The job of Vince McMahon and the WWE production team is to create Superstars the WWE Universe will fall in love with. Whether it's stars who garner admiration from fans who enjoy a good beating handed out by Brock Lesnar or Braun Strowman, fans who can't wait for the next verbal joust by Roman Reigns or John Cena, or fans who dig the entrances of entertainers like Bobby Roode or Shinsuke Nakamura. Whatever your reason is to love these characters, the WWE and their marketing department have found something that connects and resonates with you and for that reason you've become a fan. One of the other jobs of Vince McMahon and company is to hide each of their wrestler's faults. This doesn't mean that no wrestler can ever make a mistake. To make a mistake is to be human, but there are some things that are simply better left unknown.
For every squeaky clean competitor like Bayley, there are trouble-making talents like Paige. For every Make-A-Wish champion like John Cena, there is a Randy Orton that has a reputation for being a jerk to the fans. There are guys who seemingly don't get along with anyone backstage and there are wrestlers who seem disgruntled but are actually happy with their position in the company. The idea of Kayfabe (wrestlers always being in character) is long gone, but certain plans and stories are more effective when the WWE Universe is left ignorant to all of the behind-the-scenes details.
Below is a list of 20 WWE Superstars and their issues the company probably doesn't want us to focus on. These items include some pretty obvious flaws or secrets that have been speculated in the news for some time but also others that may be newsworthy. Didn't know this about your favorite star? Good, that's probably the way WWE would like to keep it. Enjoy, share and comment with any we might have missed.
20 Matt Hardy Is Currently In A Legal Battle
There is no real certainty as to what's happening with either Anthem Sports or the Global Force Wrestling brand and from week to week we have no idea what's happening with Matt Hardy. The WWE still doesn't want anyone to know that the whole "Broken" gimmick is being held up by a copyright owned by Anthem.
The WWE would prefer to either get the gimmick in some quick sale if Anthem sells GFW or completely ditch the "Broken" gimmick and do something of their own with Matt. It appears the second option is the direction the WWE is taking and Matt has released a number of "Woken" promos recently. If it were up to the WWE, "Broken" would be a banned word like "wrestler" or "fans".
19 Brock Lesnar Is Only About The Money
Brock Lesnar doesn't give a hoot about the WWE, the fans or the industry as long as any of the above combinations are making him a boat load of money. Sure, Lesnar is working for a living and like any valuable employee he is negotiating a deal based on what he believes he is worth. Still, it would be nice for WWE fans to believe that Lesnar actually cares about wrestling and the sports entertainment business and that this isn't all about money.
The fact that everyone knows Lesnar works one of the lightest schedules in the business and will simply drop everything and leave if the circumstances aren't to his liking show the fragility in falling in love with his character and cheering for him as a long-term WWE Superstar. One day he could be WWE, the next day UFC, and then maybe a farmer. One never knows and that's not really a look the WWE likes so much.
18 Jinder Mahal Was A Jobber And Not From India
The WWE is currently pushing Jinder Mahal as their World Champion. He's the prototypical heel from a foreign country that feels oppressed and cheated by the WWE and the fans of America. His reason to fight is that his native country of India isn't getting respect and he's staying the champion both to prove doubters about his ability wrong and to force people to recognize how big and powerful India is.
The only problem with this character is that, not even a year ago, he was losing to wrestlers hand over fist. In 2016, he had 46 total matches and lost 42 of them. Even in 2017, he's had 113 matches and lost 74 of them. His 38 wins have come just recently when the WWE decided to push him for the market of India. Oh, and, he's originally from Canada. If the WWE had their way, you'd forget he was considered a throw-away by the company and was only pushed to build demographics.
17 Paige Can't Help But Find Trouble
Paige may or may not come back to the WWE, but regardless the WWE is simply hoping fans forget that she can't seem to get herself out of trouble. Between her decisions to tape herself getting it on, her "revealing" selfies, dating someone she can never seem to get along with, and then telling fans to mind their own business despite making most of her life public, she is a walking advertisement for how not to act outside the company.
Some of what's happening to Paige isn't necessarily her fault, but there's truth to the theory that trouble finds trouble and Paige continually makes poor decisions. The WWE is hoping everyone overlooks it because the Rock is producing a movie about Paige and her family and this could be good marketing for WWE if Paige can get her act together.
16 John Cena Was A Playboy
Today John Cena is a champion for organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and he's seen regularly on the show Total Bellas as Nikki Bella's future husband. The WWE went to great lengths to use last year's WrestleMania as a stage for Cena to propose to Nikki. Representing kids and becoming a family man, the WWE probably wants to hide how big a playboy Cena was in his earlier WWE days.
Cena was known for hooking up with women up and down the road while traveling and his past divorce was due in large part to his playboy ways. There is a story about how he hooked up with five women at once and that one was a rather large woman that became a running joke with the boys in the locker room. Not exactly an image that matches what the WWE is trying to represent now.
15 Daniel Bryan Plans To Leave
Anyone who calls themselves a behind-the-scenes fan of the WWE knows about Daniel Bryan and his injury issues. It's not really a secret, but the reason he's currently the SmackDown Live GM is because he's not cleared to wrestle due to concussion issues. He's probably happy to be employed, but he's not happy in his current role and his plan is to leave the WWE as soon as his contract expires.
Bryan believes he can still wrestle. He wants to go somewhere that will allow him to do so and because the WWE is holding him back from getting in the ring, he's made no bones about using social media to tell wrestlers from other promotions he'll be coming for them and he intends to lace up the boots again. WWE believes they are doing the right thing here and they don't like that Bryan is so publicly annoyed by his situation. They'd much prefer that this issue not be aired in public.
14 Enzo Amore Rubs Everyone The Wrong Way
While he's popular with the WWE Universe, behind the scenes, Enzo Amore is Enzo Amore's biggest and possibly only fan. He has very few backstage supporters and it won't take long for the WWE to sour on him if he keeps rubbing people the wrong way. One day, he's going to anger someone important who is currently on his bandwagon and they'll jump of faster than a passenger on the Titanic.
The stuff Enzo is doing in front of the cameras (spending crazy money, getting in Twitter wars...) is not actually that big a deal to the WWE because they love the press. It's the fact that wrestlers backstage are starting to gang up on Enzo and no one seems to want to work with him. Enzo needs to find the right mix of "in it to win it" and a "team player". Right now, he's more in it to win it and that's only tolerable for so long.
13 Neville Was Supposed To Be Mighty Mouse
It took Neville a while to find his footing, but today he's easily one of the five best heels in the WWE and single-handedly is making the Cruiserweight Division worth watching. He's found his groove as the "King of the Cruiserweights" and he may stay the champion for a very long time.
But, there was a time that WWE had planned to introduce him to the main roster as a "Mighty Mouse" type character. It would have included a crazy costume and possible headpiece and a cape much "louder" than the one he actually did debut with. The WWE got lucky to have dodged a bullet there and my guess is they'd like us to forget they ever contemplated that idea in the first place. What a disaster that would have been.
12 The Women Are Taken
This doesn't speak for every one of the female competitors in the WWE, but there is a good portion of the Women's Division stars that have significant relationships. Naomi is married to an Uso, Sasha Banks and Bayley have long-term significant others, Carmella is with Big Cass, Alexa Bliss has been dating Buddy Murphy, Natalya has Tyson Kidd and Nia Jaxx is rumored to be dating Byron Saxton.
Vince likely believes that part of what makes these women so attractive to the audience is not just their skills as in-ring competitors, but the appearance that they are attractive and single. Yes, I know, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's just how Vince's mind often operates. If there's some false sense that the "hot" women on TV are not taken, the fans will somehow like them more.
11 Bray Wyatt Allegedly Had An Affair
The fact that Bray Wyatt had his wife leave him over what appears to be an inappropriate relationship with ring announcer Jojo is not great news. What's probably worse for the WWE is that it shed light on the fact that Bray was married and has a dating life. The Wyatt character is supposed to be creepy and mysterious, eating worlds along his path to the destruction of the WWE and its roster. It's hard to believe in a character like that when you know he's parading around town with Jojo and has a family of his own. It's simply two completely different worlds being jammed into one dichotic mess.
If the WWE wanted fans to know that Bray was a family man or had a habit of hooking up with chicks, they'd have stuck him on Facebook or Tinder. If there's one character that should avoid social media (unless it's to say something mysterious) it's Wyatt.
10 Jason Jordan Is Not Kurt Angle's Son
I know this entry is more about kayfabe (separating character from real life) than it is about an actual real-life secret, but the idea that Jason Jordan is Kurt Angle's son was a storyline that the WWE was never going to be able to come back from once they went down that road. And they did.
Since we all already know that the two aren't related, WWE wants one of two things. If they are already regretting this storyline, at some point, they'll want us to forget that they ever thought it up (kind of like when Hornswoggle was Vince McMahon's kid) or they'll hope we just start to view them as father and son and think of Jason Jordan as his own man. That's going to be tricky to do unless Jordan turns on Angle and the whole thing was determined to be a fraud. This was a lose/lose idea for the WWE and I've added it to this list as a bold way to predict what the WWE will be thinking about it in a year's time.
9 The Rock Called CM Punk At A Live Show
The Rock is a huge star and because of it, he gets cut a lot more slack than the typical WWE employee. For instance, there was a time that Dwayne Johnson came back to Raw (not on TV mind you) to shoot a segment for his new project about Paige and her family in front of a live wrestling crowd. He was there after the show ended and going to use the audience as extras.
In an effort to entertain, and after the crowd was loudly chanting CM Punk's name, The Rock thought it would be funny to call Punk while in the middle of the WWE ring. Punk didn't answer but he did go to social media after getting a voice mail and the WWE was not pleased. At the time, the WWE and CM Punk were still at odds and the fact The Rock drew positive attention to Punk (even when not done on live television) was something the company wishes the WWE Universe was never aware of.
8 Tom Phillips Got Caught Sexting
Back in February, popular WWE ring announcer Tom Phillips was busted sending raunchy Instagram posts to a woman who was not his fiancé. While on board a four-hour flight, he sent a note to this woman suggesting he would like to do some naughty things to her and she was informed by her friends that Phillips was actually engaged. Oops! Claiming she didn't know, she publicly uploaded the messages Phillips was sending for the world to see and apologized on behalf of all women to his fiancé.
Phillips immediately set his account to private and neither he nor the WWE made mention of it, but it's not something the WWE wants out there. Surprisingly, Corey Graves poked fun at Phillips on an episode of 205 Live over the incident, but that's as close as anyone has ever come to bringing it up again. This was and is a sweep it under the rug kind of situation for Phillips and the WWE.
7 Titus O'Neil Got Suspended For Ribbing Vince
Titus Worldwide isn't exactly a popular aspect of WWE programming, but it does have its moments. Titus himself is not a terrible wrestler and he has a personality which should make him a marketable star. Unfortunately, the WWE Universe hasn't gotten on board and the WWE is likely not a fan behind the scenes either as Titus made an enemy with the wrong guy.
During Daniel Bryan's goodbye retirement speech on Raw, the entire WWE locker room came out to the stage to show their appreciation and respect. For some unknown reason, Titus thought that would be a good time to rib Vince McMahon and started trying to play fight with him. It was not an image Vince wanted the world to see nor was it respectful to Daniel Bryan's moment. If the WWE could do it over again, they would have just told Titus to keep his hands to himself.
6 JBL Was A Bully
He may no longer be serving his role as SmackDown Live commentator and he may not have been punished by the WWE for speculated instances of backstage bullying and abuse of other wrestlers, but make no mistake, JBL was a bully. There are far too many witness accounts of people intricately describing his antics backstage for him not to be guilty.
This is not something the WWE wants to be known for, especially when you consider they promote an anti-bullying initiative called "Be A Star". Vince McMahon seemed to hold JBL as a dear friend, but his departure as a regular on tv is probably a good thing when it comes to quieting the noise that was made by linking him to such poor behavior.
5 Triple H Is The New Mr. WrestleMania
Mr. WrestleMania is no longer Shawn Michaels. The title of the biggest star at the show of all shows also no longer goes to The Undertaker. That position is now held by none other than Triple H. Many in the WWE Universe are not going to like me saying that, but it's true for one big reason.
Triple H now only shows up to wrestle when whatever feud he gets involved with leads to a match at WrestleMania and a huge payday. He may not have the best record, but he's a huge part of the show and because he's also a major player in putting the show together, including the Hall of Fame and the WrestleMania experience for fans, it makes sense to pass this title on to him. He's too big a part of the biggest show WWE offers to ignore him. But, he and the WWE probably want fans to think Shawn Michaels or the Undertaker forever hold the Mr. WrestleMania title and some always will.
4 Mauro Ranallo Got Bullied By JBL
JBL being gone is a step in the right direction to remove part of the association to the bullying problem that was rampant in the WWE. When it was determined that guys like Bill Demott were abusing the prospects, he took a step back. Anyone else would and should have done the same.
The biggest difference between Demott and JBL is that most Demott's victims are long gone from the WWE. JBL's most recent victim is still a big part of the WWE landscape and while no blame at all can be placed on Ranallo, the WWE is hoping that every time he's seen on television, people don't make the Ranallo/bullying connection. Ranallo is an excellent announcer. He needs to be viewed as only an announcer and not part of a scandal the WWE wants to keep under wraps.
3 Randy Orton Went AWOL
Randy Orton is clearly one of the WWE's biggest superstars of the last decade but he's also got a pretty unattractive history with the military which the WWE would love to keep under wraps. Considering how often the WWE does something for the troops and how pro-military Vince McMahon is, the fact that Orton went AWOL and determined he wasn't ready to die for his country if required, sends mixed signals from someone who has beliefs that are the opposite of the company's.
That said, for a good working relationship to remain intact not everyone needs to agree on everything. Some will say Orton was right for leaving the marines and others won't, but that's something not best decided by the fans, myself or Vince McMahon. That was between the marines and Randy Orton and it's well in the past.
2 Rusev And Lana Are Unhappy
It is widely speculated that Lana and Rusev are unhappy with their current status in the WWE. This could be an angle being cooked up by the company just as well as it could be legit. If it is true, the WWE would rather it not get out to the public, which appears to have already happened.
Rusev is leaving cryptic messages on social media (part of the reason it could be a work) and Lana immediately had to shoot down rumours that the two planned on leaving. Whatever the truth is, both have a legitimate gripe, especially Rusev. He's being buried and he's one of the stronger talents on SmackDown Live. He's strong, charismatic and if you've watched any episodes of Total Divas, has a funny personality. The WWE is missing the boat on him big time.
1 The Undertaker Can't Keep Up
He's "The Phenom". He's the man who went undefeated at WrestleMania until the WWE inexplicably decided to have him lose. He's also the man many have speculated might return even after what looked like a retirement match against Roman Reigns. He's The Undertaker, and unfortunately he's no longer able to keep up in the ring.
If you've seen recent photos of Taker, you'll notice how much the toll of being a professional wrestler for so long has taken on his body. He's clearly one of the best WWE Superstars ever to grace the industry, but he's a shell of what he once was. If the WWE really is planning on having him return for another match, there's no way they'd want the WWE Universe to think that. They'll need to find a way to make him look like he can still go in the ring. That might be a tall order.
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