The phrase “best of business” is something WWE uses both on-screen and behind the scenes when discussing professionalism for the wrestlers. Older eras of wrestling would see more talents commonly refusing to go with the plans due to believing the company didn’t know what was best for their long-term planning. There have been quite a few relevant names that went against the best for business ideology by making their own requests and demands.
On the other side, some wrestlers were known for always doing what was right on the business side of things by trying to help put over others. We will look at both instances of just what went down to create these reputations. Find out which of your favorites were professionals and which loved calling their own shots. These are five WWE legends that always did what was best for business along with five that didn’t care about that.
10 Best for business: The Undertaker
The Undertaker rarely was the top overall star for WWE as he didn’t mind taking a backseat. Wrestlers like Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena were made the face of the company at different points while Undertaker was one of the secondary main eventers.
Unlike most of his peers, Undertaker didn’t have much of an ego when it came to putting over others. Characters like Kane and Mankind were enhanced thanks to Undertaker making them look good. Even lesser talented wrestlers like The Great Khali would see ‘Taker put them over without a complaint.
9 Didn’t care: Brock Lesnar
Recent reports from wrestling insider Dave Meltzer have claimed that Brock Lesnar rarely listens to Vince McMahon and their relationship goes in the other direction. Lesnar chooses which wrestlers he wants to have a competitive match with and which he wants to bury.
The controversial Smackdown match of Brock beating Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship in 10 seconds essentially killed off Kingston’s main event credibility. Lesnar didn’t care as he calls his own shots and believes he is the best for business.
8 Best for business: Mick Foley
Many legends were quite picky about the wrestlers they chose to put over. Mick Foley was one that loved that aspect of the job more than his peers. The later career of Foley saw him make The Rock and Triple H bigger stars by taking huge bumps in violent matches.
Even the short stints of Foley coming out of retirement was meant to help others. Randy Orton and Edge each got to the next levels of their respective careers after defeating Foley in hardcore matches. Foley somehow found a way to put over Melina in a segment where she turned heel on him. Few wrestlers were as selfless as the hardcore icon.
7 Didn’t care: Goldberg
The return of Goldberg to WWE in 2016 allowed him to redeem his WWE failures. Goldberg still had his best run in WCW where his 173-0 undefeated streak made him an iconic name in the sport. The dominance of Goldberg featured him destroying his opponents with ease in short matches.
Goldberg, however, refused to work with certain wrestlers like Chris Jericho due to his comedic style and smaller size. The 2003-2004 stint in WWE earned Goldberg even more heat as he turned down many ideas the company had for longer-term feuds.
6 Best for business: Kane
The long career of Kane saw him putting over almost every superstar that WWE wanted to become a major name. Kane had a great run with a few main event stints that earned him the status of becoming a legitimate legend in the company.
WWE, however, would primarily use him in the mid-card to help some of the rising stars. Names like Daniel Bryan, Umaga and Braun Strowman have all benefited from working with Kane in their careers. The attitude of Kane is considered positive as someone that likes giving back to the sport.
5 Didn’t care: Triple H
Triple H is currently trying to get as many new stars over as possible due to his role helping run WWE behind the scenes. This wasn’t always the case as Triple H used to have a reputation for failing to put over others when the time was right.
Wrestlers like Rob Van Dam, Booker T and Scott Steiner all saw different levels of strong momentum disappear after getting it sacrificed in losses to Triple H. Fans, pundits and wrestlers all have criticized Triple H for dominating the title picture in the early 2000s while rarely putting over others.
4 Best for business: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is one wrestler that has always been known for putting over others to make them look strong. John Cena’s first PPV match was a win against Jericho as Jericho claimed in his book that he changed the finish after management wanted Cena to lose.
Other wrestlers like CM Punk, Bray Wyatt and Kevin Owens benefited greatly from Jericho’s unselfish side when they worked together. Jericho even put over Fandango at WrestleMania 29 despite admitting that it was a waste of his talent on the biggest show of the year.
3 Didn’t care: Hulk Hogan
The career of Hulk Hogan featured him refusing to do what was best for business quite a few times. Hogan found huge control in the wrestling industry when becoming a major star for WWE in the 1980s. The star power of Hogan allowed him to pick and choose who he worked with.
WCW even took that to the next level by giving him a creative control clause in his contract. Some of the names Hogan refused to put over included Bret Hart, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels at different times in his career. Hogan was known as a backstage politician that put himself above the business.
2 Best for business: The Rock
The Rock may be the biggest star in wrestling history, but that never prevented him from putting over others. Fans of Rock will likely realize their favorite matches of his often came in losing fashion. Rock specifically liked putting over talents if it meant their careers would be better off.
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg each received massive victories over Rock before he transitioned into Hollywood. The group of Evolution scored a huge win over Rock and Mick Foley at WrestleMania 20 to help Batista and Randy Orton. Even lower tier names like The Hurricane benefited from Rock making them look strong.
1 Didn’t care: Shawn Michaels
The 90s run of Shawn Michaels would see him become one of the most controversial people in wrestling history. Michaels was known for not wanting to do the job when Vince McMahon asked him to lose or make other wrestlers look strong.
Some of the higher-profile instances of this featured Michaels “losing his smile” to retire instead of losing to Bret Hart and changing a finish to defeat Davey Boy Smith after Smith promised a cancer patient he was winning as planned. Michaels luckily changed his reputation for the better when returning to WWE from retirement in the 2000s.