For many, the WWE is the highest form of art. It features showmanship, athleticism, and a whole lot of drama. The drama, in particular, is what pulls us in and keeps us invested in the carnage – especially the weird and wonderful characters on display.
Of course there are superstars who possess the personality of a pet rock, but there are also those who have the gift to make us love or hate them passionately – regardless of who they are in their personal lives.
You only need to look back at "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels in the mid '90s as the perfect example of this. He was revered by the fans and celebrated as the company's top babyface, but he was loathed by his peers for being problematic and impossible to work with. In other instances, the character is a mere extension of the person in real life.
Out of interest, we'll be taking a look at some of the biggest names around and exposing what they're really like when they're outside of the squared circle. Some might surprise you, while others are exactly what you'd expect.
So, join us as we look at the 10 WWE Stars Who Are Sweethearts (And 10 Who Are Shady).
20 Sweetheart: Kurt Angle
As an Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time world champion, Kurt Angle is a well-known and prestigious name in the wrestling community. He's played both a heel and face to major success, and fans around the world rate him as one of the best mat technicians in all of pro wrestling history.
Despite the "you suck" chants, Angle most certainly doesn't. He's built up a reputation as a swell guy behind the scenes and with the fans.
Even when his personal demons have gotten the best of him, he hasn't taken it out on those around him – and remained one of the nicest guys in the biz.
In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who encountered Angle on a bad day. He's always smiling and willing to pose for a photograph opportunity.
19 Shady: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is a nasty piece of work in the ring, and he's exactly the same outside of it. Even when the man smiles, it looks like he's leading you on so that he can sink his teeth into your flesh at a later stage.
The Beast Incarnate is also a giant homophobe. In an interview with ESPN, he said, "I don't like gays. Write that down in your little notebook. I don't like gays." It was a completely unnecessary remark, and one that ostracized sections of his fanbase.
Additionally, he's known to not be the friendliest or most approachable of people, often bemoaning how he hates the fact that he's so well-known, which is a shame.
We're terribly sorry that wrestling made you wealthy and that you now suffer the indignity of being beloved and recognized around the world, Brock.
18 Sweetheart: John Cena
John Cena is the ultimate company man. He's what you'd consider a model employee who lives and breathes the brand, passionately defending it against all detractors. This is probably one of the main reasons why a vocal portion of WWE fans dislike his goody two-shoes persona.
However, this isn't a façade -- Cena is really a nice guy.
He's broken records with his Make-A-Wish work, dedicating the bulk of his time to making people's wishes come true, and he's more than willing to go out of his ways to make someone else's day extra special.
Speaking about what performing means to him, Cena told Independent, "Look beyond everything, look at the audience, that's the perfect picture of what I love, it's everybody." How can anyone dislike this man?!
17 Shady: Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks might be one of the most exciting performers in the WWE Women's Division, but she's not exactly endearing herself to her fanbase.
While many performers would welcome the adulation and recognition, Banks harbors some resentment towards the people who made her famous.
On Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast, Banks referred to the fans who wait to meet her at the airport and hotels as "creepy" and compared them to stalkers. Those are pretty strong words, Sasha. Naturally, her comments incensed many fans as well as performers – both current and former.
ECW alumnus Shane Douglas had strong words for her, saying, "If you don't like being – and I'm using my fingers to make quotation marks – 'stalked' by fans, quit." He added that the fans are the people who give you a career, so don't bite the hand that feeds you.
16 Sweetheart: Mickie James
Proving that people can change, Mickie James has turned her reputation around. Previously, she had a lot of backstage heat due to rubbing on people the wrong way and her rumored affair with John Cena (while still engaged to Kenny Dykstra of Spirit Squad fame), which didn't last.
Since becoming a mother and wife, however, James seems to have mellowed out a lot. There are no longer juicy stories about her backstage behavior and fans only have good things to say about their encounters with her. In fact, she's seen as one of the most approachable superstars around.
It's only fitting that one of the best WWE performers of all time gets the respect – both in and out of the ring – that she deserves.
15 Shady: Randy Orton
Maybe it should come as no surprise that Randy Orton isn't a nice person in real life. He's always played the role of a heel better than a face, so we should probably expect it to be inherent in him by now.
First of all, he's known to be quite obnoxious to fans.
Add to that the fact that he had no problem kicking the snot out of a fan who climbed over the railings and interfered in one of his matches. Sure, the fan was a dummy for doing this in the first place, but does it merit a beatdown from Orton?
Lest we forget, Orton also said derogatory things about former WWE Diva Kelly Kelly in an interview, insinuating that she gets around the WWE locker room. That was simply uncalled for.
14 Sweetheart: The Miz
The Miz has a smug look that screams for you to punch him. He plays the entitled d-bag role to utter perfection, and you can't help but root for his opponents to stomp his head in. Yet, Mike Mizanin is the furthest thing from the character he plays on TV.
When he drops the kayfabe, he's known to be a funny and humble man, who is always involved in charities and anti-bullying campaigns.
He's willing to go the extra mile for his fans, and shows none of the arrogance that we've come to expect from The Miz.
While his WWE career started off with a lot of controversy, he's sweated and worked his way up the ranks to become one of the top performers right now – and he's earned his every success.
13 Shady: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins might be one of the most exciting talents in the WWE, but the evidence suggests that the success has gone to his head in recent times. It really shouldn't because he has a long way to go before he'll be remembered as a legend of sports entertainment.
Unfortunately, Rollins has been known to be obnoxious to fans who approach him and completely disinterested when posing for photographs.
Google any picture of him with a fan and it looks like he's going through the motions.
To top it all off, a story surfaced online about how Rollins pulled a "do you know who I am?" to an airline employee because he didn't want to wait in line. What's the rush, Seth? It's not like you have a WrestleMania main event to get to…
12 Sweetheart: Bayley
Look, Bayley's whole gimmick is being a sweetheart. She's like the human embodiment of a teddy bear as she gives out hugs and love to all around her. Heck, even on the way to the ring, she makes sure to show her fans how important they are to her and makes them a part of the show.
As it so happens, Bayley is exactly the same outside of the squared circle.
She hugs her fans at all her meet and greet appearances and finds the time to pose for selfies – no matter how pressed she is for time.
It's awesome to see someone who appreciates how lucky she is, and cares about the people who've elevated her. In fact, Bayley is probably the biggest sweetheart on this list.
11 Shady: Bubba Ray Dudley
Along with D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley changed the scope of tag-team wrestling. Who could ever forget the 3D finisher through a table? Sadly, Bubba Ray isn't exactly a guy you'd want to hang out with when he steps out of the ring.
He's not popular among his peers, as he's known to be quite aggressive and careless in the ring. There have been several instances where his opponents have asked him to cool it, but he refused to listen and injured them.
Additionally, fans don't have warm memories about meeting him in person, either. He detests fan signings and is known to be cold and offish when meeting the people who've kept him gainfully employed all of these years. Maybe he needs to experience a 3D for himself to clear those cobwebs in his head.
10 Sweetheart: Triple H
Yes, Triple H. While he employed a whole lot of shady tactics to get to the top of the WWE, the former leader of D-Generation X knows which side his bread is buttered on. His relations with several performers, such as CM Punk, are known to be rather frosty, but Trips boils it down to "just business."
It seems like he isn't lying – and his persona is, ahem, only a game.
When he's with the WWE fans, though, he looks right at home as he poses and jokes around with them.
There have even been instances where he breaks character to offer young fans a moment with him at the end of the shows. In addition, you'll find tons of photos of him with the audience.
9 Shady: Scott Hall
Scott Hall is a bit of a sad story. His addictions and personal problems have taken their toll on him, and his personality is likely a byproduct of it all.
Still, he could try not to be so mean to the same people who he asks for help from.
For example, in 2013 he required hip surgery and asked his fans for money to help pay for it. As expected they came through for him in droves, but he forgot to send thank you cards to the folks who helped him out. Like, dude, c'mon…
The cherry on the cake, though, is how he refused to sign an autograph for a terminally ill child. That was an all-time low for the former nWo and Klique member.
8 Sweetheart: Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is a controversial figure due to the constant push he receives from the WWE. It's evident that he's the corporate choice to lead the company into the future – and whether we like it or not, the Roman Empire is here to stay.
The constant boos have gotten under his skin at times, yet Reigns does his best to remain composed and dignified in the face of constant adversity.
He's willing to go out of his way for his supporters, and not many people have complaints about his attitude backstage.
Roman's late brother, Matt Anoa'i (better known as the WWE superstar Rosey), described his younger sibling as "a mild-manner, quiet-type person." Maybe "The Big Dog" is actually a loveable puppy at the end of the day?
7 Shady: Ric Flair
"The Nature Boy" Ric Flair will go down as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) performers of all time. He's a living legend and has done so much to put pro wrestling on the map.
While his best displays have always come when he portrayed the arrogant heel, it appears like his fictional character isn't too far off from the truth.
Flair has a history of rubbing up people the wrong way – including fellow performers, friends, and fans.
He's been arrested for assaulting a motorist, is known to blow off autograph sessions when he feels like it, and talk trash about other superstars.
While the latter might sound like a work, he's actively gone out of his way to bury other talent and discredit their achievements in a public forum (with intended malice).
6 Sweetheart: Finn Bálor
One of the biggest shames is that Finn Bálor isn't headlining WrestleMania this year. Out of all of the performers on the roster right now, he's undoubtedly the cream of the crop and his "Demon King" persona could be as big as the Undertaker if executed correctly.
Still, despite the WWE's lack of a push, Bálor remains upbeat and positive about everything in his life. He's an easy and laid back guy to get along with, and fans often proclaim that he's one of the most approachable wrestlers when out in public.
It's also rumored that he's dating WWE announcer Cathy Kelley and everyone's excited about this power couple, since they're both recognized as two of the nicest people in the biz. "Kellor" is the relationship goal we should all strive for.
5 Shady: Billy Gunn
Up until his stint in The New Age Outlaws and D-Generation X, Billy Gunn struggled to make a substantial impact in the WWE. Before that, he was one half of the mid-card tag team The Smoking Gunns and meandered in his solo career as Rockabilly.
Being a part of DX brought him the fame and fortune that he so desperately wanted, but he was never considered a top guy in the company like Triple H.
Yet, his attitude suggests that Gunn might see himself in a much brighter light than the rest of us.
Fans consider him arrogant and rude in real life, while his mistress revealed his nasty side in a leaked phone call from 2010. It looks like the moderate success in the latter part of his career went straight to his head.
4 Sweetheart: Chris Jericho
Whenever the WWE has required a heel to challenge its top babyface, it's always looked to Chris Jericho. Good ol' Y2J loves to portray the bad guy – and he does it incredibly well. His annoying antagonist shtick has resulted in him being a multiple-time world champion and headlining numerous main events around the world.
Away from the drama, though, Jericho is a solid dude.
He enjoys a good time with his friends and is largely considered one of the funniest guys to hang out with. Sure, he's had his odd drunken brawl and trouble with the law, but he's always the first to own his mistakes.
While his wrestling career has taken a backseat to his musical one in recent years, Jericho remains keen to discuss all things wrestling with his fans.
3 Shady: JBL
When you mention the name of JBL, not a lot of people have good things to say about the former champ. There are numerous stories of his backstage hazing and wrestlers, such as Matt Hardy and Mark Henry, have described him as a notorious bully.
In 2010, The Miz openly discussed the hazing that he suffered at the hands of JBL in the beginning of his career, and the veteran showed absolutely no remorse for it.
In addition, it's rumored that WWE commentator Mauro Ranallo took a leave of absence due to all the nonsense that JBL did to him.
To further rub salt in the wounds, who could ever forget the vicious beating he handed to the Blue Meanie in the ring? He stiffed him because he wanted to. That's a big shady move.
2 Sweetheart: The Rock
Are we even surprised by this? Not only did The Rock climb the WWE mountain to get to the top, but he's also done the same in Hollywood. He's a living example of how anything is possible if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself.
The best part is that it hasn't gone to his head at all.
Dwayne Johnson is humble, appreciative, and respectful of his fans and the people who've helped him get to where he is. Recently, he even accepted the Razzie Award for Baywatch with class and dignity, choosing not to take it as an insult.
There are tons of stories about how The Rock has made fans' days, and he continues to be one of the nicest guys in all of entertainment.
1 Shady: Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy portrays an eccentric and quirky character on TV, and he comes across as someone who doesn't take himself too seriously. However, it appears as if it's all an elaborate act to fool everyone into thinking he's a nice guy.
He might be broken or woken, but he's also extremely impolite. There are tons of comments on message boards discussing how rude and dismissive Hardy has been of fans when they've asked him for an autograph. Considering that he's not even the most popular Hardy brother, this speaks volumes.
Additionally, if anyone takes on Hardy in the online sphere, his wife, Reby Sky, goes tweet-happy and attacks all his detractors. Maybe Hardy should try being nicer to people-- at least then there wouldn't be so many complaints about him.
Do you know any other WWE stars who are sweethearts or shady? Let us know in the comments section!