As is the case with almost any major sport, WWE athletes have to watch their behavior. There are plenty of things that could get them fired or suspended. In WWE, the suspensions typically last anywhere between 30 and 60 days. They can be for failed drug tests, criminal activity, or any number of things.
Most of the time, it feels like these suspensions come at the most inopportune time. Granted, it's never a good time to get suspended. But in WWE, people have gotten in trouble just as they were on the verge of doing something huge with their careers. We've ranked the 10 instances of suspensions coming at the worst times.
10 Rich Swann
For some, putting Rich Swann on this list might seem a bit odd. Let's start with the punishment itself. Swann got suspended indefinitely in December 2017 for violating the company's domestic violence policy. He was charged with battery and kidnapping of his wife, fellow wrestler Su Yang.
This happened just as Rich Swann was scheduled to face Drew Gulak for the Cruiserweight Title. The real kicker was that this suspension led to Swann's release from the company in February 2018. That was just around the time that 205 Live became must-see television. Swann missed out on the best opportunity to shine as a cruiserweight.
9 Randy Orton (2012)
We had to specify 2012 because Randy Orton is no stranger to suspensions. This was his second violation of the Talent Wellness Program and led to Orton being out of action for 60 days. It caused him to miss all of June and all but one day of July at a time when he was gaining steam.
After spending most of 2012 away from the World Title picture, Randy Orton got back in with a losing effort at Over the Limit. The suspension stalled his momentum. Upon his return, he entered a less than ideal rivalry with Dolph Ziggler and then one with Wade Barrett. It wasn't until the following summer that Orton was champion again.
It feels like a lot of folks forget that the lovable R-Truth was suspended at one point. It happened back in 2011. For those who don't remember, that was one of R-Truth's most successful years. He branched out as a top heel thanks to a zany character change, even earning a shot at the WWE Title on a pay-per-view.
Near the end of the year, R-Truth and Miz formed the Awesome Truth. They had high profile matches against Triple H, CM Punk, John Cena, and The Rock. After losing in the main event of Survivor Series, Miz turned on R-Truth. Truth was then suspended for a Wellness Policy violation. It hurt their feud and killed off some of Truth's momentum.
Paige's WWE career got off to a scorching hot start. She was the first NXT Women's Champion and captured the Divas Championship in her Raw debut. By 2016, she had suffered through several failed attempts to regain the title. During the WWE Draft, she was selected by Raw, with the roster split opening even more opportunities. However, an injury halted Paige's Raw debut.
While on the shelf, Paige was suspended for a Wellness Policy violation. She claimed it was for a procedural issue and not a test failure. A few months later, while still injured, she got suspended again for a second violation. Though she tweeted that she had a prescription, WWE said her punishment was for an illegal substance. The combination of these issues and her injuries stopped Paige from ever making an impact in the ring again.
6 Randy Orton (2006)
The first suspension for Randy Orton came back in 2006. Orton spent the vast majority of 2005 embroiled in a rivalry with The Undertaker. With that out of the way, he started 2006 fresh and was a runner up during the Royal Rumble. Orton defeated Rumble winner Rey Mysterio at No Way Out to earn a title shot at WrestleMania 22.
On that night, Orton came up just short as Mysterio walked out with the World Heavyweight Title. He was suspended a few days later for unprofessional conduct. According to Orton, the final straw was when he got caught smoking marijuana backstage at the tail end of March.
5 Roman Reigns
When word broke that Roman Reigns had gotten suspended, it was hard to believe. For a long time, he was pegged as WWE's golden boy. Picture John Cena getting suspended. Hard to believe, right? Reigns had been protected to the point of never taking a clean loss during his WWE tenure.
That changed at Money in the Bank 2016, when Seth Rollins pinned him cleanly to become WWE Champion. Two days later, Reigns was suspended for a Wellness Policy violation. It caused his time as an unstoppable top guy to come to an end. Reigns returned only to suffer several more clean losses. It would be another two years before he'd end up as a top champion again.
4 Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy's past issues with substance abuse are well documented. Just find the video of his performance at TNA Victory Road 2011 for a look at how bad things got. But his WWE suspension for violating the Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy could not have come at a worse time in his career.
Hot off of a great 2007, Jeff Hardy started 2008 by coming close to dethroning Randy Orton for the WWE Title. As the reigning Intercontinental Champion, Hardy was the heavy favorite to win the Money in the Bank Ladder match at WrestleMania. Then the suspension came. Hardy dropped the Intercontinental Title and CM Punk won the ladder match instead. Lucky enough for Hardy, he still won the WWE Title by the end of the year.
3 William Regal
William Regal is another guy who doesn't shy away from the problems of his past. He's open about them and is always willing to share advice and stories with young wrestlers. Regal was another 2008 case, with his Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy violation also coming at a terrible time.
Regal had just won the 2008 King of the Ring tournament. It was the biggest win of his career. He spent the next few weeks acting like a tyrant, including a segment where he shut down Raw during the main event. All signs pointed to Regal making a World Title run. Instead, the suspension killed his momentum and his return never saw him get remotely close to that level again.
2 Rob Van Dam
In 2006, WWE relaunched ECW as its own brand. To give it a boost, Rob Van Dam successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated John Cena to become WWE Champion. He was also given the ECW Title with the win, making him a double champion at the top of the company.
When this all happened in early June, RVD was on top of the world. Then, without warning, RVD lost the WWE Title on July 3 and the ECW Title on July 4. It turns out that he had been suspended for a drug possession arrest. Apparently, he and Sabu were stopped by the police. This led to RVD's career taking a huge nosedive.
1 Mr. Kennedy
There aren't many wrestlers out there with the gift of gab like Mr. Kennedy. He was captivating anytime he opened his mouth. At WrestleMania 23, he won the Money in the Bank Ladder match and looked poised to become a major star. It all went downhill shortly after.
First, Kennedy lost his briefcase to Edge due to injury. He returned and still had some momentum. Rumors swirled that he was set to be revealed as Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son. That meant a push to take him to the top. However, Kennedy was one of eleven wrestlers implicated in a steroid scandal. His suspension nixed that idea and his career never recovered.