World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a major production, with hundreds of staff people and behind-the-scenes operatives working overtime to make sure the WWE Universe is set up correctly and brings fans back week after week. And it’s a formula that’s worked for decades.
There are many tedious jobs that go into making a WWE match tick, and to make them riveting and exciting to watch. There’s drama, comedy, heartbreak, tragedy—everything you might see in a movie, you’ll see in a WWE match.
But there are also tons of rules and random things that WWE prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Vince McMahon runs a tight ship, and as such he wants things just perfect. Court cases, rules, fines, drug usage… all of these things are bad for business.
Here are 20 random secrets that WWE wants to hide.
20 Roman Reigns And The Massive Steroid Ring
Steroids have always been a big problem in the WWE, because they almost seem like a necessity in order to get as big as many wrestlers are. But when Roman Reigns, one of the golden boys of the new era of wrestling, was implied in a massive steroid ring, it put the whole organization on thin ice.
WWE suspended Reigns in 2016 for steroid abuse, and an alleged steroid dealer named Richard Rodriguez has named Reigns and many other wrestlers as his clients.
19 Injuries Cause Retirement
One of the things that WWE doesn’t want people to know is how many people on their roster have to retire due to injuries. For instance, the hugely popular female wrestler Paige was forced to retire after a career-ending injury to her neck during a match with Sasha Banks.
Other wrestlers who were forced to retire at the peaks of their career are Bret Hart, Christian, Edge, and even Stone Cold Steve Austin, among others.
18 The Montreal Screwjob Was Based On Real-Life Tension
Most of the behind-the-scenes action at WWE is either staged or scripted, of course, but not all of them. For instance, the infamous Montreal Screwjob, where WWE employees (WWF at the time) covertly manipulated and pre-determined a match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels was based on real-life tension.
The two had a natural dislike for each other, but they patched things up later, though they were never close friends.
17 Things Wrestlers Can’t Say
Vince McMahon runs a very tight ship with the WWE, which is how he’s amassed a fortune of over $3 billion. He’s eccentric and particular about what his employees can and cannot say.
For instance, “locker room” makes WWE sound more like a sport and less like a show, and he doesn’t allow wrestlers to say “wrestling” (must use “superstar,” “star,” or “athlete”) or refer to the title belt as a “belt,” because “We have championships, titles, not belts or straps.”
16 Hulk Hogan And Randy Savage Feud Was Based On Real Life
Another legendary feud that wasn’t entirely scripted involves two of the most famous wrestlers of all time, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. They were the two biggest names of their time, and they sported a classic rivalry. But the animosity was based on real-life: Savage believed Hogan had an affair with his then-wife Miss Elizabeth.
Fortunately, the pair made up before Savage’s untimely passing.
15 The Rock Might Return…
The biggest name in Hollywood and WWE might return to the ring, but only if he can fight certain people. And given his fame and draw, it’s likely that The Rock will get anything he wants.
He told WWE of his hit list: “One would be Triple H, The Game… the other would be The Beast Brock Lesnar… the other would be a guy that needs my foot in his a**, Roman Reigns (who is his cousin).”
14 Bayley Has A Twin Sister And She’s Going Viral
Bayley is a former WWE Women’s Champion and one of the most accomplished female wrestlers around. But despite that, it’s been discovered that she has a twin sister named Brenda Martinez, who has even overshadowed her sister!
The stunning woman on the left is Brenda, and she went viral after some photos of her were leaked in 2018. People would love to see her suit up and hit the ring!
13 WWE Regularly Exaggerates Attendance Records
In 1987, WrestleMania III shattered attendance records, bringing in 93,173 people to watch Hulk vs. Andre the Giant and Savage vs. Steamboat. The only problem was that the actual number was around 78,000. We know this because the official promoter of the event, Zane Breslov, gave the 78,000 number. The 93,000 number was crafted to beat the attendance record hosted by Pope John Paul II in the SilverDome.
The truth is, WWE routinely exaggerates their numbers, with their record being 80,000+ at SummerSlam ’92, and then WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, which saw around 100,000.
12 Despite Being Anti-Bully, Randy Orton Was A Bully
Yes, young Randy Orton was known to be a hothead and a terror in the locker rooms to other wrestlers, often playing nasty pranks on his co-stars. Which is a shame since he’s become such an anti-bullying advocate in his latter years.
Apart from going AWOL from the Marines before joining the WWE, Orton’s behavior around women was especially troubling. He’s been known to tease, harass, and accost several female wrestlers.
11 Many Wrestlers Are Not Employees
Yes, it’s true, that not many wrestlers are actually on the roster as “employees.” This is a loophole which allows the organization to not have to pay for health insurance, transportation costs, or hotel costs for their wrestlers, which sounds like a bum deal.
Despite the fact that most WWE wrestlers can’t wrestle for other promotions or do work outside the WWE, there are many that are independent contractors.
10 The Forgotten Steroid Trial Of Vince McMahon
Early in his career, Vince McMahon found himself in a nasty trial that alleged he and dozens of employees used steroids (which Vince had). Vince was able to claim ignorance at the trial by not hiring Dr. George Zahorian, who was the doctor and ringside physician who administered the drugs and treatment.
Linda McMahon decided not to hire Zahorian when they found out he was under federal investigation for distribution of steroids, which is one of the best decisions she could’ve made. It forced Vince’s case to fizzle out and avoid a guilty verdict.
9 Taped Programming Is Highly Altered
By the time you see a WWE match on your TV screen, it’s been highly altered from its original state. It’s more difficult to do during live broadcasts, but the WWE often includes retakes of interviews and backstage segments, reshoots of entrances and the inclusion of sound effects, and the company has been known to edit out entire portions of matches.
For instance, WCW used to help Goldberg by piping arena chants of “Goldberg! Goldberg!” during his entrances.
8 Many Backstage Scriptwriters Are Former Wrestlers
Who better to write wrestlers’ scripts and storylines than former wrestlers themselves? They’ve been through their own storylines and know-how an arc should work, but it still might be surprising to know who is writing this stuff. People like Billy Kidman head backstage after careers in the spotlight are over, taking a behind-the-scenes approach.
Kidman himself is solely responsible for making sure interviews, in-ring segments, and matches don’t run too long.
7 The Referees Help Time The Show And Call The Shots
The refs play a much more integral part in WWE than people might believe. They are honestly the shot-callers of the entire operation, and they’re a major part of the show. They give cues to the performers to instruct them when the end of matches are required, notifying wrestlers of commercial breaks, and letting wrestlers know when to “take it home,” among other things.
Each ref wears an earpiece and is in constant communication with a stage manager.
6 The Writing Staff Has Grown From 3 To 20
It used to be Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson, and later Gerald Brisco sitting at Vince’s house coming up with entire scripts and storylines for wrestlers, but times have changed. Today, countless writers—as many as 20—are dedicated to a specific WWE superstar, and they each write 10-15 hours of programming each week.
Certain wrestlers have their own dedicated writers to help craft and mold their onscreen characters. Freddie Prinze Jr. was even a one-time WWE writer.
5 Blading Is No Longer Permitted
The dangerous practice of “blading,” where a wrestler slices open a part of their body (usually the forehead) to create real blood, is a thing of the past. After a few blading incidents went overboard, it was banned, and in today’s PG WWE, violating the rule is met with serious fines and repercussions.
You’ll also see that in highlight reels showing bleeding in a match, those scenes are shown in black and white.
4 Vince Feeds The Commentators Live During A Show
It’s difficult to be a WWE commentator, which you might know if you’ve ever tried the fan experience announcer’s booth at a WrestleMania event. Founder and Chairman Vince McMahon is constantly eliciting orders to his announcers during matches, in an attempt to sell the drama, the sponsorship, or the agenda of the company.
Just like wrestlers, commentators are forbidden from using certain terms, like “pro wrestling.”
3 Practicing Before An Event
When you see two heavyweights meet up for the first time at a big event, it’s usually not the first time they’ve actually met up.
Live events are practice grounds for the big-time shows, and many wrestlers practice up to 20 times with each other, to choreograph how the fight will go before they ever step foot into the ring.
2 There Is A Signal Refs Use For Real Injuries
Wrestling is surprisingly more real than people give it credit for. For instance, there is a signal that refs use to indicate a real injury has happened in the ring, and it happens more often than you’d think. It’s a dreaded “X” sign that referees make with their hands, and it means that a performer needs immediate care.
The next time you watch a match, watch the refs to see all the hand signals they’re giving out. You might be surprised at what you didn’t notice before.
1 Vince Hands Out Heavy Fines For Breaking His Rules
Vince is a bit of a Napoleon when it comes to running his organization, but it led to massive success, so there’s no reason he would change. The fines for breaking his rules are heavy. Just ask Batista, who was fined $100,000 for blading in a match with Chris Jericho after the WWE had gone PG.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was also fined heavily for leaving a show because he didn’t like the storyline and buildup of his match with Brock Lesnar. Others have been suspended for using foul language.
References: sportskeeda.com, themix.net, liveabout.com