Sometimes success just gets to you, which is certainly the case for these 15 tremendous former and current WWE superstars. Sometimes you have to just take a step back and put your ego aside. For these 15 wrestlers, this wasn’t so easy.
So many wrestlers in the past have potentially jeopardized their careers because of ego problems. Randy Orton is an excellent example of this. Orton’s ego ultimately lead to his demise at the young age of 24. After Orton became the youngest champion in WWE history, the success seemingly got to him in the ring and backstage amongst his peers. Triple H himself admitted that putting the title on Randy that early was a bad idea. Orton was stripped of the title early, causing his character to take a big step back.
Orton wasn’t the first and surely won’t be the last wrestler with a boosted ego. Let’s take a look at 15 wrestlers with the biggest egos backstage. Enjoy!
Most of the locker room backstage was happy to see Sable leave the company in the 90s. Sable was apparently very unpopular with her co-workers, largely due to the fact that she had an inflated ego problem.
Sable believed that she was the core reason RAW drew such high ratings, prompting many to dislike her. According to X-Pac, the dislike towards her was so apparent that they decided to leave her with a parting gift before she left the company for good. During her final show, X-Pac decided to let out some “waste” (for lack of a better word) in Sable’s travelling bag.
In addition to all of this, Sable filed a law suit against the WWE for sexual harassment in the work place for $110 million. Many wrestling fans were shocked to see Sable return to the WWE in 2003. Rightfully so.
The knock on Goldberg throughout his career was his inflated ego backstage. His time with the WWE was short lived because of egos clashing between him, Triple H and Vince McMahon. In this incident, Goldberg once again refused to put talent over, the only issue was this time he was in the WWE, and not WCW.
Upon beginning his career in the business, Goldberg was quite humble. Eric Bischoff himself discussed how easy it was to deal with Goldberg. Unfortunately, later on that all changed. Bischoff claims that dealing with Goldberg during his success was one of the most difficult parts of his career. Eric even referred to Goldberg as a “business monster”. Among the talent, Goldberg wasn’t too popular either. His reluctance to put young talent over frustrated many wrestlers. Chris Jericho was a perfect example of this, as Goldberg refused to work with Chris because of his size. Jericho later left WCW because of this and became one of the company’s top draws.
It remains to be seen if Goldberg can once and for all put his ego aside and have one last run with the WWE.
13 Ric Flair
The general knock on Ric Flair backstage was that the former sixteen-time World Heavyweight Champion was “two-faced”, telling a wrestler one thing and later telling management something else. The late Ultimate Warrior justified these comments by saying that Flair claimed he was the best, but yet would not take matches against certain wrestlers. Flair had an inflated ego when it came to his wrestling ability and would only fight against top line wrestlers in the late 80s. This problem furthered in WCW when Bischoff refused to push Flair any longer. This eventually led to Flair leaving WCW altogether.
Flair also has a history at looking down at other wrestlers. Gangrel discussed the fact that Flair wouldn’t even look at him for years because of his status in the world of pro wrestling. Gangrel claimed that Flair did this with most of the talent during a tour in Australia.
12 Kevin Nash
Some believe that Kevin Nash had the biggest ego in the history of pro wrestling, Nash’s ego was all about money.
Fans that met Nash at appearances or autograph sessions were also not too pleased with their treatment from the former WCW World Champion who apparently barely acknowledges his fans (many believe Nash just showed up to these events for the pay check). Nash also has a history of rubbing wrestling fans the wrong way by saying things like he only got into the business for the money.
Nash once took a job with creative in WCW despite having no prior experience, and he claimed to have done so because of the money. Speculation is that Nash’s ego became inflated after spending the better part of his career alongside Shawn Michaels.
Nash’s ego also took over in the ring at times. The late Rowdy Piper claimed that Nash would override what he was actually told to do during matches. The feelings towards Kevin Nash were quite mixed throughout his career.
11 The Miz
During a shoot interview, Alberto Del Rio admitted he hated working with The Miz. Del Rio stated his strong dislike for The Miz outside and inside the ring, comparing his in ring abilities to a little girl's. Alberto also commented on The Miz outside of the ring, claiming he was extremely loud and obnoxious.
Other rumors speculate that since The Miz landed movie roles along with the credential of maineventing WrestleMania, his ego backstage soared to new heights. Wrestling fans are very critical of The Miz, and many believe he’s only in the wrestling business for exposure; legendary manager Jim Cornette backed up this statement.
10 CM Punk
This is not surprising; yes, CM Punk certainly does have an ego. During his final run with the WWE, Punk claimed several times that he was the "best in the world”. Punk admits that he not only used this in the ring, but also believed it outside of it claiming he was the only thing right with the WWE at the time.
Punk was also quick to bash many of his former colleagues (like Ryback and Triple H). Punk’s arrogance rubbed many people the wrong way, and this ultimately led to his departure from the company (some also believe that Punk’s ego and ego alone drove him out of the WWE). Rumor has it that Punk was purposely sent a fax on his wedding day of his release as a way to get him back for all the years that he exercised his over the top ego backstage.
9 Ultimate Warrior
The Warrior will go down as one of the most iconic wrestlers in history. Backstage however, he was not as well received; his blunt in your face attitude rubbed many people the wrong way behind the scenes. Selfishness was a big theme that surrounded the Warrior throughout his career amongst his peers. Warrior refused to put many wrestlers over, wanting to squash most of his opponents quickly.
Warrior was also very money driven. In 1991, things got heated between the two after The Warrior wrote a hand written letter to Vince, demanding more money for what he was doing for the company. It is believed Warrior asked for $500,000 or else he would not wrestle at Summerslam. The Ultimate Warrior believed he was owed a lot of money that was never given to him. Believe it or not, Vince accepted The Warrior’s demands, and went as far as calling the Warrior “a member of the family, as a man and as a friend”. Although, only 2 months later, things all broke down; Vince suspended the Warrior and also refused to meet his past demands because of a “breach in contract”. The Ultimate Warrior would end up quitting WWE the very next night. This was described as one of the many times Warrior's ego took over.
8 Randy Orton
Orton’s ego pretty much ruined his first ever run as champion. Orton became the youngest champion in WWE history at the age of 24. A mix of immaturity and a boosted ego eventually led to Orton’s demise. Triple H admitted in an interview that putting the title on Orton that early was a mistake. Orton’s ego was not only apparent in the ring, but grew backstage amongst his peers as well. Rachelle Loewen got it the worst. Orton was furious when the rookie Diva did not know who he was. This infuriated him to the point that he decided to leave a parting gift in her bag.
Despite his old antics though, rumor has it that Orton has changed his ways a whole lot in the last couple of years, becoming much more of a pro and much less ego driven.
7 Brock Lesnar
Brock’s ego actually began to rise as soon as he signed on with the WWE, and this was in large part due to his amateur wrestling background. Brock was seen as a bully to a lot of the talent in OVW. His behavior would almost get him fired before ever showing his face on an episode of RAW. Lesnar was in hot water with the company after scoop slamming a female extremely hard, after she specifically told Lesnar before the match she was sustaining an injury. The husband of this Diva was Jim Cornette. Cornette didn’t take too kindly to the situation, and this almost got Brock fired early on.
That ego is still present today, as Lesnar basically said: “I clock in and clocks out”. Brock doesn’t speak to talent, so he pretty much does his thing and leaves. Some believe this is an ego problem, while others simply believe that Brock just doesn’t like people.
6 Hulk Hogan
So many wrestlers in the past have backed up the claims on Hogan’s huge ego failing to put anyone over himself. The likes of Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Ric Flair and the late Ultimate Warrior have backed up these claims in the past. Former WCW star Scott Steiner went as far as to say that Hogan killed WCW by never putting anyone over and only working with those that he wanted to work with. Despite his tremendous success, many former wrestlers are very critical when it comes to Hogan’s behavior outside of the ring.
5 Bret Hart
Not only was this Bret’s slogan, but he truly did believe he was: “the best there is, best there was and best there ever will be”. Bret was always critical of others' work during the years, and would often put many wrestlers down.
Rumor has it that Bret’s demise with the WWE came because of his ego. With so many new stars emerging it was clear the Bret was no longer the go-to guy, and this infuriated him to the point that he wanted to leave the company and head to WCW (where he was promised an upper card role and World Heavyweight Championship). His ego also took over when he refused to drop the title to Michaels. The protocol is to drop the title when you are leaving the company, but his inability to do so caused one of the most iconic moments in WWE history, The Montreal Screwjob.
4 Triple H
Ken Shamrock described Triple H as the man with the biggest ego in the WWE. Shamrock claims that Hunter always has to be at the forefront of everything. In addition to his, Shamrock claimed that Triple H always had a hard time putting others over.
Others speculate that because of his status with the company, the WWE always went the extra mile to make him look good. This went to the extent that even in video game trailers Triple H was seen in his almighty form. The New Age Outlaws backed this statement up, describing Hunter as being selfish and always putting himself over others behind the scenes, no matter who he had to throw under the bus.
3 Shawn Michaels
Despite being one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time, HBK was extremely difficult to deal with during the 90s, something Shawn even admitted himself. Shawn was generally described as not being a “team player” and going about his business with his buddies only (aka the Kliq). What frustrated many about Shawn’s attitude was that he was only willing to drop matches against his friends and no one else.
Shawn’s ego was seemingly through the roof during the 90s, as he would go as far as to tell Vince what angles he would be working. He would also tell his buddies to not take bumps for certain wrestlers, believing they were not worth the extra bumps and bruises.
His ego got really bad towards the end of his run in the 90s, and in his final match, Michaels refused to drop the title to Austin at WrestleMania XIV. It took a threat from The Undertaker to finally put Austin over in his final match of the 90s.
Shawn’s ego backstage was the biggest knock throughout his tremendous in-ring career.
2 Stone Cold
This is no secret; Stone Cold has a pretty big ego. Over the years, his boss himself Vince McMahon, has said that Austin at times is very difficult to deal with. Austin’s ego got the best of him a couple of times leading him to walk out of the WWE on multiple occasions. In one instance, Austin left the WWE after refusing to lose to Lesnar in a one on one match during an episode of RAW. As McMahon stated “Austin took his ball and went home”. Jim Ross himself admitted that at times Austin thought he was bigger than the entire business itself.
1 The Rock
Yes, believe it or not The Rock had quite the ego at times backstage. As a guest on Chris Jericho’s Podcast, Bubba Dudley discussed the time he and The Rock got into a rather heated altercation backstage before a match. Bubba was apparently extremely angry when The Rock refused to take a spot that Bubba had come up with. The plan was for Stacy Keibler to distract The Rock, allowing the Dudleys to take over the match. The Rock agreed with Bubba that it was a good idea, but it just wasn't fitting for him. Bubba at first thought it was a joke, but ultimately realized it was not and The Rock was really not on board, trying to protect his image and refusing to put his ego aside.
In another recent situation, John Cena was very angry when The Rock wouldn’t allow Cena to make fun of him on live television. This led to the two wrestlers clashing with one another backstage. During Chris Jericho’s Podcast, Cena said it best, “the fans want to see LeBron against Jordan”, referring to the WWE Universe wanting to see the best between the two and not some one-sided affair. John wanted the chance to fight back and eventually got his way despite the Rock’s displeasure. Rocky was very sensitive when it came to anyone threatening his character in the ring.