The backstage world of wrestling often provides more unbelievable stories than the scripted entertainment in the ring. When a promotion gets big enough, the number of shocking incidents backstage tends to go up. WWE has shown that over the years with many of these stories being quite dark. WCW had the same reputation during their peak run in the 90s before going out of business. Whether it was egos or just volatile personalities in play, the big promotions will be home to controversial things going down backstage between the wrestlers and management.
Controversial stories usually get released at some point once it takes place. Shoot interviews, podcasts, blogs and other forms of communication for wrestlers have seen wrestlers share tales of dark secrets backstage in WWE and WCW. We'll take a look at some of the stories that have been shared or confirmed by talents that either lived it or witnessed it. Some of the examples will be from stars that witnessed shocking moments in WWE that could paint the company in a bad light. Others are from WCW during their time in the spotlight. All of the tales are rather embarrassing for the company to know it went down. These are ten dark stories revealed by former WWE employees and another ten revealed by former WCW stars.
20 WWE: John Cena Dumping Mickie James Led To Piggy James Storyline
Romantic relationships in WWE ending poorly can lead to things getting ugly backstage. This was shown when John Cena entered a relationship with Mickie James. It ended the career of Kenny Doane when he found his girlfriend was cheating on him with the biggest star in the company. Doane claims Cena ruined his career by killing his push due to the love triangle.
However, Doane claims Mickie ended up getting the worst end of this when her relationship with Cena ended. Cena was the one to apparently end the relationship but they were both on the same show leading to a change. James was moved to SmackDown and entered a storyline that featured Michelle McCool and Layla bullying her. Laycool referred to Mickie as “Piggy James” insulting her weight. This was considered an idea from Cena according to Doane.
19 WCW: Kevin Nash Called Talented Wrestlers "Vanilla Midgets" in Booking Meetings
One of the most popular opinions about why WCW went downhill was the fact that they refused to build new stars. Aside from Goldberg, the young talent always had a ceiling that kept them in the mid-card picture. Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio all went on to become World Champions in WWE, but WCW held them down.
Kevin Nash was one of the people that didn’t believe these talented performers could get over in a bigger way than WCW presented. The term “vanilla midgets” was used to imply they had no personality and were way too small to become stars. WWE proved Nash and other WCW minds wrong by building around these guys after they left WCW. Jericho, Mysterio and Guerrero could be argued as bigger stars than Nash when looking at their overall careers.
18 WWE: Shawn Michaels Passed Out Backstage From Substance Abuse
Shawn Michaels is the most popular answer when discussing the greatest in-ring performer of all-time. Sadly, his backstage reputation in the 90s was the exact opposite from his wrestling. Michaels was abusing alcohol and drugs at the time that made him a complete nightmare to work with. This peaked when he served as the Commissioner of WWE in 1999.
Chris Jericho once shared a story of seeing Michaels passed out backstage as one of the first interactions with his hero. Triple H has referenced this happening in the same time frame as well leading to the two having a falling out. Michaels would go to rehab and clean his life up in this time frame before returning to WWE in 2002 for another full time run that helped his reputation greatly.
17 WCW: Eric Bischoff Wanted To Ruin Ric Flair's Life
Multiple wrestlers have come out over the years to reveal that Eric Bischoff legitimately wanted to hurt the life of Ric Flair when the two were at odds. Flair felt disrespected by Bischoff putting him in the background of the company when hiring the likes of Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. Bischoff didn’t care for Flair either and the two men showed it on screen with personal promos at different points.
Konnan specifically revealed that Bischoff would deliver speeches to the locker room running down Flair when he wasn’t there. At one point, Bischoff apparently vowed to ruin Flair’s life in court by suing him for everything he had. It isn’t hard to see how WCW fell apart with the man in charge bragging about trying to ruin the life of a respected legend to his peers.
16 WWE: Chris Jericho Was Bullied By DX Early in WWE
Chris Jericho leaving WCW to sign with WWE was one of the huge changes in the Monday Night Wars that showcased why things shook out the way it did. WCW did nothing of note with Jericho outside of the mid-card picture. Jericho actually took less money to sign with WWE due to knowing they would at least give him a chance to prove his worth.
The path led to a legendary career but it wasn’t always easy. Jericho has revealed that Triple H specifically had it out for him early on. Triple H and the other members of D-Generation X would harass Jericho backstage most weeks. It hurt his career when Triple H’s then girlfriend Chyna accused Jericho of hitting her too hard in a match causing Vince McMahon to curse him out. Jericho obviously overcame it and became friends with Triple H over the years, but the early portion of his WWE career is sad to think about.
15 WCW: Humiliated Scott Hall On Screen For Addiction Issues
Scott Hall was one of the most influential performers in the Monday Night Wars becoming a huge success. Hall joining WCW to start the New World Order is what actually began the momentum for the company to take over. Eric Bischoff showed little loyalty to Hall in that regard when his addiction issues with alcohol and drugs started to negatively impact his life.
Hall no-showing events and having issues backstage saw Bischoff finally have enough. Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman both revealed that the reason Hall’s alcoholism became part of the show was due to Bischoff wanting to humiliate him. Hall would battle his substance issues for many years until finally getting clean a few years ago. Everyone has since made peace, but it remains one of the worst stories associated with WCW.
14 WWE: X-Pac Took A Dump In Sable's Bag
Jim Cornette and Paul Bearer both shared a story about X-Pac’s prank meant to humble Sable in the 90s. Sable developed quite the ego as the most popular woman maybe in WWE history at that point. Most of the men and women backstage hated her for the way she carried herself. X-Pac was known for pulling ribs at the time and struck again by taking a "dump" in her bag backstage.
Sable was greeted with the worst surprise possible. The fact that she later sued the company for harassment issues showed just how poorly a WWE run could have been during this time period. Many wrestlers likely had valid reasons to dislike Sable, but this act went way too far. This is one of those stories WWE is ashamed is out there and they would love to keep it a dark secret.
13 WCW: Lower Level Wrestlers Saw Their Residuals go to Bigger Names
Chris Jericho revealed one of the darkest secrets from WCW’s time that showed exactly how they treated certain wrestlers. The current wife/then girlfriend of Jericho purchased an action figure double set of Jericho and Dean Malenko to celebrate him having such merchandise. To her shock, the receipt said she was purchasing the figures of Hulk Hogan and Sting.
WCW elaborately made sure the top level names would get the credit and residual money from the merchandise of the lower level talent. This is rather depressing considering Hogan, Sting and names of that ilk were already making significantly more money than the cruiserweights. WCW made life tough for their young performers and it makes perfect sense that almost all left for WWE to fulfill their potential as stars of the industry.
12 WWE: Vince McMahon Wanted To Edit Blue Dot Over Christian's Face
Vince McMahon is known for having some of the most ridiculous ideas possible. This was shown when former writer Court Bauer revealed an insane thought McMahon had about Christian. Most fans viewed Christian with credibility and respectability as one of the better in-ring performers that accomplished quite a bit. McMahon didn’t like the appearance of Christian and it always held him back as a singles performer.
At one point, Vince suggested putting a giant blue dot over the face of Christian any time he was wrestling or cutting a promo. The fact that McMahon seriously considered this idea shows just how tough it can be for a wrestler in WWE at times. Christian would avoid the embarrassing idea but still found a way to win the World Championship twice despite Vince thinking very little of him.
11 WCW: Brian Pillman Conned Eric Bischoff Into Granting a Release
An unbelievable story regarding the mid-90s focused on Brian Pillman’s Loose Cannon character. Pillman and Eric Bischoff agreed on an idea that would add to his persona. Many fans remember Pillman saying “I respect you, booker man” to Kevin Sullivan in his final WCW match appearing to break character. This was done elaborately for a storyline regarding his exit.
Bischoff wanted Pillman to come back to television to lead a group of young wrestlers against the Four Horsemen. Pillman convinced Bischoff to legitimately fire him so everyone would believe it. Chris Jericho and Dave Meltzer recently had a conversation revealing that Pillman worked Bischoff into doing this so he could explore his options. Pillman ended up signing with WWE showing he was as unpredictable to promoters as he was to fans.
10 WWE: JBL Orchestrated the Stealing Of Justin Roberts' Passport
JBL is known for being a pain to deal with backstage during his time as a wrestler. The loud mouth Texan often exuded his status as a veteran by hazing young talent backstage. This doesn’t include the instances of him getting downright cruel with wrestlers that he didn’t like. Justin Roberts shared a story in his book about his time as a ring announcer for WWE.
According to Roberts, JBL orchestrated the stealing of Roberts’ passport during a European tour to try to leave him stranded there. John Morrison revealed that he was asked by JBL to do this as a young wrestler needing to “earn respect” from the locker room. Morrison refused and ended up on JBL’s bad side. WWE was under fire earlier this year for employing JBL as many similar stories leaked.
9 WCW: Eric Bischoff Fired X-Pac To Spite Kevin Nash and Scott Hall
The backstage power struggle in WCW saw various members of the New World Order actually going to war with each other. One of the more shocking firings to come during the Monday Night War was Sean “X-Pac” Waltman getting fired during an injury. Waltman clearly fit in perfectly with the nWo and wasn’t in the company too long meaning he had a lot left to offer.
Eric Bischoff made the shocking decision to fire Waltman while he was home injured. This was apparently done due to Bischoff and Hulk Hogan butting heads with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. The move was made to send a message to Hall and Nash that Bischoff was the one running the show according to Nash. Hall and Nash threatened to walk out but were still under contract. It all worked out for X-Pac as he went back to WWE and joined DX.
8 WWE: Triple H Tried To have the Highest Video Game Rating
Triple H was known to use and sometimes abuse his power as one of the most influential people backstage during his time as a wrestler. Everyone knew Triple H’s relationship with Stephanie McMahon meant he would always have an upper hand in the WWE booking plans. The stories of Triple H “burying” others have been told, but he also wanted to appease his own ego at times.
According to Paul London, Triple H went out of his way to get guidelines for his character in the video game. Triple H wanted a higher rating and didn’t want the developers to write his character into any stories that would portray him as weak. Bret Hart also claimed he heard that Triple H wanted a higher rating than him in various games. This may very well be the pettiest thing Triple H has done throughout his long career.
7 WCW: The Flock Did Drugs in WCW Crowd
Raven was one of the more underrated characters in WCW. They signed him away from ECW where he was playing a top level heel. Raven did some good work in WCW, but he never fulfilled his potential. One thing that may have worked against him was his use of various drugs at the time. Raven’s group known as The Flock featured him sitting with Scotty Riggs, Van Hammer, Horace Hogan and others in the front row.
Riggs admitted that they often used pills and drank alcohol while sitting in the crowd. Drug use is bad enough, but doing it in front of the crowd showed horrible judgment. WCW let their talent get away with doing things that would get them black-listed from WWE. This was a huge example of it as Raven and The Flock remained with the company and likely never received punishment for it.
6 WWE: The Reason Vince Didn't Push Gail Kim
Jim Ross interviewing Gail Kim for his podcast saw him share a story about her that paints Vince McMahon in the worst possible light. Kim is regarded as one of the all-time great women’s wrestlers despite never finding success in WWE. During her two tenures in WWE, Gail was often underutilized and claimed she felt this was due to McMahon considering her unattractive.
JR essentially confirmed this by referencing a conversation he had with Vince with her. McMahon didn’t believe anyone watching would want to see Kim wrestle because he didn’t think men could find an Asian woman attractive. The horribly sexist comment confirmed Gail’s fears and is just one reason she remains adamant about never working for WWE again. McMahon having a mindset like this shows why it took a lot of convincing from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to start the Women’s Revolution.
5 WCW: Sting Accidentally Caused Divorces Of Lex Luger & Ric Steiner
Sting is the man most associated with WCW. Almost every major name of the Monday Night Wars went back and forth between WCW and WWE. Sting was one of the select few that never left WCW and remained loyal. However, he would hit rock bottom dealing with a drug addiction in the 90s. While attempting to clean up his life, Sting admitted all his horrible actions to his wife.
One of the things he told her regarded his cheating, but he apparently also named Lex Luger and Rick Steiner as fellow wrestlers to cheat. This led to word getting out and both men being hit with divorces. Despite the fact that Sting was the one to unintentionally out them, all three men remained friends after this controversy.
4 WWE: Shawn Michaels Had Intercourse With Sunny At Live Events Backstage
An extremely sad story to think about is the relationship between Tammy “Sunny” Sytch and Chris “Skip” Candido. Both wrestlers landed spots with the top promotion at the time. Things seemed perfect for the couple working together on and off screen, but they went poorly for Candido. Not only did his career take a hit, but Sunny made his personal life hell by cheating on him with top star Shawn Michaels.
All of the wrestlers were aware backstage and looked down on Sytch for it. Sunny has admitted that she and Michaels would have intercourse in the locker room while other members of the Kliq made sure Candido didn’t enter the room. The fact that Sytch seems proud to share these horrible stories to this day makes her come off as one of the worst human beings in wrestling.
3 WCW: Racist Road Wild Crowds
Eric Bischoff was an avid biker and decided to come up with the concept of Hog Wild later known as Road Wild. It was an annual show at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota with bikers attending the show for free revving their motorcycles all night. The atmosphere was already awful enough for fans watching at home having to listen to the bikes rather than a traditional crowd adding to the show.
Things hit another level of low when the crowd frequently got racist towards the wrestlers of color. Booker T and Stevie Ray of Harlem Heat have revealed that the bikers would yell racist slurs at them and even threw pebbles at the ring. Bischoff still kept running the shows despite not getting any money from the bikers attending the show for free. It was a horrible business that led to employees being attacked by racism.
2 WWE: Owen Hart Had Concerns About Doing Stunt That Killed Him
The death of Owen Hart is still one of the most tragic tales in WWE history. Hart was repelling down from the rafters for an elaborate entrance as the Blue Blazer. Vince Russo came up with this idea thinking Owen needed the extra excitement. Of course, an accident occurred leading to Hart falling to his death in the ring for the heartbreaking tragedy.
This is one of the many reasons that Jim Cornette claims to hate Russo for. According to Cornette, Owen told him and others that he was not comfortable doing the risky stunt. Hart however was not one to cause issues and didn’t refuse. If Owen really was hesitant about doing the thing that killed him, the story is even sadder. Russo claims Hart never told him about this.
1 WCW: Scott Steiner Almost Killed Diamond Dallas Page In A Fight
Backstage fights happened every once in a while during the 90s. Volatile personalities would clash with more money and power on the line backstage than in the ring. Scott Steiner became a wild personality towards the final few years of WCW when adopting the Big Poppa Pump character. Steiner cut one of his shoot promos insulting Kimberly Page for refusing to work with him.
Diamond Dallas Page confronted Steiner to defend his wife’s honor but it did not work out in his favor. Steiner absolutely destroyed Page before other wrestlers stepped in to break it up. Multiple wrestlers claimed that they feared DDP may have died at the hands of Steiner if it didn’t get stopped. This was one of the first stories that made Steiner among the most feared men in wrestling.