Wrestling fans love to hear stories about what goes on backstage. They watch shoot videos of wrestlers talking about great moments in their careers and read the gossip that goes on in the industry. Curiosity has always been a strong trait of our species therefore we can’t blame ourselves for wanting to learn about what the personalities of our favorite wrestlers are like outside the ring. Have you heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? It means a photo can tell a story and many of the photos on this list tell such a story about the wrestler’s life without the gimmick. The photos can shed a little light into who the wrestlers actually are and not what you only know from television.
According to Wikipedia, "kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true," specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature of any kind and it's one of the golden rules." There was once a time when kayfabe was alive and well.
Wrestlers could face ramifications for breaking their gimmick. These days, it’s common knowledge that wrestlers are friends with each other and it’s all a work. Yet, even today, photos have circulated around the world that weren’t appreciated by WWE headquarters because it broke the illusion of their product. We aren’t talking about Seth Rollins nude photos either, just a few images that seemed innocent at the time. We hope you enjoy the top 15 Candid Pictures of Wrestlers Breaking Their Gimmicks.
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15 Vince in a Casket Match?
That’s Vince McMahon lying down in a casket while an out-of-character, Paul Bearer chuckles. Casket matches were a fascinating spectacle back in the 90s and no one pulled them off better than The Undertaker. This image breaks all the kayfabe rules. For one, Paul Bearer is neither supposed to look happy, nor have color in his cheeks. Secondly, McMahon always built up the casket to be terrifying and that even the strongest men in the industry wouldn’t go near it. In the photo, he’s laughing it up, eliminating the feeling of being terrified.
14 Pre-Rock 'n' Sock Connection Fun
Do you smell what The Rock and Mankind are playing? Its Nintendo 64….it doesn’t matter what they’re playing. Any fan of video games and these two wrestlers would mark out to this photo dated back in The Attitude Era. Before they were the Rock 'n' Sock Connection, these two legends had some of the most brutal matches you can find in the WWE. We’ve seen them smash chairs over their heads, spill blood to entertain the crowd, and literally fight a no holds barred match in an empty arena. Both their gimmicks, a lunatic and a narcissist, would never hang out together, nor play video games unless the WWE Championship was on the line. The photo breaks every kayfabe rule in the book.
13 The Four Indie Men
Whoever took this picture probably had no idea how well it would turn out for these four individuals. In the picture you see A.J. Styles, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Matt Sydal (WWE’s Evan Bourne) getting something to eat at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. All these guys feuded with each other before going over to the WWE and probably none of them cared they were breaking kayfabe. Much respect for Styles representing his brand, Phenomenal 1, to this day. Bryan looks focused on what he’s going to order and Punk is doing Punk things. It’s a classic photo and maybe one day, for just one night, will see all four of these guys compete together in the same match.
12 Attitude Era Amusement
Rollercoasters are fun and so is wrestling, but when you put them together it becomes epic awesomeness. You got The Hardy Boyz, Scotty 2 Hotty, Mick Foley, Al Snow, and Edge enjoying themselves thoroughly, especially Foley (look how happy he is). All these guys fought with each other during their time at the WWE. Al Snow and Mankind battled for the Hardcore Championship, Scotty 2 Hotty was with the tag team Too Cool and he battled with The Hardy Boyz and Edge. Let us not forget the legendary feud between The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian. It’s no surprise that this photo is on the list. On a side not, how are Edge's glasses still on?
11 ECW Reunion
A photo with ECW legends and no one is throwing a chair, lighting a table on fire, or swinging a kendo stick. That can’t be right, especially if kayfabe was still alive. It’s a great alumni photo with Justin Credible, Terry Funk, The Dudley Boyz, Little Guido Maritato, Stevie Richards, Tommy Dreamer, and The Blue Meanie. Our inner childhood wants us to scream out ECW! ECW! ECW! after seeing this picture but instead we'll watch some highlight videos with announcer Joey Styles screaming “Oh My God.” True pioneers of the industry, we’re glad that some of these guys are still working their craft today.
10 WCW Banana Boat Ride
Before Stone Cold Steve Austin became the toughest S.O.B in the industry, he was Stunning Steve Austin for the WCW. This photo was taken during the early to mid-90s and features WCW wrestlers Ricky Steamboat, Kevin Sullivan, Arn Anderson, William Regal and Austin. With kayfabe still an important factor in the business at that time, this photo would have done major damage to their characters. Sullivan’s gimmick was an evil Satanist, so he shouldn’t have been on a beach chilling with the boys. Austin had intense feuds with Steamboat and Anderson, so why were they about to take a banana boat ride?
9 A Bo-lievable Wedding
The Eater of Worlds looks a little out of place in this photo compared to when he’s on television. If he's the new face of fear and all, why is he next to a woman who’s getting married? That’s because it’s his brother’s (Bo Dallas) newlywed, Sarah Backman. The couple got married back in 2014 and we can’t imagine what kind of speech Bray gave, but we’re sure it was a masterful monologue. Maybe Bray isn’t such a terrifying man after all, who knows, maybe he can turn face one day and become a priest or something.
8 Predator Fans?
Lana and Rusev are supposed to be anti-American heels but their gimmicks can’t hold up if they keep posing for photos like this. Who would have thought this power couple were fans of the NHL's Nashville Predators. When they keep saying America is terrible and they’re far superior, you can’t help but remember images like this one. Let’s just scrap the whole anti-American thing and make them the new Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth because their gimmick needs something fresh. Another photo that got the couple in hot water was when Lana showed off her engagement ring last year. The WWE didn’t want you to think that Lana was taken or that the one who captured her heart was Rusev... especially since she was 'dating' Dolph Ziggler at the time.
7 Bruiser Brody
If you don’t know who Bruiser Brody is, take the time to watch his work. He was a trailblazer, a pioneer, and maybe the toughest S.O.B ever. Many wrestlers have been influenced by him, including two legends in Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan. His gimmick was being a crazy man, hardcore to the bone, and a ferocious beast that was relentless in and outside the ring. If you were a promoter and you wanted a bloody and physical match, Brody was your guy. Just check out the scars on his forehead, as those aren't fake folks. He wrestled in a time where you would be fired for a photo like this coming into public eye. Sadly, he would be murdered at a wrestling event in ’88 and his family would never receive justice.
Most of us know about The Bullet Club, but have you met the Luke Harper fan club? This photo definitely pissed off people at WWE headquarters. Chris Jericho posted the photo on Twitter and once it went viral, it was deleted soon after. You have both heels and baby faces wearing Harper shirts, which is absolutely awesome and creative. Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, Jericho, Fernando, Diego and Sheamus are all showing their support for Harper. The text that went along with the photo reads, “Ladies and Gents, may I introduce the charter members of the #LukeHarper fan club.”
5 Two Texas Legends
WrestleMania XIV had one of the greatest main events ever between The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. With boxing legend Mike Tyson also involved in the match, it took The Attitude Era to mainstream heights. Every media outlet reported on Austin blasting the two middle fingers at Tyson during the buildup for the match. People were genuinely curious if Tyson, who was a special outside referee for the match, would do something crazy. With a lot of momentum going into the night, we think it wouldn’t have been best for business if this photo started circulating around. Both these guys were supposed to be fierce rivals and not having fun in the sun. If there was Twitter in the 90s, these two would surely hear it from the boss.
4 BSK Club
During the 90s, you had The Kliq but there was another top group of friends backstage in the WWE and they were known as the Bone Street Krew. The photo consists of Yokozuna (the founder), Savio Vega, Henry Godwinn, The Godfather, The Undertaker, and Rikishi. Other members include Paul Bearer, Brian Adams, and Mr. Fuji. Rumor has it that each individual has a “BSK Pride,” tattoo on their abdomens. No need to explain why their gimmicks would be ruined if this photo surfaced when kayfabe was still real. Most of these individuals all fought each other at some point. So are you a Kliq or BSK guy?
3 P.G. Era
John Cena was getting beat up by The Authority at a RAW event and a child in the front row didn’t like the looks of it or the shouting that Triple H was doing at the crowd. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon saw that the kid was in emotional distress and decided to reassure him that his favorite wrestler wasn’t in any serious trouble. It’s a bit shocking that they both decided to break kayfabe and appease the little lad. Wrestlers have done far less and received some sort of punishment. Triple H and Steph did it on live television and in front of thousands of fans. We guess they get a few perks for being the daughter and son-in-law to Vince McMahon.
2 Monday Night Wars
Many have seen this epic photo floating around the internet, but if you haven’t yet, we’re glad to bring back some nostalgic feelings for you. Yes, that’s both WCW and WWE wrestlers posing together for a photo during the Monday Night Wars. It was Ted Turner vs Vince McMahon and we’re positive that having this photo around wouldn't be best for business. You have the top guys from both companies having a grand old time with each other. Some of the superstars present are Ric Flair, Macho Man Randy Savage, Big Show (The Giant), Stone Cold Steve Austin, The British Bulldog, and Hulk Hogan. Is it just us or does Austin want to open a can of whoop ass on Randy Savage?
1 The Kliq
Most wrestling fans know about The Kliq. They were major parts of D-Generation X and the New World Order. They all traveled together, partied together, and pissed a lot of people off together. When Ted Turner, owner of WCW, was throwing money out the window, he snatched up two of the best talents in the WWE, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. This photo was taken at a Madison Square Garden house show on May 19th, 1996, and was dubbed "The Curtain Call.” It was the last event for Hall and Nash before they started working for WCW. After Nash and Shawn Michaels had their match, Scott Hall and Triple H came out to celebrate. It looks like they all wanted to have their last good byes in the ring together. It broke any illusion of kayfabe and forever changed wrestling.
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