Wrestling is not real. As a true wrestling fan, you will likely be offended to hear someone say it is fake, but truth be told, we all know wrestling is not real.
However, the characters portrayed by the wrestlers on the screen can sometimes be real. For instance, CM Punk really is the straight edge cocky dude he played on TV while Jeff Hardy is a free soul in his real life. Still, most wrestling characters are made up. Sometimes, it is obvious, like with The Great Khali, Kamala, Kharma, but other times, it is subtle, as with Los Matodores, Hornswoggle, Kerwin White, and Bastion Booger.
In this article, we will discuss 15 wrestling characters that are nothing like the wrestlers that portray them. With the demise of kayfabe, most wrestlers these days cannot be heels as it takes Bully Ray, John Bradshaw Layfield, or Hardcore Holly levels of misdemeanor to garner the heat that a heel should. However, the list features two top class performers who, despite the information available online, have been able to operate as abominable heels. Read one to know who they are.
As always, if you disagree with any of the entrants, please drop your thoughts in the comments section.
15 The Undertaker
Here is a rather obvious entry. The Undertaker debuted as a western mortician, but he has since reinvented himself as the Lord of Darkness, American Badass, and the Deadman. The demise of kayfabe has kept people from genuinely being invested in the horror-themed gimmick, but The Undertaker has been able to captivate the WWE Universe for almost three decades.
However, despite his spookiness inside the ring or in a WWE arena, the wrestler has an incredible personality, at least according to the fans who have been fortunate enough to bump into him. Besides being cordial with his fans, his marriage history also suggests that he is akin to every average human; he has been married just one time fewer than the Limousine Ridin', Jet Flyin', Kiss Stealin', Wheelin' Dealin', Son of a Gun, Ric Flair. He currently lives with his wife and former WWE Diva Michelle McCool and his daughters in Austin, Texas.
14 Summer Rae
Summer Rae, real name Danielle Moinet, has been predominantly performing as a heel since moving to the main roster. Despite the WWE boasting about the success of their Divas Revolution, the 32-year-old wrestler has been embroiled only in storylines in which she either cheats on her on-screen partner or is cheated on by her significant other.
However, despite the Summer Rae persona being portrayed as an abominable individual, she is a sweetheart in real life, at least according to Paige. The Anti-Diva said on Talk is Jericho that Summer Rae stood up for her when she was being bullied during her Florida Championship Wrestling days; she also revealed how she helped her through a dark phase. She even hung out with a fan, who messaged her through her personal website. Not a lot of wrestlers, including legends such as Chris Jericho, have been cordial with the fans.
Sting has earned the respect of wrestling fans mainly because of his experience, but the wrestler has portrayed a multitude of gimmicks, including an abominable Joker rip-off. However, his real life character is not even remotely similar to any character he has ever portrayed on the television. The WWE Hall of Famer is known to be a devout Christian, and prior to his WWE debut, he had often mentioned that WWE’s booking decisions challenging his religious beliefs was the reason he had never associated himself with the McMahons.
One of the most intimidating figures to set foot in the squared circle, Sting, real name Steve Borden, has three kids through two marriages, the first of which lasted almost three decades. He definitely is a convincing actor.
12 The Rock
The Rock is clearly one of the best heels of the millennium. From Michael Cole to Lillian Garcia, almost everyone in the WWE have been brutally roasted by the Great One at that time. During his returns, too, he has humiliated a lot of wrestlers, including Rusev, Lana, the New Day, the Wyatt Family, and of course, John Cena. However, behind the screens, he is known to be one of the most humble wrestlers, according to most of his colleagues.
The Rock, according to some insiders, has indulged in politicking, too, but he has been well liked backstage, and many wrestlers, including Trish Stratus and Lana, have branded him "fun to work with." Since his semi-retirement, The Rock’s other side has become more public, with his "seven dollars" story serving as an inspiration to not just wrestling fans, but every earthling that goes through hardships. While many wrestling connoisseurs allege that the most successful wrestlers are those who play their real life characters on the screen, The Rock serves as the right example for those who can manage to get over with outstanding acting skills and a fantastic grasp of psychology.
Kane debuted as Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist, Issac Yankem, before debuting again as Fake Diesel. However, his third proper debut as The Undertaker’s brother under the name Kane has stood the test of time, although there have been variations of his character, with the most recent variation being Corporate Kane. However, none of his on-screen characters bear any semblance to his real self.
Kane, real name Glenn Thomas Jacobs, works as an insurer and is a political speaker. He has embroiled himself in political issues, and several Tea Party-affiliated groups even attempted in vain to lure him to serious politics in 2014. The Big Red Machine said earlier this year that he would contemplate participating in the 2018 elections. For a wrestler who has been portraying one of the creepiest characters in the history of wrestling, the Madrid-born 49-year-old wrestler is a wise man.
10 The Miz
With the current WWE roster crammed with former indie darlings, the WWE creative team is having a hard time getting the heels to be booed by the audience. With heels such as AJ Styles and Seth Rollins being cheered instead of being drowned in boos, only The Miz has been garnering the good old heel heat. Notorious for being self-centered, with absolutely no respect for even legends such as Daniel Bryan and Bret Hart in front of the screen, the Hollywood A-Lister is, in fact, a down-to-earth person in real life.
While WWE wrestlers have been known to give the fans cold shoulders more often than not, he has been known to go out of his way to click photographs with even those with wearing John Cena shirts. However, in order to maintain his character, he sometimes turns down autograph requests, but his close associates claim he is easily one of the most cordial people in the company right now.
Goldust is easily one of the most bizarre characters in the WWE history. The company has seen eerie characters such as Kane, Boogeyman, and Bray Wyatt and weird characters such as the Gobbledy Gooker, Yeti, and Mantaur, but Goldust takes the cake for offering something that had never been before. In an era when homophobic segments were not so frowned upon as they are now, he thrived, even flirting with The Undertaker, of all people, at one point. However, the real life Dustin Rhodes has enjoyed a rather normal life for a professional wrestler.
With his former on-screen valet and ex-wife Terri Runnels, he has a daughter named Dakota Avery, with whom he often has good family time with when he is not grappling with sweaty men in front of thousands of people. Given the frequency of Dakota’s uploads featuring Goldust, it is safe to assume that he is enjoying quite a life for man who has been married twice.
8 Hulk Hogan
For most of Hulk Hogan's career, he has been portrayed as the real American who fights for the rights of every man. The Hulkster's real life personality, however, is entirely different from the character he portrays in front of television cameras. He apparently is not very fond of African-Americans, as evidenced by the tape that exposed the racist tendencies in him. In addition, he has been known to be adept at politicking, and his antics have been attributed to the career death of many wrestlers.
Wrestlers usually make amends for being a jerk by achieving legendary status, but the biggest babyface in the history of WWE has only drawn more and more controversy as the years pass. His real personality is a disappointment to many of his fans.
7 John Cena
With the likes of Steve Austin and Dwayne Johnson taking over the reins from Hulk Hogan, the WWE hardly had any out-and-out babyfaces for the better part of the Attitude Era and the early years of the Ruthless Aggression Era. However, since his ascension to the top, John Cena has been that babyface, whose chances of turning heel still remain slim. The Face That Used To Run The Place preaches hustle, loyalty and respect; however, his real life character is largely Hogan-esque.
From burying up-and-coming talents such as Tyler Reks, Wade Barrett, and Bray Wyatt to allegedly ruining the relationship of Kenny Dykstra and Mickie James, he has a notorious record of being the exact opposite of what he portrays in front of the WWE Universe. Additionally Cena is known as a huge drinker, which plays against his family friendly image.
Although Vader’s WWE spell was a joke, he came across as a hard-hitting giant in WCW as well as in Japan. He was known to throw stiff punches while decimating his opponents. GIFs of his downing an up-and-coming wrestler with a right hand is still making its rounds on many wrestling forums. However, the former three-time WCW World Heavyweight Championship holder has a side that is lesser known to the casual fans.
Despite his being a monster heel, he came across as a darling backstage, and was well loved by his colleagues, especially Bam Bam Bigelow, Vince McMahon, and the likes. However, he has been reduced to the brink of breaking down by Shawn Michaels and his Kliq buddies. A man of Vader’s size could have knocked them out all at once, but his personality would not let him.
5 Triple H
Thanks to his association with the Kliq and his world championship reigns, Triple H has garnered negative publicity for most of his career. However, the truth cannot be further from the perception. In a shoot interview, Sean Waltman stated that Triple H refrained from drugs and liquor despite the peer pressure. He has always done what is best for the business.
Known to be the reason for why NXT is as big a show as it is today, he has made the lives of professional wrestlers much better than they used to be a few years ago. Most of his questionable decisions can easily be justified and, even though he comes across as less altruistic, his business decisions have always benefited the company in the long term.
4 D-Von Dudley
Bully Ray, or Bubba Dudley, is a well-known bully who hardly cares about the fans. During conventions and meet and greets, Bully Ray often delivers the cold shoulder to the fans, leaving his tag team partner D-Von Dudley to make up for his arrogance by being cordial with the fans.
The former ECW wrestler has headbutted people’s crotches and put women through tables on the screen, but in reality is well liked by fans and his colleagues alike. It should not surprise anyone that the McMahons have chosen to hand him a backstage role. The fact that only the well-liked figures such as Fit Finlay and Dean Malenko hold a similar job with the WWE now speaks volumes about his personality. Perhaps that's why he and Bubba work so well.
3 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is easily the biggest bully in RAW alongside Enzo Amore. He pokes fun at a hard-working character Sami Zayn and pulls no punches while holding the microphone. None, including babyfaces Roman Reigns and John Cena, have escaped Owens’ wrath. Most recently, the Prized Fighter character even abandoned his best friend in Chris Jericho to be pedigreed by the vicious Seth Rollins. However, he is not the same man behind the scenes.
He is a father who adores his children, and a husband who has had an adorable love story with his beautiful wife. His also possesses a great personality as he seems like someone who never forgets his roots, no matter how big a superstar he becomes with the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. He is still friends with wrestlers who worked with him in front of audiences of just a few hundred people.
2 Ultimate Warrior
Ultimate Warrior is one of the very few wrestlers who worked mostly as a face for their whole career. He worked as a cartoonish superhero, who locked horns with villains such as Sgt. Slaughter, Andre the Giant, Haku, and Ted DiBiase, among others. His association with Hulk Hogan, the biggest babyface of them all, speaks volumes about the Ultimate Warrior character. However, James Hellwig, the man that portrayed the character, was merely a shadow of that character.
Although the McMahons did their best to tarnish the legacy of the Warrior, his demeanor was never laudable either. Widely known to be a self-centered individual, he often turned down fans’ pleas to meet him, and legend has it that he even refused to meet a Make-A-Wish Foundation kid. However, in the final years of his life, he made amends for his wrongdoings by becoming the person fans adored.
1 Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie McMahon may be the most natural heel in WWE history, and yes that is including her father Vince. Since bursting onto the scene in 1999, Stephanie has almost exclusively played a villain for the WWE audience. During her tenure playing that character, McMahon was not only booed, but heckled on a nightly basis. In defense of the fans, why not hate the Billion Dollar Princess? Her spoiled antics on screen, along with her mean right hand (usually used for slapping) have played perfectly into cultivating a hateable on-screen persona.
Ironically enough, Stephanie McMahon is probably the least like her character as anyone on this list. Besides the fact that she has been reported as a sweetheart by most of her co-workers, McMahon has instilled deep roots of caring and philanthropy in the WWE. Her work with Connor's Cure, Be A Star and Susan G Komen are just a few examples of her initiatives to promote positive behavior and health. Despite playing the worst kind of person on television, McMahon is a role model to little girls everywhere, even winning the 2016 Wonder Woman Award.