It’ll come as absolutely no surprise to hear that some wrestlers are absolute jerks in real life. They perform regularly in front of big crowds representing larger than life characters with cult followers. Some are fan favorites and have their names chanted by tens of thousands of people. Others are loathed heels, but still admired for their ability in the ring. The majority develop large egos, some of which cannot be contained.
These rampaging egos often lead to undesirable behavior. Some wrestlers are despised backstage for their willingness to disrespect their peers if it means career advancement. Some refuse to follow orders in the ring, and won’t let themselves be pinned by a wrestler they’re supposed to be putting over. Others are simply backstage bullies, and draw nourishment from making the existence of those beneath them on the roster a living hell.
Then there are those wrestlers who refuse to interact with fans in the appropriate fashion. They might put on a happy face at a sanctioned autograph signing or fan day, but it’s often a different story when they’re approached in the street for a photo. In fairness to them, fame no doubt has its frustrating moments. But flat out refusing to even acknowledge a fan, especially a child, is unnecessary.
Not all of these wrestling egos manifest themselves through their interactions with colleagues or fans. Sometimes these wrestlers believe they’re above the law, and act accordingly. Be it by disobeying traffic laws, skirting financial regulations, or trying on some of their wrestling moves in real life. Perhaps the most common circumnavigation of the law is through drug abuse. Steroid use is not uncommon in the industry, and neither is the abuse of painkillers and other substances.
Sometimes it’s not the ego at all. Occasionally people are just jerks from the moment they’re born. We'll try to keep the list as current as possible, as many wrestlers from the past, especially in the era of kayfabe were said to be huge jerks. But here is a current crop, a list of 20 wrestlers who are best avoided.
21 Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn was fired from the WWE earlier this month for failing a performance enhancing drugs test. In 2010 he made front page news in Canada when his mistress published photos of the pair. Recorded phone calls were also released where Gunn can be heard shouting abuse at his mistress and accusing her for breaking up his marriage. Gunn’s wife also got in on the act, admitting she sent a text saying she hoped Gunn’s mistress would die in a fiery car crash.
20 Kevin Nash
Late last year Kevin Nash was arrested on battery charges after getting into a fight with his own son. The 18-year-old claimed his father chided him for coming home drunk then threw him down by the neck and lay across his chest. Nash meanwhile said he wrestled his son to the ground to protect himself and his wife. Nash also has a hostile relationship with wrestling fans, and often takes to Twitter to berate people who disagree with him.
19 Brock Lesnar
We'll give Brock Lesnar credit; at least he's honest about who he is. Lesnar has repeatedly said he's not a nice person and has a distaste for people in general. Back in a 2004 interview with ESPN The Magazine, Lesnar was pretty blunt on his homophobia: "I don't like gays. Write that down in your little notebook. I don't like gays." You won't see Lesnar waving to fans and he has said he doesn't talk to anybody at WWE events, other than those he's directly working with. Don't feel bad that we're writing this. In true Lesnar fashion, if he ever were to read this, he wouldn't care.
18 The Miz
No real surprises here, given he began his TV career as a reality TV star. He rose to the top in the WWE, but carried a reputation among several of his peers that he wasn’t a real athlete, rather an actor trying to make it on TV. Since winning the WWE title, The Miz has appeared in several films and TV shows, and has taken on the gimmick of arrogant reality TV star in the WWE. You can’t help but think it’s more than just a gimmick.
Batista rose to fame rapidly in the WWE, but developed a huge ego along the way. He was never overly popular in the locker room backstage and once got himself into a real fight with Booker T, which Booker won. Booker T reportedly had the backing of the entire locker room during the incident. Batista’s relationship with fans has never been overly strong either. While walking up the ramp during the 2014 Royal Rumble, pay per view, one fan flashed his middle finger at Batista, who responded by telling the fan he’d snap him in half. He also flipped off the entire crowd before going backstage. Ironically Batista was meant to be brought back in 2014 as a major babyface.
Melina played the role of egotistical diva during her time in WWE, and by many reports she lived the gimmick in real life too. She was once reportedly kicked out of the locker room by Lita and told to change in the hallway. Tiffany, Candice Michelle, Maria Kanellis, Mickie James and Brooke Adams have all had run ins with the controversial diva, as have many more. Adams once said “She was such a rude fake b*** to everyone. I can’t stand her and neither can most of the rest.”
If you want to hear some entertaining stories about Sable's attitude problems while she was with WWE, have a listen to Jim Cornette's various shoot interviews. Perhaps it was a case of a star buying into her own hype, but Sable was not well liked by her peers and some superiors due to an inflated ego. At one point it was said that Sable viewed herself to be as big a star as Stone Cold. Her and Lesnar seem to be a good couple for each other.
14 Scott Hall
One third of New World Order with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, all of who rubbed a lot of fellow wrestlers the wrong way in the locker room. But Hall’s problems run much deeper than that. Stephanie McMahon revealed four years ago that the WWE had spent more money on rehab for Hall than any other wrestler. It’s easy enough to see why, his rap sheet is as long as any superstar’s. He’s been arrested several times since for various misdemeanors, including domestic violence in 2012 where he allegedly choked his girlfriend, although his legal team denied the claims.
13 CM Punk
CM Punk is not a terrible person at heart, but he's a self-admitted jerk. Again, at least we'll give him props for being honest. Many WWE employees dreaded working with Punk and he will not hesitate to tell people off. One might say CM Punk is a lovable jerk given that he was so talented in the ring and despite what he's said about the wrestling industry, many fans are still rooting for him in his MMA endeavors. Oh well, better to be mean and honest, than nice and fake, right?
12 Greg Valentine
Greg Valentine doesn't seem to have evolved as the years have gone on. While there were various disparaging stories about him, his comments on women in wrestling and society in general were deplorable. He went as far as to say female wrestlers should be fired and head down to work in strip clubs. “They take away jobs from men that need to support their families. They should be home washing dishes and cooking and pregnant and barefoot.”
JBL spent most of his career as a heel, and was also hated by many wrestlers backstage. Plenty of ex-colleagues have come out and said JBL happily beat up on new talent in the ring, while ass kissing his way up the WWE ladder. He was also an enormous bully backstage, mercilessly targeting wrestlers he didn’t like. He’s previously been labelled a racist while Rene Dupree claims JBL used to constantly refer to him as a gay slur.
10 Bubba Ray Dudley
Bubba Ray has long had a reputation for being a jerk, despite his tag team partner D-Von being considered one of the nicest guys in the business. In an interview last year D-Von had the following to say about Bubba. “He’ll be the first to tell you he’s a jerk. He’ll be the first to tell you he don’t like people. There are times when we’re traveling together and people will come up to talk to me and he will just sit there and he won’t say anything. And they’ll go ‘Hey Bubba. How are you doing?’ And he’ll look at me and go ‘I just want to know something. Do I have, on my forehead, ‘I’m a nice person’ printed on it? Let me know so I can erase it’.” He was never much liked in the locker room either, and frequently bullied new wrestlers backstage.
No doubt a big star in his day, but the man also possessed a tremendous ego that dictated his career almost from day one. Goldberg was probably pushed too quickly in WCW, winning his first 173 fights (the real number was actually much less than this). In 2003 he joined WWE and during his first week, Goldberg got into a real life fight backstage with Jericho, which Jericho allegedly won. Goldberg’s ego never subsided, which goes a long way to explaining why his WWE career didn’t flourish as it should have.
8 Randy Orton
Orton’s jerk streak came to the fore in the late 1990s when he was discharged from a short lived stint in the US Marine Corps for bad conduct. He even spent time in prison for this misdemeanor. His attitude hasn’t entirely improved since becoming a professional wrestler either. In 2007 he was sent home from a European tour after trashing his hotel room. His lack of anger management has also occasionally led him to berating fellow superstars, in and out of the ring. On top of everything else, Orton has also been suspended several times for violating the wellness policy.
7 Ric Flair
One of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and one of the largest egomaniacs too. He has long had a reputation for being rude to fans. He’s had several clashes with the law including a road rage incident in 2005, and an unpaid bill stemming from a messy divorce in more recent times. In an autobiography released in 2004, he took aim at several wrestlers, including a scathing attack on Bret Hart where Flair claimed the Canadian over exploited the death of his brother Owen.
6 Hardcore Holly
Bob Holly’s reputation as a bully stayed with him throughout his WWE career. Former World Tag Team champion Rene Dupree felt the entire brunt of it one day when he forgot to pay a parking ticket for Holly. He offered to pay him double what he owed him but Dupree says Holly refused to accept that, instead threatening to kill him. He was then booked in a match to fight Holly, and says Holly kicked him 15 or 20 times in the head with a steel capped wrestling boot.
4 Triple H
This won’t come as a huge surprise. Triple H has collected a lot of enemies over the 20 years or so that he’s been climbing the WWE ladder. He’s one of the most successful wrestlers of all time, but it’s important to caveat that with the simple fact that he married the boss’s daughter all those years ago.
The likes of Jericho, Goldberg, and of course CM Punk have all publicly aired their opinions of Triple H in recent times, as have Chyna, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar and many more in the locker room. Many say Triple H refused to put wrestlers over in his younger years for fear of tarnishing his image. As his power grew, he would sabotage wrestlers he perceived as a threat to his position in the company. Sounds like the logical successor to Vince McMahon really.
3 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan spent the pinnacle of his career as the biggest wrestling superstar in the world. That meant that he was getting paid a huge amount of money, much more than any other guy on the roster. It led to strained relationships with most colleagues throughout his career, and several superstars have happily spoken of their distaste for the man.
Earlier this year it all came to a head for Hogan when he was expunged from the WWE for good (it seems) after racist remarks he made eight years ago surfaced. Hogan reportedly had directed racist comments at his daughter Brooke, who was dating a black man. He has since been removed from the WWE website, and its Hall Of Fame section.
2 Vince McMahon
As Vince McMahon himself once said, "it takes a real son of a b*** to be successful in this business." He’s taken the WWE to the top of the wrestling world during his time, but stomped on many people along the way. He’s been involved in several real fights with his superstars. About 20 years ago he was charged with illegally distributing steroids to wrestlers in his company, although he was acquitted by a jury. His career has been littered with allegations of sexual harassment. He seems happy enough to turn a blind eye to many transgressions over the last 30 years. He seems to take pleasure in having other wrestlers kiss his butt on air. Oh, and he screwed Bret Hart in Montreal. We’ll leave it at that.
1 New Jack
This man epitomizes the term wrestling jerk. His lowest moment came in 2004 while wrestling William Jason Lane for Thunder Wrestling Federation. Early in the match Jack pulled out a metal blade and began stabbing Lane repeatedly. He was later accused of stabbing Lane 14 times, and spent three weeks in jail. Eighteen months earlier New Jack wrestled the aging Gypsy Joe in a hardcore match. What unfolded was one of the most brutal fights ever seen. Jack decided to make his point by turning the match into a real fight, bludgeoning Gypsy Joe with a chain, a barbed wire baseball bat and several chairs, much to the disgust of the crowd.
Let’s not forget the scaffold incident either. New Jack suffered brain damage when he and Vic Grimes fell 20 feet from a scaffold, missing the tables that were in place to break their fall. In a rematch between the pair, New Jack threw Grimes off an even higher scaffold and later admitted he’d hoped to injure or kill Grimes with the stunt.