The acting in wrestling will always fly under the radar due to the many variables in play with the job. We all look at the in-ring work, promos and charisma when it comes to a performer. The acting ability is something we forget about, but is needed for many of the wrestlers to pull off an effective face character. Many of the great fan favorites over the years have actually been the exact opposite outside of the ring. There’s a belief that the worst guys make the best face characters and the best human beings end up portraying the best heels.
We have witnessed numerous beloved faces through the years get exposed for being a jerk outside of the ring. Stories leak of wrestlers abusing power, playing politics and treating their peers poorly. Others have developed reputations for being rude and unappreciative towards the fans that supported them. They had us all fooled with their portrayal of heroes on television that just did not carry over outside of the squared circle. These are the top fifteen “good guys” that were actually villains in real life.
Bill Goldberg’s reputation is polarizing. Goldberg does a lot of great things outside of the ring for children, but his personality makes it difficult to get along with him as a peer. WCW pushed him to the moon with an undefeated streak that lasted 173 matches. Goldberg had little experience and treated many of the veterans poorly due to his star power.
Chris Jericho and William Regal were two wrestlers beloved in the locker room that Goldberg alienated with his attitude. Goldberg refused to help anyone else look good in the ring and went to the bosses in an attempt to make sure he would squash them. It led to his WWE flop in 2003, with the company no longer tolerating his attitude. Things are going better for Goldberg now returning as a mega-face, but his locker room reputation is one of a villain.
14. Scott Hall
Scott Hall was one of the coolest face characters for WWE in the mid-90s as Razor Ramon. Fans adored him and he could have been a future WWE Champion, but he made the decision to leave for WCW. Hall spent the majority of time in WCW as a heel. However, fans completely treated him like a hero by reciting his promo lines and cheering him on a weekly basis.
Real life stories paint him as one of the worst people in the industry. Hall often harassed and bullied the other wrestlers that had less stature than him backstage. Chris Jericho wrote in his book that Hall made life a living hell for the WCW wrestlers. Hall has been a jerk to fans as well and one story even confirmed that he refused to sign a card for a sick child at a convention.
Sabu’s hard work and trendsetting ideas in ECW made him a beloved figure. Sabu will go down in the history books among the most popular good guys in ECW history. Fans still love him today, but he makes it tough to love him at conventions. Sabu doesn’t have a friendly personality and it shows with awkward interactions at meet and greets where fans just want to talk to him.
His moody personality saw him become a heel backstage in the ECW locker room with many issues with fellow wrestlers. Sabu and Taz had a legendary rivalry in the ring that carried over backstage. Both men were viewed as villains in the locker room due to their personalities preventing them from being kind to others. Sabu is a bit misunderstood, but it doesn’t mean he’s not a villain for the way he represents himself.
12. Randy Orton
WWE has put faith in Randy Orton in both face and heel roles through the years with a career spanning about fourteen years now. Orton achieved a lot of his success as a good guy. Orton’s popularity was shown recently in the 2017 Royal Rumble when eliminating Roman Reigns to win it all. Orton may have the fans in his corner on television, but he’s thought of as one of the biggest jerks in wrestling history.
Many wrestlers have shared stories about Orton treating others poorly backstage, as female wrestlers entering the company used to get harassed by Orton regularly. Fellow wrestlers, fans and random employees at places he visits have all felt the wrath of Orton, proving he’s a bigger villain in real life than in the ring.
11. Booker T
Booker T is a legend with a career lasting almost three decades. The majority of Booker’s career was impressive and he used to be known as one of the coolest wrestlers in the business. Things changed as he started to grow older. Despite being a good guy on television more often than not, Booker has shown an ugly side outside of the ring in his later career.
Booker’s veteran presence saw him look down on the younger wrestlers during his time in TNA. Booker felt he was above the other wrestlers and didn’t care about helping the new stars. Another story in WWE saw him humiliate The Young Bucks during their tryout and bury them on social media for not finding him to shake hands. They have squashed the beef, but it showed Booker’s villainous side. That’s not even mentioning his recent rant on James Ellsworth.