Wrestling in the ‘90s was nothing like what it is today. Wrestlers who were shorter than six feet weren’t treated like big deals then. Using performance enhancers was commonplace. Women were treated as nothing but eye candy. Babyfaces were cheered on without rebellion and heels were booed.
We now see AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura befriend the James Ellsworths of the roster. We see Bayley and Sasha Banks date obscure wrestling talents. We see Dwayne Johnson have a good relationship with Curt Hawkins. However, in the ‘90s, the more popular wrestlers kept to themselves or formed cliques to ensure no new wrestler became as influential as they were in the company.
However, the backstage camaraderie that now exists was unheard of in the ‘90s. Backstage politics made wrestlers act like egotistical jerks. Plus, as wrestlers got away with cheating on their spouses or breaking relationships up without being shamed online, even the top wrestlers didn’t think twice before engaging in infidelity with fans or coworkers. Thus, the ‘90s had more jerks in the top echelons than today.
While Triple H, Kane and Goldust can still go, most wrestlers who’d wrestled in the ‘90s are now washed up, making a living out of what’s left of their fame. The following article lists 10 such washed up wrestlers from the ‘90s who are considered jerks and five who have changed that perception.
15 Still A Jerk: Bubba Ray Dudley
Bully Ray or Bubba Ray Dudley, as evidenced by the pop he received at Raw 25, still remains a crowd favorite. The more informed wrestling fans, however, claim to be struggling to like him as much as they adore D-Von Dudley. While his tag team partner has earned a positive reputation for being a darling with both his colleagues and fans, the former Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Championship winner has been slated for being cold with fans, especially at conventions and meet-and-greets, where he comes solely for being paid for talking with the fans.
He’s far from a fully washed-up wrestler, for he still seems to go in the ring for Ring of Honor and other indie promotions, but his being a complete jerk to paying fans puts him on this list.
14 Still A Jerk: Hulk Hogan
“To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man,” says WCW legend Ric Flair, quite often. His WWE counterpart, Hulk Hogan, however, added a quirky spin to it, as he proved that one could also be the man just by emasculating his fellow wrestlers. Many reliable accounts suggest that he deliberately stopped WCW and Vince McMahon’s WWE from pushing other stars, with his time in the former company especially proving a forgettable period for the talented mid-card wrestlers, as it was then a given that no matter how talented a wrestler was, if his name wasn’t Hulk Hogan or one of his buddies, he wasn’t going to receive the push he’d deserved.
Additionally, what’s happened since his last WWE run further proves that The Hulkster, behind the snazzy yellow clothing and The Real American theme, is a huge jerk.
13 Reformed: Shawn Michaels
With The Undertaker looking like a shadow of his former self in his recent WrestleMania outings, one can state that Shawn Michaels made the right decision to retire when he was still at the top of his game. However, that doesn’t disprove the fact that he’s a washed-up Hall of Famer. Not only is he a washed-up ‘90s wrestler, for he also qualifies as a total jerk. Most wrestling historians even claim that he was the biggest jerk from his era.
Politicking his way up the ladder, he stamped on numerous up-and-coming wrestlers on his way, with Mabel, Vader and Shane Douglas being chief victims. He didn’t just prove a jerk in his professional life, for his being a jerk translated to his personal life as well. Sleeping with Sunny behind her long-term partner Chris Candido, he proved one of the biggest factors that torpedoed their relationship. After being called out by respected wrestling personalities such as Jim Cornette and losing his smile, he now comes across as a much better person.
12 Still A Jerk: Ric Flair
While hardly a handful of wrestlers have accused Ric Flair of being a backstage politician, there have been enough allegations against him to warrant him a place in this list. While his claiming to have slept with over 10,000 women and Halle Berry have only drawn mockery, solely his antics during what wrestling enthusiasts call Plane Ride to Hell make him a truly despicable person.
According to numerous reliable accounts, The Nature Boy, after a few drinks, went haywire, taking his clothes off one by one until he was only wearing his trademark robe. He then flashed the flight attendants but, luckily, they decided against pressing charges against him. With inappropriate acts like that then being considered commonplace and nothing out of the norm, he dodged widespread public-shaming, as he went on to become a celebrated legend.
11 Still A Jerk: Scott Hall
Compared with most other wrestlers from the ‘90s, Scott Hall or known in the ‘90s as Razor Ramon is still relevant, and the reception he received at Raw 25 shows one that he is still appreciated by fans. However, all things considered, he definitely qualifies as a washed up wrestler. What he did during his heyday and until sobering up recently, meanwhile, makes him one of the biggest jerks from the ‘90s wrestling scene.
He, with the aid of his The Kliq buddies – Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Triple H – influenced Vince McMahon’s booking decisions during his WWE tenure and even became a booker of sorts himself upon moving to WCW. Upon the demise of WCW, his substance problems reached newer heights, as he showed up to wrestling shows so high that he couldn’t be deemed fit to perform. Thanks to timely intervention from WWE and Diamond Dallas Page, he’s now leading a much better life, but he has yet to fully turn over a new leaf, as he's denied requests for autographs and even admitted to once declining to sign a birthday card for a terminal child.
10 Reformed: Ted DiBiase
With professional wrestlers from the ‘90s usually marrying outside of the industry and being away from their families most of the time, most of their marriages were tumultuous, and Ted DiBiase was no exception. The Million Dollar Man at the height of his fame cheated on his wife so often that it became a routine. He risked the stable life that comes with being with a loving wife and two kids just to sleep around while he was on the road. However, luckily, his wife, Melanie DiBiase, a level-headed individual, decided to act like only a few women do when they become aware of their spouse's infidelity; she gave him a chance to get his life together. He became a born-again Christian, and has stayed clean ever since, even motivating others to lead a clean life.
Unlike most other wrestlers we’ll be discussing in this list, he no longer qualifies as a jerk, as he comes across as an unlikely role model these days.
9 Still A Jerk: Marty Jannetty
Some people are born jerks. In Marty Jannetty’s case, however, it’s safe to say that the circumstances has made him a jerk. After seeing his career spiral down the drain since The Rockers’ break-up, he turned to drugs, and many fans have since stated on message boards that he’s often asked wrestling fans outside of wrestling arenas money to buy drugs. Additionally, he’s shown up at wrestling conventions completely hammered, often collecting money from the fans for doing nothing but scribbling something on their wrestling memorabilia.
In September 2017, he made the headlines for a Facebook post in which he opened up about his struggling to fight off the urge to sleep with his adopted daughter. Although the WWE legend announced that his account had been hacked, enough damage had already been done.
8 Still A Jerk: Sunny
One will never know if Sunny did what she’s done to herself or things happened only because she was embroiled in the wrestling industry. After turning down the chance to do veterinary science, she chose to travel with her then-wrestler boyfriend Chris Candido. Although they seemed to be happy to just be together, she got carried away by the amount of attention she was receiving from chiselled wrestlers.
Turning to substances and cheap thrills didn’t just ruin her mental and physical health, as she also seemed to make a fool out of her seemingly faithful boyfriend, as she slept around with a host of wrestlers, including but not limited to Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, Sabu and Davey Boy Smith, behind his back. She’s only been in tumultuous relationships since, with her relationship with indie wrestler Damien Darling well-documented, both by the wrestling enthusiasts and the police.
7 Reformed: Lex Luger
Much like others on this list, Lex Luger has been able to turn his life around to now be regarded as a top motivational speaker, even outside of the wrestling sphere. At the height of his fame, however, he was a huge jerk, with his criminal history bearing testimony to his being a tool. Toward the twilight of his wrestling career, he entered a relationship with Miss Elizabeth; however, unfortunately, they bonded only over their love for drugs. The couple abused drugs together, according to numerous credible sources.
As is often the case in drug-fuelled relationships, the couple sometimes got into physical altercations and, in one such incident, he hurt her so badly that she was bruised and injured. He was put behind the bars and not long after that incident, she overdosed. He is known to still carry regret for being a bad influence upon her. However in recent years, he's found faith and has acted as a consultant for WWE's wellness policy and has tried to help wrestlers avoid his mistakes.
6 Still A Jerk: Sid
There are plenty of stories of Sid acting out backstage. There was of course the stabbing incident with Arn Anderson. Besides his erratic behavior, many wrestlers resented him as they felt he was pushed way too much for being a mediocre wrestler who only had his size going for him. In various shoot interviews since retiring from in-ring action (although he has still wrestled sporadically the last few years) he continues to come across as egotistical. Dismissing current WWE talents like Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura, Sid seems to think he was a bigger star than he actually was. While Sid is certainly still a recognizable face from his time, time has not been too kind to his legacy in the business.
5 Still A Jerk: Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner always seemed to have a few screws loose. Many wrestlers didn't dare to confront him backstage when they felt he had crossed a line. When DDP tried it due to Steiner insulting his wife at the time, Steiner got the better of Page in a backstage altercation. In addition to being capable of losing it at any time, Steiner has burned bridges with WWE in recent years, as he continues to bash Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. There was also of course, the infamous incident where he confronted Hulk Hogan's wife at an airport in a very threatening manner. Steiner doesn't seem to have mellowed out all that much in recent years and still seems like he could cross a line at any time.
4 Reformed: Sean Waltman
Sean Waltman began hanging out with wrestlers who were much older than him, and that resulted in his being introduced to drugs that he might not have abused at such a tender age. His personality was also corrupted big-time, as he took pride in bullying other wrestlers with the backing of the The Kliq. He’s alleged to have defecated in a host of things, including but not limited to Jerry Lawler’s crown, Sable’s bag and Sunny’s Chinese take-out. Additionally, he was in a drug-fuelled relationship with Chyna as they both ruined each other’s lives in more ways than one.
After letting prescription drugs cut his wrestling career short and make him appear much older than he really is, he’s cleaned up, with the help of the WWE doctors and Chris Jericho-prescribed DDP Yoga. Perhaps, DDP Yoga didn’t play a huge role, it might be a good idea to sign up for it as Y2J prescribes it..
3 Still A Jerk: New Jack
New Jack seems to be the same old Jack. New Jack of course, was notorious for going too far in wrestling matches, as he would routinely cut his opponents in an unsafe manner and seemed to show no regard for the safety of his coworkers. The biggest sticking point today is that Jack doesn't seem to show any remorse for some of his past actions. He has never bothered to apologize for injuring Mass Transat or for purposely injuring other wrestlers. Mind you, it wouldn't be genuine, as New Jack actually doesn't seem to show any regret for his past actions.
In more recent times, there was the ordeal of him trying to sell racy pictures of his ex-girlfriend Terri Runnels, before a court-issued order by a judge got him to stop selling them.
2 Still A Jerk: Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon is a boon to the wrestling industry. He helped wrestling gain mainstream acceptance. Wrestling might have gone the same route as circus had he not dared to pump as much money as he did into his project. However, his monopoly over the wrestling industry has also had adverse effects. For instance, he gets to choose how much his wrestlers are paid, and he’s also been accused of abusing the independent contractor laws to pay wrestlers as little as possible and offer as little job security as possible.
Additionally, he’s also been accused of covering up Jimmy Snuka’s murdering his partner, among other heinous things. That said, he’s also helped many of his ex-employers sober up by putting them in the best rehabilitation centres in whatever city they’re from. He’s a necessary evil pro-wrestling needs.
1 Reformed: Triple H
There may be a lot of debate on this one, but you can't deny that Triple H has changed a lot from when he was going on his reign of terror on the WWE. Triple H still looks solid in the ring at his age, but it's clear he doesn't move like he used to. As for the person, Triple H has had to tap into different aspects of his personality. He's used his knowledge of the business to help grow the NXT brand, find talents that otherwise would have never been hired to the WWE and he's restored relationships with wrestlers who weren't on speaking terms with WWE. He was also one of the advocates for women getting a better chance to shine on the big stage. While Triple H will never be perfect, one can't deny that he's restored his image among fans quite well since transitioning into a backstage role.