Bullying is becoming a major concern in WWE at the moment. As a result of certain wrestlers catching recent heat for being backstage bullies (*ahem* John Bradshaw Layfield *cough*), more eyes have been on WWE more than ever with concerns that bullying may be afoot between the company's wrestlers and employees behind closed doors. While this may be just a little bit disconcerting to even think that this could be going on in WWE currently, the fact of the matter is that bullying has been going on for decades across the entire wrestling industry.
No matter what wrestling company or organization springs to your mind right now, there is a good chance that a fair share of bullying went on in that company over a number of years. In the wrestling industry, bullying has traditionally been regarded as horseplaying or hazing; a means of testing out the newbies to make sure if their desire of being a pro wrestler would allow them to stick it out no matter how bad the bullying gets.
Nowadays, bullying is frowned upon no matter where it happens, hence why people are treating current bullying accusations in WWE as some sort of an epidemic despite them all being old stories. There are several stories in the wrestling industry regarding bullying, but no matter how many of those stories there are, we can still boil it all down to a select few bad apples to weed out who were the worst of the litter when it came to bullies within the industry. Without further ado, here are 15 of the absolute worst bullies to ever come out of the pro wrestling industry.
16 Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is one of the more notorious bullies on this list. Whether he's intentionally dropping guys on their necks or smacking around a little person with his own hat (as Bret Hart noted in his book), Steiner has been at the center of some damning allegations over the years.
A more gruesome instance was recalled from Kevin Nash, who claimed to have watched Steiner string up a defenseless jobber with tape and then stuck a pencil up the poor guy's anus. Nash had to calm the situation by telling Steiner that sodomy was a felony. We all know that Scott Steiner is one crazy guy, but it's stories like this which really make us question his sanity and if he should be allowed to clobber guys in the ring on a weekly basis.
15 Fabulous Moolah
The Fabulous Moolah is highly regarded in wrestling circles due to the hard work she put in as the longest reigning Women's Champion in WWE history. However, if more fans knew about the work she did outside of the ring, her legacy would not be what it is today.
There have been several accusations from female wrestlers who have claimed that Moolah had exploited them either sexually, financially, or both. As a trainer, Moolah often had her experienced trainees train new recruits rather than actually train people herself. Despite this, Moolah never paid her trainees for the extra work they put in. Also, since it was mandatory for female wrestlers to train under Moolah prior to signing a WWE contract, Moolah demanded a 25% compensation fee as their booker. Some of her trainees would be lucky if Moolah allowed them to hold even half of the money they made. Worst of all, Moolah has been accused of forcing her trainees into taking part in an adult ring.
14 Shawn Michaels
We all know about the backstage politics that pre-religion Shawn Michaels got himself wrapped into as part of The Kliq, but the Heartbreak Kid couldn't help but be a bully on camera as well. And of all people, HBK bullied the mastodon that is Vader. It may hard to believe that such a small guy could bully a big man, but as Jim Cornette explained in a shoot interview, Vader may be a giant, but he's always been a big softie at heart.
At SummerSlam 1996, when Vader failed to get into the right position for Michaels' signature elbow, Michaels kicked Vader in the head and screamed "MOVE!" at the big man. Before that at a house show, Michaels warned Vader in the ring that if he pulled his hair again, he'd have the big man fired. Vader left the ring in tears when the match was over.
13 Grizzly Smith
Grizzly Smith is one of the more obscure names that you'll find on this list, but he also happens to be one of the bigger bullies on the list. Smith was a wrestler who used to work the territories during the days of NWA and AWA before being a backstage official in WWE and road agent for WCW upon retiring.
His son went on to become Jake "The Snake" Roberts. As Roberts explained during an episode of the late Roddy Piper's podcast (as well as Roberts' own Pick Your Poison documentary), Smith was a monster. Roberts was born after his father had raped the 12-year old daughter of Roberts' grandmother. Roberts has also accused Smith of forcing a young Roberts to sleep with women while he was a child and Smith himself slept with underage girls while on the road.
12 Randy Orton
Randy Orton is pretty infamous for being a backstage bully whose so-called pranks border along the lines of sadistic frat boy antics. He's especially treated the Divas in WWE pretty questionably over the years.
Maria Kanellis once recalled in a shoot interview that Orton had shot fireworks at her while she sat in a car with Umaga and Carlito. Rochelle Loewen claimed in a radio interview that Orton had dumped baby oil, lotions, and his own excrement in her handbag. He even once publicly slandered Kelly Kelly in a radio interview, claiming that she had been passed around the locker room. There are a number of damning allegations against The Viper, but these are some key ones that made us all raise an eyebrow.
11 Michael Hayes
Despite his legendary status, Michael P.S. Hayes has often been accused of using his backstage position to showcase himself as both a racist and a bully. One of the more shocking incidents featuring Hayes happened during WrestleMania XXIV weekend. At the time, Hayes had gotten drunk with Mark Henry and managed to let the N word slip out. More specifically, Hayes told Henry that "I'm more of a n***er than you'll ever be."
Several people nearby saw the incident and Henry himself was so offended that he told Vince McMahon backstage "Either he goes, or I go." Michael P.S. Hayes was suspended, but after apologizing, Henry allowed Hayes to keep his job. Hayes would defend his actions by saying back in the day, he used to listen to Richard Pryor drop the N bomb and never understood just how wrong that word is to say.
Don't let the size deceive you. Hornswoggle has been considered a bully, believe it or not, by a few of his former co-workers. Particularly Brodus Clay who once claimed in a shoot interview that Hornswoggle was not just a bully, but an "evil little man."
When Hornswoggle was confronted about the validity of these claims in a follow-up interview, he merely chuckled and admitted "He's not wrong." In addition to talking about his own instances with Hornswoggle bullying him, Clay also talked about how 'Swoggle bullied The Miz. As part of a prank, The Miz stopped at a gas station on the road, Hornswoggle hopped in the front seat while Clay was in the car and drove off. Clay thought 'Swoggle would drive just a few feet away from the gas station and all three would have a laugh about it, but he instead drove all the way miles to their hotel, parked the car, and then watched The Miz walk towards them down the road. For being '4ft tall, Hornswoggle sounds like a mean little guy.
8 Hardcore Holly
Hardcore Holly has often been hailed as a locker room leader, but has also been condemned for being a locker room bully. He allegedly tried to bully Brock Lesnar when he first arrived to WWE, which if true would explain why Brock dropped Holly on his head in that nasty spot from the infamous 2002 episode of SmackDown.
At the 2005 Royal Rumble, he publicly hazed newcomer Daniel Puder alongside Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. He even stiffly beat up Matt Cappotelli during a training session on Tough Enough. Not to forget he beat up Rene Dupree when the for WWE star borrowed Holly's car and wrecked it. Holly might not have been one of the bigger stars in WWE, but he certainly was one of the bigger bullies to ever come out of the WWE locker room.
7 Bob Sweetan
Jim Ross once cited Bob Sweetan as the worst person that he ever met. Considering all of the men who Ross has encountered—including a Chairman who humiliated the commentator for most of his career—that says a lot about Sweetan.
Apart from his reputation as the former five-time NWA Central State Heavyweight Championship winning "Mr. Piledriver," Sweetan was outright called a bully by Ross, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and a number of other industry personalities. He earned that status for being a locker room thief, child molester, and world renowned jerk to the people he worked with. In 1990, he was convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter. He also faced a charge of neglecting to pay child support, which got him booted back to his native land of Canada. Recently, Sweetan died in his nursing home in February of 2017.
6 Dynamite Kid
Thomas "Dynamite Kid" Billington has the prestige of being one of the most influential wrestling stars in the history of the sport. His in-ring style and moveset has been adopted by several major Superstars of this generation, including Daniel Bryan, Jay Lethal, Cesaro, and Chris Benoit.
Unfortunately, like Benoit, Dynamite Kid was a bit of a bully. This is a fact that doesn't get brought up a lot when mentioning The Kid's legacy, but he was notorious in his heyday for being particularly cruel to his locker roommates. One example is when he filled Davey Boy Smith's steroid syringe with milk as a joke.
As harsh as he was towards his friends and co-workers, he treated his family just as badly; his wife once claiming that Dynamite would wake her up in the middle of the night with a shotgun to her face, warning her that one day it will be loaded.
5 Hardbody Harrison
His name may not ring any bells for a lot of you, but Hardbody Harrison was a member of the WCW roster nonetheless during the company's last few years on the air. Granted, he was a jobber, but wrestling companies need their jobbers in a weird way, Harrison's role was vital to the company.
As a jobber, he frequently appeared on Monday Night Nitro and even made an appearance at Starrcade 1997. When WCW closed its doors in 2001 and was bought out by WWE, Harrison decided to retire after his contract wasn't picked up by the company. In retirement, he went into the adult slave industry, keeping eight women between his two Florida houses. When convicted, serving as his own attorney, he claimed he only kept these women to train them to be wrestlers. He's still serving a life sentence in prison.
4 Bill Demott
Bill Demott's role as a bully back when he was a head trainer in NXT has been well documented. In 2015, former NXT Superstar Judas Devlin came forward in a radio interview and outed Demott for his bullying ways. Devlin accused Demott as being negligent towards his workers, as well as verbally and mentally abusing his rookies with disparaging remarks with sexual connotations and undertones hinting at favoritism.
There were even accusations of physical abuse. This made Demott out to be homophobic and overly cruel. Before Devlin came out, indie star Ivelisse Vélez said her complaining about Demott to WWE is what got her fired from NXT. Due to how much media attention these accusations garnered, Demott stepped down as lead trainer. He still denied these allegations, but stepped down as “to avoid any embarrassment or damage” to the company.
3 Chris Benoit
Prior to his heinous 2007 murder-suicide, Chris Benoit was an infamous backstage bully. The most infamous story being when he kicked The Miz out of the WWE locker room when "The Awesome One" accidentally spilled chicken crumbs on Benoit's gym bag. Some onlookers even accused Benoit of making the story up just so he could humiliate the Real World star.
There have been other people claiming to have been targeted by Benoit, including Justin Roberts who stated in his book that Benoit once tackled him to the ground and put him in a Crossface for sh*ts and giggles. Chris clearly wasn't well during his final days, and these stories clearly indicate that he had way too much built up anger inside of him.
Where to even start with this guy? More importantly, what is there to say that hasn't been said yet? Ever since the days of the Attitude Era, there have been stories regarding JBL being a backstage bully and in light of the recent Mauro Ranallo incident, all of those stories are coming to the forefront.
Former and current colleagues like Edge, Matt Hardy, Rene Dupree, Justin Roberts, Mark Henry, The Miz, John Morrison, and Joey Mercury have all come forward about JBL harassing them behind the camera. There have also been several stories highlighting guys like Steve Blackman and Joey Styles being victims of the Texan's frat boy antics. These stories have circulated for years—even JBL himself has admitted to hazing without remorse—but all that has changed now is that this hazing has received mainstream attention and inspired some rabid "Fire Bradshaw!" chants.
1 Vince McMahon
The top spot could only be reserved for Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and that's not just because CM Punk alluded to him being a bully before his infamous pipe bomb got cut off. Both in front of the camera and behind it, the boss can be accused of being a major bully. As Mr. McMahon, the character, we watched Vince antagonize a number of his employees.
Whether it was making his best employee, Stone Cold Steve Austin's life a living hell, or making Trish Stratus bark like a dog, Mr. McMahon was truly an evil boss. As Vince McMahon, the man, he has been at the center of some damning allegations of abuse against his employees. Not only that, but he has single-handedly strong-armed countless wrestling companies out of his way to make sure WWE is the only wrestling company in town.