Professional wrestling is a weird business in many ways. Organizations such as World Wrestling Entertainment are built on performers pretending to be tough fighters who engage in pre-determined in-ring encounters. The WWE could technically push anybody as a top babyface and or a top heel because the company is selling storylines and not offering real competitions. Diehard fans of the product may not love that Roman Reigns is being positioned as the next John Cena in the spring of 2016, but WWE viewers are not expected to believe that Reigns could hang in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
With that said, there have been numerous cases of certain WWE Superstars being bullies and/or trying to prove their toughness to others backstage. That is bound to happen in any environment that includes a locker room and a culture of individuals attempting to show that they should be the highest-paid people in a particular company. Some have gone too far, however, as there have been stories of backstage bullies being punished and even fired by the WWE because of those actions. The WWE has left no doubt that bullies will no longer be tolerated by that organization, and that is probably a good thing for the WWE and for anybody who wants to make it big in the wrestling business.
10. Bill Demott
Bill Demott stands out on a list of alleged WWE backstage bullies because Demott was a trainer for the company when he reportedly committed his shameful acts. Demott, per reports, was said to have physically and verbally assaulted individuals who were training to become WWE wrestlers, and he was also accused of using derogatory and racist language during some training sessions. While Demott did not publicly admit to doing these things, he did step away from the WWE in March 2015. It seemed at the time that Demott realized he was going to be shown the door by the WWE if he did not leave the company on his own.
9. Ric Flair
Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff had their problems when the two were working in World Championship Wrestling. Both have talked about this in interviews in the past. Things apparently got physical between the two in March 2003 backstage before an edition of the television show Raw when Flair confronted and then slapped Bischoff in the face. Flair has said that he was the only guy to get in any shots during this confrontation, while Bischoff has said that he may have been able to land a punch or two before he and Flair was separated. We are going to take Flair’s word on this one, as we don’t think Bischoff could get much offense on the “Nature Boy.”
8. Chris Benoit
Chris Benoit will forever be remembered for the disturbing murders of his wife and his young son that were perpetrated by the wrestler. Since those murders that were followed by Benoit taking his own life, stories have emerged claiming that Benoit had a reputation for being a bully backstage in companies such as the WWE. Arguably the most famous case of Benoit allegedly being a bully backstage involved the performer who was known as Palmer Cannon leaving the company, in part because of Benoit’s actions. Benoit was clearly a disturbed and troubled individual well before he, his wife and his child were found dead inside of their family home.
7. Bret Hart
Say whatever you will about how Bret “Hitman” Hart was treated by Vince McMahon on the night of the infamous “Montreal Screwjob.” Hart was equal to a schoolyard bully when he went backstage following his match with Shawn Michaels and punched McMahon in the face. Hart was leaving the WWE, and McMahon was seemingly not all that interested in making his former employee pay for his actions. The “Hitman” was even welcomed back to the WWE after the emotional scars caused by that night healed, which served as a reminder that pro wrestling can be a wacky and funny business.
6. Dynamite Kid
The problems that Dynamite Kid has gone through since retiring from the wrestling industry have been well documented. Perhaps Kid has merely been a victim of karma coming back to bite him in a big way. Kid had a reputation for being a backstage bully during his career, and his ex-wife has also told stories about Kid being a violent and volatile individual during their marriage. Since being forced to leave the industry because of health reasons, Kid has suffered multiple strokes, and he has to use a wheelchair. The ups and downs of Kid’s career and personal life have been downright sad to read over the years.
There have been multiple stories claiming that John Bradshaw Layfield did not know when to stop playing his bullying character. JBL once legitimately bloodied up Blue Meanie during a segment. The former World Heavyweight Champion was accused of being a bully by The Miz, and Miz once even alluded to that during a promo that he cut when he was WWE Champion. Commentator Joey Styles was also said to be a victim of JBL’s bullying ways, but Styles reportedly fought back on at least one occasion. JBL is now an announcer for the WWE, and we have to assume that he has stopped being a bully to anybody.
4. Stephanie McMahon
The final four individuals on the list were not always physical bullies, but they did earn reputations for being unpleasant to work with behind the scenes. Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of Vince McMahon, has been accused of bullying members of the creative team when she was working to develop storylines. The irony here, of course, is that Stephanie is now part of the WWE’s anti-bullying campaign that has been featured in TV segments, and that Stephanie plays a bully as a member of “The Authority.” We just hope that Stephanie has toned down her bullying ways backstage.
3. Shawn Michaels
We all remember the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels as being “Mr. WrestleMania” and one of the greatest performers in WWE history. In the 1990s, though, Michaels was known as a backstage bully during his days as a member of “The Kliq.” One of the allegations that has been thrown out there over the years is that Michaels wanted to hold The Rock down during the “Attitude Era.” Whether or not that is true, we are happy that Rock received his opportunity to shine in the WWE. We are also thankful that Michaels changed his personality and was able to return to the company and have an incredible second run of his career.
2. Triple H
Any WWE fan who has spent time on social media websites and in Internet forums has read stories about Triple H allegedly bullying other wrestlers during his career, particularly after he began a relationship with the previously mentioned Stephanie McMahon. Being married to the boss’ daughter can have its advantages, including allowing you to win the WWE Championship even when you are no longer a full-time member of the roster. Triple H will one day be handed the keys to the WWE kingdom by Vince McMahon. We all will have to hope that Triple H will do what is best for business when that day arrives.
1. Vince McMahon
There will probably never be a bigger bully in WWE history than Vince McMahon himself. From stories to McMahon challenging members of the writing team to drag races on the highway to CM Punk calling McMahon a bully during a television segment, the stories of McMahon not being afraid to throw his weight around behind the scenes are well known among members of the wrestling community. Fans can think whatever they want about Vince McMahon being an alleged bully at different points of his career. McMahon has been more successful in the business than any other promoter. Thanks for everything, Vince. Now please be nice to us.