Alex Riley's Incident with John Cena and WWE's Backstage Commandments
Alex Riley resurfaced in the headlines for an undisclosed incident with John Cena after reportedly being ribbed by Cena in front of his peers.
What was described as an unpleasant reaction by Riley was considered a breach in the WWE's seemingly endless, petty and self-destructive invisible book of unwritten rules as it appears yet another promising career will now be put on hold.
Given the amount of young talent who have suddenly found themselves in the WWE's doghouse due to breaking the unspoken code amongst pro wrestlers, there have been enough incidents to compile at least a partial list of what have long since been unwritten rules when it comes to backstage etiquette in the WWE.
Thou Shalt Not Spill Chicken on the Bag of a Referee
This may seem a bit silly, but it's exactly what landed The Miz in the WWE doghouse during his early years with the company.
Looking to break the former reality star while testing his commitment to the WWE, the superstars cast The Miz out of the locker room from several months after The Miz ate chicken over a referees bag, unforgivably leaving a trail of crumbs while enjoying the delicious treat.
Thou Shalt Shake Hands with Everybody
Shaking hands backstage is one of the most time-honored traditions in the WWE. The irony of the handshake tradition should not be lost on anybody who follows pro wrestling closely as it is common knowledge that Vince McMahon thrives on a competitive, cutthroat environment.
Yet, shaking hands is mandatory, as shown in Randy Orton's Evolution of a Predator DVD that allowed unique backstage access for fans who purchased the DVD.
The Young Bucks received immense heat from veterans in the WWE locker room as they reportedly snubbed Booker T of a handshake, agitating the future hall of famer.
Thou Shalt Respect Elders
Respect for WWE legends is imperative as John Morrison learned the hard way. Morrison was infamously cold in his dealings with legendary WWE Diva Trish Stratus, and the consequences were damning.
Morrison would go on to suffer a losing streak as well a de-emphasis of his character. Despite superior athleticism that earned comparisons to Shawn Michaels, Morrison's career was compromised by his unprofessional behavior towards Stratus.
He would eventually (kayfabe) leave the WWE on a stretcher.
Thou Shalt Not Get Too Big for One's Britches
The WWE's detrimental hot-cold booking is usually a result of backstage rumblings that a superstar in question got a big head while on the fast-track to success.
Sheamus and Jack Swagger are two recent victims of being buried beneath the WWE hierarchy, with Swagger still mired in irrelevance following a brief world championship run in 2010.
Wrestling is an industry where egos are a must with so many colorful personalities and alpha males trying to join a limited field of top-tier stars. Yet, too much bravado could prove to be one's death knell.
Thou Shalt Not Get Two over on Their Own Accord
There are many cases where fan reaction has pressured the WWE to make the decision to push a superstar that they had not previously planned to push.
Yet, more times than not, the WWE will win out if a star becomes a bit too popular without input from the machine.
The most obvious example of this trend is Zack Ryder, a glorified jobber whose self-made internet show on YouTube built such a cult following that he was eventually elevated into the upper midcard.
Yet as his upstart popularity increased on the internet, resistance from the WWE did as well. Ryder now flounders in the lower midcard where he's now a glorified jobber.