15 Wrestlers Who Still Have Beef With WWE

In the revolving door that is the WWE roster, many talents have come and gone through the company, and some leave with bad feelings.

 A contract with WWE often represents a wrestler's big break after years of toiling and a chance to earn a following within the WWE Universe. For some, a WWE contract will lead to a lifelong job, working behind the scenes after their in-ring career is over. This isn't always the case, as yearly spring cleanings can blindside talent and leave them without a source of income. Releases are a sad but necessary part of the industry, as they make room for new talent. Returns are always a possibility given former WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon's history of putting aside past disputes in order to do business.

Not every wrestler wants to go back to WWE, however. Over the years, wrestlers have left the company in controversial fashion, while others have burned bridges, criticizing the organization in shoot interviews and rival promotions to destroy any good faith they may have had with WWE.

Here are 15 wrestlers who have a bone to pick with WWE.

CM Punk

Debuting on the main roster in 2006, CM Punk went on to have a decorated WWE career, including one of the longest reigns as WWE Champion at 434 days. Still, Punk was unsatisfied with his position in the company, and he walked out of a "Monday Night Raw" taping after confronting Vince McMahon and Triple H. He was removed from promotional material and given his termination papers in June 2014 on the day of his wedding.

Punk appeared on Colt Cabana's "Art of Wrestling" podcast in November 2014, where he documented his experiences working with WWE, including its backstage politics and demanding lifestyle. Leading up to his walkout, Punk suffered from a multitude of health problems such as broken ribs, concussions, and a nearly fatal staph infection. He alleged that WWE medical official Christopher Amann misdiagnosed the infection as a fatty deposit. The podcast sparked Amann to file a lawsuit against Punk and Cabana, claiming defamation and harassment from wrestling fans. WWE issued a statement in support of Amann and disputed Punk's claims. Punk would go on to win the lawsuit. 

Punk has been adamant about his unlikeliness to return to WWE, calling the company out in his debut promo with AEW. Given Punk's tumultuous relationship with Triple H, who Punk says never liked him and tried to get him fired, it's doubtful he'll ever return to a WWE ring.

Colt Cabana

Colt Cabana was a pillar of Ring of Honor's early success, tagging with CM Punk as the Second City Saints and winning tag title gold. Signing a developmental contract with WWE in 2007, Cabana went to OVW and debuted for the "SmackDown" roster in August 2008. As Scotty Goldman, Cabana was utilized primarily as an enhancement talent in poorly-scripted comedy promos. In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Cabana described taking a pay cut in hopes of making it big in the promotion. Cabana claims he faced antisemitism in the workplace, telling The CJN that a trainer called him a slur. In February 2009, Cabana was released and returned to the independents. In 2011, Cabana discussed having his phone calls ignored by WWE management for a potential return. Cabana revealed to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful that after his deal with ROH, ended in 2016 he didn't even contact WWE saying "I had no interest in that." 

Cabana was sued by Christopher Amann for his role in a scathing "Art of Wrestling" podcast where Punk accused Amann of malpractice. The proceeding lawsuit was a bitter affair that ended in favor of the Second City Saints.

Shane Douglas

Building his stock with runs in WCW and ECW, Douglas re-signed with WWE in 1995 as a college dean heel character. The peak of his run as Dean Douglas was a very brief reign as Intercontinental Champion. Douglas was scheduled to challenge Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title at In Your House 4, but Michaels was unable to compete due to injuries he suffered in a fight outside a club in Syracuse, New York. A sullen Michaels forfeited the belt to Douglas, who was immediately challenged by Razor Ramon (Scott Hall). "The Bad Guy" made quick work of the dean, resulting in the shortest Intercontinental Championship reign in history at 11 minutes. In a shoot interview with "Hannibal TV," Douglas recalled offering the match to become a squash in Michaels' favor to retain some of the prestige of the title.

Mounting back injuries plagued Douglas during the closing months of his WWE career, causing him to miss a match with Ahmed Johnson at In Your House 5. In a 2017 shoot interview, Douglas recalled being fed up with his stalling career and intending to jump ship to ECW. Douglas was booked for a match at Madison Square Garden when an athletic commission doctor advised against him competing, lest he risk ending up in a wheelchair. Confronted by Vince McMahon in his office, Douglas refused to compete and was expelled from the company. Douglas vowed to never work for McMahon again due to his alleged mistreatment and a pay dispute. Douglas returned to ECW in 1996. Since leaving WWE, Douglas has been a vocal critic of the company and the Kliq (Michaels, Hall, Triple H, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman).


Ryan Reeves signed with the WWE in 2004, impressing agents during his time as a contestant on "Tough Enough." After a stint in Deep South Wrestling and jumping to the main roster in 2010 as Nexus heavy Skip Sheffield, Reeves debuted as the carnivorous musclehead Ryback in 2012. Ryback experienced a monster push, challenging CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Hell in the Cell 2012 but failing to win the gold. After his loss, Ryback's popularity dwindled, despite a 112 day reign as Intercontinental Champion. Walking out before a television taping due to a contract dispute, he criticized the company's pay structure in a Tumblr post. He was released in August 2016. In an interview with Sports Illustrated after his release, Ryback stated "My decision to no longer work there comes down to business."

Similar to the Ultimate Warrior, Reeves changed his legal name to Ryback to counter WWE's practice of trademarking ring names. Ryback attempted to file his own trademark which sparked a legal conflict between the two. Since leaving WWE, Ryback has used his Twitter as a platform for his controversial takes and shots at the company's management. The Sports Rush covered the backlash Ryback faced when he referred to meeting the newly-retired Triple H as his "biggest disappointment." Recently, he became subject to controversy after making scathing remarks about Vince McMahon and his recently-deceased mother. 

Sofia Cortez

In 2011, Ivelisse Vélez joined "Tough Enough" as a contestant. Due to injury, she was bumped off the show but signed a developmental deal in November and reported to Florida Championship Wrestling. During her time in FCW, Vélez trained under Bill DeMott, where she was allegedly subject to numerous abuses. As Sofia Cortez, she was a player in the women's division as the promotion morphed into NXT. Cortez's last match was with Tamina Snuka, as she was released from her contract in August 2012. On Vince Russo's "Vixens Who Rule" podcast, Vélez claims her reporting of DeMott's aggressive training style led to her early release. 

Other trainees of DeMott's have spoken up with similar allegations of abuse, leading to his resignation as head trainer of the WWE Performance Center in 2015. DeMott has denied the allegations, claiming to Monte & The Pharaoh that management was unable to find any evidence of abuse and blaming "the court of public opinion and social media" for labeling him the developmental system's scapegoat.

Paul London

Paul London debuted for WWE in 2003, where he became a Cruiserweight Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion with Billy Kidman. Forming the Hooligans with Brian Kendrick, the duo gained popularity for their high risk moveset and rapid-fire offense. 

On Rene Dupree's "Cafe de Rene," London recalled getting heat for his infamous 2005 Royal Rumble elimination, which saw him backflipping off the apron after taking a clothesline from Snitsky. London claims the spot caused him to be taken off TV for months, believing management punished him as he "stole the moment." In the same interview with Dupree, London discussed being treated as an afterthought after winning the Cruiserweight Championship and cutting an impassioned promo while covered in blood. The promo was relegated to the company's website and wasn't capitalized upon with a future angle.

In November 2008, London was released from his contract. In the years since his dismissal, London has been vocal about his problems with WWE and its backstage culture. In a WrestleZone report, London described working for WWE as "a constant mental hazing. It's disgusting. It's a horrible, horrible place to work." During an interview with Sportskeeda, London expressed hesitance for a return but would consider under the condition "they would throw an insane amount of money at me."

David Schultz

"Dr. D" David Schultz became one of the WWF's top heels during his short time in the company. In a 1984 interview with "20/20" host John Stossel backstage at Madison Square Garden, Schultz was asked about wrestling's realness. Stossel referred to wrestling as "fake," and Schultz responded with a slap to Stossel's head and asking, "Is that fake?" Stossel filed a lawsuit against WWE, seeking damages for suffering pain and ringing in his ear. In an interview with ProWrestling.net's Jason Powell, Schultz recalled Stossel's lawsuit being settled, and then WWE Chairman Vince McMahon subsequently suing him for $425,000. In a 2005 shoot interview with Title Match Wrestling, Schultz opened up about the incident and claimed McMahon told him to put Stossel in his place at the Garden in 1984. Schultz testified against McMahon at his 1994 steroid trial and also appeared in an episode of "Inside Edition" that covered the situation.

Schultz hasn't made an appearance in the company since the slap, essentially being blacklisted from the industry, with his last match (per Cagematch) being in 1989. Hulk Hogan claimed on the "Steve Austin Show" that Schultz confronting Mr. T is what ruined his good will with the company, as it jeopardized the main event of the first WrestleMania. In 2018, Schultz released his autobiography, "Don't Call Me Fake." Schultz was the subject of an episode of "Dark Side of the Ring," which discussed the fallout from the slap and his post-wrestling career as a bounty hunter.

Dawn Marie

Dawn Marie worked for ECW in 1998, where she managed Lance Storm and Justin Credible to a pair of tag team title reigns. Marie remained with the promotion until its closure in 2001, debuting for WWE in May 2002 as Vince McMahon's legal assistant. Marie infamously feuded with Torrie Wilson, seducing her father Al and marrying him in kayfabe. Marie's last appearance was at the 2005 ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view, where she managed Storm to a victory over Chris Jericho. Going on maternity leave, Marie was released from her contract in July while she was still pregnant.

After her termination, Marie filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sued WWE. The lawsuit was settled in 2007, with details of said settlement being kept from the public. On "Cafe de Rene," Marie discussed her release with the company and the lawsuit claiming she told them of her pregnancy on Tuesday and by Friday, she was released from the company. She commented on the unfairness of firing women during pregnancy while giving male wrestlers paternity leave.

Sammy Guevara

Before AEW, Sammy Guevara found work in promotions such as Impact, AAA, and PWG. An alum of Booker T's Reality of Wrestling academy, Guevara earned notoriety as a young, athletic prospect with star potential. Guevara was invited to multiple recruitment camps at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, where he and other talent demonstrated their capabilities to management. Footage of Guevara's 2017 NXT tryout can be found on YouTube, with Lacey Evans instructing the course. Guevara never signed with WWE, but discussed the tryout process on Chris Jericho's "Talk is Jericho" podcast. Among his grievances, he noted how football players and other outsiders were given better treatment over seasoned wrestlers.

Clips from a January 2016 podcast Guevara made about WWE Superstar Sasha Banks, in which he jokingly made violent sexual remarks after seeing her at a tryout resurfaced on Twitter. Guevara posted a video apology that has since been privated on his YouTube page, but can still be found. AEW suspended Guevara without pay, with conditions including mandatory sensitivity training and his salary being donated to a Jacksonville women's support center. Guevara contacted Banks and the two buried the hatchet, with Banks issuing a statement on Twitter condemning the comments. Guevara's defection to WWE is unlikely, given the Banks controversy and his firm position in AEW's upper midcard as a former three-time TNT Champion.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Gail Kim

Gail Kim joined WWE in 2002, debuting as a "Matrix"-esque femme fatale and winning the Women's Championship in her first match. Kim's release came as a surprise, explained to her by WWE officials as a "business decision," as the company refocused its women's division. In a 2017 shoot interview with Sean Waltman, Kim recalled feeling out of place saying "It always felt like it was just never a right fit for me," as the roster shifted into the mid-2000's Diva Search era.

Kim left TNA for WWE in 2008, where she was used scarcely. Reports in January 2011 speculated Kim's intent to wait out the duration of her contract until the end of the year. In a battle royal in August 2011, Kim no-sold a punch and rolled out of the ring a minute into the match to eliminate herself. While preparing for the match, producers told Kim she'd only be in the match for one minute and to get herself eliminated. The match would be her last with the company, as she tweeted confirming her departure. When asked about potentially returning for Evolution in 2018, Kim expressed lack of interest and tweeted "I have never been happy there."


Kevin Wacholz became known in the wrestling world as Kevin Kelly and Nailz. Joining the WWF in 1992 as an ex-convict with a history with the Big Boss Man, Nailz stayed relevant thanks to his size and look in spite of his limited moveset. Set to feud with the Undertaker, Nailz's push was halted when he attacked Vince McMahon at a Green Bay house show over his pay. Bret Hart recalled the incident in his autobiography, with the two men being separated by Blackjack Lanza, Sgt. Slaughter, and a "swarm of agents." Nailz and the WWF would become embroiled in a series of lawsuits, with Nailz claiming he was sexually assaulted and wrongfully terminated. After the company filed a counterclaim, both lawsuits were dropped.

Taking to the stand in the 1994 steroid trial, Nailz testified that McMahon told him to use steroids but refused, the New York Times reported. The defense argued Wacholz was a hostile witness, seeking revenge on his former employer. Contradicting himself by initially stating no ill-feeling towards McMahon, Wacholz proclaimed his hatred for the chairman and his testimony was rendered null. Wacholz's testimony being thrown out would be one of the components leading to McMahon being found not guilty. Wacholz stepped away from wrestling in 2001 and according to Ring the Damn Bell, now lives with his family in Minnesota as a trailer salesman.

Ricardo Rodriguez

Ricardo Rodriguez joined WWE in 2010, bringing his masked Chimaera gimmick to FCW. Rodriguez lost the mask and align with Alberto Del Rio, jumping to the main roster with him as his personal ring announcer. Aside from his duties as a ring announcer, Rodriguez was employed as a manager to help Del Rio win through nefarious tactics. After the duo broke up, Rodriguez donned another mask and debuted as El Local in an episode of "Saturday Morning Slam." Mainly relegated to a jobber role, Rodriguez continued working under the mask for house shows and NXT events until WWE released him from his contract in July 2014.

After WWE signed Kevin Steen, Rodriguez took to Twitter to accuse Triple H of racism. WhatCulture reported in a series of now-deleted tweets, Rodriguez claimed Triple H referred to him as "Bumblebee." The name is a reference to Bumblebee Man of "The Simpsons," a rotund Mexican sitcom star dressed in a bumblebee suit. In a shoot interview with RF Video, Rodriguez discussed the shifting hierarchy of the developmental system as it transitioned into NXT, saying "they want little pawns, they want little toy soldiers they can mess around with." Critical of Triple H's management style, Rodriguez felt talent who were pet projects of John Laurinaitis such as himself were put on the backburner.

Tammy Sytch

Tammy Sytch joined the WWF in 1994 as Tamara Murphy, a commentator for its "Live Event News" segments. Under the moniker of Sunny, she managed her boyfriend Chris Candido as part of the Bodydonnas, in addition to other teams such as the Smoking Guns and LOD 2000. Sunny was immensely popular with the fans, as (per SILive) AOL named Sytch as the most downloaded woman in 1996. According to The Post and Courier, an addiction to painkillers, attitude problems, and no-showing events lead to her July 1998 release. She made her first appearance for WWE in nearly a decade at the 15th Anniversary episode of "Raw," in 2007. Participating at Wrestlemania XXV's "Miss Wrestlemania Battle Royal," Sytch was eliminated in her only match for the company. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Battling alcoholism, Sytch claimed in a shoot interview (h/t Cageside Seats) that her rehab was meant to give the WWE publicity and aid the McMahons' political standing. She also said that they moved her to a cheap rehab facility to cut costs. Not long after this, WWE pulled funding for her rehab.

She was involved in a number of controversies in the time since. Such incidents include a September 2015 arrest in Pennsylvania on an outstanding warrant for missing court for a DUI. Sytch was arrested in 2022 for DUI and manslaughter charges for her role in a car accident which killed a 75-year-old man. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Chuck Austin

Chuck Austin is a former football player for the University of North Carolina. After concluding his studies, Austin banded with a few friends and opened a modest independent wrestling promotion in his town. With only a few matches under his belt, Austin teamed with Lanny Poffo in a WWF squash match against the Rockers. Marty Jannetty hit Austin with his Rocker Dropper move, sending him head first onto the mat. After taking the move, Austin laid in the ring limp and unresponsive. Janetty, who believed Austin was selling, hurled Shawn Michaels from the top rope to land a Rocket Launcher to finish the match. The injury left Austin paralyzed from the neck down and ended his in-ring career.

Austin successfully sued the WWF in a lawsuit that granted him and his family nearly $27 million dollars, as reported by the Associated Press. After the 1994 verdict, American Journal interviewed Austin, who recalled the horrific incident and referred to the WWF as a "monster corporation" who treated him like a prop. The injury affects Austin — who is dependent on painkillers, suffers spasms, and has lost the use his legs — to this day. He reemerged in the public eye in a 2015 Orlando news piece after facing difficulty refilling his prescription for hydrocodone.

Jon Moxley

As the unhinged shot-caller of the Shield, Jon Moxley achieved success wrestling under the name Dean Ambrose. His accomplishments during his time with WWE include a WWE Championship reign and multiple tag team and midcard titles, including the longest United States Championship run in history. WWE announced Moxley would not be renewing his contract and he left the company in April 2019. In an interview with ESPN, Moxley opened up about his growing frustrations with the creative process, telling Vince McMahon "I don't care how many zeroes you want to put on a piece of paper, I am gone." Moxley said he grew burnt out as he was constantly micromanaged and given scripts that made him look foolish. In his autobiography, he opened up about his stressful final months in the company, calling it "a living hell," as once-cheering fans sat in silence and confusion during his segments.

Without a contract binding him, Moxley toured the indies and Japan, where he competed in NJPW's G1 Climax tournament. Moxley joined All Elite Wrestling at the end of Double or Nothing 2019, storming the ring to beat up Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega. Moxley is a two-time AEW World Champion and holds the longest championship reign to date. After a taping of "Rampage" Moxley cut a promo where he referred to "Raw" and "SmackDown" as "Monday and Friday night crap," and Vince McMahon as "some crazy old man."