WCW may have closed it's doors sixteen year ago now, but it's far from being a distant memory. In the last few months alone we've seen perhaps the biggest star the company ever created in Goldberg return, become Universal Champion and have a marquee feud with Brock Lesnar. Spoiler alert Goldberg will be making an appearance on this list, ten points if you can guess whether he registers as a jerk or a sweetheart. Goldberg isn't the only Superstar who competed in WCW who's still around either, not by a long shot. What's surprising about that is how some of those wrestlers were treated when they did spend some time in WCW. That they were at the center of a company ruled by chaos, plus a few select people that will also feature in this article, and weren't forever tainted by their time there.
Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, this list is a 50/50 split of Superstars who were tainted and those who weren't. When WCW folded and wrestlers gradually made their way to WWE it became evident who exactly had adopted a bad attitude from their time in WCW and which ones were good people that were just glad to be out of that toxic environment. It's the same in almost any walk of life. You can either blend in and become a part of your bad surroundings or actively realize what's happening is wrong and become the opposite. There are plenty of examples of both of those things occurring to WCW alumni. This list runs down who exactly from WCW was, and in some cases still is, a jerk and who from the company is or was a sweetheart.
20 Jerk: Lex Luger
Lex Luger was a mid 90s version of Roman Reigns. Not that I'm calling Reigns a jerk per se, but that Luger was Vince McMahon's idea of who would be the next face of the WWE despite backlash from the fans. It wasn't the fans alone that stopped Vince's plans though. Luger rather disrespectfully back stabbed the company that had treated him so well by jumping ship to their rivals WCW without informing WWE that he'd be doing so, pretty low. Clearly his attitude hasn't changed much as he let down the highly respected National Wrestling Hall of Fame at the last minute in 2016, as he was being inducted, to make a higher paying appearance elsewhere.
19 Sweetheart: Sting
Those who have had long and storied careers in professional wrestling are more than likely going to a little jaded. It's a grueling business that takes a toll on performers minds and bodies. With that in mind you would expect The Icon, Sting to be one of the most jaded of all. He's been performing in the ring for decades and has only recently hung up his boots. Plus despite retirement he's still very much present on the wrestling scene making multiple appearances at comic cons and the like. However you'd be hard pushed to find anyone with a bad word to say about him. It's a rare thing in the wrestling business but Sting seems to be an unwavering good guy in the eyes of all his peers and his fans.
18 Jerk: Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell is a bit of a strange character. The former WCW star had a pretty successful run during the 1990s with the now defunct company, however things turned sour when he tried to make a go of it in WWE. So sour in fact that it appears to have altered Buff's personality for the worse. Bagwell had an absolute stinker of a WWE debut against Booker T which really started things off on the wrong foot for him. Following that Buff was accused of not only faking an injury to get time off, but also getting his mother to call and complain about it, not a good look for a grown man. That coupled with complaints of him falling out with people backstage because of his bad attitude led to his stay in WWE being a short one.
17 Sweetheart: Rey Mysterio
Many people forget that veteran luchador Rey Mysterio spent a part of his career at WCW. The mask fools fans in to thinking Rey is a lot younger than he is but the former World Heavyweight Champion actually worked with the company from 1996 to 1999. Unfortunately for Mysterio he was with a company that despite having a cruiserweight division, didn't think much of its smaller guys. Like the others Rey was treated pretty poorly and a particular low point was a short feud with Kevin Nash that saw him thrown around week to week like a rag doll. Lucky for us Mysterio gritted his teeth and powered through and after some time with WWE was finally treated with the respect he deserved.
16 Jerk: Bret Hart
The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Any one who knows a lick about Bret Hart would find it hard to argue that The Hitman isn't one of the best in ring performers the business has ever seen. After leaving the ring however Bret became somewhat jaded. Even until now he spends a lot of his time criticizing certain performers and aspects of the product and just seems an all round grumpy guy. It's hard to be mad at him for it though. Following his chaotic exit from WWE Hart had a pretty bad time of it in WCW, suffered a career ending injury via Goldberg, lost his brother Owen in a tragic accident, then suffered a stroke. All that happening in the space of a few years would probably leave most of us pretty jaded.
15 Sweetheart: The Giant/Big Show
Big Show, or The Giant as he was known during his time in WCW, is maybe one of the most intimidating looking men you could ever hope to meet. The man is over seven feet tall and for most of his career has weighed about 500 pounds. Despite his monstrous stature though ask anyone who has crossed paths with Show and you'll be told that he is in fact a very gentle giant. To this day he sounds as if he's one of the most approachable Superstars in the WWE locker room, especially one with as much tenure as he has. The story of him thinking he had to wear his WCW Championship at all times in public alone is proof of how sweet and naive the seven footer was and likely still is.
14 Jerk: Vince Russo
Vince Russo is best known for his time working as a writer with WWE during the Attitude Era. Russo is credited with being part of the reason the company did so well during that time. However his work later in WCW and TNA just went to show without Vince McMahon acting as a filter, his bad ideas made it through with his good ones. Russo now hosts his own podcast and most of the grievances he airs make him sound like a bitter ex-writer. His bashing of Kevin Owens in particular is baffling and seemingly unrelenting, claiming that because KO doesn't look the part he has no place in the ring. You're very much in the minority their Vince I'm afraid.
13 Sweetheart: Roddy Piper
A few entries ago I wrote about Sting and how despite a long time in the pro wrestling business, he was always a well loved figure in the locker room and by the fans. Well that high compliment is not one that belongs to him alone. The late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper is another WWE Hall of Famer that no one seems to have a bad word to say about. While Roddy is most famous for his career in WWE he did also spend some time during the 90s, like so many others, in WCW. He returned to WWE late in his life and continued to upkeep his image as a great guy. Many of the stars he met when he returned would have grown up idolizing Piper and will be glad they got the chance to meet their hero.
12 Jerk: Ric Flair
Like Roddy Piper many fans and wrestlers alike grew up watching Ric Flair and hence idolize him, myself included. Which is why this entry is a tough one to write. Flair built his career on a persona that revolves around him being a rich womanizer who gets anything that he wants. That's all well and good and clearly it worked as he may be the greatest pro wrestler of all time. What's not quite right about that is it's not just a persona, it's who he really is. Even worse Flair is still that way well in to his sixties. As recently as this year an allegedly drunken Ric was removed from a bar for apparently insulting a bartender for not serving him right away.
11 Sweetheart: Stone Cold Steve Austin
Moving swiftly on to good old Stone Cold. Now let's get a few qualifiers out of the way first. Number one Stone Cold is a WCW alumni despite very much being known as a WWE guy. Number two back when he was at the top of his game Austin was accused of some not so great actions involving him and his wife. In the present day however that is clearly an aspect of Stone Cold's life that he regrets and very much not a part of his personality any longer. Although I've never met him myself he sounds very approachable when it comes to fans and also a first port of call for advice for young wrestlers when he's backstage at WWE. In fact you can thank Austin for the Kevin Owens we know and love today after he gave him some career changing advice in an airport years ago.
10 Jerk: Eric Bischoff
He may not seem it now since he's done so much work with WWE, but back when he was running WCW Eric Bischoff was not the nicest guy in the world, not by a long shot. It was no secret that WCW's main aim was to run WWE out of business. With that in mind Bischoff had to be ruthless. Time and time again Eric recruited WWE's top stars and left Vince McMahon clutching at straws and having to regroup. Of course eventually Bischoff got what he deserved. Reportedly outside of the top talents like the guys in nWo Eric didn't exactly treat the rest of his locker room with much respect, including some of those he had managed to coax over from McMahon.
9 Sweetheart: Eddie Guerrero
It's of course easy to remember and speak of somebody fondly after they have passed away, especially when that person leaves us far too soon. When it comes to Eddie Guerrero you can rest assured that the kind words being said are very much heart felt and not just people remembering him through rose tinted glasses. All you need to do is hear the tributes to him paid by his peers following his untimely death to know that. I would challenge you to find one Superstar in that locker room, past or present, who wasn't happy that Eddie finally won the WWE Championship not long before he died and doesn't think that he thoroughly deserved it. There are not many people in the business that were as universally loved as Eddie Guerrero.
8 Jerk: Goldberg
Goldberg may have come back to WWE recently as an apparently changed family man, but during interviews and the like he still showed glimpses of the hot head he was during WCW. For starters the former Universal Champion has made no bones about not wanting to be a wrestler, that alone would be enough for some fans to label him a jerk. There were other instances that solidified that belief. Super kicking Bret Hart which wound up forcing The Hitman to retire. Losing his temper and driving his fist through a car window which almost ended his own career. Maybe Goldberg is a jerk with a temper or maybe he just looks out for number one, plus his family now.
7 Sweetheart: Chrs Jericho
If there's one person who deserves to be a little peeved following his time at WCW, it's Chris Jericho. Since joining WWE all the way up to the present day Jericho has unquestionably proved that he's one of the best the business has ever seen. When in WCW before that though Y2J was continually passed over. Who knows where Bischoff and co would be now had they seen the potential of wrestlers like Jericho. Years of being ignored did not change Chris for the worse though. To this day in WWE he is one of the biggest proponents of helping young and new talent and he's making sure the same mistakes aren't repeated that happened to him during the '90s.
6 Jerk: Hulk Hogan
Where to start when it comes to Hulk Hogan. If you were a wrestling fan just waking up from a coma today after 30 years you wouldn't believe the path Hogan's career and life have taken. During his hey day in the 1980s The Hulkster was an idol and a role model for kids around the world. Fast forward to the present day and he's been involved in a sex tape scandal and is currently (sort of) ignored by WWE thanks to some extremely racist comments he made. Even while he was still wrestling Hulk wasn't exactly the nicest guy. Towards the end of his first WWE run and while he was in WCW he allegedly often utilized backstage politics to ensure that he rarely lost, and even when he did it was in a way that still led to him being on top.
5 Sweetheart: Dusty Rhodes
Although we've already covered many of the sweetest people not to be tainted by WCW, with this entry we may have arrived at the very sweetest. The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. You'd struggle to find anyone wrestling today, or anyone who has wrestled at all over the past 30 years, who crossed paths with Dusty and wasn't enamored with him. Thankfully WWE saw the overwhelming worth in Rhodes towards the end of his life and made him an integral part of the rise of NXT. Every single Superstar who has come up through the NXT ranks to arrive on Raw or SmackDown Live, and there's a lot of them, will cite Dusty as being key to their development.
4 Jerk: Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is another big name from WCW that arrived in WWE, or back in WWE in his case, with completely the wrong attitude. His time away from WWE had seen him break away from his brother Rick and cement himself as a true singles star. That coupled with his incredibly impressive physique most certainly caught Vince McMahon's eye. When he returned to WWE in 2002 he was inserted directly into the World Heavyweight Championship picture. His first feud came against then champion Triple H and it was plain to see right from the off that Steiner was not the same man he had been. The matches against Triple H were poor and apparently Scott's comments behind the scenes aimed at his opponent and Stephanie were even worse. Naturally that saw him slowly slip out of the spotlight and eventually away from the company.
3 Sweetheart: Mick Foley
When you think of someone in the pro wrestling business who doesn't have a bad bone in their body, your mind most likely drifts instantly to Mick Foley. Shocking really considering some of the things Mick did inside the ring while playing the roles of Mankind and Cactus Jack. Unlike most wrestlers though Foley's in ring persona couldn't be further from the mild mannered man that he really is. His home life, his charity work, how he comes across in his one man shows and on social media. You'd be hard pushed to find a nicer, kinder person in any walk of life, let alone in pro wrestling. His daughter Noelle seems to be cut from the same cloth also and hopefully she'll be competing in the ring before long.
2 Jerk: Kevin Nash
Every time I hear or see something good about Nash that starts to turn my opinion of him, it seems I hear something else that brings that opinion right back down again. I understand that one of the top reasons we all have jobs is to make money, but as far as I can tell Nash doesn't know where to draw the line when it comes to making money versus keeping some integrity. I'm not even talking about his jump to WCW, that I can understand. It's the shoot interviews that Nash has done burying countless other wrestlers and revealing things about them that really don't need to be said, not for all the fans to hear anyway. Plus similarly to Hogan, many WCW wrestlers who shared a locker room with him at the company claim he was very much in charge of how he was booked, hence his long stay atop the roster.
1 Sweetheart: Diamond Dallas Page
This year's Hall of Fame saw a man deservedly inducted not solely for his wrestling ability, but in large part down to the fact that he is simply an incredible human being. While his path to competing in the ring is an incredible and inspiring one, it's not that which warrants his place at the top of this list. It's how he has selflessly helped his fellow wrestlers and more importantly friends when they have well and truly been on the brink. Both Jake Roberts and Scott Hall will have no qualms in telling you that DDP saved their lives. Page took them into his home and succeeded in turning their lives around after they battled drug addiction and estranged themselves from their families. DDP is well and truly just a terrific person and congratulations to him for now being a WWE Hall of Famer.
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