Pro wrestling, known for its vibrant performances, strength displays, and cheering fans, has its share of heartbreak and dark stories. Yet, amidst the shadows, the wrestling world offers magical moments that can rival any feel-good WrestleMania ending. Join us as we celebrate 21 heartwarming WWE photos that prove dreams can come true!
1 – Mercedes Moné (AKA Sasha Banks) Is A Kane-anite
The artist formerly known as Sasha Banks was born Mercedes Varnado, and she can be seen here dwarfed by the Mayor Of Knoxville, Kane.
Judging from Kane’s t-shirt, this photo was taken around 2005, three years before Varnado began her in-ring training and around five years before making her way around the indie circuits as Mercedes KV.
No doubt the flame of her passion for the business was wafted by this meeting with the Big Red Machine, who took time out of his busy schedule of burning and burying people alive for this photo.
2 – A Young AJ Lee Meets Her Favorite Wrestler, Lita
Here is young AJ Lee, wearing a Lita shirt, having a breakdown meeting her idol at a 2001 fan event.
Of course, just under a decade later, Lee would make her WWE debut, and the two would become peers.
3 – AJ Lee and Lita Meet as Wrestlers
Here is a photo taken backstage with a far more composed AJ Lee taking advice from her mentor, Lita, while sitting on some steps.
Of course, things would go from totally adorable to awkward when AJ’s husband, CM Punk, reportedly broke up with Lita to pursue a relationship with Lee, but let’s move along and keep things positive, shall we?
4 – CM Punk Meets Steve Austin
Speaking of CM Punk, it seems Captain Straight Edge is constantly in the wrestling news.
Since his return to the ring, he’s become a grizzled and grumpy veteran who wants nothing more than to eat a muffin and air his grievances, cementing his place as the Frank Costanza of pro wrestling.
It wasn’t always that way, though. Once upon a time, Punk was a fresh-faced teenager standing in line for hours waiting for a photo op with his hero, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
5 – CM Punk and Steve Austin Meet Again
Already, CM Punk had one thing in common with Stone Cold: an unwillingness to smile for the camera.
Punk made a name for himself, became one of the biggest stars in the industry, and maybe most important of all, earned the respect of his idol, as Steve Austin revealed in an interview with Forbes.
6 – Steve Austin on His Friend, CM Punk
Great promo guy, great worker, he’s got his own thing going, and we’re just friends,” Steve Austin shared in his interview with Forbes. “I remember there’s a picture of myself and him from Chicago, my favorite town to work in, my favorite building. And I guess he had come down to where we were all hanging out.”
Austin continued, “Maybe he looked up to me back in the day, but I don’t know if I so much mentored him because I think he paid his own dues. He learned it the way he did and got over on his own merits.
“The fact that maybe I could have been somewhat of an influence would be flattering if that were the case. But he’s made his own career.”
7 – Bayley’s Heroes
More awkward childhood photos, ahoy! This picture shows a young Bayley, real name Pamela Rose Martinez, chilling in her bedroom.
With signed photos of Bret Hart and various other bits of WWE merchandise and posters behind her, it’s easy to see how much professional wrestling meant to her growing up.
8 – Wrestling Fan Bayley Meets John Cena
As Bayley got older, she spent much time at conventions meeting WWE stars such as John Cena.
9 – Bayley Meets Edge and Victoria at a Wrestling Convention
Bayley would even go on to meet wrestlers Edge and Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) at wrestling conventions.
10 – Bayley and John Cena: Once a Fan, Now Friends
So you can’t help but feel good when she now poses for photos with co-worker John Cena (and fellow fan girl Sasha Banks/Mercedes Moné).
11 – Bayley: Winning at Life and Proving Dreams Do Come True
And here is Bayley reunited with Edge and Victoria almost two decades later at the WWE Royal Rumble in 2021.
As Bayley herself said in the original caption when she shared this photo on Twitter, “I’m the REAL (Rumble) winner. Winner of my dreams and aspirations and goals and decisions and work and LIFE.”
12 – A Childhood Dream for John Cena
The champ is here! And the champ has always been there, at least in John Cena’s mind, as this picture of him as a boy holding a homemade title can attest.
Cena gave some details behind the snapshot during an interview with Jimmy Fallon during the run-up to WrestleMania 33.
“I remember whom I beat; it was my little brother at our version of WrestleMania. Back then, as a child, I could see myself being in the ring at WrestleMania. And whenever I go into the ring, I always see myself as that happy. As happy as that kid was right there.”
Cena, of course, would go on to win real-world championships, a co-record holding 16 times.
13 – JeriKO: Young Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho Fan
One of the big matches at WWE WrestleMania 33 saw Kevin Owens take on Chris Jericho.
Kevin Owens was a big Y2J fan and even adorned his shirt and famous pose when he was younger.
This picture would show up during the feud on an episode of Raw, with Jericho exposing the REAL Kevin Owens.
“This is not a trick or a doctored photo; this is the real Kevin Owens in his parent’s basement at sixteen years old,” Jericho said. He doesn’t look like a prizefighter to me; he looks like a fan of Jericho. HE WAS MARKING OUT, MAAAAAAN!”
14 – Kevin Owens: From a Fan of Chris Jericho to Becoming Friends
If you were to go back in time and tell young Kevin Owens that he would be facing Chris Jericho at WrestleMania after a lengthy program consisting of a tag run as Jeri-KO and one of the most popular segments in Raw history, he would probably give you a stunner for your nonsense!
15 – Young Kofi Kingston Meets Ricky Morton
Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah was born in Ghana but moved to Boston at a young age.
In 1998, when WrestleMania 14 rolled into town, a sixteen-year-old Kofi Kingston jumped at the chance to meet tag legend Ricky Morton, who was teaming with co-Rock ‘n’ Roll Express member Robert Gibson in the Tag Team Battle Royale.
16 – Kofi Kingston Reunites with Ricky Morton 20 Years later
Almost twenty years later, at WrestleMania 33, Kofi Kingston reunited with Ricky Morton.
Kingston was now a tag team legend, being part of the longest-reigning WWE Tag Team champions with New Day, and Morton had ascended to the upper echelons of wrestling immortality by being freshly inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
17 – Roman Reigns and Uncle Hulk Hogan
For all intents and purposes, Roman Reigns is the top guy in the WWE today, with an astounding lengthy run as Universal Champion.
But before, he was a top guy; he was a small guy.
Being part of the legendary Anoa’i family, Roman met all kinds of legends, including one of the top guys of them all, Hulk Hogan.
18 – Hulk Hogan on Meeting Roman Reigns
Hulk Hogan Hogan recalls meeting the young tribal chief with Forbes.
“Well, I got a soft spot in my heart for Roman. I was real good friends with his dad, Sika, one of the Wild Samoans, and of course, his partner Afa.
We had a barbecue in San Francisco after the Cow Palace, and the Samoans invited me over to their house. Little did I know there were going to be 40 or 50 of them there. The whole family was there.
“The next thing I knew, we started drinking wine and eating barbecue. I woke up at five o’clock in the morning, sleeping in the front yard with a bunch of his Samoan brothers.
“During that time, they took a picture of me holding Roman Reigns, and he was like two or three years old. So there’s been a picture that’s circulated around of me holding Roman.
“His dad, Sika, was standing next to me. So, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Roman, but I think he’s one of the only main event guys that’s keeping the art form alive. He can go out there and wing it. He doesn’t need a writer to tell him what to say.”
You can learn more about Hogan’s troubled beginnings with the Wild Samoans here!
19 – Shawn Michaels, Being The Man Before Beating The Man
When arguing who is the greatest of all time, a strong case can be made for both Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels.
However, Shawn might not have been as excellent as he was if it wasn’t for the inspiration of the Nature Boy, Ric Flair.
Here is a young Michael Hickenbottom dressed in a suit, with a bandage on his head, emulating his hero and the then NWA World Champion’s pose on the cover of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Judging from the issue date of April 1984, this would put Shawn at around eighteen, six months before debuting in the NWA mid-western territory himself.
20 – Shawn Michaels on Ending His Hero Ric Flair’s WWE In-Ring Career
It is quite poetically fitting that Ric Flair, who had influenced young Shawn Michaels, chose the Heartbreak Kid to end his WWE in-ring career twenty-four years later.
So that famous “I’m sorry, I love you” couldn’t be any more real, just ask Naitch himself, as he told Talk Sport.
“That wasn’t rehearsed; that wasn’t even discussed. That was just raw, pure emotion. He knew that I didn’t want to leave. I think Vince knew that too, but it was time.”
21 – Matt Cardona (AKA Zack Ryder) Meets Razor Ramon
So imagine how mind-blowing it must have been for him when he met Ramon. Not only that, but the bad guy let him hold HIS IC championship.
Fast forward to WrestleMania 32, and Cardona, then fighting under the name Zack Ryder, wins his Intercontinental title in a ladder match.
According to Cardona, he knew exactly what he had to do the second the match was over and ran backstage to find Scott Hall and let him hold his title.
As these 21 heartwarming WWE photos proved, dreams can come true!
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