They say that you’ll be just as happy six months after winning the lottery as you were six months before winning the lottery. The point of that statement is that money, fame, and material possessions can only achieve so much. At the end of the day, you are the person that you are and you’ve got to change yourself from within. So when we say talk about washed up wrestlers from the ‘80s that happen to be huge jerks, we should be clear that we’re talking about people that were probably always jerks even when they were in the limelight.
However, there is something especially sad about those who have decided to shed their decency alongside fame and fortune. A star wrestler with an attitude problem? You’d almost expect such a thing. A wrestler whose glory days ended around the time that Ronald Reagan was the president who still doesn’t know that they’ve got to find a way to become members of modern society? That’s a truly tragic turn of affairs. These guys may be six months away from winning the lottery for all we know, but we guarantee you that six months afterward, they’ll still be the 15 washed up ‘80s wrestlers who are total jerks.
15. Honky Tonk Man
WWE has tried to replicate the Honky Tonk Man gimmick, but nothing is quite like the original. The idea of a wannabe Elvis wrestler was absurd, but it was the kind of absurd that got people genuinely angry. Still, Honky Tonk Man was never really a big name guy. Roy Wayne Farris, the guy who played him, believed he was, though. After leaving WWE, Farris tried to squeeze a big money contract out of WCW. Ever since then, Honky Tonk Man has been trying to get as much money out of the gimmick as he thinks he can.
14. Jake Roberts
Jake Roberts has certainly turned his life around in recent years with the help of some friends. Many consider the recent years of his life to be something of a feel-good story. That may be true, but there’s no getting around the fact that Jake Roberts spent a lot of his post-WWE years being a pretty awful human being. You’ve probably heard the story before. Jake spent most of his career years relying on the bottle and drugs to get through. When his time in the spotlight started to fade, Jake began a spiral of self-destruction that left some fans, promoters, and fans in its wake. We’re glad to hear that Jake is turning things around and wish him all the best in his efforts. However, there’s no denying that he was an awful person for years.
13. The Nasty Boys
The Nasty Boys certainly earned their name over the years. On the territorial scene, they established themselves as one of the hardest hitting tag teams on the planet. Actually, there was quite a bit of trouble that came along with that reputation. The Nasty Boys were known for taking advantage of the lower talent in the ring by using a ton of stiff shots and similar maneuvers.
Outside of the ring, the Nasty Boys are known for their childish antics and pranks. Recent years have seen the Nasty Boys ride Hulk Hogan’s fame as closely as possible in an attempt to stay employed. When that doesn’t work, they can usually be found making some kind of controversial political statement or trying to overcharge people at autograph sessions.
12. Jim Neidhart
There was actually a time when Vince McMahon and some others in WWE felt that Jim Neidhart was going to be the breakout member of the Hart Foundation. How anyone could think that Neidhart was better than Bret Hart is beyond us, but it’s clear things didn’t work out that way. Neidhart’s post-wrestling career has been filled with criminal charges and unbelievably awful decisions. In 2010, he was busted for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute as well as charges related to burglary and grand theft auto. He then became aggressive with police when they tried to detain him. Those close to Neidhart suggest this wasn’t an entirely unforeseen incident. He’d reportedly been on a personal decline for years leading up to that arrest.
11. Superstar Billy Graham
Billy Graham was an innovative wrestler. He wasn’t particularly good in the ring – not having an amateur wrestling background was a big deal at the time – but he was big, he dressed in a bold way, and he knew how to talk. He was the prototype for guys like Hulk Hogan and Triple H. He was also a huge jerk. Graham seems to be a little bit bitter that his star faded before everyone could see how great he was. Graham never fails to share his unfiltered opinion – usually a hateful one – regarding everyone.
He’s particularly angry at Chris Jericho. Graham once wished for Chris Jericho’s death and hoped that he had his tongue cut out. That’s because Jericho called Graham out for exploiting the Chris Benoit situation to get television time.
10. Abdullah the Butcher
Abdullah the Butcher was a hardcore wrestler before “hardcore wrestling” was really even a thing. Sure, you had guys that would throw stiff punches or use a chair from time to time, but Abdullah was a true innovator of violence. He was also a huge jerk. Actually, jerk isn’t even the right word here. Abdullah should arguably be in prison for his actions. Not only would he do things like cut open wrestlers against their will, but he reportedly failed to notify anyone of his Hepatitis C condition and may have infected many other wrestlers. Abdullah has tried to maintain a low profile over the years, but many other stars have come forward, to tell the truth about what kind of person he was and continue to be.
9. Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes has actually done quite well for himself in recent years. Following a long wrestling career in which he established himself as a top heel, Hayes went to work for WWE and quickly became a trusted creative advisor and road agent. It’s clear that someone thinks Michael Hayes is invaluable. We think it’s incredible that Hayes has a job at all. Hayes’ past is filled with many stories of drugs, alcohol, and racist tirades, but his recent history isn’t much better. For instance, he reportedly convinced Rosa Medes to start drinking again following her battle with alcoholism. He was suspended for that, but there’s no word on what happened when he supposedly made racist remarks towards Mark Henry. Hayes continues to be a prima donna.
8. Brutus Beefcake
We suppose you could call Brutus Beefcake a success story. The guy wasn’t the best wrestler, the best talker, or even the best looking dude, but he still enjoyed a long wrestling career that saw him participate in the main events of wrestling’s biggest shows. However, it’s hard to think of Beefcake as a “success story” given that all that undeserved fame has certainly gone to his head. There are many reports of fans meeting Beefcake at autograph conventions or indy shows and finding him to be an utter diva.
Drama aside, Beefcake is also a big fan of yelling his odd political beliefs on Twitter and riding Hulk Hogan’s remaining fame by talking about him to any media outlet that will listen to the washed-up star.
7. Greg Valentine
Greg Valentine is not a guy that a lot of old-school WWE fans will remember. That’s because most of Valentine’s best work came during his time in NWA. That’s when he had epic feuds with Roddy Piper and Ric Flair. After that, Valentine became something of a B player in the wrestling industry. Even though it’s been many years since Valentine has been truly relevant, that hasn’t exactly stopped the guy from becoming a bit of a jerk. Valentine has been the source of some truly shocking quotes regarding the role of women in wrestling and the modern world. Outside of his social media ramblings, Valentine has been known to no-show many an indie event and otherwise act like a bigger star than he is whenever speaking to fans or indie wrestlers.
6. Don Muraco
Don Muraco’s brief time in the WWE spotlight was caused by some vignettes the company aired which portrayed Muraco as something of a comedic heel. Muraco was a pretty decent all-around performer at that time, but it was clear that he had a ceiling. Muraco himself must have known that, because he spent many years slowly getting out of shape on company time. Of course, laziness doesn’t necessarily make you a jerk. Racism, however, usually does. Muraco worked racist elements into his character, but there are many stories that indicate that Muraco spent quite a bit of personal time “getting into character.” Were it not for the fact that Muraco came up during a time when such things were more tolerated, there is no doubt he would have been released years ago.
We’ve seen some “autograph convention jerks” on this list, but few of them compare to Virgil. For those who may not remember or know, Virgil achieved “fame” by being The Million Dollar Man’s bodyguard. The two were a decent team and eventually worked a pretty good feud. After that, Virgil basically fell off the face of the Earth (aside from a brief WCW run). Following all that, Virgil became known as the world’s saddest wrestler. As pitiful as the image of Virgil sitting alone at a convention is, the guy pretty much only has himself to blame for it. Virgil has spent years trying to garner attention through any means necessary. From asking fans for money for no real reason to misleading promoters and convention runners, Virgil is just desperate to be relevant.
4. Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette was rarely a wrestler, but he was certainly relevant throughout the ‘80s. Actually, Cornette is arguably the greatest wrestling manager of all time. He always managed to get his “clients” over and made quite a name for himself both in the ring and behind the scenes. In recent years, Cornette has become more famous as an outspoken critic of just about everyone and everything. While the guy is occasionally quite entertaining, it’s becoming clear that he has made it his mission in life to speak out against anything that might challenge his ability to remain relevant. He hates most wrestlers that aren’t “old-school” purists and doesn’t exactly make a habit of burying the hatchet. To put it all another way, Cornette strikes us as the kind of guy that won’t tip a waitress out of principle.
3. Dynamite Kid
First off, Dynamite Kid is actually still alive. That might come as a shock to those who are familiar with the details of his career. Not only was Kid an all-out type of performer who usually put his body in harm’s way, but he was fond of putting as many dangerous chemicals into his body as possible. Even though the health problems that Kid has suffered are as tragic as they sound, few weep for the man given how big of a jerk he has been. Kid would do things like inject milk into other wrestlers’ veins. When he wasn’t having “fun,” he was known to assault wrestlers during matches for no real reason at all. There’s not been any indication that Kid’s strokes and other health problems have made him any gentler over the years.
2. Hulk Hogan
While our next two entrants stretch the meaning of the term “washed-up,” there is little doubt that they qualify as ‘80s stars turned jerks. Well, they’ve probably always been jerks, but they’ve certainly become bigger jerks with time. Consider Hulk Hogan, for instance. There was a time when the name Hulk Hogan was synonymous with the very idea of professional wrestling. He transcended the business. Even then, though, Hogan was a huge jerk who used his power to stay on top for as long as possible.
Since retiring, Hogan has been the source of racist rants, creepy comments about his daughter, and more than a few pathetic tirades about wrestlers. Hogan is almost certainly addicted to fame at this point. That hasn’t made him the best person in the world.
1. Ric Flair
Ric Flair was recently the star of a well-received ESPN documentary that broke down his storied career. The documentary made two things clear. Ric Flair was truly a legendary performer, and Ric Flair was a legendary jerk. Flair tossed aside his family, his many wives, and arguably his own well-being in pursuit of becoming the most famous wrestler in the world.
What makes Flair the biggest jerk of them all is that time, age, and knowledge don’t seem to have really made Flair any better of a person. He still gets into bar fights, he still harasses women, and he still neglects those closest to him. Flair realizes that he acts in a self-destructive manner, but he seems to be incapable – or perhaps unwilling – to really change his ways.
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