As fans of WWE now know, wrestling is scripted and not real. There may have been a time where WWE would try to convince you otherwise, but we all know about kayfabe now. The characters on WWE television are portrayed by actual people, but the characters themselves are developed within WWE.
However, there are instances where the WWE character is similar to the person portraying it in real life. For example, Brock Lesnar is a man who says few words in the ring and says few outside the ring. Oftentimes, there is a big difference between the personality of the character on WWE television and the person outside of the WWE. Or, the personalities could be roughly the same but the WWE version could be them amplified by a thousand. Someone like The Undertaker is obviously not who the man Mark Calaway is in real life, although certain aspects, like Taker’s stoic demeanor and the MMA inspired offense are borrowed from the man, Mark Calaway’s real life personality.
We will take a look at some superstars who are similar to their WWE character and some who are completely different. Their real life personalities and attributes will be compared to the personality of their WWE character.
20. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: KANE
During his legendary run in WWE, Kane had easily one of the most terrifying gimmicks in WWE history. Kane became known for setting his opponents on fire as The Big Red Monster. He even had the Inferno Match created based on his character, which was probably one of the sickest matches in WWE history. That he and his storyline brother The Undertaker teamed up to become “The Brothers of Destruction” says it all.
In reality, Kane is not the sick monster hellbent on causing destruction (thankfully). The character of Kane is portrayed by Glenn Jacobs, who has taken a hiatus to run for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Behind the scenes, Kane is known as a highly intelligent and well spoken person according to those who know and work with him. While his WWE career is on hiatus for now, Kane’s career may take a turn that would have been unthought of for someone known for his vicious chokeslams. The mayoral election is set for May 1 2018 and it will be interesting to see how the well-spoken Glenn Jacobs fares in his first foray into politics.
19. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: BROCK LESNAR
On WWE television, Lesnar is presented as someone who is intimidating and never backs down from any challenger. He is also presented as being a man of few words and lets his actions speak for him. He insists on having Paul Heyman do all his promos for him, while he mostly just bounces around next to him looking intimidating. Lesnar makes his millions by fighting, not talking and doing charity work. Whether it is in UFC or in WWE, Lesnar is a credible fighter who, as Heyman would say, does bring legitimacy to both promotions.
This no-nonsense attitude of Lesnar’s WWE character mirrors the person he is in real life. Lesnar lives on a very secluded farm with his family in Saskatchewan, Canada where nobody can bother him. As he told Steve Austin on the Stone Cold podcast in 2015, he does not like people which explains why he does not do autograph sessions or involve himself in many public gatherings. He is blunt when he says that he quite simply does not like people. Lesnar would also go on to say that he views WWE as a business and that he shows up for WWE events when scheduled and as needed, does his match, and flies back home on his private jet.
18. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: KEVIN OWENS
Kevin Owens is arguably one of the best heels on WWE television right now. He is very conceited, smug, arrogant, and just generally thinks too highly of himself. When Owens won the United States Championship from Chris Jericho, Owens started calling himself the “Face of America”, cementing himself as an even greater heel in the process. In an era where it is becoming much harder to be a genuine heel, Owens has excelled. Part of this might be because he generally continues this persona on Twitter. He will boast about himself in communication with his followers and shows off his heelish sarcasm regularly.
In real life, Owens (real name Kevin Steen) is a down to earth, family man. He has been married to Karina since 2007 and has two young children, Owen and Elodie Leila. By all accounts, Owens comes across as someone who will do anything for his family and that he is more than happy with his family. He will sometimes post loving pictures of himself with his family, a side of Owens that he rarely lets the WWE Universe see.
17. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: THE NEW DAY
Technically The New Day are a stable of three wrestlers, but we will lump them into a single listing here. That is because the members – Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods – are all very similar. Their WWE characters each share a quirky sense of humour, dancing and gyrating. Most importantly, they share the power of positivity! The New Day have become immensely popular with WWE fans who love chanting and singing along with The New Day.
The magic of The New Day does not end when WWE cameras stop rolling. The three of them are friends and real life and travel together. There are interviews that show the three of them laughing and making jokes behind the scenes, including on Xavier Woods’ Youtube channel. Viewers definitely get the sense that Big E, Kingston, and Woods get along well in real life.
16. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: ROMAN REIGNS
Saying Roman Reigns is unliked by the majority of the WWE Universe would be an understatement. He is the guy pushed to main event status by WWE and he is being rejected. That said, Reigns is best when he does not cut long promos. Reigns is something of a loner character who has a serious, ‘get the job done’ type of mantra. To the dismay of WWE fans, Reigns is shown as someone with no weaknesses.
The interesting thing is that Reigns (Leati Anoa’i) is actually a very cool and chill guy outside of WWE. On a Talk is Jericho podcast episode, Reigns revealed he is good friends with some of the fellow wrestlers (including Braun Strowman) and often enjoys sharing jokes and drinks with fellow wrestlers. He has also taken on a leadership role backstage at WWE. Reigns also enjoys video gaming with other wrestlers while on the bus. Reigns actually sounds like a chill guy, someone who is not to unlike most guys watching WWE. Now, if only WWE would let Reigns show off his genuine humour.
15. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: JBL
For most of his WWE career as a wrestler, JBL was a wealthy, fiery-tempered businessman. He frequently played up just how great he was and talked down to others. He frequently “employed” others to work under him, as seen during “The Cabinet” gimmick and the storyline where Shawn Michaels was his employee. JBL was an effective heel throughout his WWE career as a wrestler, and then as a commentator.
Outside of his wrestling persona, Layfield has developed a very negative reputation. Numerous wrestlers and WWE employees have accused JBL of having bullied and hazed them while they were still new to the WWE. The Miz was one of the more prominent wrestlers to accuse JBL, to which JBL later confessed but stated he does not regret his actions. Layfield seems to think that he is better than his peers through his bullying. Popular wrestling commentator Mauro Ranallo was also believed to have walked away from WWE earlier this year because of bullying by JBL, but these reports have not been fully substantiated.
14. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: THE MIZ
The Miz is another one of those rare genuine heels in WWE right now. He has thrived at getting WWE audiences to hate him because The Miz is so self-centered and lacks respect for popular WWE superstars and legends, such as Daniel Bryan. The Miz gets strong heel heat in WWE, which is a testament to how far he has come in WWE.
While it might be hard to believe, The Miz (Mike Mizanin) is actually a very good guy in real life. The Miz has been known to always be willing to sign autographs and take pictures with fans, unlike some other wrestlers who give the cold shoulder. Miz is very much a fan of the wrestling industry and is appreciative of everything that he has, after having worked so hard to get where he is. On Total Divas, The Miz was once seen doing his fantasy football draft (to the chagrin of his wife Maryse), just like any other fan. On The Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast in 2013, The Miz further comes across as confident but a genuine nice guy.
13. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: BECKY LYNCH
Becky Lynch is probably one of the more popular women’s wrestlers currently on the roster. She is a natural babyface who is a solid in-ring performer and known for working hard. The first WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion also loves to share her sense of corny humour of puns.
Lynch (Rebecca Quin) has a corny sense of humour in real life, which is why the humour comes across as authentic on-screen. Lynch is a frequent sighting within the WWE Universe, as she is often signing autographs, taking pictures, and meeting fans. Lynch is someone who strives to get ahead in life through commitment and dedication, which is something that everyone can relate to. She really is just playing a version of herself on WWE screens, which is just fine with us.
12. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: ALEXA BLISS
Alexa Bliss is a women’s star whose in-ring character is completely different from who she is outside the ring. In WWE, Bliss is a smug heel who refers to herself as a “Goddess”. She has been able to get the under the skin of the WWE fans by portraying a whiny, spoiled brat type of heel at times.
Bliss is arguably the best woman at doing promos right now, and it might be a matter of time before she turns face. That would be much more consistent with the likeable and kind hearted person Bliss (Alexis Kaufman) is in real life. Bliss is apparently very humble backstage at WWE, and has used her platform in WWE to talk about her history of eating disorders to help others suffering. Bliss is a self-professed lover of all things Disney as well.
11. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: SAMI ZAYN
In WWE, Sami Zayn is the ultimate underdog. Despite moving over to SmackDown, Zayn has struggled to really hit his stride because of questionable booking. He has yet to win a championship since his promotion to the main roster in January 2016, but has remained consistently upbeat. He demonstrates passion and commitment to doing the right thing, even though his failures are brought up on live television (usually by nemesis Kevin Owens).
Zayn (Rami Sebai) is successful as a legitimate underdog so far because of how relatable he is. Zayn’s character seems very real because it does not seem as though it is far off from the type of person he is in real life. He is a happy go lucky sort of guy who gets along with most of his fellow wrestlers, similar to how he is presented in WWE.
10. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: BRAY WYATT
Bray Wyatt is a character in WWE who seemingly has satanic beliefs and rituals. He has led a cult called “The Wyatt Family” that featured various followers, but Wyatt continues to preach the same sermons as a singles wrestler. He often tells dark and twisted tales in his feuds, and he claims to be superior to his opponent in some way.
Wyatt (Windham Rotunda) often tries to remain in character in interviews and in public as much as possible. He has somewhat changed this recently, as interviews have shown a softer side to Wyatt. He comes across as very soft spoken but also intelligent. Wyatt is also a devout Christian, a far cry from the satanic beliefs of his WWE character. Although we wonder if his recent divorce due to an alleged affair with JoJo revealed a darker side.
9. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: BAYLEY
Bayley’s a hugger! That has been her gimmick throughout her time in NXT and during her time on RAW. She is almost the female version of John Cena, children love Bayley. She always does what’s right and goes about accomplishing her goals honourably.
It is easy to see that that they Bayley on WWE TV is the same Bayley (Pamela Martinez) off screen. Bayley is a genuine fan of WWE and possesses a kind and loving demeanour that allows her to connect so well with children watching WWE. Bayley will also often go above and beyond for her fans, often signing autographs, taking pictures, and of course giving hugs to her fans! The WWE has to find a way to make her character enjoyable again, but it’s clear that it’s also who the real person is.
8. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: BRAUN STROWMAN
The character of Braun Strowman is a Monster, to say the least. He is on a mission to leave a path of destruction no matter who stands in his way, whether it is Enzo Amore or Brock Lesnar. He says very little but lets his actions speak for themselves. Strowman has Monsterhandled some of the top stars in WWE, such as John Cena, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar.
Strowman (Adam Scherr) has not maintained kayfabe, unlike some of the other giants who have wrestled for WWE. Strowman is known to be close friends with several other wrestlers, including Roman Reigns, and has posted pictures with them on social media. He has begun to show a sense of humour off-screen, and continues to post everyday pictures that show no resemblance to the monster he portrays on screen.
7. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: ENZO AMORE
Enzo Amore is a trash talking loudmouth who, despite being very good on the mic, cannot back it up in the ring. Amore trash talks the other teams and the other wrestlers in WWE and claims to be “The Realest Guy In The Room”. He was actually hired by Triple H based on his ability to cut a promo on football players.
A lot of the lines and the banter that Amore (Eric Arndt) uses on WWE TV are similar to what he uses during conversation in his regular life. Multiple WWE wrestlers have revealed that Amore is just as loud and brash backstage as he is on TV, while Amore’s former tag-team partner Big Cass is actually more reserved. Amore’s controversial behaviour and choices have obviously given him a negative reputation backstage, and has even been mentioned live on WWE by The Miz.
6. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: TRIPLE H
Triple H has traditionally had a negative reputation among hardcore wrestling fans. He married into the McMahon family which has brought him greater power and control, and was associated with the Kliq back in the day. In recent years, the on-screen character of Triple H has been more of a corporate heel. He comes in and asserts his power over some wrestler that he doesn’t like (kayfabe) and it inevitably leads to a match, probably at WrestleMania. This pattern has happened with Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins.
Triple H (Paul Levesque) is not a heel in a suit, however. He genuinely is trying to expand WWE into the future. He is the brains behind NXT and discovering a plethora of new talent. He was also one of the key figures behind the recent Mae Young Classic. As for when he was a wrestler during the 1990s, Sean Waltman went on record to say that Triple H was never one to get too involved in drugs and alcohol. Nowadays, even though he can sometimes be questioned for his decisions, there is little doubt that Triple H is doing his best for the future of the company rather than just putting himself first.
5. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: CM PUNK
Okay…so maybe CM Punk isn’t even a wrestler anymore. But we will stretch this a bit because Punk is still best known for his time spent with WWE and because there is still a large portion of the WWE fanbase that would love to hear Cult of Personality blast and have Punk walk out once again. Punk’s WWE character felt that he was the best wrestler in the world – nobody was near as good as him. He marched to the beat of his own drum and never backed down from any fight even if the odds were stacked against him. He said what was on his mind at any time, and stood by what he strongly believed in.
Pretty much everyone knows what happened after Punk (Phil Brooks) quit WWE in 2014. The WWE character of CM Punk is nearly the mirror of who he is in real life. Punk never backed down from a fight, which led to him losing his first match in UFC – but he fought nonetheless. He was adamant in what he believed and went on the Colt Cabana podcast and infamously told his mind about WWE, among other things. Punk is insistent on living a straight edge life and continues to do so, because it’s something he believes in.
4. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: SAMOA JOE
Samoa Joe is a destroyer and is not afraid to take down anyone who stands in his path. He is a talented beast of a wrestler who has applied the dangerous Coquina Clutch to several WWE stars such as Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, and Roman Reigns. Despite being still fairly new to the main roster, Samoa Joe has already flashed his dominance and looks poised to do so for much longer en route to what should be multiple championship reigns.
Outside WWE, Samoa Joe (Nuufolau Seanoa) is actually far from the person he plays on screen. He has been married since 2007, to Jessica, and comes across as a family man who is enjoying the time he gets to spend with her. Samoa Joe has also developed a reputation for being willing to help anyone coming up in the wrestling industry. In fact, during his time in TNA he helped train younger wrestlers.
3. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: RIC FLAIR
The Nature Boy, Ric Flair might just be the greatest pro wrestler of all time. He had a career that spanned a few decades, attracting fans both young and old. A lot of his promos talked about his jet set life and sometimes even told stories. His entrance says it all. He comes out in a glorious, heavily decorated robe to demonstrate a lavish, elegant, and wealthy lifestyle.
Flair’s personality is the same as that on WWE television. All of his promos are apparently not too far off from what he says off screen. Although Flair can sometimes be reckless, such as by extensive partying and drinking, that is something that shows he just as lavish as he is on camera. However with his recent health scare, perhaps he’ll make some drastic changes in his life.
2. NOTHING LIKE CHARACTER: THE UNDERTAKER
This is perhaps the most obvious one on this list. The Undertaker has gone through a few reincarnations of his character, including an American Badass, the Lord of Darkness, and simply the Deadman. He’s been tombstombing other wrestlers and sending them to the depths of hell for over two decades.
The Undertaker (Mark Calaway) has been among the best wrestlers at keeping kayfabe alive. He seldom does interviews, but any appearances he does make are fully in character. According to fans, The Undertaker is very cordial and polite with fans who approach him nicely for an autograph. Various wrestlers have also listed The Undertaker as one of the top locker room leaders in WWE behind the scenes. He is now enjoying life with his wife, former WWE wrestler Michelle McCool.
1. SIMILAR TO CHARACTER: JOHN CENA
John Cena is a controversial wrestler, there is no doubt about that. Children and women love him, but hardcore (mostly male) wrestling fans hate him. They would love to see a heel turn which will never happen. Cena’s mantra has long been “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” and he does his best to live up to that on WWE television in his character.
Cena comes across as the same sort of person in real life. He is constantly doing Make-A-Wishes for children and seems to enjoy doing so. Through Total Divas and Total Bellas, it is revealed that Cena has a bit of a dirty sense of humor. It is a shame that WWE wouldn’t let that side of Cena come through on TV, as it would bring a fresh dimension to his character. Although Cena can be strict when it comes to his house rules, it is because he knows where he came from and how hard he had to work to get what he has. For that reason, Cena asks for respect from others.
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