We’ve covered again and again the various wrestlers, managers, and on-screen performers WWE and the McMahon family want you to forget about. These were the people Vince and company put on your televisions dozens of times per week and promoted, and some of them aren’t on the best terms with Vince, Stephanie, Triple H, or society at large anymore, so WWE does their best to distance themselves as much as possible from wrestlers and performers who they no longer see eye to eye with. It wouldn’t make sense to continue promoting a wrestler who publicly badmouthed them, and it would be in bad taste, and garner bad publicity, to keep promoting a wrestler who committed some heinous crime.
WWE has hundreds more employees than just the ones who appear in front of the camera, though. They have an endless number of producers, trainers, writers, executives, medics, agents, and plenty of other employees that perform vital duties within the company. WWE is much more than a wrestling company; they are by this point a media conglomerate, and that means they need professionals for every facet of the entertainment industry. With such great numbers, it’s inevitable that certain former employees are going to end up a little disgruntled or perhaps simply disliked. Especially with the rise of the Internet, former WWE employees have also begun speaking out about their time with the company, and the McMahon’s might not appreciate the things they’re saying. Keep reading if you want to learn about 15 backstage WWE employees Vince McMahon would prefer we forgot about.
15 Bruce Prichard
Bruce Prichard appeared on screen in a small but occasionally important role, portraying the preaching manager Brother Love. As Brother Love, he introduced the world to The Undertaker, and hosted The Brother Love Show on Superstars of Wrestling. Love was loud and annoying on purpose, controversial at the time for his clear imitation of disgraced Southern preachers like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. Brother Love made several appearances in gimmick matches and nostalgic comedy segments, and Prichard even appeared out of character as himself to tribute Owen Hart after his tragic death in 1999.
14 Court Bauer
Court Bauer is a former WWE writer also known for founding the independent promotion Major League Wrestling. Now, MLW exists as a wrestling podcast network that hosts a variety of shows by wrestling insiders about their time in the business and feelings about the current wrestling product. Bauer runs the network and hosts a show called “Bauer and Pollock,” where he regularly shares stories about his time writing for WWE, and like most of the people on this list, he doesn’t have many flattering things to say.
13 Alex Greenfield
Alex Greenfield was the head writer and co-producer of SmackDown starting in the summer of 2006. His post-WWE career has focused more on the sci-fi and disaster film variety, and while he was with the company, he was very vocal about what he felt was a disaster to the sports entertainment industry: longtime WWE producer Kevin Dunn. Greenfield hates Dunn so much it boils over into criticisms of Vince McMahon, having stated: “[Dunn’s] creative instinct is fast food: if it works, don’t muddle with it, and keep Vince convinced it is the only way to do things by any means necessary.” According to Greenfield, the problem isn’t that Dunn doesn’t care about wrestling or creating a good product, it’s that he’s incredibly lazy and wants his job to remain easy, at the detriment of looking fresh or creative.
12 Larry Mollin
Larry Mollin was a writer and producer for television series such as CHiPs and Beverly Hills, 90210 before becoming a writer and creative consultant for WWE in the mid 2000’s. Mollin was already in his 60’s and with decades of experience in the entertainment industry before he joined WWE, and while his resume is no doubt what got him his job, it’s that same long history of working on successful television shows that make his stories about WWE so damning in retrospect. Mollin knows more than the average writer about what works on television, but Vince McMahon still repeatedly shot down Mollin when he told the WWE owner to start planning storylines weeks and months ahead, instead of booking only one week or even one show at a time.
11 Dan Madigan
Dan Madigan is one of the most controversial WWE writers in history, as he is responsible for some of the strangest and most bizarre angles of the mid 2000’s. Madigan is responsible for things like Snitsky the baby killer and the universally hated Katie Vick storyline, and he was the scriptwriter for Kane’s starring film vehicle, See No Evil. Madigan is also famous for pitching the balls to the wall insane character Baron Von Bava, an unfrozen Nazi warrior lead to the ring by the Jewish Paul Heyman, which thankfully never actually saw the light of day. According to Madigan, we can feel the same way about a very strange idea Vince wanted to get into that Kane movie, too.
10 Seth Mates
Seth Mates was a writer for WWE during the early 2000’s, and he too had a big hand in the Katie Vick angle, which should say more than enough right there. Mates shouldn’t be blamed for that, as the way he puts it, he just did his best with the crazy idea Triple H and Stephanie McMahon threw at him. In fact, when you read through various interviews with Mates, it would seem like that describes his entire job description, and there were times it almost drove him crazy himself with the horrible ideas and treatments they gave him and his fellow writers, not to mention the other wrestlers.
9 Bill DeMott
Bill DeMott had a decently notable career in front of the camera wrestling under names like Crash the Terminator in ECW, General E. Rection in WCW, and Hugh Morrus in both WCW and WWE. He started to rise the ranks of the wrestling world during the dying days of WCW winning that company’s United States Championship, but DeMott’s time in WWE primarily took place behind-the-scenes as a trainer and coach for NXT and it’s predecessor developmental promotions. DeMott started as a head trainer for Tough Enough and quickly was promoted to the position of head coach at NXT, but his career crumbled around him in mid 2015 amidst dozens of bullying allegations from current and former trainees.
8 Cody Barbieri
Cody Barbieri was the Social Media Manager for WWE in 2014, and made headlines when he was responsible for getting Alberto Del Rio fired after Del Rio slapped him for making racist comments. Del Rio was fired on August 7, and either earlier that day or shortly beforehand, Barbieri made a racist comment to Del Rio about how Del Rio’s job was bussing Barbieri’s food tray. Del Rio was extremely offended by this insult to his race, and although his offense was reasonable, he perhaps took things too far by slapping Barbieri once he refused to apologize. The incident and decision to fire Del Rio brought WWE a high level of controversy, with most people feeling the racist should at least take some of the blame.
7 John Gaburick
Fans of the first few seasons of Tough Enough remember “Big” John Gaburick as one of the producers of that show, and he eventually rose all the way up to the role of WWE Vice President of Television Production. In this role, Gaburick had a huge influence on the general layout and look of all WWE programming, and he shared this influence alongside the current WWE Executive Vice President of Television Production, Kevin Dunn. Virtually everyone on this list has some story about how Dunn has always been Vince’s right hand man, and that clashes with producers and writers alike, but somehow Big John became good friends with Kevin Dunn, up until a certain point.
6 Kevin Marshall
Kevin Marshall is a stand-up comedian who for a short time served as a member of the WWE creative team in 2014. Marshall didn’t necessarily aspire to work for WWE, and didn’t even know he was applying for the position when he was hired. He applied to be a “digital writer,” a position he assumed meant would involve the web site and social media for the company. He ended up hired as a writer, but didn’t last long, and would later explain in detail his various problems with the infrastructure of the company to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter and in various other interviews.
5 Dr. George Zahorian
George Zahorian was proven in a court of law not to officially work for WWE on a long term capacity, but he was an unofficial member of the family who all of the wrestlers had a personal relationship with in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Zahorian was a urologist in Pennsylvania who came to national attention when it was revealed he was distributing steroids to virtually all of the wrestlers working for WWE. In 1993, the New York District Attorney charged McMahon with distributing steroids as well, under the assumption Zahorian was a paid employee of WWE Vince was sending the wrestlers to.
4 Jerry Jarrett
Jerry Jarrett is the father of Jeff Jarrett, and fans of that family in general know how important they both are to wrestling history. The two founded Total Nonstop Action together in 2002, but Jerry had been a promoter for decades before his son was even born. Jarrett worked in Memphis as Jerry Lawler’s partner during the most successful period in that territory’s history, with Jarrett being the one who first agreed to the idea of legendary comedian Andy Kaufman appearing in an actual wrestling ring. Jarrett later took over some level of control over World Class Championship Wrestling as well, and would be the integral figure in merging the two companies to form the United States Wrestling Association in the late 80’s.
3 Vince Russo
Vince Russo is almost without question the most controversial professional wrestling writer not named McMahon. Russo wrote for WWE throughout the 90’s, eventually ascending to the position of head writer during the Attitude Era. As a result, Russo has been varyingly given credit or outright ignored for the success of WWE during their most profitable period. Russo was in charge of the writing when WWE finally started to fight back against WCW and turn the tide of the wrestling world once again, but this was also a period when wrestlers were given freedom to be themselves, and most pundits argue the characters the wrestlers were playing is what made the company a smashing success, not Russo’s influence.
2 Mel Phillips
Mel Phillips wasn’t literally behind-the-scenes in his longtime role with WWE, but he was at least behind the camera. Phillips sat at ringside for years as ring announcer for virtually every WWE match during his tenure with the company. Phillips played a very minor, but noteworthy and integral role in major events, including WrestleMania III. He was also one of the three people in the center of the sexual harassment scandal that rocked WWE in 1992.
1 Terry Garvin
Terry Garvin was a regionally successful wrestler during the 60’s and 70’s, often teaming with his fake brother, future NWA World Heavyweight Champion “Rugged” Ron Garvin. Garvin retired from the ring in the early 80’s and started working behind-the-scenes for the NWA territory in Kansas, and it wasn’t long before his skills as an agent were known by every wrestling promoter in the world. This was the same time Vince McMahon was stealing all the greatest wrestlers in the world en route to going national, so it made perfect sense for him to steal the best road agents, as well, and he hired Terry Garvin in 1985.
Garvin was good friends with Pat Patterson, and as a matter of coincidence, both men were openly gay. The friendship might have helped Garvin get his job, but their coincidentally shared homosexuality nearly cost Patterson his. In 1992, several former WWE employees including wrestler Barry O spoke out about sexual harassment from Garvin and the aforementioned Mel Phillips. Patterson was implicated with them due to his sexuality and closeness to the two, but all known claims against him were later proved to be completely false. The complaints against Garvin and Phillips were completely real, though, and memories of the lowest point in company history are obviously something Vince wants to erase. The fact Vince has stood by Patterson all this time should only sharpen this resolve, to prevent further associating his loyal employee and friend with the incident.
Sources: VICE, www.wrestlinginc.com; www.wrestlezone.com
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