The WWE is a minefield of politics and cliques. It isn't uncommon to see one of the company's wrestlers fired due to their actions on-screen or off it, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Moreover, plenty of wrestlers have been fired from the company thanks to a friend, or enemy, within the WWE. Quite often, wrestlers cannot trust anyone, not even a friend.
The wrestling industry has long bred insecurities in wrestlers. Some grapplers feel like their position in the WWE could be taken by someone else, which would put them out of a job. Therefore, why not eliminate those threats when possible? This makes more sense then ever today, since WWE is a publicly traded company and cannot afford bad PR like it did in the past.
However, some wrestlers are great at deep-sixing their own careers. Whether it is being unable to come to terms with the end of a relationship or holding up the promoter for more money, these wrestlers have ended their WWE job status on their own.
Vince McMahon and his family may not be the easiest group to work for, and it seems they only get worse with each passing year. But many of the wrestlers on this list did a great job of ending their WWE careers by themselves or thanks to someone else in the company.
15 Someone Else: Alberto Del Rio
In August 2014, WWE released multi-time champion Alberto Del Rio. The Mexican wrestling star had been mishandled as a talent in the ring, and outside of it, Del Rio wasn't treated much better by one WWE employee. Del Rio was the butt of a racist joke by WWE social media manager Cody Barbierri, who said Del Rio should clean the dishes in catering, because he is Mexican. As most tough wrestlers should and would do, Del Rio open hand slapped the Barbierri due to the racist insult. Del Rio was suspended by the WWE which caused Barbierri to threaten the company with a lawsuit. Scared of a lawsuit and bad publicity, the WWE fired Del Rio. According to a Del Rio interview, Barbierri had made racial jokes about him previously. Barbierri left the WWE in October of the same year.
14 Someone Else: David Schultz
As professional wrestling became more mainstream in the mid-1980s, a number of news reporters attempted to get into the business's closed circle. Many of them, like 20/20 reporter John Stossel, wanted to expose wrestling as a farce. On the night of December 28, 1984, Stossel was at Madison Square Garden doing a report on the legitimacy of wrestling. Stossel asked WWE tough guy David Schultz if wrestling was fake. Schultz did what any wrestler of the time would have done, and he open hand slapped Stossel off his feet. Stossel sued the WWE, but settled out of court for nearly $500,000. The incident got Schultz fired, although conflicting reports indicate it could have been his locker room challenge to fight celebrity Mr. T. Schultz has always maintained McMahon and the WWE told him to hit Stossel.
13 Own Fault: Daniel Bryan
In June 2010, the WWE almost rid itself of Daniel Bryan before he became a thorn in their side as a fan favourite. On the June 7 episode of RAW, Bryan and his Nexus teammates invaded the show. The group included Bryan, Wade Barrett and several other grapplers from NXT season one. Nexus laid waste to everything in sight. As the show was about to go off the air, Bryan was shown choking ring announcer Justin Roberts by his tie. The scenes got immediate backlash, and Bryan was fired for going overboard during the invasion. According to Roberts' book, Best Seat in the House, WWE road agent Arn Anderson informed the group to destroy everyone during a meeting before the show. Nexus did, but Bryan's attack on Roberts was deemed too much for TV.
12 Someone Else: Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy not only lost his real-life girlfriend in 2005, but the WWE fired him in connection with it. In 2004, Hardy was recuperating from a knee injury, while his girlfriend Lita was still out on the road with the WWE. According to a Hardy shoot interview, Lita began riding with Edge, and the two soon began having an affair. Hardy and Edge had been very close friends, which led to Lita riding with the WWE star in the first place. When Hardy found out about the affair, he let his anger out via the Internet. Hardy's response to the relationship caused drama in the WWE locker room, and many of the boys sided with Edge. The company fired Hardy on April 11, 2005. The decision to fire Hardy was met with outrage from fans who believed him to be in the right. He was hired back not long after.
11 Someone Else: Mr Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy was a rising star with the WWE. In the modern age of the company in which catchphrases are king, Kennedy was over with the fans. He wasn't over with the boys, however. According to reports, Kennedy's 2009 release from the WWE was due to Randy Orton and heat that was created during a match between the two. "The Viper" complained to WWE management that Kennedy was reckless and too stiff in the ring. It was also believed Kennedy botched a backdrop during a match against Orton which caused the company to have second thoughts about him. Kennedy believes Cena told Orton to talk to McMahon, and instigated the grappler's release. Kennedy has stated he and Orton were good friends and riding buddies up to that point.
10 Own Fault: Mickie James
Mickie James is an ex-girlfriend of WWE megastar John Cena. Some may say Cena was the reason James was fired by the company in 2010. Others will say it was her own fault. The two started an affair while James was dating WWE wrestler Ken Doane (a.k.a. Kenny Dykstra and Kenny from the Spirit Squad). The budding relationship between James and Cena got Doane moved from Raw to SmackDown where he was jobbed out before leaving the company. James and Cena would eventually break up. Despite the relationship ending, the two remained friends. However, their friendship ended when the multi-time WWE Champion married Liz Huberdeau in 2009. James had a meltdown, because she wanted back with Cena. According to an interview with Doane, she "flipped out" on Cena backstage at an event. Her outburst led to being fired shortly thereafter for unprofessional conduct.
9 Someone Else: Carl Ouellet
Carl Ouellet lost the eyesight in his right eye at an early age. However, that didn't stop him from making it as a professional wrestler. Ouellet joined the WWE in 1993 as the tag team partner of Jacques Rougeau. The duo became The Quebecers, and held the WWE tag team titles on three occasions. After The Quebecers came to an end, Ouellet was repackaged as the pirate Jean-Pierre LaFitte. He even wore an eyepatch over his blind eye during matches! It was Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall who got Ouellet fired from the WWE. Ouellet was a big name in his hometown of Montreal. According to Douglas, after a show in Montreal, the Kliq devised ways to get Ouellet out of the company for challenging their locker room authority. Ouellet was released soon after.
8 Someone Else: Goldust
Dustin Rhodes, the man under the Goldust makeup, worked as a road agent for the WWE in 2012. The long-time employee had become an asset with the company backstage. During the April 24th SmackDown TV tapings, Rhodes was the agent for a match with tag team Darren Young and Titus O'Neil and the team of Yoshi Tatsu and Ezekiel Jackson. The match's finish came when O'Neil hoisted Tatsu up for a powerbomb. O'Neil came off the second rope with a clothesline that drove Tatsu down to the mat. WWE officials were outraged that Rhodes allowed a green tag team to perform a moved they deemed dangerous. Rhodes' contract was terminated as the WWE claimed the bump Tatsu took was so bad it could have caused long-term injury.
7 Own Fault: Marty Jannetty
Marty Jannetty was one half of the The Rockers. Jannetty's partying lifestyle was considered out of control for the late-1980s era of the WWE. Women, drugs, drinking and being up all night was a calling card of The Rockers, and it seemed to get in the way of Jannetty's career. In 1990, as The Rockers momentum slowed, Jannetty was involved in the incident that would define his career. During a TV taping, Jannetty used his Rocker Dropper move on jobber Chuck Austin, a wrestler who had been training for just six weeks. Austin didn't know how to take the move and his neck was broken on impact. The WWE lost millions in the lawsuit that followed. Jannetty was fired before the feud could get going. The former Rocker attacked a police officer and received six months of house arrest.
6 Someone Else: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
The May 1987 firing of "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and the Iron Sheik is one of the most famous stories in WWE history. It was an event that pulled the curtain back on kayfabe, and it couldn't have happened at a worse time. The WWE were just off of the most successful wrestling event of all-time, WrestleMania III. According to Duggan, he and the Iron Sheik weren't friends, but they were riding to a show together as Sheiky Baby had no other way to get to the town. The Iron Sheik had brought beer and marijuana with him for the journey, and the two grapplers began knocking back St. Pauli Girl longnecks. A New Jersey Highway Patrol officer pulled them over and arrested both wrestlers. Duggan was fired when the news hit the next day.
5 Someone Else: Matt Borne
After years of working in the wrestling industry, Matt Borne arrived in the WWE in 1992. Borne had made plenty of enemies in the wrestling business, and some high-profile former WWE workers have talked about not liking the grappler. Borne was repacked as Doink the Clown, and pulled off the heel gimmick perfectly. A year after debuting, Doink turned face, and began a feud with Bam Bam Bigelow. Outside of the ring, Borne had demons that were derailing his career. According to a Borne shoot interview, the wrestler was released from the WWE when Bigelow – who allegedly didn't like Borne – told the front office the wrestling clown was smoking marijuana before shows. The WWE fired Borne and put Ray Apollo in the Doink gimmick. Borne died in 2013 of a drug overdose.
4 Own Fault: The Ultimate Warrior
When the Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, it was like the previous decade hadn't existed. Just nine years before Warrior's entrance into the Hall of Fame, the WWE had run a smear campaign against its former champion. The 2005 DVD release, The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, was nothing more than WWE wrestlers past and present insulting the Warrior. It also corroborated what many has said about his willingness to do business. McMahon revealed Warrior held him up for more money on the day SummerSlam 1991. According to Sgt. Slaughter in the Always Believe documentary, Warrior demanded $500,000 in cash to wrestler alongside Hulk Hogan against Slaughter and his generals. McMahon agreed to pay the money before the match. However, immediately after the main event when Warrior returned to the locker room, McMahon personally fired the wrestler.
3 Someone Else: Raven
Raven was a cutting-edge, alternative music inspired wrestling gimmick that is remembered fondly today. A gimmick portrayed by Scott Levy, Raven had major runs in ECW, WCW, WWE and TNA. However, before the Raven gimmick, Levy was known as Johnny Polo, a wrestler and manager in the WWE. Levy was not only a heat magnet as the manager of The Quebecers, but he worked in the WWE office. Levy was as an associate producer for WWE TV shows Superstars and Challenge. Although Levy wanted to work in the ring as a wrestler and not out if it, his departure from the company was down to office politics. Vince McMahon didn't like Levy's influence on his son. Levy was also "dating" several of the women in the WWE office. The combination led to Levy leaving his six figure job in the WWE's front office.
2 Someone Else: Don Callis
Don Callis made a name for himself on the indies in the 1990s. A real-life friend of Chris Jericho and Lance Storm, Callis began working in the WWE in 1996 under the Jackyl gimmick. Unfortunately, Callis had heat with the boys from the moment he arrived in the WWE. According to a Matt Hardy shoot interview, Callis was bullied by JBL. It got so bad that Callis began dressing in his car, because JBL would mess with his bag. After ECW's closure, Callis went back to school and earned his MBA. He did show up in TNA for a cup of coffee, but in 2004, he transitioned into the business world. After a decade working in international trade, Callis began a wrestling podcast with Storm, and slowly worked his way back into the business. He now works for both Impact Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
1 Own Fault: Enzo Amore
Enzo Amore was a walking disaster before any allegations surfaced about him assaulting a woman at a party. He had already alienated himself from many members of the WWE locker room with his incessant bragging. His arrogant and annoying personality also got him a ton of heat from fans.
WWE finally decided to part ways with Enzo Amore once more information was revealed about the allegations facing him. The WWE's no tolerance stance on assault of that nature ensured he would no longer be an employee. An investigation is still underway on the matter, but given his track record most fans are probably very happy to see Enzo out of WWE and possibly facing justice.