There was once a saying that talked about how it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it. This is the issue that many celebrities and wrestlers have had over the past few decades because they did everything right in their career and were liked by the crowd before they retired and made one big mistake. In the past these incidents might have been contained to a simple anecdote a fan would remember and tell their friends about, but the world has changed since those simple times.
In a world where Social Media means that no one has any privacy anymore, it's hard for many of these stars to bounce back when the WWE Universe finally sees the real person behind their on-screen character. This is why many stars are now deemed jerks by their former fanbase. It could be the bitterness that comes with the end of a career at the top level that turns these superstars into shadows of their former selves, or it could just be the fact that this person was there all along but remained very well hidden.
There have been many respected WWE stars who have turned into real jerks over the past few years and the following list looks at some of the most famous examples of superstars who many of the WWE Universe have now lost a lot of respect for.
15 Hardcore Holly
Hardcore Holly was a superstar that many of the WWE Universe respected throughout his career before it was revealed how much of a bully he was to superstars backstage. Much like JBL, Holly had got himself quite a reputation and would be part of a group of stars who would ensure that anyone who didn't know their place would soon find out what it was.
Holly's most famous backstage story was when he attacked and threatened Renee Dupree for getting him a parking ticket. A ticket that Renee offered to pay double to settle, but Holly refused and decided to get physical with the youngster instead because that was the only way he knew how to settle a problem. Holly hasn't been well-liked by the WWE Universe for a long time because of this reputation.
14 John Cena
John Cena won't be a popular addition to this list, but it seems that he is another star who fans have finally been able to see for what he really is. Cena has become the star that he is in the company because he hasn't been afraid to get his hands dirty.
He has buried numerous talents over the years with Alex Riley still the bravest one to come forward and tell his story. Cena is seen on Total Divas treating Nikki Bella like she doesn't even matter to him and regularly insults her, but because of who he is this is acceptable. This is not to mention all the antics he got up to with various women over the years. The leader of the CeNation has finally reached a point in his career where his fans can see through him and they realize that behind the on-screen character and the Make-A-Wish charity, he is actually a real jerk to people when he wants to be.
The WWE Universe was so excited to hear that Goldberg was returning to WWE last year, but when he did it was a slight disappointment. Goldberg is remembered as one of the biggest stars that WCW ever created, but he was also one of the most egotistical.
Goldberg once had a real backstage fight with Chris Jericho because he refused to fight the former World Champion, but it was Jericho who got the better of their exchange. It seems that he hasn't changed over the years either since there were more stories about his self-righteous attitude after his recent return. He is a star that much of the WWE Universe wouldn't want to darken a WWE ring ever again. Luckily WWE has much better and younger talent to focus their attention on.
12 Randy Orton
Many fans have lost a lot of respect for Randy Orton over the past few years because of the things that he has done to other wrestlers. Orton is a third-generation superstar so he has always had a much easier path than many other wrestlers, but that doesn't mean he has made it easy for anyone else.
Orton was the reason Mr Kennedy was fired, mostly because The Viper gave the company an ultimatum and he has recently begun targeting Kevin Owens on Social Media because of his weight. While their interactions come across too many fans as just banter, it seems that Orton really dislikes Owens and using his size against him is just a harsh way to show this. Orton isn't considered to be an approachable person backstage, which could be why many consider him to be a jerk.
Batista is a former World Champion and a star whose name has been rumoured to be headlining next year's Hall of Fame class, but it seems that despite having a fantastic career in WWE, Batista has his own fair share of bad qualities.
Batista has lost the respect of the WWE fanbase over the past few years because of the fact that he was brought back to TV in 2014 and tried to take Daniel Bryan's place. Batista held WWE to ransom and told them that he would only return if he was given the title and when he was told that he couldn't have it, he left again. The Animal has his own fair share of enemies backstage as well, having started a real fight with Booker T a few years ago which he went on to lose.
10 Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin was once one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. His popularity has not stumbled since he has left the wrestling business, but his character has remained the same.
One of the biggest marks on Austin's career came when it was revealed that he had domestically abused his ex-wife and former WWE star Debra Marshall. Austin didn't seem like the kind of man who would do this to someone he loved, but it was later revealed that this had happened a number of times throughout their short time together. When the WWE Universe found out about this they lost a lot of respect for The Texas Rattlesnake because there is never any excuse to put your hands on a woman, especially not your wife.
9 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash is another star from WCW who has allowed the ego that wrestling gave him to take over his life. Nash was once a well-respected star, but now stories of his exploits from behind the scenes in WCW have been revealed and the WWE Universe have made up their own minds.
Nash has a lot to thank wrestling for, but he is another star who doesn't have any gratitude for the business that made him famous since he regularly slates the company and the stars who currently work there. Nash has always come across as a star who had a huge ego but he also has a history of being a jerk to both fans and wrestlers, so this isn't something new.
8 The Honky Tonk Man
The man who still holds the record as the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time was once one of the most popular stars in the company as well. It was only after Honky Tonk Man's career came to an end that he became bitter towards his fans and former employers and now has a terrible reputation because of that.
Honky Tonk Man also declined a Hall of Fame induction back in 2010 because he holds a lot of disdain when it comes to WWE and regularly throws shade at the company while being very critical about everything they are currently doing. He has also been known to charge fans to take pictures with him and comes off as very rude to his fans, which could be why he has pretty much been forgotten by the WWE Universe at this point.
7 Ric Flair
The Nature Boy is one of the most respected wrestlers of all time. After a career that spanned more than three decades, he created quite the fanbase all over the world. Despite this, it seems that Flair is another star who thinks it's OK to treat his fans badly, not show up to autograph signings and continue to act like his in-ring character despite his career being over.
Ric has recently struggled with health issues and this could have allowed him to realize that his fanbase is there for him no matter what. Hopefully, this allows Flair to regain some of the respect he has lost over the past few years and become the WWE Legend that was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice and was always a star who had time for his fans.
6 Scott Hall
Scott Hall was one of the superstars that many of the WWE Universe looked up to in the 1990s since Razor Ramon seemed to be the coolest star in the business. Scott behaved like his character in real life until his wrestling career ended and his various addictions took hold.
Scott is a WWE Hall of Famer now and over the past few years, the WWE Universe has helped him to undergo hip surgery by raising and sending him money to pay for the operation. Scott then forgot to send out thank you cards or even messages to people who had helped him with his health problems and still continues to be rude to fans on a regular basis, even going so far as to deny a terminally ill child an autograph.
5 John "Bradshaw" Layfield
It's hard to believe that there was a time when JBL was respected by the WWE Universe and the WWE locker room until his backstage antics became public knowledge and his fan base turned against him.
When it was revealed that JBL had been bullying fellow commentator Mauro Ranallo, the former WWE Champion received a lot of criticism on Social Media before later deciding to step away from his position as a commentator in what he claimed was an unrelated decision. JBL has done some horrible things to aspiring wrestlers over the past few decades and the worst part of this is the fact that he was able to get away with it for so long. He is the definition of a bully and thankfully is now finally getting exactly what he deserves.
4 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Jake Roberts is a WWE Hall of Famer and a man who the WWE Universe has supported through his addictions and subsequent health issues. Roberts was once one of the most respected and talented stars in the locker room until he walked away from the business. It was hoped that he would overcome his recent health problems and this would help him to change as a person.
He has instead become quite hostile and rude to his fans when they have paid to meet him. Many fans helped to support him when he needed money for surgeries and to live because of the mistakes he had made and it appears he still think it's acceptable to treat them like they are beneath him, which is beyond unacceptable for a man in his position.
3 CM Punk
CM Punk was once considered to be The Best in the World. He was the longest reigning WWE champion of the modern era and one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE history. Punk made the decision to walk away and ever since he developed a hatred of the company and everyone who mentions it around him.
Any fans who have met Punk over the past few years will eagerly share the fact that he came across as condescending and passive aggressive when asked anything about the career he once had in the squared circle. This isn't new, as Punk has been like this for most of his career. But he hid behind his heel persona and now that there isn't a persona to hide behind, people are able to see the real Phil Brooks.
2 Bret Hart
Bret Hart comes from one of the most respected wrestling families in the business and earned the respect of the WWE Universe when he became "the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be." Bret left WWE in 1997 and didn't return for more than a decade, but it seems that in the time he was gone Bret completely changed.
Hart is often seen online now finding fault with WWE superstars and he genuinely seems to have a problem with Seth Rollins. The fact that he called the world champion out for a number of injuries that weren't his fault was slightly harsh, and it led to many of Bret's fans turning against him because this wasn't behaviour that they would expect from a WWE legend.
1 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was one one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. He was the first WWE star who became a recognizable star all over the world, but the last few years have revealed the real person behind the Hogan character.
Hogan has had his own fair share of personal issues over the past few years, but a tape that was leaked to the media showing that the former World Champion had a racist side was one of the worst things to happen to his career. Many WWE fans have lost all respect for Hogan and distanced themselves from him, much like WWE when the company first heard his comments. Hogan has been keeping a low profile over the past few years, and who can blame him. His comments gained him a lot of enemies all over the world.
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