Has wrestling ever better than it was in the ‘90s? Some of the most famous names in the business came about or entered their prime during this time, and thus some of the most iconic images in wrestling history emerged from this decade.
However, we’re not here to reflect on the biggest moments in the ring or on TV, but instead all the moments that happened when the cameras weren’t rolling, but someone still managed to snap a candid shot of wrestlers hanging out, palling around, posing in humorous ways, and hanging out with their friends, family members, and fans.
During the ‘90s, kayfabe was strictly adhered to at all times, but now that the curtain has been pulled back, we can finally fully enjoy all of the silliness associated with professional wrestlers and professional wrestling.
As a final note, I’d like to point out that although this article is about WWE wrestlers, not all of the snaps below were taken when the wrestlers pictured were in the WWE. A few are of wrestlers when they were younger, or approximately around their time in the promotion. Still, they all involve WWE wrestlers and all were taken between 1990 and 1999.
21 Stone Cold Heartbreakers
Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels shared time in WWE’s spotlight in the mid and late ’90s, and have since gone down as two of the best wrestlers in the promotion’s history. Austin joined in 1995 (when Michaels was already in his prime) and began his most successful years (the infamous Austin 3:16 days) in 1996. Although the duo wrestled as a tag team for numerous matches (nabbing the Tag Team Championship in ‘96), they were also pitted against each other at WrestleMania XIV, in a WWE Championship bout that saw Austin claim the title.
20 Davey Boy's Lobster
It’s unfortunate that Davey Boy Smith never won a WWE Championship, but he sure looks like a champ while tearing apart this giant lobster at a seafood restaurant sometime in the mid ‘90s (aside from Davey’s short hairdo, the fanny pack is a dead giveaway of the time period). Given the size of the crustacean, we’re guessing this was some sort of eating challenge where diners need to consume the whole thing in a certain amount of time. However, we’d like to believe that Smith just went into a restaurant and ordered the biggest lobster in the tank.
19 Results May Vary
The best part of this photo is how odd the assortment of wrestlers is. In front, you’ve got Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan, trying to look tough in his crisp, long-sleeve polo while brandishing a two-by-four. Immediately flanking him are Slick and Virgil, for reasons unknown. (Then again, we’re surprised to see Virgil anywhere other than alone at an autograph signing.) And it only gets weirder from there, as lurking in the background are two Bone Street Krew alumni, The Godfather and The Undertaker.
18 Head Over Heels
Heels are supposed to be strong and scary, and even with some of the outlandish characters that existed in the ‘90s, this was still often true. Even if you didn’t actually fear any of the wrestlers, you still knew who the bad guys were. That’s why a candid photo of so many heels in one place is so amusing and awesome - especially since they’re mean-mugging in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. In fact, most of the guys are actually smiling.
17 Style and Flair
16 You’ve Gotta Want It!
15 R-Truth and Tupac
Before he became a pro wrestler, Ron Killings (a.k.a. R-Truth) was just a kid who dropped out of high school at 16 to pursue a career in music. However, he also sold weed for extra money, which landed him a 13-month prison sentence. Even after his release, Killings still tried to make it work as a musician, but ended up getting recruited by Jackie Crockett of the National Wrestling Alliance and made his in-ring debut in 1997, later joining the WWE in 1999.
14 Nitro & Raw Cross Paths
13 Back of the Bus!
12 The Motliest of Crews
11 A Snapshot of the ‘90s
During the ‘90s, our kayfabe-filled world told us that wrestlers were constantly at odds with each other both in the ring and backstage. Some had committed horrendous offenses against others, and it was shocking that they even managed to save their anger and aggression for when the cameras were rolling. Thankfully, we didn’t see potentially Earth-shattering photos like this at the time, which depicts a large section of the roster posing happily together.
10 Out on the Town
9 Way Too Much Fun
It’s a good thing WWE was entering the Attitude Era when this photo was taken, as Vince McMahon probably wouldn’t have been too pleased to see his wrestlers posing at a bar with a bunch of booze and a topless girl if they were in the sterilized, censored PG-era. He probably wasn’t too fond of this snapshot regardless, but what do you expect from a quartet consisting of Viscera, Rikishi, The Godfather, and Ron Simmons? (Although Simmons is totally missing out on the action taking place behind him.)
8 A Perfectly Boss Photo
Some of the best candid wrestling photos are the ones featuring faces and heels (or other foes) getting along with each other. Or, better yet, when they’re goofing off together. Take this photo for example. At the time, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig was the reigning WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion (if you couldn’t tell by the hardware around his waist), which means this was taken in 1990 or 1991. In fact, based on the antlers and red nose sported by Big Boss Man, it may have took place around the holidays of 1990.
7 Lil’ Lesnar
It’s hard to imagine Brock Lesnar as anything other than a superhuman wrestler and MMA heavyweight, but there was, in fact, a time when Brock was a little more....little. “He hadn’t grown into everything yet. When he was in seventh grade, he wrestled at 98 pounds,” said John Schiley, Lesnar’s former high school wrestling coach, in an interview with USA Today. “Then he hit a growth spurt and started to fill out.” Since Brock is young but likely north of 100 pounds in this photo, we’ll estimate it was taken around 1991, when he was 14 years old.
6 Stone Cold Stares
Stone Cold Steve Austin capped his wrestling career at 14 years, but in the time between his debut in 1989 and his retirement in 2003, he amassed 19 championships and was a six-time WWE Champion, two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, and a four-time WWF Tag Team Champion - making him the fifth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history at the time. CM Punk, on the other hand, amassed 15 years before calling it quits in favor of MMA fighting, along the way becoming the fastest to ever earn the WWE Triple Crown.
5 Santa Meng
As we’ve documented numerous times in the past (including an entire article recently written by yours truly), Meng is likely the baddest dude to ever step foot into a wrestling ring. Regardless of the outcomes of his matches, every wrestler was very much aware that Tonga Fifita could absolutely destroy them in a real fight and made efforts to avoid this unfortunate event at all costs. Which is why it’s so entertaining to see Kevin Nash happily sitting atop the big guy’s lap like it’s a visit with Santa Claus. (He was probably asking for a World Heavyweight Championship belt, right?)
4 Recording Artists
This photo absolutely screams of the mid 90s and particularly, the New Generation Era of the WWE. Here, you have the five major names in the company of that time period, with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Razor Ramon and Diesel all in one shot. Judging from the microphone hanging over them, you have to assume they are in a recording studio. It could have been for one of the WWE's music albums they released back in the 90s (Full Metal) or perhaps their voices were used for promotional work.
Here you have five guys, from three separate backstage groups, all hanging out cordially and working together. There's HBK, Nash and Hall from The Kliq, Undertaker and Bearer from The Bone Street Krew and Bret Hart, from the Hart family.
Either way, when looking at this photo, it doesn't get any more "90s WWE" than this.
2 Killing Time
Does that casket look familiar? It should, as soon after this photo was taken it would be used in the famous segment of Paul Bearer’s Funeral Parlor in which The Ultimate Warrior was locked inside it by Bearer and The Undertaker, and had to be frantically “rescued” and “revived” by a host of WWE personnel. Many of you probably remember watching this back in 1991 at a young age, and, like most of us, probably had the bejeezus scared out of you during the notoriously frightening incident.
1 Who’s Got Next?
Ah, it doesn’t get much more ‘90s than this: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mick “Mankind” Foley chilling backstage and playing Nintendo 64. The photo was actually printed in the December 1999 issue of Incite Magazine, but hey, that still qualifies for the decade. Despite the two being technically off the clock at the time, The Rock is clearly still in character, as he’s rocking his sunglasses and signature cocky attitude. Still, the duo aren’t breaking any kayfabe here, as their characters were friendly at the time and had teamed to form The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection in an attempt to take down WWF Tag Team Champions The Undertaker and Big Show. As for the game they’re playing on N64? Why it’s WrestleMania 2000, of course.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!