Over the years, many wrestlers come through the revolving door of the WWE; some make a big impact before retiring or moving to other ventures, while others fizzle out thanks to drugs, arrests, or simply not connecting with fans. Being a PG-rated public company, the WWE is always looking to keep their corporate family image in tact as best as they can by distancing themselves from any bad press that some wrestlers can’t help but bring to themselves.
With their hyper awareness, WWE is quick to completely erase wrestlers from their history at the drop of a hat. If they can cut Hulk Hogan (someone who the company was literally built on) out of their past, then anyone can get the same treatment. From hardcore partying, posing with guns, and even showing off some Nazi memorabilia, this collection of pictures are some fine examples of what WWE doesn’t want to be affiliated with in any shape or form.
Also included are just some downright embarrassing looking gimmicks and situations, like how “Lonely Virgil” became a well known meme for Ted DiBiase’s right-hand man. For wrestling fans, these pictures can be highly entertaining, but for WWE these are 14 pictures of former employees that they rather not have out on the internet.
14. Punk and Lita
This relationship ended about seven years ago, which was long before Punk’s rough exit from the company, when he decided to go home, when he wasn’t being given enough time to fully heal from numerous injuries. Lita still works for the WWE as a producer and Pre-Show analyst, so any kind of connection to him could be criticized, as petty as that sounds.
This was a company that sent Punk his termination papers on his wedding day, so anything is possible when it comes to current employees and their past. He is also in a lawsuit with WWE’s ringside doctor for all of the negative things Punk said about him during a podcast interview with Colt Cabana. Currently, Punk is still working on his UFC debut with both shoulder and back injuries delaying his first fight, although it’s looking like he could have his first fight at UFC 202, if rumors prove true.
13. Nazi Sympathizer?
During her time with the WWE, some early Instagram posts of Zahra Schreiber surfaced which included Nazi imagery. Zahra blew it off as “liking history” but fans were not exactly accepting of that response, leading to a massive explosion of negative press towards the WWE. Zahra was already in hot water thanks to her relationship with Seth Rollins – she apparently was the “other woman” while Rollins was involved in a serious relationship.
Rollins’ long-term girlfriend posted nudes of both Rollins and Zahara on social media as a form of revenge. Two days after the news broke, WWE quickly released Zahara from the company and Rollins broke up with her in February 2016. Currently, Zahara is still working the indy circuit, while Rollins just made his big return to the WWE. Rollins is already back in the main event scene going up against Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Money in the Bank.
12. Some Serious Weapons
Here is a picture of Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, and Shannon Moore, all former WWE wrestlers, posing with some serious firepower. The Hardy Boys enjoyed huge success with the WWE as a tag team along with additional achievements as singles competitors (Jeff more so than Matt) before being released from the company and spending a majority of their time with TNA. Over the past few weeks, Matt and Jeff have enjoyed a spike in popularity, thanks to their feud and Matt’s new “broken” gimmick. He’s basically gone insane, speaks in multiple accents, and looks like Sweeney Todd with crazy long black hair and a white streak going down the middle.
Shannon Moore had two runs with the WWE, working as a follower of Matt Hardy (also known as an MF’er) and working mostly as a low-card talent. His second run was in the ECW reboot as “The Reject” who rocked over-the-top punk gear before, yet again, being released. He then opted to sign for TNA from 2010 until 2012.
11. Indy Show Embarrassment
A day after it was rumored Scott Hall overdosed, he showed up at a Top Rope Promotions event, still not in great shape. Whether it was drugs, medication, or just poor health, Hall was slurring his words and could barely stand as he needed help getting to the ring. Despite being in terrible condition, he was still sent out to the ring to cut a promo and actually throw a few punches. Immediately after the show, he went back to the hospital, where he was treated for cardiac issues and stayed for three additional days.
More recently, through the help of Diamond Dallas Page, Hall has turned his health around by losing weight and getting clean They also started up a fundraising drive that brought in almost $110,000 that allowed Hall to get hip replacement surgery and dental work. All of this hard work allowed him a chance with the WWE as not only a guest trainer at their Performance Center, but joining their Hall of Fame in 2014.
10. Wade’s Mugshot
The recently released Wade Barrett had a run-in with the law back in 2008 when he was at a Champps Restaurant & Bar in Florida (while he was in development for WWE) at 2 a.m. He was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and obstructing an officer, but all chargers were eventually dropped for the five time Intercontinental champion. Apparently, the officer was not in uniform and Wade had no idea he was a cop at the time, so a fight broke out for whatever reason.
Currently, Barrett is taking a break from wrestling, although he did say he would return when the time was right. Switching his Twitter handle to his real name, Stu Bennett and adding his IMDB link, it’s clear Barrett is going to give acting a crack for awhile. He debuted in 2013 in the movie Dead Man Downand will be in the upcoming 2016 movie, Eliminators.
9. Jim Neidhart’s Rough Interview
The Miami Marlins held a “Legends of Wrestling” celebration by bringing in some well known WWE wrestlers for the occasion. Those stars included Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart, formerly known as The Hart Foundation. For nine minutes, Jim (who was beat red and sweating heavily), constantly swayed and looked around awkwardly, talking only a few times as Bret did most of the leg work.
Clearly, he was on something that day, and thanks to Total Divas (of all places) fans have learned he’s dealt with an addiction to prescription drugs for years. He’s been arrested for possession of them and has gone to rehab multiple times. The two-time Tag Team Champion has been given a number of signing appearances with the WWE to keep him busy. Thankfully, he has a loving family (including his daughter, WWE superstar Natalya) who are trying their best to get him 100% clean from his demons.
8. Benoit At Owen’s Funeral
First off, this picture features a collection of wrestlers (including Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan, Stu Hart, and The British Bulldog) attending the funeral of Owen Hart, who died in the ring during a stunt gone wrong at Over The Edge in 1999. Playing The Blue Blazer, Hart was supposed to repel down from rafters, but while starting his ascend, Hart had only nervous and mistakenly hit the quick release falling 78 feet and landing chest-first on the top rope. Owen had only attempted the stunt a handful of times previously and to make things worse, he wasn’t a fan of heights.
Secondly, right in the middle is Chris Benoit and his wife Nancy, two former wrestlers that were involved in yet another awful story. Depression and brain damage (most likely from multiple concussions) lead to Chris killing not only Nancy, but his son, as well. Chris then took his own life shortly; afterwards, it was found that he had the brain similar to an 85-year old Alzheimer’s patient.
7. Party Time
Everybody parties, right? Nothing wrong with going out and having a good time, but when you’re more of a public figure, sometimes it’s good to err on the side of caution. Wrestlers are constantly moving from city to city, so it’s pretty common for them to go out and party it up before hitting the road. All three of the women pictured here are now former employees of the WWE: Kristal Marshall, Layla, and Candice Michelle.
Coming to the WWE through winning its Diva Search, Layla recently retired from nine years of wrestling to enjoy the married life with fellow wrestler, Ricky Ortiz. Kristal only worked for two years with WWE before being released from the company. After two years being away from wrestling, Kristal joined up with TNA to work with her then-boyfriend Bobby Lashley. One-time Divas Champion Candice Michelle put in five years with the WWE before injuries slowed her progress, she then headed back to modeling and doing signing appearances.
6. The Tazmaniac!
You probably can take a guess at who this is, but if not, it’s former wrestler and announcer, Tazz (or also known as Taz during his ECW days). Here is a funny example of how a lot of wrestlers usually start out their careers, with really awful looking gimmicks. Even though Tazz would basically use this gimmick for his entire career, the early incarnation was more of a literal gimmick of a human Tasmanian devil. Not sure which is the worst thing about this picture, the shabby singlet, the basic face paint, or that Rocky Maivia-like hair?
During his time in ECW, Tazz would slowly move away from this look to more of a simplified shaved-head, tapped wrists, and black-orange singlet. The change helped immensely as he became one of the most popular wrestlers with the ECW horde. Thanks to this, he also became one of only four wrestlers who were ECW Triple Crown Champions, winning the World Heavyweight, Tag Team, and World Television titles.
5. Lonely Virgil
Known best as “The Million Dollar Man’s” bodyguard, Virgil found some success assisting Ted DiBiase in his evil ways. After being treated poorly, Virgil decided to turn on his boss, which was actually a big deal back in the day, crowds exploded when he beat the heck out of DiBiase. That was pretty much his peak as things slowly went downhill for the next few years.
He was eventually released from WWE, getting some work in WCW (actually joining the now for a period of time), and indie shows before solely doing autograph signings. Fans didn’t exactly flock to see him though, thus “Lonely Virgil” meme was born after multiple pictures of him sitting alone. Lately, Virgil’s stock has been on the rise as he found Twitter (along with a documentary) as a way to get all kinds of attention by saying insane things like “F*** Money” and constantly going to Olive Garden.
4. Fanny Packs
Forget the beer or the fact that Kevin Nash is sitting on Haku’s lap, a man that was notoriously known for being a tough guy among his peers. The reason this picture is embarrassing for WWE is that damn fanny pack around Nash’s waist. Pro wrestlers are notorious for using those not just in the 80s and 90s, but still to this very day for their comfort and convenience of carrying all of their tiny travel items.
The Rock was pictured in the 90s with a fanny pack and was asked what he kept inside of them? His response was Pop-Tarts and condoms, fans weren’t sure if he was being serious or not. More recently, Michael P.S. Hayes showed up to an event with a fanny pack to hold all his equally important toiletries. Seriously, though, can these guys not find a better, more fashionable way to carry around their stuff?
3. The Rockers
Yep, more partying, beers in hands… this is something that you really don’t see much of anymore when it comes to pro wrestlers. Aside from the random group pictures at a restaurant, WWE tries to keep its employees as PG as possible, whether inside the ring or not. Aside from that, probably the more important issue with this picture is the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) are actually hanging out with Nasty Boy member, Jerry Sags!
The Rockers were one of, if not the biggest, babyface tag team in the WWE. The Nasty Boys were, well, the exact opposite of them. This was still during an era where keeping kayfabe was extremely important – meaning good guys should not be chilling with bad guys. Today, Michaels is officially living the retired life, while Jannetty still wrestles from time to time and is a trainer for Chikara. Sags is not officially retired from wrestling and currently resides with his family in Florida.
2. Hangin’ At Crackle Barrel
You’re eyes don’t deceive you, that is indeed CM Punk, Matt Sydal, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and an unidentified woman hanging out at a Cracker Barrel, just passing the time, until the next show starts up. This picture was taken long before any of them had cracked into WWE. In 2005, Punk would be the first of the group to make it to the big leagues, becoming one of its biggest stars in the process. Sydal found some success with the company, mostly in the tag division, while Bryan reached incredibly popular heights with fans, which was cut short due to injuries.
In 2016, AJ Styles was the last of the bunch to sign with WWE, currently in a fantastic feud with John Cena. Going back to the picture, it’s nice to see Punk was still annoyed with wrestling fans even before his WWE days. You can almost hear him saying “Yeah buddy, keep taking those pictures of us!…”
1. Halloween High Jinks
That would be Drew Galloway in a green pimp suit on the right, with Sheamus as some sort of Neanderthal (maybe a former wrestler?) on the left. Here we see these two in their younger days, most likely still in development for the WWE. Over the years, these two have grown to be great buddies and still take pictures together even today.
Known as Drew McIntyre in the WWE, Drew went from “Chosen One” (literally by Vince McMahon) to a fan favorite, to a talent enhancer in the group, 3MB. Drew was released in 2014 and has exploded since leaving WWE, becoming the EVOLVE World Champion and the TNA World Champion. It’s always great to see guys get away from WWE and show the world how much talent they really have, rather than just falling off a cliff. WWE is probably a bit embarrassed for letting someone like Drew get away and make money for another promotion.