Have you ever gotten in trouble at work? If so, what happened? Did you have to go speak to HR? Did you have to apologize to your co-workers? Did you get fired or yelled at in front of everyone? There’s a good chance that anyone who has ever held a job has experienced one of these things at some point. As bad as these moments always seem, the one thing you can take comfort in is that millions of people didn’t have to witness them. Most companies even carry out these punishments behind closed doors.
In case you haven’t figured it out, WWE isn’t like most companies. If you work for WWE, you might be lucky enough to be reprimanded in private like at a normal company. However, if you’re an in-ring performer, it’s far more likely that Vince and co. will choose to carry out your punishment in that very ring. This is a timeless WWE tradition that never stops feeling weird. How can a company possibly get away with punishing their employees via scripted entertainment? As common as this punishment is, there are some instances of it that are downright bizarre. These are the 15 WWE wrestlers who were punished in ridiculous ways.
15 Brodus Clay Spoils His Debut and Is Turned Into A Dancing Loser
Remember how Brodus Clay was a dominant monster heel in NXT? Week after week, Clay would come out, destroy someone, and exit without saying more than a few words. Naturally, when Clay made his main roster WWE debut, he was transformed into a...dancing, smiling, singing...something called “The Funkasaurus.” What happened in-between NXT and WWE that inspired WWE to change Clay’s gimmick so drastically? Well, John Morrison happened. See, Clay was supposed to debut as a monster heel that destroyed John Morrison in order to kick off his reign of dominance. Unfortunately for Clay, he decided to strongly hint at his debut on Twitter. This prompted WWE’s writers to change his debut and gimmick as to avoid fans knowing what was going to happen. To the writer’s credit, nobody expected them to destroy Clay’s WWE career.
14 WWE Pays a Boxer To Beat Up Bart Gunn After Bart Gunn Wins a Real Fight
This has to be one of the most amusing and stupid WWE stories ever. As you may remember, WWE hosted a boxing tournament during the Attitude Era called “Brawl for All.” The tournament was arranged to get Dr. Death Steve Williams over as he was considered to be one of the toughest men in wrestling. However, Bart Gunn ended up ruining WWE’s plans by legitimately knocking out Williams in a tournament where the winners weren’t scripted. For some reason, WWE decided to punish Gunn for winning the fight rather than push him. So, they had professional boxer Butterbean come in and completely demolish Gunn at WrestleMania. Gunn was then fired soon thereafter. Only Vince McMahon could pay a boxer to beat-up one of his employees on-air, fire that employee, and get away with it.
13 Lana Gets Married and is Buried by The Rock On-Air
Remember that time that The Rock and Lana interacted a few years back? Remember how The Rock accused Lana of sleeping around, being attracted to The Rock, and generally insulted her for no particular story reason? Did you ever feel like that segment felt really out of place in modern WWE? Well, it was. At the time, some felt that the segment just represented WWE’s willingness to let The Rock get away with things that other superstars wouldn’t. However, it seems that it had much more to do with Lana having upset some people backstage with some social media posts she made as well as for her very public marriage to Rusev at a time when she was supposed to be feuding with him on-screen.
12 Lilian Garcia Parties a Little Too Hard and Has to Make Out With Chrisy Hemme.
On the surface, Lilian Garcia was a model WWE employee. She never seemed to get in trouble, she was a good announcer, her singing abilities attracted some positive mainstream attention, and she seemed to go along with whatever storylines WWE wanted her to participate in. However, someone in WWE clearly had a grudge against Lillian as she was often mocked on-air for any announcing botches (typically by Michael Cole or Triple H). However, the most notable Garcia punishment occurred after Garcia apparently had a little too much fun during a tour of Europe and either missed curfew or got into a little trouble with the law depending on who you ask.
WWE decided that the only appropriate punishment was to have Christy Hemme make out with an actually embarrassed Lilian Garcia on-screen over the incident.
11 Daniel Puder Outwrestles Kurt Angle and Gets Chopped by Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Bob Holly
If the Bart Gunn fiasco didn’t teach you that WWE has real problems with wrestlers winning real fights that they just assumed they would lose, this story certainly will. Back in 2004, Angle began a series of open challenges in which he would wrestle woefully unprepared opponents. One of these opponents was Daniel Puder; a more than capable MMA fighter. Puder almost forced Angle to submit, Angle escaped due to a technicality, and everyone was very angry at Puder.
Well, before WWE gave Puder the boot, they decided to embarrass him a bit on-screen. Specifically, they had Bob Holly, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero absolutely massacre him with chops during the Royal Rumble. The footage of this incident is actually somewhat uncomfortable to watch one you know the full story.
10 One Man Gang Misses Dates and Becomes Akeem the African Dream
The concept of a punishment gimmick is as old as the wrestling business itself. Simply put, there are times when a promoter will decide to force a wrestler to work a certain gimmick because they’re trying to punish them for something they did on or off screen. We’ll see several punishment gimmicks throughout this list, but few are as downright bizarre as Akeem the African Dream. Akeem began his WWE life as One Man Gang; a tough-guy brawler who feuded with the likes of Hulk Hogan.
Somewhere along the way One Man Gang got in trouble for missing a few dates. Because Vince is Vince, he decided to remove the popular One Mang Gang gimmick from television and force Gang to parade around as a white man who seemed to think he was a member of an ancient African tribe.
9 Sunny Is Drenched With A Real-Life Slop Bucket Over Her Attitude Issues
You might notice that there are quite a few instances of females being punished on this list. Well, for some reason, WWE seems especially fond of punishing their female performers on-screen rather than behind the scenes. We can only speculate as to why, but the fact remains that female performers tend to get the raw end of the deal in regards to public punishments. Of course, you could argue that Sunny got the rawest end of them all. Following a series of incidents that made Sunny quite unpopular backstage, the Goodwins decided that when they pulled off the legendary scene in which they dumped slop on Sunny’s head, they weren’t going to use prop slop.
Instead, they asked some of the boys in the back to contribute whatever nasty substances and body fluids they could come up with. We kind of wish that someone from HR had just talked to her instead.
8 Ricky Steamboat Asks to Be With His Newborn Son, so Vince Makes Him Dress Up Like A Dragon
Vince McMahon doesn’t come across as a very compassionate person. The amount of employee punishments that he has gotten away with over the years is pretty astonishing when you consider that WWE is an international multi-million dollar company. Still, because WWE is also basically Vince’s playground, that means he occasionally gets away with enforcing his weird rules.
For instance, consider the time that Ricky Steamboat won the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Randy Savage at WrestleMania III in one of the greatest matches ever. Shortly thereafter, Steamboat was relegated to jobber status. That’s because Steamboat asked for some time off due to the impending birth of his son which did not sit well with McMahon. While that should have been the end of the matter, Vince decided to humiliate Steamboat further by forcing him to adopt a bizarre dragon gimmick when Steamboat eventually returned to WWE.
7 Adrian Adonis Gains Weight and Is Forced to Act “Adorable”
Before we get off the subject of old-school punishment gimmicks, we have to talk about Adrian Adonis. Before entering WWE, Adonis made a name for himself as a tough-as-nails biker type character. It was a great gimmick for its time that eventually helped Adonic catch Vince McMahon’s attention. Sometime after Adonis signed his WWE contract, however, he managed to put on quite a bit of extra weight. The story goes that Vince was furious at Adonis for letting himself go. As such, he forced the wrestler to adopt the very effeminate gimmick of “Adorable” Adrian Adonis. Now, to Adonis’ credit, he decided to just work the gimmick for all it was worth and refused to lose weight seemingly to spite McMahon. Remarkably, he remained quite athletic throughout his weight gain.
6 Mickie James Sleeps With John Cena and Gets Called Fat for Several Weeks
Now, if Vince McMahon is willing to punish a male wrestler for weight gain issues, you can be sure that he’s willing to do the same to a female wrestler. Actually, it’s not entirely clear if that is what happened here. What we do know is that Mickie James went from being a respected female wrestler who was typically pushed in some manner to a character who was mocked by Layla and Michelle McCool for being fat. Now, if you want to get technical, you could argue that Mickie may have put on a few pounds somewhere along the way. However, the popular version of this story states that the “Mickie is fat jokes” can be traced back to an affair she had with John Cena that inspired Vince McMahon to insult her on-air and up his chances of her leaving the company.
5 Lita Refuses to Kiss Matt Hardy and Gets A Stinkface Instead
Given how Lita has been championed about as one of the pioneer women wrestlers in WWE as of late - a title she absolutely deserves - you might be fooled into thinking that WWE has always respected Lita and treated her like a valued employee. That is simply not the case. Consider, for instance, the time that Lita was asked to replicate a dramatic kiss she shared with Matt Hardy. Lita spoke against the suggestion by stating that replicating the kiss so close to the original would lessen its impact. WWE informed Lita that if she didn’t want to go through with kissing Matt Hardy, she could instead kiss...well, she could get a stinkface from Rikishi. Lita accepted her stinky fate and chose option “B.”
4 Lita is Humiliated During Her Last Match Ever for Unknown Reasons
The Lita stinkface story is pretty low, but it’s nothing compared to the story of Lita’s last night wrestling for the company. Before we get to that, let’s backtrack a bit to Trish Stratus’ last match for WWE. It was a glorious celebration of Trish’s career that allowed her to win her seventh Women’s Championship in her hometown of Toronto in a match against Lita. When it came time for Lita to finally retire from competition, she lost a match against Mickie James. Given that Lita was a heel, this kind of makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense is when Cryme Tyme came out and mock auctioned Lita’s underwear and hygiene products while a horrified Lita watched from the ring. Nobody's exactly sure what Lita did to deserve this, but we can’t imagine it was worth this kind of treatment.
3 Drew McIntyre Loses to the Brooklyn Brawler After Being Accused of Domestic Abuse
When Drew McIntyre won the NXT Championship recently, he began - or capped off based on your point of view - one of the more impressive comeback stories in WWE history. Some fans may remember that McIntyre wrestled for WWE years ago. Actually, he appeared to be on the fast track to superstardom. That was before Taryn Terrell (who was also working in WWE at the time) accused McIntyre of domestic assault. WWE could have handled this situation through a variety of corporate channels.
Instead, they decided to have McIntyre lose to the Brooklyn Brawler. Then they had him go on a losing streak. Then they had him join the comedy group, 3MB. Then they finally released him. Why wouldn’t WWE just release McIntyre outright if they thought he was guilty? Who knows.
2 Natalya Farts in Real-Life and Is Turned Into A Farting Character
Right from the start, we’re going to let you know that we’re not entirely sure this was the result of a punishment. That’s because everyone involved with this storyline tends to shy away from talking about it. It all started when Natalya, a well-respected in-ring wrestler with a family legacy, began farting a lot on television. Now, we don’t mean that she farted during a backstage segment or farted multiple times during a backstage segment. We mean that she began farting multiple times a week every single week. Why? Well, during an interview, Natalya tried to brush off the whole story, but did mention that it may have been the result of a time she had a few too many protein bars and accidentally let one go around the wrong creative person.
1 WWE Doesn't Like Enzo Amore So They Put Him in A Shark Cage
In case you haven’t heard, Enzo Amore is supposedly not a well-liked man backstage. Based on who you ask, his heat could be the result of attitude problems, laziness, or just a good old case of someone high up the ladder not being a fan of him. Regardless, it’s becoming clear that WWE is slowly trying to push Enzo Amore out the door and prepare for a future which doesn’t involve him. The best proof of this yet is the SummerSlam match which saw Amore hoisted above the ring in a shark cage.
See, someone in WWE reportedly found out that Enzo Amore is very scared of heights. Upon learning this, WWE immediately determined that Enzo Amore should be suspended in the air as high as they could legally make him go.