When someone drops what they are doing to leave WWE it always creates a stir, which got us thinking of the times this has happened in the past.
So, let’s take a look at some of the times where top stars have had enough of the WWE.
Sasha Banks and Naomi
First of all let’s unpack the most recent exit. The original plan on the May 16 Raw episode was to have a six-pack challenge match featuring Sasha Banks, Naomi, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Nikki A.S.H. and Doudrop with the winner getting a Raw Women’s Championship match.
However, the plan was changed to Becky Lynch vs Asuka for the number one contender spot after a weird segment between Lynch and Adam Pearce. Here, the Irish star claimed that she saw Banks and Naomi ‘take their bags and leave’ before the match was changed.
This turned out to be true, in fact, WWE have released a statement on the matter and there are conflicting reports over the reason for the sudden exit. It remains unclear what will happen with the pair going forward, but the news has overwhelmed the wrestling community.
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg
This is one of the most famous incidents of walkouts in history. Brock Lesnar had one of the greatest first few years in WWE ever. He had won the Royal Rumble, the King of the Ring and twice held the WWE Championship. Though, the schedule of a top WWE star was getting to him.
The constant travel and demands from his boss led Lesnar to be at the end of his tether. He dropped his second WWE Championship to Eddie Guerrero as Vince McMahon strongly put over the idea of facing Goldberg at WrestleMania XX as an attraction so big it didn’t need the title.
Lesnar had a tense meeting with Vince and gave his notice regarding his intention to depart after seeing out the ‘Mania match. Not only that, Goldberg himself had made it clear to WWE that he wouldn’t be renewing his contract. This leaked onto the internet and most of the crowd attending WrestleMania knew that both competitors were leaving after the match. This created a hostile reaction from the fans in one of the most bizarre singles matches to happen at WrestleMania.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Arguably the biggest star in wrestling, Stone Cold Steve Austin grew frustrated. He, of course, expects the highest quality treatment and scripts for his iconic character. After being unhappy with the build up to his match at WrestleMania X-8, the Texas Rattlesnake didn’t show up for the Raw and the week of live events following the show.
Although he returned and continued life as normal, it wasn’t long before Steve Austin went public with his frustrations. On the ‘Byte This’ podcast, he was asked about his current mindset and how things were going in the WWE. Steve admitted that he didn’t like the direction his character was going and even questioned the direction that company was going in general. This prompted a response from Vince McMahon himself who stated that the situation was a combination of factors, including Austin’s temperament as well as needing better creative.
The straw that broke that camel’s back was a scheduled match with Brock Lesnar. It was a King of the Ring qualifier which Lesnar was supposed to win. Steve Austin refused to do the honours for The Beast Incarnate, despite the likelihood that the finish would not have been clean, and walked out of the company on that night.
He came in as the unpredictable brawler of The Shield. Ambrose was charismatic and committed to his role in one of WWE’s greatest factions of all time. Along with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, Ambrose remains evidence of WWE building up new stars. They never let The Shield feel old either, as coming off two legendary clashes with Evolution, they pulled the trigger on the split with the group still at the height of its popularity. Rollins split the group and mainly focused on feuding with Ambrose in a long-lasting rivalry.
On his own, Ambrose was a special talent who knew how to put on captivating performances. However, it felt as if Ambrose was never given the attention that his other Shield brothers did after the split. He constantly presented new ideas to creative only to be shot down and, as crazy as it sounds, got lost in the shuffle on WWE’s main roster.
In the October of 2018, WWE shockingly released a statement acknowledging the Lunatic Fringe’s intention to leave the company once his contract expired that April. They even gave him a hero’s send off with multiple shows based around saying goodbye to The Shield. In May 2019, Ambrose made the switch to All Elite Wrestling and debuted by attacking Kenny Omega in the main event of Double Or Nothing.
Punk is one of the most outspoken about his time in WWE and desire to leave. He was feeling burnt out and this was partly to do with creative decisions. Punk is vocal against the structure in place in WWE, particularly surrounding part timers. He references this in his infamous pipe bomb promo where he complains that “Dwayne” was planned to be in the main event of WrestleMania even a year out and Punk has since pointed out that that people like The Rock wouldn’t be there the next day when he and many others would be.
Instead of main eventing any WrestleManias, Punk took on The Undertaker. Obviously this is nothing to be sniffed at, but Punk had recently asked for time off. He was constantly stressing the need for a break but the company continued to delay this time through the entire year of 2013. Punk grew continuously tired and at the 2014 Royal Rumble he had to start the match at number one. Upon elimination after making it to the final four, Punk decided that he’d had enough and left the company.
This bad experience left such an impact on Punk that he took seven years away from the squared circle and on many occasions even stated he would never return. He was scarred by the pressures of WWE and felt blindsided by receiving his release from the company on his wedding day. He continued to talk down the company and explored different options, including a failed UFC run, but Punk eventually found his love for wrestling again in AEW, an entire seven years after his dramatic WWE departure.
So there are some of the biggest walkouts in WWE history, but there are still more!
What about Cody Rhodes, who also jumped ship and then helped form AEW? What about Randy Savage, who wanted to prove himself outside of WWE? Or Hulk Hogan, who had a major falling out with Vince and ended up at WCW?
We also can’t leave out Scott Hall & Kevin Nash, who verbally agreed to stay with WWE, only to then jump ship and join WCW! Worth remembering that Hall informed Vince of his decision via fax and they then produced the infamous ‘Curtain Call’ alongside a certain Triple H.