Generally, the idea is to hate the wrestlers who play the bad guys, but as fans smartened up through the years and heels became more nuanced and less cut-and-dry caricatures of evil, it's become common to boo the babyfaces instead. Guys like Roman Reigns, to name a very recent example – WWE wants the Universe to accept Reigns as the be-all and end-all of heroic characters, and that's exactly why people strain their throats booing him each night. Then you've got more traditional heels like The Miz, who is extremely talented in getting under audiences' skins. But what about those wrestlers (regardless of alignment) and personalities who will never win a popularity contest backstage?
Qualifying for this list is easy – the "hated" individual must be at least disliked by several current or present colleagues, or people from the wrestling industry, for their words and/or actions, especially in recent years, but also in the distant past. However, we're not making this a wrestler-only list, or limiting the scope of the article to people from the business. We have a couple examples in this list of complete outsiders who had nonetheless infuriated a ton of wrestlers and their fans, through careless or excessively brash statements they made about wrestlers, their fans, and/or the industry. But we are not including wrestlers who are disliked by most fans, yet respected by most of their colleagues backstage – sorry, Roman Reigns haters, that precisely means you won't be seeing the Big Dog in this list.
They may or may not "embrace the hate," as Kane used to say, but these (at least) 15 individuals are, in one way or another, disliked or hated by many people in the wrestling business.
15 Triple H
For sure, this is an entry that could cause some controversy. Sure, Triple H comes from a real-life backstage faction (The Kliq) that had a generally unsavory reputation among their colleagues. He also gained a reputation as a wrestler who "buries" his opponents, so much so that the edited image of Trips holding a shovel has become one of the more iconic wrestling memes in existence. But surely, you have to look at Triple H today and recognize him for his efforts over at NXT, right? Unlike his father-in-law Vince McMahon, who often fails to understand what makes HHH's NXT kids click, the Game appear to have a far greater understanding of how to book these up-and-comers as winners.
As the saying goes, you can't please everyone, and there are more than a few people, primarily ex-WWE talents, who have no love for the King of Kings. Ryback's shot on him several times, and CM Punk publicly accused him of firing him on his wedding day. And how can we forget Scott Steiner, who still can't resist the opportunity to insult Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the crudest ways possible?
14 Enzo Amore
There's nothing about Enzo Amore's 2017 that we need to remind you about at this point, but we might as well do it. So where do you want to start? Do you want to discuss his numerous boasts to friends and acquaintances about living the high life as a famous professional wrestler? How about those Instagram photos of his with this celebrity and that celebrity? Or do you want to touch on how he ticked off WWE colleagues from Roman Reigns to Corey Graves? The man was a walking heat factory backstage, to sum it all up.
While we cannot comment about the events of October 19, 2017, when he allegedly committed sexual assault on a young woman, we can imagine that WWE higher-ups were royally pissed when they found out about the accusations, and that Enzo withheld them until the accuser's tweets about the incident went viral. That led to his abrupt firing earlier this year, and we really don't think he's missed by his now-former colleagues.
13 Conor McGregor
As we mentioned above, this list also includes a couple of people who are not actually in the wrestling business. We might as well start with the "Notorious" Conor McGregor. Indeed, it's been more than a year since we've last seen him in the octagon, and aside from the ongoing question of whether Dana White will officially strip him of his UFC Lightweight Championship, there's also the question of whether his next fight will be in MMA, boxing, or in the WWE. Based on his now-infamous comments from 2016, the latter doesn't sound like the most plausible option at the moment.
Of course, he could have been channeling his obvious pro wrestling influence to work wrestlers and their fans, but he did garner massive heat in 2016 for calling today's WWE Superstars a bunch of "messed-up dweebs," among other things. It hasn't helped that he's made a few other negative, if less quotable and more succinct, comments about present-day WWE since then, though if you ask him, he still has a lot of respect for the wrestlers he grew up watching during the Attitude Era.
12 New Jack
Generally, wrestlers playing a psychopathic character at shows on TV are merely playing a role; chances are, they'll also turn out to be a sweetheart away from the ring. That's not the case at all with New Jack, a former bounty hunter who claims to have committed four justifiable homicides. Throughout his long wrestling career, he's legitimately assaulted teenagers (Eric "Mass Transit" Kulas), people around his age (William Jason Lane, Vic Grimes), and even senior citizens (Gypsy Joe). It doesn't matter if you're younger, older, bigger, or smaller – if there's something New Jack does't like about you, he'll likely make those foreign object attacks extra-painful and those spots potentially career-, or even life-threatening, once you're in the ring.
Now approaching his mid-50s, New Jack has yet to show an iota of legitimate remorse for the dangerous things he did in the ring. For these reasons, the man isn't just feared, but also disliked, if not outright hated, by many of those whom he worked with in the past.
11 Jim Cornette
Like some of the other people in this list, it's pretty much a case of "you love him, or you hate him" when it comes to Jim Cornette. If you like your wrestling old-school, with the flippy stuff kept to a minimum, the "entertainment" part of "sports entertainment" seriously downplayed, and comedy being nowhere to be seen, then you probably love Corny. But if you're a fan of WWE's product, or a fan of those so-called "indie darlings," you and Cornette will most likely be butting heads from the get-go.
As Cornette is someone who isn't afraid to speak his mind, no matter how unpleasant he sounds while he calls things as he sees them, he's been critical about so many people in the wrestling business – Kevin Owens, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Vince McMahon, Vince Russo, Santino Marella, you name it. Quite often, the feeling is mutual, and when Cornette dislikes someone, that dislike doesn't subside easily. Case in point – his recent altercations with Russo and Santino.
10 Jared Followill And David Crosby (Tie)
And now, we've got more complete wrestling outsiders making our list, and we decided to bunch them together in one entry as they're both musicians – one representing the present generation, the other representing the flower power generation of the '60s and early '70s. Jared Followill and David Crosby have one thing in common, despite their huge age gap – their social media activity suggests they couldn't care less about the WWE and its fans.
In Followill's case, the Kings of Leon bassist was roasted by wrestlers (Reby Hardy, Big E, etc.) and fans alike when he suggested in a tweet that adults should stop watching professional wrestling. His weak attempts at apologies and his trying-too-hard "Suplex City" reference only made things worse for the young rocker.
Months later, Crosby got flak from Chris Jericho, Matt Hardy, and scores of fans, when he explained via Twitter that WWF stands for Words with Friends, "to those of us who can read and write." Not only was it foul for the rock legend to suggest wrestling fans are illiterate; he also proved to be more out of touch than Vinnie Mac himself, as the WWE hasn't been known as WWF since 2002!
9 Low Ki
Is it any wonder that Low Ki didn't last long in the WWE after winning Season 2 of NXT as Kaval? And is it any wonder that he doesn't seem to last long in any other company, his initial four-year run in Ring of Honor notwithstanding? For years, Low Ki has had a reputation as being difficult to work with, may you be a fellow wrestler or somebody behind the scenes. He can be uncooperative with opponents, surly to his colleagues backstage, and in a past shoot interview, Kevin Owens accused him of refusing to do the job to long-reigning PWG World Champion Claudio Castagnoli, whom you probably know these days as Cesaro. (He eventually agreed to put the future Swiss Superman over, albeit begrudgingly.)
With his notorious refusal to do the job, one could even call Low Ki a mini-Hulk Hogan without the hair. But unlike the Hulkster, who could stick with a company for several years despite having a bad backstage reputation, it's clear that many promotions (including TNA/Impact, who dealt with him in a whopping four separate stints) don't see Low Ki as being worth the trouble, despite his in-ring talent.
8 Brock Lesnar
You can probably count the number of people Brock Lesnar considers friends in the WWE with the fingers on one hand. The Beast doesn't seem to like too many people outside of wife Sable and manager Paul Heyman, and if you ask him, he likes things just the way they are. People such as Jim Ross and Dean Ambrose have been quoted as saying Brock is not an easy person to work with, and it won't be surprising if a good number of full-time WWE Superstars resent the fact that Lesnar makes so much more than them, but is hardly ever present on TV or PPV, and hardly gets to defend the Universal Championship he currently holds.
Although we don't think he's outright hated by many past and present colleagues, there's a good case to be made for him on a list such as this. After all, most people wouldn't want to be around someone who's already an aloof and sullen loner-type to begin with, much less one who arguably takes away opportunities from deserving regulars by being a wrestler who makes a ton of coin for a select few dates of work.
7 Vince Russo
Last time we checked, Vince Russo didn't change his name to Gene Snitsky. Those two may effectively be night and day in terms of appearance and size, but they share a common refrain with each other – "it wasn't my fault." (Make sure you add the word "bro" at the end, should Russo make such a comment.) Despite becoming a born-again Christian and mostly dropping the profanity, Vinny Ru's language is as caustic as ever, and if you listen to his shoot interviews, he always has an excuse for the numerous screw-ups he's made as part of WWE, WCW, and TNA's creative teams.
While he has his share of supporters, such as Glenn "Disco Inferno" Gilbertti, and a few others he worked with in WCW's dying days, Russo is mostly a running joke for wrestling fans, not to mention many wrestlers he's worked with. Aside from refusing to take accountability for most of his bad creative decisions, he's also said some mind-bogglingly antiquated (and sometimes offensive) things about women, women's wrestling, wrestling fans, and the state of pro wrestling in general.
6 Dulce Maria García Rivas
The only female entry in our list, Dulce Maria García Rivas aka Sexy Star was, until August 2017, a respected veteran luchadora, having established herself in her native Mexico, and become a household name outside her home country via Lucha Underground. That all changed at AAA's TripleMania XXV event, as Star went full-on into business for herself and legitimately tried to injure Impact Wrestling standout Rosemary, finishing her off with an armbar and keeping it locked in, even after the match had ended. Despite getting flak from countless wrestlers for her unprofessionalism, Star showed no remorse for her actions whatsoever.
It wasn't enough that she was called out by so many people in the business, with Chris Jericho even banning her from his podcast and putting her on his real-life "List of Jericho." In November, she stiffed fellow luchadora Diosa Quetzal with some non-worked strikes, proving that she learned absolutely nothing from the debacle at TripleMania.
5 Bill DeMott
By all accounts, Matt Bloom (fka Albert, A-Train, Tensai, etc.) is doing a great job as the head trainer at WWE's Performance Center. In recent WWE 2K video games, he's portrayed as a huge, scary, yet approachable guy teaching you the ropes in MyCareer. On the other hand, his predecessor, Bill DeMott, was portrayed on WWE 2K15 (with DeMott voicing himself) as a drill sergeant-type who'd constantly berate you during training. That wasn't too far from the truth, though the insults DeMott barked in the video game setting sounded like the words "good job," compared to what he allegedly told trainees in real life.
Prior to his resignation as NXT head trainer in 2015, numerous wrestlers complained about DeMott's abusive behavior, which reportedly included, but was not limited to the use of racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs, physically abusing wrestlers, and making them do degrading things in the ring. These incidents remain fresh in the memory of many of DeMott's alleged victims, and for their sake, we hope the WWE won't even consider rehiring him again in any capacity.
For over two decades on-and-off, John Bradshaw Layfield was the bane of many a young and/or debuting wrestler's existence. He wasn't content to merely rib new wrestlers to see if they can hang with the big boys – he'd turn things up a few notches, as his ribs were more akin to outright bullying than they were to fraternity hazing (which isn't exactly cool either). Just ask Edge, The Miz, and Justin Roberts about the indignities they went through as JBL's bullying victims. There were even a few WWE talents (e.g. Palmer Canon and Amy Weber) that quit the company mainly because of locker room bullies, not the least of them being JBL. Mauro Ranallo, most recently, came close to quitting, but only decided to return when he was added to NXT's announce team, keeping him a good distance away from the big Texan.
Late last year, JBL himself left the WWE to focus on his charitable work, which is commendable. Then again, not a few people believe the main reason he left was so he could get the heat off of him after last year's Ranallo bullying allegations.
3 Kevin Dunn
Casual fans might not recognize the name Kevin Dunn, but smart fans know exactly who he is – Vince McMahon's loyal right-hand man. Officially, his title is that of Executive Vice President of Television Production, so if you've noticed a few camera botches here and there while watching Raw or SmackDown, you know exactly whom to blame. Just don't call him out on it in person – numerous reports have suggested that he isn't exactly a pleasant individual to deal with.
Aside from being disliked by many colleagues for having Vince's ear for what seems to be the longest time, Dunn has been described as someone who allegedly hates wrestling, and not just the mere use of the word. You're a wrestling executive, and you hate wrestling? That's not going to last you long in any promotion, unless, of course, your name is Kevin Dunn and you're working for Vince McMahon in the WWE.
2 Vince McMahon
While it shouldn't be a surprise to see good old Vinnie Mac in this list, it may be a bit surprising that he isn't at number one. That may be because he still deserves the WWE Universe's respect as the man who still runs the company at the ripe old age of 72. But he also remains subject to a ton of criticism from fans, who feel that as a senior citizen, Mr. McMahon is woefully out of touch, still pushing his favored big sweaty men, much to the chagrin of fans who want to see mostly smaller, technically skilled guys make it to the main event. And let's not forget the many wrestlers and wrestling personalities who still have major beef with WWE's head honcho.
We won't enumerate all of them, as it would definitely require a separate article to even name a few. But for every troublesome ex-WWE employee he's welcomed back, there's someone else who isn't allowed to, or refuses to do business again with Vince, due to his often abrasive, petty, and/or heartless nature as a top wrestling executive.
1 Hulk Hogan
You'll notice that we refrained from mentioning anyone from The Kliq, as they've generally mellowed with age, particularly Shawn Michaels, who would have been a prime candidate to top this list, had it been written in the '90s. Triple H, as previously mentioned, only made the list due to his constant involvement with the WWE for the past two-plus decades. But up to now, you're sure to hear from someone still salty about the political maneuverings Hulk Hogan pulled back in the day. Quite frequently, it was all about the Hulkster when it came to the WWE (and WCW) locker room, as it often took an act of God to convince him to do the job cleanly and decisively.
We mentioned mellowing with age in the above paragraph – Hogan appears to have trouble grasping that concept, as evidenced by his run in TNA. Then there's that oft-referenced leaked racist rant, which, in all fairness, he apologized for, but nonetheless ruffled the feathers of fans and multiple wrestlers alike, even up to this day.