Over the years, the WWE locker room has seen its fair share of difficult characters. There are countless stories of performers who were nice to pretty much everybody backstage but just couldn’t get on with one particular wrestler for whatever reason. That’s to be expected in any profession, co-workers some times don’t see eye to eye. However, there have also been a great deal of wrestlers who didn’t get on with anybody in the locker room, and were loathed by their co-workers and the office alike. These people, who ruined storylines, championship reigns, and career with their arrogance are the locker room cancers of WWE.
Stories of poor locker room etiquette and unprofessional behaviour from superstars used to be a little difficult to find, and most would appear on the dirtsheets, usually from questionable sources. Today, however, autobiographies, podcasts, and shoot interviews have allowed us to figure out what was really going on backstage during some of the most tense times in WWE.
Dozens of articles and books have been written about professional wrestling’s locker room cancers, looking at their deeds and where they have wound up since leaving the company. Here are WWE’s fifteen worse locker room cancers:
15 Lex Luger
Lex Luger was never all that talented as a professional wrestler. He lacked ability both in the ring and on the microphone, but that didn’t stop Vince McMahon from trying to make him the new face of the World Wrestling Federation when Hulk Hogan split the scene in 1993.
Though he was being pushed as an all American babyface while in the ring, Luger’s attitude backstage was closer to his previous character, The Narcissist. His repeated displays of disrespect towards more experienced members of the locker room did little for Luger’s popularity among his peers, who already resented him for the fact they had to put him over. As if Lex was not already hated enough by the boys in the back, his behaviour got worse when McMahon realized he wasn’t getting over with the fans and killed his push. Believing he had been mistreated, Luger took his ball and went to WCW after his contract came to an end. This was not the first time Lex Luger had performed in WCW, as he had spent a number of years there in the mid 80s and early 90s, before joining Vince McMahon’s World Bodybuilding Federation.
Prior to getting involved in the wrestling business, he had tried to make it as a football player, like so many pro-wrestlers before and after him. Towards the end of his football career, Luger played alongside Ron Simmons in the Tampa Bay Bandits.
Considered by many to be the precursor to Sable, Tammy “Sunny” Sytch turned the role of the female in wrestling of its head when she arrived in WWF in the mid 90s.
Though she first came into the company alongside her real-life boyfriend Chris Candido, rumours of Sunny’s inability to stay faithful to her partner soon began to spread. She became known as the “Kliq Chick,” due to her supposed relationship with Shawn Michaels, which everybody but Candido was aware of.
As time went on, Sytch turned various members of the locker room against each other while keeping Candido hanging on, abusing his unwavering devotion to her to get whatever she wanted. Tammy Sytch was at one time in college, training to be a plastic surgeon. But when Candido took a job in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, she changed schools in order to be with him. It wasn’t long before Jim Cornette persuaded her to appear for his promotion as he desperately needed a new female face, and hers was an extremely pretty one.
Though Sytch only planned to do the job for a couple of months, she soon got roped into the wrestling business and her life changed forever. In many ways, it’s quite sad to think many of the problems which Sunny is experiencing today could have been avoided had she just turned down Cornette’s offer.
13 The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior’s inability to keep himself in check backstage is well-documented in the autobiographies of his former co-workers and a DVD WWE produced about a decade ago, when Vince McMahon’s relationship with Warrior was still on the rocks.
Warrior became one of the biggest stars in WWF in the second half of the 1980s, winning multiple championships and even scoring a victory over Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6, which was pretty much unheard of at the time. But Warrior’s attitude backstage bothered a lot of his co-workers, who felt he had been handed opportunities which they had worked for years hoping to achieve. Heading into SummerSlam 1991, The Ultimate Warrior threatened to no-show the event if Vince McMahon did not agree to pay him half a million dollars for his participation. McMahon agreed to do so, but fired the man immediately afterwards.
Before coming to the WWF, Warrior competed in WCCW and also spent time working with his friend Steve “Sting” Borden in a tag team called The Blade Runners. Prior to this, Warrior took part in a number of bodybuilding competitions, and had minimal success. When attending the Life University in Georgia, Warrior placed first in the Junior Atlanta contest, a victory which likely kick started his superiority complex.
12 Bill DeMott
Bill DeMott was head trainer at WWE’s Performance Centre from 2013 to 2015, when allegations of misconduct forced him to resign from his position.
Though trainees voiced their concern with DeMott’s method from early on, nothing was made public until a letter sent by a former NXT trainee to WWE management leaked on Reddit early last year. From this letter came dozens of other complaints about Bill DeMott, with trainees accusing him of racial prejudice, homophobic slurs, and harassment of females at the Performance Centre. DeMott denied the allegations, but stepped down before there was a chance for further investigation. Before becoming a trainer with WWE, Bill DeMott had a long, underwhelming career. From his debut in the late 80s onwards, DeMott wrestled for a number of different promotions under a number of different names (including Hugh G. Rection).
After WCW was purchased by WWE, DeMott, who had been working for Ted Turner’s company, DeMott wrestled for Vince McMahon for a number of years, but experienced little success. This, for some reason, qualified him to be head trainer of WWE’s Deep South Wrestling developmental territory, where he was given the chance to develop a number of the heinous training tactics with which he tortured NXT prospects years later.
11 Scott Steiner
Ask any wrestling fan what they think of Scott Steiner and they’ll all tell you the same thing: he is absolutely out of his mind.
Steiner’s problems in the locker room began to develop during his time in WCW, when he became one of the company’s most experienced performers. He frequently bullied younger talent and usually went way overboard when running a rival down in a promo. He also made a habit of binding those he didn’t like to the wall with tape, often times leaving them hanging upside down. On one occasion, Steiner even forced a pencil up the rear end of a young man. Prior to any of this, Scott Steiner was a pretty normal guy. During his first run with WWF, during which he paired with his brother Rick, Steiner seemed like just another up and comer hoping to make a name for himself.
Steiner is also an accomplished amateur wrestler, and spent much of his time at the University of Michigan competing in various wrestling showdowns. He became a multiple time Big 10 runner-up and scored himself a spot as a NCAA Division I All American.
10 John “Bradshaw” Layfield
John “Bradshaw” Layfield is perhaps the most notorious locker room bully of the modern era. Though it seems he has managed to change his ways in recent years, Bradshaw was once a remorseless tormentor who was feared by many of the guys backstage.
Many former WWE superstars, including Adam “Edge” Copeland, have claimed JBL hazed them upon their arrival in the company. Current Intercontinental Champion The Miz has said that the current Raw commentator spearheaded the abuse he received from many of the veterans during the early days of his WWE career. Some have defended JBL, saying he is simply from a different era when the hazing of new talents was commonplace. Though it does not justify his actions, Layfield certainly is from a rougher period in professional wrestling.
After minor success playing collegiate football, JBL wrestling for the Global Wrestling Federation, located in his home state of Texas. He then spent much of the early 90s travelling America, competing on the independent scene. Layfield also had a run in Japan, where his fondness for discipline likely began to develop.
9 John Cena
Though there are many who have nothing but positive things to say about John Cena, a number of former WWE superstars have claimed the face of the company went out of his way to ruin their career. Wrestlers such as Kenny Dykstra and Alex Riley have stated Cena went out of his way to kill any momentum they had going for them, which has been backed up by other former members of the WWE locker room.
Prior to becoming the huge star he is today, John Cena spent some time wrestling under the name The Prototype, and competed in Ultimate Pro Wrestling before being signed by the WWE in 2001. After graduating from Springfield College in Massachusetts, Cena embarked on a career as a bodybuilder, though he experienced little success. During this time, he also worked as a limousine driver, a surprisingly humble role for the future 15-time world champion.
8 Scott Hall
Given his past troubles with drugs and alcohol, it should really come as no surprise that Scott Hall was not well liked by any locker room in any company he worked for. Hall’s problems started back in the mid 90s, when he aligned himself with Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H. The group, known as The Kliq, caused endless problems in the locker room before Hall and Nash left for WCW in 1996.
Scott Hall brought his bad attitude to WCW and used his sway with management to hold down any talents he didn’t like. While even the biggest star would be expected to be humble and reserved when arriving in a new company, the former Razor Ramon did not find this necessary, as he had worked for WCW a number of times before his original WWF.
7 Kevin Nash
A close friend to Scott Hall, Kevin Nash has also had a number of problems in various locker rooms. Like Hall, he began to believe in his own superiority after the formation of The Kliq, and kept this belief for the majority of his career.
During his run in WCW, along with runs in WWE and TNA which followed, Nash used his status to ensure his continued push. Of course, this meant he wasn’t all that well liked by the guys in the back, who saw him as a darling of management rather than one of the boys. Nash’s high opinion of himself is complex when you think about the numerous demeaning roles he was forced to play in the early years of his career. One which springs to mind is the Oz character, which saw Nash portray a maniacal wizard, coming to the ring in a long green cape and oversized wizard mask.
6 Randy Orton
Though Randy Orton was initially quite a nice young man, his attitude seemed to get worse and worse the higher he progressed up the card.
After Triple H invited him to join the Evolution faction, Orton began to see himself as the chosen one, something which was all but confirmed when he captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit in 2004. Tales of Orton’s bad behaviour backstage are plentiful, both one of the most infamous in the story of his revenge on a debuting WWE Diva who did not recognize him. Incensed by the perceived disrespect, Randy filled the young woman’s bags with an assorted collection of creams and oils, destroying everything inside.
Though he is the son of WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton, a career in wrestling was not always on the cards for Randy. As a young man, Orton tried to make it in the US military, but his inability to control his impulses was already causing problems for him. He was released with a dishonorable discharge after two separate incidences of desertion.
5 Shawn Michaels
The Heartbreak Kid is one of the biggest stars to ever step foot into a WWE ring, and is beloved by the vast majority of the WWE Universe and locker room. However, there are a time in the 90s when HBK was not so popular among his co-workers.
After capturing the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1996, Michaels’ drug use spiraled out of control and he created a number of problems backstage. His refusal to lose to certain talents and constant mistreatment of new arrivals in the locker room left morale at a record low and resulted in many performers fleeing for the greener pastures of WCW.
Before his success got to his head, Shawn Michaels was a quiet young man who was just happy to be paid to wrestle. In the early years of his career, Michaels performed in AWA, NWA, and Texas All-Star Wrestling, where he established himself as the one to watch. Prior to entering the wrestling world, Michaels attended Randolph High School, where he became captain of the school’s football team. When you look at his early experiences of succeeding in sports dominated by giants, it is no wonder the average-sized Michaels considered himself to be something special during the most problematic years of his career.
4 Triple H
We really could have just put The Kilq on this list as one entry, as all of them had their problems with the WWE locker room. After rising to the main event during Shawn Michael’s absence from the wrestling business, Triple H began to become more and more obsessed with his own success.
Writers who have worked with the company have recalled Hunter’s refusal to put other stars over, which is surprising when you considered the amount of talent he has put over in recent years. Triple H’s insecurities and determination to stay on top is what prevented Booker T from becoming WWE Champion when he arrived on the scene from WCW.
Before coming to WWE, where he would eventually become part owner of the company, Triple H wrestled for WCW under the name Terra Ryzing. Though that seems like a WCW name all over, Hunter was actually using the Terra Ryzing character prior to his signing with the company, when he was competing for Killer Kowalski’s promotion, the International Wrestling Federation.
Before beginning his pro-wrestling training, the future Hunter Hearst Helmsley was heavily involved in bodybuilding. Looking at Triple H now, it is no surprise that he was crowned Mr. Teenage New Hampshire in 1988. It was the first of many ego-boosting victories for the young Paul Levesque.
A lot of divas have had heat in the WWE locker room, but few have experienced anything like what Melina brought upon herself. Melina Perez first arrived in WWE alongside her real-life boyfriend Johnny Nitro, and his tag team partner Joey Mercury. Because of her good looks, fans took to her right away, but those in the back did not warm up to her as quickly.
Many who were in WWE during Melina’s time with the company have said that she went out of her way to turn certain members of the roster against each other, and was rude to everyone. Perez’s behaviour got so bad during her time on the SmackDown brand that she was brought before wrestler’s court, presided over by The Undertaker, and watched by pretty much every member of the roster, as they all had a problem with her.
Before coming to WWE, Perez had a relatively successful career as a model. She kicked off her career by winning Ms. Hawaiian Tropic Anaheim, and continued racking up pageant wins before deciding to pursue a career as a professional wrestler.
2 Kevin Dunn
It’s hard to think of anybody who is more hated in the world of professional wrestling than WWE’s Vice President of Television Production, Kevin Dunn. The man is loathed by Jim Cornette, Triple H, and all members of the Internet Wrestling Community. Even Paul Bearer, who rarely had a bad word to say about anybody, was open with his hatred for Dunn. Much of the disdain for Dunn stems from his desire to take WWE away from its wrestling roots and turn it into a mainstream TV show.
Dunn’s father, Dennis, was also heavily involved with WWE during his life, and worked as Executive Producer of Intermedia Productions. In this role, the elder Dunn worked closely with Vince McMahon Sr. to establish the company as the be all and end all of professional wrestling. Because of his father’s involvement in the WWF, there isn’t a whole lot to Kevin Dunn’s career before he joined the company. After working alongside his dad for a brief period, Dunn attended college for a more in-depth education in television production. He was hired by Vince McMahon Jr. shortly after graduating and has been making enemies in the locker room ever since.
1 Hulk Hogan
Like most top guys throughout the history of professional wrestling, Hulk Hogan let his desire to stay on top get in the way of his duties as a performer. In the early 90s, The Hulkster was well aware that he was no longer in the prime of his career. However, instead of helping Vince McMahon create new stars who could replace him, Hogan insisted on reclaiming the WWF Championship on multiple occasions. Because of his creative input into his matches, Hogan only ever lost the title under shady circumstances, which helped nobody but himself.
Before signing with the World Wrestling Federation in 1983, Hogan had already established himself as one of the most powerful men in professional wrestling. Having wrestled all around America and Japan, The Hulkster was a much in demand monster heel, a big difference to the character which would bring him his greatest success. He even competed for Vincent J. McMahon just a couple of years before Vince Jr. took over the business.
Hogan very nearly went down a different path early on in his life, when his career as a bassist nearly took off. According to Hulk, he performed with a number of rock bands around Florida during his time in college. In fact, rock stardom seemed like such a sure thing to Hogan that he dropped out of his course at the University of South Florida in order to pursue a career in music.
Sources: WrestlingInc.com, Complex.com, TMZ.com, 411Mania.com, WrestleZone.com
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