The WWE strongly encourages wrestlers to get on the social media train as it gives them the opportunity to grow their brand and extend storylines further. It also gives them the opportunity to express themselves to their fans. The problem with this is it also brings about the opportunity for problems.
Superstars also use social media as a platform to interact with fans and to take a break from the constraints of their on-screen character and just be who they are. This, at times, can be problematic as their real persona interferes with their on screen one.
Even with the problems that have happened, the WWE still has not implemented a policy on social media. The WWE has to get in front of the next social media controversy. A clear, proactive policy for its superstars' accounts is a new necessity. It’s a vital part of adapting to a changing world. WWE is a global brand and incidents like racial discrimination bring embarrassment and negative publicity to the company. Here are 13 cases of WWE social media controversies gone wrong for these former wrestlers.
13 Shane Helms Disses Shawn Michaels
When it was announced that Shawn Michaels was going into the WWE Hall of Fame, most (if not all) fans and former wrestlers were very happy to hear the news. But one individual and former WWE wrestler had a problem with it. Shane Helms, better known as “The Hurricane” used Twitter to voice his displeasure. He called Michaels a drug addict and one of the biggest hypocrites in the history of pro wrestling. Michaels didn’t respond; however, Chris Jericho did, and told Helms that Michaels deserves the Hall of Fame induction by saying, "HBK is the Hall of Fame!” Helms continued to criticize Michaels about being a fake Born Again Christian by saying "And wearing a cross doesn't make u right. Hitler wore one too! Don't be FOOLED by a TV persona!! I'm always honest. NO ONE can accuse me." In all this, Michaels stayed relatively silent, only saying Helms' comments didn’t affect him.
12 Jasmine's Racial Slur
Many know her from the popular WWE network show Breaking Ground. Jasmine made headlines when a racial Tweet was discovered on her account. The Tweet was from 2012, and said “Ugh…fucking n**gers…that’s why I chose white folk. Hmph” and then wrote “word.” After an investigation by WWE, it was determined that her account was hacked years ago and she didn’t know about the Tweet.
11 Kevin Nash
We all know Kevin Nash was hated by many of his peers, and Nash continues to be hated by present WWE superstars. In an irrelevant Tweet, Nash said “Kevin Owens: Two questions guys want to be him? Ladies want to be with him? Twitter world vote”. It’s obvious Nash can’t stay away from the limelight, as his Tweet was senseless. Nash got backlash from many fans for these comments.
10 Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan
It’s no secret that Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan dislike each other. There is a history of bad blood between the two. Things intensified when Hart was asked a question about TNA by a fan; Hart said “Hogan's nothing but a two faced, backstabbing steroid freak who deserved everything he got.” After Hogan responded, Hart mentioned John Graziano. John Graziano was the passenger in the car that Nick Hogan was driving and crashed. The accident left Graziano with permanent brain damage. Hogan took the high road after that comment and let the feud fizzle away.
9 Lana's Engagement Post
When someone announces that they’re engaged on social media, it is usually considered a good thing. However, if you’re a WWE Diva and in a program with your real life boyfriend (Rusev), that you left to be with Dolph Ziggler, then it’s probably best you don’t post anything about it. Lana got a lot of heat from WWE because of this post. The writers had to scrap the program and rewrite another angle that was rushed and done quite poorly. Ultimately, all it really did was leave wrestling fans confused. This post ended Lana's big push with the company.
8 Kevin Owens vs Sabrina The Teenage Witch
He is the poster boy of Twitter wars; Owens has been involved in a few Twitter battles since arriving to the WWE. Owens has had a war of words with WWE counterparts Sheamus and Alex Riley. His greatest one (believe it or not) though, was with Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Melissa Joan Hart). Hart cast the first stone by saying “Kevin Owens is a lazy wrestler. Yeah, I said it.” Owens, who is never one to shy away from expressing his feelings, said that watching one of her shows put him in a slumber he hasn’t recovered from, and proceeded to block her.
7 The Miz Mocks Tommy Dreamer
This war of words happened in 2010 with Dreamer throwing the first jab at The Miz. Dreamer said that The Miz thinking he is awesome is the greatest joke ever and that a youth movement means ratings are also a joke. Dreamer continued his bashing with another Tweet saying The Miz thinking he’s a chick magnet is a joke as well. The Miz didn’t react quietly (as you might expect) and responded to Dreamer by saying, “So I take it u think putting old, fat, balding, has beens on TV gets better ratings? U should give up ur gonna hurt urself”. The Miz had the last word in this fight and came out on top.
6 Zahra Schreiber
Former NXT wrestler and current girlfriend of WWE star Seth Rollins, Zahra Schreiber got a lot of heat from two pictures that resurfaced from 2012 on her Instagram, depicting the swastika. The first was a “My Little Pony” dressed up like Adolf Hitler, and the second was a photo of a swastika on the wall of her room. Schreiber tried to do damage control by saying the symbol was used to represent something positive, but due to the inclusion of the “Hitler pony”, it didn’t work and fans were livid. The WWE fired her days after this controversy went public.
5 CM Punk Embarrasses Shawn Merriman
While on a WWE tour to Costa Rica, CM Punk and some fellow superstars and Divas were relaxing by the pool. While relaxing, former NFL player Shawn Merriman began hitting on some Divas. Never one to hide from controversy, Punk decided to let the world know via Twitter that Merriman’s lack of game with the Divas reminded him of the Bills in the Superbowl (Merriman was playing for Buffalo at that time). Merriman threatened to beat up Punk and make fun of his physique by saying he should do some push-ups. Punk wasn’t done there though, and responded by saying he thought it was weak that Merriman sent his publicist to tell the Divas that he was interested in them after he struck out on his own.
4 Paige the bully
Lana was once again caught in controversy after she put out a Tweet that said Paige used to bully her in NXT. Paige quickly fired back, saying Lana was angling for a storyline. Although many thought it was a work (as some WWE superstars have done in the past), company officials were apparently unhappy about the Tweet because the subject of "bullying" was brought up, and bullying is something the WWE wants to stay away from (and has succeeded in launching many campaigns against). It looks like Lana should stay away from social media altogether if she wants to continue working for the WWE.
3 Josh Bredl
Here's a great way to start off your WWE career; go on Twitter and badmouth some of the main roster wrestlers. Tough Enough winner Josh Bredl, did just that. He sent out a Tweet mocking the “Social Outcast” by saying, “Yup…I like it… #socialjobbers”. This angered many WWE superstars including Kevin Owens, and Stardust. In fact, Stardust said in a Tweet that Bredl should enjoy getting changed in the hall. Yikes! Talk about a rough start.
2 Darren Young
He is the first person to openly come out about being homosexual while still wrestling. Young is proud of his sexuality, so he decided he needed to voice his displeasure with one of the countries the WWE was touring; “Why do we bring the best entertainment into a country like Abu Dhabi and they look down upon women and gays? I get it! #MillionsofDollars”. Although, Young later deleted the Tweet and replaced it with “My freedom of speech is gone. Gone but not forgotten”. It is speculated that WWE officials told Young to take down the Tweet, and WWE also released a statement concerning Young’s Tweets.
1 Seth Rollins' Leaked Pictures
This social media controversy happened when nude photos of Seth Rollins were leaked onto his Instagram account. Along with these photos, nude pictures of Zahra Schreiber were also leaked through social media. It was later revealed that both accounts were hacked by Rollins' former fiance Leighla Schultz. This all went down when Schultz found out that Rollins was cheating on her with Schreiber. This disastrous situation happened while Rollins was getting the biggest push of his career. No punishment was handed down to Rollins though, luckily.