Once, kayfabe in wrestling was held sacred. Wrestlers lived by the code to never let anyone know wrestling wasn’t for real, no matter what. Guys would even keep their own families in the dark and go to extremes (like the Wild Samoans letting themselves get arrested rather than speak English) to keep this up. In the 21st century, that’s pretty much died out as WWE and others openly acknowledge wrestling is all a big show. Also, thanks to social media, fans are far more attuned to the backstage goings-on and thus know the real lives of wrestlers intimately. While some guys try to keep up the act, it’s pretty much passé and with it many of the old-styled rules and codes of conduct. There’s also how a lot of that stuff (including harsh hazing) is looked down on a lot more today with word getting out about how nasty it can be.
However, there is still a code in WWE that every worker is expected to follow. A tradition has long been a “wrestler’s court” which gets together to judge co-workers on anything from bad behavior to who they date and it shows that a lack of respect from your co-workers is not going to be healthy to your long-term career. Indeed, the more you follow these codes, the better the respect which can help you out a lot. WWE may be family friendly and “corporate” but they’re still a wrestling company and hold to traditions that have been around long before Vince McMahon took over. Here are 15 strange backstage codes that WWE workers hold to and showcasing how wrestling maintains some control over their guys.View article on one page
One rule that’s pretty much died out has been that heels and faces never travel together. WWE learned that the hard way when Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the Iron Sheik were pulled over together and the news of the rivals traveling together was bigger than the bust. Today, the Network even has a show of wrestlers riding together so you’ll see guys who are on-screen rivals as road buddies. However, there are still rules when it comes to travel. First of all, you accept that the main eventers always fly first class. It makes sense as they bring in the big bucks and the bigger stars and most can accept this.
A few other codes hold for travel, one being that if you’re in the passenger seat, you don’t fall asleep. No one’s sure why but that’s how it is, if you want a nap, get a seat in the rear.
And yes, you do have to call things like the right bed in a hotel if you’re sharing with someone. Also, there’s a basic rule you never travel with your off-screen romantic interest if you have a ride set with some other guys. Odd as it may seem, the rules of the road are a real deal with WWE stars.
14Hide the Belt
Every wrestler has admitted that when they win their first championship, their initial instinct is to carry it around everywhere. And even those who have multiple titles still get that thrill of showing it off. The way you see them in promos, it’s only natural to assume they’d go around with such titles constantly but in reality, that’s majorly frowned on. Many cite how you never see boxers or even UFC guys carrying title belts non-stop, so wrestling shouldn’t do the same. That includes the locker room
Some have learned the hard way that flaunting the title around when you’re not on camera gets you a chilly reception.
Hulk Hogan famously played a prank on the Big Show by having him walk through an airport with the WCW World title and Show was ribbed mercilessly for it by the locker room. Showing the belt off a lot makes you seem a huge egotist which won’t win you many friends in the back so unless there are cameras around, champions know you keep that title under wraps.
13Keep Your Boots Dirty
Here’s a clear case of something that was started back in the “good old days” and just stuck around. Way back when, wrestlers really did travel around and often in “arenas” that were barely more than run-down gyms or studios. They used their own gear constantly to the point of wearing them down a lot with all the travel and work. Somehow, it got around that having a clean pair of boots meant you were vain and it was a sign you didn’t work as hard in the ring. It may sound weird but it somehow stuck and that’s a reason you saw some old-time guys wiping their boots on their way to the ring.
Today, WWE wants their workers looking great and trying slews of outfits, including plenty of footwear. However, it’s still something of a code to not clean them that often and never have them scuff-free. Bizarre as it sounds, having dirty shoes is seen as a sign of respect in the locker room.
12Never Lose A Real Fight
Back in 1995, Vader was seen as one of the toughest men in all of wrestling. But then he got into a fight with Paul Orndorff who, despite being a decade older, easily beat Vader while wearing flip-flops. Vader never recovered from that, his reputation as a tough guy forever shattered. That is a throwback to an old code that a wrestler should be as tough outside the ring as he seems to be in it. Thus, if you get into a real fight, you better win it or lose major face.
Another famous case is also from 1995 when Shawn Michaels was pummelled by some Marines at a bar. Bill Watts openly said if he was in charge of WWE, he’d have fired Michaels on the spot for losing that fight.
It still comes up as you’ll hear of locker room clashes and guys going at it for real. Wrestling is built on perception so if you can’t back up being tough in a real fight, no one is going to respect you for losing a fake one.