What makes the world of professional wrestling so unique is how many different characters there are. Not every wrestler makes a connection with a fan, and this is what makes sports and entertainment so interesting. We all have different tastes and enjoy a variation of wrestlers. Look at Shawn Michaels for example; most fans adore his in-ring career, while others were taken back by his behind the scenes work, which caused some to actually hate The Showstopper.
As you will see in this article, secret hate can stem from anywhere; we have situations like Tag Team wrestlers with the odd man out being hated, wrestlers that were too vocal for their own good and others that we just got sick of. For whatever reason, these were Superstars we just didn’t like, but kept it on the down low because they were so over at the time.
Whether you agree with the list or not, you certainly have your own list of wrestlers in mind, so be sure to let us know which former WWE stars you secretly hated. With that being said, let’s find who made this list. Enjoy these 15 wrestlers you might have secretly hated!
15 Bret Hart
The hardcore wrestling fan would definitely disagree. His legacy speaks for itself: a five-time WWE Champion, second Triple Crown Champion ever and two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion; the guy truly did it all. He was also one of the most gifted in-ring technicians of all time and will go down as arguably one of the greatest in-ring performers ever. Most of all though, his loyalty set him apart. He was a WWE guy at heart and loved the business dearly.
So the question you might ask is: how the heck can you hate someone like this? Well, during a time that was all about Attitude, Bret at times lacked that very characteristic which caused some fans to secretly resent The Hitman. His promos came off as very robotic. In a time that praised the rebels, Hart fell short for some in following that trend which was as hot as ever during the mid-90s. The WWE agreed and ultimately wished to part ways with Hart to further the development of younger talents.
Some also secretly hated his constant complaining; Bret is notorious for speaking his mind and that has rubbed some fans the wrong way. He will go down as one of the best ever, but that doesn’t mean everyone was a fan.
14 Ric Flair
WOOOOO! Okay, now that we put that aside, let’s talk Ric Flair. How can you dislike the guy? He is regarded as one of the greatest performers of all time. Ric is in a class of his own when it comes to the pro wrestling hierarchy. Asides from his 16-time World Title runs, Flair was so ahead of his time, and helped to usher in the entertainment factor into the world of pro wrestling. He quickly became regarded as the greatest heel of the 70s which spanned for the next two decades.
To the new era fans, this is just gibberish. If you were born in the 90s, chances are you missed some of Flair’s best work. The only way you could have appreciated how amazing he truly was is by watching old videos or tuning into the archives on the WWE Network. If you didn’t, Flair just came across as annoying and a face that just wouldn’t seem to go away. His in-ring work also suffered because of his age, and he was reduced to the same sequence of moves every match. In addition to all of this, Flair is also still very vocal and critical of the current performers, which rubs new school fans the wrong way. If you grew up watching Flair, then you love him, but if not, chances are you secretly hated him.
In April of 2004, the talented and experienced Nick Dinsmore made his WWE debut. Though it came with an odd twist, as the WWE would promote him as a “special” nephew of GM Eric Bischoff. The circumstances around Eugene made it impossible for fans to boo him; even if you didn’t like him, I mean come on, booing a wrestler that plays a role with a disability is pretty harsh.
With that in mind, the WWE fans basically went with the story and cheered on Eugene, even though some of us really disliked the gimmick. Eventually, the company went way too long with the angle and it started to frustrate fans who finally started to boo the entire angle, as it just seemed past its prime. The WWE would stick with the program for almost three years; finally Dinsmore was released after failing a second drug test, ending the awkward angle for good.
12 Christy Hemme
She was your typical American girl next door, and this factor eventually caused Hemme to gain some serious popularity and win the WWE Diva Search in 2004, earning herself a one-year contract with the company worth $250,000. At the time, the WWE was overly aggressive with booking young stars that were still green and inexperienced. This is exactly what went down with Hemme who looked awful in the ring early on. We still cheered for her, cause well, we voted for her to win but that love quickly diminished after her enthusiasm wasn’t matched in the ring.
After a disappointing run, the company finally did the right thing by sending her down to developmental in 2005, though ultimately it was too little too late. Lasting only a week down in OVW, Hemme asked for a release and left the company. She would join TNA, being used as a manger and backstage personality/ring announcer for the bulk of her decade long run with the promotion.
11 Matt Hardy
Booking a Tag Team can be tricky, as most of the time, one of the wrestlers is seen as the popular face, while the other gets relegated to being a background player. Although some of us still won’t admit to it, this was the case with the Hardy Boyz. Jeff was so unique, from his multi-colored hair to his incredible in-ring style, which resonated with the audience as soon as he stepped foot in a WWE ring. Matt instead, was built like a traditionalist. He did take risks, don’t get me wrong, but the entire outlook of Hardy was nothing like his brother's, who was the standout.
Hate was a strong word at the time but that would change when fans wanted to see Jeff thrive on his own. Hatred started to develop from the fans thinking that Matt was holding his brother back. Things generally got worse for Matt later on, as he is notorious for speaking his mind and patting himself on the back every opportunity he gets. His love and passion for the business is apparent, but his enthusiasm has caused fans to dislike him a little bit more.
Similar to the Matt and Jeff situation, Christian was generally regarded as a background player to Edge during the team's run. Since the team's early beginning with The Brood, Edge seemed to have the “edge”, if you get what I’m saying. Copeland just had the look and presence of a future Champion, while Christian looked like a mid-carder at best in the eyes of many fans.
Like in the situation with Jeff, some fans secretly began to resent Christian for potentially holding Edge back. His in-ring work was also good, but not over the top good, which made some fans hate him a little more.
The hate in this entry is much less apparent and Christian will be remembered as a great WWE employee, and a model one at that who really loved the business. Whether you disliked him or not at one point, you can’t help but to respect his drive and love to for the WWE.
During the 90s, it seemed like any channel you put on that had wrestling, there was X-Pac in the background. He was with the nWo in WCW, and later left for a stable run with the WWE. Eventually, fans grew tired of X-Pac, although they were forced to cheer for him because of his surroundings. The nWo was regarded as the “cool rebels”, so fans cheered. The same went for DX who had a similar outlook but with a fun twist. So again, fans were forced to cheer Waltman because of his involvement.
Eventually, those cheers subsided and the fans got sick of seeing X-Pac everywhere. The term 'X-Pac heat' was later coined, a statement no wrestler wants to have in their repertoire. This type of heat is always bad, it basically means the fans just hate you for being you. To put it into simple terms, the crowd is sick of watching you. X-Pac heat is the kiss of death, basically, and it all began with his constant involvement around some great wrestlers.
8 Zack Ryder
We all love a good ol' underdog in the world of professional wrestling, and Zack Ryder’s career is exactly that. The company overlooked his talents and thanks to a web series, he was able to defy the odds and once again make a relevant impact on the WWE roster.
Well, what happens when that’s done with? Do we still cheer? I guess so. This is what a couple of fans might think of Ryder’s current situation. We applauded him for winning the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, but once that came to an end many fans were secretly starting to hate Ryder and perhaps wished that a new era star would replace him.
The company tried to push him with the launch of SmackDown, although he dropped the ball terribly botching several manoeuvres during the match. He was given the chance to shine and the ball was dropped. At this point, the feeling of sorrow is starting to turn into annoyance and aggravation for some WWE fans.
Prior to his WrestleMania encounter against Triple H, Batista’s stock was sky high, probably the biggest it was in his entire career. He was a fresh face and absolute animal at that. Batista seemed like he had all the tools needed to be the next big face in the company. The storyline was absolutely fantastic and brilliantly worked, though the WrestleMania 21 encounter fell a little flat in terms of how great the story had been built. His run with the Championship was decent, but some fans got sick of the Animal and secretly wanted to see him drop the title.
He would later bounce around all over the place, and during that time fans began to get less invested in his talents. His comeback, which was booked as a big deal, fell flat on its face when the fans booed Batista for winning the Rumble on the heels of his return. That cemented that the fans truly had enough of Batista, wanting to see the new guard in Daniel Bryan instead take the ball.
6 Rey Mysterio
Like Ryder, Mysterio grew a large fanbase because of his underdog status, although Mysterio was also incredibly talented in the ring. His rise to the top was something new and refreshing; in the world of pro wrestling, this is what fans constantly ask for, as it just seems to connect with us.
The Rey angle was just that. Mysterio would become a main event performer and do what many thought was impossible because of his size, which was winning a WWE Championship and a World Heavyweight Title on two separate occasions.
Some secretly hated the fact that a smaller wrestler was given such an honour; heck even Ric Flair went on the record saying Cruiserweights will never main event (I wonder why people secretly hate Flair?).
Putting that factor aside, Rey eventually went dry. His passion wasn’t there anymore and the fans were becoming aware of that. Trying to hang onto him because of merchandise sales, the WWE was reluctant to release him. Although, because the crowd no longer cared about him, it made the release a little easier.
5 CM Punk
It truly was a love/hate relationship with CM Punk; some fans loved him, while others were annoyed by his cocky attitude, always thinking he was the best. He started off surprisingly quiet with the ECW brand. Punk initially failed to make an impact and was quite frankly wrestling with the company and just trying to hang onto his job. Things were pretty bad at the start, as Punk was viewed as an indie talent that seemed overrated.
Things would end up changing eventually, especially because of Paul Heyman who always seemed to protect him; Punk admitted himself that if it wasn’t for Paul, he’d be long gone. After the bumpy beginning, Punk turned things around and became a face of change. Some loved his passion and the attitude which he brought, while others secretly disliked him for thinking he was better than he actually was. His dismissal also rubbed many fans the wrong way.
Again, some loved him and some hated him for it.
He started off on absolute fire, so it was really hard to hate him initially. Goldberg throttled his opponents with ease without saying a word. At the time it was something new and refreshing, which is why it worked so well.
Hard to sustain such a gimmick however, when your entire demeanor is practically built around a win streak. Like Kevin Nash discussed, what happens when the streak is over? Ultimately those concerns were met; Goldberg basically lost himself as a performer and the fans secretly began to get sick of him, even booing the wrestler at certain points.
His WWE career even furthered the secret hate fans felt, as he failed to connect with the audience because of terrible bookings by Vince and his writers (although Goldberg did himself no favors whatsoever by bashing the company on multiple occasions). For some fans, his ego was just too much and not backed up in the ring at the end of the day.
3 Triple H
During the late 90s and into the 2000s, it just seemed like everywhere you turned Triple H was around. Some respected his role as a top heel for decades, while some deep down started giving Hunter some 'X-Pac heat', being sick of seeing his mug everywhere, as some thought other wrestlers should have been given more time in his spot.
Fans are generally split when it comes to Triple H; some believe he married his way to the top, while others truly believe in his polished in-ring abilities, which led him to the top of the mountain for years. The extremist hates his political movements behind the scenes, while the casual fan appreciated his contributions.
No matter how you feel (or felt) about Hunter, his current involvement down in NXT has really changed the landscape of things especially when looking to the future. Love or hate him, we must applaud The Game for his behind the scenes contributions as of late.
2 Hulk Hogan
Similar to the Triple H situation we just discussed, some fans became sick of the Hulkster, seeing him everywhere at one point, specifically in the early 90s. Just as the heat was starting to burn, Hulk made a wise decision to leave the WWE. He later would join WCW and develop an entirely different gimmick that gave him a new lease on life as it seemed.
Though, after a while, once again fans became sick of Hogan and his political movements behind the scenes. With a lack of change and Hogan always being spotlighted, fans turned the channel and permanently kept the WWE’s product on with young and new exciting faces.
His selfish attitude made many extreme wrestling fans bitter towards him, while the casual fan praises his pioneer status. Although it doesn’t seem like it, many are secretly split when it comes to the legacy of Hulk Hogan.
1 The Rock
Looking at The Rock today, it’s almost impossible to hate on the guy, as he truly is a source of motivation for millions around the world with his insane work ethic and humble attitude. Though, pertaining to his identity in the ring, some were secretly not fans of The Rock, even when he was the most over babyface in the entire company. Some saw The Rock as too ego driven (I mean, those people do have a point, he made a book called The Rock Says, for goodness sakes!). He even labelled himself, at one point, as the People’s Champion; not labelled by the fans but by himself.
His ego ultimately rubbed some fans the wrong way and his Hollywood career only furthered that factor when he left the company and would perform promos via satellite. We love Dwayne Johnson, but some people could not say the same pertaining to his in-ring role as The Rock. What did you think about the People’s Champ?