Professional wrestling is a business that creates some larger than life personalities. Men and women, who through their heroic-like feats of strength and bags of charisma, become idols to many of us fans. It's almost as if they can do no wrong but alas, they certainly can. We forget that like the rest of us, the performers we watch in the ring week in, week out are in fact human. They struggle with the same issues as we do and are prone to the odd mistake.
Unfortunately for wrestlers, simply correcting or making up for their slip ups is sometimes not enough. As stars, they are of course always in the public eye, now more than ever, and have a look and a legacy to upkeep. When their human side shows like any other celebrity, there are hordes of people waiting to point it out. The wrestling lifestyle is a hard one. You're on the road for up to 300 days a year, putting your body through its paces on the majority of those days. Things like drugs and alcohol will be common place, and make regular appearances on this list.
Wrestlers are also quite often very volatile people, another aspect that will feature frequently in the coming list. It can take as little as one mistake to tarnish a legacy you've spent decades building from the ground up, and here are 15 Superstars who may have damaged it beyond complete repair.
15 Ric Flair
Not many have a legacy as great as that of The Nature Boy, Ric Flair. However, that legacy has been tarnished somewhat in these past few years. It began when Flair came out of retirement to sign with TNA. Ric had the perfect retirement at WrestleMania XXIV, which has been watered down thanks to his TNA run. On top of that, the sixteen-time World Champion didn't do himself any favors by seemingly being his daughter's lap dog for a while on WWE TV.
Thankfully, that is quickly becoming a distant memory. Flair may also believe that he has some sort of image to keep up following his long career of kiss-stealing and limousine riding. I don't think any of us would blame him if he took it down a notch now that the two-time Hall of Famer is 68.
14 Jimmy Snuka
Recently, 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka passed away after a prolonged illness. WWE paid tribute to the former Superstar, but the fans were split on whether to mourn the passing of Snuka or not. The reason being that, not so long ago, a more than 30-year old case was reopened looking into whether Snuka murdered his then girlfriend. Although Superfly was due to stand trial, the case was dismissed as Snuka was not healthy enough to go through the whole ordeal.
While the good that he did for the wrestling business is unquestionable, now that Snuka has passed without the case being investigated and resolved, there will always be a dark cloud hanging over his accomplishments. A dark cloud that hopefully will not be passed on to his daughter, Tamina.
13 Alberto Del Rio
Many forget how good a run Del Rio had when he was originally with WWE. He was a multi-time champion, and a Royal Rumble winner. The credibility generated during that run was diminished when Alberto first left the company. Then, in 2015, Del Rio returned to WWE and began to mend fences and rebuild the legacy of his first stint with the company. It was short lived.
After some unsuccessful storylines and a forgettable United States title run, he was suspended for 30 days after violating WWE's wellness policy. During those 30 days, Del Rio negotiated his release from the company. He has returned once before though, so I'm sure the WWE door has not been shut on Del Rio for good.
12 Scott Steiner
During his days with his brother Rick Steiner in WCW, Scott made quite a name for himself. To this day, the Steiner brothers are still highly thought of within the business. Scott may have been a bigger name if not for his very vocal opinions. Despite being known for speaking ill of WCW during its final years, WWE decided to take a chance on Big Poppa Pump.
One lackluster feud with Triple H and Steiner once again began to run his mouth. Comments about The Game and his wife Stephanie had WWE thinking twice on whether Steiner was in fact worth the risk. Scott didn't find himself out of a job right away but he fell out of the main event picture and his run with the company lasted just two years.
Women's wrestling within WWE has been revolutionized these last couple of years. It could be argued that Paige spear headed that revolution. Today, Paige is nowhere to be seen. The Brit disappeared from WWE TV after serving back-to-back suspensions under the company's wellness policy, followed by a neck surgery that's currently keeping her sidelined.
It's still unclear whether Paige has done too much to be able to make it back into WWE's good graces, but I sincerely hope that it's not too late. The two-time Divas Champion has such a long career ahead of her that deserves to be showcased via the biggest game in town. The fact that The Rock is currently working on a film based on her life is a good sign that we've not seen the last of Paige.
10 Jeff Hardy
Life on the road as a wrestler is a hard one. It goes to show why the use of drugs are common place on this list, as performers look for ways to cope with the grind. Jeff Hardy pretty much had it all in WWE and threw it away thanks to his drug use. It didn't stop once he parted ways with the company either. In TNA, Hardy was supposed to face Sting, only to be so intoxicated that he couldn't compete.
Jeff somehow made his way to the ring and what should have been an epic showdown with Sting ended up being a 90 second embarrassment. It would appear that Hardy has turned a corner more recently, and hopefully a return to WWE for him and his brother Matt is on the horizon.
9 Alundra Blayze
One of the most famous images from the Monday Night Wars is WWE turncoat Alundra Blayze throwing her former employer's title in the bin live on WCW Nitro. Blayze did not tell WWE that she would be jumping ship, so she didn't have the title taken from her. It was a blatant show of disrespect. The act resulted in Blayze being in WWE's bad books for a very long time.
In fact, it wasn't until 20 years later in 2015, that WWE decided to bury the hatchet. It was announced that Alundra would be inducted into the Hall of Fame class for 2015. All is forgiven but who knows what damage the woman formerly known as Madusa did on that night in 1995.
X-Pac, or Sean Waltman outside of the ring, has led a pretty crazy life. He made his WWE debut back in 1993 at the age of just 20 under the moniker of The Lightning Kid. From then, he bounced around different wrestling promotions, always staying relevant. However, Waltman also developed a pretty serious drug addiction. These days, Sean candidly talks about his battle against addiction but it was a very serious situation.
During various interviews, he's discussed how moments before he made his way to the ring for a match with AJ Styles in 2002, he injected himself with crystal meth backstage. Waltman has also shared how his former partner once found him attempting to commit suicide by hanging himself during the height of his addiction.
7 Bret Hart
It's no secret that Bret Hart went through a phase of not seeing eye to eye with Vince McMahon and WWE. Following the Montreal Screwjob in 1997, Bret left the company for what he hoped would be greener pastures in WCW. No such luck for The Hitman. His run with WWE's then rivals was not just forgettable, it actually began to undo all the good that he had achieved during his time with WWE.
The move even resulted in his career coming to a premature end when a mistimed superkick from Goldberg forced Hart to early retirement. Even though he has since made up with WWE, his recent vocal disliking of certain active talents, in particular Seth Rollins, aren't doing him any favors with the latest generation of fans.
6 Scott Hall
Similarly to his good friend X-Pac, Scott Hall is another former Superstar whose past involved a lot of drug abuse and addiction. Hall is one of two men on this list that was helped through that tricky time in his life by another good friend, and soon to be Hall of Famer, Diamond Dallas Page.
Hall is commonly referred to by many of his former colleagues and friends as being one of the sharpest minds in the wrestling business. However, those comments are almost always followed by a 'but'. Well, now that The Bad Guy is seemingly over his former problems, let's hope that in time that 'but' is used less and less frequently, and he's simply known for his terrific work and great wrestling mind.
5 Ultimate Warrior
If you grew up watching wrestling in the early 1990s, there's one guy that you'll always have fond memories of—The Ultimate Warrior. Unfortunately, like so many others, despite his success in WWE, there came a point where he and the powers that be fell out almost beyond repair. Warrior made monetary demands that Vince was reluctant to meet and Warrior jumped ship to WCW.
Unsurprisingly, his run with WWE's rivals waned in comparison to his previous run. Then came the bittersweet ending to Warrior's story. At WrestleMania XXX, almost 20 years later, all bad feelings were finally swept under the rug. Warrior fixed many relationships in the business, only to pass away the following week.
4 Chris Benoit
There is no sadder and more confusing story in professional wrestling than that of Chris Benoit. I'm sure you all know what happened by this point so I won't dwell on it. Ten years later, the whole situation still doesn't seem to add up. Following his death, an examination of the wrestler's brain it became clear that years of concussions and being hit in the head had led to Benoit's brain basically being mush.
The one good thing to come out of this tragedy is that it has led to all sorts of protocols being introduced to the business. Superstars today are a lot more protected when it comes to anything involving concussions and head shots.
Another star who makes this list but has unfortunately recently passed away is the 8th Wonder of the World, Chyna. Sadly, Chyna did not have the chance to mend fences with WWE before she passed away. Her contributions to the business are unquestionable. Without Chyna during the Attitude Era, many of today's stars simply would not be where they are right now.
When Chyna left the business, she took an odd path into the adult film industry. Obviously that's not the kind of image WWE wants to promote. Chyna's choices post-wrestling career have led to her not making WWE's Hall of Fame. Vince, Triple H and Stephanie may change their minds in the future, but it would have meant much more if it had happened while Chyna was still with us.
2 Jake Roberts
Earlier in this list I mentioned there was another guy on here that had been helped through a tumultuous time by DDP. That man is of course Jake 'The Snake' Roberts. As revealed in the fantastic documentary 'The Resurrection of Jake the Snake', Roberts' life had become ravaged by drugs following his time in WWE. The now Hall of Famer continued to take bookings following his departure from the mainstream and regularly turned up to shows intoxicated.
Anyone who has seen the aforementioned documentary will know that with the help of DDP, Jake completely turned his life around. Not only has he come a long way in repairing his reputation, but his transformation meant he could finally take his deserved place in the WWE Hall of Fame. He appeared on RAW as well to hype up his induction.
1 Hulk Hogan
To this day, there is no name that transcends the wrestling business in the way that Hulk Hogan did and still does. On the flip side, there's also no one in pro wrestling quite like The Hulkster for a scandal, from sex tapes to secret recordings. It's all a far cry from the 80s icon who used to encourage his childhood fan base to eat their vitamins. While WWE have forgiven Hulk in the past, it would appear that his latest slip up may be almost unforgivable.
Recordings of Hogan were unearthed that depicted the wrestling icon as a racist. Among other things, the founder of Hulkamania went into great detail as to why he didn't want his daughter to date a black man. Not a good look. There are rumors that WWE may be leaning towards rebuilding their bridge with Hogan, but surely, no matter how big a star you are, the things The Hulkster said will hurt his legacy beyond repair.
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