The WWE mistreats wrestlers and uses their real-life drama for ratings
Blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s fake with the corporation’s most popular love triangle.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a money-hungry corporation that commits unethical practices and covers them up. They have mistreated their employees, exploiting them for financial gain, and unethically blurred lines between on-screen and off-screen couples. WWE has committed some questionable business practices over the last few decades that have benefited their corporation and company image, which has resulted in their wrestlers paying for their actions. 

An unethical practice that WWE has committed multiple times that negatively impacts wrestlers’ lives is using their real-life relationship problems for ratings and views. WWE is scripted and planned—like a soap opera, but it involves men hitting each other with steel chairs. The majority of the storylines are fictional, but in the 2000s, during their Ruthless Aggression Era, they decided to use real-life drama from the lives of wrestlers, Matt Hardy, Lita (Amy Dumas), and Edge (Adam Copeland). 

In real life, Hardy started dating Lita in 1999 and the pair remained an off-screen couple until 2005, when they started to have some relationship problems. During this time, Hardy was best friends with Edge because they had many TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) matches. Soon, Hardy became injured and had to take a leave from the WWE, while Lita continued to tour with Edge, and later, began having an affair with the “Rated-R Superstar,” who was also married at the time. This went on for a while before Hardy found out his off-screen girlfriend was cheating with his best friend. He then took out his frustration by exposing their love affair on the Internet, which resulted in the WWE firing him for unprofessional conduct on social media. 

Soon after, the WWE saw this as an opportunity to put the wrestlers’ personal lives into an on-screen love triangle. The corporation has been using the love triangle trope for decades since the ’80s (Chris Jericho/Christian/Trish Stratus, Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage/Miss Elizabeth, CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/AJ Lee), but this time, it was based off a real-life messy relationship. Instead of addressing the problems that had arisen with their employees, the WWE decided to create entertaining matches at their expense, blurring the lines between fiction and reality for profit. Feeding off their pain, the corporation forced Hardy to work professionally with his ex-girlfriend and ex-best friend who were now an on-screen and off-screen couple. They were all uncomfortable working together because their professional and personal lives had become one big storyline broadcasted for the whole world to see. While speaking on The Kurt Angle Show, Edge admitted that he didn’t enjoy anything about the feud

While Hardy benefited from the WWE in the long run because of his matches with Edge, which were some of the best matches in his wrestling career, Lita didn’t benefit since the corporation mistreated her. It impacted her self-image and career because she was seen as just a “cheater” or “Edge’s girlfriend” and not as a real competitor by fans. She left the WWE in 2006 after this storyline because she hated it so much. The WWE impacted her to the point where she no longer wanted to work, and her mental health worsened. On the other hand, Edge got the most out of this storyline, becoming one of the most popular WWE superstars. He started to get other storylines and won many titles. Edge, the Rated-R Superstar has become one of the greatest heels in WWE history.

Hardy, Lita, and Edge’s storyline shows how the WWE is a corporation that only cares about its ratings. It doesn’t care if its employees are uncomfortable with or personally impacted by the manufactured storylines. When I was a kid watching this love triangle storyline, I thought it was real, but then as I got older, I found out the WWE is scripted. What I didn’t find out is that this segment was based on real events. It shocked me that the WWE was willing to use its employees unethically for monetary value and views. It shocks me that, even nearly two decades later, the corporation still does this. They used wrestler’s personal lives and mistreated them for television views, milking every second of it.

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Karissa is a fourth-year student pursuing a Specialist in the Digital Enterprise Management program. When she's not studying marketing, you can catch her at the gym doing yoga or hanging out with her friends playing poker. Karissa loves writing about movies, music, and anything that she's passionate about. She can talk about horror movies and heavy metal music all day! She also enjoys baking, reading, and fashion.


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