A contract to work in World Wrestling Entertainment is widely perceived to be the Holy Grail for professional wrestlers located all around the world. The WWE is the top company in the industry, one that has done well to branch out well beyond the ring. Wrestlers who make it to main event status within that company have opportunities to appear in movies and television shows, for example. Dwayne Johnson has become a superstar in Hollywood, a top man in several hit movies, but none of that would have been possible had he not made a name for himself in the WWE as The Rock.
No place of employment is perfect, of course, and that is the case with the WWE. Several wrestlers have, over the years, hit out at the company for one reason or another. Such complaints are usually fueled by a wrestler believing that he was mistreated or not properly pushed by those running the WWE. That was the case for the individual who is atop of this list, but it would be inaccurate to say that his only beef with the WWE was that he was not constantly the World Heavyweight Champion. He had all kinds of issues with the company when he chose to pursue a different career.
Dave Batista, by all accounts, has a positive relationship with the WWE despite the fact that his last run in the company did not go as he had hoped, but that fact did not keep him from speaking out against the company in May of 2015. He Tweeted out the following regarding how the WWE has handled performer Titus O’Neil on May 16 of this year: “@TitusONeilWWE you’re everything a WWE star should be! Get out there and represent our company!! ” Titus: “Then why don’t you give me a push?’ WWE: “Sorry there’s nothing for you creatively.” Batista then ended that post with an obscenity.
9. Scott Steiner
“Big Poppa Pump” is rarely shy when it comes to speaking his mind, and that has included the former WCW champion taking shots at the WWE when he has felt like doing so. Scott Steiner called the WWE product “s—t” while speaking in July of 2014. Steiner had similar comments in May of 2015 when he stated that wrestling is “hard to watch” and that fans continue to tune in because they hope that “maybe they’ll [WWE] snap out of it and get a brain cell.” Steiner has been the type of individual who goes by the beat of his own drum. Just don’t expect to see him on WWE television anytime soon.
8. Josh Matthews
The former Tough Enough cast member and former WWE announcer has spoken out against the WWE since departing the company and joining up with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He criticized Vince McMahon while speaking on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast in March of 2015, saying that the CEO “doesn’t get it anymore” regarding the wrestling industry. Matthews was also peeved about the way that the company debuted Samoa Joe. Matthews probably should not be burning any bridges, as word is that he and everybody else within TNA could be looking for work come this fall.
The former WCW champion had zero positive comments to make when speaking about the WWE and about Vince McMahon back in September 2011, saying the following: “I can’t really say anything positive about the man. It’s like working for a carny – it’s like working for a carny who’s driven only by his ego. Business is out the window, as evidenced by what he did with my character. So, I don’t have a positive thing to say about that guy.”
Goldberg did win the WWE World Championship during his stint with the company, but he was ultimately made to job to Triple H. His last match with the company occurred at WrestleMania 20.
6. Ultimate Warrior
This story fortunately has a happy ending as the two sides mended fences en route to Ultimate Warrior being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 just days before he passed away. With that said, Warrior had plenty of negative comments to say about the company during a time when the two were perceived to be feuding. Warrior spoke out against the WWE during shoot interviews, and he was also allowed to be honest during segments that aired during a DVD that was produced by the company. Warrior was true to himself up through the very end, a trait that made him a beloved figure among wrestling fans.
5. Eric Bischoff
“Controversy Creates Cash” has been the mantra of Eric Bischoff over the years, and that has involved the wrestling executive who has worked inside of the ring during his time in the business occasionally speaking out about the WWE. He understandably ripped the company while working for WCW and then Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and Bischoff has made news with the words that he has spoken in shoot interviews and that he has written in his book. Say whatever you will about what happened in the final days of WCW. Bischoff was a revolutionary in many ways while running WCW in the 1990s.
4. AJ Lee
The former WWE Diva surprised many when she took to Twitter to Tweet the following at Stephanie McMahon after actress Patricia Arquette made a fantastic speech regarding equal pay at the 2015 Oscars: “Your female wrestlers have record selling merchandise & have starred in the highest rated segment of the show several times, And yet they receive a fraction of the wages & screen time of the majority of the male roster. #UseYourVoice.” The real-life wife of the man who is (spoiler alert) at the top of this list has since left the WWE and retired as a pro wrestler.
There was once a time when Sting refused to work with Vince McMahon and the WWE. Sting, in his own words, was under the belief that the company would misuse him as it did several other former WCW performers, and thus he instead chose to work for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling until he agrees to terms with the WWE in 2014. It turns out that he may, in fact, have been right to have doubts about working for the company, as he was booked to do the job to Triple H at WrestleMania 31. Sting has since essentially been forgotten about as it pertains to WWE television. What a waste.
2. Bret Hart
The Hitman now has a positive relationship with those in charge of the WWE, but he understandably spoke out against the company multiple times over the years. Hart was on the loser’s end of the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” that occurred on his final night with the company before he departed to WCW, and Hart was then helpless when a stunt involving his younger brother tragically cost Owen Hart his life. While he has real reasons to still hold grudges with those running the WWE, those feuds have since been worked out.
1. CM Punk
Odds are that you could not have possibly stumbled upon this piece as a wrestling fan without knowing why the “Straightedge Superstar” is atop this list. CM Punk made worldwide headlines in the wrestling community when he hit out at the WWE while appearing on a podcast that was released over Thanksgiving weekend 2014, and that episode has served as an epilogue for Punk’s wrestling career. Punk has since joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship as a mixed martial artist, and his debut that is scheduled to occur later in 2015 will be must-see television for fans of Punk and also for those who want to see him get knocked out.