Prior to the Madison Square Garden incident — popularly known as the MSG Curtain Call — the WWE Universe used to believe heels genuinely hated the faces, and wrestlers genuinely intended to hurt their peers. With more people getting access to the internet, a plethora of information was shared about the wrestling business, and camera phones captured every time the wrestlers broke kayfabe.
Thanks to the demise of kayfabe, the fans of the modern era can now get ample insights into the business to become familiar with the real-life character of the wrestlers. Thanks to the fervency of the Internet Wrestling Community, the masks of babyfaces have been ripped off, and most wrestlers atop the hierarchy have proven to be vile persons in real life.
Unsurprisingly, most wrestlers discussed in this article are currently retired, and it should not come as a surprise as backstage politics influenced booking decisions and the functioning of the industry big-time in the yesteryears. However, few wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Sting, Booker T, and the likes prove that you can always choose to be who you are without being influenced by a nasty surrounding.
Although bad behavior, politicking, backstabbing, and other such cornerstones of the wrestling industry are slowly parting ways with the industry, traces of those are still found, and we will reveal the names of wrestlers who should behave better in this article. The following article does not list murderers or women beaters, but essentially lists wrestlers who were widely hated among their peers for a variety of reasons.
Almost every successful wrestler seemingly has been embroiled in at least one or two bitter incidents, but the writer will only discuss those wrestlers about whom only WWE's PR staffers would have nice things to say about. If we had missed any wrestler who had been a backstage bully, drop their names in the comments section. Here are 15 wrestlers who were jerks behind the scenes.
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15 Lex Luger
Brought in as the Hulk Hogan replacement, Vince McMahon handed him a ginormous push even before he was ready. As a result, Lex Luger's ego ballooned, and he opted against jobbing to newer talents. He also indulged in infidelity as he continued to sleep discreetly with Miss Elizabeth despite promising his wife Peggy Pfohl, that he would never see her again after he was caught red-handed once.
While adultery is common in the world of professional wrestling, the fact is that he encouraged the "First Lady of Wrestling" to consume painkillers, muscle relaxers, and vodka — a toxic combination that ultimately led to her premature death. He has now found solace in Christianity after having his own drug problems, but many insiders believe that his decision to embrace Christianity is solely to deceive people into thinking he has come good.
14 Bill Goldberg
One of World Championship Wrestling's wisest moves was to let Goldberg go 173 matches without a defeat. As much as the move gave WCW the edge during the Monday Night Wars, it made him feel entitled. He developed a bad attitude and made only a few friends backstage. After his move to the McMahon's empire, his attitude got worse, and he even went on to badmouth another WCW alumni in Chris Jericho.
He shockingly lost his real life bout against Y2J and was forced to admit in front of the infamous wrestlers' court — headed by The Undertaker — that the "Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla" was the better wrestler between the two. Thanks to him being a jerk, he has not wrestled for any big wrestling promotion since 2003.
13 Dave Batista
Like Roman Reigns, Batista is one muscular wrestler with a limited move set who failed to impress the fans very early in his career. However, his early rise to fame meant that he developed a poor attitude. According to the grapevine, he entered a real life fight with WWE Hall of Famer and celebrated professional in Booker T, which the WCW alumnus won.
During his Royal Rumble return in 2014, a fan flashed his middle finger at him only to be threatened by then-babyface Batista. After leaving the WWE, he has been badmouthing the company, and the fans that made the star he is today. Besides the ego issues, his short-lived fling with Melina Perez is one of the major reasons he has been included in this list.
12 Ric Flair
Despite Ric Flair's longevity and success, not a lot of his former colleagues have a positive opinion about him. He was known to have spent all his wealth away on booze and women while not bothering much about his family. During the launch of WWE 2K14, he appeared drunk, and ruined the event by discussing irrelevant topics throughout the event; he even talked about his Total Nonstop Action match with Mick Foley.
Besides his misdemeanors, he was known to be an egocentric person who shirked from putting young talents over. The Nature Boy himself has admitted that he would not have overstayed his welcome had he been more cautious with his money.
11 CM Punk
The WWE Universe is yearning for the return of CM Punk, as he possesses the wrestling skills of Daniel Bryan and microphone skills of Enzo Amore. However, he has known to be a terrible person backstage, despite making many friends along the way. He is a certified philanderer; he was in a three-way relationship with Daphney and Traci Brooks, but chose to keep them in the dark about it until the former became aware of it.
Punk is unapproachable and hardly cares to be friendly with his fans; during his run with The Nexus, he even called a fan a p**** for disagreeing with him. He identifies himself as a sociopath, and there should be no better reason to label him as a jerk.
10 Kevin Nash
Here is the first entry from The Kliq. Kevin Nash made life a living hell for almost every rookie and those who stood up for themselves. He still shows no empathy for Chris Candido, whose untimely demise may have been prevented, had he advised his long-time mate Shawn Michaels to go easy on him.
His poor booking decisions and penchant for keeping himself and close pal Scott Hall on top, has been attributed to the fall of WCW. He ranks lower than the other members of The Kliq do, as he owns up to his wrongdoings (although he hardly apologized), unlike the others.
9 Sean Waltman
Sean Waltman is a cult hero for pro-Kliq fans, but he has been always been a huge jerk backstage. He hardly showed any respect for his female colleagues and cherished emptying his bowels onto or into people's belongings. Legend has it that Sunny had eaten Chinese food spiked with his feces, whilst future Hall of Famer Mark Henry had bit into a sandwich in which his feces was his chief ingredient.
In addition, he punished Sable for her horrible attitude by taking a dump in her travelling bag, which she carried from Europe to the United States. Should we cite more incidents to justify his inclusion?
8 Scott Hall
The Kliq's drug addiction is well documented. Many wrestlers and insiders have stated that Shawn Michaels and X-Pac may not have gotten into drugs if it were not for their friendship with Scott Hall. Wrestlers relished pranking each other on the road; we made an exclusive article on the craziest pranks wrestlers have pulled off if you want to see more of that.
When Marty Jannetty ribbed him by trashing a hotel room he booked under the name Scott Hall, he physically assaulted the former tag-team partner of HBK. Above all, he proved to be a colossal jerk,when he exposed the business at Madison Square Garden with his Kliq pals.
7 John Bradshaw Layfield
For new and casual fans, John Layfield may come across only as an annoying commentator, but almost everyone who knows him personally despises him with all their heart. JBL bullied every rookie during his wrestling career; he has been known to tease the newbies homoerotically. Shannon Moore, Paul London and Brian Christopher have all been browbeaten by him.
He also intentionally busted open the Blue Meanie's head in light of the latter's decision to bash him online. In addition, Daivari recently revealed that his politicking was one of the major reasons why Muhammad Hassan drew a lot of backstage heat.
6 Randy Orton
Many people with inside source allege that Randy Orton's real life character more or less reflects the one he portrays in front of the screen. "The Viper" hardly gets along with the female employees, as he allegedly ruined the contents of Amy Weber's bag for not knowing who he was — she was relatively new to the industry. In his defense, he told her that she was being disrespectful to the industry.
He also has a long-running feud with Kelly Kelly. He engineered the release of Ken Anderson only because his chops and punches were stiff by sucking up to John Cena. He also called Kofi Kingston stupid on live television for botching a finish. He does not have many friends in the business.
5 Melina Perez
Melina can be mooted as the successor of Sunny, because of her poor attitude and behavior. Rumor has it that she was kicked out of women's dressing room by Lita thanks to terrible attitude. She has also had rubbed shoulders the wrong way with many divas, including Tiffany, Candice Michelle, Maria Kanellis, Mickie James, and Brooke Adams.
In addition, she made John Morrison give Trish Stratus the cold shoulder at WrestleMania XXVII as she desperately wanted to be in the place of the Hall of Famer. Despite hurting Morrison's repute, she went to cheat on him with Batista.
4 Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior was widely loved during his peak years, and people fell in love with him again during his final days, but for the better part of the past two decades, many wrestlers and those associated with the industry had been badmouthing him. Even the WWE released a DVD in which they purposely tried tarnishing his reputation.
He was hated so much backstage, that Curt Hennig even chose to drop a bucketful of human feces under the ring as the Warrior was booked to spend three hours under the ring before surprisingly emerging during the main event. Allegedly, he also had attitude issues that eventually drew the curtain on his wrestling career prematurely.
3 John Cena
WWE tries its best to make the fans look at John Cena with rose-tinted glasses, but enough stories have been shared online to expose his ugly side. Without any solid reason, the Champ humiliated once-promising Alex Riley, and according to many former employees, successfully de-pushed him to NXT. He also threatened Tyler Reks for adopting a finisher that only looked similar to Attitude Adjustment. He also deliberately hurt Michael Tarver for no-selling stiff chairshots he was not penciled in to receive in the first place.
Besides being a jerk to his colleagues, he is also known to be a womanizer having allegedly slept with a married Victoria, a committed Mickie James, and adult actress Kendra Lust.
2 Hulk Hogan
Wrestling is one industry in which psychopathic tendencies are the most needed to ensure survival. Although looking after oneself is essential, Hulk Hogan took things to a different level. He hardly made any friends, and many wrestlers from his generation loathe him wholeheartedly. He has gotten into fights or arguments with a multitude of wrestlers, including Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Scott Steiner, and The Ultimate Warrior.
Although he seems to have come good of late, he refused to lose clean for the majority of his career and even tried to persuade Vince McMahon not to hand a wrestler of short stature in the Bret Hart the WWE Championship. In addition, his politics is one of the reasons why WCW only remains a part of the wrestling history.
1 Shawn Michaels
Much like Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels has turned things around after going through a horrible phase in the late 90s. With Vince McMahon positioning him atop the pecking order, his ego skyrocketed, and he found other egocentric individuals to form the most hated backstage group called The Kliq. With the aid of his pals, he ruined the career of many wrestlers, and his nine-month relationship with Sunny was one of the reasons that broke the bond between Chris Candido and Sunny.
Many wrestlers, including Lee Horne, Jim Crockett, and Bam Bam Bigelow have criticized him for his actions. The WWE insiders allege that the company might now be defunct had The Kliq reigned supreme for a few more years.
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