In every walk of life you will come across people who are jerks and the wrestling industry is no different. Whether it’s being a jerk in interviews, during fan interactions or seemingly all the time, there are plenty of them in wrestling.
Due to the high amount of egos that the business produces, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of jerks in wrestling, but it might be surprising that some of them were that way before fame even began for them, as it is simply just their personality.
Yet others have certainly changed their ways after meeting fame, seemingly using their newfound stardom as an excuse to act like a jerk, as this list will show. Throughout this article, we will look at eight wrestlers who have always been jerks, and seven who changed after fame.
15. Before Fame – JBL
An obvious start to the list but they say a leopard never changes its spots and that is the case with JBL, who has been outed as a bully by many former and current wrestlers, which make it very clear what sort of person he is.
The issue is, JBL has acted that way from the very start of his career, believing he should be the one to keep the locker room in check, which is a good thing in itself, but the manner in which he chose allowed him to be a jerk to countless people.
14. After Fame – X-Pac
It’s fair to start this entry saying that X-Pac is no longer like he once was and classing him as a jerk now wouldn’t be fair. Having turned his life around, X-Pac is now one of the most honest wrestlers that can be found in interviews.
However, when he first found fame in his wrestling career it certainly went to his head, abusing his position and who his friendship circle was to pull some very cruel pranks on his fellow superstars. X-Pac is well known for some of the tricks he played on his co-workers, with that sometimes revolving around human waste, showing the horrible levels, he would stoop to.
The fact he was friends with the likes of Triple H and Shawn Michaels meant he had a lot of power, with people unlikely to stand up to him and he certainly used that to become a jerk during his run on top.
13. Before Fame – Ric Flair
The Nature Boy, in many people’s opinion, is the man. Nobody has ever lived the gimmick in the way that Ric Flair did and perhaps that was part of the problem for Flair, in that he has always believed he was that good.
Flair has certainly calmed down since his close shave with death and perhaps the incident opened his eyes, but his cocky manner has seen him act like a jerk to many during his life. Whether that was fans, interviewers or even those closest to him, Flair certainly knew how to get under peoples skin.
12. After Fame – Goldberg
The fact that Goldberg broke into the business in the manner he did, it’s not overly surprising that he began to develop quite the chip on his shoulder. Built up as the main feature of WCW, he was the main star and he quickly began to act that way, even if he wasn’t the most talented man in the company.
Goldberg happily told WCW that he didn’t want to work with Chris Jericho, one of the most talented men to ever lace up a pair of boots because he became that much of a jerk. As he mentioned in his own WWE 24, he would demand his own dressing room and not socialize with his fellow wrestlers, mainly because he felt better than them,
As will become something of a theme in this list (for the most part), Goldberg has turned a page in his life and career and is now a very different man. As was seen during his WWE 24, Goldberg is a family man who is incredibly critical of himself and no longer as self-assured as he used to be, which is likely for the best.
11. Before Fame – Sami Zayn
It might be a surprise to see Sami Zayn on this list as he, despite his recent heel turn, comes across as one of the nicest and most down to earth people on the WWE roster. From his obvious charm to the charity work he does, most WWE fans see Zayn as a good guy.
However, many of his co-workers would tell you a different story, including his best friend Kevin Owens. It would appear from the stories that KO tells, Zayn is more annoying than a jerk and is often only that way because he wants the best for his career or a storyline.
Owens has told the story in interviews of how he has seen Zayn annoy an entire locker room and even though he eventually wins them around, according to KO, the fact he does that every time is a sign that he might just rub people the wrong way, whether intentionally or not.
10. After Fame – HonkyTonkMan
The Honky Tonk Man had a fairly memorable wrestling career but he was never one of the main attractions of the show, the main event talent. Yet the way he has acted following his career would make you think he was the biggest deal possible.
Refusing to be put in the WWE Hall of Fame, Honky Tonk Man now spends his time charging high prices for autographs from fans at conventions, whilst acting very rude to those wanting to meet him.
The former WWE star squeezed a major fee from WCW, showing he believed in his own ability and WCW were desperate to have any former WWE talent on its books. But the fact he has even charged fans for photos outside of conventions show what sort of a man he has become.
9. Before Fame – New Jack
The sheer number of stories regarding New Jack and his behavior is quite staggering, which should make it no surprise that he has been a jerk before he was well known for being one.
New Jack’s real-life beatings of wrestlers in the ring, which has seriously injured people who are effectively putting their lives in his hands is a clear sign that Jack is a major jerk who doesn’t realize the danger in some of his actions.
8. After Fame – Randy Orton
Randy Orton is another superstar on this list who now appears to have changed his ways after becoming a family man, but fame certainly allowed him to become a jerk during his career. This is something that is quite commonly known, with Orton himself even acknowledging it in interviews for DVD’s.
Orton has often been known to snap at fans and at times be aggressive towards them taking pictures of him without permission, which is a fair thing, but he has also been just as aggressive to his fellow superstars.
The Viper seemed to suffer from some anger problems during his career, with him often losing his cool in the ring, such as when he called Kofi Kingston a ‘Stupid Idiot’ over and over. Not the most professional look for him.
7. Before Fame – CM Punk
The straightedge superstar seems to be more blunt and honest than a jerk, but he has often been spoken about in that way by people who have interacted with him. His straightedge lifestyle has at times been brought into people’s complaints about the UFC star, but he has appeared to be a jerk on many occasions.
The way he left WWE could be a seen as a good example of that, deciding to simply quit because he wasn’t getting the main event spots he felt he deserved, instead of continuing to work hard for them.
But Punk has always been that way, from his days on the independent scene and in WWE development, he is simply very confident in his own abilities and when you’re as good as him, who can blame him, even if it comes across as being a jerk to some.
6. After Fame – Enzo Amore
Remember back to when Enzo Amore had just debuted on the main roster and was one-half of the most popular tag teams in the entire company? Amore appeared to be a hardworking man who was desperate to achieve his dreams and fans tended to love him.
Fast forward to now and the WWE Universe appears to have soured on him a little, not just because of his heel turn. The Cruiserweight Champion simply appeared to get a little too cocky and confident, bragging about how much money he has earned or the price of tickets that he is buying.
The fact that his fellow WWE Superstars often comment on how annoying Enzo is backstage doesn’t help shape the fans opinion, with Corey Graves calling him out about how much of a jerk he is, something Liv Morgan, his former girlfriend, would likely back him up on.
5. Before Fame – Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar simply doesn’t like people. The fact he lives as far away from human contact as he possibly can, should be a sign of that, he just doesn’t care for interaction with people he doesn’t want to and he has always been that way.
The Beast himself-admitted he is in the business for the money, showing he has no real passion or desire to please the fans, and the fact he is never available for a meet and greet and rarely does interviews should reinforce that point.
Lesnar is confident in his star power and the way he comes across on television is how he is in real life, which is likely why the gimmick works so well. He might be a bit of a jerk, but at least he has always been that way.
4. After Fame – Shawn Michaels
The Heart Break Kid is another who has now altered his behavior after finding religion, but Shawn Michaels at the peak of his career was one of the biggest jerks to ever lace up a pair of boots; something he and many others have commented on.
There are countless former wrestlers who have given their honest opinions of how Michaels used to be, just see any interview that Bret Hart ever does for an inside look into the WWE Hall of Famer and how he used to be.
It appeared that becoming the main star of WWE got to his head and his actions saw him become difficult to deal with behind the scenes. Just by watching the product you could see he wasn’t just portraying that character and given how annoying it came across on television, it certainly will have been worse in reality.
3. Before Fame – Bully Ray
`Whether it’s Bully or Bubba Ray one thing both characters have in common is being a tough S.O.B, a veteran of the business who knows is exactly what needs to be done and will make sure people know about it.
That’s been the case with the Dudley Boy throughout his entire career, dating back to before ECW became cool and popular. He’s always known how good he is and because of that his confidence has seen him be a jerk at times.
Whether it’s with how physical he is in the ring, with several jobbers taking real life beatings from the wrestling legend to fans getting trashed on Twitter, he believes in his opinion and is happy to tell you why he’s right every time.
2. After Fame – Hulk Hogan
At one point, Hulk Hogan was the biggest name in wrestling and one of the biggest stars in pop culture in general. His rise to fame put him in some incredible positions and they certainly went to his head, with Hogan quickly changing to believe he deserved even more.
His time in WCW or even TNA was a clear sign of this, with Hogan using his fame and power to ensure that any booking decisions he didn’t like would not take place, with the Hulkster always getting his way.
Hogan’s personal life has also seen him act like a jerk, whether it is his recent racist scandal that has ruined his legacy and blacklisted him from WWE or the treatment of his ex-wife, Hogan allowed fame to go to his head.
1. Before Fame – Austin Aries
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived might be incredibly talented inside the squared circle, that much can’t really be denied, but he is also perhaps one of the biggest jerks in the business, something that seems to have always been a trait of his.
Austin Aries is currently providing the ‘truth’ to fans following his recent WWE departure, with that release being rumored to do with him being difficult to work with backstage. Aries being difficult to work with is a story that has followed him throughout his career, whether in the big leagues or the minors.
Aries even found himself in the news recently for turning down a fans autograph at the airport, although that seemed to be justified.Unfortunately for fans of the former cruiserweight, it just appears he likes things done his way and can be tough to work with if things don’t go his way.
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