There are many controversies in wrestling regarding the current landscape today. The polarizing reaction to a lot of the changes in recent years sees certain wrestlers and wrestling personalities refusing to accept what the business has evolved into. Some of the changes range from women’s wrestling being taken seriously to the male wrestlers showing more athleticism. Quite a few names are stuck in the past and try to run down the current generation for their new style. There are also older names that still wrestle with no intentions of hanging up the boots any time soon. These names are stuck in the past as well struggling to let the new generation take over.
We will take a look at various stories from all aspects when it comes to wrestlers that are currently living in the past and refusing to adapt. The wrestlers on the list sadly have seen the wrestling business pass them by in a major way. Many of the stories here become embarrassing to hurt the perception and legacy of the names that were once heavily respected in the industry. These sad cases are on full display here as we break down fifteen wrestlers that are stuck in the past today.
15 Randy Orton
Despite being a current top star in WWE, Randy Orton finds himself living in the past in regards to multiple aspects of professional wrestling. Orton wrestles a style very different from the majority of WWE stars today. The strengths of Orton see him slow it down with lots of rest holds. Orton is clearly not a fan of the current wrestling generation based off his comments a few months ago.
Many of today’s stars are known for their diving and fast paced offense. Orton insulted the current wrestling style on social media in support of trainer Rip Rogers bashing them. The viewpoints of Orton are just a small portion of why he is stuck in the past. Orton has been part of some of the dullest wrestling matches all year showing he needs to adapt as he is outdated right now.
The downward spiral of Ryback has made him a complete joke following his departure from WWE. Ryback spent many years in WWE receiving multiple opportunities but still ended his career there in bitter fashion. These days, you can listen to Ryback live in the past on his podcast. Ryback discusses all of his older moments in WWE and blatantly lies consistently.
For whatever reason, Ryback thinks reliving the past with revisionist history is worth making his new career. Ultimate Warrior’s recent widow called out The Big Goof for lying about being offered a match against Warrior at WrestleMania XXX. No one takes him seriously due to his constant complaining about his WWE tenure and making up things to look good.
13 Disco Inferno
Most of the wrestlers living in the past at least achieved a great deal of success to warrant their opinion. Disco Inferno never did much of note during his time in WCW aside from playing a lower card comedic act that would move into the midcard once in a while. The career of Disco is remembered in humorous fashion for being one of the biggest goofs, but he apparently thinks he’s a bigger deal than he was.
Inferno appears on the podcasts of Konnan and Vince Russo each with critical comments of the current generation of wrestlers. The claims of Disco are that wrestling needs to go back in time to the 90s and have the exact same approach to bring back ratings. Any notion of fans watching wrestling through other internet outlets that are available these days compared to two decades ago.
12 Al Snow
Another wrestler that made his name in the 90s and doesn’t like the current times of wrestling is Al Snow. The career of Snow is remembered for his incredible run in ECW and comical work in WWE’s hardcore division. Snow has remained in the business for the past fifteen years working behind the scenes as a trainer and a producer.
TNA employed Snow for many years to be a producer helping put together matches and give advice to the wrestlers. Any interview with Snow discussing the current state of the business shows just how outdated he is and wants wrestlers to work the old school way. It may not be a coincidence that a lot of TNA careers flopped during his time. Kevin Owens shared a story on Chris Jericho’s podcast outing Snow for showing up to a Ring of Honor show and trashing all the wrestlers for their styles. Now we see KO and Sami Zayn on WWE television week while guys like Crimson struggles to get bookings.
The horrible track record of Tammy “Sunny” Sytch in recent years has seen her turn into a tragic wrestling story. Sunny has been in and out of jail while making many horrible decisions along the way. Sytch has been involved in numerous controversial incidents ranging from racist tirades to offering fans live cybersex shows on the internet.
The things about Sytch that show she’s living in the past not only revolve around her social stances towards fans of different backgrounds, but she complains about current wrestlers. Sunny has trashed Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and others in the WWE women’s division for their looks. According to Sytch, women are better as eye candy that has no athletic talent rather than the stars of today moving the division forward. Luckily, no one takes her seriously.
10 Greg Valentine
Unlike many others on the list, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine does not make headlines ranting about the current generation. Valentine however is still stuck in the past based off the fact that he still wrestles on the independent circuit. At the age of 65 years old, Valentine stumbles into the ring on smaller shows and often just nails a punch or plays an outside role in a match.
On one level, it is endearing that The Hammer still enjoys the business enough to continue making the weekend appearances at such an old age. However, the scenario is very much akin to the story told in the hit movie The Wrestler. Valentine hanging on and still trying to get involved in the ring is rather depressing to watch.
9 Scott Steiner
The antics of Scott Steiner are quite entertaining but he clearly is stuck in the past. Steiner holds on to grudges he made in 2003 during his prior tenure in WWE. Triple H became the biggest enemy of Steiner due to their poor matches together sinking Scott’s career. Stephanie McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair also all became targets of Big Poppa Pump due to their relationships with Triple H.
Steiner refuses to let this go and still trashes them all regarding things that happened over a decade ago. One of Steiner’s consistent comments is that Triple H is “the Kevin Federline of professional wrestling.” The outdated reference would have many younger fans unaware of who Federline is. Steiner insulting his enemies shows he’s stuck in the past and his outdated comments make it even worse.
8 Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell actually kept his name out of the news for many years after his professional wrestling career started to fizzle out. A few promotions began booking him again in recent years and it brought his name value back up a little. Bagwell however is trying to bank off his former star power from the WCW days by having a retirement tour.
The old era of wrestlers used to have such tours in hopes of making a lot of money off the promoters and fans thinking it is the final rodeo for said talent. Bagwell believes his television presence from two decades ago will warrant a tour for the alleged end of his career. It likely won’t go well with mostly novelty promotions and smaller companies booking him.
7 Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas made his career on his petty rivalries in the wrestling business. Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and many other top names were blamed by Douglas for his times in WCW and WWE being huge failures. Douglas did become a top star in ECW using such aggression. It was cool at the time to hear him call out those that snubbed him. However, hearing the same stories over twenty years later is less fun.
Douglas still makes appearances on independent shows and it is quite the depressing visual. Anyone could tell he’s no longer in the shape to compete as he struggles to keep up with just about any opponent. Douglas also rants in promos and shoot interviews about Flair, Michaels and just about any major name that he had issues with decades ago.
6 Jerry Lawler
Most fans assume Jerry Lawler is just a broadcaster for WWE on the monthly PPV kick off shows. Lawler however wrestles on the independent circuit a handful of times per year. The wrestling legend is a shocking 67 years old and almost died on live television during a match on Raw. Lawler’s second chance on life sees him refuse to give up his passion.
It is commendable that he still wants to wrestle despite being a few months away from 68. That doesn’t change the fact that he is living in the past and does not want to give up his glory days. There’s no way he needs the money since he is working for WWE but wants to keep going. Lawler is actually scheduled to challenge Cody Rhodes for the ROH Championship on a NEW show in a few weeks in one of the most bizarre 2017 matchups.
5 Vince Russo
Vince Russo achieved the peak of his success back in 1998 as the Attitude Era helped give WWE more success than ever before. As the lead writer, Russo scripted the shows working under the vision of Vince McMahon. Many of Russo’s ideas helped deliver great television for the time. Nothing the writer has done since leaving WWE in 1999 has achieved success.
Russo got exposed without McMahon filtering his ideas with atrocious runs in WCW and TNA helping kill both. With no more options in the business, Russo decided to become a podcast host. The controversial takes of Russo show he is extremely outdated with no grasp of what’s going on today. Russo often crosses the line with his over the top insults towards today’s product. The craziest thing he consistently says is that he would save WWE from their issues today. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about him returning any time soon.
4 Jim Cornette
The arch nemesis of Vince Russo detests everything about him actually lives the same life these days. Jim Cornette has been excommunicated from all major promotions after having falling outs with WWE, TNA and ROH at different points. Cornette now hosts a weekly podcast discussing the past and everything he hates about today’s wrestling.
Many of the current top stars in the industry like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks are trashed vehemently by Cornette for adapting the genre to what the business is today. Cornette has gone as far as to say some of these wrestlers deserve death for their perception of what wrestling should be. It may be an act of sorts, but Cornette is insanely outdated when it comes to wrestling in 2017.
3 Jeff Jarrett
The career of Jeff Jarrett has certainly taking various turns to get back to where it started in some senses. Jarrett created TNA back in 2002 to create competition for WWE partially due to knowing he’d never be able to work there again after a bitter falling out. TNA never took off in the way people expected and Jarrett is partly to blame for poor decisions.
Jarrett tried a new promotion in Global Force Wrestling and failed until Dixie Carter and Panda Energy finally sold TNA. Anthem Sports purchased the company and brought in Jarrett to run it under his GFW name. However, the product is still a hot mess with many of Jarrett’s outdated approaches still existing. Jarrett was brought up in the 80s era of the wrestling business and it shows with his programs failing to adapt to a more exciting product.
2 Hulk Hogan
The massive ego of Hulk Hogan will likely always keep him in the past for the rest of his life. Hogan has been blackballed from WWE for his racist tirade in the leaked sex tape that ruined his most recent run with the company that he made his name in. The wrestling legend has stated he wants to return to WWE and refuses to confirm he’s retired.
Before his blacklisting, Hogan kept trying to convince WWE to let him wrestle one more match despite his body breaking down. Hogan also takes shots at some of the current wrestlers today claiming the Netflix show G.L.O.W. featured more credible wrestling than the “flippy” stuff today. The bitter legend may never return to WWE again but he still thinks he’s as big a deal as he was in the 80s.
1 Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon is the most powerful man in the wrestling industry and he is sadly the person most stuck in the past. The recent year has shown just how outdated he is. Jinder Mahal being randomly pushed to the WWE Championship after consistently jobbing was a McMahon move. The fact that he’s stuck in the past proved to be further true as Mahal is playing the 80s era anti-American foreigner.
Various issues in the WWE product today are placed back to Vince. NXT is obviously a smaller scale but the product is way better with evolved storytelling. Triple H’s vision is more prone to get over with the current audience and the NXT success stories prove that, especially the women’s division soaring. McMahon however still favors the bigger guys with less talent and wants characters that have lazy one-dimensional natures to them.