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Small Name Big Ego / Professional Wrestling

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  • The early heel persona of Hulk Hogan is a notable aversion when looked at in retrospect. In late 1980 and early 1981, when Hogan was picked to play Thunderlips in Sylvester Stallone's then-under development Rocky III, Hogan began taping a series of promos in which he played up his brash, arrogant, tough muscleman persona by adding a huge ego to it. He bragged endlessly that he was friends with Stallone and that he was going to be the "next big thing" because of the part he was going to play. At the time everyone thought Hogan was full of hot air – remember, Entertainment Tonight had not yet debuted, 24-hour cable news networks were in their infancy, and it was more than a decade before the internet (and sites like weren't even thought of) – and such was frequently pointed out. And then Hogan went on and proved everyone wrong, earning commercial endorsements, television appearances and an extended run as one of wrestling's most popular stars ever.
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  • During the late 1980s, the Honky Tonk Man became the longest-reigning WWF Intercontinental Champion to that point, holding the title for nearly 15 months in 1987-1988. During promos, Honky bragged that he was the "greatest Intercontinental Champion" in history, but his claim had little to do with his actual skills; rather, he would frequently get himself disqualified or have his manager, Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart, sneak-attack his opponents to set up an easy win. When the Ultimate Warrior finally caught up with Honky at the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988, it took 30 seconds to dethrone the braggart Honky. Honky never did regain the title, and his bragging soon became ignored by the fans as just hot air.
  • The Alpha Bitch team of LayCool play with this. They refer to themselves as "simply FLAWLESS!!!" and one night, while doing commentary, asked "Why doesn't anybody like us?" This is after they've been Curb Stomped by every other Diva more than once and invented several nicknames for several of them such as Smelly Kelly, Piggie James, and The Belly Twins
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  • Mr. Kennedy (Kennedy!) appeared to embody this trope when he exploded onto the scene in the late spring of 2006, claiming to be WWE's newest sensation and harboring such a high opinion of himself that he performed his own ring entrances in authentic ring-announcer style. He would often say that he was "the man who is single-handedly changing Friday nights!" The twist was that Kennedy actually could back up his braggadocio, defeating the likes of Batista and The Undertaker (albeit by cheating, getting his opponent counted out, or by goading the other guy into dishing out Disproportionate Retribution to him and gaining a disqualification victory). In fact, the only occasions when Kennedy seemed to come up short were when actual titles were on the line.
  • A meta-example: Drew McIntyre was pumped up by Vince McMahon Vince as a future World Champion upon his debut and proceeded to let it go to his head. For the next year, Drew failed to catch on with the fans (in real life) but still thought he deserved A-list treatment (in kayfabe), becoming this trope. Once this shtick was dropped, though, he became more well-liked.
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  • Alberto Del Rio, an arrogant, smug, cowardly, racist "thousandaire" who thinks it's his "destiny" to be the WWE Champion. He will repeatedly say he is the greatest undisputed WWE Champion ever, and he takes full credit for inspiring the walkout on Raw despite the fact that he had little to do with it other than complaining a few times about how unfair it was to him to have to be put in Hell in a Cell against John Cena and CM Punk, and much of the credit for the walkout actually belongs to his cohort, Christian, who himself is something of a Small Name, Big Ego. In fact, this could easily describe most of Del Rio's lackeys and allies, what with their constant complaining about how they're not getting the treatment they "deserve". This was toned down a lot after his brief Heel–Face Turn.
  • Announcer Michael Cole, with his Face–Heel Turn in late 2010. He frequently declares himself the "Voice of the WWE", takes pride in his past as a broadcast journalist, and likes to brag about his WrestleMania "victory" over fellow announcer Jerry Lawler.note , as well as his "superior" wrestling skills due to the aforementioned fact. It got better once he turned back to face.
  • Special mention to Teddy Hart, a Spot Monkey who is notorious for going off script and doing insane high-flying moves without warning just to show off, endangering several wrestlers who only have a moment's notice to catch him. He is a well-known name on the independent circuit — not because of any notable success, but because of his primadonna attitude that has gotten him blacklisted from the top three major promotions in the US (WWE, TNA, and ROH). He was even fired from AAA in June 2010 for his own safety, as (reportedly) half the locker room was a hair's breadth away from lynching him alive. It's a really unfortunate case, as Teddy does have talent (his uncle Bret Hart, one of the greatest technicians in history, praised his skill). The problem is that Teddy is fully aware of it, and, being a member of the famous Hart family (which is wrestling royalty second to only the McMahons), has bloated his ego well beyond what his family's legacy would suitably allow.
  • Before Teddy Hart, there was The Dirt Bike Kid. A kid who trained in ECW's House of Hardcore and seemed like he had the potential to become a decent high flyer/underdog type character, he was invited to a tournament in Michinoku Pro. The theme of the tournament was that it was for masked cruiserweights. The intended winner was The Great Sasuke, and Dirtbike Kid was to be his first round opponent. However, Dirtbike Kid - who had less than a dozen matches under his belt at the time - decided that M-Pro was being disrespectful to him by asking him to wear a mask and having him lose in the first round. He refused to wear his mask, and then tried to no-sell Sasuke's spin kick finisher. Sasuke responded by beating the hell out of him for real, finishing it with a guillotine choke that made Dirtbike Kid scream like a little girl. Dirtbike Kid retired from wrestling very shortly afterwards.
  • The members of the Power Stable The Undisputed Era refer to themselves as an era all of their own, ever since their debut, especially Adam Cole.


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