For most pro wrestlers, the goal is to reach the top of the mountain; usually, that peak is known as World Wrestling Entertainment, or the WWE. The lucky few who make it then have a chance at greatness, whether it’s holding multiple world titles, having an unforgettable highlight that will run on for decades or even being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
No matter the ending, if one of those wrestlers does something so extremely stupid or awful in their personal lives, or left the WWE in a terrible way, all of that work can be wiped out in a blink of an eye. WWE is a public company, and must uphold a certain image to those who invest with them; so obviously, they don’t want to be connected to a racist or worse, a murderer.
As extreme as those situations sound, sometimes it can take much less to get cleared from the record books with just the right amount of smack talk, or bringing in lawyers can easily accomplish this reaction by the biggest pro wrestling company in the world.
The following is a group of wrestlers who have achieved varying amounts of success in their wrestling career, but due to very different reasons, were erased from WWE’s history.
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10 Chris Benoit
In 2007, Benoit mysteriously was absent from a match, which eventually led authorities to do a “welfare check” on his home. This is where they found the bodies of Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their son in an apparent murder-suicide. Before all the details came out, WWE ran a 3-hour tribute for Chris Benoit, but once they found out what happened, they quickly distanced themselves away from the wrestler, pulling merchandise off the shelves, and never mentioning him again on TV.
With such an awful tragedy, WWE had to do damage control as the mainstream news picked up this story, doing tons of interviews with multiple wrestlers. The topic of brain damage came to light as Benoit’s was studied by West Virginia University, to which they concluded he had the brain of an 85 year-old with Alzheimer’s that included an advanced form of dementia. WWE tends to be somewhat forgiving towards their talent, but this is one name that will probably never see the light of day again within the company.
Working for the WWE from 1997 until 2001, Chyna became one of their biggest stars thanks to her time with DX, winning not only the Women’s Championship, but the Intercontinental title as well. During her run, she dated fellow WWE wrestler, Triple H, but things went south when he started a relationship with the boss's daughter, Stephanie McMahon. With Chyna on the outs, it became an awkward situation: Chyna was eventually let go from the WWE.
Since her departure, legal troubles, drugs, and adult entertainment became a part of Chyna’s life, although in recent years she’s turned things around and now teaches English in Japan. Thanks to her tumultuous personal life and the whole Triple H/Stephanie relationship, her history with the WWE has been neglected, and a bid for her induction in the Hall of Fame has been rejected up to this point.
8 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle had arguably one of the greatest runs by any wrestler in the WWE, winning basically any title you can think of, and putting on multiple classic matches along the way. Heel, face, serious, or funny, Angle could entertain with the best of them, and that’s why he was almost always at the top of the company. In August of 2006, Angle’s injuries became too much to overcome when he continued to wrestle while injured, sometimes seriously, so the two split in a seemingly amicable way.
Only a month later, Angle signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), eventually wrestling in a match in October. Not only did this show TNA didn’t care much if he was not 100 percent healthy, but it ruffled the feathers of the WWE for him to go off to the number two wrestling promotion at the time. Ever since then, WWE has done their best to not help promote a main event wrestler working for a rival promotion, and someone who has gone through plenty of drug and alcohol issues, including being arrested on multiple occasions. More recently, there have been whispers Angle could return for one last run in the WWE, but that’s all speculation at this point.
7 Hulk Hogan
Even though he is nowhere to be found on WWE’s website, you may have heard of this Hulk Hogan guy: he was a 12-time world champion, Hall of Famer, and a huge reason why wrestling had two massive booms in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, even with all that acclaim, Hogan’s words got him in hot water when secret tapes were leaked out that included an incredibly racist rant by the former WWE champion.
When this news hit, the WWE immediately terminated Hogan, completely wiping his history from their entire website. Hogan is a huge part of the WWE and it will probably be a very long time before he’s ever given a second chance with the company.
6 Owen Hart
Owen Hart passed away from a stunt gone wrong at the 1999 Over the Edge PPV. Initially, he was to repel from the rafters safely to the ring, but mistakenly, he hit the “quick-release” mechanism which caused him to fall 78 feet. The next night, Owen received a tribute, and was celebrated by both fans and wrestlers years after.
His wife Martha took the WWE to court on multiple occasions for his death, and eventually, using his likeness in WWE DVDs. During all these years, the WWE has tried to distance themselves from Owen, partly due to the family’s request. 16 years after his death, the WWE finally put out a DVD on Owen entitled Owen: Hart of Gold, which may clear the way for him to finally be inducted into their Hall of Fame, which is long overdue for such a great talent.
5 Jeff Jarrett
Amazingly, Jeff Jarrett was a 6-time WWE Intercontinental champion, but most people wouldn’t know that because WWE hardly ever includes Jarrett in the conversation. It has been rumored that contract disputes and extortion of exuberant amounts of money were partly the reason why, but more likely it’s simply due to Jarrett starting TNA, which ended up – to a very small degree – rivaling the WWE for many years.
Again, WWE isn’t in the business to promote people who are working against them, so Jarrett’s name is usually left off the list of “great IC champions.”
4 CM Punk
From 2011 until 2013, CM Punk rose to the top of the WWE, becoming WWE Champion during this time and holding it for 434 days. Punk ran hard throughout his reign, never missing shows, and making tons of extra appearances whenever he was needed. Due to this incredible workload, injuries began to pile on to the point where he requested time off to heal up.
According to Punk, the WWE didn’t give him the proper amount of time to let his MRSA infection, broken ribs, injured knees, and multiple concussions heal. Thanks mostly to this and continuously being snubbed out of the main event of WrestleMania, Punk decided to leave the company in 2014. There has been plenty of back-and-forth between the two sides ever since, including lawsuits, and WWE rarely mentions Punk since his departure. Vince McMahon has said he remains open to Punk returning, but the former champ seems content training for a future UFC fight and writing for random comic books these days. If WWE ever offered Punk the main event of WrestleMania, it’s possible he will return down the road, but until then, don’t except WWE to celebrate Punk’s achievements very much.
His run with the WWE was a short one, as it lasted only 7 months before was he released from the company. Why was he released? Well, he allegedly yelled at and choked out Vince McMahon over money. This led to lawsuits from both sides, including Nailz saying Vince tried to give him steroids, which he again accused Vince of in a separate trial in 1994.
It's fairly easy to figure out why Nailz isn’t really ever mentioned in the WWE anymore, which is too bad since he was a believable ex-con that went up against the Big Boss Man (a cop) for his first feud. His was set to go against The Undertaker next, but Nailz was fired before this feud could ever take off.
2 "Macho Man" Randy Savage
Up until late 2014, WWE has always downplayed the "Macho Man" as just another wrestler from the 1980s, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. His talents far exceeded nearly anyone on the roster, but due to his strained relationship with Vince McMahon, it took a very long time for Randy to get the respect he deserved. The "Macho Man" was mentioned from time to time, but it was usually in a way to highlight whoever his opponent was, never really highlighting his own achievements.
In fact, he was never fully recognized until after he passed away from a heart attack in May of 2014. Towards the end of 2014, Randy received a tribute DVD and eventually headlined the Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Wrestling fans always criticized the WWE for not giving him his proper due and it's a shame he wasn't around to personally accept those accolades.
1 Jimmy Snuka
Snuka is one of the more recent wrestlers to be erased from WWE’s history, initially on their Hall of Fame page; he is nowhere to be found these days. The reason is due to a crime from way back in 1983 when his former girlfriend, Nancy Argentino died from traumatic brain injuries.
Snuka was the only suspect at the time, and was never formally charged with the crime, but it was left open all these years. When new evidence arose, the case was eventually sent to a grand jury, and Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. With the recent charges, it’s understandable why WWE wants to distance their product away from this entire situation.
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