WWE is a difficult place to work in, with a large percentage of wrestlers ending their time there with unhappiness. The company has the pressure of any other major entertainment touring brand with minimal off days, but there is also the annoyance of backstage politics. Vince McMahon is referred to as someone most people would not want to work for. The variables of working for such a fickle company have caused a lot of ugly departures. Many wrestlers leave the company feeling disrespected and go on to spill all in shoot interviews, blogs or podcasts discussing their grudge with the company.
Time is the best solution in healing grudges that get personal. Most of the wrestlers to have a hatred of WWE will get over it as time allows them to make peace with everything. The wrestlers to end their grudges often will return on-screen in some capacity. There are still quite a few performers that hold on to their unhappiness and have their reasons for keeping the grudge alive. We'll take an in-depth look at the history of WWE with eight wrestlers that are still holding on to a grudge with WWE and seven that have gotten over their grudges.
15 Grudge: Batista
The recent WWE run of Batista back in 2014 was a huge disappointment for all involved. WWE booked Batista to win the Royal Rumble under the belief fans would support him in a WrestleMania main event match against Randy Orton. Fans rejected this by demanding Daniel Bryan in the match and it led to a Batista heel turn. Batista worked a few good matches with Orton, Bryan and The Shield.
However, it was still a major disappointment due to WWE booking him poorly. Batista was on the verge of appearing in the smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy, but Triple H and Stephanie McMahon thought the movie would be a bust. Instead of utilizing his mainstream success, WWE chose to pass on booking him in the summer of 2014. Batista has delivered harsh criticism since then towards WWE calling them a shell of what the company used to be before entering the PG era.
14 Got Over It: Goldberg
Bill Goldberg’s initial WWE run back in 2004 is still referred to among the worst booking in wrestling history. Goldberg’s success in WCW came from destroying his opponents in a matter of seconds to make up for his lack of wrestling endurance. WWE placed him in actual matches that went over ten minutes and made him look very weak compared to his past life.
The comments of Goldberg after his one year in WWE were overwhelmingly negative with insults directed specifically at Triple H. WWE corrected this in Goldberg’s mind by bringing him back for a run as the Universal Champion heading into WrestleMania 33. Goldberg was able to have one last run on top and perform in front of his family for the first time. WWE and Goldberg are now on great terms as he heads back into retirement.
13 Grudge: Jeff Jarrett
One grudge that has lasted over the past eighteen years is WWE and Jeff Jarrett being at odds. Jarrett’s contract expired back in 1999 right before he was scheduled to lose the Intercontinental Championship to Chyna. The leverage saw Jarrett abuse it by demanding a large sum of money in exchange for losing the title or he was going to take the belt to WCW.
Vince McMahon ended up paying Jarrett his request and he did lose the title to Chyna in a memorable match before going to WCW. The grudge on both sides lived on way past there with McMahon unofficially firing Jarrett on live television when WCW was sold to him. Jarrett has desperately tried to create a competitor to WWE with both TNA and Global Force Wrestling. Both have resulted in failure and the grudge leaves him with no chance of making peace with WWE.
12 Got Over It: Paul Heyman
WWE never treated Paul Heyman with the respect he deserved as a creative mind. Heyman worked backstage on numerous occasions as the head writer for SmackDown and later the WWE rebirth of ECW. It featured him butting heads with Stephanie and Vince McMahon over his decisions. Heyman wanted to elevate CM Punk as the new face of ECW back in 2006, but the McMahon’s forced Bobby Lashley into that role.
The frustration and arguments culminated with Heyman leaving the company due to his anger over WWE micromanaging his attempts to make ECW successful again. Heyman seemed content running his own projects and even had discussions to work with TNA at one point. WWE signing Brock Lesnar is what opened the door for Heyman to make peace with them and return as a manager. The on-screen character allows Heyman to get paid very well for something he's great at without having to worry about backstage headaches.
11 Grudge: Ryback
The recent bitter ending to Ryback’s career with WWE saw him lash out against the company. Ryback claimed WWE lied to him and treated him unfairly in regards to pay and opportunity. Following his last appearance for WWE, Ryback released a blog trashing them and stating he has no desire for a company like that. WWE did give him multiple pushes but Ryback felt he deserved better.
Ryback has shown no hesitation in continuing his onslaught towards WWE after leaving. A weekly podcast features Ryback trashing the company along with people he felt did him wrong like John Cena. Any time you see a wrestling headline regarding Ryback, you can be sure that it's about him continuing his grudge against WWE with controversial comments.
10 Got Over It: Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Sammartino held a strong disdain towards Vince McMahon and WWE for many years after his time ended. Many would argue Sammartino was the first big WWE star being the champion for almost a decade. It ended ugly when WWE was involved in scandals regarding drug distribution and sexual harassment. Sammartino appeared on numerous talk shows discussing how awful the WWE was as a company.
The Attitude Era made Bruno despise the company even more with the vulgarity and sexual content being a huge part of the show. Sammartino’s grudge lasted all the way until 2013 when Triple H reached out to him. The relationship would be mended with Bruno getting inducted into the Hall of Fame in his old stomping grounds of Madison Square Garden. Sammartino is back on good terms with WWE after completely ending the long grudge.
9 Grudge: Shane Douglas
The failure of Shane Douglas in WWE during the mid-90s led to one of the longest grudges. Douglas left the company due to disliking both the locker room and management. Shawn Michaels and the rest of the Kliq made Douglas miserable during his time in WWE. The horrible character of Dean Douglas didn’t have legs to begin with and Douglas still blames Vince McMahon to this day.
Douglas rants every time he's asked about WWE insulting the likes of McMahon, the Kliq and Triple H specifically. The years have led to many wrestlers getting over the grudge with WWE, but Douglas is not one of them. His interviews always are focused on his disdain for WWE as a company. WWE did bring him back for various talking spots on DVD and WWE Network projects, but Douglas bashes them on his free time.
8 Got Over It: New Age Outlaws
Both members of the legendary tag team New Age Outlaws had ugly splits that caused two grudges. Both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn absolutely trashed WWE in interviews, specifically their DX partner Triple H for holding them down and not treating them with respect. The one-sided war of words saw the New Age Outlaws sell shoot interviews based off their disdain for WWE and Triple H.
Time healed all wounds and both men found their way back into the WWE family. Road Dogg received a producer position working his way up to a power spot today. He's the man running Raw and SmackDown Live if Triple H and Vince McMahon are not at the show. Gunn received a coaching gig at the Performance Center but was fired when violating the Wellness Policy for PEDs.
7 Grudge: Gail Kim
Gail Kim is one of the wrestlers on the list with a very valid reason for holding a grudge with WWE. Two separate runs in WWE proved the company just didn’t believe in her talent. Kim has always been one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world but WWE buried her in favor of the ladies with backgrounds in modeling. Jim Ross revealed McMahon didn’t think men would find her attractive due to her Asian heritage.
In between the two failed WWE stints, Gail put together a great body of work in TNA as a women’s wrestling legend. Many fans want to see her return to WWE for dream matches with Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Asuka among others. A return similar to Mickie James would be tremendous, but Kim remains adamant she won’t return to WWE. The bad blood and disrespect is too much for her to try a third run.
6 Got Over It: Kurt Angle
The instant reaction of Kurt Angle after leaving WWE was to completely bash the company. Vince McMahon, Triple H and John Cena were three major targets of WWE claiming they refused to give him the respect of taking time off to deal with his issues. Angle was in a bad place then battling drug and alcohol addictions leading to him speaking without a filter.
Through the years, Angle softened on his stance against WWE. The grudge ended after he got clean and his TNA career was coming to an end. Angle wanted to end his career on the biggest stage and with the company he considered home. WWE brought him back as the lead inductee into the 2017 Hall of Fame and now as the Raw General Manager. The relationship is great and Angle is hoping to step back in the ring for WWE one more time as a competitor eventually.
5 Grudge: Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio’s up and down relationship with WWE is currently on the down side with a heated grudge. The first run with WWE ended after he was fired for slapping an employee that made racist comments towards him. Del Rio put that in the past for another return and it somehow has ended even worse. WWE did not approve of his relationship with fellow wrestler Paige pitting both sides against each other again.
Del Rio requested his release after WWE suspended him for violating the Wellness Policy. The firing allowed him to return to the free agent market and once again trash WWE. Del Rio claims WWE had something to do with Paige’s sex tape leaking and harming her career. Every time he's on camera, Alberto insults Triple H and states he's far happier away from the miserable WWE.
4 Got Over It: Jim Cornette
A recent case of someone getting over a very public grudge with WWE is Jim Cornette. WWE fired Cornette after he slapped Santino Marella in developmental for failing to follow his instructions. Cornette made WWE one of his biggest enemies ranting about the sports entertainment company killing what used to be the wrestling industry. The Jim Cornette Experience Podcast features him ranting about many people and companies today, including many WWE names.
Every wrestling fan was shocked when Cornette was named the person to induct The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express into the 2017 Hall of Fame. Cornette made a joke about hell freezing over, but he appeared happy to be back with the WWE family. The Hall of Fame was not the only appearance as Cornette filmed an episode of Table for 3 with Eric Bischoff and Michael Hayes. Cornette still remains critical of WWE but is definitely no longer holding a personal grudge against them after they treated him well.
3 Grudge: Scott Steiner
The controversial Scott Steiner is never shy about his opinions in the wrestling world and WWE is often one of his targets. A poor run with WWE as a singles star back in 2002-2003 caused Steiner to become a heated enemy of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and the McMahon family. Steiner wasted no time bashing the company after his release personally throwing jabs at Triple H specifically.
Nothing has changed through the years and Steiner is very vocal against WWE in recent interviews. WWE offered Steiner a “legends contract” and he turned it down claiming the contract was a huge rip off. Steiner supported CM Punk and Rey Mysterio leaving WWE and used it as evidence as to why WWE is a horrible company to work for. It's safe to say Steiner is one of the last names left that likely will never make peace with WWE.
2 Got Over It: Bret Hart
Bret Hart’s grudge with WWE was one of the biggest stories in the wrestling industry for over a year. WWE flipped the script on Hart by having him lose his final match in the company against Shawn Michaels despite telling him a different finish. Hart held a very personal grudge against Michaels and Vince McMahon for the way they disrespected him at the end of a long relationship that diminished all of his hard work.
Almost thirteen years after the Montreal Screwjob, Hart agreed to return on screen for the first time. Most of the grudges ended with Hart actually forming a friendship with Michaels and renewing his respect for McMahon. Bret made many appearances for WWE through the years since then back in the wrestling company he considers home. Triple H is still on his hate list, but Hart takes that out of the equation when supporting the WWE product.
1 Grudge: CM Punk
The most high profile grudge still going in the wrestling industry is CM Punk against the WWE. Things ended horribly when Punk walked out following his frustration growing with Vince McMahon and Triple H making false promises. Punk’s departure shocked the wrestling world leading to very public bad blood. Stephanie McMahon has trashed Punk on numerous occasions when fans chanted his name at her in an attempt to disrespect her.
Punk took that personally along with WWE sending his release papers on the day of his wedding with AJ Lee. Three years has passed and Punk is still vocal that he has no interest in returning to WWE. The fact that WWE’s doctor sued him following negative comments on a controversial podcast likely just intensifies the grudge. Punk almost takes pride in his claim that he will not return to WWE after the ugly ending.