“Don’t hate nothing at all except hatred.” – Bob Dylan … The WWE and hatred go together like pea soup and a grilled-cheese sandwich – warming and wonderful.
The hatred we watch on WWE television is unlike the hatred we watch on the evening news with empathetic eyes. The word “hate” in the wrestling world is a actually a good word that makes the product that much more enjoyable.
The hatred we are subjected to from WWE is a farce – a staged emotionally offering set forth to engage the audience. It’s the classic way of building a wrestling match; distinguish a mutual hatred between the competitors and then sell that bad blood to the fans.
However, sometimes the lines of fiction and reality are blurred and whether we know it or not, what we are watching is peppered with real life drama. Which can be expected in an environment of high-level competition, backstabbing, and politicking. Suddenly, this is not a storyline.
In the following article we will take a look at some of professional wrestling’s most heated real life feuds. The rivalries that could not be settled in the squared-circle. Some of which have been resolved or at least the parties involved have found common ground with fake smiles and forced handshakes.
You will notice certain names on this list appear more than once, as some wrestlers have burned many bridges over the years. The top stars of the industry are usually the focal point of much defamation, jealousy, and out-right hatred.
We will also exclude any mention of hatred towards Vince McMahon, as this list could be built around the WWE boss alone. McMahon has made his share of enemies and to include everybody would require multiple articles on the subject.
Now, let us leave love behind and take a look at the darker side of life. These are the top 15 cases of real life hatred between wrestlers:
15. The Iron Sheik and Everybody
The Iron Sheik is undoubtedly one of the most colorful and controversial professional wrestlers ever. The Sheik begins our list but without one particular enemy as he has been known to have a great deal of hatred towards a number of professional wrestlers.
In recent years, Sheik has become an internet phenomenal thanks to his appearances on The Howard Stern Show, where he is often embroiled in long, hateful outbursts regarding his fellow wrestlers. Nobody is off limits with the Sheik as he has consistently slandered the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, and The Ultimate Warrior.
Whether or not this is all real heat is questionable, as the Sheik can tend to embellish stories and go overboard with his rated-R commentary. The Sheik’s ultimate nemesis is a former WWE wrestler known as B. Brian Blair who Sheik claims disrespected his wrestling career. (The Sheik’s comments about Blair are much too vulgar to post here on the site – check out YouTube for all of his raunchy rants)
In most cases, what the Sheik says is taken lightly as the hatred involved is seemingly one-sided. However, his inclusion on this list is a must. This is an article about hatred and the incoherent, immense hatred that is bottled up inside of the Iron Sheik certainly merits some recognition.
14. JBL and Blue Meanie
In 2005, the resurrection of ECW officially began at the One Night Stand Pay-Per-View. The event was a roaring success and ECW would eventually be brought back full-time as a WWE-produced show – which didn’t fair very well.
Anyway, at the conclusion of the Pay-Per-view, a huge brawl broke out between the ECW Originals and the WWE Crusaders (WWE superstars who were on hand to essentially sabotage the grand ECW moment). During the scuffle, JBL would legitimately attack and bust open Blue Meanie.
This supposedly steams from Blue Meanie’s first run in WWE where JBL was said to have been a backstage bully to Meanie (others as well) and Meanie in turn talking trash about JBL on the internet – all of this coming to a head in the hardcore haven of an ECW ring at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
13. CM Punk and Jeff Hardy
CM Punk has once again caused a massive stir among the wrestling community when he appeared on his good friend Colt Cabana’s podcast and made some startling revelations regarding WWE performers, upper management, and even the medical staff. Needless to say, there is probably a great deal of hatred floating around backstage in WWE directed squarely at Punk but that’s an issue for another day.
This entry is focused on CM Punk and Jeff Hardy – two excellent in-ring talents who in 2009 managed to pull together an amazing feud while competing on SmackDown. However, Punk and Hardy lead very different lifestyles and this translated into some real life heat between the two superstars.
Punk’s verbal assault on Hardy and his issues with substance abuse was not taken lightly by Jeff and was certainly not appreciated. There is an internet video of Jeff at a diner of sorts, accusing Punk of not truly living a straight-edge lifestyle, claiming that Punk uses prescription drugs to help him sleep. Fact or fiction? Who knows but one gets the feeling that the opinions of Jeff Hardy do not mean very much to CM Punk.
12. Chris Jericho and Goldberg
Back in the good old days of WCW, a man by the name of Bill Goldberg ascended on the wrestling scene and began to dominate the promotion. Meanwhile, one of the most gifted wrestlers in the world; Chris Jericho was continually being overshadowed and left in the dust thanks to the backstage politicking that occurred in WCW.
When an idea was pitched that Chris Jericho be the man that ended Goldberg’s impressive undefeated streak, Goldberg did not take too kindly to the idea. The idea was then switched over to Goldberg squashing Jericho in a thirty-second match – which was all right by Jericho as long as it happened on a Pay-Per-View. At the time, an angle was in place where Jericho would challenge Goldberg week after week with no match ever taking place. Therefore, when the encounter finally did go down, Jericho felt it best to have the match on Pay-Per-View since so much TV time had been invested into the angle. However, the match would never happen.
Years later with WCW defunct, Goldberg would make his debut in WWE where Chris Jericho was now an established superstar and two men would find themselves involved in physical altercation backstage during Goldberg’s first week in the company.
11. Ric Flair and Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner once cut an “epic” WCW promo on “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair where he with complete lack of humility proceeded to stumble his way through a hate inspired rant regarding Flair as a ripoff of the late Buddy Rodgers.
Tensions between the two were caused by backstage influence, when Flair had a massive amount of stroke in WCW. According to Steiner, following his infamous promo, Flair approached him in the arena parking lot but essentially cowered and ran away out of fear of Steiner.
Whether or not Steiner’s account of said incident is true is anybody’s guess but another man running away from Scott Steiner does not seem like too far of a stretch and supposing Flair did flee the scene, he remains The Natch while Steiner remains resentful.
10. Randy Orton and Ken Anderson
Randy Orton has garnered a certain backstage reputation over the years and has been known to be short-tempered and difficult to deal with at times.
Ken Anderson, who was known in WWE as Mr. Kennedy, may have fallen victim to Randy Orton and his backstage lobbying when he was released from the company following complaints from Orton that Anderson was too dangerous in the ring.
Anderson has laid claim that John Cena also played a part in his firing from WWE but the feeling here is that his hatred is geared more towards Randy Orton. Anderson once tweeted a message of “karma” when Randy Orton suffered a shoulder injury during a match on a WWE Pay-Per-View.
So, was Anderson really that dangerous in the ring? Or was everything blown out of proportion? Either way, Anderson was a flop in WWE and has never been on the same level as Randy Orton or John Cena.
9. Jim Cornette and Vince Russo
Jim Cornette and Vince Russo have both been a part of the professional wrestling business for a long time and have both given and received great amounts of criticism. However, no amount of ill-spoken slander can compare to the animosity that looms between Cornette and Russo.
Russo, who is often credited with igniting the spark that burned down the barriers of traditional wrestling and made way for the Attitude Era to rise from the ashes, cites that Cornette’s feelings towards him stem from their time in WWE where Vince McMahon chose Russo over Cornette as a creative team partner.
Cornette, a longtime manager and writer, has worked all over the United States for a number of different promotions. There are those who feel that Cornette has one of the best wrestling minds around and that his influence on the business is often overlooked.
The Cornette/Russo feud sometimes feels a little more one-sided as Cornette has sounded off on Russo a lot over the years and has even stated that he blames Vince Russo for the tragic death of Owen Hart – stating that it was Russo who booked Hart as a superhero and should have just allowed him to be a wrestler.
8. Batista and Booker T
The bad blood story of Batista and Booker T ends with the two men engaged in a closed door fist fight which apparently saw Booker get the better of Batista. So, how did the situation come to blows?
Well, the root of the problem was respect – or lack of respect in this case. Batista rose to the top of WWE in a short period of time with, let’s face facts, a limited level of talent. The Animal was said to have displayed a large amount of disrespect to those who came before him – those who have paid their dues in the industry.
During a promotional shoot for the SummerSlam Pay-Per-View, Booker T would confront Batista about his attitude and lack of respect. This resulted in a backstage fight that apparently lasted a solid five minutes before those observing pulled the two men apart.
7. Mick Foley and Ric Flair
How does one choose sides between Mick Foley and Ric Flair? It is difficult for a fan to dislike either man, but at one time these two did not see eye-to-eye.
The problems between these two come from a literary standpoint. In his autobiography, Have a Nice Day!, Foley said of The Nature Boy: “Flair was every bit as bad on the booking side of things as he was great on the wrestling side of it.” This statement was in reference to Flair’s time on the booking committee in WCW and how Foley thought Flair booked him poorly.
In response, Flair wrote of Foley in his own autobiography, To Be the Man: “I do not care how many thumbtacks Mick Foley has fallen on, how many ladders he’s fallen off, how many continents he’s supposedly bled on, he will always be known as a glorified stuntman.”
Mick Foley and Ric Flair have seemingly settled their issues and in 2006 even used their real life animosity to create a fantastic WWE storyline.
6. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage
In the late 1980s, a partnership known as The Mega Powers was formed in WWE. This iconic team was made up of Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Miss Elizabeth as their manager.
The eventual split of The Mega Powers would lead to a match between Hulk Hogan and Macho Man at WrestleMania V for the WWE Championship with Miss Elizabeth serving as a mutual party.
Of course, this was all a storyline and one of the best built WrestleMania matches of all time. However, off-screen, real life tensions were beginning to boil over with Hogan and Savage. When his actual marriage to Miss Elizabeth fell apart, Savage would place the blame on Hogan and his then wife Linda. These two legends were mostly at odds from then on out despite working together again in WCW. Macho Man even wrote a rap song called “Be a Man,” from his lone rap album, which was entirely about Hulk Hogan. Our favorite lyric from that track is: “Hollywood Hulkster you’re at the end of your rope, And I’m a kick ya in the butt and wash your mouth out with soap.”
The great Macho Man is now gone but Hogan claims to have made peace with Savage before his untimely passing.
5. Ric Flair and Bret Hart
“The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be?” … Not according to Ric Flair who has long been an outspoken critic of “the excellence of execution.” In return, Bret Hart has never been shy about voicing his opinions of The Nature Boy – which are less than flattering.
Flair has stated that Hart has over-exposed the death of his brother as well as incidents surrounding the infamous Montreal Screwjob. Flair has also claimed that despite the popularity of Hart in Canada, he was not a money draw in the United States.
Meanwhile, in an article written for the Calgary Sun, Hart disputes the comments made by Flair and claims that he drew greater revenue than The Natch. Stating that while his headlining performances resulted in consistently sold out crowds, Flair’s performances were drawing half-empty arenas.
4. Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett
If you have watched TNA over the past few years (we are not surprised if you haven’t), then you would have witness a heated feud between Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett.
This on-screen feud was brewed from real life circumstance thanks to Kurt Angle’s ex-wife Karen getting hitched to the never-quite-top-level-WWE-performer, Jeff Jarrett. TNA sure got their money’s worth from these two (assuming they drew some money) as Angle and Jarrett were seen going back-and-forth for months.
In fact, TNA would eventually run “Jarrett Family” segments that effectively made Angle look like a bad father. Angle would rightfully tweet his displeasure with the segments as he felt he he was being made to look bad.
There are reports that claim both sides have found mutual ground and have resolved any bad blood which of course can be pure hearsay. Anyhow, to end this entry allow me to anger the Jeff Jarrett marks out there: Kurt Angle is ten-times the wrestler that Jeff Jarrett is and should be back in WWE where he belongs.
3. Edge and Matt Hardy
The whole Edge/Matt Hardy/Lita situation was one the biggest real life controversies to come out of WWE in a long time. Once friends turned sworn enemies, Edge and Hardy had a lot of issues to work out as a result of Lita straying from Matt and into the arms of Edge.
This real life situation was also translated into a WWE storyline in 2005. While everybody involved remained professional about the matter, overtones of real animosity could be heard and seen on screen. The feud was a hot summer storyline which could have been stretched much father than it did but the WWE would eventually have Matt Hardy switch brands and end the rivalry.
These days, Edge, Matt Hardy, and Lita have all moved on in their lives and are all hopefully well and happy.
2. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart
The Montreal Screwjob is possibly the most discussed wrestling moment of all time. Everybody knows the story. Everybody has heard an account of the incident from everybody who was there, even those who were not – it is a moment that will live in WWE infamy.
The two men involved in that WWE Championship match in Montreal were two of the best wrestlers around; Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Two competitors who could tear the roof off of any arena. When these two met in the ring, magic was bound to happen. Their Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII is perhaps the greatest match in WWE history.
Needless to say, Michaels and Hart did not go out after Survivor Series 1997 to grab a beer. There was real life friction, tension, and hatred brought about by a real life incident that took place in the land of make-believe.
Fast forward many years to the January 4th, 2010 edition of Monday Night Raw where Bret Hart would make his long-awaited return to a WWE ring. It wasn’t long before HBK was out in the ring himself and the long-time rivals were face-to-face. In a warming embrace, the two legends buried the hatchet and finally put to rest the events in Montreal.
1. Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior
WrestleMania VI at the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada featured an event that became known as “The Ultimate Challenge.” The WWE Champion: Hulk Hogan vs. The WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior in the main event match with both titles on the line – a match in which Warrior would emerge victorious.
The following two decades would see both men embark on very different roads while each held on to strong resentment towards the other. During the WrestleMania XXX weekend; Warrior was on hand to take his place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
According to Hogan, the two men finally made amends that weekend. Unfortunately, Warrior would pass away a few short days following his Hall of Fame induction. While his side of the story may never be heard, Warrior’s wife has since stated that Hogan’s attempts at reconciliation were insincere.
Hogan has had a long history of insincerity and false claims but the thought of Hogan and Warrior making amends was a nice thought while it lasted.
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