WWE is a business first and foremost and the company often makes decisions to fire their superstars based on some of the craziest of things or some of the craziest decisions that these stars made. WWE stars are released on a regular basis and sometimes it seems that the company has to release a number of stars when their budget is over what they consider to be a healthy amount. This has been seen a number of times over the past few years when WWE decides to trim the fat and release many of the stars that haven’t been used on WWE TV in a long time.
Some superstars don’t do anything wrong, and their time with the company has just run its course and it’s time for them to move on, while others make some shocking decisions and are released from the WWE because of this.
WWE has some strange rules that they expect their superstars to follow and if they don’t then it seems that that writing is on the wall when it comes to their WWE career. Of course, this isn’t always the case and sometimes WWE even decides to resign employees that they have fired a few years later, as you will see in the list below.
The following list looks at some of the times WWE has fired their employees. The employees in question made a stupid decision that ended up costing them their job.
15. Alberto Del Rio – Slapped A Backstage Official
Alberto Del Rio is a former World Champion in WWE, but before his most recent stint in the company where he returned in October 2015, Del Rio was fired from the company after an altercation with a backstage official.
Back in 2014, it emerged that an official had been racist towards the Mexican star and Del Rio’s reaction was to slap him. WWE found out about the incident and released Del Rio from his contract, whilst the employee was apparently able to continue working for WWE. The former United States Champion wasn’t happy about the events leading up to his release, but it seems that he managed to put all of this to one side when he was asked to return to WWE the following year. Del Rio appeared at Hell in a Cell in 2015 and accepted John Cena’s United States Championship open challenge to lift the title for the first time.
14. Jimmy Jacobs – Took A Picture With The Bullet Club
Jimmy Jacobs is a former Independent superstar who joined WWE a few years ago and has since been one of the main stars in their creative team. Jacobs has a number of friends outside of WWE who are still wrestling on the Independent Circuit as part of promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, so the WWE Universe didn’t think much of it when he shared a picture a few weeks ago with him alongside The Bullet Club as they attempted to invade Raw.
Incredibly, it was later revealed that Jacobs had been relieved of his duties and WWE had once again served The Young Bucks with another cease and desist letter when it came to what they were and weren’t allowed to do. It seems that WWE’s main issue was the fact that Jacob’s shared the image on Instagram and even hashtagged the invasion as a way to seemingly promote what these outsiders were doing.
13. Nailz – Attacked Vince McMahon
Nailz was one of the strangest and perhaps most violent superstars that WWE has ever employed, but he was part of some interesting matches with The Big Boss Man back in the 1990s before his career began to fizzle out.
It seems that Nailz is perhaps the only star on this list that deserved to get fired for his actions since he decided to target the WWE Chairman himself, Vince McMahon. Bret Hart stated in his autobiography that back in December 1992, Nailz headed into Vince’s office and screamed at him for 15 minutes before he attacked him and actually began to choke him. Nailz was rightfully fired from the company after this incident and later attempted to file numerous lawsuits against WWE where he even stated that McMahon gave him steroids and s*xually assaulted him. These lawsuits were later dropped and it seems that both parties later went their separate ways.
12. Jim Ross – Not Controlling Ric Flair
Jim Ross was and still is a legend when it comes to his voice and the matches that he has called over the past few decades. Ross was pretty much the voice of WWE throughout The Attitude Era and The Ruthless Aggression Era, until he was shockingly released from the company back in 2013.
When Ross was first released from the company, reports stated that he had decided to retire, before the truth was revealed that Ross had been released because he had failed to control Ric Flair during a live event to promote WWE2K14. Flair’s son Reid had recently passed away and Flair got drunk and a little out of hand at the event that Ross was hosting. Since Ross was the host, WWE expected him to be able to control The Nature Boy and because he didn’t and WWE was humiliated by the event, it seems that they had to let him go. Luckily, it seems that Ross and WWE have smoothed over their problems in recent years and he returned at WrestleMania to call what could have been The Undertaker‘s final WWE match.
11. Emma – Shoplifting
Emma is currently playing a key role in WWE’s Women’s Division on its Raw roster, but a few years ago it didn’t seem as though the former NXT star had a future in WWE.
Emma was fired from WWE back in 2014 after it was revealed that she had shoplifted an iPad case from a Walmart store. It was later revealed that Emma had just forgotten to pay for the item as she went through the self-checkout of the store and was later forced to appear in community court. WWE saw the news and decided to release Emma, who was only in the country on a work visa. The incident wasn’t actually as bad as first thought and a few hours later, WWE officials had a change of heart and decided to rehire her. It’s an incident that she will definitely never forget when she’s shopping at Walmart in the future.
10. Gangrel – Showed His Stomach
Gangrel became well-known in WWE as part of The Brood along with Edge and Christian, before the team became a distant memory and Gangrel’s weight became a huge issue with Vince McMahon behind the scenes.
It is thought that the company wanted the star to lose some weight so that he could become a successful singles star and fit in with all the other muscular characters in the WWE at that time, but obviously, he didn’t. Gangrel then forgot to tuck his shirt in during a match and when his belly was clearly visible, it apparently enraged McMahon and as punishment for this, Vince fired him. It is perhaps one of the harshest dismissals in WWE history, but it just goes to show how much pressure WWE put on their superstars to always be in the best shape and since Gangrel couldn’t measure up, it seems that he couldn’t stay.
9. Finlay – Interrupted The National Anthem
Finlay has been doing the Irish proud during his time in WWE over the past few decades, and even though he is currently employed by the company as part of their backstage staff, he is another star who was fired for a shocking reason.
Back in 2011, Finlay was working in a backstage role when he made the decision to allow The Miz to interrupt the national anthem at a live show. Finlay thought that this was exactly what Miz needed to get some heat from the WWE Universe, instead a number of fans complained about the segment and Finlay was fired. It seemed like quite a harsh punishment for something that was done with the best kind of intentions, so WWE rehired the former star a few years later and he is now back in the same job and has seemingly learnt from this early error.
8. Matt Hardy – Complained About The Company On Social Media
Matt Hardy recently made his return to WWE along with his brother Jeff back at WrestleMania 33 where the duo became Raw Tag Team Champions. Their reign didn’t last very long, but it seems that the two brothers are back after a number of years in TNA following Matt’s release from the company.
Hardy was released from the company back in 2010 after allegedly spreading negativity about the company online. It seems that Hardy had had enough and was out to get fired because he wasn’t happy with his position in the company and thought that he could do much better on the Independent Circuit. Hardy made a habit of whining about his issues online and in YouTube videos before WWE had enough and decided to release him. Matt was then able to move over to TNA and join back up with his brother so that they could unleash their Broken personas.
7. Dawn Marie – Getting Pregnant And Suing WWE
Dawn Marie is another forgettable female wrestler of the last generation who was brought into the company because of her looks. Dawn rarely ever wrestled and was instead used for bikini contests and as part of a storyline with Torrie Wilson‘s real-life father, whom she later went on to kill after she married him, in a shocking twist that was mostly down to the fact that she wanted Torrie all along.
Dawn’s career wasn’t going anywhere and neither was the Women’s Division at this time, so she became pregnant back in 2006 and was granted maternity leave by WWE. Dawn was later fired from WWE while she was on maternity leave in another cruel twist, so the former superstar decided to file a lawsuit against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was later settled out of court. Unsurprisingly, Dawn hasn’t returned to the company in the decade since her original release.
6. Highlander Robbie – Was Seen In The Audience At TNA
The Highlanders were an interesting Tag Team in WWE for a number of years, especially since they were given a unique gimmick. Despite this, it seems that their gimmick had a sell-by date and because Robbie wasn’t happy with his current position in WWE, he was later seen in the audience at a TNA taping a few days before WrestleMania 24.
A WWE official later called him to tell him to leave the arena immediately, which he did. Robbie then went on to be fined his entire WrestleMania paycheque which was believed to be around $5,000 and was then released from the company a few days later. It seems like quite a harsh punishment for merely attending a TNA event, but it seems that WWE saw it as an act of disloyalty and had to make an example of Robbie so that the rest of their roster would understand the rules.
5. Daniel Bryan – Choked An Official With His Tie
The story of Daniel Bryan is actually quite a sad one. Bryan had worked his way through the ranks for a number of years before he appeared for WWE for the first time back in 2002, only to then be released again in 2003. When Bryan returned to WWE in 2009 he was given a part in the Nexus storyline and apparently went a little over the top.
The Nexus attacked the WWE arena and everyone at ringside, and Bryan decided to attack ring announcer Justin Roberts and began choking him with his own tie. WWE saw this as something a little too violent for their PG branding and released Bryan for his part in it. Obviously, he was later rehired and went on to become one of the biggest stars in the company before he was forced to prematurely retire through injury.
4. CM Punk – Breach Of Contract
CM Punk is one of the best-known wrestlers in the world right now since he’s reportedly in the process of training for his second UFC fight, but it seems that he is another WWE star who made a decision that got him fired.
Punk walked out of WWE following The Royal Rumble back in 2014 and hasn’t returned since. Punk later commented that this was because he was working while he was ill. He had a staph infection and he just wasn’t feeling the way he used to about WWE since he wasn’t going to be in the WrestleMania main event that year. Punk was later fired on his wedding day by WWE due to a breach of contract, something that Punk had done by walking out and not returning. He stated that WWE knew it was his wedding day and decided to fire him to be petty, which tells you exactly what the kind of people who are in charge at WWE are like.
3. Cameron – Sided With Ryback On Social Media
Let’s be honest; Cameron was never one of the biggest stars in WWE’s Women’s Division. She wasn’t a very good wrestler and was only called up from NXT to partner her in The Funkadactyls, so it wasn’t a huge loss when she was released from the company.
That being said, the way she was released was slightly harsh. Ryback had walked out of WWE a few weeks before and had decided to air all of his grievances in a lengthy post that he shared online. One of the main issues was the fact that when he was part of main events as a loser, he was not getting paid as much as the winner, despite him putting just as much into the match. Cameron agreed with the comments that he made and WWE realized that they could have problems from her in the future, so they decided to cut their losses. Would she still be in WWE if she didn’t comment? Maybe not, but she may not have been fired as quickly.
2. Brad Maddox – Used A Banned Word In A Live Promo
Brad Maddox was brought into WWE as a dodgy referee back at Hell in a Cell in 2012, who later turned into a co-General Manager of Monday Night Raw alongside Vickie Guerrero. Brad was then finally given the opportunity to wrestle when he was repacked as Joshua Kingsley back in 2015.
It seems that this wasn’t the opportunity that Maddox was looking for since he decided to cut a promo at a WWE live event where he referred to the audience as “cocky pr***s,” something that Vince McMahon deemed too offensive and enough for them to give Maddox his marching orders. Maddox was part of the company for a number of years and portrayed a number of different characters in the show, so it was considered slightly pathetic and hypocritical for WWE to fire him for saying an offensive word on WWE TV when offensive words are used on TV all the time.
1. Paul London – Was Seen Smiling Backstage
Paul London was a star of the Tag Team and Cruiserweight Division back in the day and is a former Tag Team Champion alongside current 205 Live star Brian Kendrick. London was once seen as one of the most exciting superstars in WWE, but it seems that this wasn’t enough to save him.
London was shockingly released after he was part of a backstage segment where Vince McMahon headed out to his limo that would later blow up, and he was supposed to keep a straight face as the boss passed him by. London obviously didn’t take this instruction well and had a huge grin on his face as McMahon walked past him backstage. This mistake would cost him dearly as he went on to job out in all of the matches that followed before he was released from the company. It’s shocking that WWE can release someone for something as little as smiling backstage.
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