at some point to make Warrior snap.
Warrior called out Hogan for being a rotten person and accused him of using numerous drugs. The relentless attacks by Warrior on Hogan lasted for years until they made peace in this picture. Warrior and Hogan embraced apologizing to each other backstage at WrestleMania XXX. WWE cameras caught the moment allowing fans to witness it. The sad news of Warrior dying just days after this interaction makes it even more emotional.
6. Women TakeOver
The first NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn special inside of a large venue featured the fans selling it out to see the stars of the developmental brand. Bayley against. Sasha Banks was one of the two main events of this show and they took it seriously. Many fans and wrestling minds consider this to be the greatest women’s wrestling match in WWE history.
Banks and Bayley did something special and the entire locker room was extremely proud. WWE filmed the reaction backstage when Bayley and Banks each walked through the curtain following their classic. You can see a group of talent in the mirror applauding the two ladies as they embraced in an emotional huge. Kevin Owens even clapped for them seconds before his match against Finn Balor. Triple H picked up them for a giant hug moments after this to continue the love affair.
4 Where Are They Now?
CM Punk posted this picture on his social media page back in 2011. It was a tremendous image of all the champions on the WWE roster taking the picture together to try to start a new era in the company. Everyone involved had tremendous talent and potential to become huge stars. The emotional moment here is the sadness of looking at where most are today.
Punk left WWE in bitter fashion. Daniel Bryan was forced to retire by WWE due to injuries. Beth Phoenix left the industry shortly after as well. Cody Rhodes and Evan Bourne are currently wrestling for other promotions after being underutilized. Zack Ryder is struggling to get television time. Kofi Kingston is the only one still thriving in WWE and he’s still in the tag team picture. This picture was loved due to the hope of it being something special six years later, but it’s just a sad reminder that the champions here didn’t get as far as expected.
Triple H allegedly viewed a lot of similarities between himself and Seth Rollins. It was one of the factors in Rollins being the one to turn heel on The Shield and align with Triple H. Rollins went on to become a huge singles star with Triple H being his mentor both on-screen and behind the scenes.
The crowning moment of Rollins’ career came when he cashed in his Money in the Bank title shot in the main event of WrestleMania 31 to become WWE World Champion. Rollins was greeted by Triple H backstage at the Gorilla Position following his victory. Triple H embraced him with a huge hug and words of encouragement about the accolade. The emotion of Rollins when hugging his mentor following the greatest moment of his life made for an incredible backstage picture.
2 McMahon Family Love
Shane McMahon returning to WWE in 2016 is one moment Vince McMahon desperately wanted to make happen. After many years away from WWE, Shane was talked into coming back as an on-air talent. The big match that brought him in was the Hell in a Cell battle against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32. Shane jumping off the cell and crashing through the commentary table may have stolen the show.
Vince was clearly overjoyed at both seeing his son back in the family business and his performance on the big stage. The WWE cameras captured a rare moment of Vince showing emotion by breaking down in tears when hugging Shane. From all accounts, this was one of the happiest moments of Vince’s life in older years. No one knew if Shane would ever return to the company and it happened in grand fashion.
2. Bryan's Pain
An extremely emotional moment for Daniel Bryan, his fans and his peers was his retirement speech. Bryan showed up to Raw in his hometown to say farewell to the wrestling ring. WWE doctors believe Bryan isn’t healthy enough to ever compete in the ring due to the risks attached. Bryan agreed to Vince McMahon’s request to have him retire in front of his friends and family on Raw.
The speech was something special as Bryan thanked all of his peers, loved ones and the fans. Bryan expressed gratitude rather than sorrow, but it was still a heartbreaking moment. This picture was taken after Bryan came backstage after the speech and broke down in tears. Brie Bella was there to console him for the hardest night of his career. Bryan has since received different doctor reports and is adamant about coming out of retirement in 2018 but that remains to be seen.
Any wrestling fan to witness Jake “The Snake” Roberts in his prime knows just how talented he was. Roberts was one of the best characters in the business always knowing how to get fans to buy what he was selling through his actions and his words. The personal demons of Roberts saw him addicted to drugs and alcohols for the majority of his career.
Everyone to follow his story feared Roberts would pass away due to the decisions he made. Diamond Dallas Page was the one to change his life by taking him into his own and helping him recover through the methods of DDP Yoga. Roberts saw his physical shape improve and started to beat his addictions. WWE finally trusted Jake enough to bring him back into the company for a cameo appearance. This was his goal during his recovery and this picture perfectly sums up the happiness Roberts felt as his road to redemption culminated here.