Much like every other company, WWE has its own set of rules. Those who breach the rules often face the axe, especially when the wrestler is peripheral. Those atop the food chain often get away with breaching the rules as their being punished will lead to negative publicity. With the company ever under the microscope, Steve Austin, Roman Reigns, John Cena, The Rock and CM Punk have been able to retain their positions in the company for doing things Heath Slater and the likes will get the pink slip.
With the mainstream media and WWE Universe themselves constantly nitpicking the company, the rules continue to evolve, with wrestles sometimes failing to keep up with what’s up. Adam Rose and Paige are two such wrestlers, who have claimed that the global leader in sports entertainment have chosen to punish them unfairly. I’ve mentioned those unfortunate wrestlers who have been chastised for breaching a rule they didn’t know existed.
Some rules are more concrete than the others as WWE sometimes lets their wrestlers breach certain rules to advance storylines. I’ve mentioned such circumstances in which WWE themselves made their talents breach the regulations wherever necessary.
The following article discusses 15 things WWE talents are prohibited from doing. With many rules being quite obvious, I’ve tried to discuss only the lesser known things WWE wrestlers are prohibited from knowing. If you think I’ve left out a more important or more controversial rule, you can use the comments’ section to mention those.
15 Talent Dating Staff
We should be clear with what the WWE's dating policy means. WWE talents, which include wrestlers, announcers, valets, etc... are allowed to date each other, BUT talents are not permitted to date anyone on staff. The company has its talents under contract as independent contractors, meaning they are not technically full-time employees of WWE (even though, they essentially wrestle for them full-time). The WWE implemented a policy in 2015 that stated talent and office workers/production staff are not allowed to date each other. Staff workers are permitted to date each other, talents can hook up, but the WWE wants their worlds separate, so there's no conflict of interest in the company.
It's hard for WWE workers of any kind to find time to date outside the industry so some wonder if this is a fair policy.
14 Wearing skimpy outfits
Fans of the New Era often ogle at the outfits The Bellas, Eva Marie and Emma put on, but the Attitude Era and Ruthless Aggression Era Divas wore ring gears that put today’s sexiness to shame. Torrie Wilson, Sable, Dawn Marie, Trish Stratus and Lita all competed in bra and panties matches as frequently as today’s women compete in matches that run over five minutes. Many female talents even flashed on live television, with the WWE producers even hiring plants to take their clothes off to further wrestling segments. With WWE now bragging about their women’s revolution and helping them make history with Hell in a Cell matches, Money in the Bank matches and Ironwomen bouts, making every women wear skimpy outfits and cash in on their glamour isn’t on the cards today. The failure of Emmalina and Eva Marie highlights how far WWE Universe has come.
13 Performing certain moves
Over the years, WWE has banned numerous moves, citing their potential to legitimately hurt the wrestlers. Piledriver, Burning Hammer, Canadian Destroyer, Curb Stomp and chair shots to the skull are a few such moves WWE wrestlers cannot perform. Occasionally, big names such as CM Punk, Kane, The Undertaker and John Cena have breached the rules, but most other wrestlers face serious repercussions in the event of performing one of the banned moves. Many fans censure WWE’s decision to ban such moves as they claim technically sound wrestlers such as AJ Styles, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler and Finn Balor could perform such moves to perfection. However, as fans’ emulating such moves in their backyards could lead to tragedies, WWE will likely never un-ban such moves.
12 Cutting impromptu promos
Back in the day, WWE only gave their wrestlers key points before promos. The Rock, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan didn’t have a paper handed to them before they grabbed the microphones. However, with WWE now micro-managing stuff, they ensure the wrestlers memorize their promos before their entrance music hits. It has resulted in many wrestlers’ producing lacklustre promos in the recent times, with Eva Marie, Titus O’Neil, Kalisto and Roman Reigns all cutting horrible promos before acing the art. WWE never lets their wrestlers cut impromptu promos these days although the likes of The Rock and John Cena are allowed to go off-script sometimes. Even excellent promos The New Day, Breezango, The Usos and Bray Wyatt need to get their promos approved by the backstage staffers before delivering those.
11 Cussing (Special Treatment To Certain Stars)
One of the major changes to the product on the back of WWE turning PG saw them cuss less frequently. References to sex and sex organs were very common during Attitude Era and the frequency went down a tad bit in the Ruthless Aggression Era. However, months go by these days no wrestler cussing on WWE television. WWE only uses four-lettered words only to further already popular storylines. Nikki Bella called Maryse a b***h to further their WrestleMania feud while Brock Lesnar said 's***' in a segment involving Heath Slater to make him look more badass and help the latter gain more momentum. However, with WWE’s average audience age ever on the rise, one wonders if their decision to never let their talents cuss is logical.
10 Consistent selling
WWE’s motto has always been ensuring they don’t give the fans what they want in order to make them come back. However, they’ve always ensured they give the fans what they need to leave the arena contented. Their motto sometimes leaves gaping plot holes, though. In an episode of Raw last year, WWE had Sheamus lay out Apollo Crews backstage; however, as he made his way down the ramp later that night, he didn’t sell the segment enough as he flashed his usual wide smile before being his usual acrobatic self inside the squared circle, leaving the keen observers of the product baffled.
Ensuring the fans get maximum value for their money is an admirable attitude, but WWE should never implemented that by insulting the fans’ intelligence.
9 Using insider lingo
A few months ago, a leaked WWE document from a live show divulged the terms Vince McMahon and co. have banned their wrestlers and on-screen personalities from using. Belt, feud, babyface, heel, strap and title shot are banned as WWE insists wrestlers use their formal alternatives. Many talents have received backstage heat for using the banned terms, according to the grapevine. WWE’s banning the insider lingo on live television is understandable as their talents’ using such terms will confuse the casual fans and those who have just tuned in. As discussed above, a few top-tier talents such as AJ Styles and John Cena have been allowed to flirt with such terms although those terms are never used in their true essence across most WWE Network shows.
8 Leaving early
Even if a certain talent’s segment gets over in the first few minutes of Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT, 205 Live or Pay-Per-Views, they are expected to be in the arena until the end of the show. This is a rule that isn’t a part of any contract; however, it’s a hard-and-fast rule that has existed in WWE for years now. Their insistence on never letting the talents start to their hotel rooms until the end of the show is, in fact, a cunning strategy as WWE may tweak backstage segments and finishes to matches halfway through the show sometimes.
Now former employee, including the vocal ones such as Ryback, Tyler Reks, Justin Roberts and Alberto El Patron, have been seen complaining about this unofficial rule WWE has implemented as most talents clearly know why they’re asked to remain in the arena.
7 Arriving Without Shaking Everyone's Hand
Although the official rules sound understandable, the unofficial rules often weird out those who are not in the business, let alone the company. WWE wrestlers are expected to shake hands with everyone in the room, no matter the size of it. Encouraging the colleagues to get along well with each other and be cordial with the head honchos and even those down the food pyramid is a fantastic idea; however, expecting a person to shake hands with every person in the room ought to be more tedious than wrestling a 60-minute ironman match sometimes. On the other hand, it’s an easy way for new signings to initiate conversations with the existing employees of the company. However, with John Cena giving Colt Cabana the cold shoulder upon the latter’s arrival, one wonders how effective this unofficial rule is.
6 Doing outside projects
WWE has now relaxed a lot of restrictions to parry criticism. However, they seem unready to let their talents take up non-WWE projects without their approval. For an instance, no WWE wrestler is allowed to sign sponsorship deals with Nike or Adidas as they feel the talents’ signing contracts with such companies may force them to change their booking style. Additionally, wrestlers are expected to seek the head honchos’ permission before acting in films or television series. They have lately spread out to online media as well, with Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown now looking like a WWE-owned channel. Besides, WWE never encourages their wrestlers to be on other wrestling promotions’ shows as doing so will result in the talent being fired. However, with the recent indie wave, they’ve changed their outlook, with Finn Balor, Sting, Jerry Lawler and WWE UK Special talents appearing on indie shows.
5 Supporting political parties online
WWE has made every step needed to be taken to ensure Linda McMahon’s wrestling connection doesn’t curb her political career. They stopped featuring her on WWE shows prominently in 2007, the year that saw Hornswoggle be revealed as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son. Most WWE wrestlers didn’t pledge their support to her when she was running for Senate a few years ago. An under-card manager Abraham Obama Washington, however, took the opportunity to impress the WWE head honchos, claiming his support via Twitter. The WWE officials, however, reacted by firing him, especially since he had caused controversy a few earlier when he cracked a distasteful Kobe Bryant joke on live television. Booker T, Kane and Rhyno have all had their hands at politics, but they have refrained from discussing their political career in a WWE setting.
4 Dress Code
Here’s yet another unofficial rule every talent follows. No wrestler down the card ever wears ring gear that is similar to what the top stars wear. A Melina blog she published during her early WWE days cast light on the practice WWE wrestlers follow. She censured a colleague, who’s believed to be Mickie James, for designing ring gear and wrestling boots similar to her trademark ones.
With WWE now featuring fewer distinct characters, the practice seem non-existent, but another clothing-related rule is here to stay; Vince McMahon expects his wrestlers to wear formal outfit when they fly as he never encourages his employees to wear shorts or tees as they travel. With WWE seen as the global leader in sports entertainment, expecting them to tidy up is understandable for no one but Ric Flair himself wants another Plane Ride from Hell.
3 Mentioning certain wrestlers
WWE has a penchant for blacklisting wrestlers sometimes. In certain cases, it’s fair. For an instance, mentioning a self-confessed racist, Hulk Hogan or a drug-addict adult star, Sunny isn’t going to do the company any favours. However, in certain cases, their decision to ensure certain names are never mentioned on their shows is downright petty. CM Punk hardly ever gets mentioned despite his Hall of Fame-worthy career. Paul Heyman even recently tweeted, “Once upon a time, my name was not allowed to be uttered within [sic] WWE. Six years ago to the day, CM Punk changed all that.”
Things may, perhaps, change in the future, but Chris Benoit and co. are blacklisted for life as WWE wants to distance themselves from the violent aspect of the business.
Since turning PG, WWE has refrained from letting their talents blade, save for intense rivalries such as the one between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton that ended in a TKO. WWE has become so strict with regards to blading that they even punish those talents who blade without prior permission from agents and producers. Even Roman Reigns isn’t allowed to blade as he was only handed blood pills by Byron Saxton during his ‘bloody’ brawl with Triple H in the buildup to last year’s WrestleMania. WWE’s new restrictions often sound absurd, but their never letting their talents blade is definitely a welcome move as wrestlers no longer need to shed blood pointlessly. Ric Flair might have gone bananas (not that he needs a reason anyway) had WWE implemented this rule during his prime.
1 Use of certain prescription drugs
WWE’s banning illegal drugs and steroids is a laudable move; however, their decision to blindly ban prescription drugs exposes the loopholes Wellness Policy seems to have. Adam Rose exposed the loophole although his actions following the unfair suspension meant he could never return to WWE ever again. It appears that WWE suspended him for only consuming the drugs his physician had prescribed him for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Paige also claimed that WWE handed her suspensions after suspensions only for consuming what her doctor had asked her to do. Here’s hoping WWE has fixed the Wellness Policy as it's a rule that legitimizes the company like no number of celebrity appearances do. Given the talents’ tendency to abuse painkillers, though, they need to be cautious while un-banning drugs.