For every wrestler who has made the wrestling industry, not to mention their millions, and millions of fans (to quote The Rock) proud, there's seemingly another wrestler who's done the complete opposite and acted like a total disgrace. And sometimes, there are wrestlers whose actions, may it be just a few or several actions over an extended period of time, prove to be so disgraceful that it turns their names into poison for the entire industry.
As you may have figured, this list will deal specifically with these individuals whose names have become toxic to the wrestling business through their disgraceful behavior. This may include, but not be limited to: locker room politicking, running companies to the ground, should they be more non-wrestler than wrestler (there are a couple examples here), and all sorts of embarrassing behavior away from the ring. In almost every case, the companies that have let go of the people in question were better for cutting their ties with them, and in some of the cases, the wrestlers/personalities disgraced more than just one promotion.
Who are these disgraceful wrestlers, and what did they do to deserve such a reputation? Let's count 'em down right now.
20 Female: Madusa
When talking about this entry, we have to draw a line between Debrah Miceli the woman and Madusa the character, because the WWE Women's Champion known as Alundra Blayze was only acting out on orders from Eric Bischoff. And for those who don't remember what those orders are, they were to throw the WWE Women's Championship belt in a trash can to stick it to Vince McMahon and company. All things considered, it was a pretty tasteless stunt, and a sign that even the previous top female in WWE thought of the company's Women's title as worthless, even if it was all a work.
Although the belt-in-the-trash-can stunt offended WWE so much that they essentially blacklisted Blayze/Madusa from the company for several years, the company did eventually forgive her, and probably realized years ago that it was Bischoff's plan. Madusa was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015, though she's been known to oftentimes be critical of the ongoing women's revolution in the WWE.
19 Male: Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is a rather unique case, that man from a highly-educated university. That's because he's pissed off higher-ups at three different major promotions – WCW, WWE, and TNA. (Then again, if you read on, you'll find that he might not be THAT unique.) That said, Big Poppa Pump infuriated WCW bosses with his unpredictable, unintelligible shoot promos, WWE bosses with his lackadaisical attitude in his one-year return, and TNA bosses with his terrible attempts at math. (Seriously, it was mostly after the fact, through his slanderous comments about Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and other TNA movers and shakers.)
The only reason Steiner is back in the company now known as GFW at the age of 53 is the simple facts that he gets along with Jeff Jarrett, and that Dixie Carter has been out of power for several months. But how much longer do we have to wait before his malcontent tendencies flare up under the Jarrett/Ed Nordholm regime at GFW? Judging by his history, probably not too long.
18 Female: Paige
There isn't anything wrong with being a free spirit, just like Paige obviously is. Unfortunately, that free-spirited nature of hers has led to some unfortunate missteps in her once-promising career, not the least of these being the private photo and video leak that featured her, in one photo, doing unthinkable things with the NXT Women's Championship belt. But we'd also say that the biggest misstep she's made is being in a relationship with one Jose Alberto Rodriguez, or Alberto El Patron/Del Rio as you probably know him as.
Instead of wrestling dirt sheets focusing on Paige's recovery from injury, or her family's upcoming biopic co-produced by The Rock, most of the attention instead goes to Paige's shenanigans with El Patron, which most recently included an explosive breakup while on vacation in Orlando, and their eventual reconciliation. (Couldn't say we didn't see that coming.) Worse, she appears to be deliberately trying to sabotage her status with the WWE, as she had recently uploaded some of Alberto's most embarrassing, drunken anti-WWE rants on her WWE-approved Twitter.
17 Male: Alberto El Patron
And again, another effortless segue from one disgraceful wrestler to another. As we mentioned above, Paige and Alberto El Patron have become the wrestling dirt sheet equivalent to any given Kardashian and their partner at any given time. But apart from the female/male alternating pattern we're using in this list, there are bigger reasons why El Patron ranks ahead of his on-and-off partner in terms of disgraceful behavior.
Of course, you can't write about El Patron's embarrassing behavior without talking about how he took to Periscope to drunkenly bash the WWE and the "guy with the big nose," Triple H. But to cite a more recent example, El Patron went loco at Impact Wrestling's Slamniversary PPV earlier this month, as he called out the "loser" sports entertainers at WWE in a profane rant that took place after the show went off the air. You thought Mr. Anderson screaming "F**k TNA!" at an indie show was bad? This was ten times worse, at the very least.
16 Female: Zahra Schreiber
I won't lie – I had no real issue with Zahra Schreiber when she was revealed to be Seth Rollins' other woman in the infamous nude pic leak from 2015 that ended Rollins' relationship with then-fiancee Leighla Schultz. But the later revelation that she was a fan of Nazi memorabilia – something she did a terrible job at denying – changed everything for me, as well as for a lot of fans who were probably wishing Seth had never gotten involved with this girl. Yeah, it's one thing to love history, but there's hardly anything historical about My Little Pony in Nazi SS gear and a Hitler 'stache.
WWE reacted by promptly firing Schreiber, not long after she was finally getting some exposure on NXT as Solomon Crowe's valet. A few months later, she and Rollins were apparently through, and he's since moved on and found love with another woman. Schreiber, on the other hand, doesn't seem like anyone WWE would be keen on re-signing any time in the near future.
15 Male: The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior seemed to realize the error of his ways shortly before his tragic passing in 2014, mere days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. But for most of his time as a professional wrestler, he was the Ultimate Jackass, a largely unskilled worker with a great physique, which was good enough to ensure him a WWE Championship and a lengthy run in the company's main event picture. But he was also a lazy, surly type who never appreciated the efforts of men like Rick Rude, who did all the work in trying to at least make Warrior look competent in the ring.
His biggest disgrace to the wrestling industry, however, manifested through his downright unprofessional nature in both WWE and WCW. When he wasn't happy with what he was making, which was often, he'd bail out on house shows. And when it came to the young fans, Warrior couldn't care less either, as evidenced by the time he allegedly stood up a Make-a-Wish kid who was dying of cancer, and wanted nothing more but to meet his wrestling hero. As Bret Hart recalled in his autobiography, this incident made him think of Warrior as "a coward, a weakling, and a phony hero.”
14 Female: Christy Hemme
All things considered, Christy Hemme did pretty well for herself in TNA, and improved in just about every aspect of being a wrestler. And believe us, there were worse Diva Search products than her. MUCH worse. But for being the woman who had, perhaps unintentionally, kicked off an era of great-looking ladies who were absolutely terrible in the ring, Hemme earns her place in this list as the first-ever televised winner of the Diva Search. Remember the 2004 Diva Search? Well, let's just say that the less you remember about it, the better.
Little more than a year after winning the $250,000 Diva Search, Hemme was gone from the WWE, released in December 2005 due to a combination of things – budget cuts, creative having nothing for her, and the company not being patient enough with someone who hadn't received a minute of wrestling training prior to Diva Search. Once again, she did improve by leaps and bounds in TNA, but as far as her WWE contributions went, she was terrible.
13 Male: John Laurinaitis
Of course, we can't follow up an entry on the first Diva Search winner without offering a shout-out to the man who remained gainfully employed in the WWE by hiring women based on their looks, and their looks alone. That's right – it might as well have been "Puppy Power" for Mr. People Power, John Laurinaitis, as his hiring of countless female "talents" (a term we use loosely in this case) helped set the women's revolution back by several years.
Oh, we could also point out that Johnny Ace is also reviled for his skate-poser Dynamic Dudes gimmick with Shane Douglas, but he did have a pretty solid wrestling career, if not as recognized as that of his brother Joe, aka Road Warrior Animal. As a wrestling executive, however, he makes this list not because of his oft-impersonated, gruff voice, but rather because of his hiring practices from back in the day.
12 Female: Eva Marie
It's only a matter of time – despite the fact that she recently denied the rumors, it may not be much longer before WWE finally wishes Eva Marie the best in her future endeavors. She hasn't been seen in the ring since her Wellness Policy violation last summer, and if you remember the last time she actually wrestled, she was still capable of wrestling negative-star matches in her sleep.
WWE tried everything – sending her to NXT, having The Brian Kendrick train her, offering her a big push even if she was worse in-ring and on the mic than just about any Diva Search product who came before her. But the botches didn't stop coming, and there was no way on earth that fans would ever warm up to her. In short, Eva Marie has been a complete and total disgrace in her four years as a WWE Superstar, and we have to be thankful she came along well after the looks-before-skills era of women's wrestling.
11 Male: Superstar Billy Graham
While we could feel for "Superstar" Billy Graham now that he's 70-plus and suffering from numerous health issues, it's hard to sympathize with a man who often comes about as your typical "bitter veteran" spewing vitriol about the present-day product, while holding grudges against people such as Chris Jericho over simple misunderstandings about wrestling-related issues. But he makes this list (and he's probably on Jericho's list too) for how he had ushered in an era of steroid-enhanced muscle-heads, an era where look overshadowed technical ability like it never did before, or since.
As he has openly admitted, Graham did use steroids over the course of his wrestling career, and it's been alleged that he got a young up-and-comer named Terry Bollea into performance-enhancing drugs as well – of course, you may know him as Hulk Hogan, and see him a bit later on in this list. So while he deserves recognition as one of the best promo men of all-time, he should also be reviled as someone who was possibly pro wrestling's first-ever high-profile steroid abuser.
10 Female: Sable
While the Diva Search and John Laurinaitis' hiring practices, as mentioned above, worked together in introducing the WWE Universe to some pretty hot, yet truly awful female wrestlers, Sable epitomized "looks before skills" well before it became in vogue. Yes, I know, I should be glad I live thousands of miles away from Mr. and Mrs. Brock Lesnar, but any fan has to admit that the woman was absolutely wooden on the mic and clumsy in the ring, yet somehow held the WWE Women's Championship for close to six months. That is, until the similarly untrained Debra beat her for it in an Evening Gown Match. Aren't you thankful women's wrestling is in a much better place nowadays?
Apart from her almost complete lack of wrestling and promo ability, Sable was also a handful backstage, having taken part in a real-life backstage brawl alongside then-husband Marc Mero, as they went against another real-life couple, Luna Vachon and Gangrel. Thankfully, she appears to have mellowed with age, like a lot of other examples in this list.
9 Male: Vince Russo
On the other hand, mellowing with age appears to be a foreign concept with Vince Russo. Despite becoming a born-again Christian, Vinny Ru is as acerbic and unapologetic as ever for the damage he wrought upon WCW, and the role he played in many a bad TNA storyline during his multiple stints with the latter company. And he'll also tell you, bro, that he didn't need Vince McMahon's filtering when he helped kick off the Attitude Era, bro, during his time with WWE's creative team, bro. He does say "bro" a lot, doesn't he? And he sure loved to kill kayfabe dead back in his time with WCW, only to further torpedo the company's already-sagging ratings.
Most recently, the self-proclaimed architect of Attitude and much-reviled killer of WCW (to be fair, he was one of many) has been involved in a nasty public feud with Jim Cornette and Eric Bischoff. Not surprisingly, he hasn't received much sympathy after he reportedly filed a restraining order against Cornette, not long after he posted two long "sorry-not-sorry" apology videos – one for Corny, and the other for Bischoff.
8 Female: Dixie Carter
We're cheating on this one, we have to admit. That's because unlike fellow non-wrestler Vince Russo, Dixie Carter never wrestled in an actual match. But we've got to put her in here for the many years she reigned as TNA Wrestling's Chairwoman, and while it wasn't really a reign of terror in the truest sense, it was a reign marked by incompetence, some of the worst authority figure angles in the history of wrestling (Really? Grabbing on to the Hulkster's leg as he announced he's quitting TNA?), and some of the worst storylines this side of late-period WCW. And speaking of late-period WCW, she did hire Russo for TNA's creative team. THRICE.
With such a long history of cultivating a lousy reputation as the top woman in charge of TNA, it's a miracle the company never went belly-up while she was in charge. Fortunately for the company now known as
Impact GFW, things have been looking up in comparison in recent months, though it may take a lot of time before Jeff Jarrett and company undo Dixie's damage once and for all.
7 Male: JBL
The biggest disgrace about John Bradshaw Layfield, to be perfectly honest, is the fact that he remains gainfully employed by WWE, and wasn't as much punished for nearly driving Mauro Ranallo out of the company. (Thank the wrestling gods, and we don't mean JBL, for the fact Mauro is back in WWE, albeit far, far away from JBL as he now works for NXT.) For nearly two decades, JBL has established himself as a locker room leader, albeit not the type whom you'd look up to out of pure respect. And that's because of his long-standing reputation as someone who's a backstage bully, and proud of it.
In the eyes of JBL, such bullying is necessary in the same way that fraternities haze their recruits – you want to weed out the weak from the strong, and foster respect within the locker room. He's old-school like that, dammit, and he's not going to change for anyone. And while we don't need to remind you that locker room hazing/bullying is one old-school practice that needs to go, it's just sad that WWE has let JBL get away with little more than a slap on the wrist time and time again.
6 Female: Sunny
Sunny is often referred to as the first-ever WWE Diva, and boy, did she live up to that title in every sense of the word. She wasn't at all low-key about the fact that she oozed sexuality and made sure male teenage fans had one hand on the remote and the other hand on the you-know-where, as she often carried herself with a cocky air in the locker room. And speaking of the locker room, there's no need to jog your memory on the many men she allegedly got it on with, all while real-life boyfriend Chris Candido was blissfully unaware...or unpleasantly aware of what went on behind his back.
Roughly two decades after Sunny's WWE heyday (as well as her shorter-lived WCW and ECW stints), she remains a bigger train wreck than Amy Schumer in the 2015 movie of the same name. Shoot interviews with the real-life Tammy Sytch are often of the kiss-and-tell variety, as she dishes dirt on her various sexcapades with wrestlers. And we haven't even gotten to the part about how she charges for nude Skype chats, while completely letting herself go and not doing anything about her obvious personal problems.
5 Male: Hulk Hogan
When Hulkamania ran wild in the 1980s, kids worshipped Hulk Hogan as an unstoppable American hero, 6'8" and about 300 pounds of rippling muscle, ready to drop his leg on all manner of villains, from the ungrateful likes of former friends Andre the Giant and Paul Orndorff, to America-hating foreign villains like The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. He was a man who could do no wrong, as he always told his young fans to train, say their prayers, and eat their vitamins.
What we young kids didn't know back then was that the Hulkster was THE master politician in the WWE, and that he would gladly hold down many a wrestler, just as long as they were happy to bask in the bigger paydays they enjoyed when Hulk was on the card. He was also one to see himself on a higher platform than the rest of the boys, and that didn't change when he joined WCW and eventually became wrestling's most hated heel as Hollywood Hogan.
Oh, and there's also that little matter of his racist rants from the leaked sex tapes a couple years back. What a disgrace indeed, brother.
4 Female: Chyna
It's hard to speak ill of the very recently-deceased, such as Chyna, whose short and troubled life ended last year at the age of 46. And if you consider that her downward spiral was arguably brought about by the acrimonious end to her relationship with Triple H, it's not like her path to self-destruction came out of thin air. But after leaving WWE, she had made numerous bad decisions that made wrestling's detractors look at the business as even more of a joke.
As you may know, Chyna earned notoriety post-wrestling for her adult film career, which went far beyond her infamous film with then-boyfriend X-Pac, 1 Night in China. She had also gotten attention for her shameful behavior on the ultimate reality show for washed-up celebs, The Surreal Life, while often presenting a less-than-flattering version of herself due to her problems with drink and drugs. Oh, and there's also her autobiography, If They Only Knew, a sloppily-written screed with multiple axes to grind.
3 Male: The Kliq
Hell, why not lump 'em all together in one convenient entry? The Kliq was, and still is composed primarily of wrestling buddies Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman, and back when they formed in the mid-'90s, the idea was for them to form a real-life backstage faction where everyone looked out for each other. Sounds fair enough, until you realize that looking out for each other is essentially a euphemism for "get over at everybody else's expense."
During their heyday in the WWE, the Kliq made many enemies backstage, from top-tier talents such as Bret Hart, to lower- and midcard guys like Carl Ouelette and the Harris Twins. And when Hall and Nash were off to WCW, their political maneuverings made it pretty hard for younger, oftentimes smaller wrestlers (think Eddie Guerrero and his fellow "vanilla midgets") to get over.
Even if they're mostly older, wiser, and mellower with age, The Kliq remains synonymous with backstage politics up to this day. And lest we forget, how about that "Curtain Call," where babyfaces Michaels and Hall (as Razor Ramon) and heels Triple H and Nash (as Diesel) had a kayfabe-killing group hug at a Madison Square Garden house show?
2 Female: The Fabulous Moolah
Three decades. That's just about the amount of time The Fabulous Moolah held her Women's Championship – originally an NWA title before WWE purchased its rights as part of Vince McMahon Jr.'s attack on U.S. territorial promotions. She was an iconic female talent well before women's wrestling became what it is today, and her influence on women's wrestling cannot be denied. But she was, up until her death in 2007 at the age of 84, hounded by accusations that she had pimped out the women she was supposedly training, when not ruling her training camps with an iron fist.
There's also Moolah's role in the "original Screwjob," which had her wear a mask as WWE Women's Champion Wendi Richter's ostensible jobber challenger, The Spider Lady. With Richter, who was unhappy with the amount of money WWE was paying her, unaware that she was supposed to lose the title, Moolah broke from the script and pinned Richter for the three-count, all with the referee's complicit assistance. Nobody talks about this Screwjob as often as the one in Montreal, but it was a downright dirty tactic that further solidifies Moolah's spot as the biggest female disgrace to the wrestling industry in our list.
1 Male: Chris Benoit
Who else could it be? Chris Benoit was, without a doubt, one of the finest technical wrestlers of his era, perhaps of all-time. He was a hard-working individual who deserved the one World Heavyweight Championship and four Intercontinental Championships he won in WWE, as well as the numerous other titles he won in over two decades in pro wrestling. But the first thing we think of when the name Chris Benoit is mentioned is the gruesome crime he committed in June 2007, when he brutally murdered his wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel before killing himself.
There are many theories as to why Benoit had snapped and killed his family – some say it was steroids, some say it was concussions, some say it may have been something dark within him that isn't related to those two risks of pro wrestling as a sport. But the Benoit murder-suicide cast a dark pall upon the world of wrestling and opened it to all manner of criticism from its detractors, and you can't really blame WWE for wanting us to pretend that Benoit, for all his accomplishments, had never existed.