Professional wrestling is certainly an industry filled with a lot of stress. It’s especially true for those who work in the bigger promotions with hundreds of shows scheduled per year. This can require a lot of travel that can take up most of the time of a wrestler’s life outside the squared circle.
However, it’s amazing how many wrestling superstars can still find the time to be thankful for the fans who have supported them during their careers. One would imagine not wanting to spend time signing autographs or posing for pictures at an airport. However, there are a number of wrestlers who have been more than happy to show their appreciation to wrestling fans they meet everywhere they go.
But there’s another side of the coin. Not every wrestling superstar is willing to take that time out of their day to even say hello. If they aren’t committed to a meet-and-greet event or a live event they are booked on, there are some wrestling stars who simply don't want to take the time to talk to fans. Sometimes, they want to have some time where they can be a normal person without cameras being pointed towards them. Or they could just be in a bad mood because of several personal and/or professional reasons.
Dedicated wrestling fans have stories about wrestlers who other fans would love to meet and stories that act as warning signs of who to avoid. The following provides you a top ten for each side of the coin. Consider this as a guide of who would provide a positive fan experience and a warning for those who will provide the exact opposite.
20 Do – Titus O’Neil
Not everyone who acts like a heel in the WWE ring is really a bad guy outside of the squared circle. Currently on WWE television, Titus O’Neil looks to be someone who has become very grumpy about his recent struggles. This was a man once held the WWE Tag Team Championship with Darren Young as the Prime Time Players. But his singles run has yielded little success.
19 Don’t – New Jack
We’re not sure why anyone would want to meet someone like New Jack. The man has developed quite the reputation for making people bleed profusely. There was the Mass Transit incident where he bladed a young “wrestler’ deeper than usual. He beat up an older man named Gypsy Joe because he wouldn’t sell certain moves. And then New Jack even stabbed a man during an independent show.
18 Do – Bayley
The WWE always seems to have at least a few superstars who are able to connect with the younger fans pretty quickly. One of the most recent examples is Bayley .Whether it was during her time in Florida with WWE’s NXT developmental brand or since her call-up to the main roster months ago, Bayley has developed a connection with the young audience. Part of that has to do with her “hugger” gimmick.
17 Don’t – Bubba Ray Dudley
One of the wrestlers that fans have consistently called a “jerk,” “prick” or other words involving a body part is Bubba Ray Dudley. One of the most decorated tag team wrestlers through the last 20 years has had a number of negative fan interactions. One person said his meeting with Bubba Ray got to a point where the two nearly got into a fight with each other at a bar. Only a few have ever seen him as a calm, collected person outside the ring.
16 Do – Bray Wyatt
Another heel who seems like he would be a bit intimidating to approach is Bray Wyatt. He’s certainly portrayed a scary character on WWE television; similar to someone who leads a cult. But who would have known that the man who screams that he’s the Eater of Worlds would be a pleasant person to meet at airports. One fan captured video of Wyatt with fans. Despite having his bags ready to go, he stopped to get a picture with everyone who wanted one.
15 Don’t – Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner was once a huge star in the world of professional wrestling. A few years after WCW was closed, Big Poppa Pump received one of the biggest pops in WWE history at the 2002 Survivor Series. However, Steiner hasn’t had quite the great reaction from meeting fans outside of live events. One fan wrote online about meeting Steiner at a hotel in Orlando, Fla. While he wasn’t rude, Steiner apparently had the kind of look that made seemed threatening.
14 Do – Dean Ambrose
There are wrestlers who are able to quickly connect with the fans. Dean Ambrose seems more like a common man than most WWE Superstars. Part of that could be due to the fact that he wears jeans to work every day. Not everyone can get away with wearing jeans to their office. But when he’s not in the ring, Ambrose has shown to be quite personable with fans at autograph signings.
13 Don’t – Randy Orton
Randy Orton seems to have a few positive stories shared about him by fans. However, the fan experience stories that have been posted online have been mostly negative. One instance involved a fan who had to wait on him and received less than $2 tip on a bill that was worth about $56. But he’s carried around quite a reputation of bad behavior; even dating back to going AWOL during his time with the U.S. Marine Corps before joining WWE.
12 Do – Daniel Bryan
Fans have fallen in love with Daniel Bryan through his run on the independent circuit and eventually the WWE. Despite an unfortunate ending to his career, Bryan still remains a fan favorite as the general manager of SmackDown. That’s because he continues to show respect towards the fans who approach him at signings, WWE events and anywhere outside the ring.
11 Don’t – Seth Rollins
Not every WWE superstar likes being “bothered” by the fans of the WWE Universe. There are times when fans decide to credit it towards a superstar being a heel. But when it comes to Seth Rollins, he says he’s mean to fans when they are rude towards him. In fact, he was asked about it during a 2015 interview with the Chicago Tribune. In the story, he talked about how some fans stalk superstars.
10 Do – Rob Van Dam
There are certain superstars who are able to bring the same attitude from the WWE to the public. Rob Van Dam is certainly a perfect example of that. While he spent several years being one of the most technically gifted wrestlers in ECW, WWE and TNA Wrestling, RVD is known for a laid-back personality in his promos. That same attitude has carried over to being met by fans in public.
9 Don’t – CM Punk
CM Punk has once said in a shoot interview that he is more than happy to be respectful to a fan who is nice to him. However, there are a number of fans who would disagree with that statement. One fan wrote about seeing CM Punk and his wife at a Chicago Blackhawks game. He requested a picture, but was ignored by someone who was waiting in a concessions line. Punk has come across as a jerk to fans despite being viewed as one of the best in the ring.
8 Do – Big Show
No one in professional wrestling history has ever flipped between the sides of good and evil as much as the Big Show has. But if there’s one thing that has remained true is that he’s an extremely humble guy. Many fans have written online that he’s taken the time to make sure anyone who asks kindly gets an autograph or picture. That ranges from the youngest to older fans who can recall matches from his days in WCW.
7 Don’t – Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash certainly doesn’t seem to have much of a filter. While many of us might think before typing something or saying something that could be viewed as “mean,” Nash doesn’t seem to do that. That would explain the YouShoot interview when he called Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson 'gay'. Nash has repeatedly made derogatory comments about other wrestlers that haven’t sat well with the wrestling community.
6 Do – Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio has been active in professional wrestling since he was a teenager growing up in Mexico. He knows what it’s like to be a young wrestling fan. It’s a big part of why he’s probably extremely nice to young fans to come up to him during any WWE event – whether a match or an autograph signing. Mysterio can be seen “bumping” heads with young fans wearing his mask near ringside.
5 Don’t – Brock Lesnar
Maybe if you were a young fan who was requesting a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you would have a better chance of meeting a smiling Brock Lesnar. He might even let you put him in a headlock. But for many wrestling fans, the Beast Incarnate has not been a pleasant person to be around in public. In fact, many fans feel that he can be quite the jerk to fans who happen to run into him outside of a wrestling event.
4 Do – Goldberg
During his big winning streak in the 1990s with WCW, Bill Goldberg was one of the most intimidating men in professional wrestling. However, many fans can agree that he is one of the nicest, most approachable wrestling stars in real life. During a 2015 fan convention, Goldberg not only signed autographs, but posed for several pictures. He even did a stare down for one fan, which was followed by a wink, a smile and a handshake.
3 Don’t – Ric Flair
In recent years, there have been a number of negative stories regarding fans being able to meet Ric Flair. Flair has often been found at a bar where he doesn’t seem to want to be bothered at certain times. Then there’s also moments when he’s ignored fans wanting an autograph or a picture taken with a fan or two. But he’s also been dealing with a number of personal problems that have hit the internet.
2 Do – John Cena
It’s funny how there is a large number of the WWE Universe who boo John Cena at WWE events. However, he might be one of the best ambassadors for professional wrestling in popular culture. Cena has become the most requested celebrity for Make-A-Wish Foundation meetings. Cena will take the time out of his schedule to make sure a fan who wants to meet him doesn’t end up disappointed.
1 Don’t - Hulk Hogan
After years of being the most popular wrestling star through the 1980s, 1990s and part of the 2000s, Hulk Hogan might have grown tired of fans’ requests outside of wrestling events. Many fans have written that Hogan doesn’t seem to be too approachable when found in public view. Then again, he has recently gone through a bit of a legal war with Gawker Media in regards to a sex tape.
However, he’s apparently been mean even during the good years in his career. One fan wrote about approaching him as a child and asking if he really was the Hulkster. But Hogan reportedly seemed annoyed, confirmed he was Hogan and asked if there were any other questions. Hogan has had his share of positive stories, but it’s been more negative recently.
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