The Top 10 Most Over-Hated Men in Pro Wrestling
Probably every wrestling fan can think of at least a few wrestlers and managers who were vastly overrated and over-featured.
However, sometimes the opposite happens.
For whatever reason, a large portion of wrestling fans will be overly critical of certain individuals, ignoring their contributions to the industry.
Here's a second look at those who have not gotten a fair shake (at least from some fans), men who deserve at least a little respect for reshaping the industry.
Who You Won't Find on This List
These men absolutely do not appear on this list, each for good reason:
Vince Russo: While a lot of arguments could be made in favor of Vince Russo, the fact is that he probably did more to destroy WCW than any other one person.
For that reason alone he probably deserves all of the criticism that he receives.
The Ultimate Warrior: True, he did capture the imagination of a generation.
But he's still a jerk.
Besides legally changing his name to Warrior, the former Jim Hellwig allegedly threatened to no-show the 1991 SummerSlam over a pay dispute, had only short-lived stints in wrestling since the mid-'90s and infamously stated "queering doesn't make the world work" during a speech at the University of Connecticut in 2005.
So, for that, you won't find any sympathy for the Warrior here.
Chris Benoit: No matter how great of an athlete he was, Benoit's crimes were unforgivable.
No. 10: John Cena
And we're already off and running!
The truth is, many wrestling fans don't hate John Cena. They hate what he represents.
To older fans and the Internet Wrestling Community, Cena symbolizes the mediocrity and simplicity of the PG Era.
For all his failings, however, Cena is a charismatic performer. Sure, he's no Dean Malenko in the ring, but he has put on at least a few great matches over the past decade.
Do fans have a right to hate on Cena? Sure.
But their anger should actually be directed at the bookers who decide how his character will be featured on WWE programming.
No. 9: The Rock
One of the most interesting things about The Rock is how the fans have completely controlled his heel/face status over the years. Dwayne Johnson began wrestling for the WWF in 1996 as "Rocky Maivia," the smiling hero who was part of a wrestling dynasty.
Yet, as the Attitude Era was just kicking off, fans booed Rocky. As such, he was quickly turned heel and joined the Nation of Domination. The Rock remained a villain for over a year, eventually winning the WWF Title and joining Vince McMahon's Corporation.
But when many fans began cheering for The Rock in mid-1999, he was transformed back into a babyface—though one of the "Stone Cold" anti-hero variety.
Things started to change once again, however, in the spring of 2002.
At WrestleMania X-8, Toronto fans cheered just as much for the villain, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, as they did for The Rock.
One month later The Rock's first feature film, The Scorpion King, was released and The Rock made clear that he intended to become a full-fledged movie star.
The grumblings of fans over this decision became thunderous at SummerSlam 2002, when The Rock was booed and the rookie bad-guy, Brock Lesnar, was cheered.
Then, at the Raw 10th Anniversary show on January 13, 2003, New York City fans loudly chanted "Rocky sucks" as The Rock awkwardly recited his catchphrases via satellite from Hollywood.
Weeks later, The Rock returned to WWE as a heel.
After years of absence, however, many older fans cheered The Rock's return, as he brought some of the old "Attitude" into the PG Era.
While The Rock remains a fan favorite today, he is still disliked by many in the Internet Wrestling Community for having left the industry and "running off to Hollywood," only to then be rewarded with WrestleMania main events and the WWE Title—similar to how he was originally disliked for being pushed as part of a dynasty and not earning his spot like other wrestlers.
And while some of these critiques are founded, the fact is that The Rock is one of the most charismatic, entertaining wrestlers of all time. Though he certainly has been given a ton of breaks by WWE, he still has proven himself.
That, of course, doesn't mean that he should be able to stop proving himself.
No. 8: Lex Luger
No, he isn't a great in-ring competitor. And yes, he was highly overrated throughout the '90s.
But Lex Luger was still a decent overall wrestler.
As a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WCW World Television Champion and five-time WCW United States Champion, Luger helped bring that company to prominence. In fact, his surprise appearance on the first-ever Monday Nitro made wrestling history.
And while his time in the WWF wasn't spectacular, he did have at least one memorable run as the patriotic all-American hero opposite the late Yokozuna.
Maybe Luger deserved some criticism in the past. But, in retrospect, he did have a pretty good career, one that cannot be overlooked by modern fans.
No. 7: Ken Anderson
A lot of fans like to criticize Ken Anderson. They say he's overrated, that he's not that funny, that he isn't a great athlete, etc.
But all of these accounts are just wrong.
Anderson actually is one of the funniest wrestlers to come out of the past decade. He is extremely capable in the ring and hasn't gotten the fair shake that he deserves.
TNA needs to continue to focus on Anderson in the coming years, making him one of their top villains, just as they have done already with Bobby Roode and Austin Aries.
No. 6: Scott Hall
Fans love hating on Scott Hall for his substance abuse problems. And while Hall's issues are deathly serious, he doesn't deserve much of the negative energy that is directed his way.
Scott Hall is truly a wrestling legend.
From his time in the AWA to his ladder matches against Shawn Michaels to helping form the nWo, Hall proved time and time again that he had what it took to be a big league player.
While the past decade has been excruciatingly tough on the former star, he has continued appearing in TNA, JCW and other companies, showing time and again that he still has a desire for the sport.
At the end of the day, all critiques of Hall are really just critiques of the disease that has plagued his life.
Fans, promoters, performers and Hall's own friends and family all do continue to have a spot in their heart for the Bad Guy.
No. 5: Eric Bischoff
When people talk about backstage politics, one name always comes up: Eric Bischoff.
Many fans hate Bischoff for how he ran WCW in the late '90s, saying that he buried great talent. Many seem to think Bischoff truly was a bad guy—perhaps confusing the real-life person with the on-air character.
But by bringing Hulk Hogan to WCW in 1994, launching Monday Nitro in 1995 and creating the New World Order in 1996, Bischoff completely reshaped the entire wrestling industry.
If it weren't for Eric Bishoff, wrestling in the '90s probably would have been pretty lame, rather than arguably the greatest time in all of wrestling history.
Did Bischoff treat some people poorly? It seems likely, considering the WCW roster featured literally hundreds of performers.
Did he make bad decisions? Certainly, otherwise WCW might still be around today.
But Bischoff doesn't deserve the high level of criticism that he has gotten over the years. To the contrary, he deserves appreciation for all the great memories that he helped to create for fans around the world.
No. 4: Scott Steiner
It's pretty understandable why so many fans dislike Scott Steiner. After all, he never really seemed to like any of them.
There's also the assaults, the steroid allegations, the awkward promos, etc., etc.
But still, Scott Steiner is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time—as well as one of the most legitimately scary ones.
The man is an NCAA star, a former world champion and one-half of one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
Furthermore, Big Poppa Pump perfected many in-ring maneuvers to the point that they were even renamed in his honor: the Steiner Screwdriver, the Steiner Flatliner, the Steiner Recliner, the Steiner-Line and the Frankensteiner.
Whatever the Genetic Freak's failings may be, the fact is that he's a wrestling legend.
No. 3: Ric Flair
He is without a doubt the greatest professional wrestler of all time.
"The Nature Boy" Ric Flair has set the bar for greatness repeatedly in the sport. His matches are timeless, his words epoch-making, his strut the thing of legend.
He's the man who came back to the ring after breaking his back, the one who proved that he was bigger than any one company, the reason why entire arenas Whoo! every time that a chop is used.
But for all Flair's troubles, he has faced endless vitriolic complaints.
What are Flair's crimes?
He loves to have a good time, loves pro wrestling and, like every person who ever lived, has aged.
The fact that so many fans use harsh words to describe Flair is perhaps one of the biggest shames in the industry. Basketball fans don't do that to Michael Jordan and baseball fans don't do that with Babe Ruth.
But the truth is, to be the man, you gotta beat the man.
And no one has ever really beaten Ric. Nor will they.
No. 2: Hulk Hogan
The way some fans tell it, wrestling was a pure sport of the gods that has been consistently sullied by just one man for the past 30 years.
That man: Hulk Hogan.
Since defeating the Iron Sheik for the WWF Title and ushering in Hulkamania, the Hulkster has been disliked by a sizable number of fans.
This became especially true when Hogan joined WCW in 1994. At the time, WWF fans said Hogan was too old, while WCW fans resented the symbol of "sports entertainment" hijacking their company.
After spending some years back in WWE, Hogan now suffers similar criticisms in TNA.
Certainly many accusations are true: Hogan is not a great mat tactician. He also draws away a lot of attention and has been criticized (and criticized and criticized) for backstage politics.
But the fact remains: He's Hulk Hogan, the biggest name in wrestling history, bar none. People around the world who don't even watch wrestling know who he is.
The man is charismatic, he changed the industry at least twice, wrestled in the biggest matches of all time and has been the mainstream ambassador of the wrestling industry since his appearance in Rocky III.
In many ways, Hulk Hogan is pro wrestling. And haters will have to deal with that fact.
No. 1: Sean Waltman
Fans over-hate Sean Waltman so much that their dislike even spawned a whole new wrestling phrase: "X-Pac heat."
Waltman actually started out in the industry as a respected athlete. He was trained by the late Boris Malenko, made a name for himself on the early years of Raw and was a key member of both the New World Order and D-Genernation X.
In truth, Waltman is also a well-decorated competitor, having held the WCW Cruiserweight Title, the TNA X-Division Championship and the old WWF Light Heavyweight, European and Tag Team Titles.
But for whatever reason, during the demise of DX in 1999, fans began hating on X-Pac to an unprecedented degree.
This was especially true amongst the budding Internet Wrestling Community, self-professed "smarts" who claimed to understand the business better than other fans.
Waltman eventually left WWE in 2002 and has only recently made a few return appearances.
During his decade apart from WWE, Waltman continued proving his commitment to the industry by wrestling for TNA, Chikara, XPW, JCW, Wrestling Society X, the NWA and a host of other companies.
And while Waltman may indeed not be the greatest wrestler of all time, one thing is for sure: He has consistently been the most over-hated.