The WWE is the McMahon family’s toy and they can do with it whatever they want. It also means the family can do whatever they like with its employees. That includes banning some of them from the WWE’s rings. It may seem extreme, but in actual fact it is often the only punishment that WWE can truly inflict to make sure everyone follows the company rules.
Over the decades, the WWE has banned a variety of former employees. Most of these bans aren’t officially stated, but they exist. For years, former WWWF World Champion and wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino was banned by the company for his criticism of Vince McMahon. Others including “Superstar” Billy Graham, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan have all been on the outs with the company. Although they have been brought back into the fold, in some way, in recent years.
Other wrestlers have found it very difficult to get back on the McMahons’ good side. Being banned from the company has meant there is no chance to get a lucrative paycheck or legends contract. It also means individuals may have to hustle on the independent scene to make a living.
As the biggest wrestling company in the world, the WWE can make all the rules they want. The sports entertainment company can also ban whichever superstars they like. Unfortunately, it is the McMahons’ world and their wrestlers are just living in it.
15. Not banned: Paige
WWE women’s wrestler Paige survived a drug suspension and a sex tape scandal that involved two other company employees. According to the Daily Mail, Paige “suffered from stress-induced anorexia and baldness” following the release of her sex tape. It has been a difficult time for Paige, but the WWE welcomed her back with open arms. However, it looks like a recent injury will keep her out of a WWE ring for a while – possibly forever. Paige, 25, has been in the wrestling business since she was 13. As a female competitor, she has far more experience than many of the women she has worked with. Despite all of her past transgressions and bad judgement, the WWE has kept Paige around. Since the company hasn’t banned her over all her scandals, there is a good chance she will find a job in the WWE even if she can’t work in the ring.
14. Banned: Enzo Amore
Since being alleged to have raped a woman in 2017, Enzo Amore has pleaded his innocence. However, that didn’t stop the WWE from firing and banning him. Some wrestling pundits don’t believe the alleged sexual assault is the real reason the company fired him. Amore had a considerable amount of heat in the WWE dressing room and had made several missteps backstage. It is believed the sexual assault allegations were just the latest in a long line of problems the WWE faced with the fan favorite. Of course, the allegations against Amore are extremely serious, and the WWE distanced itself from the superstar. It must be asked, would the WWE fire and ban a performer such as John Cena, if the same allegations were made about him?
13. Not banned: Rich Swann
In late January 2018, Rich Swann had kidnapping charges against him dropped. The former WWE Cruiserweight Champion had been arrested the month prior for an incident with his girlfriend, Su Yung. After his arrest, the WWE indefinitely suspended the high-flyer while the investigation was being conducted. Stephanie McMahon even publicly stated Swann would be fired, if he was found guilty. Swann’s arrest couldn’t have happened at a worst time. Enzo Amore had made headlines for an alleged sexual assault around the same time. Swann would have been banned outright from the company had the prosecutors had enough evidence to proceed with the case. However, it looks likely that Swann could return once everything quiets down. Swann’s attorney has stated he will do whatever it takes to get the grappler back in the company.
12. Banned: Brad Maddox
Brad Maddox was a rising star in wrestling. However, in 2015, he called the WWE’s fans in Indianapolis “pricks” during a television dark match. One word quickly caused his career to come crashing down. Maddox was fired in November 2015 and has spent the last two-plus years out of the wrestling business. Maddox’s firing can be seen as a hypocritical move by the WWE. However, according to a Rolling Stone interview with Maddox, he never sought approval from WWE officials before taking the mic in Indianapolis. Had the WWE let Maddox’s indiscretion off, then the company may have more superstars using unapproved language in promos. Maddox’s firing shows the current state of wrestling, where the workers have to tread lightly, so stockholders don’t lose money.
11. Not banned: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho worked New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 show on January 4, 2018. It was a move that most WWE wrestlers would be banned over, as NJPW is the only real competition the McMahons have currently. However, Jericho was back on RAW for the show’s 25th anniversary special 18 days later. A wrestler, musician, podcast host and jack of all trades, Jericho transcends entertainment. Therefore, it makes scenes the WWE wouldn’t ban the charismatic grappler. Unlike many of his colleagues, Jericho has the ability to bring new eyes and ears to the WWE thanks to his other endeavours. Despite working for the competition, Jericho has been a WWE guy since he arrived in 1999. Although Jericho teased that he would be back in NJPW, his appearance on RAW 25 and relationship with the McMahons makes it hard to believe he will ever be banned.
10. Banned: Jeff Jarrett
In 1999, Jim Ross, the WWE Head of Talent Relations, dropped the ball. Ross failed to realize Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett’s contract was about to end. Jarrett had already agreed to join WCW, and he could leave with the Intercontinental belt. The WWE had to figure out how to get the belt off of Jarrett. The wrestler was able to agree a deal with Vince McMahon and effectively hold the WWE ransom. The future TNA co-founder would get a payoff for the No Mercy pay-per-view plus a further $300,000 to drop the belt to Chyna. According to Chyna’s autobiography, she alleges Jarrett and writer Vince Russo worked together to scam the WWE out of the money. Perhaps that is why the two have been linked in some way in the nearly two decades that have followed. Jarrett’s decision to hold the WWE hostage has kept him banned from the company.
9. Not banned: Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette has spent much of his career insulting the WWE product. In the early 1990s while promoting Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Cornette routinely insulted the WWE brand Strangely, he was later hired by the company. After leaving WWE and OVW, where he was fired thanks to Santino Marella, Cornette has spent much of his time ripping on the current product. Despite his thoughts, criticism and more on the WWE, Cornette was invited to the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony. The former tennis racket wielding manager inducted his archrivals, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, during WrestleMania weekend. Cornette also appeared on an episode of Table for 3 along with Michael “PS” Hayes and Eric Bischoff. Hopefully, the next time Cornette is on WWE programming, it will be due to his induction into the Hall of Fame alongside the The Midnight Express.
8. Banned: Nailz
Nailz, real name Kevin Wacholz, got on the wrong side of the WWE when he beat up Vince McMahon in 1992. Wacholz was angry over an estimated $8,000 to $9,000 payoff for his match against Virgil at SummerSlam 1992. After the fight, Wacholz called the police and told them McMahon had sexually assaulted him. Wacholz and friend John Nord (The Berzerker) were quickly fired. Wacholz would testify against McMahon in 1993 during the WWE owner’s steroid trial. The wrestler unwittingly saved the WWE and McMahon with his testimony; as it made Wacholz out to be a deranged ex-employee with an axe to grind. Wacholz wrestled independently until 2000 when he finally retired. However, he never set foot in a WWE ring after 1992. The former wrestler won’t be getting a WWE Hall of Fame phone call anytime soon for what he put the McMahon family through.
7. Not banned: Carlos Colon
Carlos Colon entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 after a long career in the squared circle. Colon is the father of Carlito and Primo Colon, and was the hottest wrestler in Puerto Rico for decades. Colon is best known as a co-owner of the Puerto Rican promotion the World Wrestling Council. The WWC was famous for its bloody, brawling matches that featured Colon, Abdullah the Butcher, Dutch Mantell and many other greats. However, the Puerto Rican’s reputation was tarnished when wrestling legend Bruiser Brody lost his life to Colon’s friend Jose Gonzalez. A lot of reasons have been given for the attack over the years. From Gonzalez’s two-year-old daughter passing days before the event to Brody’s bulling of promoters and other wrestlers. In the aftermath, Gonzalez was cleared of all charges.
6. Banned: Raven
Raven, real name Scott Levy, is an ECW, WCW, WWE and TNA veteran that has a lot of great advice for young wrestlers. Raven had the chance to join the WWE’s creative team, but he wasn’t ready to hang up his boots in the early 2000s. He subsequently went to TNA and had a memorable run with the company. During an episode of Talk is Jericho, Raven basically stated he was banned from the WWE today. The reason was due to filing a lawsuit against the WWE due to the language in his previous contract and the WWE’s desire to call its wrestlers independent contractors. Raven hoped the lawsuit would help institute healthcare for the WWE’s wrestlers. However, the lawsuit didn’t go anywhere, and Raven accused the judge overseeing the case as being in “Vince’s pocket”. The former ECW World Champion won’t be welcomed back anytime soon.
5. Not banned: Abdullah the Butcher
Abdullah the Butcher was one of the biggest attractions of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. His blood and guts brawling style along with his look were memorable to fans. In 2007, Abdullah bladed wrestler Devon “Hannibal” Nicholson during a match. According to Nicholson, he contracted Hepatitis C from Abdullah, who had cut himself with the same blade earlier on. The disease prevented Nicholson from taking up a three-year contract offer with the WWE. In 2014, a Canadian judge ruled Abdullah must pay $2.3 million in damages to Nicholson. Somehow, Abdullah the Butcher is still in the WWE Hall of Fame despite the problems he has caused with Nicholson. He isn’t banned from the HOF, but don’t expect Abdullah being invited to WrestleMania weekend. According to an update by Nicholson in January 2018, his lawyers are still trying to obtain the money from Abdullah the Butcher.
4. Banned: Dynamite Kid
The Dynamite Kid, real name Tom Billington, was one of the most innovative wrestlers to ever step in the ring. Without his 1980s mat classics against Tiger Mask, a generation of wrestlers would never have been influenced to push wrestling’s boundaries. Unfortunately, Dynamite Kid’s steroid and drug use, combined with wrestling an aggressive style, took its toll on the British grappler. In 1988, Dynamite Kid and tag team partner Davey Boy Smith left the WWE after a legitimate backstage fight with the Rougeau Brothers. For more than 20 years, Dynamite Kid has had health problems, and for much of that time, he has been confined to a wheelchair. In late 2015, Dynamite Kid was hospitalized in England after suffering a stroke. Several wrestling veterans have called for the WWE to help out, but due to the lawsuits Dynamite Kid has had his name on against the company, it seems the McMahons are unwilling to help him.
3. Not banned: J.J. Dillon
J.J. Dillon left the WWE in 1998 after a pay dispute with Vince McMahon. After having his salary slashed and dealing with McMahon’s BS for years, Dillon quit the company. He returned to WCW, a promotion he had left in 1989, and took a front office role and onscreen role. Dillon quickly provoked the ire of WCW head Eric Bischoff, however. According to Bischoff, Dillon attempted to give him confidential WWE wrestler contract information, which the WCW executive refused to look at. Dillon still refutes Bischoff’s claims to this day, while Bischoff hasn’t wavered from his story. Dillon’s departure from the WWE wasn’t taken well by McMahon. When the Four Horsemen were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012, some wrestling experts and performers were surprised to see Dillon included. Dillon isn’t banned by the WWE, and part of that could be due the relationship the former manager had with McMahon’s father, Vince Sr.
2. Banned: Marty Jannetty
According to Dave Meltzer and The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Marty Jannetty has been fired by the WWE at least eight times in his career. In one 18 month period from March 2005 to September 2006, Jannetty was fired three times by the company. Jannetty has been called the “Real Life Wrestler”, which is in reference to the Mickey Rourke film from 2008. Unfortunately, that nickname may not be too far off from the truth. Jannetty has had substance abuse problems over the years along with a variety of legal troubles. The former rising wrestling star first got on the bad side of the WWE when his Rocker Dropper move paralyzed jobber Chuck Austin. It cost the WWE $10 million to settle Austin’s lawsuit, and it was the catalyst to the on again, off again relationship Jannetty has had with the company. The WWE hasn’t worked with the former Rocker since 2005.
1. Not Banned: “Superstar” Billy Graham
“Superstar” Billy Graham has had a love-hate relationship with the McMahon family. In 1977, Graham won the WWWF (the precursor to the WWE) World Heavyweight Championship. Graham’s persona was copied by a number of wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan. In 1977, Vince McMahon Sr used Graham as a traditional wrestling bad guy. In a territory that favoured babyface champions, Graham lost the belt nine months after beating Bruno Sammartino, and he was soon out of the company. At one point, angry with the WWE and in need of money, Graham sued the WWE. He accused them of forcing him to use PEDs during his career. However, Graham’s autobiography specifically explains he was on the juice years before ever working for the McMahons. In 2004, Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but later sold his commemorative ring to pay for medical expenses. Despite lashing out at the company several times over the last 30 years, Graham is currently on a legends contract and not banned.
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