Weird Rules WWE Makes Wrestlers Follow

A career as a WWE Superstar is far different than most professional journeys people set out to take in their lives. But it also shares some similarities that anyone can relate to, including strange rules that must be followed.

Most of these are a bit more off the beaten path than "no personal phone calls at the office," simply on account of the nature of life as a professional wrestler sports entertainer being far different than most walks of life, but all of them are interesting, to say the least. 

We'll get to the banned words thing in a bit, but beyond that, there are plenty of oddball rules that Superstars have to follow. We'll only scratch the surface here, but let's have a look at some weird rules that WWE talents have had (and in some cases, still have) to obey over the years.

Social Media Restrictions

Superstars' social media is monitored by WWE, but there is no requirement for private access, such as passwords or other credentials. For any post that's related to storylines, guidance may be provided, but more often than not, these are trained professionals in the art of self-promotion.

"Dirty" Dominik Mysterio's gif game is on point, for instance, and Becky Lynch is an example of a WWE Superstar who builds off of television storyline momentum with her social media.

You won't find WWE Superstars taking any hardline political stances, and for good reason, so as not to alienate themselves from fans that are supposed to either love or hate them. Having said that, once a superstar exits the company, all bets are off. And you very well may meet a side of these folks you hadn't seen previously. Jaxson Ryker is one who didn't exactly endear himself to fans or former colleagues with a series of tweets in 2022.

Money In the Bank Briefcase

The Money In the Bank briefcase has been a staple of WWE television since 2005, and that means that Superstars who have won it have been made to carry it wherever they go for nearly 20 years now.

With a contract inside the case guaranteeing the holder a title shot whenever they want, the idea is that the briefcase should be so precious to he or she who has won it, they would never want to set it aside, until it's time to cash in. This, of course, can be a bit cumbersome for the contract holder, especially considering how much WWE Superstars travel around the world.

Baron Corbin, who captured the briefcase in 2017, once told the Phoenix New Times. "It actually is very hard. The thing is bright blue and says 'Money In the Bank' in giant letters so walking through the airport, everybody's staring at you, looking at what it is, or there's a lot of people at the airport that want to take pictures now, and you're carrying this bright blue briefcase and it's not light. I've got my contract in there too. It's a carry-on, so it's with me 24/7."

Interviewer Height

WWE Superstars are supposed to be larger than life, so when they're being interviewed by someone who isn't an in-ring competitor, the company definitely doesn't want them to be seen as anything less-than. As the story goes, this is why the interviewer should be shorter than the interviewee, or at least made to look as though they are. 

Interestingly, former WWE performer Jonathan "The Coach" Coachman was a big enough man that a slight mishap influenced Vince McMahon to want to stop him from doing interviews altogether. "The Coach" told this story on a recent episode of "Insight" with Chris Van Vliet.

"I was doing an interview, and it was a tag team interview that was gonna end in a fight. Well, whoever I was interviewing, we have a little secret, and you spread your legs out and make the person look taller. Well, the problem was, the cameraman widened out too quickly and all of a sudden, I'm standing there with my legs completely [spread apart] and the other tag team came in late, and it was just a bad segment altogether and Vince was furious because it kind of gave away a couple of our secrets. So he was like, 'You can't do interviews anymore.'" Ultimately, this led to Coachman's in-ring career, for better or worse.

No Leaving Early

Wrestlers are known to have some of the most exhausting schedules of any profession, so you might think working earlier on a card might have some benefits, including the opportunity to wrap up your night's work and get on the road by leaving before the show is over. But you'd be wrong, at least in WWE, barring special permission.

From a practical perspective, in an industry where anything can happen at any time, it makes a lot of sense, as you never know who might be needed for what at a moment's notice, so keeping all hands on deck does have some logic to it. Especially when storylines are at stake and things have to make sense, it does benefit the company to have all options available as much as possible.

So even when you see someone on camera hauled out of the arena by security or exit of their own volition in some vehicle or other, don't assume they've scurried off to watch the football game at their hotel. They're likely in it for the long haul, just like everyone else.

Dallas Tag Rope Rules

Alright, here's a weird one: The tag rope lives an obscure existence as part of every tag team match, and some fans might not even know that it's supposed to be held onto until a wrestler receives a legal tag to enter the ring.

In Dallas, Texas, it takes on extra importance, to the tune of its specific required length being precisely 18". When a WWE event is held in Dallas, an independent inspector is sent to the arena to check and make sure that the rope is exactly as long as it is supposed to be.

These inspectors are required to be recertified (hopefully for more than just knowing how to measure a tag rope) every other year, so at least we can be sure that they're qualified to perform this all-important job function. Outside of Dallas, the length doesn't matter, technically, but in the name of efficiency, WWE should go ahead and just leave them all at 18" forevermore.

No Sneezing!

Vince McMahon is known to be a germaphobe, not wanting anyone to grab candy or other snacks out of a bowl with their bare hands and likely losing his mind if they do. It's also been relayed many times over the years that "The Chairman" hates sneezing.

That's right, if you're around Vince, you are expected to withhold even this basic involuntary body function in his presence. And that even goes for his own daughter.

Stephanie McMahon told Barstool Sports in 2019, "He doesn't hate me for [sneezing] but it's always like a 'grrr,' a grimace. But on the flipside, I've been around when he has sneezed. It's just because he doesn't like anything he can't control. The fact he can't control the sneeze makes him upset." Paul Heyman confirmed, telling The MMA Hour in 2010 that it all boils down to McMahon being a control freak. "He gets really pissed off cause he can't control the sneeze."

Announcers Can't Use Pronouns

In line with WWE's penchant for elaborate branding for all its properties, a Superstar's name should come to mind immediately for every member of the WWE Universe. This means that announcers are expected to call talent by their first name, last name, or official nickname as often as possible. Further, this cuts down on their ability to use simple pronouns. No he/she/his/hers whatsoever.

The thought is that people watching and listening may not always be able to tell which superstar is being referenced if an announcer were to say "he" or "she." So instead of, "He tosses him into the corner and smashes him with an elbow," the way to go is "Person X tosses Person Y into the corner and smashes 'The [Insert Nickname Here] with an elbow!" Or something like that.

Jim Ross explained this better than most could on a recent "Grilling JR." "Don't use pronouns if you're a broadcaster. Use names, use cliches. He's the champ, he's the tough guy, he's this. But there are all kinds of ways to describe somebody instead of saying, 'He. He did this.' All right, what's he doing? 'He's going to hit him.' Okay, who's he and who's him?" Couple this and the banned words we'll get to in a bit and you may start to gain a new respect for pro wrestling announcers altogether.

Weapons Must Be Approved

It's obvious that the days of incessant chair shots and blood all over the place during WWE matches are long gone. There are a million different reasons for that, first and foremost because of safety concerns. We've learned so much about concussions and CTE, for starters, that it makes perfect sense to avoid chairshots and other direct blows to the head, and intentional bleeding is all but gone too.

Because of this, if a superstar wants to use weapons in a match, this needs to be approved beforehand. You might think that takes away from them creatively, not being able to pull out that sort of magic on the fly, but with a heads up to authority up front, they can still play around with approved toys a little bit once they're out there.

As for bleeding, while you're not likely to catch a blade job anymore, this is still a physical activity and accidents are going to happen. You'll just likely see the match stopped while the injured combatant is tended to by medical personnel, such as Finn Balor getting his head stapled back together in the middle of his Hell In a Cell match with Edge at WrestleMania 39.

Banned Words

Oh, those poor announcers. On top of having Vince McMahon's voice in their ears, barking orders about what, precisely, they are to say, all while they watch the action, listen to their colleagues, and at least try to speak themselves, perhaps it's what they're not supposed to say that can really throw them for a loop. The list of supposed banned words and phrases in WWE has only grown over the years and McMahon was very particular about some oddball choices to say the least. Some of the more prevalent substitutions:

  • "Superstar" for "wrestler"
  • "Local medical facility" for "hospital"
  • "WWE Universe" for "fans"
  • "Sports entertainment" for "pro wrestling"
  • "Live event" for "house show"
  • "Championship" for "belt"

The last one there is probably referenced more often than any other, if only for what's been said was the premise behind the terminology. "It's called a championship or a title. A belt is something you use to keep your pants up."

Dress Code

WWE Superstars are expected to maintain a certain appearance when out in public, especially if they're appearing somewhere in an official capacity. But business casual for public appearances where they might run into fans (or members of the WWE Universe, that is) is probably a good rule to live by.

Granted, there are exceptions. Going to the gym immediately comes to mind, where you're not exactly going to pump iron in a dress shirt and slacks. WWE's investment in the Tapout clothing line pays dividends for the superstars in this specific example.

It's highly unlikely you'd run into a WWE Superstar out on the streets looking like a slob though anyway. These ladies and gentlemen are paid well, carry themselves as professionals, and in the end, are professional athletes, whose looks are their bread and butter. But to be on the safe side, they may want to go the extra mile on any given day rather than head to the grocery store in sweatpants and a tattered tank top like some of us may or may not do.

Can't Wear High Heels In Carmel

Here's another bizarre one that is city and state-specific, although it's rooted in a little more logic than Dallas and its tag rope obsession. You can't wear high heels in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, but don't go blaming WWE for this one, as it's actually a city law. In order to wear high heels, a person legitimately needs a permit.

We have no idea how strictly this law is enforced, but it is definitely on the books and apparently, it is to avoid lawsuits stemming from falls on irregular payment (or elsewhere). And it applies to WWE talent, in and out of the ring as well.

That puts a bit of a damper on the female talent in particular one would think, who may look to don some pumps, especially at a press conference or something of that nature. But no! Not in Carmel, you don't! No word on whether or not there is any similar rule for those bizarre giant red shoes Seth Rollins has worn in the past (but maybe there should be!)

Move Thievery

This is likely more of an unwritten rule, as you may have surmised, since you're probably already thinking you've seen Rollins hit a Pedigree, Kevin Owens rock a Stunner, or Damian Priest toss someone with a Razor's Edge. Just don't think those superstars took it upon themselves to make someone else's move their own. In these specific examples, the adoption of the respective moves either happened as part of storyline, with consent from the originator, or as an outright passing of the torch.

Rollins started using the Pedigree during his feud with Triple H and still mixes in the move to this day. Owens' implementation of the iconic Stunner was met with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's approval, but "The Rattlesnake" did encourage KO to "put some stink on it." And Priest was given permission to use the Razor's Edge by Scott Hall, aka Razor Ramon, himself, during "The Bad Guy's" time as a guest instructor at the WWE Performance Center.

On top of reinventing a move from yesteryear for use in the present day, every now and then, you'll see one superstar hit his or her opponent with their own move. This should be kept special and not overused, but we've seen iconic moments over the years when one adversary flips the script on the other. (And no, Snoop Dogg's "Rock Bottom" on The Miz does not count.)

Don't Lose a Bar Fight!

It's probably best for WWE Superstars to avoid finding any kind of trouble in a bar (or anywhere else) entirely these days, but if the s*** hits the fan and things are gonna go down, they may want to make sure they don't come out on the wrong end of the fight. Whether kayfabe is dead or not, it's best to uphold the element of toughness. After all, you wouldn't want an average Joe going home after a night on the town able to brag about beating up a WWE champion.

But it's happened. Shawn Michaels, during a time in which he was struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, bit off more than he could chew in 1995, reportedly beaten to a pulp by six Marines in a bar fight. The altercation landed Michaels in the hospital, and he said it wasn't the only time either.

"Unfortunately, I was in that position a lot of times," Michaels said on Logan Paul's "Impaulsive" podcast. "I would wake up in an emergency room, go get three or four more hours of sleep, go to the gym, go wrestle. I was very functioning." Again, it's probably best to avoid the situation altogether, but if push comes to shove and a WWE Superstar can't avoid extracurricular physicality, they may want to channel their inner APA, rather than having to tell a "you should see the other guy" story.