WWE Superstars are no strangers to the realm of superheroes and the fantastical feats they’re able to accomplish. After all, these prime athletes basically play superheroes on TV, and in front of thousands of fans at live events, and stand as the idols and role models for many comic book-loving kids.
So it only makes sense that many of the men and women of RAW and SmackDown also look up to Marvel and DC superheroes. Fandom recently spoke to several of these talented superstars, digging in and finding out which superheroes they love the most. Yes, even the wrestlers who play villains on screen love these amazing heroes.
From vigilantes to Amazons to steadfast patriotic symbols, the heroes here are just a few of the WWE locker room’s favorites.
It makes perfect sense that DC’s Batman, arguably the most famous and popular comic book hero of all time, was a top pick among the superstars here.
Just ask Chad Gable, who proudly claims to be a long-time Bat-fan. While his Alpha Academy tag team partner, Otis, named the Hulk as his favorite, Gable was all about Bats. “When I was a kid I fell in love and became obsessed with the original [movie],” he shared. “The Tim Burton Batman is my favorite of all time and I’ve been [a fan] ever since. It’s just incredible. I don’t know, maybe it’s how Bruce Wayne… the way he projects himself and the professional he is in his real life kind of resonates with me.”
NXT’s Grayson Waller, despite having a first name that would resonate with all Batman fans, isn’t exactly a fan of the superhero genre. But he definitely knows someone who is. “Johnny Gargano, that’s all he does,” Waller remarked, of a wrestler he’s been feuding with with a well known love of comic book characters. “He watches all that superhero stuff. He kind of wishes he was them because he’s four foot three. He’s wishing he was a big dude.”
Despite Waller’s claims of being too cool for geek stuff, he’s still a Batman guy. “I think Batman is cool. You know he’s very dark and brooding which is very unlike me, but he’s a badass. I think I could be a great Batman you know? Be like a trash talking Batman. A fun Batman!”
Not being into comics but being into Batman seems to be a running theme amongst NXT’ers, as Zoey Stark finds herself in the same Bat-boat. “I was a huge fan of Batman growing up,” she told Fandom, adding, “just the movies and stuff like that. I always felt like that was really good.”
There are many movie Batman actors to choose from at this point, but asked who her favorite was, Stark had a surprising answer “I’ll probably get hate for it, I don’t know… George Clooney.” Clooney’s been amusingly hard on himself and his portrayal of Batman through the years but looks like he has at least one person who thinks his Bat is the GOAT.
Superhero Grab Bag
Of course, there’s plenty of room for non-Batmen (Batmans?) and the superstars of the WWE spread their love around accordingly. Naturally, there was some praise thrown Spider-Man’s way, as he’s also one of the top heroes of all time. Former NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez thwipped a shout out to Spidey, noting, “I can relate to being a nerd and then going out there and being a superhero. I relate to him a lot! I love Spider-Man.”
For Shayna Baszler, it was a different, though certainly X-ceptional, Marvel hero. “I guess I’d have to say Gambit, if you’re gonna make me pick one,” Baszler stated. “When I was a kid pretending to wrestle in the backyard, I’d wear one of my dad’s coats and it was really long on me because I’m small. And I did stuff with cards and you see me on Instagram and stuff, sometimes playing with cards still. So I very much had a Gambit persona. But I think he’s cool. He’s a martial artist that loves cards with charm powers!”
Sticking with Marvel, Ivar of the Viking Raiders is a fan of all forms of Captain America, whether it’s Steve Rogers or the MCU’s new Cap, Sam Wilson. “I’m a double fan!” he said. “I think it’s awesome. The whole build’s been fantastic to it.”
Crossing the aisle, over to DC, Natalya expressed her love and support for Wonder Woman, who she feels is iconic, and the perfect representation of a strong woman – while Dakota Kai revealed herself to be a mark for Hawkgirl, though her comic interests mostly reside outside of the two main companies. “I think [Hawkgirl] was cool with her wings and stuff, but like I’m not super into the Marvel/DC stuff. I read a lot of Image Comics. Like, Saga is my favorite comic. I feel like those characters are kind of underrated, you know?”
And then there’s The Miz, who many feel would make a great Booster Gold in James Gunn’s upcoming DCU “Gods and Monsters” slate. Who knows, maybe John Cena can put in a good word? Regardless, Miz was all about Booster. “Some people I feel like the ones that have already been done. I like the ones that haven’t been done and I can’t wait to see them be done. So I’m excited to see what they do with him.”
Kings of the (Frank) Castle
Another popular crime-fighter amongst WWE brethren is The Punisher, someone who goes to an even darker place than Batman when it comes to vigilantes, as a former soldier who won’t think twice about taking lives in the pursuit of vengeance and/or justice.
Erik, of the Viking Raiders, loved both Wolverine and Punisher, but it’s Punisher who gets the bulk of his childhood adoration. “I love the Punisher comic books,” he said. “I read them before my mom knew what they were, so she couldn’t take them away from me. I love, love the Punisher. The new one that was on Netflix, I think [Jon Bernhal’s] amazing. I think he’s been the best onscreen version of the Punisher.”
Erik praised Bernthal’s intense approach to the character, along with what he described as, “That brooding kind of [anger]. He’s amazing. I loved every cameo he did with Daredevil. I loved every episode of the Netflix series. He’s supposed to be coming back to the role [in Daredevil: Born Again], I can’t wait. I absolutely love him. His version of the Punisher is my favorite.”
MVP is another massive Punisher fan, stating, “Frank Castle is a dead soul inside because he regrets the fact that he lost his family but he struggles with the inner turmoil of the fact that he’s happy that he lost his family because it allows him to do what he loves more than anything else, and that’s kill.” MVP added that Castle “kills people that deserve to be killed. He has no superpowers. He’s not Batman with a genius intellect, but he is a killing machine. And he does it effectively. He does it very well without any superpowers. And I love the Punisher.”
Even amongst Punisher fans, though, the takes are divided, as MVP — unlike Erik — had some issues with the Bernthal version of the character, remarking, “I think the Netflix series was a good series and if they would have called it Rogue Black Ops Agent, it would have been great. But it wasn’t The Punisher. Jon Bernthal is an amazing actor but I don’t think that he captured the true spirit of the Punisher. He plays the Punisher way too emotionally. The Punisher has no emotion. He’s dead inside.”