The Mauro Ranallo situation has been all over the headlines recently. Having missed several weeks of television, the popular SmackDown announcer isn't expected to return to WWE TV prior to his contract expiring in August. In all likelihood, Ranallo is done with the company, and the circumstances surrounding his probable departure seem grim.
Mauro has been signed-off through depression, with recent reports suggesting that his latest bout with the condition was triggered by harassment from JBL, his broadcast colleague. Whether this is true or not, they're just the latest in a long line of WWE backstage horror stories stretching back multiple decades.
"Hazing" is an unfortunate wrestling tradition, where newcomers are conditioned to "respect the business" through ribs and practical jokes. Unfortunately, WWE's more domineering personalities have a penchant for taking this too far, and from the outside looking in, many of these accounts come across as outright bullying.
Everything within should be taken with a pinch of salt. In most cases, we're only getting one side of the story, and there's no guarantee that each of these incidents happened. Even if only a handful of them are true, however, it paints the image of a company where backstage bullying is not only accepted, but encouraged...
10. Mark Henry’s Rough Introduction
It’s perhaps surprising that Mark Henry, a man who could probably snap any wrestler like a twig if he felt like it, was subjected to backstage hazing after joining WWE, but his tales of woe show nobody is safe. Fresh off competing at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Henry signed a huge ten-year contract with the company, and immediately found himself the victim of unpleasant behaviour.
Though Henry has since admitted that he was a little too sensitive when he entered the business, he stated on an episode of Talk is Jericho that certain individuals went out of their way to give him a hard time shortly after he'd joined WWE. One such wrestler was JBL, who took great pleasure out of ribbing Henry, and often pulled pranks like throwing his wrestling gear into a running shower, forcing Mark to compete in drenched attire.
Henry accepted this as part of his wrestling education, and has since called Bradshaw one of the men he respects most in the business. Still, it makes you wonder how many young hopefuls have had their confidence crushed by such behaviour, but have never spoken out about it.