To main event WrestleMania is the dream of anybody who has ever stepped between the ropes of a wrestling ring. Every indie wrestler who travelled across the country to perform for free. Every NFL player who injured their knee and couldn’t play football anymore. Every stupid kid who jumped off a ladder in their backyard. They have all sought to get to WWE, and for good reason. WWE is the premier professional wrestling company in the world and has been for over half a century. It’s only natural that those who love wrestling would want to ply their trade in Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment mega-circus.
However, many professional wrestlers make it to WWE only to realize that the journey was more enjoyable than the destination. They find that they are not allowed to work as they did in the indies or that the constant traveling makes the experience far more draining than exhilarating.
There is a lot more to working for WWE than just lacing up your boots and stepping into the ring for twenty minutes a night, something which has resulted in hundreds of WWE superstars leaving the company to work elsewhere. Some wrestlers have left WWE for smaller companies which offer a high salary with a much less hectic schedule, allowing them to continue earning a living in the business. For others, their experience in WWE proved to be so negative that it turned them off professional wrestling altogether and sent them into an entirely different industry. But just who went where?
Here are 15 professional wrestlers who left WWE to work elsewhere.
15. Shawn Stasiak
The son of a former WWE World Champion, Shawn Stasiak was born and bred to be in the wrestling business, but he failed to make any real impact in the few years he spent in the mat wars.
Stasiak’s initial WWE run came to an end after he recorded a conversation between two of his co-workers without their consent. Hethen spent some time in WCW before being brought back to WWE in 2001. Stasiak’s return saw him stuck with a series of ridiculous gimmicks and when it became clear he was not bound for the same success as his father, he requested his release from the company.
After leaving WWE in 2002, Stasiak retired from the wrestling business and retrained as a chiropractor. He currently works with the Texas based Advanced Comprehensive Medical team and makes occasional appearances as a public speaker.