Anyone who has ever dreamed about becoming a professional wrestler has probably imagined ultimately working for the WWE. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us to learn plenty of fans who never actually took that dream seriously nonetheless thought about it a little bit, with the bright lights and roaring crowd the sort of thing humans naturally seem to enjoy. Unfortunately, that dream simply won’t come true for most people who have it, as Vince McMahon’s hiring practices are discerning, difficult to define, and constantly changing.
That said, the more one truly stops and thinks about it, there are actually a good number of reasons World Wrestling Entertainment may in fact be the last place anyone would ever want to work. Not only is a maniac running the show, but he’s implemented what some call a cult-like mentality that forces his employees to constantly watch their steps and walk on egg shells to appease him. Vince McMahon is hardly the only issue here, as his many minions, cohorts, and lackeys are just as bad with enforcing the rules as he was in creating them.
Of course, to someone who really, genuinely wishes to become a WWE superstar one day is going to look past everything negative about McMahon and his company and do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. To those people, we say good luck, and be careful what you wish for. For other people who aren’t so sure, keep reading to learn about 15 shady things WWE does to employees that’ll make you glad you don’t work there.
15 Days Off Are Random, Few, And Far Between
No matter what it is one does for a living, just about everyone thinks the best day of the week is whichever one they get off. If they get two days off in a row, that’s a straight up weekend, and pretty much cause to celebrate in today’s wintery economic climate. Most jobs out there give at least one or two such occasions per week, maybe a little less during busy seasons. In WWE, however, there are almost no days off to speak of, and the higher up the card a superstar is, the less time they have to themselves. The only reason a wrestler would be getting lots of days off is if their career was failing, which is not exactly a good sign. On top of it all, the few days off a wrestler has are usually spent in a hotel room, almost never with their families. In some respects, these are unavoidable issues in any traveling entertainment field, yet WWE does nothing to make it easier for their employees, either.
14 Smearing Anyone Who Badmouths Them
If for some reason a person were to read this list, ignore its advice, get hired by WWE and suddenly realize we were right all along, the worst part of it all might be the fact immediately quitting isn’t exactly an option. It would be one thing if WCW or ECW still existed, or even if NWA/TNA/GFW/etc. still had some sort of national recognition, giving wrestlers options to work elsewhere. However, the fact WWE is the only game in town means leaving the company causes a massive pay cut, one people are only willing to take in extreme circumstances. And then, once they finally make that step, WWE will smear their name and do whatever they can to ensure the wrestler who left them won’t even work on the minor leagues. They’ve done it to The Ultimate Warrior, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and countless others who made them millions, plus even more who were mere jobbers and dared disrespect Vince McMahon. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario that no one would ever want to be in.
13 There’s No Off Season
In all fairness to WWE, not all of the negative aspects of working there are entirely Vince McMahon’s fault. Live television has certain demands most businesses don’t need to adhere to, and in some respects, this makes the WWE schedule the same as any other TV show out there. On top of that, athletes in virtually all sports need to exert themselves just as much as WWE superstars, either throw long hours training at the gym or performing for screaming audiences each and every week. There’s a still a huge difference, though, in the fact these TV shows take breaks once in a while, and the other sports out there have an offseason the performers can relax during. WWE has no such luxury, truly forcing superstars to work their hardest year round without any breaks to speak of, ever.
12 Ignoring Talented Wrestlers For Those With Political Clout
In addition to not adhering to the traditional concept of an offseason, another way WWE differs from all other sports on television is that performance alone doesn’t dictate success. Far more important than a given wrestler's skill in the ring or on the microphone is their ability to make the right friends backstage, or at least that’s been the prevailing feeling ever since the 1990s. Truth be told, this is true of almost the whole wrestling industry, as promoters traditionally only pushed people they trusted, many of whom were their close friends. However, now that WWE is entirely in charge and running the show, there’s little change any wrestlers would backstab them, meaning we should finally be at a point in time where talent is relevant to a wrestler’s in-ring achievements. And yet, it’s still not, with McMahon and Triple H’s favorites getting pushes while more suitable potential stars are ignored entirely.
11 Accusations of Racism Flow Through The Corporate Structure
On a technical level, this particular issue may not directly affect every single person reading this list. However, to others, it could wind up being the most important factor of all preventing you from wanting to work for Vince McMahon. Calling a person a racist in today’s day and age is one of the harshest accusations one can make, and it isn’t our intention to claim McMahon himself has any particular prejudices. We’ll leave those claims up to people who worked for him, like Alberto Del Rio, JTG, the original Sin Cara, Ricardo Rodriguez, and several others who have all described their time in his company as being rife with racial tension. It says a lot that to this day, there has only been one African-American WWE Champion in The Rock, showing just how hard it is for people of color to succeed working for the McMahons. Seeing this trend, maybe they wouldn’t want to.
10 Forcing Employees To Work Major Holidays
Before we get too far into this one, we’ll admit the full story isn’t quite out yet, as the event technically hasn’t happened. However, all signs are pointing towards WWE making this upcoming holiday season a dark time for its employees, which is a fact that deserves mention before they start ruining people’s days. The company is already hyping the fact that in 2017, for the first time ever, Monday Night Raw will be airing live on Christmas Day. This means the WWE superstars will be unable to spend any time with their families to celebrate, a fact some have already hinted was a huge disappointment to them on Twitter. While the idea here is to give a gift of sorts to fans, what everyone always overlooks when enjoying some sort of entertainment on Christmas or another holiday is that someone had to go to work for us to experience it. This isn’t exactly fair, especially if those workers had no choice in the matter, as it looks like WWE employees won’t.
9 Allowing Bullies And Prima Donnas To Go Unpunished
It’s bad enough that the corporate structure of WWE is heavily flawed, yet an issue that could be even worse is the attitude of other superstars already working for the company. sure, a good majority of them are totally decent, upstanding employees and human beings, but a select few wrestlers currently on top of WWE have proven to be prima donnas, bullies, or divas, and we’re not talking about the attractive female wrestling variety. To name two examples, Randy Orton has done some unspeakable things to other talent backstage, and JBL has been singled out for bullying countless wrestlers over the years. Rather than punish these two men, WWE made them both World Champion and kept them in the spotlight for over a full decade. That they are merely two of many examples of bullies going unpunished is basically a message the McMahons have no sympathy for the bullied, so anyone prone to that behavior may just quit while they’re ahead and never work for the company.
8 They Manufacture A Cult Mentality
One of the issues we touched upon in our intro is the fact Vince McMahon has turned WWE into an almost cult-like atmosphere, and with the understanding that looks like a hefty claim, we figured it deserved some further explanation upfront. First of all, keep in mind these aren’t our words alone, as former writer Larry Mollin used the same word to describe his tenure with the company. Several wrestlers would likely agree with the assessment, especially Mollin’s elaboration that the corporate structure attempts to build newcomers up, tear them down, and then offer them a proverbial hug, setting off an emotional roller coaster that makes them extremely vulnerable. Then WWE offers to make everything right in their lives with promises of a huge contract, so long as they conform to hundreds of arcane and confusing rules and customs pretty much overnight. Normal folks may have a bad day at work now and again, but at least it wasn’t because their bosses intentionally manipulated them into doing so for whatever absurd reason.
7 They Don’t Pay For Travel Expenses
This list has already covered the issue WWE superstars are constantly on the road in respects to how to effects their home and family life, and yet we haven’t even got into the worst part of this nonstop travel schedule. Not only are wrestlers working for Vince McMahon on the road almost 24/7, but they also have to pay to get around everywhere, without any food or gas stipends to speak of. While WWE covers flights from city to city, wrestlers planning to stay in one city overnight need to pay for their own hotels. Even if they somehow convince the company to fly them right back home, they’re going to have to pay either for a cab or rental car to get from the airport to a given arena, more money that comes straight out of their paycheck. This is the reason low-level wrestlers complain they don’t get paid enough, and it’s probably a big enough issue for most people it would prevent wrestling from being a viable career.
6 There Aren’t Really Sick Days
While most of the items on this list paint a picture of WWE being tough to work for, these next few items will make the working for Vince McMahon look borderline impossible. Vince can control the schedule and lifestyle of his employees all he wants, but no one person can control another’s body. This is to say Vince has no way of ensuring his superstars will be healthy on Monday night or Pay-Per-View day, but he can make damn sure they’re going to show up and get to work no matter how they feel. Unlike every other business on the planet, there are no paid sick days in WWE, and wrestlers are in fact told to work through any illnesses on a regular basis. This is all it would take for most people to forget about working for WWE, and that’s even before you remember the toll wrestlers put on their bodies making them prone to sickness, which brings up a more urgent issue…
5 Wrestlers Need To Work Through Pain
Okay, so it sucks to work while you're sick, but who hasn’t powered through the sniffles once or twice because an important job needed to be done? Unless a wrestler is on their deathbed, maybe they can get in the ring and wrestle a really quick match to make their fans happy and recover a little later. Even with all those ridiculous concessions given, WWE still has a major problem in refusing to give employees the proper amount of time off when injured. The extent of just how bad this practice is came to light after CM Punk infamously walked out on the company in early 2014, citing multiple times WWE executives demanded he return to work far earlier than doctors were suggesting he wait. Punk is hardly the only wrestler to have been forced through this treatment, and it’s really just the tip of the iceberg with how WWE handles injures. On that note…
4 Independent Contractors Don’t Get Real Health Care
If this article is making a statement about the lifestyle of WWE employees, it’s simply that to call what they do a full-time job is an understatement. Wrestlers are working far more than the average 40 hour work week, and yet for some reason, WWE only considers corporate employees to be, well, employees. The wrestlers are by and large independent contractors, a status that exempts WWE from providing them any sort of health care. Given the fact wrestlers work one of the more dangerous professions there is, this can be a huge problem for any WWE superstar who gets injured outside of a ring. While WWE does pay for any surgeries required due to botched moves during a match, if a wrestler gets injured at the gym or at home, they’re pretty much without any options, forced to pay giant bills entirely on their own.
3 Writers Don’t Respect Talent
The fact wrestlers have ridiculously demanding schedules is merely one of several reasons why being a WWE superstar is one of the hardest jobs in the world. There’s also the sheer variety in their duties, from being an athlete, an actor, a writer, an artist of sorts, and their own 24 hour PR machines, amongst others. This particular issue focuses on the actor part of that description, as even regular thespians with no connection to wrestling can relate to the fact sometimes the writers just don’t get things right. Now, don’t get us wrong, plenty of WWE writers are great at their jobs, especially considering how higher-ranking executives just ignore them anyway. However, according to Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, and several other former WWE superstars, the current team is also prone to refusing to accept any suggestions from the talent, feeling like it’s beneath them. This makes it impossible for the wrestlers to show any passion in their work, knowing none of it will matter.
2 Volunteer Events Aren’t Really Volunteer
A person has to be pretty cynical to hate on the concept of charity, so please don’t assume that’s what we’re doing with this entry. It’s well known that WWE is at times incredibly generous to children’s hospitals and various other charity organizations, one of their better qualities as a business and employer. To continue that reputation, WWE superstars are expected to be charitable as well, representing their employers at all times. It’s great when wrestlers do things for charity, and it’s great that WWE encourages them to do so, but the façade starts to fall apart when you learn not all the wrestlers necessarily want to be “volunteering” their time by doing unpaid Iraq tours for the troops. It’s not that they don’t want to help out, it’s that helping out can be a huge burden, ripping wrestlers away from their families during the holiday season. These were the reasons Rob Van Dam refused to participate in the Tribute to the Troops one day, nearly getting himself fired for speaking up. The same could happen to anyone else who doesn’t have the time or money to give to charity.
1 The Boss Is Vince McMahon
Ultimately, every item on this list comes down to the same thing, that being few people would want to work for WWE simply because the person in charge is Vince McMahon. From the moment he booked himself into the spotlight, McMahon has presented the most bizarre behavior known to man, on both a personal and professional level. Even assuming his character’s eccentricities are exaggerated, there’s a kernel of truth in every great performance, and Vince never looks more believable than when maniacally talking down his staff. Plenty of wrestlers have faced Vince’s wrath backstage after one mistake or another, and they can tell fans he’s not just putting on an act in front of the crowd when screaming at them to shut up. Vince is intimidating, volatile, crass, and entirely unpredictable, all terrible qualities one would seek out in an employer.
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