AJ Styles once said that it's not what you do inside the ring, but it's what you do outside of it that matters. If only he could preach that message to his WWE peers at a time when the locker room is full of jerks. To their defense, they aren't getting in any trouble with the law nor are they drugged out like some old timers, but it's their attitude towards fans that has made many of them unlikeable.
Many wrestlers are usually offended by this statement, but they should be grateful towards their fans, because as John Cena loves to remind us, the WWE Universe can make or break a Superstar. That message has clearly not resonated with some Superstars who insult fans when approached in public with some taking matters to social media to add salt to the wound.
That doesn't mean there are no gentlemen left; most wrestlers won't mind being approached and will chat with fans. It's quite unrealistic to expect that to happen every single time, especially when bigger names are concerned, but it does make a difference for the fans who always support them.
Whether it's a wrestler from an older generation or the current one, there are unique personalities who react differently when someone approaches them. And just because someone appears to be nice on TV screen, it doesn't always translate to real life, and the opposite is true. Today, we look at 10 wrestlers who are gentlemen and 10 others who are jerks.
20 Jerk: CM Punk
Sorry to disappoint everyone but CM Punk has earned his reputation as a jerk over the years. You can chant for him all you want but he cares very little and has been accused of being selfish by some of his peers. When there's fire, there's smoke and Punk is hated by several WWE Superstars for a reason.
When it comes to fans, the internet is full of stories from those who had a bad experience with him. We understand if wrestlers get upset when fans invade their private space at airports or with their family, but Punk is simply unapproachable at all times.
While he admits to being a jerk, that doesn't justify his actions. Not only has CM Punk previously gone off on adults, but he's also been rude to kids who asked for his autograph. We all know that he hates people selling his autographs on eBay, but it doesn't give him the right to act the way he does.
19 Gentleman: Kurt Angle
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No one should be surprised to see Kurt Angle, the man is so likeable that you couldn't convince us he's a jerk. We all know he went through a difficult period in his personal life years ago, but Kurt has bounced back as we all hoped. He always remained respectful and grateful towards his fans, one must admire him for never changing even when he hit rock bottom.
On social media, Kurt is very active and always interacts with fans, unlike many other wrestlers who hardly acknowledge anyone. You won't find him throwing fans under the bus either.
They say you should never meet your heroes but if Kurt Angle happens to be yours, you will not be disappointed at all. If anything, you will gain even more respect for him after meeting him in person, fans have always praised him for taking the time to actually speak to them.
18 Jerk: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar never came across as a gentleman on screen, so you won't be disappointed to know that he is a jerk in real life. Even when Lesnar was a face, it was never believable because he gives you heel-ish vibes but that's not really the reason he's on the list.
While Lesnar is a private person and one must respect that, he absolutely hates meeting fans. According to Lesnar and those who know him, he simply doesn't like people and hates being approached by fans.
Not to mention his homophobic comments from a 2004 interview, where he repeatedly said that he doesn't like gay people. Many interviewers have also accused him of being a jerk and difficult to deal with due to his rude and dry answers. Wrestling fans have always felt that Lesnar doesn't care about the wrestling business and only shows up to pick up easy checks, which further proves that he earned a spot on this list.
17 Gentleman: Rey Mysterio
For most of his career, Rey Mysterio has been a face portraying the same character. While most wrestlers would have gotten boring within a few years, he managed to remain relevant and loved. His real life personality matches that of his character, which is why the character is a match made in heaven for Mysterio who's genuinely a humble and nice person according to all fans who have met him.
He truly loves meeting the fans and appreciates their support. Even when he held the World title, Mysterio never changed his ways which speaks volumes about him. Wrestlers and staff have also spoken highly of him, he's always been easy to work with and a great influence in the locker room. When you think of wrestlers who are sweethearts, Mysterio is certainly one of the first names that comes to mind.
16 Jerk: Seth Rollins
While most fans tend to like Seth Rollins, they will be disappointed to learn that he is a jerk in real life. He has been vocal about fans who stalk wrestlers airports and hotels in order to get a picture or an autograph.
While it's completely understandable, Rollins is consistently throwing them under the bus which is disappointing to see. The worst part of it all is that several fans who have complained about Rollins didn't fall into that category, they had just ran into him at a random place and he was still rude to them. It seems like wrestlers of today use the "stalkers" excuse to justify their behavior, and are only willing to act nice when WWE books them for fan events.
Rollins isn't any better when it comes to treating women as we all witnessed a few years ago in the cheating scandal that involved him.
15 Gentleman: Jeff Hardy
For all the criticism Jeff Hardy has received over the years, one thing you can't say about him is that he is a jerk. Since coming into the WWE, Jeff has always been one of the nicest Superstars around who stops for the fans at all times and provides them with memorable experiences.
Even when he was going through tough times, Jeff stayed connected with the fans as they provided him with unconditional support. It has brought him even closer to his fan base, Jeff is very grateful for all the love he has been shown by his followers. If you happen to attend a meet and greet event, Jeff is a name that you should never miss out on.
As for his peers, they also admire him as he is easy to work with and more than willing to take a bump. Sting is possibly the only exception, and that's totally understandable.
14 Jerk: Lita
Lita is one of those wrestlers who may be a jerk or a sweetheart depending on the day and location where you meet. Many have described her as moody with some fans having negative and positive experiences.
Wrestlers are people so they are entitled to have bad days just as we do, but it doesn't excuse the behavior of which some of them display towards those who buy their merchandise.
Lita has been called out by many fans for being mean to them when they had simply ran into her in public, they didn't camp even by the hotel or airport. It seems like she has gotten nicer over the years, which is the normal for those who begin feeling that their stardom has faded away. If you're hoping to meet one of your current wrestlers who are jerks at this moment, you should probably wait until they're rarely recognized in public in a few years!
13 Gentlewoman: Mickie James
Mickie James is the exact opposite of Lita, fans have had nothing but high praise for her real life persona. In fact, there have been some who didn't care much about her previously but completely changed their point of view after seeing the real Mickie.
Meeting a wrestler can either inspire you to support them even more or to lose all respect. A wrestler's job is beyond the ring, they are role models whether they want to be or not. Some refuse to act as one while others will gladly embrace it, Mickie is the latter and she has shown it through her actions since coming into the WWE.
The photo above is a great example that proves how much she truly cares about her fans, she doesn't put on an act as so many of her peers do. The women wrestlers have also credited Mickie for being helpful and extremely friendly, especially those are new in the business.
12 Jerk: Bubba Ray Dudley
There are so many wrestlers who admit to being jerks as if that excuses their behavior when they deny fans. Bubba Ray Dudley falls into that category, and he wears it like a badge of honor. Although he claims to only be rude to fans who deserve such treatment, even his partner in crime D-Von begs to differ.
In past interviews, D-Von has mentioned that Bubba Ray can be difficult to deal with since he doesn't like people, noting that he could be sometimes a jerk to fans who approach him. His "Bully" name perfectly applies to him, there have been reports of him going off on fans for the smallest reasons.
Ironically, when Sasha Banks went on Twitter to criticize fans for waiting at the airport, Bubba Ray Dudley came to their defense and attacked Sasha. He should probably take his own advice before handing out any.
11 Gentleman: Chris Jericho
In his last WWE run, Chris Jericho was adding everyone to his own personal list. As for this one, you can add him to the list of gentlemen, there is a reason why he's one of the most beloved wrestlers. Jericho has enjoyed a lengthy career with unwavering support from people of all ages, as he has repeatedly reinvented himself year after year.
It never got to his head, Jericho has never changed his ways and has continued treating his fans the same as he did when he was coming up. He is always up to something and never takes a day off. In return, fans support all his projects and you can tell that he truly appreciates it.
If you ever run into Jericho in person, you're likely to become an even bigger fan than you were previously. Unlike some of his peers, he takes interest in his fans and holds real conversations with them.
10 Jerk: Emma
Some will be disappointed to know that Emma isn't only a jerk on screen but in real life as well. She basically plays the role of her true self on screen: A snobbish girl who looks down on others and thinks the world revolves around her.
Perhaps that's why her first ran tanked pretty badly and now she has picked up momentum. Several fans have described her as rude upon meeting her and were disappointed in the aftermath. While some may argue that she's simply sticking to her character, there is a leaked story about her days prior to the WWE and she's always had that same attitude.
Considering how underwhelming her career is, Emma better start showing appreciation to her fans before it's too late, as she may be quickly forgotten when WWE is no longer signing her checks.
9 Gentlewoman: Bayley
When Bayley moved from NXT, most fans generally liked her as she would receive positive reactions on nightly basis. Things have changed since then, many have turned on her due to her poor booking and stagnant character.
Bayley comes across as awkward in her promos but she's genuinely as nice as she appears to be on screen. If you follow her on social media, you will see that she always retweets fans and posts motivational messages to those in need.
She also shares photos with her fans on Instagram, which is very rare among other wrestlers. It goes to show that Bayley isn't just pretending to be a hugger for the viewers, her personality is that of a babyface in person and all fans who have met her would be able to confirm that. If you ask me, Sasha Banks could learn a thing or two from her when it comes to treating the fans.
8 Jerk: Shawn Michaels
It's a well-known fact that Shawn Michaels is a jerk in real life. At his peak years, he was a troublemaker who consistently had heat with staff members and fellow wrestlers. Through backstage politics, he was able to climb to the top and do whatever he wanted while burying others.
He was extremely difficult to get along and there have been many cases where any other wrestler would've probably been fired for his actions. Michaels was often disrespectful to talents for no apparent reason, and as for his approach towards fans, it wasn't any better.
Known for being arrogant, Michaels didn't only ignore fans, as he was one of those wrestlers who degraded people when approached in public. Since his return in the early 2000s and becoming a born again Christian, he has tried to clean up his image yet many fans are still disappointed whenever they run into him.
7 Gentleman: Triple H
Triple H is one of the best heels in modern history, whether you hated him for hogging the spotlight or his heelish behavior, he managed to get the exact reaction that one would expect for a heel.
While Triple H has spent most of his career being a jerk to fellow wrestlers and backstabbing his associates, his behavior outside of the ring is the total opposite. It goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover, Triple H is a gentleman when it comes to his fans - people are often surprised to learn that he is actually very approachable.
His younger self may have been a little on the wild side but never to the point where he got in trouble with the law. His work ethic mixed with his good behavior got him to where he is currently at although being married to Stephanie has of course helped his case.
6 Jerk: Sami Zayn
An entry that will probably shock most, as fans have accused Zayn of being a jerk in real life. Unrelated to his recent heel turn, Zayn isn't as pleasant in real life as he appears to be on screen. It's not a matter of ego either now that he's wrestling on the biggest stage, as tales exist going back into his independent days.
After reading some of the stories that exist on the internet, one must admit that Zayn is one hell of an actor as he completely fooled us into his good guy image. While he's not a terrible human being, it's his behavior towards fans that earned him a reputation as a jerk.
Stories on Reddit and various forums claim that Zayn wasn't so pleasant upon meeting him in person, as he repeatedly has a habit of blowing off fans in a rude manner. He's also been described as arrogant in real life interactions.
5 Gentleman: Enzo Amore
If you expected Enzo Amore to be a jerk in real life, well you had him pegged wrong. Over the past few months, he's gotten on the fans' nerves with plenty of supporters turning against him. He has certainly gained many back in recent times after an impressive run, but his reputation took a hit that's difficult to fix.
It's easy to see why Enzo is so unlikeable, he can get annoying on the mic by cutting the same promo on weekly basis. The way he has been booked hasn't helped either, he was a punching bag for a while before he recently won the Cruiserweight title.
You also have Corey Graves on his case whenever he makes an appearance, so it has become cool to hate on Enzo. While he isn't a great performer in the ring, he cares plenty about his fans and will always stop for a picture.
4 Jerk: Sasha Banks
It seems like Sasha Banks has allowed her WWE gimmick to get into her head, The Boss truly thinks that she is one in real life. Since breaking into the scene, fans have had multiple complaints regarding the way she treats them. During her promos, she may put on an act for all cameras to see as she constantly reminds us how grateful she is for the support that she has received.
Based on leaked reports, it seems as if she's only pretending when in reality she doesn't care at all. Not only is she quick to deny fans a quick picture, but she has also thrown many under the bus on Twitter. Most would agree that she was overreacted in those cases as the supporters didn't warrant such treatment. When she's being paid to smile and sign autographs, she has no problem doing so but the complete opposite occurs when the money isn't rolling in.
3 Gentlewoman: Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch is the definition of a sweetheart, there isn't one bad thing you could say about her. While we don't personally know her, she has always shown that she has a great character outside of the ring that is very respectable in today's age.
Some of her peers will resort to referring to fans as creeps, but you won't find her disrespecting them even if fans can be a little too much to handle at times. That comes with fame, it's unrealistic to expect to live a normal person's life. Fans should respect the wrestlers' privacy, but many of them are simply unapproachable.
Becky Lynch is more than happy to greet fans who recognize her, as she understands the industry and what comes with it. There are numerous online discussions where fans share their experience in meeting wrestlers, and Becky Lynch always lands on the good side.
2 Jerk: Randy Orton
Randy Orton may be nice when it's an official WWE meet and greet event but he is a complete jerk when he isn't being paid to interact with fans. There have been plenty of reports about him clashing with people who asked for a photo or an autograph, even when they respectfully approached him.
In 2007, he was approached by a fan for a photo, Orton completely lost his temper and threw the camera away. There is another report of Orton spitting gum at a 15-year-old who had also requested a picture, I guess that's one way to turn him down.
That's not to mention all the trouble he has gotten the WWE into, including his behavior on a tour in Europe when he left over $50,000 worth of damage upon destroying his hotel room. Just as we have seen him insult his opponents during matches, Orton doesn't hesitate to berate fans either.
1 Gentleman: Rob Van Dam
RVD is one of the nicest wrestlers of all-time, fans have nothing but great things to say about him. It may be his 4/20 habits that earned him such reputation, but you won't hear many, if any, negatives experiences when it comes to meeting RVD.
He gets along with his peers as well and doesn't cause any trouble as RVD refuses to play backstage politics, which is probably the reason he never won as many titles as should have. He's pretty much the same person whether on screen, real life, social media or during interviews, and that's something you can't say about many other wrestlers.
If you search through his Twitter mentions, you will find plenty of fans thanking him for the great experience whenever they run into him. RVD is another wrestler who always interacts with his fans, and has never changed his ways regardless of his status as a wrestler.