We’ve breached the subject before, but it bears repeating: plenty of professional wrestlers have egos twice the size of their already considerably large muscles. Some wrestlers deserve their ego, or at least part of it, with their years of dedicated work and incredible matches that changed the wrestling industry. Others developed a massive ego out of thin air, or perhaps more likely, due to their friendships and the people around them constantly feeding them the idea they were better than they are. Our first take on this list focused on the wrestlers who had egos that were truly out of control and seemed completely unconnected to their performance in the ring; this time, we’re looking at wrestlers who might have accomplished a fair amount, and still manage to treat themselves like an even bigger deal than reality would attest.
It’s impossible to judge ticket sales and screaming fans, which many of these wrestlers have generated in outrageous spades. However, absolutely none of them did it by themselves, although quite a few of them try to treat it like they did. No matter what point in wrestling history you look at, there were always at least a dozen or even a hundred people heavily involved in the success of any given wrestling promotion. This is a problem that runs throughout the entire wrestling industry, although, as the most successful wrestling promotion of all time, obviously there have been more WWE superstars to fall victim to this than independent wrestlers. But that doesn’t mean smaller promotion wrestlers can’t grow big heads, too. Keep reading to discover which wrestlers treated themselves like one-men shows and discounted the success of countless others- all on our list of 15 more wrestlers with outrageously undeserved egos.
15. Fritz von Erich
Fritz Von Erich was a legendary wrestler during the 1950s, long before political correctness was a thing, and therefore he was able to gain traction as a much-hated wrestling Nazi. Eventually, he decided that his pride in Texas overpowered his pride in his fake ancestry, and turned into one of the most popular wrestlers in history, dominating the Southern states during the territorial days of wrestling prior to WWE changing the landscape in the 1980s. Fritz also had several famous children, and it was his commitment to/horrific treatment of his own children that proved his ego was out of control.
While still a wrestler, Fritz founded World Class Championship Wrestling, which went on to become the most successful wrestling promotion in Dallas, Texas. As long as he could still go in the ring, Fritz booked himself as his champion, for both economical and ego-driven reasons. The prevailing wisdom at the time was you couldn’t lose your top star if your top star was you, so we can’t entirely blame ego on that one. However, after his retirement, Fritz forced all of his children into the sport, rather directly causing the depression that would lead three of them to commit suicide. If Fritz could have dropped his ego and let someone from out of the family wrestle instead of forcing his children to be stars, they could have all lived happier lives, and definitely saved Fritz from years of controversy surrounding his family and business practices.
14. Verne Gagne
Verne Gagne has a similar story to Fritz Von Erich, but luckily he has fewer casualties under his name than the fake German-Texan. Gagne ran the American Wrestling Association out of Minnesota, and for a long time held the record for the most ever recognized World Championship reigns as a result. Gagne held his own AWA World Heavyweight Championship 10 times over a span of more than 20 years, which no doubt allows modern fans to draw parallels to Triple H. Truthfully, though, we understand many of these reigns were based on the mentality of only trusting yourself, which, while clearly ego-driven, made strong enough business sense in these cases that we can’t blame them. Therefore, once again, the problem with Verne was his reliance on his own children.
Greg Gagne wasn’t quite as bad of a wrestler as he gets credit for. He was in a pretty good tag team called The High Flyers with future “Killer Bee” Jim Brunzell, but he wasn’t exactly the heroic wrestling god his father was. This didn’t stop Verne from trying his damndest to make Greg a superstar, especially as the AWA was collapsing and there was no one else for him to rely on. To Greg’s credit, he left the business shortly after his father went broke and couldn’t force him to stay in it anymore, and ego didn’t seem to run in the family.
13. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion, and unlike some of the other people on this list, he earned each of those titles by being the greatest wrestler in the world when he achieved them. Well, at least that’s the case with about 8 or 9 of those titles, and we’ll cut him some slack for the other half, cause he’s the Nature Boy, for goodness sake. However, anybody calling themselves the greatest wrestler in history clearly has a pretty big ego, and to so easily discount the wrestlers around you the way Ric does makes it clear even he might be getting a little bit big-headed in his old age.
Ric has mostly mended his fences with his enemies, but he’s called out names like Mick Foley, Bret Hart, and Bruno Sammartino, virtually for no reason other than the fact he thought he was a much bigger star than they were. Even if that were true, there’s no logical reason to call the other wrestlers out for it, unless you want credit for something you didn’t exactly deserve, i.e. the success of others. Ric deserves plenty of credit for his own success, but those three wrestlers in particular rarely even crossed paths with Ric when they were on top, so it makes no sense he would for some reason need to denigrate them. Unless, of course, his ego was simply out of control.
Believe it or not, there was a point in time when many people on the Internet were hailing X-Pac as the best wrestler in the world, and certainly the best to make his national debut on Monday Night Raw. At that point, he was known as “The 1-2-3 Kid,” and he truly was having some of the most exciting and innovative matches in history. However, that period of his career only lasted a few years, and he quickly grew into a lazy and conceited egomaniac, who felt his past success had more than earned him a main event spot in wrestling history.
X-Pac never held any world titles, but he challenged for the WWE World Championship plenty of times in the Attitude Era. In all fairness, he was pretty popular in that era, too, and his matches weren’t awful, but as time moved on and he kept demanding he win championships, his reputation as an egoist grew. X-Pac was rumored to have utilized his friendship with Triple H and Shawn Michaels to boost his standing with Vince McMahon, and then used that standing to make himself the WWE Lightweight and WCW Cruiserweight champion concurrently. X-Pac has finally calmed down now that he stopped using drugs, but for many years, he spoke of himself as an incredibly important and vital figure in the Attitude Era and wrestling history, when everybody knows he was just The Kliq’s little buddy who was given titles so he’d stop complaining.
11. Diamond Dallas Page
It’s almost impossible to say a single negative thing about Diamond Dallas Page the person. Through his incredible charity and innovative workout strategies, he’s helped countless people change their lives for the better. Most notably, he helped Scott Hall and Jake Roberts stop drinking and using drugs, which was a minor miracle in and of itself. He was a pretty successful wrestler, as well, having won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times, in addition to the United States, Tag Team and Television titles, and the WWE European title, after WCW went out of business.
The controversy arises when one discusses DDP’s long-term impact on the wrestling industry as a performer, and starts to quantify whether or not any of his accomplishments really meant anything. It isn’t just that his championship reigns were unexpected and a huge shock to many, the problem with DDP is that it’s well known he was Eric Bischoff’s neighbor during the rise of Monday Nitro, and many speculate it was due to that friendship DDP went from a manager to a main eventer after he turned 40. It definitely takes a pretty big ego for someone with as little behind their belt as DDP to suddenly demand major respect, but that’s the same tenacity his wrestling character used to get himself over, too, so maybe we can’t get too mad if his friendships helped him a little bit along the way.
10. Stephanie McMahon
Stephanie McMahon is the daughter of Vince McMahon, and as a result has had high- ranking positions within WWE for decades, and she’s worked for the company in minor roles since she was a teenager. Despite this, pretty much since she rose to her first position of power, fans have been questioning how much she was actually helping versus the possibility she was a generally toxic presence within the wrestling industry that inevitably destroyed whatever she touched. Her marriage to 14-time WWE World Champion Triple H hasn’t helped matters, as many feel his success in the wrestling industry is a result of their egos congealing into one unstoppable, unbeatable wrestling force.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Stephanie hasn’t done anything. She has a genuine record of charitable efforts to her name, and she was head of creative for WWE for long enough stretches of time that fans can no doubt find something they love that happened during her reign. Our feeling, though, is that whenever you see an interview with the “real” Stephanie McMahon, it’s clear she’s probably the most jaded human being on our list, and often equates her professional wrestling company’s success to both great and tragic moments in American history, which is hyperbolic no matter how you look at it.
9. Kevin Nash
For a very long time, Kevin Nash had two important records in WWE. While performing as Diesel, Nash was the longest reigning WWE World Champion of the 1990s, and he was also the lowest drawing champion of that era, and therefore was on top of the card while Monday Night Raw was receiving some of it’s all time lowest ratings. Shortly after this era, Nash jumped ship to WCW as a founding member of the New World Order, and he would gradually be promoted to the position of head booker of the company over the next few years. Nash would never pretend to be an amazing wrestler in the ring, but he had a great deal of charisma and could attract a serious crowd with the right gimmick, but he seems to forget and gloss over about the many embarrassing moments of his career whenever he talks about his legacy.
The two biggest strikes against Nash are the incredibly low ratings during the era of “Diesel Power,” and the fact that he booked himself to become WCW World Champion and end Goldberg’s undefeated streak. The exact time Nash was placed in charge of WCW’s booking is questionable, but no matter when it was, he clearly made himself the focus of television from that point on, despite the fact the last company that tried that strategy rapidly lost fans by doing so.
8. Bret Hart
Bret Hart is a WWE Hall of Famer with dozens of championships to his name, many of which were undoubtedly earned through hard work and a serious dedication to the craft of professional wrestling. That same dedication, however, has made Bret kind of delusional in his older years about his status in the industry. It’s not that he’s wrong about it, but the extent to which he still cares about how WWE treats his legacy more than 16 years after he retired should be a little embarrassing considering he typically gets angry about video game representations of a fake sport.
Bret not only gets angry about WWE video games improperly ranking him, but he seems to have a constant bone to pick with Triple H. He buried his hatchet with Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon long ago, but it’s clear he’s unable to completely remove any feelings of resentment from those men, as well. It’s also worth noting that although Bret was always an extremely talented wrestler, he really only has four or five years of true main event success to his name, and the rest of his career was admittedly spent floundering under bookers who had no idea how to present him. In spite of this, Bret treats himself as one of the ultimate legends of the industry, and has completely bought into his own hype as the best there is, was, or ever will be.
7. Randy Orton
Randy Orton is one of the few wrestlers on our list still actively competing for WWE, and the company certainly agrees with him in his obvious belief that he is an incredibly special person and one of the greatest wrestlers alive. Reality doesn’t quite agree with him, as countless critics have called Orton boring both as a character and in the ring since he debuted over a full decade ago. Orton has racked up 12 WWE World Heavyweight championship reigns, and was the center of the most recent storyline to unify the two belts. Fans, however, were vocally upset with the superstar noted for how bland he can be, especially as the most important player on Raw, and they practically demanded Daniel Bryan get thrown into the mix to prevent everyone from dying of boredom.
Things get worse when you look into Orton’s personal behavior, which has shown a track record of diva-like antics and outright bullying. Short-term diva Rochelle Loewen claims Orton responded to her asking his name by covering her belongings with baby oil in a fit of rage, and actions like that can only spurn from unchecked ego. Orton also broke the script live on Raw to scream at Kofi Kingston, and was said to be one of the main reasons Mr. Kennedy got fired, both ego-driven decisions. Orton’s success is wide ranging, but it’s difficult to say what exactly he did to earn it, and he’s clearly been using it in predominantly horrible ways.
6. CM Punk
The Internet loves CM Punk, and by and large has taken his side in the war between Punk and WWE that began when Punk walked out of the company in 2014 due to nagging injuries and serious work frustrations, and was subsequently fired on his wedding day as punishment. While we can’t knock Punk for walking out over corrupt medical practices, the work frustrations are less cut and dry, and in some ways Punk is showing his ego with certain complaints about WWE and the wrestling business. Punk is a 5-time WWE World Champion, and once held the title for over a year, doing what most fans call fantastic work his entire career. However, he never main- evented WrestleMania or truly became WWE’s top star, and the question becomes whether that’s his fault or WWE’s.
While it’s true WWE didn’t completely back Punk throughout his numerous title reigns, they obviously gave him a serious platform to get himself over, and wouldn’t have done that unless there was some kind of respect towards his talent in mind. For some reason, Punk feels like this wasn’t enough, and regularly complains about WWE not giving him enough attention, or presenting him as a superstar on the level of John Cena, or some other people on this list. Even fans of CM Punk admit he might have a bit of an ego problem, and his success just wasn’t great enough to justify all of it.
Goldberg (i.e. “The flash in the pan who thought he was The Man”) has fewer title reigns or years of success to point to than most wrestlers on our list, but he was still a massively popular wrestler for his time period. Goldberg debuted for WCW in 1997, and in less than a year, he became arguably the most popular wrestler on the planet, with his only true competition being “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Goldberg won the WCW World Heavyweight championship during this time, and later in his career he won the WWE World Heavyweight championship, as well, dominantly reigning with the title for several months in both companies. As popular and dominant as he was, Goldberg is perhaps wrestling’s most emblematic flash in the pan—he was extremely successful for a short while, but it was a really, really short while.
Goldberg’s name still pops up in discussions about wrestling, showing just how successful he was, but the fact is, he couldn’t just pop back up at any moment and be the same success he once was. He still paints himself like he could in interviews, claiming he never returned to WWE because he still thinks they wouldn’t use him right, and not because he’s pushing 50 and can’t really be a dominant monster anymore.
4. Scott Hall
Many people consider Scott Hall one of the greatest talents in wrestling history, who squandered his potential with years of alcohol abuse and other personal problems, thereby burning most of his bridges and giving him a reputation as one of the industry’s biggest jerks. He miraculously has been making a recovery over the past few years with the help of the aforementioned Diamond Dallas Page, but as great as Hall’s recovery efforts have been, he’s still kind of acting like that jerk when he lets his guard down. Hall admitted he was acting like a jerk during the heyday of the Kliq in WWE (see our entry on Kevin Nash), but even today he’s had several fan incidents that prove he’s more interested in himself than others.
Hall was working a wrestling convention sometime in 2014, and a young child with cancer happened to be in attendance. Dozens of other wrestling legends signed a birthday card for the child, but Scott Hall refused to sign for reasons that were at first unclear. Hall’s only response since has been that it hurts him too much to think about cancer, having lost family members to the disease, which is probably true, but the sad fact is that in this day and age, that describes almost everybody. Given Hall’s past problems with his ego, we have to think he must have thought he was pretty special not to sign that kid’s card, and there’s just no accomplishment that makes him that special.
3. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is at once one of the most popular and most important wrestlers in the history of the industry, but with great power comes great responsibility, and Hogan’s usage of that power was greatly influenced by his massive ego. Hogan was the second most important person behind Vince McMahon in the expansion and globalization of WWE, and it was on his success as a champion that sports entertainment turned into the mainstream phenomenon that it is today. However, Hogan’s success all went directly to his head, and by all accounts he soon became impossible to work with. Those feelings were exponentially compounded by the time that he started working for WCW.
Hogan’s time in WCW is extremely controversial. Just as Hogan had done in WWE, he brought WCW to a mainstream audience. Unfortunately for everyone else working for the company, in doing so, he ripped away everything that was unique about the brand WCW had built, and turned it into a promotion solely used to satiate Hogan’s own still growing ego. Hogan was the focus of every show for far too long, and he held the WCW World Heavyweight title for years in a row due to contractual demands, despite fans getting more than sick of him at the time. Hogan is finally being forced to act humble now that he was caught making racist comments, but he was the least humble name in sports entertainment for as long as he was the most famous.
2. “Dr. D” David Schultz
“Dr. D” David Schultz had the shortest professional career of any wrestler on our list, but he sure managed to make his time in the squared circle extremely memorable. Schultz was a big and scary heel throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s, known for his irascible attitude both in and outside of the ring. That attitude reached national attention in the worst way when he legitimately slapped 20/20 reporter John Stossel for daring to ask him if wrestling was fake. Backlash surrounding the incident very quickly ended his career and resulted in a lifelong blacklisting from WWE, but he managed to work with future legends and Hall of Famers like Nick Bockwinkel, Jerry Lawler, Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, and Randy Savage before he did so.
Most wrestlers with such a short career would be grateful to name such legends as their co-workers, but reflecting on his career, Schultz’s main takeaway seems to be that he was a bigger star than any of those guys ever were. If Dr. D is to be believed, those names only got over by siphoning his talent, and he could’ve been just as big a wrestling and movie star as any of them had he not been blackballed. He also bragged they were all afraid of him legitimately beating them up, which if true, really says more about Dr. D’s ego and attitude than the skills of any other wrestlers he may have antagonized.
1. Lance Storm
Lance Storm is by all accounts an excellent wrestler, but he also once had a gimmick based around how boring he was, and it made a lot of sense on many levels. The gimmick was maligned by a majority of fans, and we don’t mean to defend it, but we’re just saying we understand. Storm is a former WWE Intercontinental and Tag Team champion, and he won a great number of titles in ECW and WCW before they went out of business, too. But Storm never once made it to the main event level despite his talents in the ring, nor did he ever really come close, and he still comments on wrestling like he was a preeminent expert of the business.
Storm has been vocally critical of WWE and TNA on his website, often complaining that they rely too much on the sports entertainment elements of the show that made them successful. Storm would prefer a focus on technical wrestling acumen, but as his career proved, that doesn’t exactly sell tickets. Since Lance doesn’t have the bank account of some of his contemporaries, he should probably realize this, and maybe stop being critical of the people who are still succeeding beyond his wildest dreams.
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