Professional wrestling is a constant war between good and evil. There are the good guys, babyfaces, whom fans will root for as they continuously battle the heels, the forces of evil, or however the audience views them. It’s been true through the decades of wrestling back to the earliest years with territories and up until today’s wrestling with major promotions in the United States, Japan and other parts of the globe.
The audience may have views of who they think are approachable outside the ring, based on what they see on television or at live events. One would assume some of the most popular good guys and girls would be easy. However, fans have learned through multiple interactions that is not always the case. Regardless of their respective face-heel affiliation, wrestlers can have a different personality outside of the ring.
But fan interactions aren’t always the only thing that can earn a male or female wrestler the label of “jerk.” With the emergence of social media and the internet, it is easier for backstage reports to get out to wrestling fans. Stories about backstage politics where one wrestler gets into a real-life feud with co-workers is more common than years before. Based on what is said in those reports, a fan’s perception of certain wrestling superstars can sour quickly.
It happens for both male and female wrestlers, whether they can be viewed as warranted of being called a jerk or not. The following are 10 male and 10 female wrestlers who have been viewed as jerks in real life.
20 New Jack
This one shouldn’t be any surprise. New Jack has developed a reputation for not caring too much about the well-being of some of his co-workers. There was controversy involving his feud with Vic Grimes through ECW in the late 1990s; although Grimes hesitating on a scaffold spot doesn’t clear him of any wrongdoing either. But New Jack’s reputation can arguably surpass “jerk” status.
19 Michelle McCool
Similar to the criticism that male wrestlers like Triple H and Kevin Nash have faced in their rise up the wrestling ladder, Michelle McCool has faced similar comments from fans and other peers. Part of that was beginning an intimate relationship with The Undertaker in 2007. It was around that time that McCool started to receive a big push in the WWE women’s division. However, some argue that, like Triple H, she was actually improving overall.
18 Bubba Ray Dudley
Bubba Ray Dudley might be one of the best tag team wrestlers through the 1990s and even well into the 2000s. He’s won tag team gold for every major wrestling promotion and was able to win his world championships for TNA Wrestling. There are fans who have tried to approach Dudley for autographs and have been turned down in not-so-subtle rude ways. But it’s not just fans who have negative things to say about the tag team specialist.
17 Brooke Adams
Some women in the WWE have a hard time adjusting to the locker room politics. Brooke Adams was someone who was not able to get along with her peers and often rubbed people the wrong way. Some have found that she was always drawing attention to herself in a way that continued to build heat behind the scenes in the WWE. One famous incident involved her wearing the same type of furry boots to a match as Melina.
16 Kevin Nash
The man once known as Big Sexy in WWE and WCW has stepped on a number of toes. Part of that could be through his time of creative control in WCW. However, he’s also continued a negative reputation well after his days as an active competitor. For whatever reason, Nash doesn’t mind speaking what’s on his mind; even if it’s going to ruffle a few feathers. A perfect example was making a comment in a shoot interview that he thought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was homosexual.
15 Angelina Love
There are some online forums where fans have not had the most pleasing comments about the former TNA Wrestling Knockouts Champion. Angelina Love is someone who has shown not to be the most approachable female wrestling star over the past decade. One fan wrote about meeting her at a car shop and tried to get her attention. Her response was getting in her car and leaving without saying a single word.
Batista has been viewed as a heel in recent years and he didn’t seem to care too much about how the fans viewed him during his WrestleMania XXX run. But through a good portion of his wrestling career, Batista has been known to yell back at fans who have heckled him at live events. That alone would earn him a spot on the “jerk” list, but there’s a lot more than going back and forth with wrestling fans.
In his book “Batista Unleashed,” he made claims where he called out some of his peers in the WWE locker room. Bubba Ray Dudley was one of them. He also wrote about a relationship with former WWE Diva Melina. But Batista was married at the time and his wife was reportedly battling cancer at the time. Certainly not the most PR-friendly move a WWE Superstar can make.
Melina has certainly received a lot of criticism for her actions behind the scenes in the WWE. There was the situation where she had a relationship with Batista while he was still married to his wife in the middle of a cancer battle. But her issues behind the scenes go beyond just dating The Animal. Melina reportedly attracted a lot of backstage heat for a number of complaints she made while she was the WWE Women’s Champion.
12 John “Bradshaw” Layfield
There might be little argument against placing John “Bradshaw” Layfield on this list. Through the years, he’s developed a reputation behind the scenes as a big bully. It wasn’t too far from the rich heel he portrayed as a long-reigning WWE Champion on SmackDown in the original brand split. Several stories that have been revealed over the years support how much of a jerk he was outside of the WWE ring.
11 Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks might not be the most hated female superstar currently in the WWE, but she hasn’t quite been 100 percent positive in the eyes of some fans. One fan was able to get a picture with Banks at an airport and posted it on social media, tagging Banks in the process. However, Banks responded by labeling him as an “airport creeper.” Certainly not the nicest thing a superstar should say about her fans, which is one of the biggest problems with Banks.
10 Randy Orton
Despite having become a family man, Randy Orton’s reputation is still not the cleanest on the WWE roster. Sure, he’s certainly not guilty of the things he did when he was a younger WWE Superstar with major attitude problems. The third-generation superstar came into the WWE after his personal issues in serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. Most of his problems behind the scenes revolved around female co-workers.
Orton once decided to dump a number of products into Rochelle Loewen’s duffle bag in the women’s locker room. Why? Because she didn’t seem to recognize who Orton was. Things like this certainly impacted his initial World Heavyweight Championship push. But even more than a decade later, Orton has his moments. The most recent example was when he was caught staring at a female fan’s chest when she took a selfie picture with the 12-time world champion.
9 Mickie James
Sometimes, trying to start a relationship with one of the big names in the locker room only works once in a while. Mickie James certainly was not one of those winners when she had an affair with John Cena at a time when she was dating former WWE Superstar Kenny Dykstra. While many people give Cena a bad name because he was married at the time he was having the relationship with James, she wasn’t necessarily innocent in the entire situation.
8 CM Punk
This might be viewed a little unfair based on which fans you speak with. A number of wrestling fans have written online about positive experiences meeting CM Punk. But it’s all about how Punk feels he is approached by fans who want an autograph or picture. However, Punk doesn’t seem to hold back when he doesn’t want to be bothered; telling fans to leave him alone when he’s seen at airports.
Back in 2005, Matt Hardy was let go from the WWE and went on a tirade where he would reveal that his long-time girlfriend Lita had an affair with Edge, who was also married at the time. While Hardy certainly may have gone overboard with how he went on and on through social media about the affair that some felt led to his WWE release, Lita certainly didn’t do herself any favors in terms of fan response.
6 Triple H
The world of professional wrestling is a lot like any business where climbing the corporate ladder might involve stepping on a number of toes. In his rise to becoming the heir apparent of Vince McMahon to run the WWE, Triple H might have also kicked some exposed shins with steel toe boots. With marrying the boss’s daughter, he’s certainly benefited behind the scenes of the WWE.
5 Tammy Lynn Sytch
The question is where one should begin when looking at how far the former WWE superstar Sunny has fallen over the years. Tammy Lynn Sytch has developed quite the negative reputation among wrestling fans. Part of it has to do with the countless social media wars that she’s been involved in with other female wrestlers like Ashley Massaro and Brooke Adams. Other wrestlers have also caught her soliciting drugs from other wrestlers.
4 Brock Lesnar
Outside of Goldberg in the 1990s WCW, not many wrestlers had a big rise through the ranks like Brock Lesnar did after his 2002 debut. The former collegiate heavyweight wrestler was quickly moved through Ohio Valley Wrestling and brought into WWE as a monster that was also able to make a successful transition into the world of mixed martial arts. But he also developed a reputation with fans in both WWE and UFC.
3 The Fabulous Moolah
It might come as a surprise to know that the Fabulous Moolah was not viewed in the best light. While considered one of the greatest women’s champions in early pro wrestling history, the Fablous Moolah also faced a lot of criticism for her treatment of women that she “trained” during the 1950s. With the fame she had built up during that time, she essentially brought in a number of students to train.
2 Hulk Hogan
The days of Hulkamania running wild through the world of professional wrestling and most of popular culture have long passed. The former wrestling star from the 1980s, 1990s and even part of the 2000s was the king of the wrestling world. Wrestling was synonymous with Hogan’s legacy from body slamming Andre the Giant to forming the New World Order. However, recent years have seen him become a real-life villain.
Being one of the biggest names in female wrestling through the 1990s can lead to a lot of pressure when working with her. There have been reports of how Sable’s influence got other wrestlers in trouble during her time with the WWE. There were reports of her having a real-life feud with Luna Vachon as Sable was not working well with Vachon trying to train her for wrestling matches.
In her return to the WWE to work with Torrie Wilson, apparently there was some heat between the two as Sable reportedly thought Wilson was trying to steal her spotlight. Now retired from wrestling altogether and married to Brock Lesnar, fans have often written about how she’s given cold shoulders to fans approaching the two at airports and other public places.
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