One of the most grotesque lines repeated by loyal WWE employees in the face of controversy and bad PR is the adage that the company is simply all about "putting smiles on faces." Though Vince McMahon may want to portray himself as a purveyor of legitimate, family-friendly entertainment, even the most casual of fans knows that the company has a seedy underbelly, and that makes itself evident both on and off camera.
Throughout much of last summer, the emphasis was on backstage bullying, specifically actions undertaken by John "Bradshaw" Layfield during his long tenure with the company. Of course, JBL was just the tip of the iceberg - other wrestlers have been bullies, and none of this would even be possible if it wasn't for a company culture accepting of bullying, with McMahon at the helm. With that in mind, here are 10 WWE stars who were bullied out of the company.
Just a couple of notes before we start: this list isn't just limited to stars who quit WWE in the face of bullying - it's also for talent who were eventually fired after long tenures of being mistreated. Also, this isn't meant to, in any way, criticize stars who left the company due to the toxic work environment or to say that those who experienced bullying and still work for WWE somehow "did better" than other victims.
Scott Fried is a Slammy Award-winning* writer living and working in New York City. He has been following/writing about professional wrestling for many years and is a graduate of Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scottfried.
*Best Crowd of the Year, 2013