A Controversial Top 10: The 10 Most Debated Wrestling Figures
Like many other writers on the Bleacher Report, my articles have generated a lot of controversy. No good article or top 10 list will satisfy everyone. They will all include questionable omissions.
That gave me an idea. Which wrestlers or wrestling figures are synonymous with controversy? What names will generate a flame war at their mere mention?
There are a lot, but I will try to narrow it down to the top 10.
I have one specific criteria for this list: If I go on youtube or a professional wrestling forum, will bringing up the person bring arguments?
Will it start a heated back and forth exchange? Will all the internet tough guys tell one another "screw ur mom!"
I am not writing this list to start a flame war. I am writing it to open up a dialogue on controversial figures and hopefully start a reasonable discussion on why they are controversial.
Note: Resolved feuds will not be part of the top 10. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart do not appear on this list.
10. Hulk Hogan
The "Hulkster" is not known for his love of losing. He loves the spotlight and has brought controversy to every promotion he's been to.
Though he has put over names like The Rock, Kurt Angle and Bill Goldberg, he has also stolen the thunder from guys like Bret Hart (WM 9), Shawn Michaels (SS '05), and Randy Orton (SS '06).
That's not to mention the steroids, the car accident involving his son, or any other highly publicized family incident.
The only thing that hasn't been controversial with Hogan is his effect on TNA.
9. Eric Bischoff
The man who almost beat Vince McMahon.
He has done too many controversial things to list. By creating the nWo storyline, Bischoff ushered in an era of edgy and controversial TV in wrestling.
As the ship began to sink, there were many accusations that Bischoff held back talent and squashed young guys.
Many people despise the Bisch, many credit him with almost winning the Monday Night Wars.
But Eric Bischoff's name will always be thrown around in discussions about both the rise and fall of WCW.
Going to TNA along with Hogan has also proven controversial, but not yet successful.
8. Vince McMahon
Like Bischoff, his exploits are too long to list. Pick from the steroid scandals, the whole Attitude era, a laundry list of controversial storylines, and the PG era of WWE.
McMahon is the most well known and one of the most polarizing figures in wrestling history. Probably half of the articles here on bleacherreport wrestling involve one of the genetic jackhammer's decisions.
You can love him or hate him, but you can't deny the genius of the billionaire.
7.: Triple H
The MSG Curtain Call incident is only overshadowed by the fact that he dumped Chyna and married Stephanie McMahon.
How much influence he really has on the booking is anyone guess, but there have been times where he hasn't put over younger guys when logic seems to dictate that he should.
You have to give credit where credit is due, Triple H has done a lot of good for the business and is a lot more talented than a lot of the other guys on the list.
But many of his former coworkers such as Billy Gunn and Road Dogg have rather negative things to say about him. Professional jealousy or legitimate criticism? It will be debated forever.
Hunter would be much higher on this list if he did not lose at 3 straight Wrestlemanias.
Little things can cause big controversy.
A vertically challenged but talented man by the name of Dylan Postl has become quite the villain within the Internet Wrestling Community.
On some message boards, people go so far as to call him "a cancer" to the wrestling industry.
That was even before he joined Shawn Michaels and Triple H in DX.
Hey the kids love him, but he will always be vilified by the older fans, some who claim they actually turn off the TV to avoid watching him.
McMahon is laughing all the way to the bank.
5. Ric Flair
He is the "dirtiest player in the game."
Ric Flair has a knack for talking about his former coworkers. Bret Hart, Mick Foley, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, The "Nature Boy" has something to say about all of them.
It's usually not pretty.
For all of the great stuff he did in his career, many WWE fans will remember how he hopped ship after his storybook sendoff at Wrestlemania 24.
Flair will be wrestling retirement matches into his 80's.
4. Muhammad Hassan
In real life, the guy is Italian.
But that didn't stop Hassan from having one of the most controversial gimmicks in wrestling history.
His debut at the Royal Rumble 2004 was quite memorable, as every wrestler in the ring beat him up and then tossed him from the ring.
After that, he complained about how he was treated differently because of his status as an Arab American. He managed to gain a lot of cheap heat by bashing the United States and its foreign policy.
Then the character pretty much jumped the shark and became "a terrorist" by having masked assassins attack fan favorites like the Undertaker. UPN demanded he be taken off of Smackdown a week or two later.
The Hassan character didn't last long, but he certainly will be remembered and debated.
3. John Cena
The face of the PG era.
John Cena started as a heel with a white rapper gimmick. But he proved to be very popular in that role and soon became the WWE champion.
And he became the WWE champion again...and again...and held it for a long time.
Many "old school" fans got angry and there was a huge backlash against him. Some go so far as to say he has single-handedly ruined the company.
John Cena really personifies this list. If you listen to the reaction he gets when he comes out, first there is a massive pop, followed by a smattering of boo's, followed by a mixture of both.
Anyway, you know a superstar is controversial when people complain about his moveset.
2. Vince Russo
Roddy Piper has called him the "Osama Bin Laden" of sports entertainment.
Vince Russo ushered in the Attitude era in the WWF then went to WCW and was at the helm of its creative staff as it fell off the cliff.
If I have the time, I will one day write a whole list of every bizarre, sexual storyline he helped author. The one's that worked, and the one's that made you go "..."
No one can debate the fact that Russo did a lot of good things, and a lot of bad things. But people will forever debate his overall impact on sports entertainment.
Did I mention he once gave himself the WCW title?
1. Chris Benoit
Should he be honored for accomplishments or should he be forever condemned for his heinous actions?
Everyone knows the terrible things that he did. Everyone knows how beloved he was by the IWC until that fateful day in 2007.
No other figure has ever generated so much controversy, so much venom, no one ever will.
You either think one way or the other about Chris Benoit and those feelings are set in stone. You will always be outraged about what the other side thinks.
I have my feelings but I will not express them within the article itself.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart - Considering the two reconciled, I consider the Montreal Screwjob closed.
Paul Heyman - He is universally loved. There is really no controversy.
Dixie Carter - Not yet important enough.