WWE may label itself as the land of opportunity, but it would seem that in order to get some of those opportunities you have to do some pretty degrading stuff. From kissing people's asses to having buckets of nameless thick liquids dumped on you from a great height, being a pro wrestler, in WWE at least, is not always just about what you can do inside the ring.
In all fairness, a lot of the time WWE have method to their madness when it comes to embarrassing their Superstars. They may be being punished for something they've done that the fans don't know about or even be having a rib or joke played on them in retaliation for one they've played on somebody else. While a lot of the time the public embarrassment of WWE's Superstars is warranted, there's equally a number of times where humiliation has seemed unfair, unjust and on many occasions just down right mean.
That's what we're going to be focusing on in this upcoming list. It will feature stars who were the butt of jokes on entry to the company but managed to hang tough and power through. It will feature stars who were embarrassed to such a point that it could be argued that's the reason they took their leave. And it will of course feature talents that were considered fair game by WWE after they turned their backs on the company.
Trust me when I tell you that no one is exempt from being embarrassed in WWE. After her memorable women's title reigns, but before her induction in to the WWE Hall of Fame, even Lita was subject to Vince's needless humiliation and shaming. She may have been back with the company as a part time pundit but her departure beforehand was pretty low on WWE's part.
Not only did she lose her final match with the company, which in all fairness is common place with a departing talent, but WWE also had Cryme Tyme take to the ring to sell Lita's belongings. It mainly included clothes, some panties that JBL bought and even a vibrator. A pretty shocking way to say goodbye to a woman who would later become a Hall of Famer and broke her neck while wrestling for the company.
14 Vickie Guerrero
It's hard to think of anyone in WWE history who has been publicly embarrassed on a more regular basis than Vickie Guerrero. So much so that you'd be forgiven for forgetting that she was married to one of the best in-ring performers of all time in Eddie Guerrero. Where to begin when it comes to Vickie's needless embarrassments?
There are the times she dated Superstars like Edge and Dolph Ziggler only for their relationships to come to untimely demises. Most of the time the SmackDown general manager, the role that she was remembered for the most, found herself on the wrong end of some sort of slime being dumped on her, or even being dumped in pools of it.
13 Big Show
The only Superstar on the roster in the last 20 years who has been embarrassed on a more regular basis than Vickie Guerrero is the Big Show. You could probably make a top fifteen embarrassing moments out of his career alone. Show has openly said during interviews towards the latter part of his career commenting on that being exactly why his time in WWE has gone on for so long, simply because he's done whatever Vince McMahon has asked of him.
The particular moment I've got in mind for this list is his WrestleMania match against Akebono. Akebono is a famed sumo wrestler from Japan and at WrestleMania 21, Big Show had to don the traditional sumo dress and go one on one with him. Not a great look for the former WWE champion.
12 Mickie James
Another Superstar who has recently returned to WWE despite being embarrassed by them in the past is Mickie James. The former five time Women's champion appears better than ever but back during her original WWE run, she was oddly and inexplicably embarrassed. Her first feud came against Trish Stratus and during that time and much of the beginning of her time there, Mickie was quite rightfully touted as an attractive woman, which makes the following even more confusing.
James became the target of bullying at the hands of Layla and Michelle McCool, ironic I know, considering WWE's stance on it. The pair berated Mickie, calling her fat and referring to her as Piggie James. Baffling really considering even someone with the wildest of imaginations wouldn't consider Mickie James fat.
11 Molly Holly
Despite perhaps not having the conventional look a WWE Diva may have had at the time, Molly Holly enjoyed a tremendously successful run during her time with the company. When she was by the side of Spike Dudley the crowd loved her, and quite rightly. After that however towards the end of Molly's WWE run, Vince McMahon and co took it upon themselves to basically humiliate Holly.
Whereas before she had been competing at the top of the women's division with the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita plus is even a former women's champion. By WrestleMania XX Molly found herself on the wrong end of a hair vs hair match and had her head shaved bald. Plus she was weirdly portrayed as someone who wore 'granny panties'.
Believe it or not, WWE acknowledged Goldberg long before he ever stepped foot inside one of Vince McMahon's rings. At the height of his popularity, when Goldberg was running riot through the WCW roster, that obviously caused problems for WWE. Eyeballs that WWE wanted were watching Nitro each week in order to witness this behemoth that had arrived with a bang.
Rather than create a Superstar bigger and better than him, WWE did quite the opposite. Instead they took their small, weedy wrestler Duane Gill and made him Gillberg. They had Gill come out to sparklers rather than Golderg's signature pyro and lose matches every week rather than win them. Chris Jericho even reintroduced Gillberg to the masses earlier this year in an attempt to embarrass Goldberg before his Universal title match with Kevin Owens.
Some have also taken issue with Goldberg being involved in comedy skits with Goldust in his first WWE run.
9 AJ Styles
I would like to chalk this one up to some sort of initiation, but that may have made more sense had it happened about six months earlier. In the latter half of 2016, The Phenomenal AJ Styles found himself embroiled in a feud with the not so phenomenal James Ellsworth. In all honesty, that's embarrassing enough. What makes it infinitely worse for AJ is that he lost to Ellsworth a demoralizing three times.
Of course, each loss had a big asterisk alongside it but still, pretty humiliating. The reason it must have been for some other reason aside from a simple initiation is that Styles was already WWE champion by this point. You would think that any TNA stink WWE saw on AJ would have been eradicated by the time they awarded him the championship.
8 Trish Stratus
Molly Holly and Lita are both females from earlier on in this list who despite being extremely talented were embarrassed by WWE and used in angles that were far below their station. Well, those two have got nothing on Trish Stratus. While her path into the business may not have been the most conventional by the time she had been around for a couple of years, she was helping to revolutionize the female side of things.
Despite that, Vince still saw her as eye candy. Trish became one of the many Divas at the time who Mr McMahon used in storylines to basically date him. He would use Trish to make his wife Linda jealous and the angle involved Vince making Trish do a number of degrading things. The worst one that springs to mind as I type this is having her come to the ring and bark like a dog.
7 Eric Bischoff
Throughout most of the 1990s, Vince McMahon hated Eric Bischoff with a passion. Bischoff was the master mind behind the success WCW had that almost drove WWE out of business. Well, a while after WWE turned the tables back in their favor and were the ones left standing at the end of the Monday Night War, hell appeared to freeze over. Vince McMahon not only hired Eric Bischoff to run Raw, but the two began Bischoff's tenure with a warm embrace.
Despite success as the head of Raw, it was hardly all rainbows and butterflies for the former WCW man. When Eric was eventually and inevitably fired from his role on Raw, Vince of course couldn't let him just leave with his dignity. Bischoff was put on trial, given an FU by John Cena then unceremoniously thrown into the back of a garbage truck.
Natalya is a third generation Superstar and a woman who was dominating the female side of things in WWE long before the Women's Revolution. However, there was a period in WWE where even the most talented of women would have struggled to get their career off the ground. Nattie once sported a gimmick that revolved around her farting. Yep, that's right.
The incredibly talented wrestler Natalya who hails from the famous Hart family was once reduced to a Diva that passed gas on a regular basis. The perfect combination of what Vince McMahon clearly finds funny and a time when women were treated far less equally than the men in WWE. Thankfully, Nattie stuck around for better times and is now sharing a locker room in a WWE where she's not just treated as an object or a joke.
5 William Regal
William Regal is widely regarded as one of the best in-ring performers and greatest wrestling minds among all of his peers. He has had a great career, which continues today with his work at NXT, but never seemed to get the push that he needed to be a top guy. After making the move from WCW to WWE, Regal toyed with a number of gimmicks and settled on one that depicted him as a snobby Brit who would eventually become the commissioner.
During this time, Regal found himself in a feud with Chris Jericho and while the in ring work involving the two was outstanding, the window dressing for the feud put Regal in an unflattering light. The low point for him? Y2J peeing in his tea, and Regal drinking it. Not to mention Regal joining Vince McMahon's kiss my ass club.
4 Ultimate Warrior
It would seem that no matter what happens between WWE and its departing talents, they always come back at some point. We've seen epic fall outs, court cases, names dragged through the mud on both sides yet somehow everyone is willing to bury the hatchet and put the past behind them. I think the most shocking case of this was when just before his tragic and untimely death, Ultimate Warrior returned to the WWE family and was inducted in to the Hall of Fame.
After Warrior left WWE, the company compiled and released a DVD named The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. A pretty damning verdict on what the company thought of him at the time and what they thought of his departure.
For the first five years of Kane's career, The Big Red Machine managed to maintain his persona of a terrifying monster. Then he began to enter Big Show territory. That being he needed to start being embarrassed to keep his place on the card and maintain his tenure. It started when the younger half of the Brothers of Destruction crossed paths with Triple H.
Then the accusations began. Whereas before Kane had simply been an almost unstoppable badass, he began to be portrayed as an equally terrifying creep. First came the accusations of murder and necrophilia from The Game. Then once Kane's mask was removed it was all downhill from there. Not long after that kidnap and insinuations of rape were added to Kane's list and his reign as a monster in the ring turned to one of a creep outside of it.
2 Jim Ross
Jim Ross is without doubt the most talented and beloved play by play commentator in the history of professional wrestling. It begs the question why has Vince McMahon fired him and tortured him so much? One moment that springs to mind in particular is when Mr McMahon opened up the Kiss My Ass club.
William Regal was the first man inducted, add that to the pee in the tea mentioned above, then Vince wanted Stone Cold in there. When Austin not so politely declined and gave Vince an ass whooping for asking, JR found it a little too hilarious for the chairman's liking. Because of that Ross was chosen to take his friend Austin's place in the club and was forced to kiss the boss's ass live on television.
1 Terry Taylor
One of the most respected names in the WWE locker room that you may not have heard of is Terry Taylor. Right now, Taylor works as a trainer down at the Performance Center in NXT. WWE doesn't hire just anybody to do a job as important as that. On top of that, you can cite any number of wrestlers from the past 20 years who will credit Taylor with helping them get to where they are today.
It begs the question why was he not a bigger deal when he stepped between the ropes? Well, that's because his most memorable run in WWE was as a wrestler called The Red Rooster. He had a small, red Mohawk and crowed like a rooster, naturally. Not exactly the most over gimmick at the time as you can imagine.