It is no secret that the wrestling industry has significantly changed over the years. While today's Superstars tend to stay away from trouble and are rarely involved in major controversies, the stars of yesterday weren't always so pleasant. With the rise of the internet, we have plenty of information to watch and read interviews as well as tales told about the old wrestling days, and it has made us look differently at some of our favorite names.
Since the Hulk Hogan scandal, there have been names whose legacy was somewhat ruined due to past behavior, although not many of them have been punished by the WWE as Hogan was. For decades, racism was very common in the wrestling world as evident by some of the gimmicks and storylines of the past. While we still see some controversial remarks and characters from time to time, it simply doesn't compare to the past when wrestlers had no filter in their promos and backstage. While some have resorted to justifying these actions by saying it was a different time, many believe that it's just an excuse to overlook what has been done.
Several wrestlers have stepped forward to call out many legends in shoot interviews, detailing the rough experience that they faced and the mistreatment they received backstage simply due to their race. Today's list may shock some of our readers as it features many of our favorite stars from the past, all of whom are considered to be WWE legends and have made despicable racist comments during their careers.
15 Shawn Michaels Is A Racist, According To Bret Hart's Autobiography
In his younger days, there is no doubt that Shawn Michaels was on the wild side from his groupie tales to his backstage actions. There have been plenty of reports about his immature behavior, but he did tone it down as he got older.
After being out of action for years, Michaels returned in the early 2000s a different man and admitted to having been a jerk. While several reports exist about his racist behavior, the most notable one came from Bret Hart in his autobiography where he details a fight involving The Kliq.
Michaels reportedly used racial slurs towards someone before things escalated into a physical fight. While Hart is known for having been a longtime rival of Michaels', he is a reliable source and one of the most respected names in the business. It doesn't seem far-fetched considering his antics in the 90s before he became a born-again Christian.
14 Steve Austin Had Something Against Ahmed Johnson
Credited as the man who saved the WWE, Stone Cold Steve Austin is arguably the greatest Superstar of all-time. Although he hasn't been hit with a scandal like that of Hulk Hogan, there has been plenty of talk about Austin being racist. With Hogan out of the picture and the controversy surrounding Ric Flair's career, Austin has become the poster boy for the company along with The Rock.
During a shoot interview, former WWE Superstar Ahmed Johnson stated that Austin didn't exactly treat him very well throughout his time with the company. When Johnson won the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Austin congratulated him by reportedly spraying his car "congratulations n*****." He also claims that Austin used the racial slur several times towards him and that it wasn't an uncommon thing at the time, with black wrestlers facing discrimination from the rest of the locker room.
13 Ric Flair Thinks Wrestling Isn't For Everyone Because...
Ric Flair may be the most well-rounded wrestler of all-time, he had it all from wrestling talent to mic skills and natural charisma. But despite his greatness as a wrestler, there are so many reasons to dislike him. Over the years, Flair has somewhat tarnished his legacy with some dirty secrets leaking to the public and mistakes made during his career.
One scandal that has followed him throughout his career is his behavior towards black wrestlers with many claiming that he was racist. During an interview with YouShoot, Teddy Long said that Flair once approached him and said: "n-word, you like working here?" It wasn't the first time either as Flair casually dropped n-word bombs around Long.
New Jack also had a bad experience with Flair who reportedly once told him "Wrestling is a white man's sport, and (racial slur) have no place in it." Since there is no audio to prove it, WWE hasn't taken strict measures with him as they did with Hogan.
12 New Jack Says Jerry Lawler Made His Life Hell
It's impressive that Jerry Lawler has managed to remain employed for decades by WWE with all the controversy surrounding him. Just last year, he was arrested following domestic abuse which ended in a suspension, but he was reinstated soon after. He was also accused of having raped a 15-year-old in 1993, but the case was dismissed although plenty of people believe that he settled matters outside of the court.
Lawler has also been accused of racism by New Jack, who never held back against him. Based on personal experience, he claimed that Lawler dislikes black people and made his life a difficult one simply due to his skin color. While there is no audio or footage to serve as proof, New Jack has insisted that Lawler is racist, going as far as to deliver some hard words through social media when Lawler had a heart attack on Raw.
11 Roddy Piper's (Half) Blackface
Roddy Piper is arguably the greatest Superstar to never win a WWE World title, and one of the best promoters in wrestling history. With a career spanning decades, he is one of the most influential figures in the industry. When the Hulk Hogan scandal made the headlines, several names came to his defense. Among them was Roddy Piper who said that Hogan doesn't have time to be racist, which didn't go well with the fans.
But that's not the reason he made it on this list, it was due to his racist comments and character in the 80s. During his feud with Bad News Brown, he cut several racist promos and even went as far to paint half his face and body in black. WWE has attempted to erase that moment from history to protect Piper's legacy. Additionally, he has also been accused of shouting racial slurs towards some wrestlers during his segments, as well as off-screen.
10 The Ultimate Warrior And His 'Towel' Comment
While WWE didn't have any problem removing Hulk Hogan from history, The Ultimate Warrior has been honored with a yearly award. It's strange considering Hogan is arguably their biggest Superstar ever, and one could argue that Warrior's comments were even worse.
From homophobic to racist comments, he had a history of lashing out at wrestlers, historical figures, and actors. WWE continues to portray him as a saint but fans have lost plenty of respect for him since all his dirty secrets have received extensive coverage from media in recent times. In addition to having made racist remarks towards black people, he also once told a person of Middle Eastern background to "get a towel". With fans learning more about Warrior's past, and how unapologetic he was even late in his career, many have petitioned for WWE to rename their award.
9 Sunny Isn't Into Black Men
Before Sunny went out of her way to ruin a legacy and image that she spent years building during her run with the WWE, she was one of the most popular wrestlers. From cheating scandals to reckless behavior, Sunny has lost most of her fanbase to the point she is rarely mentioned unless trouble is involved.
A few years ago, Sunny went on a Twitter rant, using the n-word freely and defending her right to do use it since black people do as well. The backlash was as strong as one would expect, but she didn't back down nor did she pretend that her account was hacked.
Last month, Sunny was once again criticized for saying that she isn't attracted to black men and would never date one, adding that she only dates white men. Fans criticized her for the comment but she refused to apologize by claiming that it's her preference, while noting that she isn't into Asians either.
8 Sabu Thinks Everyone Is A Little Bit Racist
For years, Sabu was one of the most beloved ECW stars even when the company was long gone. He was apart of some of the most memorable matches, pulling off moves that fans hadn't seen before. But in recent times, his popularity has been declining due to his antics. From not showing up to shows to destroying hotel rooms to being unprofessional with promoters, his reputation has taken a severe hit.
His social media rants towards Tazz have also contributed, with Sabu calling him the n-word. He did it repeatedly through different tweets and it wasn't a case of an account being hacked. When a wrestling site reached out for a comment, Sabu's defense was that everyone is a little bit racist, including our moms. If things weren't already bad enough, he made things much worse with some promotions refusing to book him now.
7 Hulk Hogan Disapproved Of Brooke's Boyfriend
All wrestling fans are now familiar with the Hulk Hogan scandal that broke out a few years ago. A few years ago, a tape leaked of Hogan and Heather Clem having fun in the bedroom. It didn't stop there as he went on a racist rant regarding his daughter Brooke having a black boyfriend. A member of WWE at the time, he was dropped immediately with all mentions being erased from history.
He also the support of a large number of Hulkamaniacs who saw their former hero in a new light. There is no doubt that Hogan's legacy has been tarnished since then and he's unlikely to ever regain the respect he once had in the industry. Although he had been blackballed from WWE for years, rumors have linked him with a possible return, which goes out to show that Vince is always forgiving when it comes to Hulk Hogan.
6 Andre The Giant Just Loves The N-Word
Throughout his time with the WWE, Andre The Giant had some remarkable achievements to his name, including being a World Heavyweight Champion as well as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. He passed away at a young age when he was only 46 years old, which means the generations that followed only knew him through the image that WWE portrayed.
Several wrestlers had a different experience than we have known him to be, such as Andre throwing a racial slur at Kamala during one of their matches which led to a fight. There was another time where he was making jokes about black people while on a WWE tour bus, and he was casually using the n-word. Bad News Brown stood up to him and challenged him to a fight outside of the bus, but Andre remained inside before fellow wrestlers settled things between them.
5 Brian Pillman And The N-Word
There is no doubt that Brian Pillman was one of the most charismatic wrestlers to grace the ring in the 90s. Although he passed away at 35 years old, Pillman is still remembered today with many believing that he could have been an important figure during the Attitude Era.
Before heading to WWE, he was working for ECW when he had a confrontation with New Jack that some claim it resulted in him leaving the company. In many shoot interviews, New Jack has said that Pillman dropped the n-word multiple times, which was one of the many reasons behind the tension between them.
While we will never get to hear Pillman's version of the story, he did have a wild side which makes it believable that he may have made some racist comments, especially when you consider the promos he was cutting at the time.
4 Road Warrior Hawk And 2 Cold Scorpio Have It Out
Road Warrior Hawk was part of one of the most memorable tag teams in WWE history along with Road Warrior Animal to form The Road Warriors. Having dominated the tag team scene for years, they won the Tag Titles numerous times. Hawk was posthumously inducted into the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame to honor his legacy.
Some fans may be disappointed to learn that Hawk had made some racist remarks, that's if you believe the story told by 2 Cold Scorpio. According to him, they got into an argument while on a WCW tour bus in the 90s since Hawk had been bragging about his friendship with Ric Flair, which got on the nerves of 2 Cold Scorpio who wasn't exactly a fan.
When the latter insulted Flair, Hawk shouted "f*** you [racial slur]" and a fight broke out between them on the bus with 2 Cold Scorpio supposedly getting the advantage.
3 Greg Valentine Wasn't Only Racist During His Promos
A member of the 2004 WWE Hall of Fame, Greg Valentine has more than 40 championships to his name, which he won in various promotions including WWE, WCW and NWA. Valentine has become more famous for his racist and sexist comments, including his infamous promo towards Junkyard Dog.
Unlike today's wrestlers, they had the freedom to improvise as promos weren't scripted as they are today. During the promo, Valentine made some racist comments such as referring to Junkyard Dog as a "nasty black man" who will go back to shining shoes once he defeated him.
The promo is now famous for all the wrong reasons as one would expect and has severely hurt Valentine's reputation. It also didn't help that he has been accused of being racist even when the cameras weren't rolling.
2 The Rumored Argument Between Jeff Jarrett And R-Truth
Steve Austin wasn't the only name called out by Ahmed Johnson as he also claimed that Jeff Jarrett was racist as well. Johnson absolutely hated working with him since he refused to sell, and his racist actions only made matters worse. It was mentioned in several interviews throughout the years with Johnson maintaining the same story.
It happened in the late 90s when both men were in the WWE at the time, but another incident happened in the mid-2000s when Jarrett was ruling TNA. Rumors claim that a heated argument ensued between him and R-Truth which ended with racial slurs being thrown by Jarrett.
It remains unknown whether the incident actually occurred or was simply a rumor since neither have commented about it. Although, many fans may believe it due to the comments made by Ahmed Johnson, especially since Jarrett has become a hated figure.
1 Ole Anderson Was A Jerk With Teddy Long
Ole Anderson's impact on the wrestling industry has become underrated over the years as he was extremely influential. Being one of the original members of The Four Horsemen, the stable had dominated the industry for years and birthed many others that followed its footsteps since then.
During a shoot interview, Anderson was accused by Teddy Long of dropping the n-word for no particular reason. Long claims that his abusive behavior continued while they worked together and he obviously couldn't do much since Anderson was in a position of power.
Anderson has been omitted from the WWE Hall Of Fame even when The Four Horsemen were inducted in 2012, although it's unlikely to be related to his racist past. With Ole Anderson being out of the spotlight, you won't hear many bringing up his comments and treatment of Teddy Long.