To make it to the top in any profession, you have to have a certain belief in yourself. But too much can make you come off as arrogant and people will soon realize you’re not quite as good as you say you are.
The people of the professional wrestling world might be the worst sinners of this. Any group of people that are athletic, chiseled out of granite,and showcased on television around the world every week are bound to get big heads.
From what we’ve been able to see over the last several years with the advent of social media and shoot interviews into these wrestlers personal lives, most realized why they were where they were on the card every night. Some were just simply not able to accept they weren’t as good as they thought they were.
Here’s a list of the top 15 WWE Superstars who are not as good as they thought they were. Some of these are big names that when it’s all said and done, will go down on the list of all-time greats, but not the best where they think they belong.
15 Lex Luger
In the early 1990s Lex Luger was pegged as the next big Superstar in the WWE. “The Narcissist” was Vince McMahon’s hand-picked star to take over the top spot from Hulk Hogan. There was only one problem. He didn’t have what it takes to be the top draw in a company. But he thought he did. And the people in charge that make those decisions thought he did. His biggest accomplishments in WWE was slamming Yokozuna and being the co-winner of the Royal Rumble in 1994 with Bret Hart.
After his failed run in WWE, Luger made his debut in WCW during the first Nitro. And that was about it for his tenure there. But that doesn’t stop Luger from putting himself among the greatest of all-time.
For someone that was brought into the WWE as Marc Mero’s wife, Sable did pretty well for herself. She is one of the most recognizable divas of all-time. But she was really only known for one thing. Her sex appeal.
For what they were, Sable’s talents were fine. She became a star and a legend in the business, but that star isn’t as bright as she probably thinks it is. She reportedly became a pain to deal with backstage as she grew in popularity even claiming she was the reason RAW drew high rating. For someone seen as a sex symbol that was on screen for a few minutes every night, I would hazard a guess she was not the sole reason, especially when you consider the WWE talent of the time.
13 Diamond Dallas Page
Diamond Dallas Page has been able to get the lives of Scott Hall and Jake Roberts back on track with DDP Yoga making him a pretty stand-up human being that thinks of his fellow man. That apparently has not always been the case with him.
A former WCW announcer went so far as to call him “D-D-Me” on Ric Flair’s podcast because he was constantly trying to put himself higher on the card and make himself the center of the show. The former WCW Champion was good, but not that good. It even goes back to his days as a manager, steering the audience’s attention from the ring during matches to watch what he was doing. That’s when you’re supposed to add to the show, not take away from it.
12 John "Bradshaw" Layfield
Paul Heyman said it best about John "Bradshaw" Layfield. In fact, Heyman said it like only he can. John "Bradshaw" Layfield was only WWE Champion for almost a year because Triple H didn’t want to work Tuesdays. The JBL character was great and truly was one of the best heels of the Ruthless Aggression Era. But he was never the guy, even on SmackDown when he was champion. Sure the shows were centered around him, but his feuds, other than with John Cena were centered around established main event talent that would have gotten pretty much anything over. And that was pretty much it in terms of anything notable that JBL accomplished as an in ring performer. Nowadays, JBL is back on SmackDown, sitting ringside at the announce table.
Chyna was lauded by WWE and WCW before signing with WWE and becoming Triple H’s body guard and one of the most revolutionary women in WWE history. But as more success came her way, the bigger head she got making her harder to deal with. And her work in ring work was not that good when it came to actually having matches. Sure, when she faced off against men and beat them, it was exciting. But her wrestling ability was subpar and she was putrid on the microphone. When Triple H began snuggling up to the McMahon’s, Chyna was out of the company because of their prior relationship and because she really wasn’t that good. Sadly, Chyna would live a hard life following WWE and after dealing with a number of issues would pass away.
10 Scott Steiner
As a tag team, The Steiner Brothers were incredible, winning multiple championships around the world. As a singles star, "Big Poppa Pump" left a lot to be desired. He had the look and belief he could be a top guy, but that wasn’t meant to be. He got a run with the WCW Championship, but after WWE bought the company, they specifically had a title match on the last Nitro to take the World Championship off Steiner.
After he sat at home for a year letting his contract expire, he came back at Survivor Series to cheers that quickly died away. After being released in 2004, he’s been in TNA where his split wasn’t so great. Then there are all of the headlines he’s made, like being banned from the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame induction for threatening to kill Hulk Hogan and his wife. Steiner really isn’t that great of a person.
9 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash, along with Scott Hall, changed the business of professional wrestling. He’s an icon, but he’s not as good as he thinks he is. All you have to do is look at WWE in 1994. Ratings were at an all-time low, Pay-Per-View buys were down, and the wrestling was just bad. And who was the WWE Champion for most of the year? Diesel.
Nash was a big reason for changes in the wrestling business, like guaranteed contracts for performers, but he’s also partly responsible for the death of WCW. He was a booker for WCW that helped spiral the company out of control. Because he thought his ideas could save it. That didn’t exactly pan out like he planned and the company soon went under.
Ryback has never really been able to get over with the crowd since his early days in 2012. After some very questionable booking at the end of that year and early 2013, "The Big Guy" turned heel the night after WrestleMania XXIX and he seemed to be on his way to big things. But then he wasn’t. His time as a Paul Heyman Guy and feud with CM Punk pushed him further down the card and away from the main event. All the while, he seemed like a relatively hard working guy that just wanted to do well.
But early this year, out came his thoughts on contracts and how everyone should be paid the same because it takes two to tango. But how should Ryback be making the same as John Cena, the biggest draw in wrestling today? Since his release earlier this year, Ryback has started a podcast that is mostly used to trash WWE about how he wasn’t used correctly. He is currently taking bookings on the independents.
7 Teddy Hart
When you’ve got a name like Hart, you’re expected to be great. And Teddy Hart might have been. But he was a pain to deal with in developmental, apparently parading around his name because he was a member of the legendary Hart Family. He was the youngest person ever signed to a WWE developmental deal and had all of the talent in the world as a worker. But he thought he should be handed a lot instead of earning it. That’s why WWE cut him in 2002. That’s why he hasn’t been able to stick with a company for more than a couple of years. A bad attitude and thinking he was better than he really is. Teddy Hart is a prime example of a true wrestler who never rose to WWE Superstardom.
Bill Goldberg has been in the spotlight a lot recently, with a match against Brock Lesnar reportedly set to take place at Survivor Series in Toronto. He’s one of the biggest stars in WCW history and a two time World Champion. If you hear him talk, you would think he’s held the top belt more times than you can count and carried a company past their competition. Since his departure from WWE at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden, he’s had some very negative things to say about the company and how he was used. We’ll have to see if he agrees with the booking of his match with Lesnar. It only makes sense for Brock Lesnar to win this rematch, but will Goldberg agree?
5 Randy Orton
In 2003, Randy Orton was a founding member of Evolution along with Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista, and he was poised to be the next face of the WWE. The next year, he became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history. All of that success at such a young age (he was just 24 when he won his first World Championship) would give anyone a big head. But Orton took it to the next level, ordering people around backstage and even getting angry when someone didn’t know who he was. All of this caused him to be moved down the card until he matured and got better. In recent years, Orton has apparently been much easier to deal with and is a current leader of the locker room.
4 Hulk Hogan
No one has ever played the game better than Hulk Hogan. Arguably the most recognizable name in professional wrestling ever, "The Hulkster" is a 12-time World Champion, six each in WWE and WCW, so he must be one of the all-time greats. But from all of the stories that have been told about Hogan over the years, like when he refused to face Bret Hart or times he forced a title change in WCW to make himself look strong, he clearly thinks he’s better than he actually is. There’s no denying Hulk Hogan’s importance to the wrestling industry in the 1980s and '90s. But if Hogan wasn’t always in a promoter’s ear explaining why he should get another World Championship run, or why he should be put over, there’s no telling how much more favourably people would look at "The Hulkster." And that’s not even mentioning his movies.
3 The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior was a star in the making and then got the biggest win of his career at WrestleMania VI when he pinned Hulk Hogan to become the new WWE Champion. By Royal Rumble 1991, McMahon realized The Warrior experiment wasn’t working, so he put the belt on Sgt. Slaughter.
Then came Summer Slam 1991 when The Warrior held up the main event of the show, a handicap match pitting Hogan and Warrior against Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and General Adnan, for a half million dollars, saying that’s what he was owed. Warrior was pushed to the moon, but couldn’t ever really get the whole wrestling thing down. He was always sloppy, he got winded easily (sometimes just doing his entrance) and couldn’t draw money. The relationship between WWE and The Ultimate Warrior might have been repaired before his death in 2014, but he was never really that good, and never as good as he was in his own mind.
2 Buff Bagwell
Buff was the stuff. That stuff just wasn’t as good as he thought. While an accomplished tag team wrestler, and certainly looking the part of a main eventer, Buff Bagwel didn’t have the in ring ability or charisma to make it at the highest level. But that didn’t stop Buff from thinking he deserved it. Or his mother from calling front offices to tell them why her son should be a top guy. Sure, he had a run with the nWo, but so did most of the WCW roster.
Bagwell had a very short WWE run, just one week, but in that time, his attitude and lack of in ring talent proved he didn’t deserve to be there, no matter how much he thought he should be. A bad WCW title match against Booker T and, once again, his mother calling to complain her son wasn’t being used right, got him fired in just a week with the company.
1 Jeff Jarrett
One match for $300,000 seems a bit excessive, especially when you’re booked to lose, but that’s what Double J got to drop the Intercontinental Championship to Chyna in a “Good Housekeeping Match” at No Mercy 1999 before he headed off to WCW where he became a main eventer, something he thought he deserved in WWE. That’s just one example of Jarrett thinking he was better than he really was.
And he thought his “success” wasn’t just in the ring. Just look at TNA. He and his father created the promotion, so he could be the champion. And since that was such a success, why not try his hand at another company? Thus, the creation of Global Force Wrestling. For his thoughts of being such a success in the ring and as an owner, Jeff Jarrett tops our list of the wrestlers who thought they were better than they actually were.