When you think of the WWE, many great ventures — whether it be Be A Star Campaign, Make A Wish Foundation, and other charitable contributions — come to mind. For all intents and purposes, Vince McMahon and company have tried their hardest to change the public perception of the wrestling company.
But throughout the history of the sport — ranging from the early years to today — there have been a number bad people who have done equally bad things.
Some can compare it to a high school, as bullying has taken place, infidelity in the workplace has been featured, drugs have led to arrests, and attitude problems have hindered the growth of talents. But at the same time, there have been more serious things that have taken place — including, but not limited to, racial slurs, legitimate beatings, drug addictions, and crimes.
It’s not to say the WWE is a bad place — actually, it’s quite the contrary. But that doesn’t change the fact that bad people have worked for the company. And unfortunately, McMahon has failed to serve justice when some deserved it.
Let’s take a look at 15 people who should’ve been fired for backstage incidents, but weren’t.
15 Rob Van Dam For Being Arrested for Drugs
From his debut in 2001, Rob Van Dam was someone that the entire WWE audience wanted to see ascend to the main event scene. Five years later, Mr. Monday Night got his chance; when Vince McMahon decided to create his own ECW brand, Van Dam — an ECW original — was chosen as the face of the company’s third show, as evidenced by defeating John Cena for the WWE Championship at ECW One Night Stand. Paul Heyman awarded him with the ECW World Championship on the inaugural show, making it obvious that Van Dam was going to be a top player on both RAW and ECW.
Unfortunately, however, his reign lasted less than a month. Why, you ask? When traveling from one town to another, Van Dam and Sabu were pulled over, which led to cops finding marijuana and Vicodin on RVD. Once it was made public, the WWE suspended him for 30 days and stripped him of his championships. Although the punishment was steep, drugs could lead to a firing — and that’s what many believe should’ve happened to Van Dam.
14 CM Punk For Having A Bad Attitude Backstage
CM Punk was never supposed to make it in the WWE. From the time he was signed to a developmental deal, many decision makers believed he should’ve been released before he even received a promotion. Fortunately for Punk, Paul Heyman saw star potential in him as he asked to make him a part of the revived ECW brand. From there, the rest is history, as Punk became one of the most popular stars during his tenure. But the fact that he was overlooked for so long also gave him a massive chip on his shoulder, leading to rubbing people the wrong way. There have been multiple interviews where former colleagues have claimed that Punk was extremely tough to work with. While he certainly did a lot for the WWE, sometimes a happy work environment means more — before Punk walked away, Vince McMahon should’ve cut ties.
13 Lita Or Edge For The Matt Hardy Incident
Whenever real life issues come to life on the screen, fans seem to find a ton of enjoyment out of it. One of the biggest instances involving legitimate drama came in the form of a love triangle between Matt Hardy, Lita, and Edge. Hardy and Lita were a couple for some time, but when he was taken off the road due to injury, Lita found a companion in Edge. Over time, the two became so close that Lita became romantically involved with the Rated R Superstar. While it’s unfair to blame adults for their decision making, Edge or Lita should’ve been — at the very least — suspended for their actions, if not fired.
What made matters worse was that Hardy himself was released after the incident, as many saw Edge and Lita being more valuable to the company. Although it’s water under the bridge at this point, both Edge or Lita were fortunate that nothing happened.
12 Original Sin Cara For Not Adjusting To The WWE
When the WWE brought Mistico over from Mexico, they believed they had a star on their hands. After becoming one of the most popular figures in his native country, McMahon pegged Mistico to be Rey Mysterio’s successor as the company’s top Hispanic draw. Changing his name to Sin Cara, he had all the in-ring tools to follow in Mysterio’s footsteps. Unfortunately, however, his attitude held him back from reaching his potential. His first wrongdoing was refusing to go to developmental to adjust to the WWE style. When Sin Cara also didn’t care to learn the English language, he was seen as someone who was selfish.
Once he struggled to gain chemistry with any of his opponents and also botched plenty of moves, the WWE decided to move on from Mistico and released him. While McMahon eventually got rid of him, he should’ve fired the original Sin Cara as soon as he failed to make an effort to adjust to his new job.
11 Randy Orton For Multiple Backstage Incidents
Nowadays, Randy Orton is recognized as one of the greatest wrestlers of this generation — and as he’s matured with age, he’s become a consummate professional. Unfortunately, however, that wasn’t always the case for The Viper. During his early days with the company, Orton was seen as somewhat of a bully backstage — he was known for treating WWE Divas poorly, even putting various items like tanning lotion and baby oil into their luggage, ruining some of their items. At times, Orton was seen as difficult to work with as well, as he was considered a big reason behind the halting of pushes for Kofi Kingston and Mr. Kennedy. As stated before, Orton has changed his ways and is far removed from his younger, arrogant self. But if Vince McMahon didn’t let his star potential blind him, Orton should’ve been fired for his poor behavior backstage.
10 Chris Jericho for Hitting A Fan
When you think of Chris Jericho, he could be considered one of the greatest superstars in wrestling history. On top of his tremendous in-ring work, mic skills, and charisma, there isn’t a WWE talent that has been able to adjust to modern times more than Jericho has been able to do. But even he is someone who could’ve been fired at one point. After a house show in Canada, Jericho was trying to exit the arena when fans began to surround his car. After a number of them began banging on his vehicle, Y2J got out and began pushing and shoving fans. A number of them were hit by Jericho — including a female, who he pushed to the ground after she spat in his face. Security did a terrible job at protecting Jericho but that doesn’t change the fact that he should’ve been let go because of his physical altercation with a woman.
9 Jake Roberts For Being Intoxicated During Many Matches
When thinking of some of the most underrated wrestlers, Jake “The Snake” Roberts is someone who automatically comes to mind. A top-notch wrestler with an impressive gimmick well before its time, Roberts was a top level talent that could’ve achieved even greater success if he was sober. It is publicized that Roberts’ second run in the WWE ended in 1997 because of drug and alcohol abuse but he had problems with various substances well before that. During his first run — which lasted from 1986 to 1992 — Roberts would constantly wrestle while either drunk or high. Although his issues were known, he was never punished for wrestling when intoxicated. Fortunately for Roberts, he’s found help from Diamond Dallas Page — but if the WWE punished him for his problem in the early 90s, maybe it would have affected his future issues.
8 Goldust For His Part On The Plane Ride From Hell
One of the most infamous moments in WWE folklore is the Plane Ride from Hell. In May of 2002, the company completed their overseas tour and partied hard on the plane ride back to the United States. Some of the known incidents that occurred on the Plane Ride from Hell ranged from harmless pranks like Curt Hennig and Scott Hall putting shaving cream on people, to Hennig and Brock Lesnar wrestling and almost falling into the emergency exit, to Ric Flair strutting around in his signature robe with no clothes on underneath. But one of the more serious moments that took place on the trip home was Goldust telling a flight attendant that he was going to have sex with her, a quote that led to a lawsuit from the attendants. The WWE kept Goldust off television and let his contract run out after the issue but he should’ve been fired as soon as they exited the plane.
7 Ric Flair For Being Drunk At The WWE 2K14 Symposium
To be fair, 2013 was a bad year for the legendary Ric Flair. Still struggling with retiring from the ring, he was dealt an insurmountable blow that no parent should go through. On March 29, 2013, his son Reid was found dead in a hotel room and the autopsy revealed that he passed away from an accidental overdose of heroin and other drugs. Naturally, Flair took the news horribly, with his drinking habits on full display. During the WWE 2K14 Symposium that September, Flair was asked to join a panel of current talents and Jim Ross. Clearly intoxicated, The Nature Boy took a turn for the worse and screwed up the format of the show. While the WWE had to punish someone, they focused their attention on Jim Ross for doing a poor job in controlling Flair. While it was announced that JR retired, many have claimed he was forced into doing so due to the incident. It was unfair for the WWE to do that to Ross — instead, it was Flair who should’ve been let go.
6 Hardcore Holly For Beating Up Matt Cappotelli
The concept of Tough Enough rubbed a ton of wrestling veterans the wrong way. Their reasoning, of course, was justified — after all, it was an insult to many in the industry that men and women with no training experience were going to be rewarded with a WWE contract after training for a short amount of time on a television show. Bob Holly was one of the veterans who didn’t take Tough Enough too kindly — and when he was asked to appear on the show and get in the ring with some of the amateur talents, he took matters into his own hands. While wrestling Matt Cappotelli, he was tremendously stiff and left him bloodied. It wasn’t fair for someone like Cappotelli, who was just taking advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity, to get beat up. There’s no doubt that Holly should’ve been fired for the liberties that he took.
5 Michael Hayes For Racial Slurs Directed At Mark Henry
Throughout a majority of his career, Mark Henry was the subject of plenty of ribs — some serious, some not. But when racial overtones came into play, The World's Strongest Man didn't take it too kindly. According to ProWrestling.net, "WWE SmackDown writer Michael Hayes is currently serving a 60-day suspension for using a racial slur during WrestleMania XXIV weekend. Hayes was at a public gathering and used a derogatory term while speaking with Mark Henry, who took offense and reported the issue to either Vince McMahon or Stephanie McMahon. Hayes and MVP had been using the word while joking around together earlier in the night. It was a party setting and Hayes had been drinking when he approached Henry. A pair of sources confirmed that Hayes told Henry, 'I'm more of a n----- that you are.'"
A 60-day suspension should've been the last thing on McMahon's mind. Instead, the backstage official should've been fired.
4 Shawn Michaels For His Backstage Behavior In The '90s
When Shawn Michaels returned to the WWE in 2002, he wasn’t only a better wrestler than ever before but he was also a changed man. Now a devout Christian, Michaels was seen as a pleasant person both inside and out of the ring — unfortunately, however, that wasn’t the case in his original run with the company. From his rise to stardom in the mid-90s up until he left in 1998, Michaels was seen as one of the biggest jerks in the company. Whether it was getting into shouting matches with Vince McMahon, refusing to put other talents over, treating fellow wrestlers like second class citizens, or being drugged up before matches, The Heartbreak Kid was a subpar human being at that time. While it would’ve been hard for McMahon to get rid of his top act, his antics would’ve justified a firing.
3 JBL For Constant Bullying
In recent weeks, John Bradshaw Layfield and his bullying acts have come to light, as his poor ways have led to fellow colleague Mauro Ranallo taking a leave of absence due to his longstanding bout with depression. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t the first time that JBL has been accused of such acts. Throughout his long-tenured career with the WWE, he’s been mentioned by multiple fellow wrestlers and WWE employees that have bolstered the bullying claims. Whether it’s Edge claiming he bothered him while taking a shower, or Justin Roberts saying he had a hand in stealing his passport, or The Hardy Boyz stating that he forced them to do pranks on other wrestlers, JBL seems like a less than ideal co-worker. It remains to be seen what the WWE will do but the first order of business should be firing him.
2 Jimmy Snuka For Homicide
Before the WWE became a mainstream sensation, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka was one of the company’s top acts. But during his time on top was met with controversy. In May of 1983, he was involved in an incident with his girlfriend at the time that resulted in her death. He was initially acquitted from all wrongdoing — but injuries to his girlfriend that were consistent with domestic abuse always made the case a curious one. In 2015, Snuka was arrested for third-degree murder of his girlfriend — but before justice could be served, he passed away. There have been many that accused Vince McMahon of bribing cops and covering up the murder all the way back in 1983. While that has never been proved to be true, McMahon should’ve done the right thing and fired Snuka as soon as he received word of the incident.
1 Fabulous Moolah For Being A Terrible Human Being
Most fans remember Fabulous Moolah as a comedy figure and WWE Hall of Famer. What people don’t know is the terrible human being that she was. Throughout her time in the wrestling industry — including the WWE — Moolah has been accused of many terrible things, ranging from less serious incidents like stealing money from students she said she would train and making sure other women were blackballed while she was active, to serious crimes like running a prostitution ring involving her students and drugging them as well.
While many females came out and talked about Moolah, none were more serious than Sweet Georgia Brown, as her family claimed Moolah drugged her and put her in situations to get raped. Not only should Moolah have been fired but she should never been mentioned by the WWE.