Vince McMahon famously stated many years ago that he wasn’t in the wrestling business, but rather he was in the “sports entertainment” business. This philosophy became immersed into the WWE’s culture and it gradually downplayed kayfabe and the idea that with the wrestlers on the card, it’s not about wins and losses but about giving the fans a good show.
“We put smiles on peoples faces,” Vince would say. And this resonated with their programming. Catering to the fans' wants and needs and putting on performances that would put butts in the seats and send people home happy is the main priority. On WWE TV, the message would be repeatedly stated that “without the fans, we wouldn’t be here”.
However, despite being tasked primarily to entertain the audience and being indebted to the WWE fanbase for their tremendous support in making WWE a global empire (and not to mention making the top wrestlers very wealthy), there are some stars who just plain don’t like the fame, and they show it by being total jerks when interacting with starstruck fans in real life.
Sometimes it’s because they’re “playing heel,” but that’s more old school behavior. Other times the rude outbursts are warranted because fans were invading the wrestler’s privacy and being overly demanding. But there are some wrestlers who simply don’t like people and would rather be paid to entertain in the wrestling ring, collect their paycheck and disappear. Those are the types we will be covering in this list.
Here are the 15 least fan-friendly wrestlers in the history of the industry. How rude!
ECW Alum Sabu was booked as being a crazed “genocidal, homicidal and suicidal” wrestler who shouldn’t be messed with. However, he may have taken the gimmick a bit too seriously during his heyday. Sabu was never someone who interacted pleasantly with fans off-camera or on-camera. You would often see his hatred of fans spew out on television when on numerous occasions while making his entrance, if any fans so much as reached out to touch them, they’d be met with a punch in the face.
Another thing that was learned the hard way via some fans regarding Sabu: DON’T TOUCH HIS TURBAN! Sabu has gone so far as jump the guardrail and wallop a fan who snatched pulled on his turban and it came off his head.
14 Randy Orton
Randy Orton can be a mixed bag depending on his mood. Based on his interviews and interactions on Twitter, he can be quite prickish. The Viper has been known to get into verbal battles with his fans on social media and he even got in trouble when he called a female fan who took a picture with her “a latino miss piggy”.
Orton has been a marquee name for the WWE for a long time but was never really the number one guy to carry the company and it may have to be because of his less than personable demeanor off camera. Over the years Orton has cursed at fans, flipped fans off despite his gimmick not being that of Stone Cold Steve Austin and has been the kind of celebrity you should best avoid at the airport.
13 Roman Reigns
Here is a case of the shoe being on the other foot. Fans have not taken too kindly to Roman Reigns ever since he was slated to be the next WWE golden boy ahead of what fans would consider more deserving and polished competitors. The WWE tried to shove Reigns down the fans throat and they ended up gagging him up. Reigns has admitted in past interviews regarding his interactions with fans is that he can be cordial and chummy with fans at times, and sometimes he is not in the mood. However with the consistent hate that he’s been receiving for quite some time, he has changed his tune a bit, being very short with fans who come up to meet him and often times just breezing past fans without a word.
12 Scott Steiner
If there is anyone person on this list that lives his wrestling persona when the red light on a camera isn’t on, it’s Scott Steiner. Big Poppa Pump is a guy that doesn’t have a filter and won’t hesitate to hit a guy in the mouth, even if it’s a defenseless fan. Unless you’re a hot chick, he probably won’t even look in your direction to acknowledge you. Scour the internet and you’ll find numerous reports and eyewitness stories posted by irate fans detailing just how rude Steiner is to just about everyone who comes into human contact with him.
If you do decide to go up to him though, just make sure not to be overweight as he has a well-documented history on how much he hates fat people.
11 Hardcore Holly
The gritty and tough “Hardcore” Holly will probably be best known for his time as a Tough Enough coach where he showed just how much of a prick he can be to normal everyday people. Holly never could connect well with fans, even when he was working as a babyface. Based on various wrestler accounts, he was a bully that had a ridiculously hot temper and would be part of various hazing rituals that inflicted considerable harm on his peers. It’s a wonder why he had such a lengthy career with the WWE.
While he has been respectful of fans occasionally at signings or on his Twitter, there have been cases where he displayed some terribly rude behavior. One famous account on the internet talks about Hardcore Holly taking the phone of someone in the crowd who was trying to take a picture of him and smashing it on the floor. Yikes.
10 CM Punk
Even though it looks as if he’s done with professional wrestling, WWE fans still have an undying love for CM Punk, as noted by the chants of his name that drum up at shows even though he’s been out of the company for nearly two years now. Punk’s love for his fans on the other hand isn’t as mutual. It’s CM Punk’s vocalness and snark on the microphone which made him such a beloved star and while they have mainly be unleashed on his peers in the wrestling ring, he has a tendency to let loose on his fans as well. CM has repeatedly stated in interviews that he can be quite prickly even with his fans. While he will happily take a photo with a fan or sign an autograph, catch him on a bad day or invade his privacy while he’s eating dinner with friends and you’ll wish you never crossed the best in the world because he’d let you have it.
9 Scott Hall
Scott Hall has been through a lot. Struggling with alcohol and drugs which nearly took his life, fans were delighted to see that he bounced back and got to a healthy spot to the point where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hall however will not be in any Hall of Fame when it comes to how he acts with fans.
Fellow wrestlers and close friends of Hall have described him as being a pretty low scumbag at times because of his piss poor attitude. It is important to note that a man struggling with addiction and bouts of depression can be really miserable to be around when they are on the downswing. And when those “demons” as they call it come out at bad times can make for a rather terrible fan experience. I guess they call him “The Bad Guy” for a reason.
8 Ric Flair
The Nature Boy is a legend, we all know that. But is the limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing, son of a gun legendary in the fan interaction department? As much as there are fans who recall an awesome experience meeting the nature boy, there are probably an even more sizable amount of fan experiences with Flair that were not flattering. Flair has a reputation of being terrible to fans and going out of his way to avoid them when they approach. It goes to show you that whenever your favorite superstars talk about adoring their fans on television, it does not necessarily guarantee you a valuable interaction with them in person.
7 Michael Hayes
The star member of the Hall of Fame Fabulous Freebirds was a brash and volatile personality during his wrestling days and even currently while he’s behind the scenes as part of the WWE creative team, he has made headlines numerous times in the past for off the cuff remarks he would make to WWE staff and wrestlers that he would have to apologize for. But somehow he has still been able to keep a job.
In person he isn’t much better as fans have reported. Most of the time fans have met with him, he’d be at a bar after a show and would be heavily intoxicated. Apparently, Hayes is a very rude drunk and is just overall an unpleasant person to meet after shows.
6 Shawn Michaels
The Heartbreak Kid is one of the greatest wrestlers that has graced a WWE ring and is probably is the top 10 list of any wrestling fan as one of their favorites. However, HBK as a person, even post “born-again Christian” days has never been someone who was great with fans when the WWE cameras weren’t on him. Fans who have met HBK in person have said that Michaels generally comes across as a miserable, stand-offish individual.
Michaels has a cocky aura to him, and he often comes across as smug and holier than thou in person. Even though he could be much worse (see: 90’s era HBK) the older retired Shawn Michaels is less explosive and more reclusive, preferring to hunt out in the middle of nowhere in peace and quiet and be left alone.
5 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is perhaps the most recognizable professional wrestler of all-time and has fans that span several generations. Hogan is also a shameless self-promoter. If there’s a camera on him (that he knows of) he’s like a politician: kissing babies and shaking hands and taking pictures and signing autographs galore. When there isn’t any publicity around, reports from fans have noted that Hogan is cold and dismissive. It doesn’t help that his legacy is a bit tarnished by all the negative publicity that was brought on him by racist comments he made. Hogan’s character may have been a caring hero who wanted us to “Say our prayers and eat your vitamins”, the real Hulk Hogan is only concerned with himself.
4 Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate One may have passed on but he belongs on this list because though he was beloved as a character on WWE TV, his off camera personality was not as heroic and noble as he was. Warrior was a difficult personality to work with, whether it was his employers whom he was overly demanding with or aloof as he would be with his peers in the locker room. While he was alive, Warrior wasn’t the most fan-friendly to be around and very unapproachable in his retired years to fans who adored him back in the day.
The most famous story regarding his jerkish behavior would be told by Bret Hart in his autobiography where he recalled Warrior who totally snubbed a young boy who had Make-A-Wish to meet the Warrior backstage. Warrior would stay in his locker room and never meet the fan who would wait eagerly for hours. Definitely not a way Warrior would like to be remembered.
Google JBL or look up various shoot interviews of past WWE wrestlers and they have a ton to say about Bradshaw’s backstage demeanor during his wrestling days as a ruthless practical joker and bully. He’s battered the Blue Meaning bloody and he’s chased off rookie wrestlers and got them to quit the business with his antics. So he pulls this kind of crap with his peers, what makes a fan think they’ll be exempt?
JBL does little to disassociate himself from his arrogant on-screen counterpart. As a real-life business expert and tycoon, Layfield is not so much rude to the fans as he is oblivious to their presence, feeling as he is above them. Reports of fans who have tried to interact with him were just brushed aside as JBL walked past without acknowledging a human being talking to them at all.
2 Mark Henry
When you have a theme song that repeatedly states “Somebody gonna get their ass kicked, somebody’s going to get their wig split” is it a surprise that you’re not all that great with fans? The World’s Strongest Man is one of those people. We can understand that during his “Hall of Pain” angry monster days that he’d be cold to fans as part of his gimmick but Henry apparently appears to always be unpleasant when it comes to fan interactions. There are plenty of accounts online of Henry being very rude and unapproachable.
Here’s one account that sums up just how jerky Henry can be: “I believe no encounter sums up the experience of meeting Mark Henry than the time my African-American friend went up to him and asked if he could "take a picture with a brother." Henry yelled at him angrily, "You're not my brother and you never will be!" Whoa, lighten up dude.
1 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is rich and famous but if he could have it his way, he’d just be rich. Pay him for beating people up and being a beast and then leave him the hell alone. Lesnar isn’t shy to state how much he hates the grind that comes with being a WWE Superstar and all the fandom that comes with it. He’s a self-admitted farm boy that likes to live in solitude. It was the very reason he left WWE around the first time. Going from city to city, airport to airport and having to deal with fans noticing him and wanting pictures and autographs probably makes the Beast Incarnate want to shoot himself. Take a look at fan photos that he actually agrees to pose for and you’ll see the eyes of a person that just hates being known. So before you run up to the guy at a baggage claim at 2 in the morning for a selfie , think twice or you might just be taken to suplex city.