The WWE is a product. The way the company makes money is by selling a story to its audience, creating WWE Superstars who tell that story and allowing those Superstars to be idolized and followed by the most loyal of fan bases. In the end, without the Superstars, there is no product.
At the top of the food chain sits WWE Chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon. In most cases, the buck stops with him and everyone inside the company understands that he can make or break your career with a snap of his fingers. Whenever McMahon appears publicly (which isn’t very often anymore) he can be heard uttering the phrases ‘what’s best for business’ or ‘the WWE Universe will tell us which way to go’. If this is true, it stands to reason he writes his stories to the benefit of fans and he expects his Superstars to act professionally, have the company’s best interests in mind and understand the consequences and privileges that come with making decisions.
Cleary, not every Superstar gets that memo.
Recently, there have been multiple cases of wrestlers acting out, making foolish choices and not thinking about what it might look like before they act. In some cases, the talent didn’t actually do anything wrong, but the company tries to hide their quirks anyways.
Social media has made it even harder in today’s day and age to get away with secrets former Superstars never once had to worry about. Every move, every thought and every opinion get recorded and shared with the world — or so it seems. It creates situations that have to be carefully managed.
Below are 20 Superstars who Vince is having or has had issues with. Whether they made one bad judgment call, were prone to poor choices, or their unique situations didn’t lend to the proper timing of a story, their specifics don’t match that of the company and Vince is trying to hide them from the WWE Universe.
Sorry, Vince, it isn’t working.
20. Daniel Bryan Is Leaving
Daniel Bryan isn’t hiding the fact that he’s upset he’s not allowed to wrestle. With a series of documented concussions on his resume, the WWE and Vince McMahon are taking the safe approach and keeping him out of the ring, both for his safety and to avoid any potential insurance or legal issues. Stubbornly, Bryan doesn’t seem to accept that decision.
He’s turned heated moments discussing his condition on Talking Smack into must see tv and recently he tweeted to Cody Rhodes that he’d be coming after his newly won Ring of Honor Championship if Cody still held the title when his WWE contract ended. Bryan is clearly going to go where he’s allowed to wrestle, even if that isn’t with the WWE. He doesn’t seem worried about his health or the money.
19. Mauro Ranallo Has Him By The B@ll$
When Mauro Ranallo left the WWE for personal reasons, everyone assumed it was due to backstage bullying. Most people named JBL as the main culprit and the WWE didn’t look good in the public eye when it came to light that JBL was being kept on board and Vince McMahon was letting Ranallo leave. Then, Ranallo suddenly became a hot commodity.
He landed the gig to call the Connor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fight and was offered a number of gigs on the MMA scene. The WWE looked foolish letting such an in-demand announcer slip through their fingers. They immediately tried to mend fences with Ranallo and are giving him a spot on NXT where he’ll announce and be a welcome addition. All Ranallo has to do is open up about what really happened and if any of the rumors are true, it’s a bad bad day for the WWE.
18. Jinder Mahal Isn’t From India
The WWE Champion is really only the champ because he can appeal to an audience from India who uses social media and watches the WWE digitally in massive quantities. The WWE even launched WWE Shop in India only a few months ago. By giving India a champion that promotes South Asian culture, Vince McMahon believes he’ll attract more people from that country whose population is more than 1.3 billion people. The only problem is, Mahal isn’t from India.
Now, the WWE hasn’t come right to say Mahal was born in India and yes, he champion does connect strongly to his Indian heritage in real life, but the WWE does hail Mahal’s hometown as Punjab, India. In reality, Mahal was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Probably something they’d rather not promote.
17. John Cena Was In WCW’s Film Ready to Rumble
The WWE and Vince McMahon rarely like to make mention of anything not originated in the WWE. That the company is now invested heavily into the movie production business, I’m certain they don’t want fans remembering the somewhat mediocre success of WCW’s film Ready to Rumble. It featured a host of WCW stars and one other person you may not have known was in it.
That person was John Cena and before he was the flagship star of the WWE, he was an extra in a scene where Bill Goldberg was being recruited by Oliver Platt. Even back then John Cena was in the gym. Does this guy ever not work out? This must have been around the time that he was ready to become “The Prototype” in FCW. He has the same haircut. Too bad for WCW, they didn’t realize what they had right under their noses.
16. Kurt Angle Is Cleared To Wrestle
If the WWE and Vince McMahon wanted to, Kurt Angle could wrestle. He’s medically cleared and ready to roll. The only thing stopping him is a WWE initiated physical which they’ve yet to administer (or at least that we know of). It could be that they’re saving Angle for WrestleMania and want fans to believe that he’s not quite ready for in-ring action. The injury excuse is a much easier one to swallow than just telling fans they’ll be keeping him out of the ring until it makes the most sense financially.
Fans want to see the classic that could happen between AJ Styles and Angle. They want him to take on Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. They just aren’t allowed to yet and that’s all thanks to Vince McMahon.
15. William Regal Urinated On Flight Attendant
In August 1997, while still employed with WCW, William Regal was on a flight that was returning from Tokyo to the United States. As Regal was known to do back then, he got to drinking and while on the flight, decided he needed to use the restroom. He left the door wide open and when a stewardess tried to instruct him to close the bathroom stall, he turned around and urinated on her.
Regal immediately followed that up by blacking out and remembers nothing of the incident except that he woke up in a jail cell in Anchorage, Alaska. He had been removed from the flight and was fined $2500.
Regal has successfully overcome a number of personal demons and become a very close friend of Vince McMahon. He’s also high ranking within the company when it comes to grooming future talent. This is one of those incidences that I’m sure the company hopes stays out of the spotlight. Vince doesn’t want it being known his team leaders were once problem children.
14. Brock Lesnar Could Care Less About The Fans
Brock Lesnar is a hugely popular superstar. The ‘Beast’ is the WWE Universal Champion and making more per appearance than any other WWE Superstar, but perhaps what the fans don’t know, is that he could care less about them.
Unlike a heel, whose job is to make it appear as though he hates the fans, Lesnar actually does not like most people. He’s got a few close friends and beyond that, he’s much happier left to himself and away from the public, including the fans who make it possible for him to make so much money. Lesnar is a true attraction for the WWE, but he’s in it only for the money and when that’s not at the level he deems appropriate, fans can kiss him goodbye.
13. Has No Intention of Making Matt Hardy “Broken”
This isn’t a fact, but a simple logical assumption that as long as the “Broken” gimmick that fans are so eagerly hoping will find its way back to Matt Hardy costs money to obtain, the WWE will never try to obtain it. There are two reasons for this.
First, Vince McMahon always thinks he can do it better. “Broken” Matt Hardy wasn’t his idea, so he’s not keen on it. Not being his idea means he doesn’t own the intellectual property for it. Not owning the intellectual property for something limits what one can do with it.
Second, there is draw power and money in the fact that fans think it’s still possible but hasn’t yet happened. If the WWE gives the WWE Universe “Broken” Matt Hardy, there will be nothing left to cheer for if the company screws it up. Once the luster of that gimmick is gone, Matt Hardy becomes fairly irrelevant. The longer the company can hold out, the better it is for them.
12. Superstars Are Forced to Penny Pinch
Because the WWE doesn’t cover a lot of the expenses for their wrestlers (known as independent contractors for tax and accounting purposes), the stars are forced to share car rides, hotel rooms and pretty much everything that isn’t a flight to another destination. This little greedy secret has been turned into a show called WWE Ride Along, but for a number of wrestlers, it’s not exactly how they’d like to be traveling.
Vince McMahon probably wants people to know that the talent is paid well, but he probably doesn’t want to people to know that after all the expenses, the amount of money each wrestler takes home is a fraction of the payment on paper. These scenarios have led to legendary stories about wrestlers being among the cheapest and most frugal entertainers in the world.
11. Shawn Michaels is 6-11 At WrestleMania
No, Shawn Michaels is not a current wrestler in the WWE. They asked him to take on AJ Styles, but he declined. Still, Michaels is a talent that the WWE employs from time to time to show up on television or pay per views to help sell an angle or provide his commentary. To many, he’s still known as “Mr. WrestleMania.”
What Vince McMahon probably doesn’t want you to know is that “Mr. WrestleMania” has a record of 6-11 at the grandest stage of them all. He’s made a habit out of losing at a show that he’s nicknamed after and instead of being known for getting the big win, he’s known for putting others over when the most eyeballs are on the product. Does it affect his status as a Hall of Famer? No. But, it’s an interesting fact nonetheless. We readily think of Michaels as the greatest of all time, but in reality, the most glorified loser is more appropriate.
10. Shane McMahon Was The Voice of Kai En Tai
They were an “evil” faction made up of Funaki and Taka Michinoku — at least, that’s what was left after the group had slowly dwindled down. Never seen as anything more than an enhancement tag team, they were paraded out on RAW and as a comedic team reminiscent of old kung fu movies where American actors voices were overdubbed (and badly) to the actors on screen. It was actually kind of funny.
What Vince probably doesn’t want you to know, is that the Commissioner of SmackDown Live, Shane McMahon was that voiceover talent. When Kai En Tai came out to the ring, they’d move their mouths and Shane-O-Mac would fill in the blanks. The WWE could have picked anyone to do that, but for some reason, Shane was chosen (or volunteered because it was his idea).
9. Big Show Has Achondroplasiaphobia
Achondroplasiaphobia is known as a condition where the affected person is afraid of little people, midgets or dwarves. It’s completely ironic that the biggest athlete in all of sports entertainment, is afraid of someone one-fifth his size, yet, being around guys like Hornswoggle creep the Big Show right out.
There are a few wrestlers who have bugged the Big Show about his condition. Both Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar have ribbed the giant and ensured he’s had more than his fair share of run-ins with the little guys. Brock Lesnar actually invited a midget friend of his over for dinner once and asked his little buddy to continually steal pieces of Big Show’s dinner. Imagine that dinner setting. The biggest man in wrestling, one of the smallest and “The Beast Incarnate.”
8. Chris Jericho Arrested For Public Intoxication
It used to be commonplace for wrestlers to go out on the town and drink too much. Now, with social media, it’s not nearly as easy to get away with getting a bit out of control. That happened one evening when Chris Jericho and former WWE wrestler Gregory Helms (the Hurricane) were out on the town drinking. They had too much and while in the back of a taxi cab decided to fight with each other and others in the cab.
They were both arrested and released on a $120 bail. Today, this type of behaviour is frowned upon by Vince McMahon and if the company had their own list, they would have placed Jericho on it. Fortunately, Jericho was an established star and the minor incident didn’t really affect his standing in the company. It brought new meaning to the phrase “Drink it in man…”
7. Referee Mike Chioda Failed A Wellness Policy Exam
We hear about wrestlers failing the WWE Wellness Policy tests all the time and the WWE discusses their suspensions with a quick statement on their website. After 30 days, that wrestler returns and all is (hopefully) back to normal. Well, the policy extends to referees too.
Referee Mike Chioda failed a test in 2011 and was suspended for 30 days. The WWE never said why and it wasn’t really talked about, but it goes to show one of two things. Either the refs are run hard, traveling, setting up the ring and being involved in a ton of productions that require they help themselves get through the schedule, or, the refs get involved in a lot of the backstage controversy as well.
6. The People’s Elbow Wasn’t Created On Purpose
The Rock is one of the most recognized WWE Superstars of all time. He’s not a full-time competitor, but now one of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities, he can appear where he wants and no one really cares. That’s given him the freedom to dive back in and help the WWE from time to time. That he didn’t feel he could associate himself with the WWE as he rose to the top doesn’t sit well with McMahon.
That said, when The Rock was a full-time competitor, he was constantly working on different ideas at live shows. The People’s Elbow was one of those ideas. He did it as a joke and it got a bit of a reaction. He tried it a few more times until finally, Mick Foley dared him to do it on a live program. He did and the rest was history. It’s probably the most ridiculous move in the history of wrestling, but it helped make The Rock a huge star. McMahon probably wants you to think The Rock was a pure genius, but in some cases, his success was a total fluke.
5. Randy Orton Was Discharged From Marine Corps
With how big on promoting the troops Vince McMahon is and the lengths to which he goes to ensure people know he’s a full-blooded American helping those who sacrifice for the country, it can’t sit well that one of his top stars in Randy Orton was discharged from the United States Marine Corps for bad conduct.
In fact, Orton has a reputation for being a bit of a jerk. It’s a reputation he fully admits to having deserved, but he says now that he’s much calmer and that his new wife has really put him in his place. He also says he’s learning from his past mistakes. We’d like to believe this, except, Orton still has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth on social media. It goes to show that his discharge was probably well deserved.
4. Maryse Had Run-In With Paparazzi
In 2008, when Maryse was trying to do a good thing by posing for a photo with a fan in a wheelchair, she was surprised out of nowhere and approached by a paparazzi photographer who jumped in to grab an untimely photo. When Maryse refused, the photographer went on a public rant that Maryse was “too good” to take pictures with disabled people.
It was totally untrue and the incident left Maryse in tears, but it was a bad look for the WWE all the same. Before the truth had surfaced, rumors had spread that Maryse was not a very nice person and was dissing fans, especially those with disabilities. Clearly, it hasn’t affected her long-term standing with the company and she’s probably learned a lesson or two about paparazzi, but the WWE would probably rather fans not know this incident ever took place. Their standing with Make a Wish and anti-bullying means they can’t be associated to such incidences.
3. Jeff Hardy Was Arrested And Violated Wellness Policy Twice
Jeff Hardy is back in the WWE and the company is hoping to take advantage of his popularity to make new matches where his daredevil type style will be on full display. They have plans for a Hell in the Cell bout at an upcoming pay per view. While he’s clean now, they’d also like you to forget he has a history of drug violations.
In 2009, Hardy was arrested on the grounds of drug trafficking and had upwards of $2500 in drug-related pills and paraphernalia around his home. He was fined $100,000 and served 10 days in jail. He later had an issue showing up to a match in TNA completely unfit to wrestle and it took him a long time to defeat his personal demons. He’s doing much better now and McMahon hopes to keep things that way.
2. Roman Reigns Was Arrested
Before becoming a big star, Roman Reigns had his trouble with the law and internal company policies. In 2010, he was arrested for disorderly conduct, intoxication, affray, unlawful assembly and riot. Basically, he was drunk in public and got caught fighting. He later failed the WWE Wellness Policy and was suspended for 30 days.
For whatever reason, McMahon still has Reigns pegged to be his future star and it seems to appear that no matter what the former member of The Shield does, he’s still near the top of the list for bankable stars. McMahon probably doesn’t want fans to know that Reigns has been caught doing these things and that McMahon himself is so willing to overlook them. It’s called preferential treatment and it’s something the WWE doesn’t want fans to think exists.
1. Triple H Has Better Grasp On Product Than Vince
Vince McMahon is hanging on to his company for dear life. Most fans will tell you if asked, they believe that the Chairman has lost his touch when it comes to booking, storylines and creating Superstars. These same people believe the company is much better off in the hands of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Both are being groomed to take over and one day it will happen. McMahon simply isn’t ready for that day yet. He and Triple H are often at odds about ideas and Triple H has to walk a fine line when it comes to what he pushes for and what he lets slide. McMahon is still the boss and Triple H doesn’t want to jeopardize anything he has coming to him. McMahon would like you to believe the transition is a smooth one, but that’s not always the case.
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