How much do you have to try and be a jerk to get the entire locker room and a host of other wrestlers and writers to hate your guts? The answer is, pretty hard. While full of backstage politics, the professional wrestling business is one of the most forgiving industries in the world. Talent who have burned almost every bridge seem to be welcomed back with open arms. Wrestlers who are known for being Grade-A jerks somehow get to keep their jobs despite being almost impossible to work with. Why? The fans and the almighty dollar. As the WWE likes to say, “it’s what’s best for business.”
If you’re a professional wrestler who has a following and is respected by the WWE Universe, a lot of what you do behind the scenes goes unpunished. You can get away with more than other wrestlers might, you follow a different set of rules and you get pushed, earn titles and win matches you might not otherwise. All of those things make you the type of personality not everyone backstage adores. Over the last 20 years or so, there have been a variety of wrestlers who have become as known for (if not more known for) their poor behaviour than what they offered to the wrestling industry. In many cases, that was a lot.
Wrestlers like Kevin Nash and Scott Hall changed the way contracts are written. Legends like Hulk Hogan helped the business go national and today’s stars like Randy Orton, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Enzo Amore and John Cena have been known to touch a few people’s last nerve.
Who is the worst of the worst? Everyone’s list may differ slightly but we think we’ve narrowed it down to 15 possible candidates.
15. Randy Orton
Randy Orton is notorious for being a grade-a jerk. Even he admitted that when he was younger he had a tendency to really be difficult to work with and treated others like garbage. Today, he’s supposedly cleaned his act up but every now again he pops up on social media making fun of guys like Kevin Owens for his weight or trashing fans who take a photo of him when he might not like it.
He’s rumoured to be cutting back on his in-ring time and moving toward a part-time schedule in February of 2018. Our guess is that there aren’t too many wrestlers backstage who are going to be sad he’s not around all the time. He’s hugely respected for his natural ability and gift as a wrestler. He’s just universally disliked.
14. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan has burned so many bridges in wrestling that he’s going to have a tough time getting promotions like the WWE to trust he won’t do something foolish and poorly represent the company. But, because he’s Hulk Hogan and known as one of the most iconic wrestlers in the history of the business, there is always a change WWE or another promotion gives him a shot and tries to earn money of his name.
Hogan has made racist remarks, been caught on camera doing wildly inappropriate things and has public beefs with former best friends on a regular basis. You wonder if those friends are a little loopy but there are too many people who dislike Hogan not to wonder if he’s a real piece of work behind the scenes.
13. Steve Austin
If there’s one thing Steve Austin is good at, it’s not giving a crap. From comments he makes directly to the guests of his podcast to his former days as a WWE wrestler, Austin was about as difficult a WWE Superstar as there ever was to work with. Even he’s admitted that when he didn’t like something, he simply pouted and told people to f’ off without offering alternative ideas or solutions.
Austin doesn’t exactly have the warmest and fuzzy past either. From arrests to domestic abuse charges and stories of him being anything but kind when he’s drinking (which is often), he has a massive reputation for being somewhat of a horrible person to be around. He was undeniably a huge star but he took that as a free pass to be an @$$. He got away with it too because he drew so much money for the company.
12. Sami Zayn And Kevin Owens
The next generation of WWE Superstars is quickly building a reputation for being as tricky to work with as some of the older generation. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are a good example. Both came from ROH where they’d built up a nasty reputation as almost impossible to work with. They often went into business for themselves and needed constant management. WWE was warned both these guys might be an issue but up until about a month ago, neither was.
But, things reared their ugly head when they refused to do a scripted spot on SmackDown Live and as a result, got removed from the European tour early. Owens has a history of getting into things with other wrestlers and fans on social media and despite Zayn looking like a real leader in the back, he’s known for making trouble too.
11. Sin Cara
There is a long line of stories about wrestlers fighting backstage. With this much testosterone and tons of time on the road with backstage politics and egos getting in the way, it’s bound to happen that talent doesn’t always see eye to eye. Few, however, have a history as deep as the new Sin Cara for starting and getting into fights backstage.
He’s apparently pretty good at it too. Respected for having saved the Sin Cara character and for having whooped a few of the heavyweights in the back, there aren’t many who volunteer to get into it with Sin Cara. The problem is, he’s become known as a guy looking for a fight and that runs the risk that guys will get into trouble. Considering he’s often on the cusp of losing his spot on the roster, you’d think he’d be more selective about starting stuff, but I guess he just likes to fight.
JBL’s became the number one villain in the WWE in 2017. Called out for his bullying and terrible hazing of talent backstage, he ended up leaving his position in the WWE and taking a very part-time, silent role in the company. After poop hit the fan over Mauro Ranallo quitting WWE, JBL was basically made out to be enemy No. 1 and it was probably deserved.
He’s had a history of talking poorly about another talent, legitimately physically abusing them and using his friendship with Vince McMahon to get away with things that most others wouldn’t dare try. Still, he’s a highly decorated heel talent that helped launch SmackDown and he had a long career in the WWE, still sticking around after many have come and gone.
When Goldberg returned in 2017, he was spoken of as a different and changed man. Known for his time in WCW where he refused to cooperate with a lot of the planning, never wanting to lose, thinking he was the industry’s biggest star for years and acting holier than thou, Goldberg wasn’t well liked. He had backstage altercations with a few guys including Chris Jericho.
Even during his return this past year he refused to take bumps and practice for his final match with Brock Lesnar. He constantly complained about the schedule and how hard it was to make a return. It may all be true but people didn’t care, they just wanted to see one of the Monday Night War’s most iconic stars return to kick some butt.
8. Enzo Amore
Probably near the top of the most hated men working in the WWE right now, Enzo has spent the last year trying to shake a reputation that he’s incredibly arrogant and has no respect for the business. To be honest, he might not even be trying to shake that image.
Enzo doesn’t give two craps about what he says or who he says it to and he thinks he’s a much bigger star than he really is because he’s got a gift on the mic. Other wrestlers have kicked him off of tour buses, he’s been booted from the locker room and wrestlers have quit over having to lose to him. He’s likely working on borrowed time but it doesn’t seem to change his behaviour. It is likely his fall is hard and legendary. It just hasn’t happened yet.
7. Scott Steiner
If you looked up the definition of crazy, insane, bitter, sour, arrogant or lunatic, you’d probably see a picture of Scott Steiner. He’s hated by a lot of people, but his hatred for most of the world is so loud you don’t hear much from the people who think Steiner is a blowhard (which he is).
Steiner will go on undecipherable rants over anything and everything. He’s called out former and current wrestlers, has restraining orders filed against him and for some reason he still thinks he’s God’s greatest gift to wrestling even though he hasn’t been relevant for over a decade. For a while, Steiner was a fantastic tag team wrestler and super popular heel in WCW, but those days are long gone.
6. Buff Bagwell
Bagwell was booted out of the WWE faster than almost any other hired talent in history. That’s saying a lot considering the turnover that exists in wrestling and if you consider Bagwell was a hugely popular star in WCW during the Monday Night War. He was fired because he wasn’t in physical shape, he was lazy and he often had his mom call in to excuse him from working. That’s the kind of stuff a teenager would do.
Bagwell almost single-handedly killed the WCW Invasion in the WWE years ago and while he’s not the same “Buff the Stuff” he was back then, he still acts like it. Fortunately, unlike a lot of other stars on this list, he stays mostly off the radar these days.
5. CM Punk
The stories of CM Punk’s attitude are legendary in wrestling. Widely known as one of the most hated guys backstage, he showed his true colours to the world when he bailed on the WWE and said nothing but negative things on the way out, including the fact that he no longer liked wrestling and insinuated that he was better than the industry.
Many will suggest Punk was treated like garbage by the WWE on the way out but there’s a saying that goes, “karma is a real bi^*%”. He’s cocky, he’s arrogant and he’s known as being one of the most unhappy talents ever to work backstage in the WWE. Even Vince suggested he was notoriously hard to please. Punk has kept busy since he left and people still cheer him because he was known for his “pipe bomb” which changed the way wrestling meets real life.
4. Kevin Nash And Scott Hall
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were hugely popular in WWE as Diesel and Razor Ramon. When WCW came calling, these two changed the way contracts were signed for wrestlers and secured guaranteed contracts for a number of Superstars. In WCW, they helped secure several ratings wins over a year-long period.
While this was all happening, Nash used his political pull to secure wins for his friends, got others demoted or fired and was a major contributing factor to WCW going under. Meanwhile, Hall was intoxicated for half his tenure in the company and a handful to deal with. Both had plenty of enemies and today they still throw pro wrestlers, especially smaller guys, under the bus on a regular basis.
3. John Cena
John Cena may be one of the most popular and more winning professional wrestlers in WWE history. He’s also well known as a guy who goes out of his way to work with Make-A-Wish kids and special causes. His extracurricular time spent doing things for the company to represent them is legendary. So is his mean streak.
Not one to shy away from getting guys in hot water, he’s been known to bury talent, tell writers he won’t bother to learn their names since they won’t last long anyway or take the spot destined for up-and-coming talent, he’s made plenty of enemies and many former WWE Superstars have some not-so-nice things to say. Some of this is jealousy that he’s so successful. Some of it is Cena. He can be difficult at the best of times.
2. Triple H
If Triple H wasn’t a chip off the old block he’s taking notes from his father-in-law rather quickly. Known to be as political as they come, he was the first person to suggest the company screw over Bret Hart. He’s also buried talent he doesn’t like, gotten guys fired, cheated on his girlfriend to marry the boss’ daughter and some have gone so far to suggest (one being his own friend Kevin Nash) that he only married Stephanie to advance his career.
Triple H will go down one of the all-time greats, but he had to stab a lot of people and be underhanded in many situations to get where he’s at. You don’t go from being a wrestler who was almost fired to the next in line to take over a billion dollar company without knowing how to make calculated moves.
1. Vince McMahon
The McMahon’s have built an empire and Vince is the head of it. With that comes a way of doing business to ensure he, and no one else, runs the show. When you have this many headstrong and egotistical talents in one place, you almost have to be forceful and sometimes nasty to get respect. That said, some of the things the boss is known for is being creepy.
Vince has been known to cheat on his wife, write storylines that are terribly inappropriate, send faxes of termination on people’s wedding day, use angles to get with women, say the n-word on television, punish talents on national tv, get steroids for his employees, fire people without just cause, make fun of them after they’ve left and more. Some people believe Vince is a regular genius, but also that there’s a place reserved downstairs for the Chairman of the WWE.
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