The WWE is the largest and most successful wrestling promotion in the world today, and there isn't a single company that can remotely be considered a threat or competition to it. Perhaps in the past, promotions like TNA Impact Wrestling posed a "threat" to some small extent, but mismanagement within company has caused TNA to stand nowhere near WWE's level in terms of revenue, viewership et cetera. WWE certainly didn't became a global enterprise without hard work, as Vince McMahon along with his corporate buddies continue to promote their company and expand across the globe.
Praise aside, despite being THE wrestling company, WWE still has a dark side that few fans seem to realize. When you have such an enormous company, you can be damn sure that there are at least a few shady or "grey" tactics being utilized, or simply just shady things in general going on backstage - that's just how business is. That being said, there are a plethora of categories related to the WWE that somewhat describe the definition of "shady," whether it be things such as steroid use or affairs, or shady company PR tactics. Stay tuned, as this list divulges 15 shady things that are likely going on backstage in WWE as we speak.
15 15. Possible Steroid Use
Steroids have long been linked to the professional wrestling industry, and things aren't going to be changing anytime soon - at least with Vince McMahon (a guy who's most likely on steroids himself) is in charge. Although we cannot blatantly say that "all WWE wrestlers are on steroids" considering we have no proof to back up those claims, it's fairly obvious that there are plenty of current Superstars who are "juicing" whether the WWE wants to admit to it or not. If you take a look at a side-by-side picture comparison of Jinder Mahal, you'll quickly notice an astounding transformation.
Let's also not forget to mention that this astounding transformation occurred in just months. Sure, Jinder's training like a freak of nature in the gym, but there's a good possibility that he along with many other talents (including the bosses Vince and Hunter) are on the juice to enhance their appearances. I think most fans would consider it to be somewhat shady for the WWE to strongly deny any such steroid use when so many of their wrestlers look roided up to the gills.
14 14. Affairs
Like steroids, affairs in the wrestling world are all too common and have long been linked to the industry. Wrestlers are gone away from their family and spouses for a large percentage of the time, and at the very best, performers have a day or two off a week to be at home to relax with their loved ones. Without a doubt, this constant requirement of being away from home puts strain on relationships, and often times wrestlers turn to their co-workers for affection and friendship.
Many times things go too far, and we end up hearing about the latest wrestling affair in the news (most recently Bray Wyatt and JoJo, as odd as that sounds). Let's also not forget to mention that there's a strong possibility that there are affairs going on between talent and shady higher-ups within the WWE. There were rumors circling around a while back that Rosa Mendes (the irrelevant now-retired Diva) was having an affair with Michael Hayes to keep her job. Let's just say that affairs are most likely happening backstage in WWE - and more frequently than we often assume.
13 13. Cover Ups
Although we cannot say for certain, there's a very strong possibility that the WWE cover-ups certain aspects or things that they don't want the media or their fans getting wind of. Over the years, there have been many alleged (and shady) cover-ups that WWE had done including covering up for Jimmy Snuka's murder, having two Ultimate Warrior's, Vince McMahon and Shawn Michael's being more than friends among many others.
Of course these are pretty extreme examples of WWE's alleged cover-ups, but they give you an idea as to what lengths the company may go to save their skin and further their business. I'm sure that there are plenty of smaller cover-ups made on a regular basis in regards to wrestlers getting into fights backstage, bullying, Vince threatening talents, reasons behind certain Superstar getting released, why some wrestlers are buried, and the list goes on and on. I would willingly bet that the WWE has its fair share of things that the company chooses to cover up.
12 12. Bullying
Ironically, despite partnering with Be A Star, the WWE very likely still deals with a significant bullying issue backstage. Pro-wrestling has always had its dominant wrestlers who take on the leadership roles, and often times things go way too far - insert John Bradshaw Layfield or simply, JBL. Layfield is the most widely recognized "WWE bully" in recent memory, and he has been accused over the years of bullying nearly anyone backstage from announcer Justin Roberts to commentator Mauro Ranallo (not to mention many in-ring Superstars as well).
JBL simply likes to intimidate others, and it's unknown why he enjoys it. JBL may bully some to see if their "tough enough" for the business, where as others simply because he doesn't like them. Regardless, bullying is definitely something shady that most likely occurs regularly backstage (many former talents have attested to it), and just because only one person (JBL) has recently been called out for his actions doesn't mean that there aren't other backstage bullies currently, because there most certainly are.
11 11. Promoting Hypocritical Campaigns
Oh WWE, the absolute hypocrisy. Focusing in on just one shady campaign that the WWE is currently involved with for good company PR, the partnership with Be A Star takes the cake as being the shadiest (and most hypocritical) of all campaigns by far. The WWE has had a long string of bullying accusations over the years, whether it be talents bullying other talents, or higher-ups intimidating various talents. Some of the most obvious names related to WWE's bullying issue include Bob Holly, JBL, Bubba Ray Dudley and the list goes on and on (even the boss himself, Vincent Kennedy McMahon dammit!)
It's entirely too shady for the WWE to promote an anti-bullying campaign when it's highly probable that they're still dealing with a bullying issue backstage. It was once stated that Vince McMahon had even encouraged JBL's bullying tactics backstage as a way to weed out the "weak" talents not fit for the business. WWE's promotion of campaigns such as Be A Star are pretty darn shady (not to mention hypocritical) if you ask me!
10 10. Pushing Talent Based Off How Hard They Suck-Up
One of the shadiest things that's probably happening backstage in WWE is pushing wrestlers based off how hard they suck up to the bosses and higher-ups within the company. Sure, the WWE likes to push the odd "underdog" who's persevering through the business morally from time to time (insert: Danial Bryan), but for the most part, many of the top stars are all famously renowned for being huge kiss-ups. Superstars such as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Randy Orton among others have all been accused of kissing up to keep their positions atop the industry.
Of course the WWE and its higher-ups will never attest to this accusation as it would reflect poorly on their company, but it's definitely something shady that's occurring to this day. The wrestling term "backstage politics" is undoubtedly real, and the better you are at the kiss-up game, the more likely your position on the card will be better (providing you also have the look Vince loves). Many talented performers (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes for example) were overlooked and instead, the guys who showed their undying love for Vince and Hunter received the pushes and spotlight. Shady it is, but that's the wrestling biz for you.
9 9. Drug Use
Drug use has always been linked to the pro-wrestling business, and considering WWE's the largest wrestling promotion in the world, they've had their fair share of drug problems backstage among their talent (likely still do). Over the years, guys like Shawn Michael's, Test, Eddie Guerrero, Mr Kennedy, X-Pac, Kerry Von Erich, Sunny, Jeff Hardy, Scott Hall, Jake "The Snake" Roberts among many others have suffered from serious drug addictions throughout their WWE careers (and life following retirement).
It's definitely a sad truth, and although the WWE have seemingly gotten a handle over the drug problem, there have still been recent stars linked to drug usage. Whether it be performance enhancing drugs (the drugs Roman Reigns was busted for taking last year) or elicit drugs, the WWE has some "users" to this day, although few stars are ever caught taking them. Now that I think about it, if the big stars were on serious drugs, I'd bet that the WWE would try their very best to cover up such shady controversies to avoid negative PR.
8 8. Physical (And Sexual) Harassment
It's highly likely that WWE still has an issue with backstage physical and to some extent, sexual harassment. Both of these highly negative and shady acts have been linked to the wrestling biz, and it has even been stated that Vince McMahon can sometimes physically harass his employees every now and then (though he has been accused of things like headlocks - not fist fighting). Ironically, Vince had Titus O'Neil suspended for something he does all the time.
That said, there have been multiple fights backstage among talents (recently Sin Cara versus Simon Gotch), and it's probable that some talents find themselves physically harassed by some of the more dominant stars. Although few Superstars ever snitch on their co-workers (at least while they're employed), that doesn't mean it isn't happening. Sexual harassment is just the same. Over the years, there have been multiple accusations made against the company in regards to females being "violated" by other talent and/or higher-ups (Sable and Ashley for example have attested to it).
7 7. Purposefully Booking Certain Talents To Look Bad
Although I don't want to assume for sure that WWE purposefully books certain talents to look bad, as they could simply just have terrible script writers, it seems that sometimes the promos or segments delivered by some of the company's talents are just too awful for words. Most recently, the "This Is Your Life" segment delivered by Alexa Bliss and Bayley was so bad that it seemed as though the WWE may have purposefully booked the two Women's Division wrestlers (especially Bayley) to look considerably bad. This isn't the only recent example of extremely questionable booking, but it's by far the most notable one.
That said, things like overly scripting promos, making certain wrestlers look like morons in their matches, exposing certain wrestlers flaws, and just cutting matches short convince me that to some degree, the WWE intentionally makes specific Superstars look bad. The reasons for doing so could vary from the talents pissing a key person off backstage, or because the talents are simply in the "doghouse." Regardless, if this happens to be the case, it's a pretty shady backstage tactic to use considering the wrestlers themselves have little to no say over such matters.
6 6. Letting Select Superstars Bypass The Wellness Policy
By far one of the most widely discussed potential shady backstage WWE secrets is in regards to certain Superstars getting a free pass through the infamous "Wellness Policy." The WWE has had a long string of talents who have violated the policy over the years including well known stars like Randy Orton and Roman Reigns who's violations were made public for all to hear. However, despite airing a few violations every now and then, many believe that the WWE lets certain (mainly the top) wrestlers bypass the test despite being on performance enhancing drugs.
Many accuse the WWE of letting guys such as John Cena, Triple H and Brock Lesnar pass the test (and perhaps not take the test at all). Although we cannot confirm these allegations, for example, Brock Lesnar was suspended by the UFC over a failed drug test, yet he saw no form of repercussion or Wellness Policy violation in the WWE which was very fishy. That being said, when you have a boss in his '70s who looks as jacked and roided up to the gills as can be, you can bet your bottom dollar that Vince has an appreciation for jacked up (and obviously roided up) big sweaty men. Sure, suspend the nobodies like Adam Rose and Eva Marie, but the top guys? Probably not.
5 5. Manipulative Booking Tactics
One of the shadiest things that's most likely going on backstage in WWE is the manipulative booking of certain Superstars for company advancement and gain. The most recent (and controversial) example of this notion is the meteoric rise of Jinder Mahal. Going from a total jabroni jobber to WWE Champion in a matter of months is a prime example of this shady tactic. Was Jinder pushed to the moon because he proved he was an exceptional talent? No, Mahal was simply pushed because the WWE was looking to expand their market in India, and Jinder serves as a tolerable representative (especially considering his drastic physical changes).
I can't argue, Jinder does in fact look like a legitimate Champion, though his booking prior to becoming WWE's manipulative pet project was questionable and wasn't anything remotely resembling that of a main eventer. The WWE can use the sorry excuse that "we're giving you something different," but at the end of the day, the rise of "The Maharaja" has simply been another shady tactic in expanding WWE's brand into one of the largest WWE consuming countries, India. I'd say that Jinder's exceeding in his current role and is giving the fans something fresh and different as Champ (the push is great for his career too), but that doesn't take away from the WWE's shady intentions.
4 4. Pulling People's Heartstrings For Company Gain
A very controversial tactic likely utilized backstage by the WWE is the good old "pulling on the heartstrings" tactic. Most notably, the induction of Connor "The Crusher" Michalek into the WWE Hall Of Fame for 2015 as a "Warrior Award Recipient." Although I admire the WWE for recognizing the young and inspirational boy who tugged many fan heartstrings with his emotional story, I (among others) feel as though the WWE were simply inducting Michael into the HOF for good PR (which is exactly what they received). Former announcer Justin Roberts had stated back in 2015 via medium.com his opinion over the whole Connor Michalek situation.
Here are some of his words : "Despite rewriting the story and using it to pat themselves on the back for being a standup organization, I wish Connor's Cure and Connor's induction into the Hall Of Fame were driven by sincerity and not strategy. But sadly, it looks like they are just part of the "philanthropic" future of marketing." Of course the WWE and its executives like Stephanie McMahon and Triple H had genuine feelings for Connor, but they truly milked the whole thing for all it was worth, and turned something that should've been positive through and through into a shady business advancement strategy.
3 3. Promoting Their Women For Good PR
The rise of female wrestlers in WWE to create the "Women's Revolution" has been one of the most widely discussed and buzz-worthy stories in recent memory by far. However, despite being a positive advancement for WWE's female Superstars in theory, there are most likely shady backstage reasons in why the company have made a point in constantly repeating the words "Women's Revolution." Despite feeding the fans information that the women of WWE are being promoted for equality, the reason behind the rise is mainly due to the WWE wanting to garner positive PR and news coverage.
Sure, WWE doesn't mind having some talented females entertain the fans, but the company has blown the whole thing out of proportion and have convinced me that the "Women's Revolution" is nothing more than a shady business strategy. Don't believe me? Then explain to me why the WWE have made noticeable set-backs in how the women have been treated since the whole concept was created (shorter matches, Diva-like segments, poor booking decisions et cetera). Nothing more than a shady backstage marketing ploy if you ask me.
2 2. Making Certain Decisions Based Off Their Top Stars
The WWE has always been accused of having opinions swayed by their top stars - once again, backstage politics come into play. Over the years, many stars (Alex Riley, Mr. Kennedy, Scott Steiner, Booker T among others) have had their careers thrown under the bus following a top star or two complaining to Vince McMahon about them, and the reasons for the complaints usually stem from jealousy. The two most infamous Superstars were are rumored to "throw their weight around" backstage are John Cena and Triple H - both who share love for that good old burying shovel.
Like many other businesses, the key executives (or in this case, top Superstars) have quite a lot of pull backstage, and they're capable of swaying the decisions made by the bosses in their favor quite often. This is of course a shady thing if it's true (which it most likely is), and it shows that the WWE isn't such a clean cut organization like they try to convince us it is - shady things are occurring all the time behind those curtains backstage.
1 1. Inducting Personal Friends Into The HOF Over Deserving Candidates
Out of all the shady things that are likely going on backstage in the WWE, the backstage decisions of having personal friends or favorites being given the Hall Of Fame inductions over much more deserving candidates is by far one of the shadiest. Over the years, the WWE have inducted what many of us fans consider to be questionable choices into their Hall Of Fame. Some of these names include The Bushwhackers, Beth Phoenix, Koko B. Ware, Drew Carey, Mr. T among others.
Yes, these stars were somewhat important in their time (not so much Mr. T or Drew Carey), but there are far more deserving candidates who have yet to be inducted into the HOF, and have been overlooked for less important wrestlers who the WWE's top executives like more. The list of deserving Superstars includes Vader, Davey Boy Smith and Chyna. Although it's the WWE's choice as to who's inducted into their Hall Of Fame, the candidates should be selected based off their impact on the sport, not because they sucked up to the boss the most.