Wrestling and its fans, like any form of sport or form of entertainment, is what keeps the engine running. Fans may not like the way that their favorite wrestlers are booked and Superstars may not care to hear any of the criticisms fans have about them, but without each other, neither would be around. With the evolution of the internet and the revelation of kayfabe, the way fans and wrestlers interact has changed. Some wrestlers maintain their characters and act the way their storyline dictates, while others ignore kayfabe entirely and just act like their normal selves.
However, whether wrestlers stick to kayfabe or not, it’s believed on some level that their interactions on social media are somewhat legitimate. Sometimes wrestlers will make heartfelt pleas like Seth Rollins who took to Twitter discussing the current era of wrestling, while others lambaste fans for their opinions like Mick Foley did when the fans were booing the Universal Championship and the actual match. These interactions, even if just in small ways, show us some of the legitimate feelings that the wrestlers have of their fans and it ultimately shows who cares or who doesn’t.
With that being said, here is a list of wrestlers, former and current, who care about the fans and those wrestlers who don’t.
20 Don't Care - Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is a peculiar case when it comes to fan interactions and showing gratitude to them. On one hand, he has shown to be humble and respectable to the fans, even when they were booing and hating him for winning the 2015 Royal Rumble. One the other hand, he seems like a bit of an arrogant jerk at times. A perfect example of this would be when he said that the WWE is a PG show and that he’s not there to entertain grown men. Another example was when he said he didn’t care about the fans booing him, but said the adults were setting bad examples for the children in attendance.
Some of Reigns’ comments can easily by perceived as benign, but from the perspective of older fans, he’s just saying those things to make the older fans feel guilty. He even somewhat broke character when he went as far as to tell the adults to sip a beer and be quiet while working a promo with Dean Ambrose.
If anything, it’s a sign that a heel turn for The Big Dog would be of great benefit.
19 Cares - A.J. Styles
A.J. Styles is a wrestler who fans say is a great guy to meet at wrestling events or otherwise. Having worked the independent scene for many years, Styles has developed a diehard fan base for his years of great technical wrestling and his athletic abilities. He has wrestled all over the world and in several major promotions, which has paved the way for him to come to the WWE in January of 2016; which only increased his fanbase from his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling and TNA.
There are a variety of videos with Styles showing love to the fans and he would’ve been ranked higher if not for some of his discussions about the gay community. Aside from that, Styles has been shown to be a humble wrestler who loves the fans who helped to get him to this point.
18 Don't Care - Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks is another example of a babyface whose personality comes off as a bit arrogant and critical of fans. From some of her interactions with fans, it would seem like she likes meeting them like a lot of other wrestlers, but her exchanges on Twitter and Tumblr have shown that her opinion of fans aren’t as high as fans may wish.
Earlier in August of this year, she lambasted a fan for being an airport creeper while it seems like all the fan did was ask for a photograph. She even discussed her disappointment in fans chanting random things during a women’s match; which can happen to anyone depending on the match and the city.
17 Cares - Goldberg
Fan opinion of Goldberg is somewhat divided amongst wrestling fans. On one hand, Goldberg is loved by fans for his great gimmick, believable look, and a moveset that all the fans popped for. On the other hand, Goldberg is hated by fans for accidentally ending Bret "The Hitman" Hart’s career. Some fans also believe he held wrestlers back throughout his career for his own well being.
Regardless of fan opinion, Goldberg has always been cool to wrestling fans, especially the kids. When he returned, his promo focused on being a hero to kids again. If the reports are to be believed, the majority of that promo was ad-libbed and that part may have been some of his genuine thoughts about how he feels about the younger fans. He was always seen hugging a child or signing an autograph back in WCW, so there’s a good chance his love of the children who watch the product is legitimate.
16 Don't Care - Batista
Batista has said on multiple occasions that he loves the wrestling business and enjoys entertaining the fans. The fact that he returned in 2014 and could’ve gotten a part-time schedule, but initially chose to come back for a full-time, two-year contract is more than a big enough sign that he still had a lot of love for the fans and the business. However, when the fans began to turn on him after the 2014 Royal Rumble, he began to discuss a lot more dislike for wrestling fans, both in character and out of character. In an interview with the WWE, Batista said the fans were stupid for booing him and he went on to say:
For one thing, I didn't ask for that spot. And here's my thing with wrestling, and I tell this to everybody: If you get an opportunity, take the opportunity, and if you pass it up, you're a fool. And if you hate on a guy just because he's taking advantage of an opportunity that's given to him, then you're an idiot.
15 Cares - The New Day
Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods have all expressed their appreciation for the fans individually, but since their time as a faction may come to an end at some point in 2017, they’ll be discussed as a group.
The New Day was set up for failure upon their debut, as the fans didn’t like the gimmick's presentation, nor what seemed to be yet another stereotypical gimmick. However, once they were given the okay to turn heel, the fans slowly, but surely began to get behind The New Day to the point where they became some of the most popular wrestlers on the roster who receive some of the biggest pops and audience responses. Even on the show Table for 3, they expressed their pleasure in being allowed the opportunity and loving the fact that the fans got behind what many wrestlers, including the members of The New Day, considered a big risk.
14 Don't Care - Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash has been a controversial figure for a long time, so him having a negative view of wrestling fans isn’t really all that surprising. Nash’s most infamous moment was when he coined the term vanilla midget to describe smaller wrestlers like Dean Malenko and some of the Cruiserweights of WCW. Nash’s comments on Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit in 2012, while highly controversial, were not his first time blasting smaller wrestlers or the fans of those wrestlers who talk about who is and who isn’t a good worker.
Back in the year 2000 in a WCW Magazine, Nash said he didn’t care if 'smart marks' don’t like him and that they don’t know enough about the business to criticize it; the same argument every wrestler uses to shield themselves and the company from criticism about the quality of their shows.
13 Cares - Titus O'Neil
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. When you're doing your Best to be your Best you inherently will inspire,motivate&Encourage others to do the same if they Choose to do so. When We operate in Love, Respect is Given,Lives are changed and Blessings are Reaped in abundance. Go out today with a Purpose to Live,Give and Love and Your Spirit shall be quenched 💯👍🏽☺️#ContentOfCharacter #LoveWins #BlessedtoBeABlessing
Titus O’Neil may not be one of the most popular Superstars on the roster, but he's definitely one of the most grateful. O’Neil has always been regarded as a class act in and out of the wrestling ring. Several wrestlers, including Batista, have said that O’Neil is a great guy who should have a bigger ambassador role for the company.
Just look at his social media and you’ll see some mentions of his matches and desires in the WWE, but the majority of it will be filled with pictures of friends, family, and fans. His Instagram account is flooded with pictures of loved ones, supporters, and tells the story of a man who always talks about being humbled to have a job and meet so many people. Even after being unjustly suspended and almost fired, he still shows nothing but class everywhere he goes.
12 Don't Care - Randy Orton
Randy Orton may be a great wrestler in the ring, but he's more than well known for his sour exchanges with wrestling fans and wrestlers themselves. As a face and as a heel, there have been multiple reports of Orton blowing off and or insulting fans and a new story seems to pops up at least once a year.
Back in 2014, Orton took a picture with a Latino woman saying he met the Latino version of Ms. Piggy on Twitter. In April of 2015, he berated the fans for bothering wrestlers and asking for autographs and pictures after their tour of Europe.
Following the pattern, just this year, he got into another Twitter exchange with some 'Black Lives Matter' protesters after using the hashtag, #AllLivesArePrecious, a play on the phrase 'All Lives Matter'. Look for 2017 to showcase yet another incident involving The Viper.
11 Cares - Cesaro
Cesaro is yet another WWE Superstar who got his fanbase initially from his stint on the independent circuit. His debut in 2012 was very lackluster and his championship reign was an initial flop, but when he joined up with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter and formed The Real Americans, the casual fans got behind him and began to wish he broke out of the mid-card.
Sadly, bad booking and injuries have cost Cesaro potential chances at being a main event player, but his massive fan support keeps it a possibility. Every time Cesaro wrestles, fans can be seen with their Cesaro section signs and whenever he jumps into the crowd, he seems to be genuinely enjoying himself with the people who want to see him do more. In a lot of ways, Cesaro is in a situation like Daniel Bryan and if he ever gets a genuine chance like Bryan did, Cesaro could be another huge star and he’ll more than likely thank the fans.
10 Don't Care - Al Snow
Unlike most wrestlers on this list, fans generally like Al Snow. He was an entertaining act during the Attitude Era and there were never a lot of reports regarding fan interactions.
He seemed like another wrestler who cared the about the fans as much as anybody else, but there aren’t many people who can be heard saying that they hate wrestling fans in a shoot interview. Earlier this year, Snow was interviewed by Great North Wrestling about the negativity fans have towards TNA Impact Wrestling to which he responded: "They're the goofiest bunch of people I ever met, he also added; I genuinely hate them. I really do. I love the fact that they're fans, but I hate them."
Now some people agree with him that fans are too critical these days, but a lot of fans viewed this as a blatant act of disrespect.
9 Cares - The Rock
The Most Electrifying Man in All of Sports and Entertainment has more than shown that he is The People’s Champion in more ways than one.
The Rock initially was booed by the fans for his generic look and character upon his debut in 1996, but once he joined The Nation of Domination, dubbed himself The People’s Champion, and showcased his charismatic personality, the fans were soon begging for The Rock to get to the next level.
Even after leaving wrestling for Hollywood, The Rock has never spoken ill about the wrestling business like others have and gave back to the people and fans who supported him when he returned to the ring in 2011 and began his year-long feud with John Cena. He didn’t have to come back to wrestling at all, but he does it to give back to the business he feels gave him the tools to be a success.
8 Don't Care - Mick Foley
Before Mick Foley became the General Manager of Monday Night Raw, most fans would think it would be ridiculous to say he doesn’t care about the fans. After all, he did stick up for Daniel Bryan and was very outspoken about him being taken out of the main event scene in favor of Batista. But when he became the General Manager, his outlook on the fans and their opinions would change.
One of the first examples of this would be when Foley took to Twitter to rip fans after they turned on the Universal Championship match between Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor. Then, when the match between Sheamus and Cesaro ended in a draw after two months of feuding, Foley told fans to kiss his arse if they didn’t like the finish; which the majority of them didn’t. Whether he’s being told by officials to say these things or he is voluntarily defending the company, Foley is showing himself to be a hypocrite and a jerk.
7 Cares - Triple H
Now Triple H isn’t said to be the nicest or the best person behind the scenes. There have been several claims and rumors of him politicking and manipulating people backstage over the years. Regardless of how you may feel about his ascent up the ladder or him possibly being a bad person, none of that alleged ire is ever directed towards the fans outside of character.
There have been several instances where Triple H will break character or work around kayfabe to make matches and segments exciting for the fans and children in attendance. During his feud with Randy Orton, Triple H had an adorable moment with one of the kids at ringside and when he was a member of The Authority, Triple H consoled a fan at ringside, letting him know it was all an act.
6 Don't Care - Josh Mathews
During his time with the WWE, many fans thought Josh Mathews was a decent announcer. He wasn’t as good as Jim Ross or Jerry “The King” Lawler, but he wasn’t viewed as a waste of a seat like David Otunga and Byron Saxton.
When he was released from the WWE and went to TNA, Mathews started showing a side of himself that fans would soon begin to hate. It first manifested itself in a Twitter war with JR when Matthews said JR, one of the greatest commentators of all time, was too old and needed to go away. This trend of disrespect would then be extended to wrestling fans when Matthews took to Twitter to claim 30 seconds of Total Nonstop Deletion was better than any WrestleMania. Several fans responded to this and he blocked some, while responding to a few.
5 Cares - Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is one of the WWE’s biggest modern stars and his fanbase is as loyal to him as he is to them. Rollins had been wrestling for quite some time before coming to WWE in various promotions like Ring of Honor and Wrestling Society X. He had the fan following from the independents and he won the casual fans over with his in-ring work and his part in The Shield.
Rollins, even while playing a heel, has been shown to be more of an everyday guy than some big shot celebrity, like many wrestlers of the past. He’ll be seen at concerts just like any other person in attendance. Despite some of his more controversial pictures floating around on Twitter, Rollins even took a stance on social justice by showing support for the group 'Black Lives Matter'. Rollins is regarded as a great guy by many and his legacy in and outside the ring only continues to grow.
4 Don't Care - Brock Lesnar
It’s no secret that Brock Lesnar is not much of a people person. The man admittedly doesn’t like people and goes out of his way to avoid fan interaction. Paul Heyman once discussed Lesnar’s home in Minnesota, back when he lived in the US, and Heyman described it as a compound unfindable using a GPS and that Lesnar wants to be left alone.
He has rarely has been seen interacting with wrestling fans despite his large following and his demeanor in interviews is completely indifferent. He's a very anti-social athlete and many view him as a man who only cares about making money and disregards any interest for the business he's in. However, many fans thought he took it to a new level once he left the WWE, joined UFC later on, and called wrestling fake; something that both wrestlers and fans take offense to.
3 Cares - John Cena
Before the anti-Cena crowd became a vocal part of the show, Cena slowly but surely earned the fans love through his entertaining promos and personality. After he won the WWE Championship, his iconic image of diving into the crowd and celebrating with the fans at WrestleMania was just a glimpse into how much he cares about the wrestling business.
As the anti-Cena crowd began to get more and more vocal, Cena has never expressed displeasure or disgust with the audience whether in character or not. Even when fans were cheering his announcement of time off due to injury, Cena has kept it classy and never went against the fans. Since 2015 and his series of matches against Kevin Owens along with his run as the United States Champion, fan opinion has started to sway more in the direction of Cena and fans appreciate him a lot more now, but Cena’s level of appreciation has stayed the course, if not increased, since his time in the WWE.
2 Don't Care - CM Punk
Anyone who has known CM Punk personally has always said that he has a quick temper and can be a bit of a jerk. Whether he was interacting with fans at live events or at airports, Punk has been known to be rude and aggressive towards fans.
This wouldn’t be as bad if he was doing these things as a heel, but Punk was well known for acting like this while a babyface…and even when he left wrestling. If he wasn’t yelling at a fan "you have a va****" as a heel, he was making women and children cry while a babyface.
After he left wrestling, his vitriol towards wrestling fans only intensified. He often ignored fans who brought up wrestling, talked down to them in his shoot podcast with Colt Cabana, and event called wrestling fake; something considered taboo by fans and wrestlers alike. He made his legacy by working his way up the ladder in the industry and the fact that he hates fans doesn’t reflect well on him as a human being.
1 Cares - Daniel Bryan
It’s no secret that had it not been for Daniel Bryan’s massive crowd support, there would be no Yes! Movement and Bryan would not have had his WrestleMania moment and win the WWE Championship.
Bryan built up a good following amongst non-WWE fans for his years of wrestling all over the world in various promotions. His technical skills and prowess were so great that even The Wrestling Observer Newsletter renamed The Wrestling Observer Best Technical Wrestler of the Year award to The Bryan Danielson Award upon his retirement.
Bryan’s connection with the fans throughout his wrestling career and his every-man personality only caused him to go further and further in his career. His interaction with fans from Twitter and at live events have always been regarded as cheerful and enjoyable. Even as a General Manager, he still expresses interest in the fans above everything else.
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