Considering WWE, WCW, and ECW were all creating can’t miss TV on a weekly basis, there’s a reason wrestling fans still look upon the Attitude Era so fondly over a decade after it took place. The hard-hitting action started to incorporate levels of realism the wrestling community had always shied away from, lest they reveal how manufactured the rest of the program was. Once everything was out in the open, promoters and wrestlers alike started suggesting their real life drama start popping up in the storylines, often causing genuine animosities to grow even stronger on screen throughout the era.
Everyone knows about the real-life feud between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, or that the inner conflicts of the New World Order weren’t always confined to Nitro. However, there were also dozens of minor but legitimate feuds amongst wrestlers who almost never interacted on screen, although sometimes these quarrels would actually stem from the fact they were scheduled to do so. Other times their problems had nothing to do with what took place in the ring, and they were kept apart for that reason, hence why the general public remained unaware of them.
We’ve already covered tag teams, stables, and managers filled with rage, so now we’re looking past wrestlers intrinsically linked to one another and casting a wider net, simply pointing out where the actual anger in pro wrestling was focused at the time sports entertainers were exuding more attitude than ever. And hey, maybe it worked—the timeframe is one of the most popular in company history, and the whole point is for fans to believe these wrestlers actually want to hurt each other in the first place. Keep reading to learn about 15 Attitude Era wrestlers you never knew hated each other’s guts.
15. Raven Hated The Pitbulls
Despite Paul Heyman’s vision that Raven would be the David Koresh of ECW, the controversial former champion actually made a good deal of enemies during his time at the top of the extreme. Outside of his problems with his own stable mates, specifically Stevie Richards in ECW and Hammer in WCW, Raven has also been open about his issues with both of The Pitbulls, Gary Wolfe and Anthony Durante. The Pitbulls were one of the top teams in the company, memorably defeating Raven and Stevie for the ECW Tag Team Championships in a Double Dog Collar Match in the summer of 1995. The match achieved classic status, but Raven has since explained The Pitbulls were extremely difficult to work with, and the result was only as good as it was because he mapped out absolutely everything The Pitbulls would do. To pay him back for trying to make them look good, The Pitbulls apparently refused to take certain moves and worked stiff whenever they locked up in the ring.
14. Chris Jericho Hated Goldberg
Given his status as the WCW cash cow, it should hardly be a surprise practically every wrestler working for the company wanted a shot at The Man. Plenty of Goldberg’s friends benefitted from his fame, while some of those who felt restricted because of him started to grow resentful over the rookie sensation’s success. One of Goldberg’s harshest critics was Chris Jericho, primarily due to a storyline Jericho proposed that would see the two feud, which Goldberg turned down because he didn’t want to lower himself to Jericho’s level. The reality was, Jericho was elevating himself to Goldberg’s level, not the other way around. Goldberg didn’t see it that way, though, plus he didn’t find Jericho a realistic opponent for him in the first place. This incident happened in WCW circa 1998, and animosities would rise again when Goldberg and Jericho both found themselves working for WWE in 2003. On Goldberg’s first day in the company, he and Jericho got into a fistfight backstage, with Jericho coming out the unexpected and definitive winner. In the ensuing years, Jericho initially bragged about the fight, but now that he and Goldberg are working together again, he seems to have put it behind him.
13. X-Pac Hated Sable
Having a big ego can either make a wrestler a huge star or get everyone backstage to hate them, and few WWE employees have suffered the negative half of that equation quite as horrifically as Sable. Sable was arguably the top female wrestler during the Attitude Era, with the caveat she was more of a valet type who occasionally wrestled. She became extremely popular nonetheless, thanks largely to her natural good looks, which she displayed in full on the pages of Playboy magazine. Sable’s popularity quickly went to her head, though, and she allegedly began claiming to be the sole reason for the ‘90s wrestling boom. This upset pretty much the entire WWE locker room, but it was X-Pac who manifested his hatred towards Sable in the grossest manner possible. On Sable’s last night in the company, X-Pac, by his own admission, defecated in a plastic cup and threw it in her bag. Though there are plenty of reasons for two people to hate each other, and some might even be understandable, X-Pac’s actions were simply disgusting and could never be justified.
12. Rob Van Dam Hated Taz
There is a catch-22 in wrestling that superstars need to be proud of what they do and take their jobs seriously, but if they take it too seriously or if their pride becomes aggressive, their co-workers will start to think they’re being a jerk. This was the case with Taz in ECW, whose shoot interviews tend to paint as equally miserable in real life as his character was in the ring. Rob Van Dam has explained the situation best, describing Taz as impossible to talk to because he would constantly surround himself with Team Taz, his kayfabe followers, while shadowboxing and trying to look tough even if no one else was around. Team Taz grew especially large as he feuded with Sabu, RVD’s tag team partner, who also has been on record to say he had significant problems with Taz during ECW’s peak. The worst of it came after a match involving Sabu, Taz, and RVD. Taz complained to the locker room that the other two were working stiff, and demanded they fight him. RVD didn’t find out until the next week, instantly slapping Taz across the face twice when he did so.
11. Ahmed Johnson Hated Jeff Jarrett
The question of whether or not racism exists in wrestling will probably never go away unless or until racism itself does. There’s pretty much no denying that racism existed in the sport for some time now, but especially in modern times, it might not be permeating to the top levels and serious effecting any careers. That hasn’t stopped certain wrestlers from thinking it has, though, specifically people like Kamala and Ahmed Johnson. Kamala’s more old school about his accusations, while Ahmed was slightly more current in claiming racism was rampant in WWE throughout the Attitude Era. According to Ahmed, two of the worst offenders were “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett was actually Ahmed’s first major feud in WWE, but he was never happy about it, because Jarrett always refused to lose his matches. It was likely for this reason their encounter at the 1996 Royal Rumble ended with a disqualification. The racism was obviously even worse, though Ahmed never went in any detail to support his accusation.
10. Jean-Pierre LaFitte Hated Diesel
WWE is at times a crazy world of wacky gimmicks, and yet people scoff in disbelief at the memory that there have been a handful of wrestling pirates throughout the company history. While some fans might prefer the antics of Paul Burchill, the first WWF swashbuckler was actually Jean-Pierre LaFitte. Birthed out of the ashes of The Quebecers, LaFitte was portrayed by Carl Ouellet, a talented wrestler often trapped in silly gimmicks. Amazingly, however, it looked like things were picking up for him when he became a pirate, with Vince McMahon booking him in high profile matches against Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Diesel throughout 1995. LaFitte’s program with Hart lead to a forgotten at In Your House 3, but the issues with Michaels and Diesel would ultimately define his career. LaFitte refused to lose to both HBK and Diesel at a series of house shows in his native Quebec. To be fair, he claims to have done so only because the original finishes of the matches were supposed to lead to rematches, something he felt a clean loss defeated the purpose. Whatever the case, the two allegedly responded by conspiring to get LaFitte fired.
9. Eddie Guerrero Hated Vampiro
Especially in the years following his death, one would be extremely hard pressed to find a wrestling fan who doesn’t like Eddie Guerrero. They might not appreciate the extent to which WWE exploits his memory, but the legacy of Latino Heat will live on far beyond the 38 short years he spent on this planet if his fans have anything to say about it. The one person who was known to ruffle Eddie’s feathers was Vampiro, both during their time working together in Mexico and later while in WCW. In his autobiography, Eddie explained he was less than enthusiastic to discover WCW hired Vampiro in the first place, calling Vamp “one of the most two-faced guys I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.” The two were forced to wrestle a few times on various episodes of Nitro, with the incredibly stiff matches making it clear they genuinely didn’t like each other. Vampiro was also known to have deep seeded issues with fellow WCW star Konnan, one of Eddie’s many friends in the business.
8. Shane Douglas Hated Ric Flair
While some wrestlers chose to be subtle about their real lives blending into their characters, Shane Douglas made a career out of speaking his true thoughts on television, especially as they pertained to which wrestlers he did and didn’t like. This was apparent even at the time, considering Douglas would often give his most passionate tirades against wrestlers who didn’t even work for the same company he did, most regularly Ric Flair. Shane’s problems with Flair stem from their time together in WCW during the early ‘90s, when Douglas claims Flair held him back from the main event role he so desperately desired. Douglas voiced these complaints for nearly five years in ECW before he finally got a chance to take his aggression out on Flair when he made his WCW return, firmly in the middle of the Attitude Era. The two finally had a match at Slamboree 2000, with Douglas winning, though The Franchise still found plenty to complain about due to the number of run-ins and outside interference that constantly clouded their feud.
7. Bam Bam Bigelow Hated Scott Hall
Shawn Michaels tends to get the brunt of the blame when it comes to the various backstage antics of his Kliq during the onset of the Attitude Era. Everyone was complicit, though, and most stories make it clear the real instigator was generally Scott Hall. For this reason, Bam Bam Bigelow focused most of his resentment over the group messing with his career on The Bad Guy, although it was Michaels who allegedly berated him and other behind-the-scenes. According to Bigelow, Hall was even worse, because he would actively try and get people in trouble, saying things like “Shawn Michaels is an asshole” only to turn around and tell Shawn the names of everybody who agreed when he said it. Bigelow claimed The 1-2-3 Kid was similar to Hall in his backstabbing nature, but he actually got along well with Kevin Nash, calling him a cool guy whenever they interacted without the rest of the Kliq getting involved. Despite the hostility between them, Hall and Bigelow managed to briefly feud in WCW throughout early 1999.
6. Chris Candido Hated Shawn Michaels
Real life love triangles can be extremely messy, especially when it comes with deciding who to blame for the inevitable heartbreak one of the people involved is going to suffer. Chris Candido and Shawn Michaels hated each other due to the fact they both loved Sunny, and Sunny loved them both, even as she left Candido for Michaels, and even still when returned to him after deciding HBK wasn’t the man for her. Understandably, Candido and Michaels couldn’t get along while their girlfriend hopped back and forth between them, and according to Candido, Michaels only made things worse with his general attitude. It didn’t help that HBK was WWE Champion during the time he and Sunny were together, so whatever he said went, and the heartbroken Candido simply had to deal with it. Michaels allegedly abused his power to halt Candido from getting any sort of a solo push, and by yelling at Candido after he improvised during a match at a house show. All that said, Candido almost admitted part of why he and HBK could never get along was the fact they had extremely similar personalities, specifically when it came to their personality flaws, specifically being prone to anger.
5. Ken Shamrock Hated The Nasty Boys
Out of every wrestler on this list, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock is one dude you don’t want to mess with, especially at his peak in the 1990s. Despite a popular misconception, Shamrock was actually a pro wrestler before becoming a shoot fighter, competing for South Atlantic Pro Wrestling in 1990. It was there he met The Nasty Boys and challenged them to a fight over an incident at a bar, and rather than face him in a lopsided 2-on-1 position, The Nasties waited until later that night to ambush Shamrock from behind with a steel phone, legitimately beating him nearly to death. Eight years later, Shamrock was working for WWE, the Nasty Boys had just been fired from WCW, and they happened upon each other at an airport. Brian Knobbs at first tried to run away, but Jerry Sags made the mistake of telling Shamrock to “take a chill pill,” causing the UFC star to lunge at him and threaten to get revenge for what they did to him. Sags cowered in fear and threatened to call the police, an act Shamrock felt was vindicating enough, choosing to drop his hatred from then on.
4. Steve Blackman Hated Vader
Life-threatening diseases like malaria have a tendency to destroy lives especially quick, which is how Steve Blackman went from a promising new superstar in 1988 to a complete unknown until he re-debuted in 1997. Blackman’s illness was also integral to the character he would go on to create, however, due to his heavy-duty training in the arts of escrima and tae kwon do during his recovery efforts. Prior to both his training and getting sick, Blackman briefly worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he encountered Vader and “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer. Blackman claimed both guys were perennial bullies, constantly giving him a hard time knowing the promoter’s threatened to send him back to America with half pay if he ever got into a physical confrontation. He therefore forced himself to play nice, temporarily forgetting about the heat during his time in the hospital. Once Blackman was back in fighting condition, he immediately wanted to do two things: return to wrestling and get revenge on Vader. Killing two birds with one stone, he asked his friends in WWE to get him backstage. While his intention was to get into a fight, Vader instantly apologized, making Blackman feel bad about holding on to the resentment for so long. Lucky for him, he did at least manage to make the right connections that soon lead to a job.
3. Chris Jericho Hated Triple H
Chances are there will never be a confluence of events quite like those leading up to the WWE debut of Y2J Chris Jericho. Unless lightning strikes again near the year 3000, the concept of a Millennium Clock introducing the future of wrestling probably won’t happen again, and though things turned out pretty great for Jericho in due time, there was actually a point when it seemed like things weren’t even going to work out for him. Part of the problem was that Jericho had big problems with Triple H, who was just starting to make his rise up the ladder in WWE. HHH cronies The Road Dogg, X-Pac, and Chyna had issues with Jericho, as well, making Y2J somewhat of a pariah during his early time in the company. In hindsight, Jericho believed a big part of the problem was his legendary opening promo, which included comments some of the WWE roster took to heart in terms of Jericho “saving” the company. Eventually, Jericho proved that his ego was all in character, and he and Triple H have since been able to get along.
2. Triple H Hated The Rock
One of the longest lasting feuds in WWE history, the problems between Triple H and The Rock actually stem from the far more storied saga of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. It all began when The Rock defeated Triple H for the Intercontinental Championship, a move Bret highly supported to the future DX’s chagrin. The two would go on to feud one another over that belt throughout the summer of 1998, turning them both into megastars in the process. Feuds over the WWE Championship followed, but the real feud had been brewing backstage. Making matters worse, WWE writers allowed the two to dig into their hatred of one another, instructing them to regularly go off script and toss in real life digs whenever dueling on the microphones. There have also been conflicting reports about whether or not Triple H was jealous of The Rock’s film career, having once made it seem like he wanted to follow in his footsteps to Hollywood only to significantly change his tune once that seemed unlikely. More recently, it seems like this feud is mostly behind them, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating it may return to the television each WrestleMania.
1. Mark Henry Hated Bradshaw
In stark contrast to WWE telling viewers to Be A Star and prevent bullying, few figures in popular culture have as poor reputations for being bullies as former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield. JBL has been accused of ribbing, hazing, and outright bullying dozens of superstars over the years, both before and after he became a big star. Proving how far back the practice goes, JBL even bullied Mark Henry when the two of them entered WWE around the same time in 1996. According to Henry, Bradshaw would constantly mess with him, doing things like throwing Henry’s belongings and wrestling gear into the showers. For whatever reason, the so-called World’s Strongest Man never retaliated physically, which is probably why JBL got away with it for so long. Though Henry was new to the business and might not have felt like he was in a position to complain, so was Bradshaw, throwing that theory out the window. Equally unexpected to Bradshaw never getting his comeuppance is the fact he and Henry have both let bygones be bygones, with Henry now referring to JBL as one of his most respected co-workers.