Huge egos abound in wrestling, that’s no surprise. Dusty Rhodes once said that “if you don’t have the ego and desire to be the best, you shouldn’t be in the business.” But some guys take it too far. Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Triple H and others are known for having massive egos and throwing their weight around. Some take it further, being total bullies who regularly slam wrestlers, pull cruel pranks, are arrogant and selfish. Others are just total jerks who look down on other wrestlers, refusing to get along and are much hated. “Wrestlers’ Court” is often called to try and settle such disputes despite some guys going too far.
But every now and then, the jerk or bully gets shut up big time. Their victims fight back at last and teach them a lesson. They end up paying in other ways, from either other wrestlers to even tasting a bit of karma with losing their jobs. Sometimes, the punishment can seem almost cosmic to balance the scales out. It shows that you just can’t act this way forever and not expect consequences. Here are 15 jerks and bullies in wrestling who learned the hard way to be careful who you tease.
15 Muhammad Hassan
Hassan gets a bad rap today with a lot of stuff and many think WWE was wrong for booking him as a cliché Arab heel. However, the guy did himself no favors by going around with a bad attitude and arrogantly throwing his weight around. He was first called into “Wrestler’s Court” when he refused to sell for Sgt Slaughter’s Camel Clutch, claiming it wasn’t right for his character. He then arrogantly told Eddie Guerrero that he and others had to stop using the Clutch because it was Hassan’s move. Guerrero responded by pointing out how his father had invented the move in the first place.
It got worse as things went on as at the 2005 Royal Rumble, the beatdown of Hassan was for real and his fast elimination spared him getting pounded for real. He once tried to make peace by buying drinks for the entire SmackDown roster, $4,000 worth. As a message, the wrestlers all poured the drinks on the floor and left Hassan to pay the tab. The man was fired after a bit where he led an attack on The Undertaker that aired the same night as terrorist bombings in London. However, had he not been such a total jerk, he could have survived a bit longer in this company.
It’s a bit sad sometimes to look at Tammy Sytch’s life. The woman was a truly amazing talent when she arrived on the scene, bright, chipper and wonderfully funny. But she also got a swelled head from her big success and pushed herself hard on others. She had a huge diva attitude tossing herself at guys, reportedly having relationships with Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith and talked down to other women in the company for being nowhere near her talent and fame.
It got pretty huge to the point that she was the victim of some pranks and while a few went too far, others seemed to be good retribution. The most famous was after Sunny went on a tirade in the locker room on her fame and to be treated with more respect. That night, she was to be “slopped” in a match with The Godwinns. It was only after the bucket was dumped on her that Sunny realized the “slop” was really made up of “contributions” from the wrestlers in the bathroom. The woman is infamous for her drug use and hard fall but much of her attitude was her own undoing.
For a man who got into wrestling late in his life, Batista made up for it in stardom. However, his big push also gave rise to an inflated ego backed by criticism of his lack of wrestling skills. That soon led to Batista boasting, bragging and often bullying others. The high point was when Batista tried to flaunt his weight around with Booker T. While shooting a promo for SummerSlam 2006, Batista and Booker fought regarding Batista’s push with Batista snapping that Booker was over the hill and should be forgotten and ranted that SmackDown had suffered in ratings without him. Never one to back down, Booker got right into Batista’s face and they were going at it.
With his street experience, Booker was able to take Batista down easily, laying the much bigger man out and winning respect. It wasn’t long after that Booker began his “King Booker” gimmick that made him a champion once more while Batista suffered a bit as “The Animal” was neutered in this fight.
12 Amy Zidian
“Who?” you may ask. Well, there’s a very good reason for that. Hired during the 2006 Diva Search, Zidian was a blonde who seemed to have a good push going for her with her attitude and beach-gal looks. However, in no time flat, Zidian had pissed off pretty much the entire locker room with her attitude. Despite her complete lack of experience, Zidian acted like she was the big shot and began bullying others. She mocked LayCool on their push, insulted Kristal Marshall’s hair and disrespected Vickie Guerrero, complete with a shot at her late husband.
The topper was when Stephanie McMahon dropped by to check on the complaints from the others. Zidian openly asked just who the hell Stephanie was to think she could boss them around. Needless to say, Zidian was given her walking papers within days of that and showcases how going into wrestling with too big an attitude can hurt you.
11 Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon is not well liked and unsurprisingly he was known to be a jerk and a bully. Sometimes, it’s as if karma hits him with something to balance that out. When Eric Bischoff took WCW against McMahon, he was really just giving Vince a taste of what Vince had done to slews of promoters in the old days. More than a few feel Vince blowing out his knees at the 2005 Royal Rumble was some sort of payback for his misdeeds and after arrogantly throwing around his weight with the XFL, Vince had to see it become a disaster.
However, the most direct point would have to be the 1997 Survivor Series. After publicly screwing Bret Hart out of the title before he went to WCW, one would think Vince would have left the building fast. Instead, he went right to Bret’s dressing room to try to explain himself. Bret responded by belting Vince hard, giving him a black eye. Many (including Bret himself) believe Vince knew this was going to happen and he deserved it. When even Vince McMahon knows he’s getting what’s coming to him, that says a lot and another reason the Montreal Screwjob is so legendary.
10 Buff Bagwell
Buff always had an attitude even when he was a rookie in WCW pushed as tag team champion a few times. However, it got worse when he got a serious push and it inflated his head big time. In 2001, Bagwell was one of the first guys hired by WWE from WCW and was pushed because of his supposed star power. Backstage after a show, Bagwell ran down Shane Helms as a small guy who could never be a big star because of his size. Helms had enough of this and pitched a full bottle of water at Bagwell’s face. When Bagwell ducked, Helms tackled him for several brutal punches and kicks with other wrestlers having to pull Shane off. Bagwell was fired not long afterward and Helms stuck around to be a hit as “The Hurricane” so Bagwell paid for sure for flaunting his supposed “clout” more.
9 Bill DeMott
Best known as Hugh Morrus, DeMott had been a jobber in WCW but had runs as US champion in the company’s dying days. He retired to become a trainer, working with WWE and was showcased in “Tough Enough” as well as a guy able to teach the ropes. He did his work in FCW and then continued it as it changed to NXT. However, stories began to abound and then grow more and more that DeMott was crossing the line big-time.
He was accused of using homophobic slurs, racial taunts, condoning bullying, leering after female workers and even having guys train naked. The very least of the stories was DeMott being a total bully and shoving guys down while others accused him of even worse attacks. While DeMott denied the tales, when they became public, he had to quit the company due the overwhelming hate being spewed at him. WWE prefers to forget he existed as DeMott’s methods weren’t worth putting up with such behavior.
8 Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette is a smart man. He’s proven that with his insight to the business and good booking in Ohio Valley Wrestling. However, Cornette lacks that little filter that tells you when it’s time to shut up and not act on your first instincts. That’s gotten him into trouble as his attitude could sometimes be perceived as bullying rather than helping guys out. Nowhere is that more showcased than when he oversaw Santino Marella facing off against The Boogeyman. Cornette wanted Boogeyman to be a real threat and monster and Santino was seen laughing at the guy’s antics.
Cornette yelled at him backstage about it and some thought he was taking it too far. But then Cornette slapped Santino right in the face. That was a major crossing of the line and WWE fired him immediately. Cornette defends himself that he was “keeping the characters in line” but you just don’t slap guys when you’re in charge and it's hard to say Cornette didn’t deserve to get fired.
7 Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes was always known as a wild man who lived his gimmick as a hard-drinking rocker type. That was okay in the smaller promotions like Texas and even WCW but when he worked for WWE, this attitude ended up rubbing a lot of folks the wrong way. When Hayes started drinking, he was a mean drunk and often quite abusive to others. Combine that with a big mouth still stuck in a un-PC time and you have trouble. A clear case was when he declared to Mark Henry “I’m more of a n----er than you” and Henry nearly crushed him as he was suspended.
His actions on the infamous “Plane Ride From Hell” nearly got him fired and a beat-down from JBL as Sean Waltman cut off Hayes’ ponytail. Hayes was also slammed in a Wrestler’s Court session for taking Rosa Mendes out drinking when it was known the woman was recovering from her addiction and was suspended once more. Hayes still works for WWE but this rebel has learned the hard way how getting drunk is no excuse for jerk behavior.
A key problem with Goldberg was that his push came so soon as WCW made him into a monster right out of the gate. That did end up making him a hit and pushing the company to massive success. However, it also gave Goldberg a swelled head as he didn’t really pay his dues and that led to a bad attitude backstage. Some felt he was being influenced by Hogan and Nash to believe a huge star should be selfish in keeping his spot and could come off as a bully. That carried over to his WWE run as Goldberg assumed he was the biggest star in the company and that annoyed Chris Jericho. Jericho was already annoyed because back in 1998, he’d set himself up in a big feud with Goldberg only to have it end in a lame way as Goldberg seemed to think Jericho wasn’t on his level.
In 2003, they went at it again with Goldberg still acting up. So they finally went at it in front of a “Wrestler’s Court” backstage. Jericho has shifted the story a bit but it comes down to him basically manhandling Goldberg with ease, using his skills to take the bigger man down. As per his wrestler's court punishment, Goldberg was forced to admit Jericho was the better man and yet another reason his WWE run was a bit of a flop.
Sid always had the look of a bad-ass with his height, build and wild persona. Sadly, he couldn’t live up to it due to his unstable mentality and massive ego. It got him into trouble as too often he threw his weight around on other workers and bragged about how he was a bigger star. That cost him a few times, most notably when he and Brian Pillman got into an argument at a bar. As Sid had a good half foot on Pillman, he no doubt felt he was the stronger guy. However, Pillman was always stronger than he looked and proceeded to pound Sid down. This led to the famous bit of Sid coming back with, of all things, a squeegee and being stopped.
Much bigger was in 1993 when Sid was being pushed to beat Vader for the WCW World title. During a tour in London, Sid boasted about his upcoming big dates and how he was now the top dog. Arn Anderson had enough and the argument ended with Sid getting a pair of scissors and then attacking Arn with them. Sid was fired, and WCW altered World title plans.
4 Shawn Michaels
Shawn is the first to talk about what a horrific jerk he was in his prime, mostly driven by drugs. He had issues like in 1997 when he made his on-air line about Bret having an affair with Sunny and that started a major fight backstage. Before that, Shawn really hit the height of his arrogance in 1995 when The Kliq were running things backstage with pranks and keeping guys down. This all came to a head when Shawn tried to pick up a woman at a bar and refused to take no for an answer. Her boyfriend just happened to be a Marine who was with some buddies and proceeded to give Shawn a brutal beatdown. Even WWE had to acknowledge what happened (using the line of “masked thugs”) and Shawn had to give up the IC title due to his injuries.
Some may also say Shawn paid a karmic price with his 1998 back injury although that did lead to his changed attitude. Even Shawn acknowledges he deserved what happened and how bad he was.
3 Bubba the Love Sponge
While not a wrestler himself, Bubba got pulled into it thanks to his long-time friendship with Hulk Hogan. When Hogan was hired by TNA in 2010, he decided it would be a great idea for Bubba to be around as a backstage interviewer. He was pretty much alone in this regard as Bubba came off knowing almost nothing about the business and his on-screen bits were annoying as hell. Bubba didn’t make friends as he would bad-mouth guys.
When Awesome Kong began leading some efforts to help out people affected by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Bubba began insulting the nation, talking about the quake as a “cleansing.” When he bad-mouthed the nation more, Kong confronted him and proceeded to give Bubba what most witnesses called one of the most brutal beatdowns ever seen. Bubba was gone but Kong was also fired because of it despite how many backed her up.
While he is talented, John Bradshaw Leyfield is also a pretty brutal guy. He is stiff in the ring and would be the first to admit his push as a main event champion in 2004 wasn’t well received. But JBL also had some pretty crazy stuff that got him in trouble. Amazingly, he didn’t pay too harsh a price for the bit of him impersonating a Nazi during a show in Germany. There was also when he bloodied up the Blue Meanie during an in-ring brawl in 2005.
But JBL finally paid for his actions and it came from a very unexpected source. During a 2008 trip to Iraq, JBL was doing his usual “hazing” on announcer Joey Styles with rumors that JBL spent most of his time drunk. Finally, Styles had enough and punched JBL so hard Bradshaw needed stitches and makeup to cover his black eye. That this supposedly geeky announcer was the one who finally shut this bully up was a story fans loved to hear and proves you have to be careful who you pick on.
1 Dynamite Kid
While brilliant in the ring, Dynamite Kid was sadly better known for his horrible attitude out of it. His pranks could run from just crapping in a guy’s bag to drugging their drinks before they went driving. He was snappish and off-putting and ran down most anyone who got in his way. Dynamite was also stiff in the ring and had a habit of hitting guys way too hard while also getting into brawls off camera. It finally caught up to him in 1988 when Dynamite pulled yet another of his pranks, this one on Jacques Rougeau by double-locking his suitcase. Dynamite followed it up by attacking Jacques when Jacques talked about this to Vince McMahon.
Jacques responded by waiting for Dynamite to return from a match, then spun around the corner and blasted him in the face with a roll of quarters. Jacques kept on belting Dynamite until brother Raymond pulled him off. The Bulldogs left soon afterward and Jacques was hailed by the dressing room for finally standing up to Dynamite.