These Wrestlers Ruined Their Career In A Matter Of Seconds

Pro wrestling is a business built on a foundation of controversy. More often than not, it's all manufactured for storyline purposes and to get the OMG factor from the audience, but there are also moments when the lines are blurred between fact and fiction and people don't know what's real and what isn't. With that being said, there are times when performers tank their careers through specific actions that have serious and wide-ranging consequences. Sometimes, the wrestlers understand the magnitude of what they do in the moment and choose to go ahead with it anyway, while there are instances where they don't get how it will impact them later on.

Well, Doc Brown has just pulled up and offered us the services of the DeLorean to go back in time and find out about the wrestlers who set fire to their careers in a singular moment — whether it's through their own fault or not. From Vader's catastrophic misinterpretation of "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels' diving elbow at SummerSlam 1996 to Juventud Guerrera performing like a character from a PlayStation wrestling game in a match against Paul London, let's dive right into these unfortunate instances where wrestlers went Rambo on their own careers.

Alundra Blayze

As Alundra Blayze, Debrah Miceli had a successful run in the then-WWF's women's division. In December 1995, Blayze departed the company for WCW. Appearing on "Monday Nitro," Blayze debuted as Madusa with the WWF Women's Championship in tow. She proceeded to dump the title in the trash on national broadcast television — a major no-no in the wrestling business and something that irked the WWE as she failed to reappear in the company until she was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Speaking to WWE.com, Miceli explained why she chucked the title in the trash on live television. "Well, I was under contract and [former WCW President] Eric Bischoff told me to do it. It was either that or I was out the door," she said, adding she was a dubbed "a disgrace to the business" because of the stunt.

Bischoff disputed Miceli's version of events on his podcast, "83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff" (h/t Sportskeeda), saying it was her idea in the first place. "Oh yeah, she is not opposed at all of making money off of it, but she wants to put the heat on me because she doesn't remember anything the way it actually happened," he said. "She is delusional."

Vader

When Leon White, also known as Vader, debuted in the then-WWF in 1996, the expectation was high for the bona fide wrestling monster to make serious moves in the company. As a former WCW champion and a certified mega-hit in Japan, many expected the big man to slot right into the WWF's main event slot. That's how the Mastodon was presented in the early stages as well, even scoring a pinfall victory over WWF Champion Shawn Michaels in a three-man tag match at In Your House 9: International Incident.

The following month at SummerSlam 1996, Michaels and Vader had their big match-up for the title. Unfortunately, the bout didn't go according to plan, leaving a visibility irritated Michaels screaming at Vader for failing to move when he was supposed to after HBK went for the elbow drop. After the match, Michaels reportedly approached Vince McMahon and stated he didn't want to work with Vader anymore, which impacted the plans for Survivor Series 1996 where Vader was scheduled to win the title. Instead, it was Sycho Sid who beat Michaels for the gold.

On the "Grilling JR" podcast (via 411MANIA), Jim Ross admitted Michaels all but killed Vader's push in the company. After the disastrous SummerSlam 1996 match, Vader's stock within the promotion plummeted, resulting in him being released in 1998 — without a single championship gold reign to his name in his time with the company.

Alberto Del Rio

Alberto Del Rio experienced several runs as the top star in WWE during his first stint in the company. On August 7, 2014, WWE announced it had terminated Del Rio's contract "due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee." According to the Wrestling Observer, the incident happened after a WWE social media manager made a racist "joke" about Del Rio being responsible for washing dishes. When Del Rio confronted the person about his comments, he didn't apologize, so Del Rio slapped him. The story caused controversy within the wrestling industry, as many people backed Del Rio for his actions, considering the joke to be highly offensive and believing it was wrong of the WWE to punish him for it.

Del Rio returned to the WWE a year later; however, his stock in the company had dropped dramatically. After being suspended for a wellness violation policy in August 2016, Del Rio and the WWE parted ways a month later. As per the Wrestling Observer, Del Rio reportedly felt dejected about how several of the WWE's promises had not materialized, including a purported main event push for him. In 2017, Del Rio posted on Periscope (via Sportskeeda), suggesting that the WWE was racist. All these factors combined ensured that Del Rio is persona non grata in the company.

Daniel Puder

There was something special about Daniel Puder when he debuted in the WWE. As a "Tough Enough" contestant with a history of MMA experience, there was an opportunity to present Puder as a legitimate shoot fighter in the company à la Ken Shamrock. In a 2004 episode of "SmackDown," Kurt Angle challenged "Tough Enough" competitors to lock up with him in an amateur wrestling contest. The Olympic Gold medalist defeated Chris Nawrocki before Puder stepped up to the plate.

During the contest, Puder caught Angle in a legitimate kimura lock, which threatened to break Angle's arm. The ref was forced to count a quick pinfall victory for Angle — even though Puder's shoulders weren't on the mat for the whole three count — since there was a fear Angle's arm would be broken. Discussing what happened on the "UnSKripted" podcast, Puder called Angle "a punk" and said the wrestler was bitter that he outperformed him. Puder insisted he followed the rules laid out and he simply got the best of Angle, who refused to shake his hand afterwards.

Speaking on The Hannibal TV, Angle said, "It was a wrestling match and he caught me in a submission, and it really wasn't supposed to be a submission. I told him that afterward ... I said, 'You're a dumb*** and you pinned yourself.'" Angle added he likes Puder and believed they got along.

In a separate interview with "TheBubbaArmy," Angle said that Puder had gotten too big for his boots, so that's why he received a beatdown from Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly, and Eddie Guerrero at the 2005 Royal Rumble, which proved to be the death knell in his WWE career.

Jaxson Ryker

After Jaxson Ryker's stint in TNA as Gunner, his jump to the WWE brought with it some attention. Blessed with an impressive-looking physique and intriguing look, Ryker appeared to be on the rise to the big time. After spending time in NXT as part of the Forgotten Sons stable with Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler, the team eventually made their debut on the main roster on an April 2020 episode of "SmackDown."

The Forgotten Sons portrayed American patriots on television and seemed to be in line for a major push in the tag division. However, a pro-Donald Trump tweet from Ryker in June 2020, during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, all but ended the team's rise through the ranks. Many WWE employees were unhappy about Ryker's tweet, especially since it also utilized the Forgotten Sons' catchphrase in it. His stablemates distanced themselves from Ryker's comments, but the heat was already there and the team's push came to a grinding halt, as per Fightful. Ryker was removed from the Forgotten Sons stable and continued to wrestle for the WWE here and there before being released in November 2021. In May 2022, Ryker found himself in the news for all the wrong reasons again when he called on his Twitter followers to act against abortion, homosexuality, and the gender agenda.

Rob Van Dam

When it comes to Rob Van Dam, everyone knew what he was about. All the 4:20 references couldn't even be considered allusions; they were dead giveaways. In 2006, RVD was red-hot in the WWE and became one of the top superstars. First, he captured the WWE Championship from John Cena at One Night Stand, and then he was awarded the reinstated ECW Championship by Paul Heyman when the brand made a return to television. Heck, RVD didn't even need to light up because he was flying high in this period of pro wrestling.

In July 2006, RVD was stopped for speeding. Along with Sabu who was traveling with him, he was arrested for drug possession, as per talkSPORT. The WWE's wellness policy indicated it could have terminated RVD's contract immediately for the transgression, but he was suspended for 30 days instead and forced to lose both titles. Speaking on the "Icons" episode of RVD (via talkSPORT), Vince McMahon revealed how he felt about the wrestler's arrest. "I was personally upset over Rob's actions because I thought he was above that," he said. "Obviously, when something like that happens, we have to be concerned about how the company looks and Rob was not champion much longer." This proved to be the end of any major push for RVD in WWE. He continued to perform for the company for another year and returned several times thereafter, but he wasn't afforded the opportunity to be the face of WWE ever again.

Austin Aries

Austin Aries has attracted his fair share of controversy over the years. However, it was his final actions in Impact Wrestling at Bound for Glory 2018 that all but halted any momentum he ever had of being a top guy in any company again. At the event, he was defeated by Johnny Impact for the Impact World Championship. Immediately after the pinfall, Aries hopped up, no-selling Impact's Starship Pain finisher, and walked towards the back while mouthing off at EVP Don Callis. Even his opponent looked confused by what had just gone down.

The wrestling world was stunned by Aries' actions, deeming it highly unprofessional of someone who was supposed to be the face of the company. There were rumors that Aries wrestled with a concussion, which would explain the erratic behavior on display. Nevertheless, Bound for Glory was the official last date of his contract and he didn't re-sign with Impact Wrestling. After that, Aries continued to wrestle for other promotions, but none of the major companies have signed him since the incident.

Mr. Kennedy

From the moment he arrived in WWE, Mr. Kennedy had all the makings of a star. He could talk, had size, and a decent in-ring style. Vince McMahon and WWE noticed it, too, immediately pushing the performer and giving all the signs he'd be the chosen one. Yet, he made a few grave mistakes that attracted the wrong kind of heat within the company. First off, he upset Randy Orton in a match, which resulted in The Viper complaining to McMahon that Kennedy was unsafe in the ring (via TheSportster). Then, to make matters worse, he tried to get the crowd to turn on the biggest superstar in the company, John Cena — something that went down about as well as CM Punk's "Gripebomb" among AEW's EVPs. Even Jim Ross on his "Grilling JR" podcast (h/t TJRWrestling) admitted it wasn't the wisest move on Kennedy's part.

However, the real piledriver that ended his WWE career was Kennedy's involvement in a steroid scandal (via The Post and Courier). Considering how a major steroid trial almost destroyed McMahon years earlier, this wasn't the way to get into the boss' good books or to attract attention. He was suspended but failed to reach the same heights from before when he returned. In 2010, Kennedy told Fanhouse that Cena and Orton's complaints about him all but buried his career in the company.

Brad Maddox

From 2012 to 2015, Brad Maddox had a memorable stint in WWE where he largely performed as an on-screen authority figure such as a referee and the General Manager for "Raw." Towards the latter part of his run, he began to appear as an in-ring performer, largely on dark matches or house events. Despite the lack of mainstream coverage for these kinds of matches, it was Maddox's comments during one of these events that resulted in him getting the boot from the company, all but ending his pro wrestling career.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Maddox revealed he was fired for what he called the audience members during a promo. "I had a dark match in Indianapolis and I called the Indianapolis crowd 'p***ks,'" he said. "I didn't think anything of it. That's never been a bad word to me. I didn't think it was inappropriate. Vince [McMahon] was watching and did not like it." And that was all she wrote for him.

Juventud Guerrera

Juventud Guerrera, aka The Juice, certainly knew how to take breath away during his time in WCW and even the WWE to an extent. His high-flying and high-impact moves had the audience on their feet, but there was one time when Juvi took it too far and it cost him in the long run.

According to the Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter (via WrestleZone), Juvi's match against Kid Kash for the Cruiserweight Championship on a January 2006 episode of "SmackDown" proved to be his last because of his actions in the ring. Juvi was accused of sandbagging Kash, while also trying to get in all of his offense and being generally stiff with his opponent. Reportedly, there had already been heat on Juvi for his backstage attitude, and this match turned out to be the final straw because of the supposed unprofessionalism in the ring. It was also the last time that Juvi would appear on WWE TV as he was released from his contract.

Sexy Star

Despite the conflict and battles on screen, the number one rule in pro wrestling is to protect an opponent. At the end of the day, it's sports entertainment and all performers are in the business to make money and provide for their families. There's absolutely no need to injure each other, since a professionally trained wrestler should be able to execute a move without harming others. Hence the severe industry backlash against Mexican wrestler Sexy Star after AAA's TripleMania XXV.

During the bout, Sexy Star locked in an armbar that forced her opponent Rosemary to submit. Despite winning the contest, Sexy Star refused to let go of the move, holding onto the armbar and injuring Rosemary in the process. Taking to Twitter, Sexy Star was unapologetic and said she didn't deliberately injure Rosemary, even questioning the legitimacy of the supposed injury.

The controversy caused waves in the pro wrestling industry, as numerous figures spoke out and suggested Sexy Star be blacklisted, including Cody Rhodes who tweeted that she would "never set foot in one of my locker rooms. I hope others follow suit." After the incident, Sexy Star shifted from wrestling to boxing and MMA.

Tessa Blanchard

There's no disputing Tessa Blanchard's ability in the ring. She is a highly talented individual who should be leading the world of women's wrestling alongside the likes of Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. However, Blanchard is something of a heat magnet, as she attracts all sorts of controversy that does consequential damage to her career.

In January 2020, Blanchard received criticism due to allegations of racism and bullying of other wrestlers, which she denied (via Forbes). She managed to weather the storm, though, as she went on to secure the Impact World Championship, becoming the first woman in history to win the title. It was a monumental occasion, and a major landmark in the history of women's wrestling.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the world went into shutdown. Even though she was the champion, Blanchard didn't appear on Impact TV, choosing to reside in Mexico during the time, yet she was still scheduled to appear at the July 2020 PPV Slammiversary to defend her title. However, the relationship between Blanchard and Impact became strained after she didn't send through her promos for a taped segment, as per PWInsider. In the end, the company lost faith and requested for her to drop the title, but they weren't able to come to terms. So, Impact terminated her contract in June 2020. Since this incident, coupled with her previous controversies, there has been a hesitancy from either WWE or AEW to sign her, leaving a promising career in limbo. Blanchard attempted a comeback with WOW Wrestling; however, she reportedly had a falling out that resulted in her leaving the promotion before its re-launch.

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