Wrestling is one of the biggest sports in the world. Of course, when everyone thinks of wrestling, their first response is WWE. But let’s not forget other companies such as WCW or TNA, who despite their smaller roster continue to entertain viewers.
Throughout the years, a number of wrestlers have debuted onscreen and gone on to have successful careers. The Rock and John Cena are two of the best examples of wrestlers who’ve had successful careers in and out of the ring. But their success couldn’t have been possible without the help of their fans. In order for a wrestler to achieve fame, they need to have fans. Without the fans' support, the wrestler will be nothing. Stars such as Trish Stratus, Lita, Stone Cold, and Mick Foley have continued to be famous even after retiring from the ring. Fans still love these stars and will line up at autograph signings just to meet their favourite wrestler.
While these wrestlers have thousands of fans, there are some former stars who’ve lost their fans or had very little to begin with. The reason for a wrestler’s lack of fans could be for a number of reasons. One is that they alienated their fanbase with their attitude or their negative actions. Another reason is because the wrestler never had enough charisma or star power to garner any fans.
Whatever the reason, it’s obvious there are some wrestlers who think they still have fans, but in reality they don’t.
In the mid 90s, Sunny was one of the main women in WWE. Dubbed the original Diva, the blonde beauty often escorted Chris Candido or Legion of Doom to the ring. After three years with the company, Sunny left in 1998. While Sunny’s tenure with WWE was short, she still had a few fans who remembered her from her wrestling days.
These days Sunny is known more her extracurricular activities than her wrestling. The former valet has found herself in a heap of trouble, which includes drugs, jail, and an adult entertainment career. She's also been very candid about the past relationships she had with other wrestlers, including Shawn Michaels and Dolph Ziggler. While her "entertainment" career has probably garnered her more attention, it’s a far cry from the bubbly blonde her WWE fans remember her as.
14 Missy Hyatt
While she may not be known to today’s audiences, longtime wrestling fans remember Missy Hyatt from her years as a valet for Eddie Gilbert, Sting, and The Steiner Brothers. She had brief stints in WWE and WCW, where she was met with lukewarm reactions from the crowd. Since retiring from the wrestling world, Missy is often booked for conventions. Based on reports from fans at the conventions, not many people are lining up to see the former valet. Even though Missy may not be a draw at wrestling conventions, she garners plenty of attention thanks to social media and shoot interviews.
Followers of Missy’s Twitter know that she’s very vocal about WWE's current product. But that’s not the only thing Missy likes to share. She's also spilled explicit details about her relationships with former wrestlers. With all this juicy gossip, maybe Missy Hyatt will gain a few more fans.
13 Jillian Hall
WWE has a tendency to underutilize most of their wrestlers. One female Superstar who faced this was Jillian Hall. The wrestler had everything to succeed as top Diva, as she was athletic and blonde. But she was stuck with one horrifying gimmick after another. First, there was her tenure as JBL’s assistant and she had to wear that huge fake mole on her face. Then she transitioned into a horrible singing gimmick and she would job to other Divas. The only highlight of Jillian’s career came when she won the Divas championship, which she held for one minute before losing it to Melina.
After her departure from WWE, she worked a few matches for TNA and independent promotions before deciding to retire. Despite her retirement, Jillian still does autograph sessions at conventions for the few fans who want her photo.
12 Alberto Del Rio
At one time, Alberto Del Rio was one of WWE’s top stars. The wrestling heir became a big heel with his rich ladies' man persona. He had charisma and athleticism that made him a main event star. Yet, after his second tenure with the company fizzled out, so did his fan base. The backlash towards Del Rio began when he started dating WWE starlet Paige, who was 15 years his junior. Fans believed Del Rio was a bad influence on Paige and so did WWE, who tried to intervene in their relationship.
Soon everyone would learn there was a darker side to Del Rio. The couple got into an argument at an Orlando airport in which the police were called. No charges were filed, but the domestic violence incident cast Del Rio in a negative light with the wrestling community.
11 Ashley Massaro
Ashley Massaro made history when she became the second Diva search winner. With her blonde hair and punk rock look, she stood out from the rest of the contestants. During her three-year tenure with WWE, she earned a shot at the Women’s championship and would later go on to pose for certain infamous magazines. It was also during her wrestling days when she would compete as a contestant on the fifteenth season of the CBS reality series Survivor, which she was eliminated from on the second episode.
In 2008, Massaro left the company and since then has retired from wrestling to focus on being a mom to her daughter Lexi. She does occasionally do modelling shots and public appearances at conventions. While Ashley still has some dedicated fans, being away from the public spotlight for years has caused many wrestling fans to forget about her.
10 Ken Kennedy
Ken Kennedy had what it took to become a star. From 2005 to 2009, he was a big heel in the WWE. His arrogant attitude made him a heat magnet with the crowds. In 2007, he was set to become part of a big storyline in which he would be revealed as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son. But a few weeks before the storyline started, he was suspended for violating the company’s wellness policy. After his violation, his main event push was derailed.
After his departure from WWE, Kennedy joined TNA. He managed to become a big star in the company and went on to win their Heavyweight championship. Once again a wellness violation ended his wrestling tenure with TNA. Since then Ken has tried working for independent promotions, but given his track record and lack of fanbase, it’ll be hard for him to reclaim the glory he once had.
9 TJ Perkins
TJ Perkins is well-known to current WWE fans as a member of the Cruiserweight division. Perkins won the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic tournament and went on to become the champion. Perkins has a nice future set for himself in wrestling. However, since his monumental win, Perkins has dropped out of the championship picture and is no longer viewed as the top star of the division.
Rumour is that his attitude has caused heat backstage. Aside from getting into trouble with WWE officials, Perkins has also angered a bunch of wrestling fans. Perkins is known to get into arguments with fans on Twitter, with TJ initiating the fights. With his backstage heat and social media outbursts, Perkins is well on his way to being future endeavoured. If he wants to save his spot in WWE, he may want to be nicer to his fans.
8 The Kat
Stacy Carter aka The Kat rose to fame during WWE’s Attitude Era. She started out serving as a valet for Jeff Jarrett and Chyna before making it as a wrestler. Despite not having the athleticism, she managed to capture the Women’s Championship. Many critics disliked her championship run and believed Carter’s success was due to her marriage to Jerry “The King” Lawler.
After less than two years with the company, Carter was released by WWE. Shortly after her departure, she and Lawler split up and she left the wrestling business. These days Carter leads a quiet life away from the squared circle, she currently works as a real estate agent in Florida. Although, every now and then she’ll show up at a convention, ready to greet any fans she may have leftover from her WWE days.
Ryback first graced WWE television when he was Skip Sheffield, a member of the famous stable Nexus. After the group disbanded, he was branded as Ryback with the catchphrase “Feed Me More.” Ryback worked well as a heel and a babyface. He was a main event guy and on his way to winning the WWE Championship. Yet, a string of injuries along with his rumored backstage attitude derailed Ryback’s career.
In 2016, Ryback was released from WWE and since then he’s stayed in the news, although for different reasons. Like a few other wrestlers, Ryback’s departure from WWE didn’t end on amicable terms. Ryback has been very vocal about his negative feelings towards his ex-employer and former co-workers. He's also taken credit for WWE storylines, including the creation of The Shield. Ryback's comments made him seem like he has a big ego, which is a huge turnoff for wrestling fans.
6 Hulk Hogan
Throughout the 80s and 90s, there was no wrestling star bigger than Hulk Hogan. The former WWE champion not only accomplished a lot inside the ring, but he also achieved mainstream success with commercials and movie roles. When he starred in his own reality show Hogan Knows Best in 2005, he drew in a new legion of fans.
Yet, as with most celebrities, Hogan soon experienced a downfall from grace. Hogan and his wife Linda divorced after it was revealed that he had cheated on her. Following that, Hogan was embroiled in a private tape lawsuit. His most recent scandal came when he was caught on tape making racist remarks. The latest scandal caused WWE to terminate their contract with the star. Longtime Hogan fans have also turned on the wrestler, realizing he isn’t the American Hero he was portrayed to be.
5 Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner was a popular mainstay in WCW. His Big Poppa Pump persona caught on with fans and he was one of the stars who helped keep WCW running. Steiner hoped to carry his momentum over to WWE, but was met with failure. His high-profile feud with Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship was considered a dud by wrestling journalists and fans.
Following his release from WWE, Steiner joined TNA and made some appearances on the independent circuit. Steiner’s momentum isn’t anywhere near as hot as it was during the 90s. Add in Steiner’s constant criticism of his former bosses at WCW and WWE, and he’s come across as a bitter person. It's outbursts like the ones that Steiner has that makes fans turn away from their heroes.
4 CM Punk
CM Punk was one of WWE top stars. His tattooed punk look along with his outspokenness made him stand out among the roster. Punk’s fame rose when he dropped his famous pipebomb during an episode of Monday Night RAW. Despite the success he had onscreen, behind the scenes Punk was becoming frustrated with his role in the company.
In January 2014 a fed up Punk quit, which shocked the wrestling community. While many fans stayed loyal to Punk, a majority turned against him by claiming he turned his back on wrestling. Despite the backlash towards Punk, his fans stayed with him throughout his retirement from wrestling and transition to MMA. Yet, in recent months more fans have began to turn against Punk. One of the reasons is his ongoing bitterness towards WWE. Punk's outspoken attitude, which was once revered by fans, has now become an annoyance.
In the 1980s, Virgil became known to WWE audiences as the bodyguard of The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. But after their partnership ended, so did Virgil’s career. He lacked the charisma that many wrestlers had and instead of becoming a mainstay, he faded away from the wrestling scene.
But that hasn’t stopped Virgil from appearing at wrestling conventions. The former wrestler can often be found sitting at his table in the convention centers waiting for his fans to show. Yet, sadly there are no lines at Virgil’s tables. In fact, one attendee even posted a pic of Virgil by himself at the table. The photos have caused fans to refer to him as Lonely Virgil. As if that wasn’t enough, reports have surfaced that Virgil often harasses fans and begs them to buy an autograph.
2 Stacy Keibler
Long-legged beauty Stacy Keibler became one of the most popular women of wresting during the early 2000s. The wrestler/valet caught the attention of everyone when she stepped out onstage. Considered one of wrestling’s most beautiful women, Stacy landed photoshoots with various popular magazines. In 2006, Stacy began to branch out into other ventures when she competed on Dancing With the Stars. Her fanbase helped her place third on the reality competition.
Following her dancing stint, Stacy decided to leave WWE to pursue a Hollywood career. She landed a few guest gigs on television shows, yet her name along with her fanbase wasn’t enough to land her A-list stardom like her ex-boyfriend George Clooney.
1 Ariane Andrew (AKA Cameron)
Ariane Andrew aka Cameron as most WWE fans know her, got her start during the fifth season of Tough Enough. She was the first contestant eliminated, but that didn’t stop her from getting signed a few months later. After spending some time in WWE’s developmental territory, Cameron made her roster debut alongside Naomi as The Funkadactyls. The two were a popular tag team before they broke up.
Aside from wrestling, Ariane was also one of the original stars of Total Divas. Viewers loved seeing Ariane spilling secrets about her co-workers on the show. As Ariane's popularity continued to grow, the company released her in 2016. Since her departure, Ariane has been trying to transition to a career in Hollywood. She's landed a few magazine covers and has been seen at red carpet events but has yet to achieve any real fame.