Professional wrestling has been around for decades, but the manner in which it is presented by the WWE today began in the 1990s, when the major Monday night wrestling broadcasts began to incorporate increased violence and shock value in their story lines in an effort to attract more viewers. This led to an increase in ratings and allowed for some of the biggest stars of the era to gain mainstream popularity. Viewer ratings for “Raw” during the Monday Night Wars at times exceeded 7/10 on IMDb, not far behind the ratings for the greatest television finales of all time.
Around that same era, one of the actual WWE executives, Vince McMahon, began to appear in matches and was incorporated into the wrestling narrative. Eventually, McMahon’s son, daughter, and wife developed onscreen characters and storylines, paving the way for other non-wrestling villains to gain notoriety in the WWE.
Supporting characters have also gained notoriety. So-called managers and valets, for example, may accompany wrestlers into the ring and can instigate feuds on behalf of the wrestlers. Authority figures and managers who have been effective at drawing heat in non-wrestling roles include Paul Heyman, Vickie Guerrero, and the McMahon family. Announcers like Jim Ross, whose long tenure in sports entertainment rivals the career lengths of some of the most beloved TV broadcasters, also play a role in main storylines.
To determine the most hated wrestlers, 24/7 Tempo ranked all wrestlers to ever win the Most Hated Wrestler of the Year from Pro Wrestling Illustrated, an international magazine dedicated to professional wrestling, since the award was first given in 1972. Wrestlers were ranked according to a point system based on first place, runner-up, second runner-up, and third runner-up awards. Points related to awards given to a faction were divided amongst the wrestlers in the faction at the time of the award. Only wrestlers that won at least two Most Hated Wrestler of the Year awards were considered. A wrestler’s debut year in the WWE and number of featured WWE episodes are based on the “WWE Raw”, “WWE SmackDown!”, and “WWE NXT” programs with data from the Internet Movie Database and do not incorporate information from “WrestleMania.” Data on average daily Wikipedia pageviews are based on the period of June 2, 2018 to June 2, 2019.