Professional wrestling is a cut throat business and has been described by many as a snake pit behind the scenes. If you don't believe that, just go and Google the words "bury" and "Triple H" in the same search bar. Are you back? Good. Like I was saying, the world of professional wrestling is as dog-eat-dog as it gets, and by the very nature of the business, you have to step over people to get to the top. Some wrestlers can be very civil about the way that they ascend, choosing to use their power for good rather than personal gain. One person who nobody talks bad about is The Rock. Rocky was arguably the greatest wrestler of his generation, yet you very rarely hear a negative statement about the former WWE Champion.
Not everyone is as loved as The Rock however and in many instances, fans have heard horror stories about most (if not all) of their favorite wrestlers. Today we will take a look at 15 wrestlers who used their power to not only hold down another person in the business, but actually get that person fired. Not all of these entries are intentional, but it doesn't change the fact that they are responsible for another person losing their job.
As always feel free to let us know what you think of this list in the comments below.
15 Randy Orton/John Cena - Ken Kennedy
Before Ken Anderson had a mildly successful career in TNA, he was a rising star in the ranks of the WWE as Ken Kennedy. Kennedy was on the fast track to big things in the WWE, as in just two short years, he had already won the United States Championship and the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2007. Less than two years after enjoying his successes in the company, Kennedy was released from the WWE to the surprise of many fans.
Kennedy would go on to explain that the reason that he was released is because he accidentally dropped Randy Orton on his neck during a botched back drop. The former United States Champion also claimed that Orton told John Cena about the incident, and he was the one who brought it to the attention of management.
14 Chyna - Jeff Jarrett
When Vince McMahon fired Jeff Jarrett publicly on RAW following the WWE's acquisition of WCW, fans were shocked to say the least. Jarrett came from a wrestling family who for years was considered family to the McMahons. When Jeff Jarrett jumped back into the WWE in 1998 it seemed as if things were going great, as he was able to capture the Intercontinental Championship during his stay. For whatever reason Jarrett decided that WCW was the place he wanted to be, and when his contract was up he was going to jump ship. The only problem with his plan was that he still held the title, and McMahon wanted him to drop the strap at 1999's No Mercy pay-per-view to Chyna. In order to do this, Jarrett had to sign a one-day contract with the company, as his long-term deal had actually already expired.
Chyna wrote in her book that she felt that Jarrett conspired against her, and campaigned against Jarrett to McMahon. Fast forward to 2001, and McMahon was finally able to give Jarrett what he felt he deserved. Sure Chyna wasn't directly responsible, but her complaining surely played a part.
13 The Kliq - Shane Douglas
The sky was truly the limit for Shane Douglas' wrestling career during the early part of the 1990s. The Franchise was highly touted and regarded in most circles of wrestlers, with the only exception being The Kliq. Specifically, Shawn Michaels had a problem with Douglas, and refused to work with former Intercontinental Champion on multiple occasions. Douglas was so upset that he left the company, choosing to go work for both ECW and WCW instead. By the time the WWE purchased WCW, Triple H was firmly in the ear of Vince McMahon and is rumored to have asked Vince not to renew Douglas' contract. When you think about it The Kliq originally ran Douglas out of the company, and was responsible for him being terminated from the merger.
12 John Cena - Michael Tarver
Back during 2010, The Nexus pretty much ran the roost of the WWE. After debuting as the rookies from NXT, the newly formed Nexus group ran through every single superstar on the roster, even John Cena. The group's impact apparently had lasting power on the WWE Universe, as nearly every member of The Nexus went on to have a multi-year career in the company...except Michael Tarver. Tarver was allegedly the victim of John Cena's power back in 2011, after refusing to take chair shots from the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion. While trying to get away from the chair shots, Tarver used his arm to protect himself and inadvertently caused Cena to crack his bone.
After approaching Cena backstage to shake his hand, Tarver claims that Cena blew him off multiple times. It can't be a coincidence that this event marked Tarver's last appearance in a WWE main roster ring.
11 Edge/Lita - Matt Hardy
The Edge/Lita/Matt Hardy love triangle has been well documented in the WWE, as well as on the internet but here is a recap for those who don’t know. After Matt Hardy got injured in 2005 he left the road, and in the process left Lita to travel alone since she was still on the active roster. Lita chose to ride with Edge during that time and the two grew close, eventually having an affair with each other. The news quickly spread in the locker room, and Matt Hardy voiced his opinions very vocally online.
Fearing the crapstorm that was brewing in the WWE locker room, management decided that firing Hardy was the easiest way to resolve the situation. While it may have prevented a fight from happening between Edge and Hardy, the firing turned the entire WWE Universe against both Lita and the Rated R Superstar. The duo became the hottest heels in the company as a result, and Hardy was rehired just a few months later.
10 Batista - Shelly Martinez
Shelly Martinez entered the WWE developmental system in 2005, and was quickly promoted to the newly established ECW brand in 2006. After less than a year on the main roster, Martinez was surprisingly released in 2007 less than a year after being on the main roster after a backstage altercation with Batista. The altercation took place because Martinez was defending her friend Melina, who was taking the brunt of some negative comments being made by Batista.
Allegedly the former World Champion told Martinez that she was only in her position because she slept her way to the top. He also made derogatory comments in regards to her physical appearance. Martinez blasted the WWE for not taking action against Batista, and was released a short time after.
9 Taz - Brooklyn Brawler
How does a veteran road agent of the WWE like the Steve “Brooklyn Brawler” Lombardi get released from the company he spent 30 years at? Well apparently by making a phone call to a radio show that wasn’t cleared by WWE management. Specifically, Brawler was reprimanded for calling into The Taz Show in May of 2016 without first seeking permission from the WWE legal offices. The company has tightened its grip on wrestlers appearing on podcasts since the whole CM Punk/Art of Wrestling debacle in 2014.
Apparently, the phone call wasn’t pre-arranged but was a spur of the moment choice that Brawler made while listening to Taz’s show that day. While, they weren't co-workers at the time, they were former colleagues from Taz's days in WWE. Many believe that Lombardi will return to the company, and his firing was more of gesture to show others what will happen if they defy WWE management. Oh Taz, why did your show have to be so intriguing to Brawler?!
8 John Cena - Tyler Reks
Spoiler alert: even though this is Cena's third appearance on this list, he will be listed again later on. In what may have been John Cena's most blatant display of political power, the former WWE Champion straight up told Tyler Reks that he would have him fired if he continued to use the Burning Hammer finisher. Although Reks had been using the Fireman's Carry variation for months, Cena caught wind of it on a house show loop and berated Reks for stealing his finisher. Reks claimed that Cena made him feel like a child for using the move, and was subsequently pushed down the WWE ladder for the incident. Though he spent a few more years in the company, it's widely believed that Cena's dislike for Reks is what drove him from the WWE.
7 Santino - Jim Cornette
If you let Jim Cornette tell you the story behind his exit from OVW in 2005, you might actually believe he is the hero of the story; he’s not. After booking an episode of OVW Cornette claims that he saved Santino Marella, who was wrestling as Boris Alexiev at the time, from the wrath of The Boogeyman. Cornette apparently saved Santino by slapping him in his face repeatedly after Santino no-sold The Boogeyman’s gimmick by laughing at him in front of the sold out crowd. Cornette claimed that had he not slapped Santino in the face, that The Boogeyman was going to do something much worse to the former Intercontinental Champion.
The problem with this story is that Boogeyman confirmed that he wasn’t mad at Santino, and after WWE management found out about the incident, Cornette was gone from the company.
6 The Undertaker - Pyro Guy
Remember that time that The Undertaker was set on fire while on his way to the ring to the Elimination Chamber in 2010? Well another interesting fact about that day, is that it was the last day of employment for an unnamed pyro guy in the WWE. As you could probably imagine, the last thing that you want to do while working for the WWE is injure one of the talents, let alone set one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time on fire! After suffering second and third-degree burns, The Undertaker actually competed in and finished the entire match.
Following his exit from the ring, 'Taker apparently shot a dirty look at the pyro team and was irate upon entering the backstage area. After 'Taker had a quick talk with the boss, Vince McMahon promptly fired the guy responsible for lighting The Deadman on fire.
5 Perry Saturn/Jericho - Production Assistant
This story is fresh off the presses after Perry Saturn was interviewed by Chris Jericho on his podcast in early 2017. Apparently, during Saturn’s run in the WWE the two men were preparing for a backstage segment with Vince McMahon and a production assistant. The production assistant informed Jericho, Saturn and McMahon that they were going to be recording a backstage segment for an episode of RAW. Knowing this Saturn and Jericho started shooting banter back and forth, the assistant figured that their dialogue would work for the segment and recorded it live.
Upon finding out that the segment had aired live on RAW, McMahon was furious and fired the production assistant on the spot. Though the segment was recorded inadvertently, Saturn and Jericho’s action directly caused McMahon to fire the young man.
4 Scott Steiner - Highlander Robbie
You may be wondering who is Highlander Robbie, and how the heck was he fired because of Scott Steiner? Well here is the thing, back in 2006 the WWE introduced a tag team called The Highlanders. The duo didn’t have much success, and suffered from the lack of a tag team division at the time. While still under contract, and floundering for a few months in WWE, Robbie went to a taping of TNA Impact. TNA founder Jeff Jarrett seized the opportunity and featured the WWE star on the episode of Impact, much to the dismay of WWE management. Robbie was immediately reprimanded after the show aired, being stripped of his television time, as well as his WrestleMania Axxess paycheck. Shortly after Robbie was released from the WWE, and hasn’t been heard from again.
So how was it Steiner’s fault? Well, Robbie was featured prior to Scott Steiner’s entrance, which of course makes it his fault. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but you can’t deny that seeing Steiner right after Robbie didn’t help the Highlander’s chances with the WWE.
3 Murdoch and Cade - Cryme Tyme
Many people forget that although Cryme Tyme has a nice run in the WWE during the late 2000s, the duo was actually fired shortly after their debut on the main roster. In 2007 during a match with the Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Cryme Tyme unknowingly changed the finish of the match after being ribbed by the champions. Following the match Cryme Tyme was convinced to steal the ref’s clothes and auction them off to the crowd, leading to major heat backstage.
When the duo finally reached the curtain they were instantly berated by Vince McMahon, despite being instructed to go over by the Tag Team Champions. WWE management fired the team on the spot, but brought them back in 2008 for a two-year run as a tag team.
2 Ric Flair - Jim Ross
It’s no secret that the WWE hasn’t always had the greatest amount of respect for Jim Ross during his later years in the company. After suffering from multiple rounds of Bell's Palsy, and never quite adapting to the changing landscape of the social media infused product, it was only a matter of time before Ross got axed from the WWE. WWE got the perfect opportunity to pull the trigger on getting rid of the legend after he failed to control Ric Flair at the WWE 2k14 video game symposium. Flair, who had recently lost his son, was under the influence of alcohol and began telling stories that weren’t exactly PG. Of course, rather than blame Flair for his exploits on stage that night, Ross caught the brunt of blame and was fired shortly after. Ross seems to be falling back into the good graces of the company however, recently attending the NXT Takeover: Toronto show.
1 John Cena - Mickie James
Serving as the face of the WWE for over a decade has its perks, and one of the perks that John Cena has earned is quite a bit of political stroke. In the case of Mickie James, that stroke caused her to get put into embarrassing storylines and ultimately fired from the WWE. The backstory is that back in 2009 when Cena refused to actually date Mickie James instead of just hooking up, the former WWE Women’s Champion couldn’t handle it. James allegedly flipped out backstage in front of all of the talent after Cena rejected her.
Cena, who was getting married soon, feared the worst and instead of actually dealing with the drama, decided to ask to have James released soon after the incident. You wonder what the SmackDown locker room is like now with Mickie back in the fold.