Former WWE Writer Recalls Hazing Culture Amongst Wrestlers, Road Agents

On the latest installment of the Bauer and Pollock podcast on MLW Radio, the hosts discussed a variety of topics, including some of the more unfortunate developments in the careers of Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Snuka, and Zahra Schrieber. They also kicked around some lighthearted ideas regarding how WWE NXT can be developed and improved, which led to a discussion regarding former WWE wrestler Brian Mailhot, who performed for the company under the name Palmer Canon.

Court Bauer, a former writer for WWE, noted that Canon had a promising future in WWE when he started with the company in 2005 but added that the wrestler was under considerable pressure from his coworkers once he hit the road.

“Going on tour, some things went awry in a bar with some agents and stuff and he got hazed and just said, ‘Screw this, I’m out.’ … It’s interesting. If that had happened today, it would have probably been a big issue, a big story. You know, with [WWE’s] whole anti-bullying campaign. But back then it was a different time and it was a regular occurrence, especially on the SmackDown side.”

Despite his strong background in the independent wrestling scene and work in WWE’s Deep South developmental program, Canon performed only as an on-air “authority figure” during his stint with WWE. Bauer recalled that the wrestler was supposed to transition to in-ring work but left before things could fully develop.

Bauer specifically cited the behavior of “agents” in the harassment of Canon, but the conduct was apparently not limited to administrative staff. At the time of Canon’s departure in 2006, WrestleZone reported that the wrestler left WWE due to hazing by “several SmackDown” veterans. The situation apparently came to a head when Canon almost engaged in a physical confrontation with John Bradshaw Layfield. Additional reports cited the involvement of Chris Benoit in the hazing of Palmer Canon. The rookie was not the only wrestler to fall victim to pranks and bullying from the likes of JBL and Benoit, though. There have been numerous accounts of JBL hazing WWE talent including The Miz and Joey Styles. With regard to Chris Benoit, the book Ring of Hell chronicles a number of reported incidents of ritualistic hazing by the late wrestler.

“Guys were getting tortured,” Bauer said of the environment in WWE during his time with the company. “It was really kind of ridiculous. I’d never seen it in my life in wrestling other than WWE where you had this kind of — it was like Kevin Bacon’s weird-a** frat in Animal House. It was just weird, peculiar activity going on the hazing end that I didn’t quite understand.”

After leaving WWE in 2006, Canon competed in amateur MMA and also worked for some independent wrestling companies. In 2010, he won the heavyweight title for Maine-based All-Out Mayhem Wrestling.

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