The career of every wrestler has to end at some point. Everyone wants to end up in WWE but that fame just can’t last forever. Regardless of if you're a legend or a mid-carder, there is a shelf life for when your wrestling career expires. Some wrestlers find their career ending in terrible fashion after living the glorious life of a WWE Superstar. Guys like The Rock and Shawn Michaels were able to always carry their reputations in high esteems before leaving the sport on top. The vast majority of wrestlers don’t get to end things with such a great ending.
Many of the wrestlers to leave WWE or just end their career saw things get ugly very quickly. There have been a few wrestlers to destroy it all with one poor moment. These moments can range from a poor business decision or a horrible wrestling reaction that sees it all go downhill. From their success in WWE to this position, it's a drastic change that no one could predict at the time. We'll take a look at the falls that came in a singular example. These are fifteen former WWE stars who witnessed their careers ruined with one specific moment.
15 Buff Bagwell: Starting Fight With Shane Helms
The career of Buff Bagwell unofficially ended when he moved to WWE following their purchase of WCW. There was more one moment that saw it all end in embarrassing fashion. Bagwell was supposed to be one of the main event players from WCW due to Vince McMahon liking his look and most of the true top WCW stars choosing to let their contract run out from Time Warner.
The moment when Buff’s career was ruined came when he started to talk trash to his fellow WCW wrestlers when working out. Bagwell apparently tried to humiliate Shane Helms in front of everyone else leading to Helms throwing a water bottle at his head and beating him up. The humiliation of Buff saw him refuse to show up to the next television show and WWE fired him. Bagwell never found relevance in WWE again.
14 Paige: Saying Yes To Alberto Del Rio
Everything regarding Paige over the past few years can be argued as reasons for why her career has ultimately been destroyed. This moment is more so a decision to enter a relationship with Alberto Del Rio. Everyone could see the relationship was a bad idea on paper given their age difference and the places they were at in their careers.
WWE tried to advise Paige to end the relationship but she went forward with it. Following this decision, Paige has been suspended twice and is now a suspect in a domestic violence incident despite Del Rio being rumored to have been the one beating outside of that situation. This story has become terrifying and WWE clearly isn’t looking to bring her back any time soon and is letting her contract expire. It all started with her decision to date Alberto.
13 Hulk Hogan: Racist Tirade
Hulk Hogan had quite a few negative moments throughout his career but one moment will always stand out as the one that ruined his legacy. WWE brought Hogan back to the company back in 2014 to be an ambassador for the WWE and end his career in a wonderful way. A leaked adult tape of Hogan leaked with him unleashing a racist tirade that was more unforgivable than his other past issues.
WWE fired Hogan from his role in the company and blacklisted him to this very day. Hogan is still hoping for a WWE comeback but they have no desire to risk hurting their global perception. The Hulkster will likely never return to WWE and his final moment in the spotlight will be the racist comments. Hogan destroyed both his career and legacy with that one private moment.
12 Carlito: Saying No To WWE Rehab Request
The end of Carlito’s WWE career came as a total shock to most fans and many people within the industry. Carlito was once viewed as a future main eventer when joining WWE. The potential of Carlito along with the pedigree of being a second generation wrestler helped him get a great push early on. Things however went downhill when he was viewed as lazy and lacking motivaton.
Carlito saw his career fall apart when he violated the WWE Wellness Policy for failing a drug test. The moment that saw his career unofficially end was when he turned down the company’s request for him to go to rehab. Instead of spending a few weeks getting paid to get help, Carlito chose to leave and has failed to do anything of note in the wrestling industry.
11 Nailz: Attacking Vince McMahon
One high profile moment of a wrestling career ending featured a rare occasion of someone attacking Vince McMahon. Lower-card performer Nailz felt McMahon owed him money and cornered him in his office over it. Stories from various wrestlers there at the time claimed Nailz physically attacked McMahon until others stepped in to break it up.
McMahon will get over a wrestler hitting him if he feels he had it coming like with Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1997. Nailz obviously was not a similar situation as WWE got rid of him forever. The career of Nailz continued for a short time period in WCW but ultimately went nowhere. Nailz saw his hopes of a thriving wrestling career go up in smoke after the moment he decided to deck the most powerful man in the industry.
10 Jeff Jarrett: Extorting The WWE
Another wrestler to have a controversial run-in with Vince McMahon was Jeff Jarrett. While he was the Intercontinental Champion, Jarrett’s contract expired and he decided he was going to go to WCW. Jarrett made the decision to go into McMahon’s office and demand a big pay day or he was going to take the title to WCW and likely drop it in a garbage can.
The moment of essentially extorting money from his former boss made Jarrett an enemy of WWE. McMahon trashed Jarrett publicly when WWE purchased WCW by saying he would never work in WWE again. Jarrett has tried to make his living in TNA and GFW but both companies have legacies of being complete failures. The actions of demanding money from McMahon is what ruined his career in the long run.
9 Brad Maddox: Breaking WWE Rule In Live Promo
A recent moment of someone ruining their wrestling career came when Brad Maddox broke a WWE rule during a dark match promo. Maddox was being repackaged with the hopes of returning to television with a new push. While testing out new character work in a segment only taking place for the live audience at a SmackDown taping, Maddox used the term “cocky pr*cks” to insult the fans as a way to get heel heat.
WWE responded by firing Maddox right after this moment in front of the crowd. Maddox breaking the rule laid out by Vince McMahon was enough for the lower tier talent to get released. Following getting fired, Maddox has not done much in the world of wrestling and appears to have found a new career. You just know he regrets that moment given the aftermath.
8 Daniel Puder: Shooting On Kurt Angle
Daniel Puder’s background in MMA and his competitive nature ended up being responsible for his downfall. As a contestant on Tough Enough, Puder and the others would participate in various competitions. One featured them having to face off in a real amateur wrestling battle with Kurt Angle. Puder tried to humiliate Angle by using his background in amateur wrestling.
Angle almost tapped out before the referee counted a pin incorrectly claiming Puder’s shoulders were down on the mat. Puder tried to humiliate Angle and it got him heat in WWE despite winning the contract. The other wrestlers treated him poorly and WWE released him faster than anyone could have guessed. If Puder just let Angle beat him, he may have been a huge WWE star.
7 Mr. Kennedy: Almost Injuring Randy Orton
Mr. Kennedy’s moment that saw everything end for him in WWE actually played out on screen. WWE originally thought he would be a huge star thanks to his early success. Kennedy received many wins over major talents that gave him instant credibility. Injuries and bad luck destroyed every main event push he was given. Kennedy had one final chance that ended in dramatic fashion.
Randy Orton started holding his neck after taking a suplex from Kennedy. You could tell he was visibly upset but no one realized how upset until later in the week. Kennedy was released from WWE after Orton (and John Cena) complained about him not being a safe worker. The remainder of his career was spent doing mediocre work in TNA and he’s not relevant in the slightest today.
6 Robbie McAllister: Going To TNA Show
A horrible decision that saw a wrestler’s WWE career end actually once took place in TNA. Robbie McAllister of the Highlanders tag team made the weird choice to attend a live TNA show in the crowd while being a contracted talent of WWE. TNA made the tacky decision to put him on camera and draw attention to it by referencing his name.
WWE responded to McAllister getting caught watching the competition by firing him. TNA didn’t even hire the guy after outing him. Robbie never received another big break in the wrestling business and his career was ruined forever. The saddest thing about this moment is you can see him instantly regret it when he realizes he's on camera. Robbie wishes he did what the majority of wrestling fans do by choosing not to attend TNA shows.
5 Alundra Blayze: Throwing WWE Women’s Title In Trash
Alundra Blayze aka Madusa made one of the boldest moves in wrestling history when she made the jump from WWE to WCW during the Monday Night Wars. The big decision to change promotions wasn’t even the moment that changed her career for the worst. Eric Bischoff convinced Blayze to disrespect WWE by bringing the Women’s Championship belt that she never lost and throw it in a trash can on live television.
The moment created news in the wrestling world to help WCW but did nothing to benefit Madusa. WCW rarely ever used her after a very short stint of relevance. After they went out of business, WWE had no desire to do business with her again given how she said goodbye to them. Blayze was blacklisted from WWE until a few years ago when getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
4 Perry Saturn: Beating The Hell Out Of Local Wrestler
A dark match situation that saw an established wrestler ruin his career featured underrated talent Perry Saturn. The veteran of the sport was a solid mid-carder for WWE until this moment saw everything change. Saturn faced off with local talent Mike Bell in a videotaped dark match before a live episode of Raw. Bell botched a move that saw Saturn land on his head.
Saturn reacted by beating the hell out of the local talent as if they were having a real fight. At one point, Saturn’s manager Terri Runnels had to step in to tell him to calm down. WWE didn’t like the idea of one of their talents looking to brutally hurt a talent not under contract. Saturn received the “Moppy” gimmick of being in love with a mop shortly after as punishment. The moment of Saturn snapping led to his career ending faster than any pundit would have forecasted.
3 Rob Van Dam: Getting Busted For The Green
The popularity of Rob Van Dam made him a fan favorite in WWE for many years after coming over from ECW. RVD pulled off moves in the ring that were groundbreaking at the time and fans fell in love with his laid back persona. WWE made the peculiar decision to never go all the way with him until five years deep into his tenure there.
The reason WWE finally gave him a top spot was the timing of them bringing back the ECW brand. Van Dam defeated John Cena to win the WWE Championship and was named the ECW Championship as well as a double World Champion. One fateful night of cops pulling over RVD and Sabu saw them bust both for having marijuana in their car. WWE suspended Van Dam and made him drop both belts. RVD would never win another World Title and was out of the company shortly after.
2 Bret Hart: Signing WCW Contract
One business decision that led to a moment that would negatively impact a legendary career came when Bret Hart agreed to join WCW. Hart was under a twenty year contract with WWE that would have gone all the way into 2017. Vince McMahon stated he was no longer able to afford the high paying contract and asked Bret to let him get out of it.
Hart leaving WWE would have been one thing but choosing to sign WCW was the terrible game changer. The moment Bret signed the contract with WCW saw it all go downhill. WCW never used him well during his tenure there and he suffered a career ending injury that changed his life forever. Hart still has a rich legacy for all he has done in the sport but the WCW move destroyed what was left of his career and erased any future.
1 Ryback: Trashing WWE In Blog
Ryback is responsible for a memorable moment in recent wrestling history that saw someone self-destruct. The former undefeated WWE star never got over as a top star no matter how hard the company pushed him. Ryback grew frustrated as each push failed to the point where he decided to leave WWE when his contract expired.
Before leaving, Ryback decided to write a blog trashing WWE for the way they do business. Ryback claimed WWE treated their wrestlers poorly and didn’t fairly compensate them. If he left as his contract expired, it would have been fine, but his attempt to burn WWE just saw his own career implode. Ryback has turned into an embarrassment following this moment. The Big Goof now shares tacky stories on his podcast with lackey Pat Buck and leaves fake reviews for his merchandise on Amazon. WWE will never take him back and he no longer has a valuable place in the wrestling industry.