The relationship between professional wrestlers and wrestling fans is always an interesting dynamic. Fans are the ones that buy tickets, shows or merchandise that puts money into the industry that pays all of the performers and employees in the business. That is usually understood and appreciated unless a fan plays that card to a wrestler in an ungrateful manner. Meanwhile, wrestlers put their bodies on the line every single time risking injury with each move but that doesn’t ever give them the right to be jerks to the paying customer. Every interaction should be judged on a specific basis but enough stories can create perception and perception is reality.
The old school thought process of the wrestler has led to many negative meeting with fans. Wrestlers used to be brought up with the belief that fans are to never be treated as equals outside of the ring and heels were especially supposed to be overly rude to anyone approaching then. This caused various talents to treat fans poorly and have a horrible reputation. On the other side, there have been fans that cross the line. Wrestling fans can’t get overly friendly or entitled when a wrestler is taking time to greet them.
The most aggressive form of going too far as a fan is camping out at hotels or airports to meet a wrestler. The last thing a talent wants to do after long days of travelling and putting their body through pain is signing dozens of 8x10s when just trying to get to sleep. Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks have been two perfect examples of that referencing that sect of fans. Both have positive reputations and are very friendly in the normal circumstances, but will rebel against fans at airports or hotels. Most of the wrestlers with bad reputations aren’t under the same prism and will be flat out mean to fans trying to meet them in any situation away from the business. We’ll look at those names today as we break down the top fifteen wrestlers you probably don’t want to approach outside the ring.
At times, wrestlers seem to be rather cold and whether this is an ego or fatigue thing is still rather unclear. Batista is a perfect example of this, as some have had a positive experience with The Animal while others tend to disagree. According to the pessimistic audience, Batista just seems uninterested and tends to avoid conversation as much as possible. He once told a fan he'd "snap him in half." That's an awkward way of making conversation... Contrary to the other side of the spectrum, some fans believe that Batista is an absolute "teddy bear" outside of the ring, it should be noted that women tend to feel this way after meeting the former WWE Champion. With a bright Hollywood career on the horizon, Batista will certainly attract even more people to him in his everyday life. How he reacts, well that remains to be seen.
15 CM Punk
The legend of CM Punk’s relationship with fans has been met with various reports. Punk can be the biggest jerk to anyone approaching him at the wrong time. The situation of fans wanting him to autograph items in an airport always comes up when discussing Punk’s love-hate relationship with fans, but there have been other instances of negativity when meeting him. Punk is not afraid of telling off or talking down to fans he finds disrespectful. There have been also been positive incidents such as Punk actually paying for breakfast for a fan that knew not to go up to him but waved from a far at a diner. Regardless, the moral of the story is to never approach CM Punk in public.
Konnan is most known for being a star in WCW and a legend in Mexican wrestling. The retired talent has an ornery personality and is known for being very standoffish. Konnan has a podcast on MLW and recently revealed his reaction towards fans. If going up to him in public expecting an autograph or picture, just know your chances are very slim. Konnan admits to saying no to fans asking him for autographs, pictures or even just conversation. MVP shared a story about meeting Konnan for the first time and getting the cold shoulder because Konnan didn’t know who he was at the time. Let that be a lesson to fans to never go up to Konnan. Our chances aren’t any better.
The old school way of thinking and the past culture surrounding wrestling caused ECW wrestlers to be hesitant to treat fans properly. Raven’s shoot interviews will expose him of thinking of fans as marks and not giving them respect unless it’s a specific instance. His genuine personality is very snarky and not someone that takes things seriously so it has opened up the can of worms of being a jerk to fans approaching him. There have been stories out that Raven has mocked fans trying to engage in conversation with him and his overall reputation of being a jerk should have enough reason to never try to meet the ECW legend.
12 Jake Roberts
The selection of Jake Roberts is a tricky one because we have no idea if personal demons changed his attitude in negative moments. Roberts developed a reputation for being completely rude to fans not only approaching him in public but in wrestling scenarios. The Hall of Famer would charge fans for photographs or autographs and still treated them poorly. It is somewhat understandable if a wrestler is not the kindest when being approached on their personal time, but to be rude to fans paying you is just terrible. Roberts was battling addiction and his life was in a horrible place, so it’s possible that he was reacting due to what was in his system. We aren’t sure how he responds these days but it’s probably best to be safe and not risk your luck with Jake.
11 Austin Aries
NXT’s latest signing is hoping to follow the footsteps of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk as a former ROH Champions to become a mega-star for the WWE. Austin Aries’ personality is much more similar to Punk than Bryan and his feelings towards fans are the same. A Double is always on Twitter trying to start online arguments with wrestling fans and seems to get off on trashing the fan base. Fans meeting Aries in person have been insulted over the years and he’s referred to in some circles as “Austin Ass****.” During his ROH days, Aries actually bought into the perception and would charge money for insults at the merchandise table.
10 Ric Flair
The old school mentality and a love for money have led to Ric Flair being one of the most unapproachable wrestlers outside of the business setting. Flair is unlikely to meet you with positive interactions unless you are paying in exchange of the time. The Nature Boy is very friendly and accommodating to fans paying very well to get photographs or autographs. The complete opposite will happen if you try to engage in a conversation or get an autograph in person. Flair is a natural heel and was brought up under the belief that you should never break character. Your best bet is to “Woo” from afar and hope Naitch is in a good mood.
9 Bubba Ray Dudley
Everyone knows the stories of Bubba Ray Dudley inciting riots in ECW during his heel promos. The most vocal Dudley would run down specific fans and harshly insult their relatives before inviting them in the ring to start a fight. That would never fly today but Bubba’s attitude is very much the same if you are hoping to speak to him in person. Bubba believes in the concept that fans belong on the other side of the barrier and shouldn’t get too close to the performer. We all know he isn’t afraid of confrontation and the old “bully” may come out if you try to approach Bubba Ray.
8 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels may go down in the history books as the greatest performer of all time but he was also one of the biggest jerks. The Heartbreak Kid was not only rude to the wrestlers in the back but he used to treat people poorly in real life. Michaels suffered a bad beat down for trying to flirt with someone’s girlfriend at a bar in the 90s, just to give you an example of how he carried himself. The legend has cleaned up his act today but still doesn’t appear to be one of the more pleasant wrestlers to meet unless you are paying. Michaels referred to fans as “marks” that are meant to be “worked” by the performers on a recent interview with Vince Russo.
7 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho's work often carries over to his real life persona and especially is true when dealing with fans. Jericho has been adamant that he lives the life of a heel if portraying a villain on television. Through various interviews, Jericho has admitted that he will flat out refuse to take photos with men, women or children if he is playing a heel at the time of the meeting. The Canadian legend actually got into a fight getting to his car when a female fan got too close to him and touched his arm. Jericho is not the wrestler to meet in real life if he’s still on WWE television portraying a bad guy.
6 Hulk Hogan
The biggest star in the wrestling industry naturally commands a high price tag on the convention market and that’s the main reason Hulk Hogan is not the best wrestler to approach. Hogan charges three figures for an autograph signature or a photograph opportunity, so he will refuse to meet a fan casually trying to speak to him in real life. The Hulkster recently won millions of dollars in his lawsuit against Gawker, so hopefully he lightens up his stance on dealing with fans, but it’s unlikely. Hogan is very friendly in professional environments when you’re paying, but avoid the immortal icon if on the hunt for conversation in person.
5 New Jack
New Jack was ECW’s most unpredictable psychopath inside and outside the ring. Paul Heyman used the naturally ridiculous personality to make fans believe anything he did in the squared circle was true. Jack was arrested for assaulting people on multiple occasions and is never afraid to get into a fight causing fans to be genuinely afraid of him. The reports of meeting New Jack have been hit or miss. There are instances of Jack going out of his way to be kind and appreciative, but other times have exposed him being a complete jerk. The worst case situation of most wrestlers on this list would feature them being mean to you but Jack may get physically violent if you say the wrong thing.
4 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is very introverted in the most aggressive of ways. Lesnar only cares about making money, taking care of his family and going hunting. As the most physically intimidating performer in the WWE, fans should already be fearful of approaching him in person but he absolutely despises interaction with strangers wanting photos or autographs. Lesnar doesn’t even appear at the Axxess signings to avoid fans actually paying to meet him in a public place, so he’ll be even vicious to anyone trying to spark a regular conversation. Brock is definitely not one of the wrestlers that will enjoy your fandom. Best case will see you get ignored with worst case being Lesnar trashing you and ruining your self-esteem.
3 Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is one of the most terrifying human beings on the entire planet, so it’s only fitting that he’s not very approachable. Heel heat is very important to Steiner and he has always gone out of his way to be a jerk to fans during his peak years as an active performer. Big Poppa Pump has become even more unpredictable as the years have gone by and he’s continued to live the gimmick. No one can honestly say they would be able to approach Steiner without a strong level of fear. Forget bungee jumping or becoming a stunt double. Trying your luck with Scott Steiner in person is the true ultimate daredevil act.
2 Randy Orton
Unlike Scott Steiner and many of the other options on here that can be argued as psychopaths, Randy Orton is more deliberate in being a jerk. Orton loves his privacy and has a short temper when it comes to anyone approaching him. There was a recent scenario of Orton taking a photo with a fan to post and trashing the fan on Twitter for being rude to his wife in the past. That was actually one of the more reasonable fan interactions with Orton, as he’s usually rude to those that have never even interacted with him before. Orton’s overall personality is very cold and he will definitely put you on blast if you try to approach him during his off time.
Virgil is the wrestler you most want to avoid for various reasons. Most of all, he’s a jerk and has never respected fans as anything more than paper. Virgil is often the one that approaches fans and tries to bully them into overpaying for his merchandise items. There have been stories of Virgil telling a fan to take a photograph with him as a nice moment with a former wrestler but will later demand a large amount of money and try to intimidate the fan into paying for it. Virgil is rude and disrespectful to fans but the biggest issue is he will try to take advantage of anyone that interacts with him.