As we’ve seen in the past, aspiring WWE stars are so blinded by a Vince McMahon contract that they aren’t reading any of the terms or what others tell them about the company, they just want to sign their name on the dotted line as quickly as possible.
In a lot of cases, this proves to be a big mistake. That dream job suddenly becomes a nightmare. This is due to a lot of factors that the talent wasn’t aware of prior. However, according to Cage Side Seats, with the FOX deal looming, contracts are supposed to get a lot better once the wages kick in from the network. It is also rumored the backstage atmosphere might also improve drastically.
With AEW launching, WWE will try their very best to create the best possible atmosphere. However, thanks to all the stories we’ve listened to over the years, most fans are well aware that currently is not the case.
In this article, we’ll go over both the good and bad that wrestlers tend to find out about once they get to the WWE. Memorizing scripts just hours before a show isn’t the best surprise, however, working out and training at a Performance Center like the one in Orlando is definitely a worthy surprise that new talent finds out about upon signing the WWE contract.
Let’s take a look at the highs and lows; here are 20 things about the company wrestlers only find out once they get there. Let’s get started!
20 Some Matches Are Pre-Rehearsed
Before joining the WWE, most wrestlers have different pre-match rituals. They don’t have a fancy agent and likely discuss the match briefly with the other talent, calling a couple of the spots prior but most of the bout is called in the ring in front of the audience.
Depending on the situation, WWE uses a different method. With inexperienced wrestlers like Ronda Rousey, WWE is known for pre-rehearsing the entire ordeal. That’s exactly what happened during the Rousey, Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie bout from WrestleMania. Fun fact, DDP was also known for pre-rehearsing entire matches before.
19 Leaving Isn’t Easy
This is a contractual obligation wrestlers are starting to learn nowadays. Back in the day, WWE would usually grant releases quite easily. However, that no longer stands and depending on the talent, wanting to leave can result in the wrestler simply staying home and getting paid similar to the Neville situation.
According to recent rumors, The Revival also asked for a release recently, but again, terminating their deal isn’t that easy. For those that join the WWE, they must seriously think about staying committed to the brand through the ups and downs, thanks to their contracts, they’ll have no choice.
18 The PC Is Unlike Any Other Developmental Facility
We’re led to believe by the likes of Dave Meltzer that WWE is an evil empire of sorts. However, behind the scenes, it really isn’t all that bad and some new talents might be pleasantly surprised with certain aspects. One being, the best PC facility in the wrestling world, no facility comes close to the WWE’s Performance Center featuring various rings, promo rooms, a gym and many other revolutionary features.
Even high flying wrestlers can attempt their moves in a special padded-down ring. This is definitely exciting, especially for the new talent looking to improve.
17 Going Off-Script Is Frowned Upon
Young wrestlers might be overly enthusiastic when joining the WWE – this can lead to some extra bits of information during something like a promo. This is a big-time no-no within the WWE confines. Unless you’re a veteran the likes of John Cena, coming up with your own material is a bad idea.
Who can forget The Revival going off-script and calling themselves pro wrestlers – McMahon was furious at the promo, so much so that some believe they’re still paying the price for it.
16 Most Vignettes Are Pre-Taped
Nowadays, the new WWE stars are those that watched the business during the 90s. Back in the day, they saw some classic backstage promos featuring the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. Back then, those timeless promos were live and on the spot.
It might be a bummer for a Superstar to find out that the company has switched this production method. With performers running way too long with their vignettes back in the day, the company now chooses to film them prior to the show, with a proper allotted amount of time.
15 Getting A Push Can Happen At Any Point
During his podcast on the E & C Show, Ryder discussed that although he was bummed about not being utilized on RAW, he knew things can randomly change on a dime. This happens so many times with underutilized wrestlers – they go from doing nothing only to be plugged into prominent storylines.
Ryder’s recent return is the latest example, the B-Team claiming the Tag Titles is another recent example as well. New wrestlers have to deal with the randomness of the booking team – patience is needed to get accustomed to this style.
14 Memorizing Scripts Hours Before The Show
Both Big Show and Sasha Banks discussed this element in the past and both didn’t sound glowing about it. The new way these days within the WWE is to give wrestlers an entire script to memorize. As if that wasn’t hard enough, they’re given the scripts just hours before the show.
Veteran Big Show despises this method, wanting the company to revert to bullet points like back in the day. If it bothers a veteran we can only imagine how stressful it must be for a new talent that joins the company.
13 NXT Success Doesn’t Guarantee Anything
This is a harsh reality wrestlers must deal with. NXT success doesn’t guarantee anything. Let’s take a look at some of the former NXT Champions, Big E, Bo Dallas, Neville, Sami Zayn, and Bobby Roode. No disrespect to these former NXT Title holder, but none have come close to winning the WWE Championship.
We’ve seen others completely plummet as well, that includes lower card acts like The Ascension along with even prominent acts like Nakamura. NXT success is great but don’t expect a major push – Vince just doesn’t care about that.
12 Go Through The Departments Before The Boss
Before joining the company, some might envision talking to Vince and sharing their ideas with the boss. Sadly, that is only an optimistic view as few get to spend time with the most important man in the WWE.
As Finn Balor recently stated with Ring Side News, performers must discuss ideas with the creative departments prior to asking for Vince or anyone backstage of importance. As one might expect, this is a hard way to make a living. In Balor’s case, he was lucky enough to get Stephanie’s attention; she approved the “Balor for Everyone” concept. Not everyone is as lucky as Finn, however.
11 Locker Room Is Really Easy Going
Back in the 90s and even early 2000s, it was all about chaos behind the scenes with larger than life egos clashing. For some, they think that’s still the case especially with dirt sheets exaggerating the ambiance backstage and certain situations that unfold.
However, ask anyone, and the backstage atmosphere nowadays is nothing like it used to be. Big Show claimed on Busted Open Radio that everyone is a team player and controversy no longer exists. It must be hilarious for Show, who got to see both ends of the spectrum. Nowadays, the locker room welcomes anyone with open arms.
10 Referencing The Competition Is Frowned Upon
Competition is competition – that hasn’t changed for Vince and the WWE. Take Chris Jericho and his involvement with New Japan – once WWE found out about Jericho taking on Naito, he was pulled from Casket match against The Undertaker to be replaced by Rusev.
We have actually seen others get fired because of it as well. Writer Jimmy Jacobs is the recent example, getting his release papers after posting a selfie alongside The Elite. Even Robbie McAllister was let go by the company after he attended an Impact event. It is simple, don’t reference anything wrestling related aside from the WWE.
9 Production Value Is Everything For The Company
Even a veteran who had almost seen everything in the business like AJ Styles, he was completely stunned by the WWE’s production value once he joined the company. In terms of putting on a show, nobody comes close to the polished WWE product.
Wrestlers are now starting to learn about this immediately, even down in NXT at the developmental facility. Wrestlers are specifically told which cameras to look at – Finn Balor himself admitted that this type of change is very stressful – walking to the ring just doesn’t suffice with the WWE – it is all about putting on a show.
8 Creative Doesn’t Always Listen To The Talent
This is the tough part for new and creative performers. A lot of wrestlers enter the business with so many ideas – however, the harsh lesson lots of wrestlers learn is that creative isn’t always willing to listen.
Veteran Austin Aries learned about this element the hard way. When Aries requests fell on deaf ears he began to get frustrated. The falling out between the two sides led to Austin’s release from the company. The irony here is that not only does creative not listen to requests but they can also cost you your job.
7 Live Events Are A Lot More Easy Going
Booking live television is a difficult task and it can lead to a lot of stress, especially for those at the Gorilla Position putting everything together. Due to the time crunch and Vince being present, the environment can turn stressful real quick.
However, that doesn’t hold true for the live event loop as the vibe backstage is not only tame but actually quite fun. With such a relaxed atmosphere, some performers might put on a better match than they would on live TV. It is a different game when it comes to non-televised events.
6 Social Media Is Very Important
WWE has a knack for always being ahead of the trends. They know what works and the company loves to exploit that. When it comes to social media, the WWE has strict policies for its new talents. Wrestlers must use social media to their advantage and some are even required to issue an X amount of posts per week pertaining to the product.
This is another way for the company to advance storylines with a broad audience of fans. Older wrestlers aren’t relied on as heavily but the new ones definitely are.
5 The Company Can Freeze Anyone Out
Due to the language of a WWE contract, wrestlers are expected to fulfill their duties given the length of the deal. There is no buyout clause or anything of such nature.
For those that wish to leave – it just isn’t that simple. Depending on the talent, WWE has the right to basically freeze anyone out until their contract terminates. This is starting to become a trend with the company refusing to let wrestlers go. As we stated earlier in the article, aspiring talents should think long and hard before inking that deal.
4 Injuries Are Taken Very Seriously
Forget about the days of a wrestler taking a piledriver, dealing with a concussion, and finishing the match. Thanks to the various lawsuits, the company has zero tolerance today when it comes to injuries.
New talent needs to know that concussion-related issues and other injuries are taken very seriously by the company. They won’t risk putting an injured star in the ring. If the company senses any type of discomfort, you’ll be pulled from the ring. Also, you should treat the WWE doctors with respect, just ask Baron Corbin!
3 Must Ask WWE’s Permission For Any Type Of Change To Wardrobe
Absolutely everything needs to be run by the WWE and that includes any wardrobe or body alterations. WWE has seamstress Sarath Ton on hand who makes the adjustments but it must be approved by the company prior.
We also saw on Total Divas, the company is also hands on if a wrestler wants to get ink. The WWE wasn’t all that thrilled when Paige discussed wanting to get a tattoo. The moral of the story, let WWE know everything prior and that includes haircuts as well (drastic cuts that is)!
2 Older Wrestlers Have Lots More Contract Benefits
Unlike pro sports, WWE doesn’t offer the best contracts to the top talents. Instead, WWE’s pay scheme is quite different and it is well worth it for those that have remained loyal to the company the most.
The likes of Sheamus, although a mid-carder make in the seven digits early along with travel accommodations. Someone like Finn Balor, who is clearly in his prime, makes less while having little to no accommodations taken care of by the company. New talent should expect the same treatment unless you’re someone special.
1 Vince Is Very Hands On With The Wrestlers He Likes
We touched on this earlier, talking to Vince isn’t easy – not in the slightest. However, if Vince takes a liking for you, it might be a different story. Take Jinder Mahal, for example, McMahon was very hands-on with Jinder during his WWE Title run even giving him promo advice.
Baron Corbin is another example, McMahon not only aided Corbin’s developmental on the main roster but the two also have a playful relationship. Getting a hands-on Vince isn’t a common occurrence but it could happen.