The greatest wrestlers in history all know how to gain good heat from a crowd in order to progress a story and their characters. Just look at the likes of Triple H, Edge, and Vince McMahon as perfect examples of that. But sometimes the actions of wrestlers can lead to that heat spilling into their backstage life, which leads to talent having more heat from their coworkers than the fans themselves. Sometimes this happens because of their own actions behind the curtain, other times it could be something they say in an interview. Either way, there have been countless cases of WWE stars gaining major heat with their coworkers.
This 'nuclear heat' can sometimes lead to talent being punished, other times it will simply be an internet rumour on the dirt sheets that is blown out of proportion. However in the history of the business, there have been some famous examples of people who just couldn't get on with their fellow coworkers and this list will look at 15 examples of WWE stars who got more heat backstage than they did inside the ring.
15 Simon Gotch
A more recent example is the former Vaudevillains star, Simon Gotch whose stay on the main roster was brief, but eventful; and certainly not in the ring. With his personality reportedly just rubbing people the wrong way, something that was confirmed by Ryback on his podcast, who had very little good things to say about him, Gotch also got involved in a backstage fight that proved he had heat behind the scenes.
Prior to the WWE Draft in 2016, Gotch got into a fight with Sin Cara, who reportedly threw a soda can at his face. This wasn't the first time the pair had issues either, with neither man liking the other. His fight with Sin Cara (and we will get to him later) was reportedly very one-sided, with Gotch coming out on the worst end of the altercation, sporting a black eye following the incident.
14 CM Punk
He might be the best in the world inside the ring, but in the locker room, CM Punk was an incredibly controversial figure during his time with WWE, with Bruce Prichard himself saying on his podcast that he earned more heat backstage than in front of the fans. His infamous pipebomb certainly led to some backstage tension with his real-life dislike for Triple H (a mutual hatred) being commonly known.
A return to WWE is something that fans would lap up if it ever happened, but the way he left the company and the amount of heat he gained from the way he went about it might stop that from ever happening. His shoot interview with Colt Cabana certainly burned some bridges and the fact that he received his termination papers on his wedding day might be a sign of how WWE truly feel about the current UFC star.
13 Hulk Hogan
Any list of this nature had to eventually feature the Hulkster, who often used his power and position to put himself over at the expense of those inside the locker room with him. This has happened in WWE, WCW, and even in TNA, which has resulted in a lot of heat over the years for the legend of the industry.
While he may very well be the biggest name in the history of wrestling, you don't get to that position without creating enemies and having some fallouts. His involvement in the steroid scandal that rocked the wrestling world also didn't do him any favours. With moments such as the infamous 'Fingerpoke of Doom' against his name, it is easy to see why people in WCW especially weren't overly fond of the Hulkster at the time.
The former WWE Universal Champion gained his heat when working for the rival company, WCW, with now WWE legend Chris Jericho. But it was actually his refusal to work with the creator of the list that gained him that heat. Goldberg flat out refused to work with the then cruiserweight and their heat with each other continued when Goldberg arrived in WWE, eventually leading to a fight between the pair.Jericho wasn't the only man he had heat with either, with William Regal being another man that Goldberg didn't get along with. Regal took advantage of Goldberg's inexperience in WCW and spent the match shoot wrestling, making the future main event star look terrible. On Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast, Goldberg claimed he would love to fight Regal, showing he hasn't forgotten the incident.
11 Triple H
Marrying the bosses daughter is never going to make you the most loved person, no matter what job you work in. But the WWE could be one of the worst places to decide to do that, especially when you are a gifted performer like Triple H. See, had the Game never married Stephanie McMahon the chances are very high he would have had a great career, as he's very talented, but when you're part of the family it is always going to seem like you've been handed the keys to the kingdom.
Of course, Triple H is likely to actually be handed those keys as he seems poised to eventually take over the company and nowadays that wouldn't be considered a bad thing from his peers as with NXT, Triple H has proven himself. But during his wrestling career, Hunter was seen as a talent who would bury those around him in order to keep his position and his closeness to the boss earned him major heat from the locker room.
10 The Miz
Nowadays The Miz is a well-liked figure behind the scenes, gaining all of his heat the right way from the audience as one of WWE's best heels. This wasn't always the case. In fact, when The Miz first broke into the company he received major heat, especially from WWE veteran JBL.
A backstage incident where The Miz ate some chicken in the locker room led to him being kicked out by the talent, forcing him to change in the toilets which the fans also used prior to the event. The fact he came from a background that wasn't wrestling, but in reality TV didn't set him off on the right foot, with the locker room judging him for it, but after his chicken accidentally spilled onto Scott Armstrong's bags, he was quickly thrown out of the locker room by Chris Benoit.
9 Sin Cara
WWE had huge plans for Sin Cara when he first debuted on SmackDown, hoping for him to become the next Rey Mysterio. However, the WWE Universe had other plans, never really getting behind the character, which wasn't helped by the original Sin Cara's consistent botches.The original Sin Cara frustrated backstage officials with his in-ring work and his lack of interest in wanting to learn the English language. But it was in a match with Alberto Del Rio where he gained major heat, calling the match off due to a broken finger. After a change of personnel, Hunico took over the role of Sin Cara, and while fan reaction didn't change, neither did his backstage behaviour. He has a growing list of superstars he has had real fights with, including; Simon Gotch, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, and Chris Jericho.
8 Ultimate Warrior
The late, great Ultimate Warrior was no stranger to controversy during his time in the business, and his fallouts with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash are some of the most famous to have ever taken place. The tension was still in the air all the way to the Ultimate Warrior's Hall of Fame induction, where Hogan and he supposedly buried the hatchet. Hogan and Warrior feuded years after they had even stopped working together, with shoot interviews and social media being their method of choice to throw shade at each other. Warrior was known for taking himself too seriously and was said to be going a little crazy later in life, with WWE going as far as to create a DVD about it, named 'The Self-Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior,' highlighting just how much heat he created.
7 Shawn Michaels
If you were judging Shawn Michaels towards the end of his career there would be no chance that he would ever make this list as the born-again Christian was a highly respected talent in the locker room. However, HBK has not been that way throughout his entire career and at one point had one of the worst attitudes in the business. Of course, Michaels took part in one of the most controversial moments in the history of the sport with the Montreal Screwjob which gained him tremendous heat from the locker room, not just from Bret Hart. But even without that incident, Michaels would still earn a spot on the list as his attitude was terrible during the 1990's, which led to many coworkers having heat with him. Thankfully, HBK turned things around to become the wrestling treasure that he is today.
6 Mr. Kennedy
At one point, Mr. Kennedy... Kennedy (sorry, it had to be done) seemed like he was destined for huge things. Getting the chance to work with the biggest names in the company such as The Undertaker and winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, the main event scene seemed to be the only place where he would end up. Kennedy was known for having a big mouth, both in and out of the ring and did end up being kicked out of the locker room for not following wrestling traditions; but that wasn't why he would end up being released. After working against Randy Orton (who is also known for his temper), Kennedy was deemed as an unsafe worker, reportedly by Orton and John Cena, who pushed to have the hot prospect released and Mr. Kennedy was quickly wished all the best in his future endeavours.
5 Muhammad Hassan
Muhammad Hassan was put in an unfortunate position in his career, working a terrorist like gimmick. Hassan also had major heat with wrestling legend Eddie Guerrero after he demanded that Guerrero stopped using the Camel Clutch. The move was Hassan's finisher at the time and Eddie was simply using it as a common move, diminishing the effectiveness of Hassan's finisher. But little did he know that the move belonged to the Guerrero family, as it was Eddie's father, Gory Guerrero, who created the move to begin with. This heat didn't just stay with Eddie either, as Gregory Helms revealed that Hassan once bought the locker room shots, with every wrestler spilling theirs on the floor instead of drinking them; showing their dislike for Hassan.
4 Enzo Amore
The Smacktalker Skywalker is perhaps the most obvious entry on this list given that backstage heat is something that Enzo Amore is currently experiencing, and it is being made incredibly public. Normally, when a talent isn't well liked backstage, WWE keep things under wraps until they blow over, but with Enzo they have instead decided to air his problems on live television and make a storyline about it. Corey Graves constantly brings up how annoying Enzo is on commentary. Enzo is known to be exactly like his on-screen character backstage (which would break any man down) and has recently been kicked off a tour bus by Roman Reigns for talking ill of the business and bragging about his money.
Whether JBL suffers 'heat' is up for debate as it might be a case of many of his coworkers legitimately hating JBL rather than just disliking him. A legend of the business, JBL has been around many different locker rooms and his reputation of being nothing more than a bully has grown. There are countless examples of JBL's bullying, so many that it would take an entire list dedicated to it for everything to be covered. Justin Roberts' recent autobiography certainly shed plenty of light on JBL's behaviour and proved that people within the company did not like him, with Roberts being one to fall in that category. He isn't alone in people who have been bullied by him with; Mark Henry, Shawn Daivari, Matt Hardy, Renee Dupree, Ivory, The Miz and most recently, Mauro Ranallo all sharing the same experiences.
Despite the fact that both her character and in-ring work were solid throughout her career, Melina gained a terrible reputation for herself behind the scenes in WWE, with countless stories of her fallouts with fellow Divas being well known. Whether it's the story of her not wanting then real-life boyfriend John Morrison to work with Trish Stratus, or her falling out with Lita that resulted in Melina being kicked out of the locker room, she was a true heat magnet during her run with the company.
Melina was also taken to Wrestler's Court, where The Undertaker ran proceedings, a trial that reportedly led to Melina crying while the locker room watched on. While there is no doubt that not all of the stories online about Melina will be accurate, a number of people who have come out and spoken show that she gained true heat backstage.
1 The Kliq
While this list may have already featured two members of this controversial group in Triple H and Shawn Michaels, the group itself gained the reputation of being despised and hated by their coworkers; so much so it has earned itself the top spot on this list. There is a reason that you see Bullet Club, particularly the Young Bucks copy the group's famous hand gesture. The Kilq's curtain call and actions were exposing the business, which is why they gained so much heat, and the Young Bucks' whole gimmick is being a parody of wrestling, hence why WWE is now giving them so much heat with its cease and desists. But it was the fact that the group exposed the business, breaking kayfabe in a major way that offended a lot of the wrestlers in the back. The group often only looked out for themselves, whether the members were in WCW or WWE they always helped each other get the best deals and the most money. But that came at a price, with the group gaining huge heat from coworkers who saw it as a risk to the business, challenging their livelihoods and that is why the group is still talked about so much to this day.