For the longest time the only way for a professional wrestler to make very good money was to join WWE’s ranks. It was unheard of for wrestlers on the independent circuit to be making a good living off their wages, and they would normally supplement with side jobs to pay their mortgages and feed their families. However, recent years have changed this fact and more wrestlers are joining the ranks of the independent and making good livings.
There has been lots said over the years about why wrestlers have left WWE. Whether the reason was due to creative differences, money battles or something much deeper, wrestlers have their reasons for walking away from WWE. While WWE has worked hard to mend many fences with previous talent over time, these wrestlers have no interest in ever returning to the biggest wrestling company today. Here are 20 Wrestlers Who Never Want To Return To WWE:
20 CM Punk
As the most infamous walk-out in WWE has put it himself, he is never going back to WWE. Since walking out on his WWE contract in 2014, CM Punk has never looked back. Each time that a potential return to WWE is brought up, he quickly rebuffs the comments as nothing more than rumors.
CM Punk has a bad taste for WWE in his mouth, and it will prevent him from wrestling in their ring ever again.
19 Kenny Omega
Kenny Omega said “good night, and good luck” to his time in WWE many years ago. Unlike the current state of the roster today, not every former independent wrestler was guaranteed a shot on WWE television. During Omega’s stint in FCW in the mid-2000s, he was relegated to developmental hell, which shook his love for pro wrestling.
Omega has very few positive things to say about his time in the WWE system, and has even called it creatively stifling.
18 Cody Rhodes
When Cody Rhodes asked to be released from his WWE contract in 2016, most wrestling fans thought he was crazy. For him to walk away from guaranteed money to an uncertain career on the independents was deemed insane. Now in 2019, he surely proved everyone wrong.
Rhodes has been able to turn his random independent dates to being one of the most sought-after talents on the circuit.
17 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger was never able to reach the top of the mountain during his time in WWE. Even his brushes with main event status were short and uneventful. So, when he walked away without resigning his contract, not many wrestling fans took notice. However, he has been vocal since leaving the company about his true feelings.
Swagger is now pursuing a career in MMA – and has been fairly successful thus far – and seems much happier since leaving WWE.
16 Colt Cabana
Mr. Boom-Boom himself has had more than his fair share of run-ins with WWE that he is now trying to steer clear from them as much as possible. Following a very short stint on television with the company which left a bad taste in his mouth, he has not worked for them since. However, his other interactions with them have been less than pleasant.
Since being released from WWE in 2016, Ryback has been one of the most vocal wrestlers about his displeasure for WWE. From podcasts to tweets, his disdain for WWE creative and Vince McMahon has been heard by anyone who will listen.
Ryback’s vocal discontentment has made him very bitter, but also not very well-booked on the independent scene.
Despite having a history in WWE as the “first WWE Diva”, Sunny’s relationship with the company has deteriorated into a very poor one. Her personal demons have assured that she will never return to WWE as they have tried to distance themselves from her.
Her much publicized personal life – including selling her WWE Hall of Fame ring on eBay – has ruined her legacy to the point where WWE does not acknowledge her anymore.
13 Luke Harper
Despite still being under contract with WWE currently, Luke Harper has made it very clear that he is looking to get out from the company. While it looks like his request has been denied, it has assured that he will never be looking to return once he gets out.
Citing a lack of creative freedom under WWE, Harper is looking to return to the independent circuit to rekindle his love for professional wrestling.
12 Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette has become the bitter old man that yells at birds in the park – he screams about how much he hates the state of WWE’s product, but no one is really listening. Since he joined Twitter, he has used his social media platform to berate everything about modern professional wrestling, including everything Vince McMahon produces.
Despite being one of the greatest creative minds in professional wrestling, WWE did not have a single clue of what to do with Raven during his tenure with the company. After an incredible run in ECW as one of the top heels, WWE turned him into just another face of the Hardcore Championship division.
Raven has maintained that his creativity could have made him a big star in WWE, but he was never given the time of day.
Like so many other legends of ECW, all Sabu will ever say about WWE is that they were not a pleasure to work for. In fact, he has even gone as far as to ask fans to forget about his small stint with the company.
In the case of Sabu, he has vowed never to return to WWE because he did not enjoy his time there in the slightest.
9 Gail Kim
Prior to their branding of the “Women’s Revolution”, WWE was notorious for mistreating their female wrestlers. Whether it was not providing them with enough airtime or placing them in degrading storylines, WWE was not a pleasant place for female athletes for many years.
The most vocal about this fact is former Women’s Champion Gail Kim, who has berated WWE over the years for how they handled her career.
8 Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas does not have many nice things to say about a lot of people in professional wrestling. After experiencing many ups-and-downs in his career, he has been quick to blame many people who have done him wrong. Near the top of that list is Vince McMahon.
7 Scott Steiner
Some wrestlers who have shined bright in other companies were just not able to make it in WWE. Despite being a former World Champion with WCW, Scott Steiner’s return in 2002 was one of the most laughable WWE runs of all time.
His short two years with the company were full of bad matches and absurd botches that it was clear he wouldn’t last.
6 Chris Nowinski
Christopher Nowinski’s in-ring career is nothing to call home about. His short run on the lower card was like many other wrestlers in the early 2000s, except that he suffered post-concussion syndrome due to his time with the company. His own injury sparked world-wide research into concussions and helped change the way everyone looks at sports injuries.
Nowinski’s accusations and research into how WWE treats injuries have all but assured that he would never do business with the company again.
5 Rene Dupree
Many wrestlers of the years have been vocal about the backstage politics and bullying that have taken place in WWE. It has also served to drive away talent from working with the company every again. When Rene Dupree joined WWE, he was very young and inexperienced. Other wrestlers on the roster took this as a weakness to exploit, and he was bullied backstage throughout his career.
Now making a great living wrestling in Japan, Dupree has been very vocal about what he experienced in WWE, and how it will keep him from ever trusting the company again.
4 AJ Lee
AJ Lee is proof that professional wrestling fans do not deserve nice things. Her time in WWE will always be fondly remembered for being much different than anyone else on the roster. With a spirit and love for wrestling that was unmatched, she skipped her way into the hearts of everyone.
However, the legal troubles surrounding her husband CM Punk and WWE played a part in her early retirement from wrestling. Since then, AJ has not been vocal about her displeasure with WWE but has chosen to sit silently and distance herself from the company.
As one of WWE’s most recent walkouts, Neville made his feelings about WWE loud and clear. After reportedly being booked to lose his WWE Cruiserweight Championship to Enzo Amore, Neville’s frustration hit a boiling point and he left WWE on his own accord.
While still under contract, he chose to sit at home instead of wrestling elsewhere just to get away from the company.
2 Paul London
As many former Cruiserweight division wrestlers from WWE will say about their time in the 2000s, they felt incredibly misused. While some were able to continue a career with WWE, Paul London chose to continue his success elsewhere.
Despite having a solid run as a Tag Team wrestler, London does not have many nice things to say about his time in WWE.
1 Juice Robinson
Juice Robinson is another wrestler who spent time in WWE’s developmental system who walked out with disdain for the company. His experiences ensure that he would “never ever return to WWE”, and he is much happier on the independent circuit.
With so much success found in New Japan, Robinson has made a name for himself outside of WWE. Rather than join a company which made him unhappy previously, he has chosen to stick out his career outside of WWE’s walls.