The WWE machine just keeps on turning, despite these ridiculous rules you’ll read about in just a minute, the company continues to do business better than anyone else in the industry - for that reason, they stand alone and when it comes to profitability, nobody comes remotely close to the WWE. Although we critique the company, the fact remains that McMahon's empire is insanely profitable with increasing stock prices along with worldwide expansion continuing to grow. The machine keeps getting larger and larger, kudos to the WWE and Vince for that.
However, if you dig a little deeper, there’s a lot wrong with the company starting with contractual obligation of their employees, we’ll touch base on lots of those elements throughout the article. We’ll also assess some ridiculous rules the talents must follow when at their work setting; whether it be banned words or needing to memorize a script - these rules that are quite baffling, especially for fans that watched the product during the 90s at its highest point in terms of ratings.
From banned terminology to not being able to sleep on a plane ride, these are some of the dumbest rule you’ll ever read about. Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado, here are 15 ridiculous rules Vince wants his employees (or independent contractors) to follow. Let’s get started!
15 No Royalties For WWE Network Content
A tough rule that current and former talents need to follow is the fact that they get no additional bonuses for their content airing on the WWE Network. Due to the term “independent contractor” in one’s contract, the WWE basically holds the rights to all your content, even when you leave the company.
We’ve seen the WWE get taken to court numerous times over the years for injury related lawsuits, however recently, former WCW stars Buff Bagwell and Raven filed a lawsuit against the WWE for failed royalty payments, the two former wrestlers took exception for DVD appearances that they were not compensated for. It seems like there’s no settlement to come from it and once again, the WWE will have their way based off this ridiculous rule.
14 Everyone That Isn’t In-Ring Talent Can’t Sleep While Travelling
Based on various stories we’ve heard from the past, it’s pretty obvious that Vince isn’t your average Joe behind the scenes. Seriously, the guy looks at food as strictly fuel for his body, don’t even think about having him eat something unhealthy even now into his 70s - he’s a different breed.
Jim Cornette stated a bizarre rule that Vince has his non-talent follow behind the scenes, according to Cornette, those that weren’t wrestlers were not allowed to sleep during long haul flights as it was viewed as not only disrespectful to the talent but also, it showed a sign of weakness according to Vince. Obviously, McMahon set the example for the rule hardly even closing an eye on long haul flights, he was all business then and still is today. Oh, and he hates sneezing, it shows sings of weakness... we're not kidding.
13 Talent Not Compensated For Appearances Outside Of The WWE TV
Ever wonder how much John Cena gets paid to show up on Jimmy Fallon? Or how much Roman Reigns gets paid to show up the morning after ‘Mania for the Today Show? Well, the figure might surprise you and it’s the same for all talent: a grand total of zero dollars.
Based on this ridiculous rule, according to a WWE contract all dates outside of the company are included in one’s contract. There are exceptions, however; Brock Lesnar is one lucky dude as he only has limited dates to work per year and that includes appearances outside of the WWE TV, he’s one of the few to have such a clause however. As for the others, at the very least they get free accommodations and travel when making the PR appearance, however it’s still baffling that Vince doesn’t give his talents any type of bonus.
12 Talent Must Arrive Hours Before The Show
This has been a rule the WWE has made their talent follow for years now, WWE Superstars are obligated to show up hours in advance for a show. Several talents hate the fact that they’re obligated to sit around and do nothing for several hours before the show takes place.
The WWE does hold a catering section which allows the talents to waste some time, however, many would rather get in and get out of the WWE cafeteria as it’s regarded as a high school type of club nowadays, a place where wrestlers just go to hang out and shoot the breeze basically. Superstars like Dean Ambrose stated that when it comes to the catering, he simply gets his food and leaves making little talk with the others. Instead, he chooses to put on his ear phones and just vibe out for several hours - man must that ever be dull.
11 New System Of Writers Dealing With The Talent
Back in the day, the WWE wrote their shows weeks in advance and in fact; Brisco, Patterson and Vince would write an entire show pool side while staying at a hotel - man oh man how times have changed.
Nowadays, Vince has completely altered the pattern. Due to gossip and leaked storylines always finding their way to the fans, Vince has decided to now use a week by week style of booking, so basically, every Monday night the talent has no idea what they’re doing. The new style has lead to some backlash from numerous talents, Big Show was none too pleased about this new style claiming her arrives to the show hours before with no clue what he’s doing only to be handed complete crap, his own words. Sasha Banks is another Superstar that has been skeptical about this ridiculous system as well.
10 Backstage Skits Shot Before The Show
If you’ve ever arrived to a show earlier, you can clearly see WWE cameras already rolling and taping backstage skits just by looking at some of their production screens. This is another ridiculous rule McMahon has his talents follow, there’s even a promo area intended to shoot vignettes before the show. For long-time wrestling fans, you’re likely well aware this wasn’t always the case however.
Back in the 90s and into the early 2000s, most of the skits were all organic, adding that element of outrageousness we loved dearly. Who can forget Superstars like The Rock specifically demanding to go live so he can more time to recite his promo on live television? Nowadays, everything is to the tee when it comes to time and that includes promos, for that reason almost all of them are shot beforehand. The result, more scripted stuff we can do without!
9 Banned Words
One of the most ridiculous rules current WWE Superstars must follow and that includes the commentators is avoiding some specific terms. So naturally, you would think those banned words were terms that weren’t acceptable for a PG climate, however, that’s not the case at all. Old school terminology for the most part isn’t acceptable any longer, gone are the days that you can a rivalry a feud. Other ridiculous banned words included DQ, US (must use United States), faction, performance and the business.
Recently, we even saw talent (another word you can’t use), reprimanded for using the word “wrestlers”. According to recent speculation, Vince was none too pleased that The Revival used the outdated term during their recent promo on Raw. Yup, pro wrestler is banned, but Superstar, star and athlete is a go....
8 Merchandise Of A Superstar Still Available After Their Release
According to a WWE contract, a Superstar has a 90 day no-compete clause following a release. Many dislike the clause and don’t understand why it’s implemented, however, just by taking a look at a WWE contract, it becomes rather clear.
According to the verbiage, a Superstar’s merchandise has an extra 90 days to be sold following a release. So basically, the company tries to profit off your name as much as they can once you’re released. Take Austin Aries for example, his merchandise sold for dirt cheap following his dismissal from the company - all a tactic by the WWE to make as much as they possibly could off the wrestler. At the end of the day it’s all about business and the WWE does it better than anyone else, even with their ridiculous rules.
7 Flawed Contract Terms
In the world of pro sports, the top players make the top dollars. Age and experience really doesn’t matter anymore, if you’re the best player, you’re making the most money despite the experience factor. The same goes for the older players who scale back on their productivity, their compensated as such inking lower level deals. Take the NHL for example, Connor McDavid, a player in his early 20s and makes over $12.5 million a year, while a veteran on his team of 35 years of age, Mike Cammalleri makes $1 million. That’s the way it should be.
The WWE however, still keeps up with their outdated form of paying Superstars. Ridiculously enough, Big Show, The Undertaker and Mark Henry are some of the top earners despite hardly being showcased on the show, while fantastic workhorse performer’s such as Cesaro make half the salary. It’s a ridiculous rule and one that needs to be changed sooner rather than later.
6 WWE Owns Rights To A Superstar's Name
WWE recently got a taste of their own medicine from Impact Wrestling as they struggled to get the rights back pertaining to Broken Matt’s name, instead; they were forced into changing the verbiage, hence "Woken" Matt.
It doesn’t get talked about enough, but it’s ridiculous that a WWE contract states that names are trademarked by the company. For that reason, the company will change an indie wrestler’s name just so they can own the rights. Thankfully, those measures weren’t taken with A.J. Styles, he was a rare exception.
We most recently saw a ridiculous story however with Cody Rhodes not being able to use his family name independently, due to the fact that his real name is Cody Runnels, so basically the Rhodes part was trademarked by the WWE. It’s a ridiculous rule no matter how you look at it.
5 Contractually Regarded As Independent Contractors
One of the most ridiculous rules employees must follow is the fact that they’re regarded as “independent contractors” according to a WWE contract. The rule is absolutely ridiculous given the fact that Superstars are compensated for benefits such as travel insurance and health insurance pertaining to injuries. The WWE has stayed consistent with the term for the last 25 years.
Past Superstars like Jesse Ventura tried to challenge the notion, Jesse even attempted to start a wrestlers union against the company, though he was reprimanded and released for trying to do so. We don’t expect the WWE to change the clause as it benefits them as a company, though it’s ridiculous that the talent isn’t regarded as company employees given their work rate and benefits.
4 Keeping Kayfabe Alive On The Road
Back in the day, keeping kayfabe alive outside of the ring was absolutely essential. Who can forget the incident that saw Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan riding together on the road and getting caught - the result, both were released for a short while. It was admirable back in the day, however nowadays, following the same rule is a little ridiculous.
Don’t get us wrong, travelling with a future opponent shouldn’t be tolerated, however a heel being unable to ride with face is truly baffling. With all the social media content and backstage access we have, such a rule makes no sense. This is the same company that showed us Finn Balor and Kevin Owens hugging before a show along with Goldberg and Triple H sharing a moment. With such content available on the regular, it’s a pretty ridiculous rule nowadays when you really think about it.
3 Responsible For Their Own Ground Travel
This is when the term independent contractor really kicks in, if you were an employee of a company, by law, the WWE would be eligible to pay for all ground travel and hotel accommodations. Instead, due to the independent contractor label, the company basically gets to pick and choose what to pay for. The WWE pays for all of its talents airfare, however, ground travel such as renting a car or paying for a cab comes out of the pocket of a Superstar, unless it’s for a PR type situation, in those circumstances the WWE arranges to pick you up.
Hotel bookings is also taken care of by the talent, one can only imagine the stress a younger wrestler has to go through when making the jump to the main roster. Thankfully, that only kicks in on the main roster as NXT covers ground travel for the younger wrestlers supplying the talent with a tour bus when on the road.
2 Can’t Sue For Injuries
The WWE does pay for a Superstar's rehab stint, however, a WWE contract states that you’re taking your own risk when stepping into the ring and that the company isn’t susceptible to any further damages, meaning, you can’t sue them for something that went horribly wrong. Tyson Kidd was a recent example of that as he had his career end after sustaining a terrible Musclebuster which resulted in a broken neck. Several former Superstars including Ryback demanded the WWE compensate Kidd properly or he should sue the company. After months of being left in the dark, Kidd opted not to sue and reached an agreement with the WWE behind the scenes.
The WWE doesn’t always get away with these situations however; the Owen Hart incident saw the WWE dish out $18 million due to a defective harness, which was deemed the WWE’s fault.
1 Memorize Scripts For Promos
One of the toughest parts of the current WWE product is watching how scripted everything seems to be. Back in the day, Superstars were given basic bullet points; everything else was entirely organic leading to some of the greatest segments ever. Nowadays, the landscape has changed drastically.
Since Stephanie decided to hire Hollywood type writers, the company now issues the talent to memorize promos. They’re even told which specific cameras to look into, the hard camera is the area a wrestler must look at when shooting a promo. Who else misses the days of Stone Cold walking around ring as the cameraman desperately tried to follow him for a decent shot. Today, we settle for the New Day standing in a straight line and starring into the hard camera without barely moving their feet and just thrusting their hips as they look into the main camera.