WWE may be the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, but it isn’t the only one. Back in the 1990s the biggest competition that WWE had was WCW and while this led to both companies creating some of their best storylines because they were directly competing against each other, it also saw a number of wrestlers betray WWE because they thought that WCW would offer them so much more.
Of course, the grass wasn’t any greener on the other side and they soon found out the hard way that WWE was still the top dog. It wasn’t just WCW that WWE saw as competition, in the early 2000s TNA was finding its feet and after a number of stars made their way over their and began performing much better than they had been allowed to in WWE, the company began seeing them as a threat too.
Many WWE superstars have decided to betray WWE and either walk away from the company altogether, betraying the faith the company had in them and sharing all of their confidential secrets, or they have decided to join another company without telling WWE because they thought that they would be better off.
15. Robbie Highlander
The Highlanders were a forgettable tag team that was part of WWE a few years ago and consisted of cousins Robbie and Rory McAllister. While the duo were only used as talent enhancers throughout their career, Robbie became unhappy with his position in the company and decided to do something about it.
Back in March 2008, Robbie was seen in the audience at a live TNA event, under his real name to avoid a WWE lawsuit, and was then called by a WWE official and ordered to leave the arena immediately, which he did. Robbie was later fined his entire paycheque from WrestleMania the following month before he along with his cousin Robbie were released from their contracts with the company a few months later. Robbie later revealed that he did this as a way to get fired because he wanted to leave the company.
14. Jimmy Jacobs
The WWE Universe was shocked by the announcement that WWE creative writer and former independent wrestler Jimmy Jacobs had been fired from the company last week. Jacobs had been part of a number of popular storylines on WWE TV over the years, but taking one photo with his friends cost him his job.
When The Bullet Club decided to invade Monday Night Raw a few weeks ago, the company didn’t take this as the joke it was meant to be and sent out lawsuits against the members of the group to stop them using the “too sweet” symbol anymore. Jacobs was caught in this wrath when he uploaded a photo of himself with his former independent wrestling friends and was fired for obviously giving the invasion more attention than it deserves. WWE was most annoyed about the fact that he posted the image on Instagram and hashtagged the invasion.
13. Lex Luger
Lex Luger wasn’t considered to be one of the biggest stars in WWE in the 1990s, which was perhaps one of the reasons why he thought that a switch over to WCW would benefit him. Incredibly, Luger’s betrayal is something that still feels fresh to many fans of WWE because of the way he managed to play both sides.
Despite appearing on WWE just 24 hours before WCW went on the air, Luger emerged as part of their rivals show and shocked not only the fans but the executives in WWE as well. The company thought that Luger was still under contract with them when in fact he wasn’t, he had instead opted to sign for WCW. This was the realization that WWE needed when they finally realized that they needed to start taking WCW’s threat seriously.
12. Josh Mathews
Josh Mathews is a former announcer that worked for WWE on its pay-per-view kick off shows and sometimes on Raw up until he was released from the company back in 2014. While the official reason given to the public for the release of Mathews was that it was down to budget cuts, WWE could have had a much sneakier reason.
Mathews was backstage at Impact Wrestling merely days after he was released from his contract and he could have been in talks with the company for a while about switching over. If WWE had found out that Mathews was hoping to quit the company and go to work for one of their rivals, then they would have had more than enough motive to fire him.
When it comes to betrayal, Ryback pretty much wrote the book. The Big Guy was unhappy with his position in the company back in 2016, so he decided following the Payback pay-per-view last year that he was done with WWE and posted all of his problems with the company in a lengthy post online.
Ryback’s main issue was the fact that WWE’s pay scale wasn’t even when it came to main event superstars. Ryback thought that the loser should be paid the same amount as the winner but WWE didn’t see it that way. Ryback has since been sharing all of WWE’s other secrets on his weekly podcast “Conversation with the Big Guy” but he has reached the point where none of the WWE Universe believes his claims anymore.
Madusa was known as Alundra Blayze for a number of years throughout her time in WWE before she became public enemy number one when she decided to betray WWE and move over to WCW. Not only did Alundra Blayze decide to move over to WCW, but she was quite underhanded about it and was able to take the Women’s Championship with her. Alundra was still contracted to WWE when she moved over to WCW but was obviously fired for her actions when she was seen dropping the Women’s Championship in the trash on an episode of WCW. Alundra then became Madusa and was blacklisted by WWE for more than 20 years until she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year. WWE held a grudge for a long time.
9. CM Punk
CM Punk made headlines around the world when he decided to walk away from the company following The Royal Rumble back in 2014. Punk was one of the biggest stars that WWE had at the time, but the fact that he was working while burnt out and had just been told that once again he had been overlooked when it came to the WrestleMania main event was too much for him.
Punk left the company in January 2014 and was then fired by WWE for breach of contract a few months later in June. Punk later decided to try his luck at MMA, something that didn’t really go as well as he expected, but almost four years after he walked away from WWE, Punk refuses to make a return to the company where he first found fame.
8. The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior is now a WWE Hall of Famer and his legacy continues to grow as his wife Dana Warrior continues to promote the spirit of Warrior. Even though he is now seen as a legend by the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, it hasn’t always been this way.
Warrior left WWE back in 1991 and 1992 before WWE Chairman Vince McMahon managed to convince him to return to the company four years later. Many of the WWE Universe forget that the multicoloured star once worked for WCW. The relationship between Warrior and Vince was quite a fragile one and Warrior tried to hold the company to ransom and get as much money as possible but when WWE said no, he jumped ship to WCW.
7. Randy Savage
While Savage’s reasons for deciding to leave WWE and sign for WCW are ones that could be seen as understandable, he was still one of the first men to leave the company and help WCW, which kick-started the brand in a major way back in 1994. Savage was coming to the end of his career and with McMahon’s focus now firmly on the stars who would later become the future of the business. This meant that Savage was pushed into a commentator role that he didn’t ask for and never really wanted. Savage still thought he had a lot to give in the ring and he thought that WCW would give him the chances that WWE wasn’t prepared to, so he made the decision to do what was best for him and walked away.
6. Scott Hall
Scott Hall was without a doubt one of the biggest stars of the 1990s in WWE as he brought Razor Ramon to life, but he was another star who had his head turned by WCW and is widely considered to be the man that kick-started the wars when he arrived on WCW TV.
Hall arrived on WCW TV in what seemed to be an invasion from WWE, but it wasn’t that way. Instead, WCW had offered Hall a lucrative contract that gave him more money and opportunities to perform and he opted to jump ship to Eric Bischoff as well. Hall was a star that WWE made, so his betrayal must have stung so much more than any of the others, but luckily this is another one that WWE has been able to forgive in recent years.
5. Sgt Slaughter
Sgt Slaughter was one of the faces of WWE back in 1984 so it was quite obvious that at some point there would be companies who could come knocking and asking for Slaughter to be part of their brand. Hasbro Toys approached Slaughter later that year about the superstar becoming a spokesman for their new line of toys and their new cartoon. The company were offering him his own figure and character for the show as well. McMahon got wind of the offer and wasn’t happy since he was supposed to manage all of his projects outside of WWE. Vince gave him an ultimatum when it came to his career or the deal, incredibly Slaughter chose this deal and walked out of the company. Slaughter wouldn’t return to WWE for more than six years after this disagreement.
4. Rick Rude
‘The Montreal Screwjob’ didn’t just manage to make Bret Hart an enemy of WWE, but it also made Rick Rude question whether or not he wanted to remain with a company that obviously had no principles. The Ravishing Star was on a handshake deal with WWE so he was free to leave the company if he wanted to and so he played messenger boy for Eric Bishoff for a number of months before he switched over to WCW. Rude did this in such a way that he would never be allowed back to WWE as he appeared in a pre-taped episode of Raw, before then heading to WCW and showing the world that Raw was pre-taped. He then cut a promo on his former employees stating that WWE was “a sinking ship.”
3. Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash has returned to WWE TV a number of times over the past few years and despite his issues outside of WWE, it seems that he has finally got his life back on track with the help of the company and was even inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2015.
Nash was one of the men who betrayed Vince McMahon and WWE during the Monday Night Wars and he himself stated that he made the decision when WWE was unable to come up with the amount of money he wanted at the time to make him stay, so he jumped ship to WCW. Of course, Nash later came crawling back when WCW was the loser in the wars, so WWE really did get the last laugh here.
2. Steve Austin
Steve Austin has always had something of an ego, and this became WWE’s biggest problem back in 2002 when “The Texas Rattlesnake” refused to lose clean to Brock Lesnar as part of a King of the Ring qualifying tournament, telling Vince McMahon if that was the plan then he was going home.
He can’t say he didn’t warn WWE, so when he got on a plane to Texas and never showed up for Raw it shouldn’t have come as that much of a shock to the company. Austin didn’t return to WWE TV until the following year and then retired following WrestleMania. The company had a serious problem with Austin and the control he thought he had, but they never really did anything about it.
1. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar has always been seen as quite an outspoken character, so when he didn’t agree with the creative direction of his character after he dropped the WWE title to Eddie Guerrero it seemed that the writing was on the wall.
Lesnar announced in a talent meeting ahead of WrestleMania 20 that he was leaving as soon as his match with Goldberg was out of the way. Lesnar stayed true to his word and walked out of WWE after his match despite recently signing a long-term deal with the company. The former WWE Champion went on to unsuccessfully try out for the Minnesota Vikings football team before entering a legal battle with Vince McMahon over his no-compete clause, which he signed so that he could officially be released and begin his career in MMA.
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