Most wrestling fans know that superstars like Repo Man, I.R.S. or The Undertaker (Spoiler Alert) aren't really repossession agents, tax collectors or morticians. These are gimmicks that not only play mind games with WWE Superstars' opponents but also help get them over with the fans. A gimmick is a very important aspect of a Superstar's career, and if they aren't getting a reaction from the fans, they won't be in professional wrestling long.
Obviously, classic villains like Ted DiBiase or Mr. McMahon aren't really the evil heels they played on TV, but they were able to develop a unique character that would rile up the fans who were eager to see these characters defeated. Many of these villains were based off other characters and bear no similarities to the Superstar playing them. However, not all characters need to be different from the real life personalities of superstars. In fact, some Superstars are virtually identical to the characters they are portraying.
Take The Rock for example. He's the same guy you see on Raw promoting WrestleMania as the guy promoting Jumanji these days. And he's not the only one who is just being himself on WWE programming. Whether it's a notorious villain, tyrannical authority figure or every day good guy, WWE superstars portray a wide variety of characters, some similar to their real life personality and others nothing alike at all. This article is about these superstars and their characters. Here are 15 superstars who are nothing like their characters in real life, and 5 that are exactly the same.
20 Triple H (Nothing Alike)
Whether he was the Cerebral Assassin who took a sledgehammer to Sting, or the COO who held down the beloved Daniel Bryan, or the rebellious general of D-Generation X who took on The Corporation, Triple H has portrayed a variety of roles in his long WWE career. With Triple H’s rise to power, where he's now running shows like NXT and occasionally returning for a match, it’s difficult to tell which Triple H we’ll see on WWE programming.
The one thing that's for sure is that the real Triple H is far from the characters he has portrayed.
Thanks to social media, the WWE can now reach millions of viewers worldwide and see everything related to WWE, from backstage interviews to live streaming shows to podcasts. WWE has no shortage of content, and this opens the door for superstars to show their real side. Triple H isn’t the tyrannical authority figure when he's on social media or interviewed backstage. Plus, with everyone's camera phone out, Triple H was spotted consoling a young fan at ringside, which isn't exactly the characteristics of the villainous King of Kings either. I think it's safe to say The Game is a face in real life.
19 The Undertaker (Nothing Alike)
The Undertaker has earned the respect of every wrestling fan around the world, but he’s earned it backstage among his peers as well. Taker wasn’t just the phenom in the ring, as backstage Taker was the one guy you didn’t anger nor question. His tough, no nonsense backstage demeanor didn’t have all the flashy lightning bolts or smoke, but his words carried a lot of weight even in the real world.
The character of The Undertaker was very much larger than life, and while Mark Calaway might be larger than life as well, the real Undertaker isn’t going to be seen in hooded robes, with rolled back eyes at a cemetery.
The Undertaker outside of WWE lives a very private life with his lovely wife Michelle McCool enjoying outdoor activities like anyone else. In other words, his gothic, collecting of souls portrayal is one exclusive to WWE programming and not so much the guy underneath the make-up and wig.
18 Bray Wyatt (Nothing Alike)
Bray Wyatt’s got the whole world in his hands with his mesmerizing rants, demonic laugh and haunting entrance. The Eater of Worlds is a master on the mic, and the fans are entranced by his every word. Even his opponents have fallen victim to his mind games, unorthodox wrestling style and random appearances. While the Wyatt Family founder portrays himself as a deranged cult leader, the real Bray Wyatt is something different.
Bray Wyatt’s on screen character surely makes Sister Abigail proud, but Windham Rotunda is a far different person than the crazed Bray Wyatt. Behind the scenes, Bray Wyatt is the son of the legendary Mike Rotunda a.k.a. Irwin R. Schyster, and a father of two. He also started his WWE career as Husky Harris. Bray Wyatt has been married, divorced and romantically linked to JoJo Offerman, making his real life sound more like a morning episode of Dr. Phil than the spirit talking fanatic.
17 The New Day (Same)
Don’t you dare be sour! Here we lump this entire faction together because The New Day are all friends, all have similar personalities, and their gimmick isn’t at all different from their real life personalities. Even if you’re not a gamer, you need to check out Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown channel. His YouTube channel is a peek at the personalities of wrestlers outside of wrestling, with widely entertaining interviews.
The New Day is wildly entertaining and their ridiculous over the top gimmick is just an exaggeration of their real life personalities.
Kofi, Xavier and Big E are all loud and rowdy and love to have fun behind the scenes just as much as they do on screen. Because their gimmick so closely resembles their real life personalities, minus the pancakes, New Day’s on screen gimmick fits them perfectly and enables them to easily connect with the fans.
16 Braun Strowman (Nothing Alike)
Unless you can hit a single F-5, Braun Strowman is largely unstoppable. Strowman has left a pile of bodies in his wake along with toppled tables, vehicles and scaffolds. The Monster Among Men is one strong and one intense WWE superstar with a huge future ahead of him. While his monstrous strength is no joke, the untamed monster's savage nature is a far cry from the actual person.
The real life Braun has his legitimate superhuman strength, but the onscreen reputation of the roaring ultramasculine Strowman takes a hit with pictures unearthed by the internet.
Photos exist of Strowman's time as Adam Rose’s Rosebud, as well as an amazing picture of him dressed as Wonder Woman. Braun actually has a personality behind the scenes, and clearly he isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself.
15 Kevin Owens (Nothing Alike)
The Prizefighter, Kevin Owens, is great at working up the WWE fans. Whether he’s being literally handed a title or backstabbing his best friends, Owens can range from the biggest crybaby to the most vicious heel. Kevin Owens has a long history of being the ultimate jerk heel, but the real-life Kevin Steen is something totally different.
Even behind the scenes, Owens is pretty good at staying in character however, glimmers of the real KO come through every now and then.
The real life of Kevin Owens, the life that he tries to keep private, features a family man, who has a wife, a young son and a daughter, all of whom he loves dearly. Despite playing a jerk so well, Owens is really just an average dad and husband who is providing for his family and tries to spend time with them whenever he can, not exactly the heartless, selfish villain he makes himself out to be.
14 Kane (Nothing Alike)
If you would think about legitimate intelligent WWE superstars, you probably wouldn’t immediately think of Kane. However, The Big Red Machine has been vouched for by many WWE superstars as one of the most intelligent human beings that they’ve ever known.
Kane’s masked demonic character who has set people on fire, and attached jumper cables to Shane McMahon’s nether regions might surprise fans as someone who has a vast intellect.
Kane, when he’s not chokeslamming opponents to hell, is a vocal Libertarian and posts in his social media about various economic and political issues.
He has given speeches on his views economic views, and in March of 2017, Kane announced he is actually running for the Knox County mayor seat in Tennessee. It should be an interesting election, and if nothing else give Kane a large platform to showcase his political prowess.
13 John Cena (Same)
The leader of the Cenation gets ripped for being corny and bland and holding down younger talent. One thing that fans can’t rip on Cena for is that he is true to himself. Fans have been begging for a change in the John Cena character, hoping for a heel turn just to get something different from him, but Cena has stated that who he is on screen is who he really is. Big Match John has even mocked the heel turn on more than one occasion.
Despite his mixed reactions, John Cena is one of the hardest working WWE superstars, who has cleaned up WWE’s image and has become a legitimate role model for millions of kids.
Cena has seemingly taken that role to heart granting over 500 Make-A-Wish wishes and appearing on multiple kids’ award shows. Super Cena’s goody-goody persona may rile up hardcore WWE fans, but John Cena isn’t just a character, it’s a way of life that he’s taken to heart.
12 Alexa Bliss (Nothing Alike)
Even at a young age, Alexa Bliss was determined to be the best at everything she set out to do, whether it’s cheerleading, gymnastics or professional wrestling. Clearly, Bliss succeeded not only becoming The Goddess of the Women’s Division but a combined four time Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champion. In interviews with Bliss’ parents, they aren’t surprised at Alexa's success in WWE. Instead, it was their daughter's heel turn that surprised them more than anything.
Bob and Angela Kaufman (Alexa's parents) were taken aback by Bliss’ heelish nature, and who can blame them?
The sweet-looking Bliss portrays her heel character perfectly, but that’s not the Alexa her parents know nor is it the Alexa in real life. Sure, Alexa is extremely confident, but the real Disney loving girly-girl Alexis Kaufman is a lot less dastardly than the character she portrays on TV.
11 Nia Jax (Nothing Alike)
We've already covered Alexa Bliss, so why not go to her backstage BFF in Nia Jax? Jax's character on-screen is one that is always looking to intimidate others and generally, the WWE wants to make her the monster women's heel of this generation. However, Jax is Miss Congeniality backstage, as it seems she gets along with everybody. She's constantly joking around with male and female stars alike and seems to have a lot of buddies backstage. She's also quite the inspiring figure, as she constantly posts some uplifting body image photos, showcasing her past insecurities with her physique and how she's learned to embrace what she has. It makes you wonder if WWE should try taking a different approach with her on-screen character.
10 Lana (Nothing Alike)
The Ravishing Russian is a total heat magnet. Lana’s promos have caused massive boos and jeers from the crowd, while condemning the United States and praising Vladimir Putin. Even worse is when she unleashed her husband, Rusev, the Bulgarian Brute, to destroy her American adversaries. There’s just one problem with this narrative. Lana isn’t actually Russian.
Although Lana is truly ravishing, the Russian accent is fake. Lana is actually a Florida-born model/actress named C.J. Perry who isn’t anti-American at all.
Her marriage to Rusev is the only thing on WWE TV that is actually true with regards to Lana, and she actually gotten in trouble for posting wedding pictures online when the couple were feuding in a storyline. Lana doesn’t even bother with the accent on Total Divas, and why not? No one believes she’s a real Russian anymore nor is she really even using her Russian gimmick on SmackDown. The ravishing part can definitely stay though.
9 Brock Lesnar (Same)
With five wins in his UFC career, Brock Lesnar truly is the best actual fighter in the WWE. Lesnar’s ring capabilities are no joke which is why Vince McMahon wants him to represent the Raw brand as champion. Vince prefers to have champions that look like they can win in an actual fight, and there’s no one better on Raw in a fight than the reigning defending undisputed Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar doesn’t have a gimmick in WWE. What you see is what you get with Brock. Lesnar’s fearlessness in the WWE ring and intimidating demeanor isn’t an act either. Lesnar truly is unafraid of any WWE opponent, having been in nine actual fights in UFC. While WWE may exaggerate Lesnar’s dominance, there’s no doubt The Beast could destroy the entire roster in real life much like he does in WWE storylines.
8 Matt Hardy (Nothing Alike)
When Matt Hardy debuted his Broken gimmick many thought he was on some serious drugs. But the gimmick actually was “brilliant” and wildly entertaining. Everything about the gimmick, from using his own wife and son, to using drones, to his insane Final Deletion event, were so over that top fans couldn’t help themselves but to love the gimmick.
As devoted as Matt has been to the gimmick, Matt Hardy hasn’t actually been blessed by the Seven Deities in the Great War for the Expedition of Gold.
Matt Hardy is so committed to his broken brilliance that it's hard to separate Broken (or in WWE, Woken) Matt from the family man with a wife and kids. However, we’ve seen Hardy act completely normal in interviews outside of WWE and more subdued from his Broken/Woken gimmick when he first returned inside the WWE. It's only a gimmick; a really good one at that.
7 Rusev (Nothing Alike)
The American-crushing Bulgarian Brute joined his wife Lana to denounce the United States and dominate the WWE with his superhuman strength and back breaking Accolade submission hold. While it is true that Rusev is married to Lana and was born in Bulgaria, Rusev isn’t the America-hating evil foreigner fans are led to believe.
His Rusev Day depiction shows a lot more charisma and introduces a comedic, lighthearted side to Rusev that fans haven’t seen before on WWE programming.
This new Rusev is getting extremely over as well and is a lot closer to the real Rusev behind the scenes. Rusev may be a real brute, but he is also well-liked by his peers and is seen playing video games and table tennis with his coworkers backstage.
6 Dean Ambrose (Nothing Alike)
Dean Ambrose earned the nickname the Lunatic Fringe for his crazy demeanor during promos and his death-defying stunts to put his opponents away during his matches. Dean Ambrose plays the crazed wrestler well in WWE, stemming from an indy career of wrestling in hardcore matches. So, many fans might be surprised to find out that the unstable Ambrose is different in his private life.
Say what you will about Total Divas, but the show is a nice little insight into the personalities of WWE superstars.
Dean, who is married to the incredible Renee Young, isn’t the intense wild card you see on Raw. In the real world, Dean is extremely laid back, and one could argue he’s a little too mellow.
Still, The Lunatic Fringe is normal enough to land Renee and has yet to dive off any structures in his private life, which is definitely a good thing and very contradictory to his character in WWE.
5 Daniel Bryan (Same)
Someone who chants, “YES! YES! YES!” may have their sanity questioned, but Daniel Bryan's YES chants, kicks and Lock got extremely over in WWE. Despite the intensity Daniel Bryan brought to the WWE, he also brought his underdog, nice guy persona along with him. His down-to-earth personality endeared him towards fans even more, but this was no gimmick to earn sympathy for The Authority screwing him over. This good guy nature is really who Daniel Bryan is.
WWE fans have seen through D-Bry’s heart-wrenching retirement speech and his return as SmackDown GM that the real Bryan Danielson and the onscreen Daniel Bryan are virtually the same.
Aside from the script, the SmackDown GM and the husband to Brie Bella and father of a new baby girl are pretty much the same kind person in real life as the guy we all rooted for during his rise to the top at WrestleMania XXX. A good guy character actually being a good guy in real life is nice to hear for a change.
4 Baron Corbin (Nothing Alike)
Just like WWE Creative, WWE fans are still trying to figure out Baron Corbin’s gimmick or if they should even care. The Lone Wolf has been on SmackDown with a World Championship in his sights only to lose it and get it back once again. His booking has been a roller coaster, but his heelish personality has stayed the same. Maybe his mic skills would improve if he received a better gimmick or acted more like he does in real life.
Baron Corbin is in a bad spot considering the crappy scripts he’s given, but backstage, the guy has a personality; he’s just not allowed to show it. Corbin portrays this towering, anti-social bully, but the real Corbin gets along great with his peers and is one of the most down -to-earth Superstars anyone could ever meet.
3 Stephanie McMahon (Nothing Alike)
It’s pretty much a running joke on the internet on which superstar The Billion Dollar Princess will emasculate or how Stephanie McMahon will insert herself into a storyline and make it all about herself. While Stephanie is great at working the WWE fans and presenting herself as this evil authority figure, there remains ample evidence to the contrary.
Many former WWE Divas have complimented Stephanie McMahon and are eager to tell the world how wonderful she is.
Plenty of these women have appeared backstage to visit friends and many group photos have been taken with Stephanie among them. Stephanie may be public enemy number one in terms of her character in WWE, but her involvement with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Make-A-Wish don’t exactly fit her villainous representation on Raw.
2 Elias (Nothing Alike)
Elias is a star in the making. He’s got a great look, he's great on the mic and has the ring skills to carry on a great match. His drifter gimmick is catching on quick, and he may be in a serious title hunt shortly with more and more fans “Walking With Elias.” Despite Elias taking great pleasure in ripping whichever city he is in through song, the real-life Jeffrey Sciullo is a little different from the so-called "Drifter."
The real Elias is a very humble, albeit hungry superstar who is hopeful to learn and grow in his young WWE career. He continues to improve on his character which is an exaggeration of his own personal talents and characteristics, minus the arrogance. Elias really can play his own music and sing, but the insults he throws the way of locals and their sports teams are all for show.
1 Roman Reigns (Same)
Even though WWE wants every fan to consider The Big Dog as The Guy, fans always knew Roman Reigns was the least talented member of The Shield. His promos were dull, and Reigns was still fairly green in the ring when he went solo. Currently, Reigns is still being pushed to the moon despite resistance from fans.
While fans might have good reasons to resist, one thing they can’t deny about Reigns is that he is authentic in his appearance and delivery.
The Roman Reigns you see on screen isn’t much different than the Reigns backstage. Even among his peers he is very soft spoken and down to Earth. You may be able to argue that Reigns is just as boring on WWE as he is in real life, but at least Roman isn’t a phoney. Believe that!