Much has been written and expressed by the talents themselves of the "eggshells" environment in WWE.
In his book 'Mox', the former Dean Ambrose described a fateful interaction with "c*nt rat Wizard of Oz" Kevin Dunn. Ambrose, upon winning his first title in WWE, asked the referee to "give [him] the f*cking belt". This was picked up by a ringside microphone. Ambrose was told to apologise, and he did. He explained that he wasn't deliberately trying to get himself over as an anti-PG renegade in front of the vocal 18-49 males. Lost in the moment and happy with this milestone achievement, it just slipped out.
He framed this as an explanation, not an excuse, and promised to be cognisant of this sort of thing in the future. He shook hands with Dunn in the production truck to which he'd been marched, and was profusely apologetic.
He was later collared by Michael Hayes, who told him that Dunn didn't believe his apology. From there, Moxley believed that he'd been stigmatised by WWE management as a "different sort of cat," which is WWE code for "unruly ungrateful troublemaker who will create issues for the company".
Say the wrong thing, and you're f*cked - but increasingly, talents don't seem to be remotely bothered about expressing their frustration...
10. Dean Ambrose Vents On Chronicle
The edition of Chronicle that followed Dean Ambrose upon his return from injury in 2018 is fascinating in retrospect.
A quasi-worked documentary, it captures Mox in a certain place. We know from his infamous Talk Is Jericho appearance that he first realised he wanted to leave as he prepared to come back, and this is the exact moment that WWE decided to document his thoughts. He wanted to wrestle; just not in WWE. He watched various rock concerts, the way in which the lead singer would interact with and control the crowd, and was envious of their freedom to perform, to change up a lyric, to feel in the zone. He enjoyed watching the Killers perform at the Royal Albert Hall, jealous that Michael Hayes wasn't telling Brandon Flowers to save Mr. Brightside for a bigger crowd.
The whole thing is crawling with subtext. Very early, Ambrose is filmed training, and says "I just love to grapple," and you can almost hear the unfinished thought "...and not this TV clown sh*t".
In the closing scene, Ambrose is filmed in the desert. He's talking about turning on the Shield, but his demeanour, and some of the choices he makes, are telling: "I'm not gonna read some script and try to play out some little fantasy little ending...that's not my life".
In a few short months, it wasn't.