One needs to have some level of an ego to become a success in the entertainment industry. They don’t necessarily need to look down on others, but they do need to believe they’re pretty great themselves, or else they won’t find the drive and motivation needed to truly succeed in such a competitive medium. Nowhere is this more true than in professional wrestling, where a big part of the job description is talking about how great you are, and a significant amount of the performers took arguably too many of the words they said to heart.
Many of the wrestlers who have huge egos actually did something to earn some level of self-aggrandizement. Wrestlers like Hulk Hogan or Dusty Rhodes admittedly thought a bit too highly of themselves at times, but they also changed the face of wrestling forever, so it’s understandable they’re trying to get some of the credit. With other wrestlers, that wasn’t quite the case, as they seemed to view themselves in the elite stable of Hogan or Rhodes, while most of them actually are more suited for The J.O.B. Squad. A few of these wrestlers have even later admitted they got a bit too big for their britches. Keep reading to discover the 15 most unwarranted egos in wrestling history.
15. The Ultimate Warrior – Thought He Was Hulk Hogan
The Ultimate Warrior is a WWE Hall of Famer and former WWE World Champion, and during his time in the company he was undoubtedly extremely popular. However, he also only spent a few years on top, and his title reign was notoriously less successful financially than WWE had hoped. Nonetheless, Warrior saw himself as a star on the level of Hulk Hogan, and demanded to be treated as such his entire career. Warrior seemingly refused to accept his time in WWE main events never lasted very long for a reason, and would leave both WWE and WCW on the drop of a hat if he felt he wasn’t getting his way. Warrior would finally come to terms with reality and WWE when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, and he suddenly passed away only a few days later.
14. Larry Zbyszko – Claims To Be The Only Living Legend
Larry Zbyszko called himself “The Living Legend” in an inspired heel move during his legendary feud with Bruno Sammartino, but that was one feud during the very beginning of Zbyszko’s career, and the rest of his time in the wrestling business wasn’t nearly as memorable. That feud took place in WWE, but Zbyszko’s greatest successes came in the AWA. It wouldn’t be fair to say his success was directly responsible for the demise of that organization, but he was AWA World Champion when they closed, and his title reign was doing nothing to turn things around. He later went to the WCW commentary table, where he spent every Nitro talking about how he was better than the current wrestlers. Zbyszko even sued WWE over the “living legend” term, acting as though he invented an extremely popular turn of phrase (which he stole from his mentor in the first place).
13. Buff Bagwell – His Mom Thinks He’s A Star
WWE fans may not even know who Buff Bagwell is, as he only wrestled one extremely poorly received match for the company during the beginning of the Invasion. Bagwell’s match was so bad he was fired from WWE almost instantly, but somehow he lasted nearly an entire decade in WCW, and his low level performances and next level attitude problems were on full display the entire time. Bagwell gradually became a major player during the dying days of WCW, but in his interviews he seemed to believe he was always the top star and a formidable wrestler. Still, nothing compares to his time in WWE, when he asked his mother to call in sick for him.
12. Konnan – A Legend In Mexico, but Not Elsewhere
Konnan calls himself The Mexican Legend, which both shows his ego and his confusing take on reality, as he definitely isn’t Mexican. It is true, though, that he was a huge star while in Mexico, and he actually did play an important role in wrestling history. Konnan was responsible for getting many of the luchadores hired in WCW, and in many ways he can be given credit for helping popularize lucha libre in America. It still doesn’t justify Konnan’s decision to then make sure he stayed in control of all the luchadores careers, repeatedly get himself booked to defeat them, and become the WCW United States Champion in order to make himself look like the only true star of the division. He also seemed to expect an immediate program with Hulk Hogan when he joined the company, and has often made statements that imply he views himself as Hogan’s equal.
11. Vampiro – Great Punk Rock Vampire, Average Wrestler
Vampiro is very similar to Konnan in many ways, insofar as the two were both big stars in Mexico, and the success stayed in their minds wherever they went. Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero both discussed Vampiro’s ego in their books, painting a very unfavorable portrait of the Lucha Underground commentator. Jericho felt Vampiro would regularly go to promoters above the heads of other wrestlers to try and make them look bad, while Guerrero felt Vampiro relied too heavily on his admittedly popular gimmick, and said that without it he would’ve completely bombed in the wrestling department. In a move that could probably equally be blamed on WCW being WCW, Vampiro also used his pull to get his famous friends in the punk rock band Misfits (who he based his gimmick on) to appear on several episodes of Nitro and even win matches.
10. Jeff Jarrett – Early Inductee to His Own Hall of Fame
Jeff Jarrett was the fourth inductee into the Hall of Fame attached to a company he created. Granted, his controlling interest in Total Nonstop Action has subsided since he co-founded the promotion with his father, but there were rumors he only returned to TNA after a few years’ hiatus thanks to the induction. Even without the Hall of Fame, the general existence of Total Nonstop Action in many ways could be cited as proof of Jarrett’s ego. While he was in WWE and WCW, he was generally kept in the midcard, because seemingly the only person who saw Jarrett as a main event player was Vince Russo. Of course, after he created his own company, Jarrett was the main event franchise player for many years. Regardless of his lack of control in the company now, he was in charge when he booked himself to win the NWA World Championship six times, and that should say everything we need to know about his ego.
9. Triple H – Not The Star He Thinks He Was
Triple H is the most important figure in wrestling featured on this list, but long time fans are well aware of his massive and undeserved ego. During the Attitude Era, Triple H was a mid-level star who always stood in the wake of bigger names like Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, The Undertaker, The McMahons, and even a few others. Now that Triple H is married to Stephanie McMahon, he has rewritten history to frame himself as the preeminent star throughout all of WWE history. WWE-produced retrospectives of the period now tend to focus on D-Generation X, a group Triple H turned from a main event force into a mid card comedy act, which while very popular at the time, barely played a role in the Monday Night Wars.
8. Shane Douglas – The Franchise In His Own Mind
Shane Douglas called himself “The Franchise” of ECW, and it’s true he named the company, was their canonized first champion, and held said title longer than any other wrestler. While Shane may have been the greatest and most important wrestler in that company, the way he used his status as the top star in ECW proved he saw these accolades as significantly more than they actually were. ECW has plenty of fans to this day who defend it as the best wrestling of the 90s, and it just might be, but there’s no denying they were astronomically smaller than WWE or WCW. Still, Douglas thought he was a star on the caliber of Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, regularly calling them out for allegedly holding him down during his stints in the major leagues. Douglas still sees himself as a big star to this day, demanding to be booked in the main event of whatever ECW facsimile indie promotions that will hire him.
7. Vince Russo – Made Himself World Champion Despite Not Being A Wrestler
Vince Russo isn’t a wrestler, he’s a wrestling writer. Nonetheless, he most definitely deserves to be on this list, because he’s the only writer in history to book himself to become World Champion of a major wrestling promotion. Vince McMahon did something similar, but he also owned the company and built it from a small family business into a worldwide enterprise; Russo had been hired solely to act as a writer only a few months before making himself the primary focus of WCW. On top of the general absurdity of the situation, Russo was taking way too much credit for his writing success to begin with. He has claimed he was responsible for the WWE takeover during the Attitude Era, and while he did serve as a creative inspiration and influence, he was hardly the most important figure. Nowadays, he’s seen as one of the main reasons WCW went out of business, although he refuses to accept it.
6. Paul Roma – The Worst Horsemen Who Thought He Was The Best
Paul Roma is a member of wrestling’s most elite force, in that he is a former member of The Four Horsemen. Unfortunately for Roma, there’s pretty much zero argument to the statement he was the worst member in the history of the group, and he almost killed their legacy dead in its tracks the second he was announced as a member. Somehow, Roma translated this to believing he was the true star and Flair was simply jealous he was stealing his spotlight. He also referred to fellow Horsemen and legend Arn Anderson as “looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy.” Roma later spoke out against top WWE stars Triple H and John Cena, both of whom started their careers decades after his, but Roma still seems to feel he was the eternally bigger star simply because he had the better body.
5. Big Dick Dudley – Bitter He Was Left Behind
WWE only likes to focus on two Dudley Boyz today, but when they debuted, there were three, and neither Bubba nor D-Von were original members. Big Dick was, though, and he remained a member throughout their six-year tenure in ECW. Although he was there longer than the others, Big Dick was also a minor player in the Dudleyz, almost never wrestling any matches and only grunting and flexing in promos while the others did all the heavy lifting. Still, Big Dick saw himself as the true star of the group, and openly admitted to negotiating with the WWE separately from the others. Dick also ultimately turned the deal down when he was offered less than the Dudleyz who actually could wrestle.
4. Tom Zenk – Immediately Saw Himself On The Level of A World Champion
Tom Zenk was a minor star in the early 90s as The Z-Man, a character he took to championship success in WCW by winning the NWA Television Championship. Prior to that, Zenk teamed with Rick Martel as The Can-Am Express in WWE during the mid-80s, and from the very beginning of his career he proved just how massive his ego was. Martel had recently been AWA World Champion and was a proven solo star, while Zenk was very new to the business. For some reason, Zenk still saw himself as entitled to more money than his famous partner and quit WWE when he found out he was actually earning a little bit less than Martel. Years later, Zenk was basically out of the business, but his ego was still massively inflated, as he gave interviews calling out WCW for using talent like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and “Diamond” Dallas Page when men like Zenk were available to star on Nitro in their stead. WCW had some problems, but even they knew that would’ve been an insanely bad move.
3. Sable – Men Wanted Her, But No One Wanted To Be Her
Sable may have been the most popular female wrestler of the Attitude Era, but it needs to be kept in mind this was a time when women’s wrestling was an even smaller part of WWE than it is today. Sable was WWE’s top female star, but there were only four or five women for the company at all, and Sable was the first one of them willing to pose for Playboy, so there’s not really any secret where her popularity came from. Nonetheless, wrestlers from the time allege that Sable was claiming to be the top star in the company overall, and the reason for the success of wrestling in general. The manner in which the wrestlers responded to her attitude is tantamount to sexist bullying, but there’s no denying the biggest part of Sable’s body may have been her ego.
2. Billy Jack Haynes – Genuinely Insane Delusions
Many of the wrestlers on this list have inflated egos and don’t seem to have a shred lack of self-awareness, but none of them come anywhere near the downright madness of Billy Jack Haynes. Haynes was a minor star in NWA and WWE in the mid 80s, and later become somewhat of a regional legend on the local Portland wrestling circuit. In his mind, though, he was a bigger star than Hulk Hogan, and he actually claims to have invented WrestleMania. Citing his fame in Portland, he was fired from WWE for refusing to lose a match in the city, despite the fact he was an extremely minor star at the time. On the insanity front, Haynes has also said he believed Chris Benoit’s crimes were a result of Benoit finding out Vince McMahon fathered his children, so it could be said Haynes overall grasp on reality just wasn’t that strong.
1. Outback Jack – A Blip On The Radar Who Thinks He’s A Legend
Outback Jack was an extremely short-tenured WWE jobber in the mid 1980s. As his name might imply, he was heavily inspired by Crocodile Dundee, but he was such a small name we didn’t even feel the need to bring him up when we did our list of pop culture rip-offs. If you were to ask Jack, though, he was one of the biggest stars in wrestling history, and he was still getting rapid phone calls from countless fans for decades after his career ended. Paradoxically, Jack is also aware he wasn’t as big a star as he could have been, blaming Vince McMahon’s ego for preventing him from hitting the stratosphere. Most fans would disagree and point to Outback Jack being a stereotypical comedy Australian as the real reason he never made the main event.