Who you choose to cheer for as a WWE fan is your prerogative. You can boo who you want and cheer who you want and your reaction allows you to have the most fun possible at a live event or while watching WWE programming on television. So too, your reaction to WWE Superstars have power.
If a talent is no longer loved nor resonates with a WWE audience, it could mean a shorter career than a longer one. Such things have happened with talents like Damien Sandow, James Ellsworth and a host of other stars who had fan support and lost it. Sometimes, a WWE talent can be saved by the reaction of the fans. Names like Daniel Bryan and Rusev were on the chopping block until the WWE Universe rallied behind them and catapulted them into superstardom.
Then, there are instances where a talent becomes hated and it has nothing to do with the fans or their in-ring behaviour. The ire they draw from the fans isn’t because of their persona or on-screen personality. The fans learn to dislike these people because they’re simply not good people. We’ve put together a list of current and former WWE stars who fall into one of these two categories. Some were loved and are now hated because they’ve lost the audience. Some are hated because they’ve given people a reason to not like them as people.
As you go through the following list, where do you think these wrestlers fit? Did we peg them just write or are we out to lunch?
15. Alberto Del Rio
One could argue that Alberto Del Rio was never the most popular WWE Superstar the company ever employed but there was a time he was pegged to be the WWE’s next big Latino star. Fans were either very much behind him or loved to jeer him.
Then Del Rio decided to let his true colours shine. He became unbearable to work with, physically struck a WWE social media employee, started all sorts of backstage feuds with important people like Triple H and dated female stars like Paige, dragging her reputation through the mud. He’s since been extremely vocal about his distaste for the WWE and people are sick of his drama. He’s burned way too many bridges and is talking about retirement as a result.
14. Scott Steiner
Big Poppa Pump is considered by most fans to have a few loose screws. Not since the Iron Sheik has a wrestler gone on social media rants in the same way Scott Steiner has. Most of his rants are so unfounded or difficult to understand that fans think he’s lost it and simply jealous that people have gone on to find more success post their wrestling careers than he has.
It’s a far cry from his days as one of the more popular heels in WCW and a very decorated tag team specialist. There was even a time he led WCW as their No. 1 bad guy because he brought a freshness and some uncertainty to the things he’d say. Once it was realized he lived his entire life that way and threatened people in real life, fans no longer wanted to support him. His behaviour just wasn’t acceptable and it still isn’t.
13. Bret Hart
The “Excellence of Execution” Bret Hart was a Canadian hero and for years, the WWE’s most popular Superstar. He led the WWE at a time when business was struggling and it could be argued that he kept the company going for years. When he wanted to stay a part of WWE, McMahon essentially pushed him to WCW and he was screwed on the way out. That said, Hart has stayed bitter for 20 years and fans are sick of his whining.
When he went to WCW he was among the most bitter of wrestlers, he had nothing but good things to say and today he’s still bitter, openly criticizing current WWE wrestlers and WWE storylines. He’s doing all of this while asking for employment. It’s not likely to happen. Fans don’t want to hear Hart’s whining anymore and until he stops, people will have turned on him.
12. The Kliq
This entry belongs not to just one person, but an entire faction who went from the most popular to the most hated backstage. The Kliq consisted of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, X-Pac, Triple H and Shawn Michaels. While they were all huge stars in the WWE and WCW (not Michaels), they became notorious for their backstage politicking and had friction with almost everyone but their own Kliq members.
Nash has been publicly critical of smaller wrestlers in interviews and has openly talked about how things fell apart in WCW (refusing to take responsibility for his role). X-Pac found a way to create a new name for being booed despite being a good wrestler. It was called “X-Pac heat” and it meant you were going to get booed no matter what. Scott Hall couldn’t overcome his demons and became a burden on so many people and Michaels was responsible for Bret Hart’s ugly departure.
11. Triple H
Credit should be given where credit is due. Triple H has transitioned from in-ring wrestler to the corporate office better than any competitor in pro wrestling history. He’s a sure thing for the WWE Hall of Fame and while he’s still highly respected, there was a time he was among the most popular of WWE Superstars.
Today, he’s a mix of people who enjoy his crazy antics and his less than frequent appearances to a guy fans wish would just step aside so new talents can be given the opportunity they deserve. Since he’s done so much for the current product, it might be harsh to say Triple H is hated. He’s responsible for a lot of what we enjoy as fans. Does that mean he has to hog the spotlight at some of the WWE’s biggest events? Of course not!
10. Enzo Amore
At one point, Enzo Amore was arguably the most popular WWE Superstar on the roster. He was a huge star in NXT and when he was called up to the main roster with Big Cass there wasn’t a fan in the audience that didn’t know their catch phrase. But as Cass got hurt and Enzo started earning a reputation as a disturbance backstage, fans started to see what kind of trouble Enzo might actually be.
That he was ousted as one of the least talented in-ring performers didn’t help matters and today’s wrestling fans want to cheer WWE Superstars that can put on quality matches. Amore was rumored to be a reason a very good talent in Neville left, he was given the franchise tag for 205 Live and as their champion, he’s proving he can’t draw fans. The WWE Universe isn’t into Amore nearly as much as they were.
9. Booker T
Booker T is the “five time, five time, five time…” champion. But, at least five times a night he says something completely insane or inappropriate while being a part of the announce team on Raw each Monday. He’s become so synonymous for saying things that just get his co-announcers giggling with befuddlement that he’s likely in risk of drawing the ire of the backstage brass who don’t want the announcing of their flagship show to become a joke.
On a weekly, sometimes nightly basis, Booker To contradicts himself. He doesn’t know if he’s coming or going and episode by episode he’s destroying his legacy one word at a time. Fans are vocally tired of having to try and understand his commentary and many in the WWE Universe simply want the announcers to focus on the in-ring action and not each other. It’s hard not to focus on Booker T when he talks.
8. Bray Wyatt
It’s probably not the fault of Bray Wyatt but he went from being one of the next big things in WWE to a running joke. His segments are most incoherent rambling full of overwriting by the WWE writers and he’s recently become a laughing gag when the WWE tried to dress him in drag to make him the mysterious Sister Abigail.
WWE completely destroyed his character, ruined the Wyatt Family and have made him, at time, unwatchable television. It’s amazing considering it wasn’t even two years ago people tuned into the show to see what he might do next. He has also been caught cheating on his wife, which is pretty low.
We still love Bayley and this writer is under the impression WWE hasn’t used her properly. That said, she was viewed as a female talent who was giving people a reason to watch NXT, was headlining matches with Sasha Banks and making history and her call-up to the main roster was viewed as a huge plus.
Today, her “hugger” gimmick hasn’t worked, she’s been injured, the WWE has visibly lost confidence in her and while she’s been given small pushes, they don’t seem to last and she moves down the totem pole, putting over talent meant to be enhancers. Bayley needs matches that showcase her ability to get fans emotionally involved. She’s not had many, if any, since her WWE arrival and as such, fans just don’t care about her like they once did. It’s not too late though, she has the ability to get people back on her side.
6. Jason Jordan
When Jason Jordan was one half of the tag team American Alpha, fans thought they were witnessing the next big thing in the WWE tag team division. He and Chad Gable had unlimited potential and their popularity in NXT was unmatched. When they arrived in WWE, things looked good at first.
The WWE then decided they weren’t ready for a major push and simply forgot about them on SmackDown Live. Eventually, the two split and Jordan was thrust into one of the worst storylines of 2017. Fans immediately hated Jordan, either because of his connection to Kurt Angle, his undeserved push or his attitude, but he hasn’t recovered since. No matter where WWE puts him, the fans aren’t buying it. He’s booed no matter who he’s with and that’s probably not what WWE expected.
Kane was WWE’s biggest monster for a near decade. He was the only real match for The Undertaker and he was feared, taking out many of the WWE’s roster all at one time. For a while, even though he wasn’t booked as a heel, he was hugely popular with guys like Daniel Bryan and The Hurricane. Then he became a laughing stock.
When he became a “corporate stooge”, he was dropping matches left, right and centre and he eventually disappeared for a while. He made a recent return as the old-school monster, only it wasn’t believable. He earned wins over favourites like Finn Balor and most fans don’t think he deserves his spot. Fans seem just as happy for Kane not to be around. He likely won’t last long past the Royal Rumble.
4. John Cena
John Cena may go down as one of the most popular WWE performers in history. It can be argued he was more loved and popular than Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Hulk Hogan and perhaps no one was the definition of WWE more than Cena was in the last 15 years.
Today, he’s become a part-time player in the company and no one seems to care that he’s gone. When he is around he’s half jeered and half cheered, he’s not relevant in most of his matches and fans are worried he’ll bury a younger talent to stay relevant. He also has a very checkered past with women and has treated other wrestlers very poorly. And we all CAN see that.
3. Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio was the Latino high-flyer that the WWE needed when they went from big men running wrestling to undersized stars who had total fan support. When Eddie Guerrero passed away, Mysterio was “the guy” and he became a huge fan favorite.
Then, while at the top, his outfits and character got more and more elaborate, he developed an attitude. There was speculation he kept himself out of the company due to unhappiness but called it injuries and he eventually worked his way out of being employed. Now he’s become irrelevant enough that when he wants to come back to the WWE and the WWE could use him, they’ve declined.
2. Randy Orton
If you want to find an example of a talent who was pegged as the next great one, had everything you’d want in a pro wrestler, became the youngest WWE Champion in the company’s history and had a finisher that went viral, you’d find Randy Orton. Somehow, Orton has managed to throw most of that good fortune away.
His terrible and childish behavior, willingness to mock other wrestlers and fans, his propensity to try and get others fired and his constant going over talents more deserving of the push has made him a WWE talent that fans are happy is set to take a break in 2018. His last pay-per-view he was in the main event and not a single person talked about him. Anyone as gifted as him will always have fans, but to abuse those gifts in the way Orton has, rubbed many fans the wrong way.
1. Brock Lesnar
In adding Brock Lesnar to this list, we are admitting that Lesnar himself is still an attraction. The problem is, he’s not the attraction he was once was and since he’s the Universal Champion and rarely shows up on television he’s got a huge grouping of fans who’ve started to dislike that he’s still a part of the WWE.
He ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak, he’s got an attitude and keeps to himself. He calls wrestling a job and not a passion and he seems to always be on the verge of leaving for something that will pay him more, even though he’s making the highest salary in the company for working half the time. His last few matches haven’t been nearly as good as they could be and many believe it’s time to move on from Lesnar as the lead guy on Raw. He may Bounce to UFC for another massive pay day.
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