Being a WWE Superstar is not that easy. Sure, it's nice to make six figures and perform in front of thousands live with millions watching across the world on a weekly basis. But all of the shows, tours, jerks to work with, and all of the pressure to entertain the fans is easier said than done.
Some of the top WWE Superstars of our time have found ways to ALWAYS excite and entertain the fans. However, many of these top wrestlers have done some things that turned the fans against them. Whether it was something to do with their character, a backstage controversy or something they did outside of the ring, these Superstars found ways to make themselves that much more hated.
In some cases, the things they did to lose love and support were warranted. But sometimes, it's not fair that these Superstars lost it. So what went wrong with 16 of the biggest Superstars? We take a look here.
16 Shawn Michaels: Montreal Screwjob
Shawn Michaels struggled throughout the '90s with injuries, alcohol, and substance abuse. He was known for being hard to get along with behind the scenes...and in real life. We are talking about a guy who was a jerk to his fans (demanding free food when fans recognized him at a restaurant and refusing to give a 10-year-old fan his autograph).
But Michaels was easy for fans to despise after his involvement in The Montreal Screwjob. Fans in Canada especially had a tough time forgiving a guy who contributed to Bret Hart's ugly exit from WWE at the 1997 Survivor Series event in Montreal, Quebec. Michaels rubbed it off as if it weren't a big deal, even though it was only the most controversial moment in WWE history. Not that he cared, of course.
15 Ryback: Thinks He Is Better Than Everybody
Ryback had the size to compete as a mega star in the WWE. But he was nothing more than a Goldberg knockoff. No, it's not because he's bald with facial hair. Both of them are just monstrous freaks who had no in-ring skills whatsoever.
Further complicating things for Ryback to earn love from the fans is that he seems to think he's The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin. Truth be told, he's just an average wrestler at best. He got into contract disputes with WWE and recently left the company on bad terms. Ryback didn't need to develop a persona to be a heel. The fans soured on Goldberg at the end of his WWE run, so having his almost-perfect clone was enough to not cheer for him.
14 Big Show: All-Around Dull
At first glance, why wouldn't a WWE fan love The Big Show? It's not often that they see a 7-feet-tall monster who has reached over 500 pounds in his career. Seeing him in some old matches like against John Cena, Rey Mysterio, and Brock Lesnar brought great feuds. Fans even enjoyed his tag-team with Kane. That was super cool.
But after a few years, Big Show just became dull. He wasn't getting any main event pushes and everyone is aware that he doesn't have the skills to fight in good matches. His size sold him as a big entertainer, but we're well past that point now. Hopefully he makes the right call to retire before too long.
13 JBL: John BIGMOUTH Layfield
JBL played the perfect heel when he was WWE Champion for nine months and feuded with the likes of The Undertaker, John Cena, and Batista. He was a loud mouth and arrogant millionaire. An easy person to hate.
But JBL was also very unpopular backstage, because he was a real-life bully too. Rumors go that he ran his mouth at the guys smaller than him that weren't main event wrestlers. JBL has also been accused of being a racist in the past. A notorious incident took place with Blue Meanie, which ended with JBL hitting him with vicious and legitimate punches. Yeah, real mature JBL. Why don't you pick on someone your own size? Nice hat, though. It suits you.
12 Bret Hart: Arrogance and Criticism
Bret Hart was one of the WWE's biggest stars during the '90s, and obviously brought the product to major heights in Canada, his home country. However, as Hart and Vince McMahon had tension in 1997, the fans had slowly turned on him (especially those in America).
Hart, like most other great wrestlers to ever live, struggled to adjust his character and simply got real boring after a while. The fans had enough of it and would boo him, even if he was to become a babyface. His exit from WWE was as ugly as it came, and he didn't buy much love going to WCW. Ever since his retirement, Hart has also voiced major displeasure over the current product. Though many of us will agree with him, it isn't real classy to do when you're not offering your time to make it better.
11 Randy Orton: Real-Life Personality
Randy Orton is a third-generation Superstar and has been one of the company's biggest faces since he became World Heavyweight Champion at SummerSlam, 2004. Though Orton can pull it off as both a babyface and heel, fans are often warned about trying to approach him in person.
He did an interview in Mexico where he threatened a reporter in his face, has been suspended multiple times for violating the company's Wellness Policy, threw away a fan's camera, and trashed a hotel room he was staying in. Orton's real-life persona off the field has "shined," in the darkest ways. He is known for being a very conceited and entitled person outside of the ring. That's not an easy way to win your fans over, now isn't it?
10 Batista: 2014 Royal Rumble
The Animal became a rather late bloomer in the WWE. He was 35-years-old when he won the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H at WrestleMania 21 and instantly became the top face on SmackDown (as he was soon drafted to the brand). However, Batista started to transition more into a heel role, and it worked out greatly.
After a controversial departure from the company in 2010, Batista returned to the ring in 2014, and entered the Royal Rumble match. Fans were hoping Daniel Bryan would return and win it. So when Batista came back as a "face," and won the event, fans booed him. Batista proceeded to mock Bryan, flip off the crowd, and threatened to snap a fan "in half." That whole event went to show just how big of a jerk Batista could have been, and it was unfair for the fans that he won the Royal Rumble when he was gone for four years.
9 Ultimate Warrior: Racist to THE MAX
It absolutely DID NOT matter what The Ultimate Warrior did for Vince McMahon and the WWE in the '80s and '90s. Sure, he put on some clinical matches and was one of the most profitable stars that McMahon ever produced, but his all-around personality reared its ugly head after his retirement.
When Warrior was invited to speak at the University of Connecticut, he told a Middle Eastern student to "get a towel," and talked about going to Africa and getting trumped by elephants. He also did speeches against gay rights and showed no sympathy to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, talking about how the city's people ruined their own lives. He even said how Heath Ledger's death wasn't a tragedy since he starred in a film about a gay couple. So yeah, this guy obviously wasn't the most likable.
8 Brock Lesnar: Arrogance and Big Mouth
Now listen, if almost any of us had the choice, we would probably be like Brock Lesnar as a WWE Superstar. By that, we mean less wrestling and appearances, more paychecks. Lesnar doesn't have to show up that often and WWE gives him the money he wants. But the reality is that it's not enough for fans, who want to see more of him.
But aside from that, Lesnar has showed his ego more than enough times for fans to hate him. His departure from WWE in 2004 did not sit well with fans, and when they heckled him at WrestleMania XX, he proceeded to flip them off. Lesnar has also spoke about how much he hates gays. Not really cool in an era where we're trying to develop equal rights. There are some things that are better left unsaid.
7 CM Punk: Jerk
CM Punk played the perfect heel during his World Heavyweight Championship run in 2009, but he also was perfect in making himself one of the most disliked Superstars on the roster. He once told a fan on Twitter to kill himself and has also called a fan a homophobic slur during a show (ironically, Punk told the fan to "kill himself" while defending gay marriage). It's one thing to be a heel, but who actually has the guts to say these things to people?
Further drawing more hatred towards himself, Punk was a no-show at a live event, telling Vince McMahon before show time he was going home. This became a soap opera drama between he and the boss man. WWE fired Punk on his wedding day and he made a big deal out of it, even though he couldn't have expected anything less than a firing.
6 Ric Flair: The Dragging On Retirement
The Nature Boy is regarded by some to be the greatest wrestler to ever live. He is a 16-time World Champion and had over 40 years of wrestling experience. That being said, Flair just simply did not know when it was time to retire.
He kept fighting well into his late '50s when he could not put on any more matches. Of course, Vince McMahon was being a warm-hearted person and didn't want to let him go, so he let the Legend of Flair prolong itself into boring mediocrity. But McMahon decided to give him a nice WrestleMania send-off at WrestleMania XXIV. Shawn Michaels beat Flair, and The Nature Boy got the perfect good-bye on the following Monday Night Raw. Of course, Flair had to go to TNA and make his career legacy not better, but worse. Why didn't he just retire while he was ahead?
5 Edge and Lita: The Love Triangle
Matt Hardy and Lita were one of the most romantic real-life and on-screen couples we ever saw on television. Seriously, re-watch their segments and tell us you don't wish you had a relationship like that. The two were in love and it was a spectacular storyline.
However, Edge and Lita talked in WWE documentaries about how they simply fell in love after so many tours together. Hardy wasn't around as much, so he lost his girl and one of his best friends...to each other. Hardy voiced his anger towards it all and was fired by WWE, and Edge/Lita would not let it down during performances.
WWE basically had to bring Hardy back to feud with them to save the fans and themselves. Given how REAL the angle actually was backstage, it was easy for Edge and Lita to be ultimate heels.
4 John Cena: Bland
John Cena doesn't deserve the hatred a large portion of the WWE Universe are giving him. He's a model citizen outside of the ring with all of his charity work and willingness to help out children in need. He's always done what WWE has asked of him and he hasn't let his ego get in the way. Cena may be the easiest person Vince ever had to work with.
Sadly, Cena is really only cool to the kids. Most teenagers and adults seem to be increasinly bored of his gimmick and his matches that seem to always end in the Five Knuckle Shuffle and Attitude Adjustment. A.J. Styles' heel turn didn't work as fans rooted for him over Cena at SummerSlam. Cena's wrestling style has gotten bland and his character is going nowhere. That's why fans have turned on him. Time for a change. heel turn, anyone?
3 Roman Reigns: Monotone Mic
Roman Reigns is absolutely one of the most talented wrestlers in the WWE (yes, that's right). But half of being THE GUY (if you will), is the entertaining part. Unfortunately for Reigns, he just hasn't learned how to sound convincing with a microphone in his hands. None of his promos are ever exciting and the fans had enough of it.
Leading up to his WrestleMania 32 victory over Triple H to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Reigns was showered with boos. You have to feel bad for THE GUY, because he has worked his tail off to be the company's top face. But Reigns has to learn how to cut a decent promo before the fans ever love him again. Reigns simply isn't connecting with the people and as a result they have grown to hate the former champion.
2 Triple H: Power Trip
Yes, every extreme WWE fan has LOVED and HATED Triple H during his career. No other Superstar has bounced between babyface and heel so frequently like The Game. But Triple H has always had a leg up on the company, given how he's married in real life to the daughter of the boss.
Triple H has been able to book himself in any way he wants, as the WrestleMania 32 storyline vs. Roman Reigns was selfish on his part. He's also ruined the careers of people like CM Punk and Chyna, two of the company's top stars of the past 20 years. Being the son-in-law of McMahon has given him too much power that seems to go to his head and not his heart. Triple H can basically pick favourites all he wants, and the wrestlers and fans can't do anything about it.
1 Hulk Hogan: Racism Scandal
Some fans have made the decision to forgive Hulk Hogan for his racist scandal that was made public over a year ago that led to his dismissal from the WWE. Obviously, racism is never condoned in this day and age, and having a top Superstar say something like this was not ideal for anyone involved.
Hogan probably is the most beloved wrestler to ever live. He is a reason Vince McMahon became a billionaire with his entertainment status. But fans can't help but feel betrayed about The Hulkster. What he said was not something you'd expect from someone who told kids to "say their prayers and eat their vitamins."
Here's hoping this controversy will somehow have a happy ending. Because Hogan's remarks about the man his daughter was dating was just disgusting. Who knows if his legacy will ever be restored to greatness.
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