In the make believe world of professional wrestling, storyline "firings" are quite common, and they don't always happen for the most logical of reasons. Losing one specific "Loser gets fired" match or failing to get on your knees, beg for your job and kiss your boss's buttocks are a couple of reasons one might find themselves out of a storyline job. When it comes to reasons for legitimate terminations, though - well they aren't always free from stupidity either.
Just this past November, Brad Maddox was released from the WWE for comments he made prior to a dark match during a Smackdown taping. It's far from the first time such an incident has occurred, but it doesn't usually result in the wrestler losing their job. Take CM Punk for example. He let his mouth get him in trouble on more than one occasion, once urging a fan on Twitter to commit suicide and another time yelling homophobic language at a pair fans at a house show in Australia. Those incidents were both followed by apologies and Punk was allowed to keep his job. Of course, Brad Maddox is not Punk, and given that he rarely appeared on television after he was relieved of his duties as General Manager of Monday Night Raw in 2014, the WWE likely just used his controversial promo as a reason to cut bait with a wrestler that they no longer had any interest in utilizing. That's what makes this all the more stupid.
Nevertheless, Maddox is gone, but not forgotten as his termination has inspired us to take a look back at some of the other stupid firings that have occurred in the business of professional wrestling. Here are the top 15 wrestlers who were fired for the most ridiculous reasons.
15 Earl Hebner
Long-time WWE referee Earl Hebner was fired from the WWE in 2005 for allegedly selling unauthorized merchandise from a store in St. Louis that him and his twin brother Dave partially owned. Dave Hebner was fired shortly after. Earl Hebner has disputed the claim, saying that everything in the store was legal and that John Laurinaitis wanted to get rid of Dave and made Earl the scapegoat. While Earl has been the head referee over in TNA, many can agree he looks odd in the company; his storied history and the amount of big matches that he called in the WWE will always make him synonymous with them, no matter how many unauthorized t-shirts he sold.
14 Jim Ross
Arguably the greatest commentator in wrestling history, Jim Ross announced his retirement from the WWE in 2014 after his contract had come to an end. Ross has said he was fired for the incident at the WWE 2k14 video game panel. Ross was hosting the event where a clearly inebriated Ric Flair, who had lost his son a few months earlier, went off on a tangent, telling a bunch of stories. Ross also insulted the sponsor during the event and was accused of being intoxicated as well, but he's said that his Bell's Palsy was to blame for his slurred speech. Nevertheless, he took the fall for losing control of the event. For his part, Flair had his contract terminated, but returned to the WWE a short time later.
Known as Isis the Amazon on the independent scene, Aloisia was scheduled to make her WWE debut in the third season of NXT in 2010. At 6-foot-9, she would've been the tallest Diva in company's history; however, after racy photographs of her showed up online, she was fired by Vickie Guerrero in storyline and replaced by Kaitlyn who went on to win NXT and eventually became the Divas Champion. A short time after she was removed from the show, Aloisia was released from the WWE. This of course is ridiculous because the WWE has never been a company that shies away from objectifying women and in the past has promoted its Divas' appearances in Playboy.
Best known for her time in TNA as Awesome Kong, Kharma made her much anticipated WWE debut in 2011. After attacking her fellow divas for several weeks, Kharma broke down and announced that she was pregnant and needed some time off. She made a surprise return in the 2012 Royal Rumble, but never appeared on WWE television again and was released in July of the same year. Although she originally told TMZ that she had given birth to a boy, she later admitted that she had lied and that she had suffered a miscarriage, sending her into a depression and causing her to gain weight leading to her release.
11 Abraham Washington
Abraham Washington is another superstar whose mouth got him into trouble. A.W. appeared briefly in the WWE in 2012, first as the manager for Primo and Epico before taking over the same role with the team of Titus O'Neil and Darren Young. During an episode of Monday Night Raw, Washington made a Kobe Bryant joke and shortly thereafter he was released from his contract. The WWE maintained that the joke was the reason for his release, but Washington claimed he was let go for a much dumber reason: Tweeting his support of Linda McMahon's Senate campaign when the former WWE CEO was trying to distance herself from the company.
10 Dawn Marie
Dawn Marie spent the early years of her career in ECW before joining the WWE in 2002. There she spent more of her time out of the ring than in it, but she still played a part in several storylines, the most memorable of which saw her try to marry Torrie Wilson's father. In 2005, Dawn Marie got pregnant (Al Wilson was not the father) and was released from the WWE while on maternity leave. She filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in 2006 and the two sides reached a settlement in 2007. Firing someone while they're pregnant is not only stupid, but it's also horrific.
The first Australian born Diva in WWE history, Emma, made her debut on the main roster in early 2014. In July of that year she was arrested for trying to shoplift an iPad mini case worth $21.14 from a Wal-Mart in Hartford, Connecticut. She claimed that incident was a mistake and that she had forgotten to pay for the item while trying to work the self-checkout machine. As a result, she was sentenced to one day of community service. Following the incident the WWE announced Emma's release, but quickly saw their own stupidity and reversed the decision a few hours later.
8 Highlander Robbie
In 2008 the WWE was in Orlando, Florida for WrestleMania which also was the home of TNA Impact tapings. Having some down time before the "Showcase of the Immortals", Robbie of the Highlanders tag team decided to go watch some TNA wrestling. He was caught on camera at the event and almost immediately received a phone call from someone in WWE management telling him to leave. Robbie was removed from WrestleMania and fined $5,000 for the incident and released a couple of months later. In a 2011 interview he said, "I've never told anybody this, but I was very unhappy in WWE, and in retrospect I think it was kind of my way to get fired."
This one is based on a story told by Konnan himself, so take it for whatever it's worth. Konnan wrestled briefly for the WWE from 1992-93 under the Max Moon gimmick. During a backstage incident, Vince McMahon allegedly told Konnan that he had never heard of the wrestler Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Many wrestlers have stated that Vince McMahon was unaware of their wrestling history in independent promotions, so it could've been possible that he didn't know who Liger was, except that Konnan recalled seeing a photo of McMahon and Liger together in a Japanese wrestling magazine. Konnan claims to have called McMahon out on this lie and that it contributed to his release.
6 Mr. Kennedy
After several months on the sidelines with a separated shoulder, Mr. Kennedy returned to in-ring action on Monday Night Raw in May of 2009 in a ten man tag team match. Just four days later he was released by the WWE. Kennedy has said that after the match, Randy Orton claimed that he had dropped him on his head in a botched backdrop and then went to Vince McMahon to complain and implored John Cena to do the same. Kennedy has also said that he went home and watched the replay of the match to see that he in fact had not dropped Orton on his head and completed the move cleanly. Kennedy didn't blame the one incident on his firing, though. He felt the WWE was just looking for an excuse to get rid of him and used that as the final straw.
5 Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio's first stint with the WWE came to an end in 2014 after an altercation with an employee backstage. Cody Barbierri, the WWE’s Manger of Social Media Live Events, had made a racist joke to Del Rio and was rewarded with a slap in the face. The WWE originally planned to only suspend him for three weeks, but after Barbierri threatened legal action, Del Rio was released. For his part, Barbierri received no punishment, but left the WWE a few months later. Del Rio put some of the blame for the incident on the shoulders of Triple H for making racist jokes of his own and setting a bad example for others. Del Rio returned to the WWE this past October.
4 Curt Hennig
A 2002 flight back from Europe to the United States - dubbed "the plane ride from hell" - involved several big name superstars getting intoxicated and acting like children. There were several dumb incidents aboard the flight, including Michael P.S. Hayes having his hair cut while he was asleep. But the stupidest involved the late "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig challenging Brock Lesnar to a fight over who was the better "shooter". Paul Heyman and Triple H reportedly tried to intervene in the altercation, with Triple H ending up being thrown into an emergency door. Hennig and Scott Hall, who was battling problems with alcohol, were both released following the flight while others were reprimanded.
3 Brian Pillman
Brian Pillman was wrestling for the WCW in 1996 and working on his "Loose Cannon" gimmick when he came to an agreement with Eric Bischoff - Pillman would come up with a reason to legitimately get fired and then go to ECW to show off his gimmick and gain notoriety before returning to the WCW. At the Super Brawl pay-per-view, Pillman outed Kevin Sullivan as WCW's booker, grabbing the microphone in an "I Respect You" strap match and saying, "“I respect you, booker man.” Pillman was immediately fired by Bischoff, but the plan ultimately backfired. After a brief stint in ECW, Pillman snubbed the WCW in favor of signing with the WWE.
2 Daniel Bryan
After the conclusion of the first season of NXT in 2010, the contestants all debuted on Monday Night Raw as the Nexus, attacking John Cena and ringside personnel and dismantling the ring and surrounding area. During the attack, ring announcer Justin Roberts was choked by Daniel Bryan with his own tie before spitting in the face of John Cena and yelling, "You are not better than me!" Although the incident was clearly part of the storyline, the WWE released Bryan. Thankfully, brighter minds prevailed and he returned a couple of months later.
1 Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was scheduled to fight Jeff Jarrett for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at the 2000 Bash at the Beach, but citing the creative control clause in his contract, Hogan did not want to lose to Jarrett and instead wanted to leave with the belt. When the match began, Jarrett laid down in the ring and the WCW's head of creative, Vince Russo, threw in the belt and yelled at Hogan to pin him. A confused Hogan picked up the microphone and cut his infamous promo, saying, "Is this your idea, Russo? That's why this company is in the damn shape it’s in, because of bulls**t like this!" Hogan pinned Jarrett and then left the building with the title, along with Eric Bischoff. Afterwards, Russo returned to the ring and publicly fired Hogan.
Russo claimed that the entire thing was a work, but Hogan and Bischoff have both said that it was a work up until they left and Russo firing Hogan was a shoot. Regardless, Hogan fired a defamation lawsuit - which was later dismissed - and never appeared in the WCW again.