Every one of us has been blacklisted from somewhere at some time. Be it from a bar, a nightclub, a stadium, or an ex-girlfriend’s family, we have all been dishonorably discharged. The majority of times, being blacklisted really isn’t that big of a deal. You just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find a new place to get drunk. But imagine if being blacklisted made succeeding in your professional life 99.9% more difficult. Imagine if the bar that banned you was the only bar in town, and you were now forced to drink your buddy’s homemade beer in his basement. That’s kind of what it’s like to be blacklisted from WWE.
Vince McMahon does not like to be betrayed or made a fool of, so it is no surprise that he has blacklisted quite a large amount of performers over the years. Of course, McMahon is famous for his “never say never” attitude and willingness to do business with anybody if he thinks it will help his product, so some of the most infamous blacklisted wrestlers have managed to find their way back to the WWE after a couple of years. However, there are an equal amount of performers forced to flounder on the independent scene because they can’t work anywhere else.
In this list, we’re going to be looking at some of the superstars who you may not have known were blacklisted by WWE at some point or another. Let’s get started.
15. Juventud Guerrera
After impressing in a number of other promotions, Juventud Guerrera made his WWE debut in June of 2005. Guerrera debuted alongside Super Crazy and Psicosis, collectively known as The Mexicools.
Juventud’s first couple of months in WWE were relatively successful and he captured the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on two separate occasions. However, things started to go south toward the end of the year, as his attitude behind the scenes was considered by many veterans to be disrespectful.
He also had a tendency to defy WWE officials and incorporate outlawed moves into his matches. One such move – the 450 Splash – was banned after a botched attempt resulted in Juventud fracturing a number of bones in Paul London’s pretty face. Despite this, Guerrera used the move again in a SmackDown encounter with Kid Kash. This proved to be the final straw and WWE announced his release shortly after the match was taped. Juventud has not been mentioned on WWE television since.
Madusa gave the world one of the most memorable moments of the Monday Night Wars. In fact, her actions on the night of December 18th, 1995 are believed by many to be the shot that started it all.
Prior to arriving in WCW in 1995, Madusa had been competing in the World Wrestling Federation. Under the name Alundra Blayze, she was the most popular wrestler in the Women’s division, and held the WWF Women’s Championship on three occasions. She was still the reigning Women’s Champion when she showed up in WCW. The belt in hand, she declared that her name was and had always been Madusa, before throwing the WWF gold in the trash.
Vince McMahon was understandably furious and Madusa was not mentioned on his programming for almost two decades. However, cooler heads eventually prevailed and the two sides were able to patch things up. Madusa was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
13. Jimmy Snuka
“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka was one of the WWF’s biggest stars throughout the 1980s. During the Golden Era, he gave us a number of iconic moments including his leap off a steel cage onto Don Muraco’s bloodied carcass and the Piper’s Pit segment in which Roddy Piper smashed a coconut across his skull.
For years, Snuka was considered wrestling royalty. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 and spent the proceeding two decades appearing as a legend at WWE events.
However, Snuka’s love affair with Vince McMahon – a metaphorical one, of course – came to an abrupt end in September 2015, when he was arrested for the 1983 murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. Not only was Snuka blacklisted by WWE, his image was scrubbed from the company website and he became unsearchable on the WWE Network. (An honor previously reserved for Chris Benoit.)
12. Kenny Dykstra
Kenny Dykstra first appeared on WWE’s main roster as a member of The Spirit Squad. Although The Spirit Squad was a goofy faction comprised of a couple of guys pretending to be cheerleaders, there was no denying that there were some talented competitors in the group. Dykstra, the apparent leader of The Spirit Squad, was seen as one of the most promising wrestlers in the company and it seemed he was bound for great things.
After The Spirit Squad disbanded, Dykstra received something of a singles push. However, it was short lived and he was eventually relegated to jobber status before being released from his contract.
According to Dykstra, his contract was terminated upon the request of John Cena. Dykstra, who was engaged to former WWE superstar Mickie James, claims that James was hooking up with John Cena behind his back for much of their relationship. When he discovered the affair, he was mysteriously drafted to SmackDown, away from Cena and James, before being released.
11. Jeff Jarrett
When Vince McMahon purchased WCW in 2001, he seemed to take a great deal of joy in firing WCW superstar Jeff Jarrett on live television. This was because, in case you didn’t guess, Vince McMahon is not particularly fond of Double J.
When Jeff Jarrett’s WWF contract was set to expire the day before the 1999 installment of No Mercy, Jarrett and Vince Russo conspired together in order to help Double J get as much money out of the WWF as possible. Russo, the company’s head writer, delayed Jarrett’s defense of his Intercontinental Championship so it would occur on the PPV, one day after his contract had expired. This meant Vince McMahon was at the mercy of Jarrett and would have to pay him whatever he wanted in order to get him to drop the title to Chyna as planned.
In the end, McMahon ended up paying Jarrett $300,000 to wrestle at the event. When you add this to Jarrett’s role in establishing TNA several years later, it isn’t hard to see why he has been blacklisted by WWE.
10. Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana is one of the most successful independent wrestlers of all time. He has carved out a nice career for himself and has earned a significant amount of money despite the fact his time in WWE was brief and largely forgettable.
Cabana made his main roster debut for WWE in mid 2008 under the name Scotty Goldman. It was clear from the beginning that the comedy schtick which made him so successful on the independent scene was not going to catch on in WWE. He was released from his WWE contract inFebruary 2009 after being handily defeated by Umaga.
Although Cabana and WWE parted on relatively good terms, Cabana’s well-documented friendship with CM Punk eventually lead to the demise of his relationship with the company. Things got particularly bad between Cabana and WWE after he invited former WWE Champion CM Punk to appear on his podcast and vent his frustration with the McMahon family. Word going around after the podcast was that Cabana had cost himself any chance of being rehired by WWE.
9. Daniel Bryan
You wouldn’t know it now, but Daniel Bryan was once blacklisted by WWE. Before he ever won the WWE Championship, before he captivated the world with the Yes Movement, before he main evented the biggest WrestleMania of all time, Bryan was considered persona non grata.
When The Nexus made their main roster debut at the end of the June 7, 2010 edition of Raw, Bryan was among them. Led by Wade Barrett, The Nexus interrupted the main event and proceeded to destroy anything and anyone they could get their hands on. Bryan, becoming a bit too caught up in the storyline, strangled announcer Justin Roberts with his necktie and spat in the face of WWE’s beloved John Cena.
WWE decided that Bryan’s ruthlessness did not jive with its new politically correct image and released him from his contract several days later. For a couple of months, Bryan was not mentioned on WWE television for fear the sponsors would be reminded of what he had done during his last appearance. Thankfully, things had cooled down by the end of the summer and Bryan returned to WWE at the 2010 SummerSlam event. And they all lived happily ever after.
Before there was Sable with her skintight PVC catsuits and subpar wrestling skills, there was Sunny with her girl next-door smile and subpar wrestling skills.
Sunny was considered to be the first lady of the WWF for much of the 1990s and was the original crush of millions of young fans around the world. She was released from her contract in 1998 as rumors swirled about her backstage problems with Sable and an addiction to painkillers.
After leaving the WWF, Sunny’s personal problems worsened. A reliance on drugs and alcohol robbed her of the beauty which had made her famous and she found herself in and out of rehabilitation clinics, as well as jail cells.
She managed to clean herself up for a period and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, but went off the rails shortly after. Since her Hall of Fame induction, Sunny has been heavily involved in the adult entertainment industry. As well as starring in a film produced by Vivid Entertainment, she has sold saucy Skype calls to her fans, offering to go nude and perform certain sexual acts on herself for money. Needless to say, WWE won’t be reaching out to Sunny for a while.
7. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
“Macho Man” Randy Savage is one of many names to have been blacklisted by Vince McMahon in the 1990s. It took his death for WWE to finally acknowledge his contributions to the company, but that’s understandable when you think about the supposed reason Vince McMahon banned him in the first place.
Savage was one of many WWF/E legends to leave the company in favor of WCW during the Monday Night Wars. Vince was obviously hurt when Savage, one of his most loyal stars, left the company, but it was what he learned after Macho Man’s exit which angered him the most.
It is said that during Savage’s final months with the World Wrestling Federation, he entered into a sexual relationship with Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter. To make matters worse, Savage would have been in his forties at the time the affair began, while Stephanie was still an underage teen.
6. Brock Lesnar
When Brock Lesnar first debuted on the main roster, he was WWE’s golden boy. He breezed through legends like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker. He quickly captured the WWE Championship from The Rock to become the youngest world champion in the company’s history up to that point. For a long time, SmackDown was centered around The Next Big Thing and his push just continued to grow and grow and grow. So it must have stung Vince McMahon when Lesnar abruptly left the company after WrestleMania XX.
Claiming he was fed up with the workload and the constant traveling, Brock Lesnar left WWE to pursue a career in the NFL. He also spent some time wrestling in Japan. Lesnar’s desire to wrestle for other companies resulted in a legal battle between he and Vince McMahon, with the latter claiming the former had violated a non-compete clause.
During the lawsuit, WWE did everything it could to erase Brock Lesnar from the history books, most notably putting the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on then 24-year-old Randy Orton, thus breaking Lesnar’s record as the youngest world champion in history.
Lesnar and WWE eventually managed to patch things up a couple of years later and The Next Big Thing returned to WWE to break The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, conquer John Cena, and reclaim the WWE Championship.
5. Kurt Angle
Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle is without a doubt one of the most naturally gifted performers to ever enter a wrestling ring. Like Brock Lesnar, he debuted in WWE amid much fanfare and received a main event push almost immediately. During his time in WWE, he held a variety of championships, including both the WWE Championship and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
When Angle requested his release from the company in 2006, Vince McMahon granted it, likely not wanting to see his relationship with the former Olympian sour. So you can imagine how much it must have angered him when Angle showed up in TNA a few months later.
Angle ended up spending the majority of his career in TNA, but after he left the company he began preparing for a return to WWE. Perhaps it was a mistake on Angle’s part to assume the company would welcome him back with open arms, as Triple H did not react well to his openness about his desire to return to the company. In fact, it is said that Angle ruined any chance he had of being rehired by calling Vince McMahon to ask for a contract rather than speaking to Triple H, who generally deals with those matters.
4. Lex Luger
You ever notice that WWE commentators don’t really talk about that period in the 90s when Lex Luger was being pushed as the next Hulk Hogan and had a big bus that he used to travel around America in? Well, there is apparently a reason for that. According to multiple sources, Vince McMahon does not want his company to be associated with Luger, who has had his fair share of personal and physical problems over the past couple of years.
Luger spent the latter half of the 1990s in WCW, where he entered into a relationship with Ms. Elizabeth. The pair had a happy relationship during their early years together, but in 2003 were involved in multiple domestic disputes. That same year, Elizabeth died after consuming a lethal combination of alcohol and drugs. Although her death was ruled accidental, Luger was charged with possession of copious amounts of illegal drugs.
Luger has also suffered from spinal injuries and is now confined to a wheelchair, the effects of years of steroid abuse and punishing his body inside the ring. These days, Luger is a born-again Christian and is active in his faith. He likely does not want to do business with WWE anymore than WWE wants to do business with him.
Anybody who has been following professional wrestling for more than a year knows that you should never say never when it comes to potential WWE returns. However, it’s safe to say that Nailz – real name Kevin Wacholz – will never return to WWE.
Wacholz (he even spells his surname with a Z) arrived in the WWF playing a convict who claimed to have been beaten excessively by Big Boss Man while incarcerated. For some reason, the unreasonable force-using Boss Man was the face in this feud.
There were problems with Wacholz attitude from the get-go and he was frequently involved in heated disputes with management. Prior to his release, Nailz confronted Vince McMahon about a money issue, screaming in his face and threatening to kill him. Bret Hart recalls the encounter in his autobiography and says Wacholz even pushed McMahon out of his chair and began to choke him.
2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts is arguably the best talker the business has ever seen. In an era when most guys would yell at the camera and make crazy facial expressions to get their points across, Roberts would speak low and remain calm, but would prove more captivating than a thousand Hulk Hogans.
Unfortunately for The Snake, his problems with drugs and alcohol made it impossible for him to continue his work with the World Wrestling Federation and he left the company without ever capturing the World Heavyweight Championship, which bothers many die-hard fans to this day. Roberts proceeded to embark on something of a two decade bender, which saw him hop on and off the wagon like it was made of hot iron.
During this time, Vince McMahon did all he could to distance himself and his company from Roberts. He was essentially blacklisted from WWE with no chance of a return until he managed to clean himself up.
Thankfully, Diamond Dallas Page came to the rescue and resurrected Jake with his incredible DDP Yoga program, which has also saved the life of Scott Hall. Jake the Snake eventually returned to WWE in 2014 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
1. Teddy Hart
Fans expected great things from Teddy Hart when he became the youngest person to ever be signed to a WWF/E contract toward the end of the 1990s. Vince McMahon also expected a lot from Hart and sent him to wrestling legend Dory Funk, Jr. for training. However, there were problems with Teddy’s attitude from day one. The minor fame which he had achieved prevented him from buckling down and doing as he was told. He was released from his contract before making any real progress.
From the then WWF, Hart went to a couple of independent promotions, with his attitude creating similar problems. He spent some time in TNA, but was let go after instigating a backstage fight with CM Punk.
While the bad taste Hart left in WWE’s mouth accounts for some of his blacklisting, there is something larger keeping the company from ever giving him another chance. In 2014, two women accused Hart of sexual assault and he was arrested shortly after. Although the charges were eventually dropped, WWE can be forgiven for not wanting to employ a guy with such a troubled history.