The wrestling business can be petty at times regarding how promoters handle the talent. Despite wrestlers being the ones doing the physical work on-screen, they often get pushed around by those putting together the shows. The political landscape of wrestling will see certain wrestlers get on the bad side of management for silly reasons. Unfortunately, that can lead to bad news on the screen with punishments coming. WWE and other promotions have gone out of their way to write storylines or script certain matches to punish wrestlers in humiliating fashion in front of the audience.
We'll take a look at some of the wrestling storylines to go down through a petty process. These angles were down to humble wrestlers in the dog house for various reasons. Some of these wrestlers were able to rebound from the public punishment, but others would never get past it. The war between wrestlers and promoters is something that has gone on for decades and likely won’t end any time soon. It shows just how the people running wrestling don’t mind writing to amuse their own minds rather than putting out the best product. These are fifteen wrestling storylines you didn’t realize were meant as punishments.
15 Michael Cole vs Daniel Bryan
The beginning of Daniel Bryan’s WWE career was a huge struggle as he tried to make his name on the NXT show. Bryan became the target of Michael Cole shockingly trashing him for no reason. Cole would run down Bryan for being a nerd with his lifestyle as a vegan and background in independent wrestling being mocked. Vince McMahon was in Cole’s headset telling him to say these things due to his opinion.
This was done to punish Bryan for being the opposite of what Vince believed a wrestler should be. At one point, Bryan refused to sell programs as part of a competition and gave them all away. That led to the punishment of Cole’s burial. Bryan luckily overcame this to become one of the biggest stars in recent years.
14 Mickie James as Piggy James
A harsh storyline to take place within the past decade saw WWE place Mickie James in a ridiculous storyline. SmackDown’s top female heels Michelle McCool and Layla targeted Mickie as their latest bullying victim. The heel duo insulted James with body shaming comments claiming she was overweight. “Piggy James” was the name used by McCool and Layla for months.
The harshest segment saw them smash a pig themed cake into her face and pour punch over her head. Various reports suggested came shortly after her real-life relationship with John Cena ended. This was all done to punish her for being on the bad side of the biggest star in the company. WWE moved her over to SmackDown for the storyline punishment. James is luckily having a better final run to end her WWE career in a more respectful manner.
13 Enzo Amore In A Shark Cage
Big Cass facing Big Show at SummerSlam this past August with Enzo Amore in a shark cage above the ring was considered one of the worst matches of the year. The storyline featured Cass working as a singles heel after his turn on partner Enzo. WWE decided to add the comedic value of Enzo in the cage hanging above the ring while the two big men wrestled.
This was reportedly done due to Enzo having a legitimate fear of heights. Enzo was on the bad side of WWE at this point due to getting kicked off the bus during an international tour by Roman Reigns for annoying everyone. WWE wanted to humble Enzo for his antics with the punishment of having him take part in his fear while thousands of people in the venue watched on.
12 Daniel Puder destroyed in Royal Rumble
Another wrestler to get heat in WWE for offending the locker room with poor etiquette during his WWE career was Daniel Puder. The MMA fighter won the Tough Enough competition to get a spot on the WWE roster. Puder rubbed others the wrong way with a cocky attitude and presenting himself as being bigger than the wrestling business due to his MMA success.
WWE punished him by throwing him to the wolves in the Royal Rumble. Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly and Eddie Guerrero were all in the ring absolutely destroying Puder with stiff shots before eliminating him. This was all set up to teach him a lesson in a very harsh manner. Puder ended up out of WWE quickly and left the wrestling business altogether.
11 Ric Flair Getting His Head Shaved
Ric Flair is regarded as the greatest star in WCW history, but no one was happier than him when the company went out of business. The last few years of WCW with Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo each running the show at different points each made Flair miserable. Flair wasn’t being treated as the legend he was due to backstage disagreements with his bosses.
Russo took it to the next level by becoming an on-screen character and feuding with Flair. One specific moment came as a punishment when Russo and David Flair shaved his trademark blonde hair in front of other relatives. The storyline written by Russo was clearly done to punish him for speaking out against Russo’s booking. Flair bashed Russo for years before they made peace working together in Impact Wrestling.
10 Rusev/Lana Breakup
The careers of Rusev and Lana have both gone downhill in recent years after an incredible first year together. Their act perfectly allowed each to showcase their strengths with Rusev being the unstoppable monster and Lana using her charisma as the talker cutting promos each week. WWE decided to split them up in a love storyline where Lana aligned with Dolph Ziggler and Rusev dated Summer Rae.
This was reportedly done by Vince McMahon as a punishment to Rusev. For whatever reason, McMahon soured on Rusev and decided it was time to split him from Lana to punish him. One of the beliefs backstage is that McMahon feels Lana is too good for Rusev in real life. Their engagement hitting TMZ forced WWE to put them back together on-screen, but neither person has done well since the initial split.
9 Dusty Rhodes’ WWE Character
Dusty Rhodes made a huge decision signing with WWE in the late 80s. A star the level of Rhodes becoming a part of the WWE roster should have led to huge success. Instead, Vince McMahon wanted to punish him for trying to compete with WWE for many years. Rhodes would get saddled with the gimmick of wearing polka dots and the storyline of dating Sapphire as a storyline meant to humiliate him.
Despite the obvious talent, Dusty never hit the main event scene and decided to leave WWE when his contract ended. Many experts have revealed that Rhodes was upset at how WWE used him and that’s why it took him a long time before returning in the backstage role. McMahon and Rhodes made peace along the way and Dusty played a huge role in NXT thriving.
8 The Inception of Goldust
Dustin Rhodes suffered the same fate as his father Dusty Rhodes when joining the promotion. WWE originally meant to embarrass him as more of a punishment towards the Rhodes family with the Goldust character. The mystery regarding his sexual orientation at the time would have hurt most wrestlers trying to play this gimmick in the 90s.
Goldust ended up becoming a hit thanks to Dustin playing the character perfectly. He was arguably the best mid-card act in WWE for a full year. The character was popular enough to still be used today. There’s no debate that Goldust will enter the WWE Hall of Fame one day and it will likely be shortly after his retirement. This is the perfect example of turning a bad idea by WWE into something great using your own talent and direction.
7 Baron Corbin's MITB Cash-In
Baron Corbin had a lackluster 2017 despite entering the year with a massive push. Vince McMahon badly wanted him to become the WWE Champion with rumors running rampant since early the end of last year. Corbin winning the Money in the Bank briefcase was obvious given all the rumors about his status in the company as the next big star.
However, a backstage argument with a WWE doctor saw him cross the line and get in trouble with management. Corbin would get punished by losing the Money in the Bank title shot to Jinder Mahal in a matter of seconds. Fans initially thought this was due to WWE wanting Mahal to have a lengthy reign all the way into WrestleMania 33. This was done to remind him that no one is untouchable after his disrespectful actions backstage.
6 Diamond Dallas Page as The Stalker
Most of the major WCW stars refused to join the WWE after Vince McMahon purchased WCW due to their contracts. The wrestlers chose to continue getting paid huge money from Time Warner/AOL to sit at home rather than taking a pay cut to go to WWE right away. Diamond Dallas Page was one of the older stars that always wanted to try his luck in WWE, so he made the shocking decision to choose the job over guaranteed money.
WWE however didn’t show the same excitement and decided to book him poorly. Page was introduced as the stalker of Undertaker’s wife in the lame heel role despite being one of the biggest stars of the invasion. WWE had a history of burying former WCW stars as a punishment for their roles competing in the Monday Night Wars. Page had extra heat for using the term “people’s champion” in WCW after The Rock adopted it in WWE. Along with that, some backstage were furious with Page's way of working as he would plan his entire matches ahead of time. The horrible gimmick was a punishment that ruined his chances of success.
5 Jim Ross joining Vince's Infamous Club
Jim Ross was the target of Vince McMahon for many years despite the two working together during the most successful time period in WWE history. McMahon never liked Ross’ accent and personal interests outside of WWE. That led to them having conflict when Ross was the Head of Talent Relations. Ross objectively did a great job hiring Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Brock Lesnar, John Cena and many others.
However, McMahon enjoyed punishing Ross on national television. Ross was a loyal employee that did whatever was asked of him and that would often be humiliation. The lowest moment came when Ross was forced to literally kiss the backside of McMahon in his hometown. It was one of many instances where Ross would get punished in Oklahoma for no reason aside from annoying McMahon.
4 Sunny Gets Slopped
A memorable secondary storyline for WWE in the late 90s saw Sunny feuding with the Godwinns. Sunny used her beauty to get the upper hand against them as Phineas fell in love with her. After months of being used, he finally smartened up and stopped letting her use him. The revenge of the Godwinn brothers saw dump the disgusting pig slop on Sunny.
This was done in the past with the slop just being a mixture of random food items that wasn’t too bad. However, the wrestlers backstage apparently added many disgusting things to the bucket due to Sunny’s backstage attitude. Sunny had heat for cheating on Chris Candido with Shawn Michaels and being a Diva to those that had to interact with her. Everyone got revenge when the disgusting slop was poured all over her.
3 Perry Saturn Loves Moppy
The WWE career of Perry Saturn ended in lackluster fashion after a great debut. Saturn first arrived in WWE with Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit as the Radicalz. All four men left WCW together to make the jump to WWE as a group. Saturn benefited most as he was the least talented of the four but got bunched together with them due to the timing.
WWE gave Saturn a few small pushes in the mid-card picture before a poor decision. Enhancement talent Mike Bell botched a move leading to Saturn snapping. Saturn destroyed the unknown wrestler turning it into a one-sided shoot fight. WWE didn’t like one of their talents brutally beating an none contracted wrestler. It led to them humiliating Saturn with the storyline that saw him fall in love with a mop named Moppy. Once the Moppy storyline ended, Saturn would be released shortly after.
2 Austin Aries Goes After Christy Hemme
This punishment was issued by a wrestler rather than anyone writing the show. Christy Hemme was the ring announcer for Impact Wrestling at the time and made a mistake when announcing Austin Aries. Instead of announcing Aries and Bobby Roode, Hemme announced Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian as Bad Influence.
Aries was livid and decided to humiliate Hemme in front of everyone. The veteran backed Hemme into one of the ring corners, climbed the turnbuckle and put his crotch in front of her face. Christy was embarrassed and posted that it was unacceptable on social media. Impact Wrestling claimed to have punished Aries with a fine, but it seemed he got away with the gross move. Talent doing something like this typically is not allowed. It showed just how poorly run Impact was.
1 Mark Henry's Chocolate Ways
Mark Henry’s time as Sexual Chocolate is still remembered by fans today that watched the Attitude Era. The comedic gimmick saw the big man start dating Mae Young and play up his role as a ladies man. It seemed like a horrible idea since he was originally presented as the world’s strongest man with a background as an Olympic athlete.
Vince McMahon was livid at Henry failing to deliver the goods after he signed a lucrative ten-year contract. The decision was made to punish Henry for not progressing as quickly as expected. Henry would get forced to play the embarrassing character and take part in many humiliating segments. Luckily, he finally hit his potential many years later to have a strong career. Sexual Chocolate will always be referenced, but his career is remembered for the great moments.