Always read a contract before signing one, even if it’s for an app on your phone. You never know, but the creators of that app may want your contact list, images, and other features on your phone, but you won’t know unless you read the fine print. We doubt the WWE wants transparency when it comes to their contracts in the public’s eye but due to WWE’s SEC Filings, legal proceedings, and other means, we can read through the mundane language and find out some really strange tidbits.
Before we get into the list, imagine you grew up as a fan of the WWE. You train to become a Superstar, make the sacrifices that come with that dream, work the indie circuit, and by the grace of the heavens, get a phone call to come audition for the WWE. You make the cut and now have a contract right in front of your face. Personally, we at The Sportster would sign the contract without even reading it, however, it’s always best to review the literature.
You may be shocked or surprised about what the WWE offers and more noticeably, what they don’t offer. The WWE has every right to put what they want in a contract, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to shine a light on it. Enjoy.
15 No Sense - Popularity Doesn't Matter When It Comes To Women
You can be the most popular wrestler in the world but that doesn’t determine what kind of bonus or perks you may receive. You would think there would be a tier based incentives in regards to merchandise sells but that just isn’t the case in the WWE. AJ Lee comes to mind when discussing this issue.
14 No Sense - WWE Has The Ability To Take Your Money From Independent Projects
Say what? That’s right, the WWE could take a percentage of a wrestler’s earnings if he or she chooses to participate in an independent project. The WWE wants their stars to transcend into pop culture so more eyes are on their product, however, they also have a clause in their contract that if any wrestler makes a certain around of money, they get a piece of the apple pie. The basic catch in the language of the contract explains a wrestler must reimburse the WWE for administrative costs.
13 Get You Fired - Inappropriate Language Towards Fans
Although wrestling has a lot of adult content like fighting and titillating outfits women wear, they still are considered a family-friendly product. How the wrestlers interact with the fans is a huge component in the WWE. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Pay-Per-View or live event, if there’s 50,000 fans there or 500, the WWE cares about what the wrestlers say while performing.
12 No Sense - Must Pay For Their Own Wardrobe Props
All the flashy colors, outfits, and props in the WWE are bought by the talents themselves. You would think a billion dollar company would have enough cash to pay for their talent’s outfits and props but that just isn’t the case. We guess being frugal isn’t a major component on the business side of the WWE.
11 No Sense - Winners Make More In Pre-Determined Matches
Remember that big guy named Ryback? He left the WWE a while ago and left a scathing message on Tumblr as to why. It reads, “How in a sport which is pre-determined from a company standpoint winners are paid so much more than the losers. The winners cannot win unless the losers go out there and agree to lose to them.” If you didn’t know wrestling was fixed, we’re sorry we have to be the ones to break it to you.
10 Get You Fired - Breaking Kayfabe
The WWE is about entertainment. It’s a show and Vince McMahon takes this very seriously. Although kayfabe is pretty much dead, McMahon is old school and still cares about it. There have been several times a wrestler was punished or even fired for breaking kayfabe during a segment. If you can remember, Titus O’Neil was suspended for joking around with Mr. McMahon at the end of a segment on Raw.
9 No Sense - Pay For Your Own Lodging And Ground Travels
When a professional sports team travels to another location to play an opposing team, they have to stay in a hotel for a night or two. Do you think the players had to pay for the hotel, food, and everything else that comes with it? Do you think the players had to play for the flight or bus to travel to a destination? No, they don’t, and a lot of these players are multi-millionaires. When it comes to the WWE, as a wrestler, you have to pay for your own lodging and ground travel.
8 No Sense - Royalties With WWE Network
This is still one huge mess that makes no sense because the company is in uncharted waters. Former WWE Superstar, Rene Dupree, made a great argument and even filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging that wrestlers haven’t been paid royalties for content being shown on the WWE Network. The WWE Network was created in 2014, but it still shows hours upon hours of content from the past.
7 Get You Fired - Stealing Company Owned Material And Selling It
Stealing is just flat out wrong. It’s one of the oldest rules on the earth but that hasn’t stopped people from participating in the action every day. Do you remember Earl Hebner? He was an epic referee, still is, but he did a very stupid thing back in 2005. The WWE would announce that Hebner had stolen WWE merchandise and tried selling it from a store he partially owned in St. Louis.
6 No Sense - Cannot Sue For Negligence
Time and time again, we have seen real injuries happen to wrestlers in the squared circle. As one of the most physical occupations in the universe, injuries are bound to happen in the WWE Universe. Say the injury wasn’t the fault of the wrestler. For hypothetical purposes, a stage crew member left an object out by the ring and somehow that object would be the cause of an injury. You would think the wrestler who was injured has the right to sue, but that just isn’t the case.
5 No Sense - Not Paid For Media Days
How many times have you seen a wrestler promote the WWE product on a show? Whether it’s radio, television, podcast, or some other form of media, the WWE does not pay you for media days. We’ve seen countless wrestlers on a show the morning before or after a show and we’ve wondered how much money they got for going on. They got a big "nothing-burger".
4 Get You Fired - Talking With The Enemy
If you been following the news in the wrestling industry then you know that the WWE fired writer Jimmy Jacobs for taking a selfie with members of the Bullet Club outside a Raw show recently. Not only did he take the selfie but posted it on Twitter with the hashtags “BCInvasion and “bulletclub. Once the WWE found out, which wasn’t long, he was quickly axed for it.
3 No Sense - Not Liable For Loss Of Life
When Owen Hart passed away in 1999 at “Over the Edge” it was a massive blow to the entire wrestling industry and community. Hart and his family were still screwed by Mr. McMahon for a few years and even though his death clearly could have been prevented with proper training, the WWE never had to official fess up that his death was on their hands.
2 No Sense - Independent Contractors
John Cena is an independent wrestler. Let that sink in for a moment. Apparently, it’s easier for the WWE to fire and dictate the amount of money they give a talent if they’re listed as an independent contractor. Ever wonder why there is no union in wrestling? Well, because every wrestler is considered independent and no one can organize anything without being fired.
1 Get You Fired - Not Going To Rehab
What does Umaga and Carlito Colon have in common? Both were released by the WWE for violating the WWE Wellness Program and not going to rehab. You can even add Kurt Angle's name to that list. Drug and alcohol abuse is a troubling aspect of the wrestling industry. Although there have been tremendous strides to clean up, we still get some horror stories about our favorite wrestlers being consumed by drugs.
Umaga passed away due to his addictions, fortunately, Carlito has not. It’s sad to think if Umaga did go to rehab and clean up his act, he could still be wrestling in front of thousands today. If Umaga isn’t a warning sign for future wrestlers, we have no idea what is. If the WWE is willing to pay for a wrestler’s rehab and they decline, we have no problems with them releasing that wrestler.
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