In the digital age, almost everybody has some story about accidentally posting something online that they wish they hadn’t. Or maybe it wasn’t even an accident to post it, but once they realized how people reacted to it, they deeply regretted sharing it with the world on social media. Business and celebrities are in no way exempt from this rule, and that extends towards WWE and the sports entertainers who work for them. As proud and even downright boastful as WWE often is about their social media platforms, constantly plugging Twitter on their television programs and ceaselessly posting to Snapchat throughout the week, there have been at least a few moments in history where WWE and the Internet clearly didn’t mesh. We’re not even considering the trolls who complain about everything they do, either.
WWE is a multinational, billion-dollar company, and that means hundreds if not thousands of employees, who sometimes can’t even be trusted to speak for themselves, let alone the entire organization at large. Unfortunately for WWE and the McMahon family (and more specifically Joey Styles, who is in charge of WWE.com), this incredible focus on social media and constantly plugging Twitter and Snapchat et al. on television means that when the company makes a mistake on these mediums, everybody notices and points it out almost instantly. Both wrestlers and executives have made faux pas on social media, proving that it doesn’t matter how high up the corporate ladder you are, Twitter can still be a dangerous place for the career-minded if they Tweet before they think. Keep reading to learn about 15 times WWE and its superstars embarrassed themselves online.
15. Cesaro’s Twitter Was Hacked By His Biggest Fan
Cesaro has a dual reputation in WWE as one of the most obviously talented people on the roster, and therefore one of the most blatantly underutilized when considering his consistently middling position on the card. Fans and fellow wrestlers alike see the potential in the Swiss superstar, with no less a source than Stone Cold Steve Austin telling Vince McMahon to his face that Cesaro deserves a push. McMahon denied Austin the same ways he’s denied Cesaro and the fans over the past several years, but at least one angry fan has attempted to fight back through the least likely means. And he or she managed to embarrass Cesaro in their attempt at doing so.
In February of 2015, Cesaro’s Twitter account seemingly went on a rant demanding that the wrestler start getting pushed up the card, while also making constant shots at Vince McMahon and implying the WWE CEO would be better off dead. Perhaps it isn’t fair to include situations like this on our list, but we’re going to do so if only because millions of people have Twitter accounts and manage to keep them secure enough not to get hacked that it’s still a little embarrassing in the first place. Cesaro deleted all of the tweets once he got his account back, and there was little in the way of company response, since everyone understood it wasn’t him who did it.
14. Dolph Ziggler’s Twitter Was Hacked By Hulk Hogan’s Enemies
Dolph Ziggler has a shocking amount in common with Cesaro. He was less success in wrestling prior to joining WWE, but once he started with the company, fans immediately saw the potential he had and were hoping for him to become a major player in the near future. He has indeed steadily risen up the card and often flirts with the main event, but he’s not anywhere close to the star fans hoped he would become, and still see as possible for him to one day reach should WWE start booking him to win. Despite this overwhelming fan support, when someone decided to hack Ziggler’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, they took a different approach than the people who went after Cesaro.
Ziggler’s social media accounts were hacked in August of 2015 during an episode of Monday Night Raw. His Twitter account asked Hulk Hogan a homophobic question, while his Instagram followers were greeted with the images of a naked woman, a chicken, and people riding some sort of rickshaw. Once again, the hacker was eventually found out and the account returned to Ziggler, with the offending posts deleted. Especially given the homophobia of the comments directed at Hogan, there’s a good chance everyone was embarrassed it happened even if they knew Ziggler had nothing to do with it.
13. NXT Hopeful Fails Tryout Because Of Her Twitter
There was a point in time when signing a contract with WWE was the ultimate end goal for virtually every wrestler in America, but the modern wrestling landscape has slightly shifted that from a WWE contract to a contract with NXT. While WWE is still the mecca of American pro wrestling, NXT is their training ground, which means a wrestler can get signed to NXT significantly earlier than WWE would be interested. Although NXT is still new, it seems like the wrestlers who go through that system are more than qualified for WWE careers after graduation, which explains why it’s such a huge deal for a new superstar to sign with NXT. It also explains why NXT passing on them, especially for non-wrestling reasons, can feel like a death knell before a career even began.
We’re bringing all of this up because a one-time hopeful named Jessicka Havok went through all of the emotions we just described. Havok was a successful wrestler in Total Nonstop Action who had a tryout with NXT in 2015. WWE officials were already becoming big fans and saw her as a monster who could reform the women’s division, but her career ended before it could even begin when racist and homophobic tweets were found on her social media accounts. Havoc claimed they were from “years ago,” some were made by her brother, and that she didn’t remember posting most of them, but that didn’t change the fact WWE no longer had any interest in her.
12. Batista Calls Out Stephanie McMahon On Burying Talent
Batista was one of the least likely success stories in WWE, but fans of the last few decades of professional wrestling know he’s bound for the Hall of Fame whenever the day comes he feels willing to accept. Batista was slightly older than the average wrestler when he started with WWE, but quickly was paired with Ric Flair and Triple H in Evolution, and went on to become a six time WWE World Heavyweight Champion. However, Batista has been one of the few top name WWE superstars over the past few decades to be vocally outspoken about the fact he doesn’t like the direction the company has been in since he reached the top, and he recently took to Twitter to slap some sense into Stephanie McMahon, so to speak.
In May of 2016, Stephanie boasted on Twitter that slapping male superstars in the face was becoming her “signature move.” Batista replied to her by sarcastically lauding the move, noting the nonexistent times it helped get a worker over, and the equally nonexistent pops from the crowd caused by her yet-to-occur receipt. While the idea was for Stephanie to brag about her character’s continued dominance, significantly more people liked and retweeted Batista’s response, showing who the fan base truly sides with on that one.
11. Matt Hardy Has Twitter; WWE Superstars Are Told To Ignore It
There are many ways in which the continued wrestling career of Matt Hardy following his initial departure from WWE in 2005 has been one long, sustained embarrassment for the once great superstar. Matt’s brother Jeff has suffered arguably even more embarrassing moments thanks to appearing on a major Pay-Per-View so intoxicated he instantly destroyed the main event, but we’ll focus on Version One for now. Matt Hardy recently made comments on Twitter implying that his career was over due to injuries sustained on a television match that aired weeks after it was taped, instantly clueing fans into the fact he was lying, and leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths. But it was actually an incident a few months earlier that basically got him banned from WWE.
Depression and suicide are very serious and should be treated as such, which is why when Matt Hardy uploaded a fake suicide note in 2011, people were extremely upset when they discovered it was some sort of ruse. Shortly thereafter, it was announced all WWE talent were banned from interacting with the former WWE superstar on Twitter. It seems a little petty to ban employees from interacting with a person who they used to work with, but in this case, we have to side with WWE. Hardy was getting into a territory that offended virtually everyone, so it made sense to cut ties as quickly as possible.
10. Ryback Makes Sexual Comments About John Cena’s Ex-Wife
Ryback recently was one of the most talked about names within the Internet wrestling community, which had to be a complete surprise to anybody following his career up until that point. It’s not that the Internet hated the former Ryan Reeves, but he was often cast aside as a Goldberg clone without much of a personality. When he walked out of WWE in 2016 over a pay dispute, though, he became headline news, and has stayed there on and off since he made his decision and stuck by it. Anyone paying attention should’ve been really surprised when Ryback asked the Internet to feed him more, though, because he had a pretty embarrassing incident there only a years months earlier.
In 2013, Ryback engaged in a short feud against then WWE World Champion, John Cena. Cena made a comment on Raw about how Ryback lacked what it took to be champion. Ryback responded on Twitter that “the 2 things he says I lack his ex-wife seem to love.” Cena, his ex-wife, and WWE officials were all upset how sexual and personal Ryback made things in the Tweet, and as a result, his entire Tweet history was deleted from the site. Ryback eventually returned to Twitter, but the personal comments were left out from then on.
9. Alberto Del Rio Slapped The Social Media Manager, So He Tweeted About It
Alberto Del Rio is one of the top stars in WWE today, and he was already a pretty big star in his Native Mexico prior to joining the company in 2010. Del Rio’s stardom in Mexico is what helped him debut in WWE as a major player, but it would appear the company didn’t exactly respect him on the level they usually treat their main event talent after an employee made a racist statement towards him in 2014. Details were vague at the time, but the way things look now, WWE’s social media coordinator Cody Barbierri appeared to have made racist comments about Mexicans, causing Del Rio to demand an apology. When the apology was denied, Del Rio slapped him. Del Rio was fired, and Barbierri was unpunished.
As if it weren’t enough that the racist wasn’t punished, being the WWE social media coordinator meant Barbierri was in charge of the company Twitter account. This is why, although company policy is usually to wish fired employees good luck and then never discuss them again, the WWE Twitter account made several tweets the day Del Rio was fired, alleging Del Rio deserved it and brought it upon himself. Considering Barbierri himself was let go from the company only a little over a month later when the full story became public, and Del Rio is again working for them, it’s clear which side they ultimately felt was just in their actions.
8. NXT Diva’s Teenage Racism
While it seems no one is immune to posting stupid things online, the most common culprits have always been, and will remain, teenagers. The younger a person is, the less likely they are to think about the long-term ramifications of their actions, and teenagers are directly in the sweet spot between having parents who will make those long-term decisions for them and being old enough that their parents need to give them a little bit of time alone. That time alone is often spent online, and as a result, some dumb things can get posted. We’re officially in an age where teenagers with Twitter are turning into 20-somethings with jobs, and one such person is NXT diva Aliyah, also known as Jasmin Areebi.
Aliyah signed with NXT when she was only 20 years old, which means she could’ve made the posts were talking about while already in the company and still basically fit within the intro we gave her. They were mostly made one year before then, though, and included repeated usages of the n-word, as well as a reference to a black wrestler she worked with on the independent scene being her “slave.” Wrestling has been known for racially offensive gimmicks in the past, but it that description was Areebi’s, and the description combined with her past comments made it clear the kind of person she is. Areebi claimed her account was being used without her knowledge, and eventually had it deleted when she realized it could affect her job.
7. Darren Young’s Abu Dhabi Tweets
While this list is focused on wrestlers embarrassing himself or herself or WWE, Darren Young actually didn’t do anything to be ashamed of. However, he did make some salient points that should deeply have embarrassed WWE, and in fact most people were downright begging for him to say them and call out the company before he even took to the Internet. Darren Young made headlines for being WWE’s first ever openly gay superstar in 2013, and the company and countless superstars immediately spoke out supporting his decision. Less than two years later, WWE booked a tour of Abu Dhabi, were oppressive laws target gays, and Young was told to stay home for his own safety.
It’s true the decision likely was born through concern over Young’s safety, but if WWE were truly concerned over the situation, they wouldn’t have booked shows in such an intensely homophobic area in the first place. Young tweeted stating as much, assuming the only reason WWE would work in Abu Dhabi is the fact they care more about money than human rights. For once, WWE reacted by claiming it was Young’s right to say that, and the tweets remain some of the few on this list that were never taken down.
6. The NXT Nazi
Plenty of these entries have dealt with a WWE superstar writing something on their social media page they obviously shouldn’t have. A few of them have had the excuse that they were young and without supervision on the Internet, which lead to them posting some things a more rational adult wouldn’t have posted. However, there’s no real excuse for posting Nazi propaganda, and that’s exactly what former NXT hopeful Zahra Schreiber did to get her fired from the company in 2015. Schreiber was also dating WWE Champion Seth Rollins at the time, so it was going to take some seriously offensive Nazi related imagery to get her fired, but as it would turn out, that’s exactly the kind of images that she loved posting on Instagram.
Years before signing with WWE, Schreiber posted pictures of swastika memorabilia and a drawing of a My Little Pony character in Nazi garb. While she would later claim both were as a result of her decades long fascination with how terrible the Nazi regime was, it was pretty hard to view the pictures as anything other than some kind of subtle endorsement when presented without any context. Even with the context, posting a swastika online almost always has deep and offensive meaning that historical intrigue is nowhere near enough to mask.
5. Superstars Send Each Other Naked Photos Online; Proving Why You Shouldn’t Do That
If anyone read that last entry on Zahra Schreiber and was expecting something a little bit different, look no further than this entry on her earlier embarrassing incident. People paying attention to the Internet at the time no doubt perked up when we just referred to Schreiber as the ex-girlfriend of WWE superstar Seth Rollins—most people first learned about that relationship through Instagram in the first place. And in this case, when we say most people, that includes Rollins other girlfriend at the time, who broke up with him after naked pictures of Schreiber were posted to his Instagram.
Rollins was actually engaged to be married when the nude pictures of the NXT female were posted to his Instagram, and his fiancé reacted by calling off the wedding and posting nude pictures of Rollins himself to the web as a form of retribution. To his credit, Rollins didn’t really seem too upset about the whole thing, although he obviously took the pictures of Schreiber down as soon as he got the chance. The entire situation was pretty embarrassing for WWE, too, since all of the posts wound up on the company Twitter feed, as well. It’s always risky to send naked pictures to someone over any digital platform, and stories like this prove exactly why.
4. Randy Orton Bullies His Fans
WWE superstars have a long history of bullying one another, to such an extent that countless lists have been made on the subject of who are the worst bullies in the company. Although the answer is usually JBL, one of the regular offenders is Randy Orton. Unlike JBL, Randy has taken his bullying outside of the locker room and towards the Internet, where he even bullies fans who love his work enough to beg for pictures with him. It seems like there’s more to this story than meets the eye, but that doesn’t change how rude or offensive it was when Randy posted a picture of himself with a women he called “the Latino Ms. Piggy,” presumably because the woman was just slightly larger than the average WWE diva.
Orton claims that he had a long history with the woman, and she may even have been harassing him and his family online for some time prior to the tweet being made. However, the tweet itself was clearly fat shaming and bullying the woman for no reason, and presented without context, Orton looked like a huge douchebag for having made the remark. Even after he explained himself, fans were messaging The Viper and demanding he apologize. He never did, but the tweet was eventually removed and forgotten about.
3. Vince McMahon…Dead?
Almost all of these entries are relegated to WWE superstars and officials making questionable if not outright stupid posts on Twitter and Instagram, but one of the dumber and more long-term embarrassing decisions ever made by WWE took place at their home base: wwe.com. In the summer of 2007, in what could have been the most epic and legendary storyline of all time, Vince McMahon walked into a limo, and that limo exploded. The idea was that Vince McMahon had been murdered, and every WWE wrestler was suspect. His wife, Linda, was also considered highly suspicious. It works for television in general, and even in WWE, the actual fans know it’s all part of the show. The rest of the world knew this, too, which is why it was so silly when WWE tried to pass it off as real.
Immediately after the episode of Raw where the attempted murder occurred went off the air, wwe.com was drastically revamped so that all reference to Vince McMahon implied the WWE CEO and Chairman was actually dead. This had horrible ramifications to the actual WWE stock, and Vince was planning on skipping board meetings throughout the next few weeks to further sell the angle. It was almost instantaneous how obviously terrible an idea this was, which is why they started treating it like the mere storyline it was only a few days later. Then, of course, a few weeks later, Chris Benoit committed the crimes that changed wrestling, and the whole thing was forgotten about.
2. AJ Lee Calls Out Stephanie McMahon on Female Equality
AJ Lee might go down in history as one of the greatest female wrestlers in WWE history, and she managed to create her legacy in only a few short years, before she even turned 30. AJ held the WWE Diva’s Championship three times, the first of those reigns lasting nearly 10 months and setting an early record for the division. AJ had only been with WWE a few years at the time of her huge accolade, and in those few years she was constantly in the main event, paired with male wrestlers like Daniel Bryan, Kane, and CM Punk, regularly acting as one of if not the absolute highest profile character on the show.
AJ has loved wrestling her entire life, and as a result seemed to love the attention she was getting within the wrestling world, but not everything about her career was perfect. In February of 2015, Stephanie McMahon tweeted at Patricia Arquette, thanking her for statements made about gender equality at that year’s Academy Awards. AJ responded by asking Stephanie if she was so interested in gender equality, why didn’t the female superstars of WWE earn equal pay, have equal merchandising options, or get treated equally on television? Stephanie “thanked” AJ for her comments, and promptly did absolutely nothing to fix the problems. AJ left WWE less than two months later, and her complaints remain completely ignored.
1. Stephanie McMahon’s Uncharitable Definition of Philanthropy
We tried to pick some obviously embarrassing moments for this list, since the whole point was to prove not all wrestlers have the best handling of social media. On top of that, we had a dual purpose of proving that it doesn’t matter how famous a person is, they can make mistakes when it comes to deciding what to post just like a person without their own publicity team. Sometimes, a person can have an entire company where they act as a figurehead, and still they can make comments without thinking that forever change how the public sees their every action from then on. This is what Stephanie McMahon did in 2015 when she quoted the co-founder of Twitter, who claimed “Philanthropy is the future of marketing.” In essence, Stephanie was admitting that every single charitable effort undertaken by WWE was solely for the publicity, and they in fact don’t have any empathy whatsoever for the people they claim to help.
Granted, that might be a wide leap to take from Stephanie’s single sentence. She’s only one person, and she certainly doesn’t speak for the wrestlers who actually do the charity work that WWE boasts. It’s still deeply concerning that she made this statement and saw nothing wrong with it, though. Stephanie started a charity with her husband, and while we can’t say anything negative about the charity itself, it’s clear it was created by a borderline sociopath who isn’t at all interested in the people she helps; Stephanie only wants the good publicity “helping people” can bring. Considering how utterly oblivious she is to the fact this negates any good she’s trying to do, it might be the most embarrassing tweet of all when someone finally clues someone in on what she was implying when she wrote it.