The internet has impacted the wrestling business in just about every aspect of the game. WWE tries to get social media buzz and often brags about trending on Twitter. The internet appeal is almost as important as the television ratings. considering the cable industry is dying out with online subscriptions growing, such as the WWE Network. These are some of the more positive things to come from the age of the internet but there are a bit of negatives attached to the wrestling world. Wrestling fans have strong passion towards wrestling so internet content, discussion and debates are all quite prevalent.
This has allowed wrestlers to smarten up and try to take advantage of the market of fans that read everything online with the art of trolling. One says silly things or gives “hot takes” to create controversy and get their name out there by riling up fans. Wrestling personalities have started using Twitter, podcasts and VOD shoot interviews to drop talking points that seem far out there but it’s really just a wise way to get fans upset enough to complain about the comments. There is no such thing as bad publicity in wrestling and that is shown with the examples we are going to look at.
The cases of wrestlers causing trouble online ranges from making unpopular statements, trying to start a public dispute with another more popular talent and talking trash to fans. There’s nothing wrong with this on the surface as they’re still playing a character, shades of what they do on television, but the disingenuous nature can harm their personas if it ever gets to be too overbearing. Most of these names here have a respected reputation in wrestling or at least contributed to some form of success in the business. It becomes a shame to realize where they are today but these fifteen wrestling personalities say ridiculous things for attention.
15 Scott Steiner
The change in Scott Steiner's persona over the past sixteen years has been absolutely amazing. Steiner dyed his hair blonde and apparently lost his mind as the loose cannon has been shooting insults towards wrestlers for years. Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan have been the main targets of Big Poppa Pump’s rage but there’s no doubt Steiner plays up his character every once in a while. The names he goes after are highly popular and controversial figures that get fans on his side. Steiner definitely believes most of what he says, but there are a lot of factors that would indicate he’s just trying to keep his name in the news.
Taz will always be remembered as one of the ECW greats and as a color commentator, but he’s currently trying to transition into the world of radio. The outspoken New Yorker hosts a daily wrestling show on CBS Radio’s website breaking down all the news in the sports entertainment world. CBS is a huge broadcasting company, so it’s a big deal for Taz but he has made some ridiculous comments in an effort to get attention to his show. Taz claimed the Ronda Rousey UFC loss to Holly Holm was a “work” and scripted to stir up drama in the MMA community. The Human Suplex Machine also accuses WWE of stealing his ideas in hopes of getting the internet talking.
13 Honky Tonk Man
The Honky Tonk Man is synonymous with the Intercontinental Championship and will always hold a place in WWE history. As one of the legends to still wrestle on the independent circuit, Honky Tonk tries his best to create drama with other wrestlers on the internet. The former star has taken to Twitter to insult Scott Hall, Jake Roberts and Diamond Dallas Page for their DDP Yoga work. It is one thing to insult Hall and Roberts for their past issues but to go after them while trying to turn their lives around was far too much. The Honky Tonk Man also has filmed more shoot interviews than any other wrestler, so the shock jock game has been his strength.
12 Kevin Nash
The WWE holds Kevin Nash in high esteem and he gets quite a few perks, such as a Hall of Fame spot and appearances on WWE Network shows. There’s no reason for Nash to try to create controversy, but yet he still manages to. The big man makes comments on “internet favorites” not being able to draw with judgmental comments about CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens. Nash has also recently stated Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero winning the world titles were what caused the business to start to collapse. Nash might truly be sincere, but going to the well so many times about current wrestlers not being up to standard makes him seem like a troll.
11 Austin Aries
Austin Aries has recently signed with WWE and is scheduled to be a fixture in NXT for quite some time as a future main event star for the promotion. You would assume the WWE signing would cause Aries to keep a low profile and tone down any controversial antics but he has taken to Twitter to get into arguments with wrestling fans. Unlike Kevin Owens or other WWE stars who deal with trolls by harassing them, Aries attacks people who dislike his work with mean-spirited insults.
I sure hope not, then my face might look as bad as yours. https://t.co/3Vy0neKjaM— Austin Aries (@AustinAries) April 10, 2016
Aries may just be a jerk but the also seems to crave attention.
10 New Jack
“The Original Gangsta” New Jack has a checkered past with his criminal record and overall violent and unpredictable behaviour in the ring. Jack would do many controversial things which earned him fans while making promoters dread working with him. The ECW legend doesn’t seem to like anyone in wrestling and makes sure you know all of the wrestlers he wants to fight. It is one thing for him to call out wrestlers who worked with him, but Jack has recently insulted Shane McMahon for jumping off the cage at WrestleMania, claiming it was imitating his past ECW stunts. New Jack absolutely tries to keep his name out there by finding reason to trash anyone whom he feels will gain him some attention in the process.
9 Mark Madden
WCW was absolutely unbearable to watch in 2000 and one of the reasons for that was Mark Madden becoming a weekly commentator. Madden is known for being a radio host but was given the chance at commentating with WCW and it was a complete train wreck. The sad part is that Madden still comments on wrestling news today by insulting many of today’s talents. Madden has trashed guys like Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens in the past and seeks to get the most passionate sect of wrestling fans upset at him. Most people who do this at least used to be great themselves, but Madden has always been awful and it’s a shame he gets away with it.
8 Alex Riley
NXT’s forgotten name Alex Riley has become irrelevant and desperately tries to get attention by insulting many of the new stars in WWE. Riley entered a Twitter feud with Kevin Owens and found himself getting humiliated on a weekly basis. The malcontent would later make passive aggressive comments about Jushin Liger getting a match on NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and A.J. Styles debuting in the Royal Rumble. Maybe Riley truly is upset that world traveling stars are getting an opportunity before him. In any case, the horrible tweets can’t possibly be his real thoughts, can they?
7 Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff wrote the book Controversy Creates Cash. so it should surprise no one that he blatantly makes rude comments about others quite frequently. It is difficult to find a Bischoff interview or social media page which doesn’t feature him saying outrageous things about the wrestling business. Bischoff places blame and takes shots wherever can. Lex Luger, Jeremy Borash, Vince Russo and the wrestling fan base have been the targets of Bischoff whenever he wants to sir some sort of drama. Bischoff also goes out of his way to make extreme right wing political comments to get fans on the other side to argue with him.
Virgil is following the same career path of The Iron Sheik, featured later on this list, by taking the perception of his personality and amplifying it to make money. The same people who work with Sheik now help market Virgil by tapping into the belief that he is all about his money and tries to rip off the fans. Virgil is on Twitter these days requesting money in exchange for follows, while posting insulting comments about fans and wrestlers. The jobber extraordinaire also makes sexual comments about female wrestlers less than half his age. Virgil acts like the arrogant bully fans believe he is and he tries to work this to his advantage - even if it only makes us avoid ever wanting to meet him.
5 Tammy Sytch
The trials and tribulations of Tammy Sytch’s life following her WWE run as Sunny makes for one of the sadder stories in wrestling history. Someone who seemingly had it all has fallen to the lowest of lows in just about every way. In between her issues with drug and alcohol abuse, Sunny has become an online sex model and uses social media to sell her shows. That’s not the worst thing you’ll find on her Twitter page as Sytch has also made derogatory comments about African Americans and went as far as saying she wants a holocaust to kill all Muslims. She also still takes petty shots at other wrestlers such as Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, saying they're too unattractive to make it in WWE. The attention Sytch gets is just killing any respect she still has left from the wrestling world.
4 Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy is relatively known as one of the kinder people in wrestling these days. Wrestlers love working with him and he goes out of his way to accommodate his fans at live shows. However, he still tries to play the heel character on social media. The TNA star has fewer eyes on him than he did in his WWE days, yet his Twitter followers are still high. Hardy insults fans, popular wrestlers in other companies and says downright disgusting things to get attention towards him in the wrestling news headlines. Big E recently laughed off Hardy’s attempts at creating conflict with New Day fans.
Are they the guys that wear strap-ons on their head? That's not ICONIC. https://t.co/OXDBkyQTSV— #WOKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 3, 2016
It just made Hardy look like a fool since we all know he likely loves Booty-O’s.
3 Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette is arguably the greatest manager in wrestling history and was once a brilliant mind for the business. The outspoken loudmouth has always given his opinion without holding back but the recent branding of his perception has seemed less genuine. Any time something unconventional happens in wrestling or a new star of a different ilk makes it, Cornette rants and raves about it. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have been the main targets of Cornette’s recent diatribes. The most damning story has been Cornette’s war on The Young Bucks. ROH’s hottest tag team claims Cornette hugged them and proclaimed they had the only angle people still believe when seeing the Bucks in person after bagging on them online. Cornette will always be a legend but the façade of playing into the angry veteran has become an unfortunate shtick.
2 Vince Russo
TNA giving Vince Russo the boot should have been great news for wrestling fans to finally get rid of the horrible writer. Sadly, Russo has taken to becoming an online wrestling personality who comments on the current product in WWE. Russo comes off as the most delusional person in the business trashing WWE stars and claiming he would save the business by using the slogan “make wrestling great again.” The sad part is some people actually believe him and his comments get traction. Russo likely knows this is what he has to do to keep any name value in the wrestling world and it is sadly working, since he was recently hired to host a PodcastOne show.
1 The Iron Sheik
No one has been more successful at saying ridiculous things for years and making himself relevant as The Iron Sheik. The wrestling legend re-emerged from obscurity through a series of youtube videos wherein he ranted violently about anyone and everyone (especially B. Brian Blair). An unlikely pioneer in the new age of YouYube and social media, his Twitter handle ranks among the most hilarious in all the Twitterverse. His antics even earned The Iron Sheik some appearances on The Howard Stern show. Sheiky Baby has been exposed as being a gimmick for quite some time and his insults towards Hulk Hogan are among his biggest running gags -even though he hugs Hogan every time they are in the same building. Handlers run Sheik’s social media pages and marketing well enough to keep his character going strong. It can be argued that his resurgence paved the way for the current landscape of wrestling characters keeping kayfabe on social media.