The life of a WWE Superstar can be a tough and tricky one. You're on the road for upwards of 300 days a year sometimes. That not only means you're away from your family more often than not but it also takes a tremendous toll on your body. Even without having to wrestle every night that much travelling would do a number on you physically, mentally and emotionally. Well it turns out that on top of all that turmoil there is even more preying on the minds of WWE's employees, the company's sometimes unrealistic and ever increasing set of rules. We all assume that Vince McMahon can be somewhat of an unrealistic and eccentric boss to work for, but some of the things he expects from his talent are downright unreasonable.
Wearing shorts on a plane because it's unbelievably hot? Think again. Want to refer to yourself as a wrestler because that's what you are? I don't think so. Those are just a couple of the weird and not so wonderful things that will rub Vince McMahon up the wrong way should you do them. They feature in this upcoming list along with thirteen other unreasonable requests. As I said to begin this article, it's a hard life being a professional wrestler, and Vince continually inventing rules to make that life even tougher will surely leave some Superstars questioning why they ever chose that career path at all.
15 Don't Change Your Travel Plans
WWE never stops. The year round nature of the company makes it akin to a travelling circus, one that tours the entire world. With that in mind its Superstars and employees have to do an awful lot of travelling. You would think that as long as wrestlers make it to the events they’re scheduled to appear at on time everything would be fine right? Well apparently not. For WWE and Vince McMahon it’s not good enough for their employees to simply show up on time, they have to adhere to the company’s exact travel plans. Road Warrior Animal has revealed that he once changed a 7am flight to a slightly later time so he could get more sleep only to be scorned by higher ups when he arrived at the building, in plenty of time for the show I might add.
14 Travelling Dress Codes
While there’s no official word on it, this one seems to be a rule that WWE show a little more leniency towards in the present day. Dress codes. Not in the ring, or even back stage necessarily, but when Superstars are travelling from show to show. WWE’s employees are expected to look smart and pristine at all times, apparently. Poor Road Warrior Animal is another example of someone falling victim of this – he clearly didn’t have much luck while travelling as a pro wrestler. Allegedly Animal was once fined for wearing jeans while travelling on a place going to a show. King Kong Bundy was also threatened with a fine for wearing shorts on a flight. No wonder John Cena bought those 50 suits on that episode of Total Divas.
13 Weapons Need Approval
Relatively recently there was a list leaked that featured a whole bunch of rules that WWE talent has to follow during non-televised house shows. The assumption is that Superstars get a lot more freedom when the cameras are off, but judging by this list, which will appear frequently during this article, that is not the case. First up is that wrestlers performing at house shows are not allowed to use weapons, unless approved beforehand by higher ups. It's always baffled me as to why kendo sticks and garbage cans are randomly stored under the ring, apart from to be used as objects of destruction of course. They're always there so why can't Superstars use them? Seems strange, but just another example of the level of control Vince McMahon wants over every little thing I guess.
12 Giving Up Your Name And Your Gimmick
This one has been going on for longer than I can remember, although Vince McMahon has shown a little leniency with it in the last year or two. Nine times out of ten when a Superstar arrives on WWE's doorstep Mr McMahon will want to change them to make them his own. It can be something drastic like Prince Devitt becoming Finn Balor, a relatively simple switch such as Bryan Danielson to Daniel Bryan, all the way down to something as unimaginative and petty as adding a Z to Taz to make his name exclusive to WWE. Vince doesn't like fans thinking his Superstars were created elsewhere, even if they were, and definitely doesn't like them using 'his' names and gimmicks if and when they move on, hence this rule.
11 Don't Call Them Wrestlers
WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment. You probably knew that already right? Well you'd actually be forgiven if you didn't. Vince McMahon seemingly hates the word wrestling. It's not wrestling, it's sports entertainment. They're not wrestlers, they're Superstars. Next time you watch a WWE show listen closely and see how many time an announcer or even a Superstar on the mic says the word wrestle in any form, I would be surprised if it gets mentioned at all. Even the company's name WWE is only ever spoken as the acronym as opposed to in the past when it would be spoken in its entirety and the word wrestling was uttered. No longer though, and if you consider yourself a wrestler then don't go bragging about it to Vince McMahon.
10 In Fact Don't Say A Lot Of Things
Trying desperately not to say the word wrestle is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mine field that announcers have to navigate avoiding banned terms in WWE. There is a long list of things that Vince McMahon doesn't want uttered on his television, and it continues to get longer to this day. The latest addition is the term Money In The Bank briefcase. Despite it literally being a briefcase with Money In The Bank in huge letters on both sides of it, when referred to on TV it must be called the Money In The Bank contract. Announcers desperately need to avoid the use of pronouns also. Vince is in their ears throughout televised shows dictating most of what they say, and if they dare utter 'he' or 'she' then prepare for an ear drum blowing 'WHO'S HE?!' in your headset shortly after.
9 Stay Off The Ropes During Your Entrance
A return to the list of rules for house shows now, and this one has really got me stumped for how and why it exists. Supposedly if a show is not on television, Superstars are not allowed to climb up on the ropes during their entrance. So the likes of Randy Orton apparently aren't scaling the turnbuckle to strike a pose when it's only for the in house crowd. This one I find hard to believe, or at least think that it's one that hasn't been in existence for long. Two names that spring to mind when it comes to climbing on the ropes during their entrances are The Rock and Stone Cold. If you told either of those men in their prime to not strike their signature poses during their entrance then I can imagine they would laugh you off or simply ignore you altogether.
8 No Sneezing
No this one is not a joke, and you did not misread it. In fact it's one of the few obscure rules that Vince McMahon attempts to enforce that has actually been backed up by some of his employees. It's no secret that Mr. McMahon is somewhat of a control freak. He controls every single aspect of all of his shows, or he tries to at least. Naturally a man who needs this much control over everything is going to hate anything that is out of his hands, and one of those things is sneezing. This one applies to himself as much, if not more, than anyone else. Wrestlers have told stories about being in meetings with the boss and him getting angrier and angrier over not being able to stop himself sneezing.
7 Keep Quiet About Your Injuries
The nature of professional wrestling means there are a lot of injuries. Superstars put their bodies through an awful lot all year round, so it's going to happen. In fact it may happen more often than we're led to believe. Superstars who have since left WWE have spoken out about not being allowed to openly talk about injuries they have, and even been threatened with punishment if they do. There are also less dramatic examples. Take Braun Strowman recently for example. If Braun had announced to the world what his injury was and he would be back in two months, WWE couldn't have played the angle that he was supposed to be out for six and made him out to be some monster with super healing powers.
6 No Yea-Boo Stuff, Unless You're John Cena
A return to the leaked document concerning house shows now, and one rule from it that particularly stuck out when it first came to fans' attention. It's widely considered that due to his tenure and popularity John Cena is given special treatment by Vince McMahon and WWE. While most of the rumors flying around about Big Match John pulling certain strings back stage are exactly that, rumors, if the leaked document is real it's hard evidence that John gets treated differently than others. The rule is that no one is to do yea-boo stuff, unless you're John Cena. No one splits the crowd quite like the sixteen time champ, and apparently if anyone were to do so then they would not be allowed to do what Cena does so well and play up to the fact.
5 No Piledrivers, Unless You're The Undertaker
John Cena isn't the only long tenured hood ornament of WWE that gets special treatment. There's also a certain Deadman that has the privilege of getting to do something that his peers are banned from doing. There are many moves that are deemed too dangerous to be performed in a WWE ring, most of which are banned for previously causing injuries, and one of those is the piledriver. In all fairness it's a move where even if it's performed slightly wrong, it can have detrimental results. It's the reason Stone Cold has neck and back problems to this day following Owen Hart dropping him on his head. The only pilerdriver that is still performed in WWE is Undertaker's Tombstone. Much like Cena it's one rule for one person and a different one for everybody else.
4 Work In Cultural References
Professional wrestling is somewhat of a niche interest. It's something that I'm sure Vince McMahon hates as he has been trying to put a change to that the entire time he's been in charge of WWE. Vince wants pro wrestling, sorry sports entertainment, to be a part of mainstream culture. It's why Raw often features stars from outside of the business, which almost always end in an awful segment, and is why when there isn't a celebrity to flaunt that announcers and Superstars make regular references to popular culture. More often than not when the references are made they feel disjointed, and there's a reason for that. The announcers aren't making them to be witty, they're saying what they say because there's a rule that dictates they have to say a certain amount of cultural references. There always has to be at least one during the opening segment of a show, so now when you hear it and cringe you'll know why it's happening.
3 Take That Briefcase With You
Current Mr Money In The Bank Baron Corbin made an appearance on Chris Jericho's podcast recently, Talk Is Jericho. One of the main topics of conversation between the two of them was Baron's briefcase. Turns out that one of the more annoying rules that comes along with winning the prestigious contract is that it has to go absolutely everywhere with you. Corbin discussed with Chris that he even has to take it on planes with him, and what's worse is that Baron takes it as a carry on in fear of losing it. This one isn't necessarily a new rule, and there are stories of wrestlers having to take their championships with them everywhere also. You do not have to wear them at all times however as Big Show was tricked into doing when he won his first World title.
2 No Impromptu Promos
The final entry taken from that extensive house show list now, and perhaps the reason the list was put together in the first place due to the timely nature of this one. The list emerged on the internet mere days after Kevin Owens cut a promo on a child in the front row at a house show telling him to buy his t-shirt before taking a u-turn and instead saying he didn't want him wearing his merch. Apparently the child was upset and his mother, who was also in attendance, wrote a complaint to WWE via Facebook. The complaint went viral of course and then this list was published online with the rule 'no impromptu promos'. It can't be confirmed whether that was the event that sparked the rule, but it seems likely.
1 No Working Anywhere Else
There's often a lot of talk about contracts and such in WWE, mainly when there's one to be signed before a marquee match. WWE Superstars do all have WWE contracts of course, but what you may not know is that each and every one of them is an independent contractor. What that means is as well as working for WWE they should technically be allowed to work elsewhere. It's a topic discussed by Taz on his daily show on a semi-regular basis, but not one that is talked about all that often in general. Naturally a Superstar's WWE contract will likely say they aren't to wrestle for other companies and although it makes sense, when those stars are independent it can seem a little unfair. There is no union for wrestlers either, so it won't be a rule that changes any time soon.