Professional wrestlers have some of the toughest road schedules imaginable. World Wrestling Entertainment is viewed as the most strenuous with more than 200 shows – between live events, televised programs and pay-per-views – going across the globe. Other promotions try to have the tapings for their respective television programs; leaving wrestlers to try to make more money by going to various independent shows.
Life on the road can be a constant drain both physically and mentally for pro wrestlers. When at a restaurant or airport, they usually try to relax as much as possible before the travel continues. This is also one of the prime times a wrestling fan might try to approach them for a picture, an autograph or they have a few questions to ask.
It would be understandable if a wrestler was not feeling up to it. Most are accommodating. But any fan who knows how busy they can be should be understanding. However, there are a number of wrestlers who have been rude in their response. Tactfulness was not equated in their calculated answer.
There are a number of wrestlers who have become marked with terms like “rude,” “mean” and several nicknames that would never fly as PG-friendly. It’s not just outside of wrestling events where fans have experienced their wrestling encounter horror story. Fans have also seen and felt some terrible things at shows all over. In some cases, a wrestler in question is being a little too reckless during the show.
Regardless of the when, where and why, the following are 15 pro wrestlers who have developed terrible reputations among wrestling fans.
15 Billy Gunn
A number of wrestling fans haven’t had the most positive things to say about Billy Gunn. Despite being one of the more popular faces during the Attitude Era, this New Age Outlaw has often been mean to the fans who want to get either an autograph or a quick picture. Gunn has been heard telling several fans to “f*** off” when they approached him. This isn’t necessarily different than some of the others on the list, but Gunn seems to be a continuous offender on message boards.
Another fan had a story about being 14 years old and asking Gunn for advice in becoming a wrestler. Gunn’s response was that the fan was too short before asking for security to remove him from the autograph signing that was charging fans. This might have been before the likes of Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio were over in the WWE.
Raven was most known for his time in ECW during the 1990s. But he still had a very successful run in WCW as the United States Champion during the Monday Night Wars. He had a failed run in the WWE during the early 2000s and has jumped around between TNA Wrestling and the independent circuit. More often than not, Raven is found at a local indie event where he tries to make money on autographs, printed photos and other merchandise.
Fans have gone online to write about their issues with Raven’s demeanor at indie events. One fan recalled already paying the promoter to receive autographs for no cost. But Raven told him he had to buy photographs to do so. Another fan also recalled Raven being distant towards a fan who was thanking him for his years in wrestling, only because the fan wasn’t going to buy any merchandise.
13 Mark Henry
It can be understandable to be cautious of approaching someone like Mark Henry. First of all, he’s more than 400 pounds and has been billed The World’s Strongest Man for good reason. He’s the kind of person you wouldn’t want to upset at a bar. One fan unfortunately did while the WWE was finishing up a European tour in Belfast, Ireland. At a bar after a show in August 2010, Henry apparently confronted a fan and allegedly threw a drink at him while shouting.
The fan told The Derry Journal that Henry was being held back by other WWE wrestlers and claimed Chavo Guerrero was egging him on. This led to Henry being arrested and later cited with what was called “adult caution.” In addition to this moment, a number of fans have written on message boards about Henry giving death glares to people with cameras and generally being cold to talk to.
12 Kevin Owens
This one depends on if you have ever found yourself on the receiving end of a social media insult from Kevin Owens. But part of what has made Owens so popular in the WWE is how he does act like a heel; which can sometimes mean making the fans not like you. This has led to Owens taking on the role of the WWE’s version of Gordon Ramsay by throwing insults back at the fans.
He’s even gone as far to do some digging on the fans' social media pages to find something embarrassing to point out. Owens has also called out fans during live events; sometimes to a point where some feel a line has been crossed. Like the time he told a 7-year-old fan in a Roman Reigns T-shirt that he wasn’t allowed to ever buy one of Owens’ shirts. At least Owens is doing a good job of getting some fans to boo him at matches, which is what a heel is supposed to do, right?
11 New Jack
A few fans have written online about New Jack’s behavior towards requests for autographs and photographs. Maybe New Jack hasn’t accumulated as many complaints as some of the other wrestlers on this list. But the perception among fans is that he is dangerous in the ring and shouldn’t really be allowed to compete in another wrestling event anywhere. It all stems from his violent history in his career.
Several times, New Jack has arguably taken things too far with how deep he cut a young, inexperienced wrestler in the infamous Mass Transit Incident. Then there’s the 2003 incident where he legitimately attacked Gypsy Joe for “not selling his moves.” One year later, New Jack stabbed a wrestler only moments into their match after a couple of stiff shots. New Jack has been known for controversy, which is why fans have harsh words about his “legacy.”
10 Bubba Ray Dudley
Bubba Ray Dudley really embraced the “bully” gimmick well during his singles run in TNA Wrestling. After several years of being part of one of the most popular tag teams, Bubba Ray really earned himself the right to be called a world champion (even if it was in TNA). Regardless, Bubba Ray has also earned a terrible reputation with the fans. Several fans have gone online about how he was disrespectful to fans who approached him at various wrestling events over the years.
Many have even gone to say that he’s yelled at fans during autograph signings, although some would defend it was during one of their heel runs in the WWE. But seeing so many fans have negative experiences tends to make it seem like he doesn’t like talking with fans. Someone did ask him about it on social media. Bubba Ray claims he just doesn’t like talking to “rude fans.”
Before Roman Reigns became one of the most disliked wrestlers on the WWE roster, Batista had a large amount of heat for winning the 2014 Royal Rumble. Granted, part of that was because fans didn’t like how the WWE was holding down Daniel Bryan. Batista was booked to be the WWE’s babyface entering a feud with Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Instead, Batista flipped off fans who were booing him and then mocking Bryan as he left the ring. This isn’t the first time Batista has lost his cool in fan interactions. During a 2014 live event in Winnipeg, Canada, Batista got into an argument with a local radio personality. While the fan did hit Batista’s back, Batista could have walked away instead of him shoving the radio DJ. There are thoughts it could have been a publicity stunt. But it’s still not the kind of image the WWE should want.
8 Tammy Lynn Sytch (a.k.a. Sunny)
This entry depends on how you look at things. Tammy Lynn Sytch has had a rough time financially since she left the WWE and went through various promotions since then. There are several stories of her driving while under the influence and also getting herself into legal trouble. Those bills eventually add up and that has led her to find ways to bring in money from wrestling fans willing to spend it.
In 2013, the former Sunny in WWE announced a concept of doing photo-ops with fans underneath bed sheets. One picture that circulated the internet showed that no one was naked. But considering the ongoing rumors of her selling different services through the years, it did spark a lot of concern when first announced. The reputation fans have of Sytch is similar to someone who was once the most popular girl in school trying to make money off her looks.
7 Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner seems to have become just another example of a wrestling veteran becoming a grumpy old man who wants fans to get off of his lawn. This comes in many forms, including yelling at fans to stop chanting for him when he’s the face. But Steiner has also gotten a bad reputation with fans who have come to see him at signing events. Instead of saying things like “Hello,” Steiner asks “Are you buying anything?”
Back in 2014, Steiner was teaming with his brother Rick for Title Match Wrestling when he got into an altercation with a fan who sat near the entrance aisle. Things got quickly physical when Big Poppa Pump decided to push the fan, making things physical rather quickly. He continued to make his way to the ring and then did a shoot promo about how he hated the music.
6 Randy Orton
Randy Orton is another wrestler who has a mix of good and bad stories shared by fans on message boards. However, there have been some recent stories in the news that haven’t help Orton’s overall reputation. A few months ago, Orton was seen by a fan at a gym in Jonesboro, Ark., getting an early morning workout before the live taping of Raw that night. The fan tried to ask for a picture, with Orton saying he couldn’t hear him.
The fan then tried to take a picture across the gym, which Orton took offense to and cursed him out before leaving. Then there was the viral story around the same time when he was caught staring at a female fan’s chest during a photo opp. Many male fans stated that they couldn’t blame The Viper; although it probably led to some female fans being a little annoyed. He’s also yelled at fans at airports for bothering him and other WWE superstars.
5 CM Punk
There are a few fans who have gone online to defend CM Punk. Their claims state that his attitude toward fans is based on how they approach him. Unfortunately, the majority of fans who have come across the former WWE Champion is usually not a positive one. Many fans have seen CM Punk out in public over the years, with times where he ignored them or gave dirty looks in response.
Punk also has a history of arguing with fans both on the indie circuit and WWE live events. While it’s one thing to be a heel, Punk has often cursed at fans while being recorded. There’s the infamous shoot during a 2011 live event where he told a male fan that he had a vagina. About a year before that, he took a fan’s autographed book and threw it away.
4 Scott Hall
The Bad Guy in the WWE has gone by a few monikers in professional wrestling including Razor Ramon. But most know him best as Scott Hall, one of the founding members of the New World Order and a big part in WCW’s charge in the Monday Night Wars. But his personal problems with substance abuse became more and more public over the years, which led to poor health and poor decision making.
The two came together in 2014 when Diamond Dallas Page helped set up an Indiegogo page for Hall’s needed surgeries. Hall was supposed to send autographs and thank you letters to fans who donated, but the results have been inconsistent. Hall has a history of not signing things for fans as he also had an incident not signing a birthday card for a young fan battling brain cancer.
3 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar has developed quite a reputation for being grumpy around the fans. Those who are able to actually pictures of themselves with The Beast Incarnate find that Lesnar has a look of someone being kept there against his will and is giving a stare to the person with the cameras as if it was his or her fault. He’s been known to give some fans a cold shoulder, including a 2014 incident at an airport where his wife Sable had to point her out.
But Lesnar has also hurt fans during live segments on Raw where he’s been considered a bit too reckless. In 2014, Lesnar was taking apart the announcer’s table when one of the television monitors he threw bounced across the ring and then hit a fan sitting at ringside. Then there was a 2015 incident where Lesnar threw a Cadillac car door – exit stage right – which hit a fan sitting off to the side.
2 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash seems like another older wrestling veteran who likes to tell people how he feels, regardless of whether it’s very well received. Many fans have taken to the message boards to speak about how they didn’t appreciate Nash’s attitude at a number of independent wrestling events and conventions. They’ve also been critical about some of the things that went in his favor in the WWE – including his stint as the head booker in WCW during the Monday Night Wars in the late-1990s.
Nash has been listening and reading. When asked during what seemed to be a 2000 shoot interview on WCW Magazine, Nash said that he didn’t care what “a bunch of dumb smart marks” thought of him. This was followed by saying that none of them could ever call a match like he could. This led to more fans being more frustrated with Nash because of how he reacted to the criticism.
1 Hulk Hogan
Once the biggest thing in professional wrestling, Hulk Hogan’s stock overall has dropped extremely far in recent years. Part of that has to do with the fans getting annoyed at his continued attempts to grab attention of the spotlight, well after his prime wrestling days had passed. But in July 2015, Hogan faced a lot of criticism for racial slurs he made in the infamous sex tape that was released. The WWE then gave Hogan a treatment usually reserved for those like Chris Benoit – no mention on WWE.com, elimination of merchandise and cut from Tough Enough.
Fans have also been critical of the Hulkster after years of being on the good side of favorable booking both in WWE and WCW. Several have found the rumors of him having a hand in keeping other talented wrestlers down on the card has changed the perception of those who used to cheer for him in the 1980s and 1990s.