The majority of professional wrestlers are associated with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The origins of this organization date back to the 1950s and it's now controlled by owner Vince McMahon. So things don't go completely haywire, there are many official and implied rules that WWE superstars have to follow. These can range from costume regulations, personal relationships, and travel restrictions. Get to know the inner workings of WWE with these oddly specific guidelines that all members have to follow, both in and outside the ring.
Hold In Your Sneezes
One of WWE owner Vince McMahon's biggest pet peeves is sneezing. WWE employees will hold their sneezes in order to not upset him. McMahon wants to be in control at all times and sneezing is one of the times when the body is out of control.
McMahon equates sneezing as a sign of weakness. His daughter Stephanie recently confirmed this when she told a reporter, "He doesn't hate me for it [sneezing], but it's always like a grrr, a grimace." She went on to say that he even gets upset at himself when it happens to him.
Do Not Visit Non-WWE Shows
WWE isn't the only wrestling organization in the world. Companies such as All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Impact Wrestling (Impact!), and Ring of Honor (ROH) have regular competitions. WWE wrestlers aren't allowed to attend any competitions outside of their organization. It can hinder a WWE wrestler's career if they are seen at a rival company.
A member of WWE's The Highlanders was spotted during a television broadcast of a TNA Impact! competition and this caused a lot of tension between The Highlanders and WWE. It resulted in The Highlanders getting fired.
Announcers Can't Use Pronouns
WWE announcers and commentators need to be extra careful when their microphones are on. They are not allowed to use pronouns. This means they can't say words such as "he," "she," "they," "it," "them," and so on. WWE wants everything to be branded, so they try and push wrestler and product names as much as possible.
McMahon is always on the other end of their microphones making sure that no pronouns slip out. There are many other words and phrases that are forbidden to the commentators, including "title changing hands," "title shot," and "belt."
Their Social Media Is Always Controlled
Social media has become one of the most essential business tools within the last decade. It's also the main way WWE wrestlers can connect with their fans. In order to keep up their engagement, WWE requires that most wrestlers post a certain number of times per week.
This has certainly paid off because they are some of the most-followed users on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Fans are able to get updates about all things WWE in an instant, and the wrestlers can continue building their brand.
Props Have To Be Approved
Something that can make a WWE competition more exciting is including a prop. These can range from folding chairs and ladders to trash cans and boomboxes. While it might seem like the prop came out of nowhere in a match, that's not the case at all.
All WWE wrestlers must get their props approved before they compete. If a wrestler brings out a prop that didn't get signed off, they can be disqualified and even fired. Some of the most memorable props in WWE history include Jimmy Hart's megaphone, Triple H's sledgehammer, and Razor Ramon's toothpick.
They Must Follow A Strict Dress Code
While WWE wrestlers wear some of the most outrageous costumes when they're in the ring, they have to abide by a strict dress code in the outside world. They are expected to go to many public appearances and must look professional at all times.
Men have to wear suits and women have to wear dresses and heels. This is only for public appearances. They have the choice to stay in these business casual clothes or wear athletic clothing when they are traveling. Keeping a dress code is how WWE upholds a prestigious brand reputation.
Keep Off The Ropes
There are tons of rules that WWE wrestlers have to follow to make sure everything goes smoothly during a match. The live shows are almost completely controlled by McMahon, writers, and producers, so everything needs to get pre-approved. One rule that all wrestlers have to follow is not climbing on the ropes during their entrance.
A lot of wrestlers used to use the ropes as part of their entrance in order to get a big reaction out of the audience. The executives at WWE didn't like this, so they have banned the ropes during entrances.
They Must Find Their Own Transportation
Some may think that all WWE wrestlers live a life of luxury with their big paychecks, but they don't have as many perks as expected. When wrestlers travel to and from matches and public appearances, they aren't on a tour bus or private plane.
The majority of them have to get their own transportation. Other wrestling companies such as NXT try to have their tapings take place in the same building the wrestlers are staying in, so they don't have to worry about transportation. Pictured here is Mark Henry at the airport!
Don't Lose The "Money In The Bank" Briefcase
The wrestler who wins the WWE Money in the Bank event takes home the prize of a briefcase containing a contract for a championship match. The winner can cash in the contract whenever they want within the next year. The prize isn't just a silly prop, but something WWE officials take very seriously.
Winners are expected to take the briefcase with the contract wherever they go, such as traveling on an airplane or going to the grocery store. Losing this iconic prop could lead them to give up their coveted contract.
Wrestlers Can't Use Their Real Names
Tons of WWE superstars use fake or stage names to give them edgier personalities. Any time they appear in a WWE event or somewhere they will be representing themselves as part of the WWE, they are only allowed to use their stage names.
For example, The Undertaker's real name is Mark William Calaway. He's pictured here in street clothes. Anytime he goes out to a public event he's referred to as his fake name. Having WWE wrestlers use their stage names is just another way for them to always be branding themselves.
Photoshoots Can't Be Too Revealing
In recent years, Vince McMahon has strived to make WWE more family-friendly. Even though wrestling isn't the most wholesome activity, the theatrics of it all can almost guarantee that it won't be traumatizing for younger viewers. In order to keep up this image, WWE doesn't allow female wrestlers to pose in risque photoshoots.
The divas were known for these types of photoshoots, but now that WWE has moved toward a PG-rating system it isn't allowed anymore. Although they have this new rating system, the costumes for the divas are still pretty revealing.
Referees Have All The Control
During a WWE match, there's only one person in the ring who is in complete control of what will happen. Not only does the referee check to see if the wrestlers are abiding by the rules of the ring, but they have the authority to do some important things during the competition.
They can pause or completely stop a tournament whenever they see fit, such as if a wrestler will possibly become injured.
High Heels Aren't Permitted In Carmel-By-The-Sea, California
It's almost expected to see a WWE diva wearing high heels in the ring, but they can't do that everywhere. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California has a strict no high heels policy for anyone, so people who want to wear them have to acquire a special permit.
The city made this rule in order to prevent lawsuits from people having accidents on the irregular pavement. Even though the divas can't bring their high heels to Carmel-by-the-Sea, they are expected to bring them everywhere else, because high heels are part of their strict dress code.
Employees Can't Date
The dating rules for members of WWE is a bit complicated. Part-time employees such as wrestlers are allowed to date one another. Full-time employees such as production staff are forbidden from dating any of the part-time employees. This means that broadcasters, wrestlers, writers, executives, and so on can only date employees within their department.
This rule exists in order to keep things fair to make sure people with more power in the company aren't playing favorites with those below them. WWE went as far as to say that they "don't want the talent to interact beyond the professional level with the office or production staffers."
WWE Stars Must Stay For The Entire Show
WWE wrestlers can't arrive just a few moments away from their match and leave when it's over. All participating wrestlers must arrive several hours before the tournament begins. Then, they all must stay until the entire show is over.
This is done because there can sometimes be last-minute changes that can make or break the entire competition. The wrestlers need to be around at all times to make sure they're aware of what's going on during the event. Sticking around can also give the underappreciated wrestlers more screen time if they're lucky.
Wage Is Dependent Upon Experience
Most professional sports organizations pay their athletes based on their talents and skills, such as MLB newcomer Manny Machado getting $10 million for the next decade to play on the San Diego Padres. This is not how wages work for WWE.
All wrestlers get paid dependent upon their years of experience in the industry. Even if a new member is winning all of their matches, they won't make as much as someone who's been part of the organization for many years. WWE values those who stay with the company, even if they have lost some of their natural abilities.
No Baby Blue Shorts In North Carolina On Wednesdays
WWE usually has logical reasoning behind their many rules, but there are a few that really don't make sense. One of those rules is the banning of baby blue shorts or trunks on Wednesdays in North Carolina. Nobody knows for sure why this rule exists.
Some think it may have something to do with North Carolina local and WWE superstar Ric Flair who was known for his baby blue outfits. It may also have something to do with the baby blue color used for the University of North Carolina Tarheels (pictured here).
All Matches Stop If A Wrestler Gets Cut
Ensuring the safety of the wrestlers is something WWE takes very seriously. Since wrestling isn't always the safest, there are times when wrestlers will get scrapes, cuts, and other injuries while in the ring. It used to be a rule that if the cut was above the eye that couldn't be closed, the match would stop.
Now, if there's any sign of serious wounds the referee has the power to stop the match altogether to make sure there won't be any further injuries. If the wound can quickly be fixed up, the match will continue at a later point in the event if there's time.
The Tag Rope Has To Be Measured In Dallas, Texas
Those who aren't familiar with the tag rope in WWE wrestling should know that it's a smaller rope tied to the top turnbuckle. Wrestlers must hold onto the tag rope when they are waiting to get tagged by their partner. This is done to prevent the wrestlers from double-teaming their opponent.
The tag rope usually isn't given too much thought, except in Dallas, Texas. Before any sort of televised WWE show or live event, an independent inspector comes to measure the length of the tag rope. It must measure 18 inches diagonally and be certified twice a year.
Heels And Babyfaces Can't Be Seen Together Outside The Ring
Those who are unfamiliar with the wrestling terms "heels" and "babyfaces" should know that it is referring to the types of opponents in a match. A heel is often thought of to be an evil villain-type wrestler, whereas a babyface is considered to be the hero or good-spirited opponent.
One huge rule that WWE places on the designated babyfaces and heels is that they are not allowed to travel together. Even when a babyface becomes a heel or vice versa they are still not permitted to be seen with a wrestler of the opposite category.