Wrestling doesn’t differ from any other industry in some ways. Regardless of talent, it often comes down to connections in the business. Throughout the years, there have been plenty of talents who earned their spot on the roster simply due to an insider who put in a good word for them. And the more connections you make, the more likely you prosper as a wrestler to the point where you become one of the names calling the shots. Once wrestlers reach that level, many have abused their power to fire someone else.
From WCW to WWE, we have seen it happen countless times even when the company attempts to hide that piece of information. Every wrestling fan is familiar with the term “heat” and it’s far from being a myth. If you have heat with a jobber, the company won’t care much, if at all. But if someone gets on the nerves of those in power, then they may be doomed for the future.
The same is also true for the hiring process, Vince McMahon probably doesn’t care for Jack Gallagher’s recommendations, but you can bet that he may act on an advice from John Cena. When these wrestlers get hired through peer suggestion, they’re more likely to be given greater opportunities to succeed, although not evert single one is able to capitalize as evident by some names on this list.
With today’s article we look at 8 wrestlers who got another wrestler hired and 7 who got others fired.
15. Got Them Hired – Shawn Michaels: Kevin Nash
Before Kevin Nash joined forces with Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan to rule the wrestling world, he was struggling to find an identity in WCW. Nash went through three different gimmicks in a span of two years, all of which failed terribly.
In 1993, Nash sought a new opportunity with the WWE after his friend Shawn Michaels had put in a good word for him with Vince McMahon. Once he was hired, Nash once again adapted a new persona with a different look, but it worked out for himself this time as he became known as Diesel.
He would serve as Michaels’ bodyguard and then later on his tag team partner before they started feuding and went their different ways. While Michaels would stick with WWE for the remainder of his career, Nash went back to WCW to form nWo and the rest is history.
14. Got Them Fired – Brock Lesnar: Mr Perfect
Following the death of WCW, several superstars had joined WWE to welcome a new era. Integration didn’t go as smoothly as Vince McMahon had hoped with some trouble brewing, most notably the infamous Plane Ride from Hell. The event arguably altered the culture in WWE with several faces being gone afterwards. The old school methods still prevailed at the time, making it an unwelcoming environment for new talents.
One of the many incidents on the plane took place when Mr. Perfect challenged Brock Lesnar to a real fight, claiming that he was the superior amateur wrestler and capable of taking him down. Things went as one would expect with Lesnar having the clear advantage, and the two had to be separated. It was revealed that both were drunk at the time, as well as the majority of the wrestlers on the plane. As the veteran, Mr. Perfect was blamed for the fight and released from the company.
13. Got Them Hired – Enzo Amore: Liv Morgan
Enzo Amore went from being one of the most over wrestlers to become one of the most hated in the WWE. In recent times, he has gained back some momentum following a successful run in the cruiserweight division. He has also lost popularity within the WWE locker room with Enzo reportedly having heat with top officials and Superstars.
Enzo was signed in 2012 after a tryout video made its way to Triple H who was impressed with his mic skills. He started training at NXT before making his on-screen debut in 2013. Enzo was dating Liv Morgan at the time, and passed on her name to WWE officials to successfully get her a tryout. Morgan made the most of her opportunity by impressing with her abilities to also sign a WWE contract.
12. Got Them Fired – Randy Orton & John Cena: Mr Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy has become a forgotten name for the most part, but he was supposed to be the next big star in WWE. Known for his mic skills, Kennedy had a bright future ahead of him after winning the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2009. Things took a sudden turn for the rising star during a tag team where he was accused of dropping Randy Orton on his neck.
According to Kennedy, it was John Cena, also part of the match, who encouraged Orton to complain to management about Kennedy being dangerous in the ring. Major storylines had been planned for him but he was shockingly released from the WWE. Kennedy denied the accusations and still doesn’t understand what truly happened, claiming that Orton and himself had been close friends. Eight years since the tag team match, WWE hasn’t contacted him for a return with the two stars responsible for his release still being around.
11. Got Them Hired – Batista: Titus O’Neil
Before Titus O’Neil began his wrestling journey, he was neighbors with former WWE Superstar Batista who suggested to him a career change, claiming that he could likely land a job with the company. O’Neil didn’t exactly take his words seriously until he accidentally passed by WWE’s training centre, which captured his interest.
He spoke to Batista about his interest in pursuing a new career, and O’Neil began training just two weeks later with the WWE. Since assisting in hiring O’Neil, Batista has also been there to provide him with advice.
When WWE suspended O’Neil following his incident with Vince McMahon during Daniel Bryan’s retirement, Batista came to his friend’s defense and was extremely upset about the punishment. He even advised O’Neil to quit the company, but he didn’t follow his words this time.
10. Got Them Fired – John Cena: Kenny Dykstra
The love triangle of John Cena, Kenny Dykstra and Mickie James seems to go unnoticed by most fans. It happened just a couple years ago when Cena was still the full-time face of WWE, while Dykstra was just starting as a singles competitor following a failed run with the infamous Spirit Squad. Dykstra and James had been dating until she started seeing Cena behind her partner’s back.
Upon finding out, Dykstra didn’t take the news well as one would expect, lashing out at both Cena and James. Many believe that Dykstra was let go shortly after due to his real life heat with Cena. He remained bitter about the situation and spoke out against both in several interviews. This past year, he briefly returned to the WWE but his run didn’t last too long as he was let go once again. It’s safe to say that his career never truly recovered since his tensions rose with Cena.
9. Got Them Hired – Mark Henry: Braun Strowman
Before he became The Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman was competing at the Arnold Strongman Classic, where he developed a friendship with WWE Superstar Mark Henry. Strowman won the competition and managed to impress Henry, not only for his strength but also his ability to entertain.
Unlike other competitors, Strowman had charisma that captured everybody’s attention. Henry immediately saw his potential as a wrestler and contacted WWE officials to introduce them to him. Shortly after, Strowman was signed by the company and joined the Performance Center to begin his training.
Strowman has become one of the top Superstars today, and remains close friends with Mark Henry. Earlier this year, they competed in a match on Monday Night Raw in which Strowman proved he was the stronger man.
8. Got Them Fired – Ryback: Cameron
Prior to Ryback’s WWE departure, he created some drama that made its way to the public. As he negotiated a contract with the company, some disputes surfaced during the negotiations to stall the ongoing talks. Once the story leaked to the public, everyone from fans to writers to former wrestlers had an opinion regarding the situation. Ryback also published a statement to which former WWE Superstar Cameron replied to with “amen brother!”
WWE officials were far from satisfied that she had supported Ryback and there was instant heat that led to her release from the company. While Ryback may be technically innocent from this standpoint, the release was connected to him, costing Cameron a job with the company. Ryback didn’t last too long either before he departed from Vince McMahon’s kingdom to pursue a run in the independent scene. Both Superstars may have burned a bridge with the company and are unlikely to return.
7. Got Them Hired – Pat Patterson: The Rock
The Rock has always credited Pat Patterson as one of his mentors and most influential figures in his career. If it wasn’t for him, it’s entirely possible that The Rock would have never existed.
Patterson had been a friend of the family for years and knew him since he was a kid, so when he got a call from The Rock that he started training to become a wrestler, Patterson went to watch his workout. He was immediately impressed and spoke to Vince McMahon to let him know about his newest prospect who could become a major draw.
It didn’t take for The Rock to be hired after meeting up with McMahon and his WWE career was off to a quick start. Patterson continued to be instrumental to The Rock’s career as a mentor and by helping create an all-time great storyline between him and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
6. Got Them Fired – Kurt Angle: Daniel Puder
After winning the fourth season of Tough Enough, many fans had high hopes for Daniel Puder. But it seems like his ego was already out of place since he got on the nerves of SmackDown’s top figures, which eventually led to his release. During an episode of the show, Kurt Angle had issued an open challenge to Tough Enough contestants where he took care of business as he was supposed to.
Puder stepped into the ring, and of course he was supposed to let Angle handle him, but instead managed to put him in a kimura lock, which is so dangerous that Angle was seconds away from tapping out or breaking his arm and likely in need of a surgery. However, the referee quickly counted to three, with Puder’s shoulder barely on the mat, giving Angle the win.
5. Got Them Hired – Kevin Nash: Torrie Wilson
Although Kevin Nash didn’t have the best of times during his first run with WCW, his second stint would prove to be much kinder to him as he went on to become a multiple time World Champion with creative power. At one point, it’s highly believed that Nash was running things and called most of the shots, including his victory over Goldberg to end the undefeated streak.
While many former WCW Superstars have previously spoken out against Nash by claiming that he held them back after abusing his creative power, there are others who did benefit such as Torrie Wilson.
When Nash met her, she was simply watching the show with her boyfriend and Nash met the couple backstage, instantly offering Wilson a role on the show due to her sex appeal. She took the offer and would rely on her looks to have an impressive run for the next 10 years.
4. Got Them Fired – Triple H And Stephanie McMahon: Chyna
During the Attitude Era, Chyna was one of the biggest draws in wrestling, pioneering a new era for women in WWE. Following successful runs with D-Generation X and Eddie Guerrero, her career went downhill faster than anyone could have imagined. From 1996 until 2000, Chyna had been dating Triple H, who cheated on her with Stephanie McMahon and that changed the course of her career.
It’s been reported that Chyna flipped out on both, especially once she found out that plenty of WWE officials and Superstars had been aware. Rumors claim that following a heated discussion with Triple H, and later on Vince McMahon, she was sent home and then let go from the company through a fax. There have been conflicting reports over the years with others claiming that it was a disagreement over salary, but considering the fact that Chyna was mostly erased from history, most would agree that Triple H and Stephanie had a hand in her departure.
3. Got Them Hired – Sting: Goldberg
While plenty of Superstars dreamed of growing up to become professional wrestlers, Goldberg wasn’t one of them. He played in the NFL for several years before an injury left him out of the league. While he had hopes of making it back, it would never happen as he was spotted by WCW star Sting during training. Goldberg was advised by Sting to pursue a wrestling career, which he did that very same year.
Sting put in a good word for Goldberg with WCW officials who were highly interested in his services, and he would barely receive wrestling training before making his on-screen debut for the company. Goldberg would go on to have an undefeated streak of 173 matches before he lost to Kevin Nash. Goldberg was arguably the most popular wrestler at one point before his buzz began fading away due to bad booking, so the WCW can thank Sting for that.
2. Justin Roberts Got Daniel Bryan Fired
In 2010, The Nexus made one hell of a debut when they invaded Raw to raise hell and leave. The angle generated fan excitement and created plenty of hype for the new Superstars, but one incident didn’t go unnoticed.
As the stable attacked everyone from Superstars to staff, one of the victims was WWE announcer Justin Roberts who had been laid out on the floor. He was spotted by Daniel Bryan who proceeded to choke him with a tie, making for an uncomfortable watch.
Although he was truly being choked by Bryan and struggled to create a separation between his neck and the tie, Roberts wasn’t the one to complain. He was on board with the angle along with Vince McMahon, but it was one of the WWE sponsors that complained about the graphic scene which got Daniel Bryan fired. Roberts indirectly had Bryan released even though there was nothing that he could do, but he will always be associated with that incident.
1. Jerry Lawler Got The Kat Hired
The Kat was hired by WWE during the Attitude Era when wrestling was at its peak as far as popularity. At the time, most women were hired for their looks as women’s wrestling wasn’t the focus of the show. She didn’t have any wrestling background but what she did have was a strong connection within the company.
She had been married to commentator Jerry Lawler who spoke with WWE officials to have her signed with the company. Her run would only last two years before being released from WWE, which angered Lawler who quit in protest. The couple divorced shortly after and Lawler would return to the WWE to continue working for years to come.
She quit the wrestling industry, which isn’t surprising at all considering she didn’t have much to offer at all. Many have accused her of being a gold digger, claiming that she used Lawler to achieve success.
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