Triple H and Stephanie McMahon might be gaining more control of WWE nowadays, but make no mistake about it; Vince McMahon is still the boss of anything WWE and that will never change until the day he passes. Absolutely everything must have his stamp of approval on it, especially storylines.
Vince McMahon was the mastermind behind some of the better wrestling storylines. In some cases, as hard as it might to be admit, he gave us actual good wrestling entertainment. He pushed wrestlers to the top of the card who deserved to be there or who are worthy of being there.
Anyone who follows wrestling knows Vince is far from a saint and is nowhere near perfect. Sometimes he pushes wrestlers and shoves them down the fans’ throats – aka Roman Reigns. But he also has a reputation of being someone who can hold a grudge and will not hesitate to punish any wrestler or wrestling employee for committing what he considers to be a sin.
In most companies, punishments are doled out behind the scenes. Maybe a fine, some sort of sensitivity training, a suspension. Not in Vince’s world, though! His particular brand of punishment tends to involve humiliating and embarrassing punishments on TV. He will often devise some of the most bizarre and dumb storylines just to make a statement and punish the wrestler.
Of course, not all punishments are created equally and not all incidents merited the punishment that was handed down to them by Vince. On that note, let’s take a look at some of the dumbest reasons WWE chose to use to punish their wrestlers.
15 ENZO AMORE IS DISLIKED SO HE HAS TO FACE HIS FEAR OF HEIGHTS
We all know that Enzo Amore is not exactly a well liked guy by most of the wrestlers backstage. He was kicked off a tour bus this summer by Roman Reigns and it seems many wrestlers dislike having to work with him. There doesn’t appear to be a true consensus for the nuclear heat backstage, but someone high up on WWE doesn’t like him. Maybe it’s just the fact that he is a terrible wrestler at a time when there are so many talented wrestlers being severely under-utilized (Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro). Some believe it's his obnoxious attitude and him acting like he's a bigger star than he is.
Anyway, someone evidently found out that Enzo Amore was afraid of heights. Of course, WWE decided the logical thing to do was force Enzo Amore to be locked in a shark cage suspended above the ring during a Big Cass/Big Show match at SummerSlam 2017.
14 FINN BALOR USED THE 'TOO SWEET' SYMBOL SO HE HAD TO JOB TO KANE
Everyone knows Finn Balor is an extremely talented wrestler. Everyone also knows Finn Balor should be wrestling Brock Lesnar and other main event talents, rather than being stuck in the mid-card. Vince McMahon apparently disagrees with you. Thankfully for Balor, AJ Styles replaced Bray Wyatt at the 2017 TLC event and put on a main event quality match. After Balor’s victory, both wrestlers raised their hand and did the “Too Sweet” gesture, a reference to their days as members of The Bullet Club.
WWE and The Young Bucks, part of The Bullet Club, are not exactly on friendly terms right now. Vince did not approve the gesture being used, so he chose to punish Finn Balor rather than AJ Styles. The following night on Raw, Balor (of all people) was jobbed out to Kane. It made no sense at all, apart from the notion that Balor was likely being punished for his part in the gesture.
13 BARON CORBIN GETS IN A TWITTER WAR SO HE LOSES HIS MITB BRIEFCASE
Wrestlers get a lot of criticism on social media, as Baron Corbin found out. He portrays a heel on TV where WWE surely loves that he gets underneath his opponent’s skin, trash talks his opponent (as long as it’s on his script of course) and uses dastardly tactics to win. This obviously doesn’t extend to social media when Corbin got into various Twitter wars, including one with critic Dave Meltzer. Most notably, however, was when he bullied a “loser in the high school gym” who turned out to be a U.S. veteran who Vince McMahon previously met.
Needless to say, things didn’t turn out well as Corbin unceremoniously lost his Money in the Bank cash-in match just before SummerSlam 2017. It has to go down as one of the most anticlimactic cash-in attempts in history. A cash-in on the champion should have propelled Corbin to main event status, instead in sent him back downhill and involved in throwaway feuds.
12 SUNNY HAS A POOR REPUTATION SO SHE GETS DISGUSTINGLY SLOPPED ON
Sunny is a very controversial person in the wrestling world. Much has been made about her frequent sexual escapades throughout her career, most notably with Shawn Michaels during the 1990s. Allegedly sleeping with many wrestlers in the locker room while dating Chris Candido did not exactly win her many fans back in the day. She lost a lot of respect and for sleeping with as many wrestlers as she is believed to have, and apparently some of the higher ups were also irked by her backstage antics. As has become a recurring trend, Vince McMahon decided to publicly humiliate Sunny on TV.
To do so, the Goodwins dumped slop all over Sunny’s head. Rather than use some prop, many of the male wrestlers were asked to provide the slop. They contributed by providing whatever nasty substances and/or bodily fluids they could come up with. HBK or any of the other wrestlers who slept around and/or had attitude problems never got an on-screen punishment like this. What a gross and embarrassing way to punish someone.
11 STING REFUSED TO SIGN WITH WWE (UNTIL 2014)
Sting will easily go down as one of the greatest wrestlers ever. He valiantly fought the nWo as one of the faces of WCW. He fought to preserve and fight for WCW, remaining faithful to the brand even as it went of business. Sting rebuffed WWE entirely and refused to sign a contract – until 2014. Many anticipated this was just another instance of Vince putting past disagreements behind him for the sake of WWE.
Boy, were we wrong. Sting fought Triple H at WrestleMania 31 in a highly anticipated match. Vince (and Triple H) robbed Sting of his ‘WrestleMania moment’ when he was convincingly beaten by Triple H and other members of DX. It was a mind-boggling loss to say the least, but it came across to most as being a huge punishment to Sting for being a part of the “enemy” in the 1990s and rebuffing WWE.
10 BRET HART - EVERYTHING ABOUT THE MONTREAL SCREWJOB
This is one of the most identifiable punishments handed out by Vince McMahon to a wrestler on-screen. In case you are unfamiliar, Bret Hart was in a feud with Shawn Michaels (who disliked each other in real life). Hart was about to leave WWE and knew he had to drop his WWE Championship. Hart was willing to do that, just not in his home country of Canada against HBK even though that’s precisely what Vince wanted. Hart instead wanted to forfeit the title the following night, or put someone like Austin or The Undertaker over another night.
During the Survivor Series match, HBK had Hart in the sharpshooter (as planned). Vince inexplicably called for the referee to ring the bell saying Hart tapped out when he had never tapped. Hart was absolutely livid and went crazy backstage for being screwed over by Vince McMahon and WWE for colluding against him. Vince surely has his reasons, but this has to be one of the worst punishments given out to someone for refusing to do as Vince wants.
9 TRISH STRATUS LOSES HER WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP FOR REJECTING A LESBIAN ANGLE
There is no disputing that Trish Stratus is one of the best female wrestlers in WWE history. She is a highly respected female wrestler who could be counted on to put on high quality matches (that’s why she is a Hall of Famer after all). Inexplicably, Vince McMahon wanted her to participate in a lesbian storyline. The ideas was that Stratus and Torrie Wilson would compete in a sexual ‘pose off’ against Billy and Chuck, which would culminate in the women passionately kissing.
While Stratus was not against the entire idea, she rejected the idea of the kiss. WWE stood firm, but when she refused again, Stratus lost her championship unceremoniously the following week and lost all momentum she had earned. Making your best women’s wrestler at the time participate in a ridiculous storyline far beneath her talent level is just dumb.
8 MATT HARDY IS RELEASED AFTER Edge/Lita Affair, Loses To Edge On-Screen Too
The whole story of this is long and complicated but, basically, Lita cheated on Matt Hardy by having an affair with Edge (thought to be Hardy’s best friend). Understandably, Matt Hardy got very upset and angry. Vince McMahon decided to fire Hardy over the incident, which is embarrassing enough. Matt Hardy was later rehired by Vince, but that only led to further embarrassing on-screen punishments. The real-life feud was turned into a storyline involving all three, which was complicated because many knew about what really happened.
Sadly, Matt Hardy never got any retribution against Lita or Edge. Hardy, as the empathetic babyface, lost resoundingly to Edge multiple times. All in all, this was a huge and really dumb punishment to hand down to Matt Hardy for being upset that his girlfriend cheated on him.
7 RUSEV & LANA Are De-Pushed After Announcing Engagement
Breaking up Rusev and Lana was a dumb idea to start with because it ruined both of their characters, and neither of them have ever really bounced back from that gigantic mistake made by WWE. Lana was in a relationship with Dolph Ziggler on screen, which would supposedly make Rusev jealous. So how dare Rusev get married to Lana in real life during the midst of this storyline?
The real life engagement forced WWE to abandon the storyline altogether, which created heat on both of them in the mind of Vince McMahon. As punishment, Rusev has been jobbed to numerous superstars on both roster despite being capable of so much more.
Lana has suffered the more humiliating punishment, basically being called a slut on TV by The Rock. He made repeated innuendos about their night together, all because she and Rusev got married.
6 DREW MCINTYRE GETS De-Pushed After Falling Victim To Domestic Violence
This has to be one of the dumbest reasons WWE punished a wrestler on-screen. Drew McIntyre had seemed like someone who was destined to be a main event star for WWE. He had won the WWE Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships, so he certainly seemed like a rising star. All that changed when he was the VICTIM of a domestic violence incident with his wife, Taryn Terrell (aka Tiffany).
For some insane reason, Vince felt McIntyre was “not a man” and therefore turned him into a comedic character and later released him. Again, firing him would be entirely acceptable if he was the abuser but it has been documented he was the victim. It really is dumb when he needed to call the cops on his wife because of how abusive she was, only for him to embarrass him on TV by turning him into some comedy character.
5 RICKY STEAMBOAT GETS RIDICULOUS DRAGON GIMMICK FOR LEAVING FOR THE BIRTH OF HIS SON
Whenever someone has a newborn child, parents usually take some time off work. Although WWE has become somewhat better at accommodating for this, the company was not always this way. Back in the day, Vince was very strict with his rules surrounding time off. Ricky Steamboat had just defeated Randy Savage at WrestleMania III for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, and had asked for some time off shortly after the event. He explained he wanted to be there for the impending birth of his son, obviously something important to Ricky. This did not sit well with Vince, who of course had to punish hum somehow. After all, how dare someone want to witness the birth of their child!
When Steamboat did return to WWE, he was forced to wrestle under an extremely bizzare and outlandish dragon gimmick. Moreover, he was punished by dropping the title to The Honky Tonk Man on Superstars and was never given an opportunity to wrestle in main event matches. All that on-screen punishment just for wanting to see his son’s birth!
4 MARK HENRY'S CAREER - VINCE EXPERIENCED BUYER'S REMORSE
Mark Henry went to the 1996 Olympics and had a very successful power-lifting career. Vince McMahon saw dollar signs written all over him and spent big money to sign him to a lucrative WWE contract – 10 years and $10 million. McMahon eventually lost interest and experienced buyer’s remorse, that is he regretted signing Henry to that deal. Vince couldn’t release Henry so he went out of his way to try to get Henry to quit.
He was placed in some of the dumbest and most humiliating storylines on screen – impregnating a septuagenarian who subsequently birthed a hand, having sex with a transvestite, and was even sent to the ‘minor leagues’. These are all pretty harsh punishments handed out to Henry on-screen even though he didn’t even do anything wrong!
3 OWEN HART GETS THE BLUE BLAZER GIMMICK FOR REMAINING FAITHFUL TO HIS WIFE
In 1999, Owen Hart was in a tag team with Jeff Jarrett. Vince McMahon approached Owen Hart about having an affair with Debra so that Jarrett would inevitably become jealous. The original plan was for their partnership to implode and lead to a feud between Hart and Jarrett. Hart told Vince he refused to have a storyline affair because he felt it would be disrespectful to his wife and look bad to his children. To most, that sounds like a respectable and honorable thing to do.
Vince thought otherwise apparently, and went out to punish and embarrass Hart on-screen. He was forced to use the awful Blue Blazer gimmick for the first time in years. He went from being a top talent to using some comedic superhero gimmick that did Hart no favors whatsoever. That of course would lead to him doing the stunt at Over The Edge that ultimately cost him his life.
2 PERRY SATURN BEAT UP A JOBBER SO HE HAD TO FALL IN LOVE WITH A MOP
Perry Saturn and Mike Bell (a jobber) had a match that aired on WWE Jakked. It was meant to be a throwaway match to get Saturn over, but things went wrong in a hurry. While motive and intent is still largely unknown, Bell made a few mistakes in the ring and Saturn retaliated by throwing Bell out of the ring. Bell landed on his head in a pretty nasty looking position. Saturn claimed he “had his bell rung” when Bell botched a hip toss and Bell landing on his head was a mistake.
Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, Saturn was humiliatingly punished on WWE TV in the aftermath. The worst of it came when Saturn was forced into a storyline where he fell in love with a mop. Being told to fall in love with any inanimate object is just about as humiliating as it can get. Only Vince McMahon could come up with this dumb of a storyline as punishment.
1 NATALYA GETS A FARTING GIMMICK AFTER FARTING IN FRONT OF THE WRONG PERSON
We might not be 100% sure if this was the result of a punishment, but surely Natalya must have done something wrong to be stuck with a such a humiliating gimmick. Based on everything we know about Vince McMahon, it would not surprise us one bit that ‘farting’ is something he sees as being distinctly ‘un-ladylike”. I mean, maybe Vince thought it was funny but more likely he wanted to punish Natalya for behaving in a way he considered ‘unbecoming’ of a woman.
Natalya evidently let one go in front of the wrong person backstage, and became saddled with that unfortunate gimmick. She would quite literally fart multiple times a week – during interviews, matches, promos, you name it. Everyone lets one go from time to time, but this is Vince we’re talking about after all. Clearly he, or someone, got the wrong impression when Natalya let one go.