WWE can be a tough company for wrestlers to work for when trying to move forward in their careers and lives. The management style of Vince McMahon has led to many bitter falling outs or moments of tension to make things tough for the talent. Quite a few wrestlers have endured the petty wrath of WWE when either getting punished on television or having some done to them shortly after leaving the company.
We will look at the pettiest instances of WWE doing things to spite the talent. McMahon’s ego makes it rare for wrestlers to have long runs in WWE without either leaving or having heat at some point during the time there. All these moments show why wrestlers are happy about the potential of having other places to work. Find out how wild things got with the ten petty ways WWE messed with their wrestlers.
10 Giving Dusty Rhodes polka dot gear
The past run of Dusty Rhodes working for various companies that competed against WWE in both a wrestling and booking capacity made it a big signing for Vince McMahon. Rhodes joined WWE in the mid-'80s hoping to have a strong run in the biggest promotion.
WWE booked him in a petty way by having him wear the polka dot black and yellow gear along with the dancing moves. The comedic character was meant to make Dusty look foolish as revenge for his past competing against the company. Rhodes did make it work and found success despite the embarrassment.
9 Sending CM Punk termination papers on wedding day
CM Punk leaving WWE was among the biggest stories in company history. The end of Punk’s time in WWE came after years of frustration with management. Punk left after the 2014 Royal Rumble show and WWE officially released him a few months later.
The timing of the termination papers going to his home just happened to coincide with the day of his wedding to fellow wrestler AJ Lee. Punk revealed that it just made him angrier at WWE for trying to ruin his big day in the pettiest way possible.
8 Making Enzo face his fear of heights
Enzo Amore had huge backstage heat in WWE for the arrogant attitude that made him controversial. Most of the locker room had issues with Enzo that led to him getting moved to the cruiserweight division. Before the move, he was involved in a feud with former partner Big Cass.
The Summerslam 2017 match between Cass and Big Show featured Enzo hanging above the ring in a shark tank. Enzo reportedly had a fear of heights and WWE tried to use it to punish him. Instead of just releasing him like they eventually did, WWE wanted to punish him in a petty fashion.
7 Humiliating Jim Ross in Oklahoma
Jim Ross endured the petty nature of WWE many times throughout the years with most of them coming in his home state. Whenever WWE had a show in Oklahoma, it appeared that Vince McMahon wanted to humiliate Ross for his own personal amusement.
Ross was forced to kiss the backside of McMahon after The Undertaker turned heel and made him do it in front of his hometown fans. Another moment would see him get fired in front of the audience. McMahon mocked Ross in future segments as well trying with no real explanation behind it.
6 Mocking Bret Hart after Montreal Screwjob
Bret Hart had one of the strongest main event runs in WWE history throughout the '90s. It ended in controversial fashion after the Montreal Screwjob loss to Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1997. Many expected WWE to not acknowledge Hart moving forward, but that was proven wrong one night later.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H brought out a little person dressed like Hart and made fun of his loss. Things would get even pettier a few weeks later when Vince McMahon cut a promo during an interview declaring “Bret screwed Bret” and deserved blame for the moment.
5 Making DVD burying Ultimate Warrior
The run of the Ultimate Warrior saw him become a top WWE star in the '80s. Warrior won the WWE Championship and had a few memorable main event feuds with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Things fell apart shortly after with Warrior often clashing against WWE management.
Warrior did not realize how personal things would get when leaving the company for many years. WWE produced a DVD titled The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. Wrestlers of the past and present buried him for two hours on the production. WWE finally made peace with Warrior years later to induct him into the 2014 Hall of Fame class.
4 Booking Perry Saturn to date a mop
Perry Saturn crossed the line during a Sunday Night Heat match against a local talent. A botch by his opponent led to Saturn destroying him in the ring turning it into a shoot fight. Saturn brutally attacked him before getting the win.
WWE wanted to punish Saturn without releasing him and that created the romantic storyline with Moppy. Saturn fell in love with a mop and chose it over his ex-girlfriend Terri Runnels. This was the end of Saturn’s run with relevance as he never rebounded from it.
3 Piggy James storyline
The end of Mickie James’ relationship with John Cena would see her booking change in the women’s division. Instead of being a top athlete, James was placed in a controversial feud with Michelle McCool on the Smackdown side of things.
McCool insulted the weight of James and referred to her as Piggy James each week. There was a horrible segment with McCool shoving a pig-designed cake into the face of James. The end of the feud would see Mickie win the title, but the petty nature of embarrassing her led to her leaving when the WWE contract expired.
2 Trying to make Steve Austin lose to rookie Brock Lesnar
Steve Austin walking out on WWE in 2002 was a huge story that featured a few underreported aspects. WWE was already phasing Austin out of the top spot with new stars like Triple H, Brock Lesnar, and Kurt Angle rising to the top of the card.
Austin was being used inconsistently with things getting worse when WWE asked him to lose to the rookie Lesnar in an unadvertised match on Raw. WWE’s mind games angered Austin to the point of leaving the company for many months.
1 Having Nikki Bella end AJ Lee's record
The Divas Championship reign of AJ Lee set a record as fans loved watching her character’s progression. Lee dominated the women’s division as no one was on her level when it came to fan support and merchandise sales. The departure came following the awkward time where WWE’s doctor sued her husband CM Punk.
Nikki Bella defeating Lee to win the Divas Championship would see her reign last even longer. WWE called up Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch, but they still waited until Nikki broke the record before changing the title. Charlotte won it days later since WWE only wanted Nikki to end AJ’s record in petty fashion.