WWE often likes to create terrible storylines or gimmicks that wind up leaving the company feeling embarrassed when all is said or done. Other times they simply end up finding themselves in hot water in real life, which also creates a moment of embarrassment for Vince McMahon and company. We would need a whole bunch of lists just to cover all the scandals and controversies that WWE have gotten themselves into over the years.
However, sometimes the embarrassment the company suffers isn’t of their own doing, with former WWE Superstars creating the situations for them either intentionally or unintentionally. Several ex-WWE stars enjoy trash talking about the company at every given chance, revealing secrets and decisions that WWE would rather people not know about, while other times WWE can be left feeling red in the face over decisions to let go of talent who then go and have major success outside of the WWE Universe. WWE has no shortage of big talents on their roster, but sometimes the talents have the last laugh when they leave WWE and actually hit them where it hurts by drawing fans to other promotions.
This list will delve into 15 examples of former WWE Stars who are providing embarrassment to the company right now, either revealing secrets about them, acting foolishly, or sticking it to them by having success.
15. Hulk Hogan
The simple fact that Hulk Hogan, arguably the biggest name in wrestling history is blacklisted from WWE is an embarrassment within itself, but the situation that led to that is what caused, and still causes, a major embarrassment to Vince McMahon and company.
WWE’s greatest ever star, the man that helped build the company to what it was is someone who is still known within pop culture amongst people who don’t even like wrestling. Yet when they ask about the Hulkster, wrestling fans can no longer respond with the same respect or joy they once did, given his racist remarks. Of course, most wrestling fans still respect the legacy of the wrestling legend, but that is now tainted following his actions and WWE would rather not discuss him or the situation that led to him being blacklisted.
14. Kenny Omega
It is not widely known to the casual WWE fans that Kenny Omega actually worked for WWE and there is a reason for that, as it saves WWE’s face. Omega was under WWE developmental contract from 2005-06 and eventually left complaining about the quality of training.
Clearly, the company didn’t see much in Omega as they let him go but just look how that played out. The current leader of the Bullet Club is arguably the best wrestler on the planet and is one of the bigger draws in wrestling right now. The fact his star power has convinced company man Chris Jericho to head on over to Japan for a match with him speaks volumes about Omega, and WWE is likely rather embarrassed that they let such a talent simply slip through their fingers.
13. Bret Hart
Sometimes wrestlers can become bitter throughout their career and sadly that is the case when it comes to the Hitman who can often be found giving his very honest opinions about the current product. While he has made peace with WWE and does make appearances for the company every now and then, Bret Hart doesn’t hold back when it comes to his feelings anymore. That, of course, can be respected as he is only giving his opinion and being honest, but the majority of the time it is often negative, which doesn’t make the company look great.
Triple H is often at the heart of Bret’s verbal assaults and that is also embarrassing for the company given that he is the man who will eventually take over WWE. Having a WWE legend constantly trash talk him doesn’t paint anyone in a good light.
12. Alberto El Patron
Alberto El Patron (or Del Rio as he was known in WWE), has certainly made plenty of headlines since his second departure from the company, with most of them being negative. While the vast majority of the incidents have ruined his own reputation before burying WWE’s, some of his actions and decisions over the summer certainly would have had Vince McMahon blushing with embarrassment.
His entire relationship with WWE’s Anti-Diva, Paige, left one of WWE’s brightest young stars in a terrible place, destroying her reputation which certainly embarrassed the company. The fact that Paige was filmed proposing to him inside the wrestling ring of another company or was sat at ringside during Impact Wrestling’s tapings will be incidents that WWE doesn’t want to be discussed given her current return.
11. James Storm
NXT has risen to become one of the biggest brands in wrestling today across the globe. Even fans who dislike the product that WWE creates on the main roster tend to enjoy the developmental brand’s output due to its focus on wrestling. One of the reasons for that is because of the influx of independent wrestlers the company has brought in, some of which came from TNA, such as Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode. One man who NXT wanted was Roode’s former tag team partner, James Storm.
Storm competed a couple of times in NXT and gained fantastic reactions from the audience, but in a moment that left WWE red in the face, Storm opted to return to the Impact Zone over signing for the company like WWE wanted.
Despite the fact that The Animal, Batista, has mentioned he would be open to a WWE return one day, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t embarrassing the company while he sings its praises. Even though the sure-fire Hall of Fame talent wants to return at some point in the future, Batista isn’t shy about giving his opinion on the direction that the company is going and he doesn’t tend to agree with it.
Batista is 100% against WWE’s PG direction and that was one of the reasons he left originally. He has also commented on the booking of himself as well as the fan reception he got during his return. WWE would likely want this A-list movie star to sing its praises like The Rock or John Cena does, but it isn’t always the case with Batista.
9. Chris Jericho
That’s right, one of WWE’s biggest company men is also doing a great job at embarrassing the company he loves so much. Y2J’s latest run with WWE is one of his very best and you will never hear a bad word about WWE come from his mouth.
With that said, Jericho is set to compete at the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom for New Japan Pro Wrestling in one of the biggest matches in the Japanese promotion’s history as he takes on Kenny Omega. A major match that is taking place outside of WWE, with one of the hottest talents in wrestling right now isn’t something WWE wants one of its most trusted employees doing. On top of that, Jericho’s new cruise has also created a partnership with Ring Of Honor, another WWE rival. Y2J is working with a company that WWE is trying to go against, yet Jericho is promoting all of ROH’s top talents. This has to be embarrassing for WWE.
8. CM Punk
When WWE Superstars decide to quit on the company, it is a major embarrassment to the establishment, even more so when they are on top of their game. That was the case when CM Punk left WWE, especially since he was one of the biggest stars in the company at the time. WWE has gotten over Punk’s departure but it is embarrassing that the ‘Best In The World’ doesn’t even mention his former employer in interviews or even on social media when interacting with fans.
Every former WWE star, whether they were fired or decided to quit will always give WWE some free publicity, whether that is positive or negative depends on the circumstance, but Punk has simply refused to even allow them that. Even though his UFC career wasn’t the major success he had hoped, Punk has remained a star that WWE fans will still cheer for at live events, whilst he has simply cut that part of his life out of his memory.
7. Kota Ibushi
Technically, Kota Ibushi has never been employed by WWE, but he did compete in the Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network, eventually reaching the semi-finals of the tournament. WWE was desperate to bring back cruiserweight wrestling and have gone as far as creating a specific show for the high-flying talents with 205 Live, which has been a major flop despite the success of the CWC. WWE is throwing talent on the show now to try and make fans watch it with Hideo Itami set to be the latest name joining the show.
With the lack of star power on the brand, WWE might want you to forget that the CWC’s biggest star actually turned down a WWE contract in favour of working around the world, not something the biggest company in the world would want you to know.
6. Evan Bourne
WWE’s decision to bring back cruiserweight wrestling is one that has caused WWE some embarrassment in general given how poorly 205 Live has been received, so they might not want you to know that they let one of the best highfliers in the world go several years ago.
Evan Bourne used to electrify the WWE Universe during his tenure with the company and is continuing to do so now all around the globe, which is why it is even more embarrassing that WWE hasn’t brought him back as he would add major star power to the show. To add to the problem, Bourne has actually revealed in interviews that he turned down an offer to be part of the CWC, which makes the situation even more embarrassing given that he didn’t think the tournament was even worth competing in.
5. Bobby Lashley
Nowadays, WWE loves to have its matches appear as real as possible, with Brock Lesnar’s UFC career often being brought up, or the Shinsuke Nakamura’s strong style constantly being hyped. This is why Bobby Lashley is currently embarrassing the company, even though he most certainly doesn’t mean to. In fact, Lashley has expressed interest in a return and a potential match with the Beast, something that most fans would be excited about.
But with him so open about wanting a return, it’s rather embarrassing that WWE hasn’t brought him back, especially since he has proven himself to be a top star outside of the company, something that WWE didn’t believe he was capable of.
The Big Guy had a fairly successful WWE career and while he never quite reached the heights it first seemed that he would, Ryback was certainly given plenty of opportunities during his run. Despite that, since leaving WWE he has had plenty to say about the company and not much of it is positive.
His podcast ‘Conversations With The Big Guy’ has seen Ryback make several wild claims about WWE, from suggesting storyline angles that were supposedly taken away from him to Ryback claiming WWE doesn’t pay its talent enough money. He has also had plenty to say about Jinder Mahal during his recent push as WWE Champion, claiming that he is taking steroids, something WWE will want you to not think about in the slightest.
3. Scott Steiner
It’s fair to say that Triple H is not one of Scott Steiner’s favourite people, a real-life feud that dates back to 2002 when The Game killed his momentum during their brief and very bland in-ring feud. Ever since then, Steiner has kept a grudge against HHH and he has made it well known, making many personal insults against him and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, letting fans know he certainly did not watch the most recent WrestleMania either.
Steiner has also reportedly turned down a WWE legends deal with the company, something that is a major embarrassment to the company who are trying to build bridges with former talent who have fallen out with the company in the past.
Does anybody actually remember Derrick Bateman in WWE? No? Well I don’t blame you because Bateman had a grand total of 0 memorable moments during his spell with the company. Now, I ask the same question about EC3. The chances are most people have at least heard of EC3 and that is saying something given that he works for Impact Wrestling, a company which is struggling to get any views at all.
WWE decided to let Bateman go after giving him no opportunities to shine or prove what he is capable of and instead of struggling on the independent scene, Bateman moved to Impact and became its biggest star, proving his ability as a main event superstar. He is now someone WWE would love to have back and would rather forget that they let go.
1. Cody Rhodes
Unlike some people on this list, it is very unlikely that you will hear Cody Rhodes say a bad word about WWE. In fact, it is usually the opposite with the American Nightmare usually being more positive about his former employer. It is in the success that Rhodes has had outside of the WWE bubble which has caused the embarrassment for the company. Vince McMahon saw Cody as nothing more than a mid-card talent, making him continue to work as Stardust in what was nothing more than a mediocre version of his older brother.
Cody gambled on himself and became one of the biggest independent wrestlers in the world, someone who can main event any show around the world, winning championships and proving himself as an elite performer. Now, WWE would likely do anything to have him back and he certainly would not return in the position he previously was. With every moment the Bullet Club grow in popularity and stature, he embarrasses WWE even further until an eventual return down the road.
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