Throughout the history of Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment, there have been so many examples of superstars falling out with Vince and essentially being blacklisted by him and his wrestling juggernaut. And not just no-name or lower-card guys, for McMahon has had very public spats with legendary names such as Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart, to name but a few.
Still, as the age-old adage of the wrestling business goes, “Never say never” – and that has certainly been the case, as the WWE has shocked us all at times by building bridges with talents who we thought we’d never see turn up on WWE programming ever again. But while the likes of Sammartino, Warrior, and Hart all eventually came to some sort of peace with Vinny Mac and his organization, there are still those who, even now, find themselves on Vince’s ever-expanding naughty list.
So, with all of that in mind, here are 15 names who are currently in McMahon’s bad books and whom the company have gone out of their way to blacklist in one way or another – be that rightly so or merely a case of Vince and his execs being maybe just a tad petty as McMahon is so often known to be.
15 Zahra Schreiber
Zahra who? Yep, Zahra Schreiber was indeed under a WWE contract for a year or so from 2014 until 2015.
While her name may have you racking your brain as you attempt to put a face to it, she’s more famously known to wrestling fans as the person whom Seth Rollins was having an affair with behind his partner’s back. As in, yes, that time when Rollins’s then-partner posted nude pictures of him and Zahra online after finding out about the affair.
In fairness, Schreiber managed to ride out that controversy and began officially dating Rollins after that. The bigger problem for her came when images surfaced online of a whole host of Nazi memorabilia in her house. And, well, Nazis are bad, kids.
After those shocking pictures were released, Schreiber lasted just two more days before the WWE terminated her contract.
What’s so sad about the WWE’s relationship with Chyna is that it was never repaired before Joanie Laurer’s tragic death in 2016.
Since then, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H have regularly championed Joanie as the game-changing revolutionary she was. That’s all well and good, but the sad truth is that she was blacklisted by the company for years largely due to Stephanie and Hunter.
Sure, Chyna may have gotten a tad too big for her boots by the time she left the company in 2001, but the main reason for her getting the boot was due to Steph dating Triple H – the same Triple H who was previously dating Chyna while having an affair with the Billion Dollar Princess.
Love her or hate her, the treatment and lack of acknowledgment of Chyna from the WWE has been classless and ignorant. Then she dies, and she’s suddenly a trailblazer whom WWE brass are complementing? Classy.
13 Colt Cabana
With the past few decades having seen wrestling fans become more and more savvy to talents outside of the WWE -- those grapplers perfecting their game on the independent scene -- many had been clamoring for Colt Cabana to join the WWE. And then he did and was given the horrific persona of Scotty Goldman and not allowed to do anything remotely like the entertaining work he’d done elsewhere. Sadly, it was a surprise to nobody when Cabana’s main-roster WWE run came to an end after just six months.
The reason that Cabana is on the WWE’s sh*t list now, though, is that he was named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit filed by WWE physician Christopher Amann against CM Punk following Punk’s departure from the company. With that case still ongoing, Cabana is still well and truly in the WWE doghouse – but not that he cares, for the entertaining and charismatic Colt is still one of the most popular and sought-after wrestlers outside of the WWE shackles.
The story of Tammy “Sunny” Sytch really is a sad one.
From being seen as the first ever “diva,” Sunny has since gone on to have several encounters with the law, numerous rehab stints, and has even released her own p*rn film. And worse, it seems that Sunny’s own worst enemy is, tragically, Sunny.
During her WWF stint, Sunny was in a longtime relationship with Chris Candido whilst also having a loose relationship with Shawn Michaels and having sex with Davey Boy Smith in showers. Even then, even after leaving the company and eventually partaking in some softcore nudity sort of photo shoots, the rebranded WWE welcomed her into their Hall of Fame in 2011, as well as paid for her rehab stints.
Sadly, Sunny would then list her Hall of Fame ring on eBay while regularly falling off of the wagon. In fairness to Vince McMahon and the WWE, they do keep supporting her by paying for her rehab stays, but when it comes to any sort of return to the company? Yep, no chance!
11 CM Punk
One of the more recent and famous examples of the WWE blacklisting a talent is the ongoing treatment of CM Punk. Despite having a whopping 434-day reign as WWE Champion that sees him sitting with the sixth-longest reign of all time, the Straight-Edge Superstar has become persona non grata since walking away from the WWE in 2014.
Having become tired of the WWE backstage bullsh*t and feeling disrespected at not being positioned as the guy at times, Punk took his ball and went home in 2014 – the final straw being the WWE’s poor handling of the Chicago native’s staph infection, not to mention Punk’s non-interest in a WrestleMania match against Triple H.
Since then, Punk’s WWE termination papers arrived on the day of his wedding to AJ Lee, and he’s currently still embroiled in a bitter legal battle with the company that comes down to what Punk sees as medical negligence. As such, so intent has the WWE been on refusing to mention the Voice of the Voiceless, his match against The Undertaker has been removed from any packages looking back at ‘Taker’s ‘Mania career.
With Carlito, the thing here is that the WWE has reportedly been very interested in bringing him back to the company over the past few years. The issue, though, is Carlito famously has a habit that means he’s on the WWE’s naughty list until he decides otherwise.
Of course, the problem here is that the charismatic former Intercontinental, United States, and Tag Team Champion is well known to enjoy some recreational drugs. As such, the WWE has reportedly regularly offered him a return to the company on the proviso that he stops smoking cannabis.
With Primo and Epico in limbo on SmackDown Live these days, adding the entertaining Carlito into the mix would be a brilliant move. Until he decides to change his extracurricular activities, though, Carlito will, unfortunately, remain blacklisted by the WWE.
9 Mr. Kennedy… Kennedy!
The story of Ken Anderson's WWE run as Ken Kennedy is certainly one of bad decisions and missed opportunities.
A natural on the mic, oozing charisma, and overflowing with personality, Kennedy was the type of talent Vince McMahon gets hard in the pants over. Simply put, Kennedy was gold!
Unfortunately for Ken, though, despite high-profile feuds with The Undertaker and Chris Benoit, a failed drug test saw him removed from the equation when it came down to him being revealed as Vince McMahon's illegitimate son (the honor instead going to Hornswoggle!), and his stock dropped even further when the modern-day mega powers of John Cena and Randy Orton complained to management about how he’d caused them injuries.
So, while Ken is clearly as charismatic as they come, failing a drug test and then pissing off two of the biggest stars in the business mean that he’s found himself on the WWE naughty step for the past seven or eight years while competing in TNA and various other promotions. As he himself put it in a November 2016 interview, “There has been no contact. I don’t know that I’m necessarily welcome there.”
8 Justin Gabriel
For Justin Gabriel, the reason he’s on the WWE’s blacklist is down to him being too much of an adrenaline junkie for his own good.
Back during the latter days of his WWE career, Gabriel regularly butted heads with Triple H – to the point where he decided to go and take to the skies for some plane-hopping fun rather than sit unused backstage at a WWE show. As such, despite his obvious talent, Gabriel was let go from the company in 2015.
Any chance of going back to the WWE? Fresh from Gabriel’s mouth, “Vince actually called me and knew I wanted to do my own thing and have more wrestling time, so he told me to go away for two or three years and go do my thing and possibly come back. Hunter, on the other hand, didn’t like the way I did it because I quit over the phone and told me he’s going to make me wait ages before I’m allowed to come back to WWE.”
Given how Triple H is getting more and more power within the company, don’t be expecting Justin Gabriel – aka PJ Black – to be getting an invite to return anytime soon.
7 Billy Graham
“Superstar” Billy Graham may have easily been one of the biggest names in the wrestling industry at one point in time, fondly remembered for his return to the then-WWWF in 1977, which saw him win their World Heavyweight Championship. To many, Superstar is seen as the man who revolutionized the art of the promo, with him serving as a precursor to flamboyant, charismatic grapplers like Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura.
Still, Superstar is currently in the WWE doghouse after publicly slating both the WWE and Vince McMahon on a regular basis over the past few years. Then again, that’s nothing compared to the vitriol he’s often spouted about Chris Jericho – seriously, there are video interviews out there of him describing, in great detail, how Y2J is going to burn in hell.
To add further to the frosty relationship between Graham and the WWE, he sold his Hall of Fame ring on eBay, a move that certainly didn’t sit well with WWE brass.
6 Juventud Guerrera
The Juice was only briefly in the WWE, but his spell from 2005 to 2006 was a memorable one for all of the wrong reasons.
While he may have won the Cruiserweight Championship and was positioned as the mouthpiece of The Mexicools, Guerrera pissed off a whole lot of people behind the scenes. Having already irked many due to fracturing several bones in Paul London’s face during a botched 450 Splash, Juve then did what Juve does best: purposely not listen to instructions.
Known as a single-minded arrogant egomaniac at times during his WCW days, Guerrera paid no attention to the WWE’s instructions to hold off on certain high-risk moves. After hearing those instructions, Juve proceeded to pull out a whole host of ridiculous maneuvers in a SmackDown match against Kid Kash and was promptly fired. Regardless of how talented The Juice clearly was, he just couldn’t help himself when it came to his attitude and his ego.
5 Hulk Hogan
Oh dear. What a mess the past few years have been for the legendary Hulk Hogan.
Firstly, The Hulkster went through a very public divorce with Linda. Then came the thing that nobody wanted to see: a Hulk Hogan sex tape. And even worse for Hogan, said sex tape saw him using racial slurs, which rightfully led to him getting plenty of negative press and shunted out of the WWE spotlight.
To many non-wrestling fans, still to this day, Hulk Hogan is the name and the face that instantly spring to mind when asked about pro wrestling. As is ever the case with Hogan, you can’t help but feel it will only be a matter of time before he rocks up on WWE TV again, brother, but, for now, at least, he's blacklisted by the company -- and rightly so, following some truly awful racist comments.
4 Jeff Jarrett
J-E-Double F-J-A-Double R-E-Double T.
While Jeff Jarrett was famous at one point in time for spelling out his own name, it remains to be seen whether he can spell out “blacklisted” with such enthusiasm and gusto.
Regardless of having the most Intercontinental Championship reigns in then-WWF history at one point in time, Double J’s relationship with the company completely soured when he headed off to WCW in 1999 for a second stint with Ted Turner’s company.
Jarrett famously held Vince McMahon up for $300,000 in order to drop the IC Title to Chyna at 1999’s No Mercy PPV due to his contract having expired one day before the show. You can maybe say that Jarrett was simply taking advantage of a situation that was created by the WWF’s own lack of attention to detail, but that doesn’t make any sort of difference to the ire felt by Vinny Mac – so much so, McMahon even publicly fired Jarrett live on Monday Night Raw after he purchased WCW in 2001.
3 Teddy Hart
For Teddy Hart, he’s one of those talents who's seemingly made a habit of burning bridges with most of the companies he’s competed for. While the nephew of Bret and Owen Hart has always been an undeniably talented in-ring performer, the more prominent issue with Teddy was -- and still is -- his attitude.
Back in 1998, so hotly thought of was Teddy, he became the youngest ever person to sign a WWF contract at the age of just 18. By 2002, though, he was released due to attitude problems. The same issues would follow him to a host of companies, including a real-life fight with CM Punk during a brief TNA stay. Still, so clear were Hart’s abilities, he would be signed-up once more to the WWE in 2006.
It was during that WWE stint that Teddy was paired with Harry Smith as The Next Generation Hart Foundation. A gimmick that had main-roster potential written all over, Hart’s attitude again saw him released – and ultimately, that team would make it to the main roster as The Hart Dynasty, with Tyson Kidd joining Harry and Natalya.
Kevin “Nailz” Wacholz has long been blacklisted by the WWE, but, in fairness to him, he most certainly went all-out in getting himself in the company’s bad books.
Having turned up in the company in 1992, Nailz would have notable matches with The Big Boss Man and, err, Virgil. Following his SummerSlam ’92 bout against Virgil, Wacholz was unhappy with his pay and made the bold move of approaching Vince McMahon about this. Locking himself in McMahon’s office while The Berzerker kept watch, Nailz actually began to choke out Vinny Mac.
Safe to say, that act saw McMahon swiftly fire Wacholz, and he was blacklisted for life. Following this, Wacholz did his best to take down Vince by testifying against him in the 1994 steroid trial. Unfortunately for him, though, so biased and vitriol-fuelled was his testimony, it was deemed unreliable and played a part in McMahon avoiding jail time!
1 Chris Benoit
Really, does this one need any sort of explanation?!?!
While you can argue for or against the WWE blacklisting many others featured in this article, there’s absolutely no way that anybody can question the WWE for washing their hands of Chris Benoit and doing their best to wipe him from their record books.
Of course, there’s no doubt that Chris Benoit was, hands-down, one of the greatest grapplers to ever lace up a pair of boots. In the ring, Benoit was a true wrestling machine who was one of the very best of his generation. But still, as much as some of us may want to, it’s impossible to view his wrestling career in a positive light due to the horrific acts of his final few days on this Earth.
It doesn’t need saying, but Benoit murdered his wife and son before taking his own life. After that, the WWE refused to acknowledge the former World Champion – and rightly so.
Sources: WrestlingInc, Wikipedia, WWE