Pretty much anyone who has ever worked for any company will be able to tell you something bad about their former employer. There’s always going to be a downside to any job, and someone who doesn’t work at that job anymore is just naturally more likely to tell you about specific downsides when they no longer have to worry about losing their jobs. However, some of these stories are significantly worse than others. Some employees won’t tell you about their jerk manager or that bad customer; they’ll tell you about organizations that sound like they stole their corporate culture from the villain of a James Bond movie.
WWE’s former employees typically waste no time when it comes to sharing everything they don’t like about the company. While some toe the line in the hopes of being rehired by the largest wrestling company in the world, WWE’s ex-workforce have made a habit of ensuring that everyone knows everything they didn’t like about their time with the company. While some of these stories are forgettable, others are so unbelievable that they are easily the top 15 dark secrets revealed by former WWE employees.
15 WWE Plants Fans in the Crowd to Film Live Footage
Recently, WWE shocked the wrestling world by having AJ Styles beat Kevin Owens at a house show in NYC. Instances of a title changing hands during a house show are incredibly rare and typically result in fans feeling blessed that someone at the show happened to record the moment. Of course, some have stated that these videos are far from lucky. According to former WWE writer Brian Mann, WWE will often plant a fan in the audience when they know something significant is going to happen off-screen so that WWE can have properly shot footage of the moment. Mann states that he knows this because he was the one who filmed Kevin Nash coming to the ring to attack CM Punk. Mann states that WWE then uploaded this footage to a fake YouTube account.
14 The McMahons Will Eat Food in Front of Employees Not Allowed to Eat
One thing that you’re going to discover by the end of this list is that being a WWE writer isn’t quite the dream job you might think it is. WWE writers have to put up with a lot of strange stuff that almost always results from the eccentric nature of the McMahons. For instance, former WWE writer Domenic Cotter once said that the McMahons apparently don’t allow writers to eat in the writers room. This may not sound like a huge deal, but Cotter also stated that Vince and Stephanie would often walk in with their food - or food that they took from their assistants - and just start eating in front of them even if they weren’t actively participating in the meeting. Were they doing this for fun? Maybe, but there is another theory….
13 Vince McMahon’s Cult
While we wouldn’t go so far as to suggest the whole starving employees thing means that WWE is running a very expensive cult, there are other aspects of the WWE corporate environment that suggest that is the case. Numerous WWE employees have come forth after they left the company and described the very cult-like atmosphere that the McMahons work to maintain. Some writers elaborated on this claim by explaining how Vince McMahon talks to you when you have an idea. Without fail, they say, Vince will reject your idea and implement his own, but he does it in a way that makes you think that you were the one who came up with the idea. Furthermore, several former WWE employees spoke of constant “rule” changes that ensured the staff never felt comfortable with how they should interact with the McMahons.
12 Ashley Massaro Was Convinced to Hide A Sexual Assault
As some of you may know, WWE does a lot of work with the United States military that typically involves them sending talent over to hang out with the troops. More often than not, this talent includes a female performer or two sent to “inspire the boys.” For instance, in 2006 WWE sent Ashley Massaro, Maria Kanellis, Ron Simmons and others to the Middle East to tour some army bases. After her departure from WWE, Massaro claimed that she had been sexually assaulted at a military base in Kuwait. Massaro told WWE’s doctor when she got back, and WWE’s doctor told WWE’s executives. A team of executives apologized to Massaro and then convinced her it would be for the best to not tell anyone about this incident, including the authorities. They were able to convince her to comply.
11 Vince Tried to Blur Christian’s Face/Make Daniel Bryan Gay Because He’s Obsessed With Men’s Looks
Vince McMahon doesn’t personally write as many WWE storylines as he used to, but the boss almost always has the final say on stories and still occasionally comes up with ideas on his own. While some of these ideas are great, others are suggested simply because he doesn’t like somebody. For instance, Vince once noted to a writer that he doesn’t like Christian’s face. Vince didn’t think he was ugly, but he just didn’t like the way Christian looked. So, he suggested that Christian should always have a blue dot over his face like when a television station is trying to protect someone’s identity.
Someone talked him out of that idea just like someone talked him out of the idea of turning Daniel Bryan gay. Yes, apparently Vince wasn’t convinced Daniel Bryan could be with someone as attractive as Brie Bella (his real-life wife) so he concocted an elaborate angle that ended with Daniel Bryan becoming a flamboyant homosexual character.
10 WWE’s Hepatitis-C Problem
Have you noticed that WWE uses blood much more sparingly than they used to and even go so far as to have refs but on gloves when a wrestler does start to bleed? Well, there’s apparently a pretty good reason for this influx of extra precautions. Wrestlers such as Billy Jack Haynes have filed lawsuits against WWE for failing to prevent them from catching Hepatitis-C from another wrestler. The claim that they contracted the disease because of WWE’s lax policy concerning testing, bleeding, and (back in the day) the shared use of steroid needles.
Additionally, many former wrestlers have criticized WWE for keeping Abdullah the Butcher in the Hall of Fame when multiple wrestlers accused him of intentionally giving them Hepatitis C.
9 WWE Resents Dave Bautista’s Success
You would think that WWE would be thrilled that someone like Batista went on to become a big film star. After all, WWE basically discovered the guy, and we know how much Vince likes mainstream attention. However, we get the impression that WWE doesn’t want Batista to be a success. During a podcast, Batista stated that he offered to return to WWE at SummerSlam in order to promote Guardians of the Galaxy, but WWE declined because they didn’t believe the movie would be any good. Furthermore, Batista claims that WWE sabotaged him during movie auditions as they essentially believed that they owned him. To top it all off, Batista even said that nobody in management came to say goodbye to him during his last official night with the company.
8 Writers and Wrestlers Rarely Work Together (Or Even Speak)
Television writers often talk about how important it is to get to know the characters they write for. That just makes sense. Since WWE writers are basically television writers, you’d think that writers would have direct access to the stars they’re writing for. However, it doesn’t sound like that’s always the case. Former WWE writer Court Bauer stated that he was once tasked with writing Ric Flair’s retirement angle. During his meeting with Stephanie McMahon about the story, Stephanie apparently told Bauer that he was not allowed to talk to Ric Flair directly about this angle. Instead, he had to go through Stephanie for all ideas. This was apparently quite common and seemingly resulted from either the McMahons' desire to receive credit for certain ideas or a wrestler’s desire to not talk to the writers.
7 Vince McMahon Doesn’t Believe in Getting Sick
If you’ve ever worked at a high-turnover job, you know that getting sick can sometimes be the end of the world. After all, there are many managers who would rather hire someone new than wait for you to get better. You wouldn’t think that a billion dollar company like WWE would work the same way, but that’s apparently exactly how they work. Vince Russo once said that he became incredibly sick around the time of a show and Vince McMahon became infuriated when Russo suggested that he was about to go to a hospital. Vince told Russo that “There is no sick!” and that Russo should get over it. Vince also reportedly gets incredibly angry if anyone sneezes in his presence and will even get angry at himself if he sneezes.
6 Sometimes, Funerals Are No Excuse for Missing Work
Okay, so Vince McMahon doesn’t like it when people get sick. That’s...strange, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. Surely, though, the McMahons understand that something like a funeral or family emergency are perfectly valid reasons for missing work, right? Apparently not. Former WWE writer Dan Madigan was accompanying the crew on one of their European tours when he learned that his father-in-law had died and his wife had miscarried their child. Naturally, he told WWE that he was going back home and taking a leave of absence. WWE granted his request, but it seems that not everyone got the memo. While Madigan was at his father-in-law’s funeral, he received a call from Stephanie McMahon who angrily wondered why the writer wasn’t attending a Tough Enough creative meeting.
5 WWE’s Unofficial Winner’s Purse
The concept of a winner’s purse in something like boxing or MMA is a pretty simple one. The fighter who actually wins a bout usually gets more money. It’s an incredibly simple concept that WWE occasionally works into their storylines by suggesting that champions earn more money. Of course, that can’t really be the case, right? After all, it just wouldn’t make any sense for there to be a winner’s purse in a scripted program.
According to Ryback, however, that’s the way it works. Ryback stated that WWE rewards winners directly and indirectly through things like better merchandise opportunities or bonus money. For the life of him, Ryback couldn’t understand how a company that scripts the winners and losers of a match could directly reward someone for winning and punish someone for losing.
4 Some in WWE Don’t Think The Mae Young Classic Wrestlers are Hot Enough
This information actually comes to us from current and ex-WWE employees who have been talking about the Mae Young Classic. When this tournament was announced, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon talked about how the event would be a great way for WWE to showcase some of the fantastic female talent from across the world. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees that the tournament should be about showcasing the best talent. It’s been said that Vince McMahon and producer Kevin Dunn have expressed concern that the women in the tournament are not hot enough to be associated with the WWE brand.
It’s even been suggested that this could impact the results of the tournament. We’re honestly just surprised that McMahon and Dunn apparently never bothered to look at any of the people they were bringing in for the tournament.
3 That Time Vince McMahon Almost Killed A Writer
Vince McMahon will be the first to tell you that he has the sense of humor of a 10-year-old boy. He loves fart jokes, obvious references, but most of all, he loves pranks. Anything that ends with someone being slightly embarrassed is just about the funniest thing in the world to Vince. While Vince’s love for pranks has led him to do things like throw an NBC executive’s shoes in the trash at a bowling alley, it sometimes leads to him doing something much worse.
Former WWE writer Court Bauer recalls a time when he and Vince pulled up next to each other on the road and the two decided to have a little race. During this race, Vince cut Bauer off and tried to run him off the road at high speeds. Bauer later confronted McMahon about this at which point a laughing McMahon told him that he really just wanted to win.
2 Bill DeMott’s Hate-Filled Training Sessions
We’re genuinely curious how Bill DeMott became a head trainer at WWE. DeMott wasn’t a particularly great in-ring wrestler in his day and also didn’t seem to excel at creating a character or cutting a promo. None of this stopped WWE from making DeMott one of NXT’s head trainers for a time. During that time, DeMott apparently said some things that left a much longer lasting impression than any of his matches or promos. Ivelisse Vélez, known in NXT as Sofia Cortez, described DeMott as an old-school drill instructor who wouldn’t hesitate to use racist, sexist, and homophobic language when drilling NXT wrestlers. Worse, DeMott told his trainees that if any of them ever spoke out against him, they’d be fired. When Vélez did speak out, she was fired soon after. When that information became public, DeMott decided to resign.
1 WWE's Ignores The Health Of Its Performers
WWE has long been criticized for not offering their employees a respectable health insurance program. Because many of WWE’s “employees” are actually contract workers, they technically don’t have to. Some have stated that this policy is offset by the size of WWE’s on-staff medical team and the assistance they offer. However, many former WWE stars have indicated that the company’s medical staff is all for show. Ashley Massaro has said that Vince convinced a doctor to remove her cast before a show so she didn’t miss a match. CM Punk has said that he had to flat out refuse to wrestle until WWE acknowledged he had a staph infection and treated it. Numerous employees have shared stories about being coerced to work through genuine injuries. WWE’s medical program appears to be a complete joke, according to some former employees.