It’s always hard to tell which WWE Superstars are truly as tough in real life as they are in the ring. In the past, we have been shocked by reports where some of the biggest names ended up on the losing side of a fight. For instance, Goldberg is booked as one of the greatest forces in wrestling, but Chris Jericho had no problem whatsoever dealing with him in a real life fight. Batista was a monster in every sense of the word yet Booker T was in complete control during a past altercation.
That shows how unpredictable it is to guess, but several factors come into play to determine which Superstars fall in these two categories. Many Superstars have an impressive background in martial arts or amateur wrestling, which instantly bumps them up to real life tough guys. Some have earned a reputation due to previous incidents in which they came out on top. And them you have a mix of the above, as well as simply being too strong to handle.
Believe it or not, there are also wrestlers who are nowhere near as intimidating as they appear. Not that the average person could take on them in a fight, but perhaps they benefit from professional wrestling being scripted as they wouldn’t make nearly the same impact in different circumstances. Today’s list is controversial to say the least, as we look at 8 current WWE Superstars who are tough in real life and 7 who are softies.
15. Tough: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose may not be the biggest or most ripped WWE Superstar, but he certainly is one of the toughest guys in the ring. And when it comes to the likes of Ambrose, it’s always quite difficult to predict whether that is a true reflection of his real life persona or simply a character being portrayed on television.
Ambrose hasn’t gotten into any backstage fights and tends to get along well with his peers, but it’s been said that he is legitimately a tough guy even when the cameras aren’t rolling. That’s not to mention his background coming from CZW, which further confirms everything that you need to know about Ambrose. Also keep in mind his rough upbringing in a rough area of Cincinnati. Ambrose may be on his best behavior in real life although the WWE likes to call him “The Lunatic Fringe” but there is no doubt that Ambrose would prove that nickname to be true if needed.
14. Softie: Samoa Joe
There is no doubt that Samoa Joe is one of the best wrestlers in recent years, and fans were excited to see him in the WWE after having wrestled for TNA, ROH and various independent companies. He has been destroying everyone in his way since moving up to the main roster to establish himself as one of the toughest Superstars today. As intimidating as he may appear on screen, the same cannot be said about him in real life.
He couldn’t be more different than his character as he is one of the nicest guys in the business, but there is also one incident that earns him a softie label. While working for TNA, Joe was told to shoot on Scott Hall for failing to show up for an event, which Kevin Nash didn’t approve of. He confronted Joe and ended up slapping him while the former did absolutely nothing.
13. Tough: Kurt Angle
When you won an Olympic Gold Medal with a broken neck, that should certify you as tough for the rest of your life. Kurt Angle has been involved in many real life fights during his career, including one with the late Eddie Guerrero. Tension had been rising between the men and eventually escalated to a fight, which didn’t last long as Angle comfortably won. Guerrero realized that it was ridiculous of him to try to fight Angle and referred to himself as an idiot, and the two ended up patching things.
Angle was involved in another backstage fight with Brock Lesnar under similar circumstances to the Guerrero altercation – as Angle reportedly came out on top once again which might make him the toughest wrestler in history. Many Superstars have previously indicated that Kurt Angle is the one name that nobody should mess with due to his wrestling background.
12. Softie: The Miz
The Miz is not exactly a tough guy in script since he is always being helped by his associates or Maryse, but his heel-ish tactics as well as his mic skills have made him one of WWE’s top Superstars. As disrespectful The Miz might be on television, he is the exact opposite in real life. During his early career, he was deemed as annoying by some of his peers but most have always stated that he is one of the true gentlemen in the WWE.
Even fans are always surprised upon meeting him since they get to see a different side of The Miz. As far as being tough in real life, The Miz has previously admitted to having never been in a fight in his life so labeling him as a softie is warranted here – not as an insult but rather as a compliment since The Miz is a peaceful man.
11. Tough: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler may be the most strangely booked wrestler in WWE history. It’s hard to make sense of his career as he went from being a male cheerleader to a main eventer and then lost in the shuffle for many years. But the potential is always there and fans still hope to him truly reach the heights that had been anticipated. Before he joined the WWE as a member of The Spirit Squad, Ziggler had an extensive background in amateur wrestling where he broke multiple records for his high school and college – including the most pins ever.
He was even inducted into the Hall of Fame of Kent State University as an acknowledgment of his remarkable amateur wrestling journey. Ziggler is certainly one of the toughest Superstars today, and most wrestlers would be better off avoiding any conflict with him – as we have seen in the past what happens when you mess with a skilled wrestler.
10. Softie: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is one of the most impressive talents in the past few years. But being a great wrestler doesn’t mean a thing in real life where no script is involved and anything is possible. Rollins has the accolades to his name and his athleticism is remarkable, but it’s been said that he isn’t nearly as tough in real life as one would think. That was confirmed by his ex-girlfriend who had plenty to say about Rollins during some of her posts.
Rollins also seems like a down to earth guy who wouldn’t get into trouble so while some may look down on him for it, others would admire him instead. The WWE culture has significantly changed in the past and it is now more welcoming of different personalities, which is why many Superstars similar to Seth Rollins can strive today. But compared to some of the Superstars in the locker room, Rollins is certainly among the softies today.
9. Tough: John Cena
The WWE want us to believe that John Cena is one of the toughest human beings to ever live, or at least that’s the way they have booked him for so many years. There is a reason why Superman Cena became a thing as he always managed to come out on top against all odds, and practically rolled through the entire roster to maintain his spot. While he may not have an extensive wrestling background prior to WWE, Cena was a bodybuilder who could and still lifts much heavier than we would expect.
He has had a few arguments with various wrestlers in the past, but we do know that he once got into a fight with Carlito where Cena had a clear advantage before they were separated. Whether Cena is nearly as tough in real life as he claims to be in his promos is a whole different story, but fans would be wrong to label him soft.
8. Softie: Sheamus
Dubbed as The Celtic Warrior, we are not so sure that Sheamus has earned his nickname. We have seen some legitimately tough Irish wrestlers in the past, but Sheamus doesn’t fall in that category as he has been embarrassed a number of times in backstage fights. There is no shame in losing to the likes of Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, but when Yoshi Tatsu easily beats you in real life then you are automatically a softie.
Sheamus has been apart of numerous altercations that turned physical with the most notable one being against Sin Cara, who also didn’t have the slightest trouble handling Sheamus. What makes it even worse is that Sheamus was reportedly the one who instigated both fights, yet he failed to back up his talk. It seems like he has learned his lesson since Sheamus hasn’t gotten into any further fights since then.
7. Tough In Real Life: Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura is currently enjoying his best days in the WWE after winning the 2018 Royal Rumble. With a title match against AJ Styles coming up at WrestleMania 34, it’s highly likely that he will be crowned as the new champion. Nakamura is very popular among his peers who respect his talent as well as his personality. He is also one of the easiest Superstars to work with and has been praised for his professionalism.
And as good of a guy he may be, that doesn’t mean that you should underestimate his toughness at all. Before he embarked on a wrestling journey, Nakamura was a mixed martial artist with a record of 3-1, all of which ended in submission. If he were to get into a real life fight, it wouldn’t take long for Nakamura to lock him in move that would end the battle before it even began.
6. Softie: Kevin Owens
Based on his on-screen persona, you would think that Kevin Owens is one of the most threatening Superstars in history. He talks tough on the mic, and has attacked everyone that you can think of including Vince McMahon. And when it comes to Twitter, Owens is probably the toughest user as he is quick to call out trolls and expose them to the public.
Owens is a great wrestler but with no background prior to professional wrestling, it’s safe to say that he wouldn’t last against most of the roster in a real life fight. Owens isn’t a trouble maker either, he gets along well with everyone and is known for being a gentleman when the cameras aren’t rolling. There are some names that immediately come to mind when speaking of Superstars you would never wanna mess with in real life, Kevin Owens doesn’t belong in that category.
5. Tough: Sin Cara
Sin Cara has a strong case for being the toughest man in the WWE locker room today. You wouldn’t know it based on how he has been booked, but once again, that is not a reliable indication. Sin Cara leads the current roster in backstage fights, as he has been against multiple names including, Simon Gotch, Chris Jericho and Sheamus. What’s even more shocking is that Sin Cara managed to win all of these fights, including two altercations with Sheamus in which he took control rather easily according to backstage sources.
He is probably better off behaving because his days on the roster may be numbered, especially if he gets into another fight. It’s not like they have a use for him, so it’s pretty surprising that Sin Cara has managed to escape punishment despite going against some top Superstars. Regardless of what you think of Sin Cara, it is impressive that he has managed to win so many fights.
4. Softie: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt’s career has been one of the most confusing journeys in recent memory. He was the first character to truly stand out in a while and the sky was the limit for him. Not to say that he has been a flop, but he certainly isn’t where he should have been mainly since he lost every major feud he has been in. How can you justify someone playing mind games and acting tough only to lose in the end?
Wyatt is known a gentleman by fans who have met him and he is nowhere near as evil as his gimmick. But a tough man he is not, and there is nothing wrong with that. Wyatt is one of those Superstars who got over based on their character, not because he was or looked like a threatening force. With everything that we know about him thus far, Wyatt lands in the softie part of this list.
3. Tough: Braun Strowman
For the past year and a half, Braun Strowman has dominated Monday Night Raw, causing some serious damage that we have never seen before. He is regarded as the best monster in many years, partially because his toughness is truly believable. When you look at Strowman and see how powerful he is in the ring, you immediately assume that is one man you would never want to mess with in real life.
While many Superstars would be intimidated by Brock Lesnar, we saw that wasn’t the case for Strowman at the Royal Rumble when their match turned into a shoot, where he didn’t back down. Part of what makes Strowman so strong and intimidating is years of experience as an accomplished powerlifter, where he managed to impress so many people before he made his way to the WWE. Strowman hasn’t been involved in a backstage fight so far, and we hope that he never is for the sake of any potential opponent.
2. Softie: Randy Orton
Randy Orton is one of the most decorated Superstars in WWE history. He has accomplished everything that you can think of at the age of 37 years old despite having been around for 15 years. Throughout his career, Orton has been a controversial name due to his involvement in many incidents. He has had heated arguments with the likes of Mr. Kennedy and Kofi Kingston, and landed in trouble for pranking many WWE Divas including Maria.
But there have been no reports of Orton getting into a fight as some believe that he is simply one of those guys who talk tough, knowing that someone will be there to hold him back. For someone who has been the centre of controversy for so many years, you would think that Orton would have fought someone at some point. But softies are all talk and no actions.
1. Tough: Brock Lesnar
Is there any doubt that Brock Lesnar is a tough guy in real life? His background would qualify him to make it on this list, but if that’s not enough, perhaps it’s his UFC success that guarantee him a spot. Over the years, there have been many Superstars who tried to challenge Lesnar and with the exception of Kurt Angle, they all failed to go toe to toe with him.
In the early 2000s, it was Mr. Perfect who thought he could outwrestle Lesnar and that ended as bad as you would expect, eventually leading to the former’s release from the company. Lesnar’s punch to Braun Strowman at the Royal Rumble should serve as a reminder about what he truly is capable of, any other Superstar may have been knocked out on the ground. There have been cases of Superstars portraying a tough gimmick but not living up to it in real life, Lesnar isn’t one of them.
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