For the last three decades, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been at the forefront of sports entertainment, delivering some incredible moments, both in and out of the ring. Here are some key details that you might not know about the iconic wrestling company.
Legend of the Long Locks
At one point, a large number of wrestlers had long hair, and for a good reason. When long-haired wrestlers grappled, they were able to speak during the fight about what to do next without giving anything away to the audience.
Lovers In & Out of the Ring
Seeing that the WWE has become more like a soap opera than an actual sport, it makes sense that the wrestlers have romantic relationships that the writers create storylines for. However, a number of these scripted romances end up transforming into the real deal. On the flip side, there are real-life couples that have been written into the shows. Some fine examples include the likes of John Cena and Nikki Bella, as well as CM Punk and AJ Lee.
Triple H & Stephanie Were Scripted
Stephanie McMahon’s on-screen relationship with Triple H was already controversial after she revealed that she had planned the scripted wedding as a revenge plot against her father Vince. However, things started to get real when the couple actually became romantically involved in real life. What made this even more interesting was that Triple H was actually dating fellow Degeneration X member Chyna at the time. The couple have been happily married ever since and had three kids together.
Ratings Are Dropping?
It shouldn’t come as much of surprise, but the harsh reality is that, in recent years, the WWE has seen a considerable dip in TV ratings. Although this side of the business isn’t a cause for concern like it was back in the 80s, the WWE is on a slippery slope, venturing into its least popular era in decades. Although Stephanie McMahon recently said that the company experienced its best quarter of all time, the days of The Rock and The Undertaker are long gone.
Fights Can Get Real
It may sound comforting that the WWE is a form of sports entertainment that prides itself on scripted fights. However, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that sometimes, real fights do break out. With so much testosterone in such a small locker room, expect some animosity from time to time. In fact, there was one time when Mr. Perfect and Brock Lesnar got into a fight 30,000 feet above the ground. They called it the “Plane Ride From Hell.”
Do you remember Kenny Dykstra? Well, we won’t blame you if you don’t, because we don’t either! It turns out that Dykstra was briefly in the WWE, but he didn’t last long because of some drama between him and John Cena. When Dykstra discovered that his girlfriend at the time, Mickie James, was secretly dating Cena, he decided that enough was enough, and he called quits on his WWE career. Of course, Cena’s career went in a completely different direction…
Drowning Out The Boos
Not only do wrestlers draw the fine line between reality and fantasy in the ring. The production team also creates the illusion that there is more noise in the WWE venues than there actually is. If you listen carefully, you will hear the speakers playing artificial crowd noise. That’s not all though. Pre-recorded shows such as SmackDown are edited in post-production so that boos and unwanted noises are drowned out before it is released on TV.
The late great “Macho Man” Randy Savage was one of the finest wrestlers in his heyday. However, not even he could believe it when he was scripted to be bitten by the snake of his rival at the time, Jack “The Snake” Roberts. During a match between the two, Savage agreed to be bitten by a king cobra, as long as its venom was extracted beforehand. Nevertheless, Savage needed medical attention. Thankfully, he recovered from the infamous bite.
Stone Cold Refused To Lose
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was so hellbent on doing things his way that it nearly cost him his wrestling career. In 2002, when the Texas Rattlesnake was scheduled to take on Brock Lesnar on Monday Night RAW, it was written in the script for Stone Cold to lose. However, he was completely against the idea and decided to walk away from the company instead. He was so bitter about the creative decision that he didn’t come back for an entire year.
Best Friends, Fake Enemies
Before their high profile move to the WCW, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who were known in the WWE as Diesel and Razor Ramon, had a final bout with Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Although the four were best friends in real life, they were rivals as far as the fans were concerned and were required to maintain the illusion. However, when the fight came to an end, the four embraced each other, compromising the storyline in the process.
Over its long run, the WWE has seen a long list of weapons used in its no-holds-barred matches. Some fine examples include sledgehammers, steel chairs, ring bells, baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and ladders. All of these have been used to “inflict pain” on one’s opponent. Believe it or not, they are all real items. As a result, the wrestlers are trained how to use them in the safest way possible without actually causing physical damage to each other.
Undertaker & HBK Nearly Turned
At one point, there were many big wrestlers who decided to trade in their WWE colors for Ted Turner’s ambitious rival WCW. The likes of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Hulk Hogan all moved to WCW at some stage in their careers. That isn’t all though. It is believed that two of Vince McMahon’s most trusted competitors, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, were both tempted to jump ship. However, they remained loyal to the WWE over the years, and are now regarded as two of the greatest.
What Goes On In Those Headsets?
The headsets that the WWE commentators wear serve a purpose that might surprise you. Not only does it make it easier for the commentators to speak, but it also gives Vince McMahon a chance to communicate with them during the show. Michael Cole, who took Jim Ross’s role after he retired, got a lot of, to put it lightly, “constructive criticism” from the CEO during his early days as the leading commentator of RAW.
Kofi’s King of the Rumble
The Royal Rumble has a ton of traditions that make it one of the most highly anticipated events on the WWE calendar. One is the Iron Man (the wrestler who lasts the longest in the ring). However, it’s Kofi Kingston who has become known for his death-defying stunts that prevent him from both of his feet touching the ground. In his most recent outing, Kingston’s New Day teammates gave him a plate of pancakes to stand on before they catapulted him back into the ring!
Do What Vince Says
It seems like Vince McMahon has taken full advantage of his role as WWE CEO over the years. After Brad Maddox said the F-word on air, McMahon decided to terminate his contract. However, when his son Shane McMahon made a wrestling comeback, Vince dropped the F-Bomb himself! Despite the fact that it was dubbed, the crowd still heard Vince cursing in all his glory. Just a prime example of “do as I say, not as I do.”
Rolling With The Punches
Similar to how they handle weapons inside the ring, WWE wrestlers also receive thorough training to ensure that their punches don’t actually cause any damage to their opponent. However, the aim is also to ensure that the punch looks as authentic as possible. The key to achieving a successful fake punch is to use an open fist that doesn’t use much force. Not only that, but both the recipient and the puncher rehearse it and perform realistic sounds to accompany the punch.
Ric Flair’s Still Number One
When John Cena won the WWE World Championship for the 16th time, it was believed that he had equaled Ric Flair’s record tally. However, WWE historians have recently informed officials that Ric Flair has actually won 19 championships in total – two from the WWE, eight from WCE and nine from the NWA. Although it is a trivial dispute, someone should call up Cena and tell him that he’s not actually the joint record holder. He still has a few victories to go.
Freddie Prinze Jr. Wrote For the WWE
Now that we have established that much of WWE is scripted, someone has to pen those scripts. One of the most notable individuals to have written some of the storylines for the WWE is actor Freddie Prinze Jr. Not only has the man from She’s All That written and produced for the company, he has also had some on-screen roles. One came in 2009, when he acted as a doctor, attending to the wounds of none other than, Vince McMahon.
No Money in the Bank
You might expect the best wrestlers to be paid a ton of money for their performances in the ring. However, this simply isn’t the case for most performers. The average professional wrestler takes home about $3000 per fight. This means that, unless you are someone like The Rock, Dave Bautista, or John Cena, who is also making bucket-loads of money from movies and endorsement deals, then you might be living a fairly modest lifestyle, despite being an A-list celebrity.
Blading The Rules
The practice of blading, which is causing oneself to bleed during a wrestling match, was eventually banned by the WWE, and rightfully so. However, there were some wrestlers who believed that blood could look aesthetically pleasing and would break the rules to make it happen. For example, Batista ended up causing himself to bleed while fighting Chris Jericho in a cage match. As a result, he was fined $100,000 for failing to comply with the WWE’s change in policy.
The Rock’s Wrestling Family
Arguably the most famous wrestler of the last two decades, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had plenty of inspiration growing up, coming from a long line of wrestlers. Not only was his dad, Rocky Johnson a wrestler, but so was his maternal grandfather, Peter Maivia. On his maternal side, The Rock is also related to other wrestlers such as Rikishi, as well as his sons, The Uso Brothers. Johnson’s cousin, Roman Reigns, is also one of the biggest wrestlers right now.
End Of The Streak
Back in 1992, The Undertaker had no idea that his first WrestleMania victory over Jake “The Snake” Roberts would be the beginning of what would be well-known in wrestling history as “The Streak.” For the following two decades, The Undertaker would go on to win every bout he contested on WWE’s biggest stage. This was until WrestleMania 30, when Vince McMahon decided that Brock Lesnar would beat The Undertaker, ending his streak. It was truly the end of an era.
Who Wants the Warrior Award?
Since 2015, the WWE has given out the Warrior Award at the annual Hall of Fame ceremony. It is awarded to someone who “embodies the indomitable spirit of the Ultimate Warrior,” who was one of the greatest wrestlers of his era. However, there are those who have opposed the nature of the award, most notably, former WWE announcer Justin Roberts. When eight-year-old Connor Michalek was given the award as a posthumous gesture, Roberts wondered whether it was “driven by sincerity and not strategy.”
Although the WWE has its administration team and a judicial system to deal with any legal matters in the company, sometimes the wrestlers took matters into their own hands. It was reported that The Undertaker was the informal judge of the “Wrestler’s Court.” It was there where any disputes between wrestlers behind the scenes would be discussed and it was ‘Taker who had the ultimate say on how to take things forward. With so much testosterone around the place, it was necessary.
Roddy Piper’s Paint Job
It was a bizarre moment, but nevertheless, one that will go down in WWE history simply for its randomness. When the late great Rowdy Roddy Piper painted the entire right side of his body in black, people were scratching their heads. However, the Canadian wrestler had no idea that the paint was actually permanent and that he required a special solution to get it off! As Andre the Giant threw the solution away, he was forced to wait three weeks before it wore off.
What Happened to Nathan Jones?
While many promising WWE wrestlers go on to become all-time legends of the game, there was one particular athlete who fell short of his undeniable potential. Australian Nathan Jones was hailed as the next big thing at one point. However, he quit the WWE after not being able to commit to the intense touring schedule. However, it is believed that Jones was kicked out because he was unable to perform even the most basic moves.
Comfort Is Key
Although the ring is made to look as basic as possible, without taking wrestlers’ comfort in consideration, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The canvas of the ring is created to be soft enough to lessen the chances of body damage from falls and stunts. However, this isn’t enough. Every wrestler is trained in a way that they know how to fall and land properly on the canvas in order to minimize the chances of injury.
In a normal WWE show, there is a large camera crew dotted around the ring. Together, they work to ensure that the illusion of authentic wrestling is maintained for the fans at home. In order to conceal the wrestlers calling their own moves, a new camera will be selected to capture the perfect angle that is not only the most powerful but is also the safest for viewing integrity. Basically, without the expert camerawork, you don’t get RAW or SmackDown.
It isn’t much of a secret, but the WWE is entirely fictional. Sorry to burst your bubble kids! Pretty much every aspect of the industry is scripted in an effort to create a soap opera masked as a wrestling organization. When you bare this in mind, it’s impossible not to wonder what may have happened in a number of iconic bouts. Would Hulk Hogan have beaten Andre the Giant if it wasn’t scripted? Just an example of many potential scenarios.
Scrutinizing Scott Steiner
Back in 2002, it was reported that the WWE became suspicious of what Scott Steiner claimed to be a totally, naturally earned physique. He told the organization that if he was going to be tested for performance enhancement substances, then every single athlete in the company should as well, including the likes of Triple H. When he told the company this, he claimed that they turned around and decided not to act upon it. Many athletes have faced issues surrounding this topic.
Although their TV ratings may be dipping, there is no denying that the WWE’s crowd numbers are only getting greater and greater. Only recently did Roman Reigns win the WWE Championship in front of 500,000 people at WrestleMania 32 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Not only did it eclipse WrestleMania III‘s turnout, but also that of SummerSlam in 1992, which took place in London, England’s Wembley Arena. That means that it was the highest attendance in the history of the WWE.
The All-Powerful Referee
You might think that the wrestlers are the most important figures in a WWE match. However, it is actually the referees that have the most responsibility. Seeing that WWE’s wrestling is a form of sports entertainment, rather than an actual sport, the referees are there as the bridge between the wrestlers and the administration. They make sure that the performers know how much time they have before the commercials and they even need to read the scripts, just like the wrestlers.
Who Could Hate the Royal Rumble?
Since 1988, the Royal Rumble has been one of the most popular annual WWE events. The contest sees 30 wrestlers enter the ring and the goal is to throw each other out it. The last person to remain inside the ring gets to fight the WWE champion at Wrestlemania. What you might not know though is that Vince McMahon originally hated the idea. Nevertheless, NBC executive Dick Ebersol loved it and made sure the event went on TV. The rest was history.
Stone Cold Loved To Ad-Lib
The truth is that wrestling matches have evolved in terms of how much they are scripted. However, those who made a name for themselves during the early stages of the WWE who are still performing like to keep things classic. One wrestling legend in particular, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, has often mentioned how he always liked to “call it in the ring,” alluding to the idea of doing a lot of improvisation within the constraints of the script.
Shawn Michaels Is “Mr. WrestleMania”
Although it was The Undertaker who will go down in history for his incredible streak, it was one of his biggest rivals who was given the title Mr. WrestleMania. The Heartbreak Kid himself, Shawn Michaels, was recently honored by the WWE for stealing the show on numerous occasions at the most electrifying event in sports entertainment. However, what makes the least sense about HBK’s honor is that he didn’t win that many of his WrestleMania matches. Out of the 17 he competed in, he only won six of them!
Hell In A Cell
While cage matches have been pretty standard affair since the WWE began, the company decided to take the concept to another level when it introduced the Hell in a Cell in the late 90s. The first Hell in a Cell match happened in 1997 at the WWE Bad Blood pay-per-view event. Since then, there have been numerous classic matches contested in a Hell in a Cell. The Undertaker ended up throwing Mankind from the top of the cage, while Cactus Jack took on Triple H in one.
Stone Cold Somellier
Although Stone Cold Steve Austin was always crashing two cans of beer against each other in the ring, he appears to have found a new poison since retiring from the WWE. The Texas Rattlesnake was recently spotted in the Napa Valley sipping on some pinot noir. Make no mistake about it though, Stone Cold still loves a beer, having his own craft beer called Broken Skull IPA. That’s not all though; Austin also collects antiques and even released his own country album – Stone Cold Country.
Smackdown Was Originally Just For Divas
At one point, the only regular WWE show was Raw is War (or Monday Night Raw.) However, the WWE ended up opening a sister program by the name of SmackDown. However, what many don’t actually realize is that the show was originally intended to act as a wrestling platform for only female wrestlers and WWE Divas. Ideas for names of the show included WWF Leather & Lace, Female Fury, and Glam Slam, to name a few.
Nikki Bella Could’ve Been A Soccer Player
It should come as no surprise that many stars of the WWE may have considered other career options before finally getting their big break. Take Nikki Bella, for example. The young WWE Diva has been making a name for herself for the last few years. However, she started off as a talented soccer player before deciding to step into the ring. Normally, if you are talented in one sport, it means that you have what it takes to adapt into others.
Wellness Policy Also Applies To Referees
In the advent of WWE’s Wellness Policy, which aims to make sure that there are no performance-enhancing procedures happening in the industry, you’d expect the rule to solely apply to its wrestlers. However, many don’t realize that the rule also applies to its referees. This took effect in 2011, when Mike Chioda, the longest serving official in the company, was suspended after failing a test. Although it was a speedbump in Chioda’s career, he hasn’t gotten into any trouble since.
People’s Eyebrow Is From Miami
Arguably the most successful superstar to come out of the WWE, Dwayne Johnson was the ultimate crowd pleaser when he performed as The Rock. Not only did he label himself as the People’s Champion, but he took the moniker into some crazy directions. Firstly, he created his own wrestling move called The People’s Elbow. This was then followed by his trademark the People’s Eyebrow. In fact, Johnson created the pose while studying at the University of Miami.
The New Streak
When Brock Lesnar unceremoniously ended the Undertaker’s glorious unbeaten streak at WrestleMania XXX, the question was whether someone else would eventually be able to eclipse his impressive record. There is one particular wrestler who is on his way to maybe getting close. Rob Van Dam, who made the transition to the WWE from his beloved ECW, has become a fan favorite. In the four matches that he has competed at WrestleMania, he has won every single one of them.
It’s All In The Names
Certainly one of the more trivial facts on this list, but still interesting nonetheless. Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle aren’t exactly the first two people you think of when it comes to headlining a WrestleMania event. However, that is exactly what they did in 2003 when they competed for the WWE Championship. While most wrestlers out there perform under cool ring names, the two aforementioned athletes were born with those names. It was a first in WrestleMania history.
In Memory Of…
Although death is just a part of life, it seems like the WWE has lost an abnormal amount of wrestlers during its thirty-year run. Some have passed away whilst performing in the ring, while others have suffered from heart-related issues, or conditions connected to substance abuse. In the last 15 years alone, WWE has lost iconic wrestlers such as Rowdy Roddy Piper, Eddie Guerero, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Chyna (the first female to win the Royal Rumble), and The Ultimate Warrior, to name a few.