Wrestling for WWE at its lowest form is just like any other job. If a Superstar is unhappy then they will threaten to quit and more often than not, they do actually leave the company.
Many stars over the past few years have made the decision to quit wrestling for WWE. Maybe because they disagree with the things that the company represents or the way the company was treating their character on WWE TV at that point.
There are many reasons why a WWE Superstar can decide to call it quits on their career. One of the main ones is usually the fact that they spend so much time away from their family and they later make the decision to leave so that they can see their family more than a few times a year.
While there are a number of stars who have quit over the past few years, there are also a number of stars who have teased that they were going to leave the company long before they ever did. These stars were testing the water to see what would happen if they quit, and then made the decision not to.
The following list looks at both the stars who have quit/retired and the stars who have teased that they were going to quit over the past few years.
15 Rumored: John Cena
John Cena has been part of much bigger projects outside of WWE for a long time now. Many of the WWE Universe are convinced that the 16-time World Champion is only sticking around because he is hoping to make history by becoming a 17-time Champion before walking away.
Cena has nothing left to prove in a WWE ring and is now being given opportunities to appear in some of Hollywood's biggest films, which means that he has been taking a number of hiatus' from WWE in recent months. Cena isn't going to hang around much longer. He is aware that there are stars who want to step into his shoes and there are things for him to do outside of wrestling moving forward. So these rumors might actually become a reality in the coming months.
14 Left Company: Edge
Edge is a former 11-time World Champion in WWE. He was The Rated R Superstar and is still considered to be one of the best wrestlers of the last generation. Sadly Edge's career was cut short and he was forced to walk away from the company while he was still World Champion.
Edge was forced to retire the week after WrestleMania XXVII when the WWE Universe was made aware that doctors refused to clear age to compete since he was diagnosed with Cervical Spinal Stenosis which meant that Edge could be paralyzed from the neck down if he took a bad bump in a WWE ring again. Edge was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012 which seemed to be the official end to his career in WWE.
13 Rumored: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is a legend in wrestling circles. He has been part of WWE now for almost two decades and has also managed to maintain a successful career as the lead singer of Fozzy at the same time.
Jericho has quite the pedigree as a wrestler as well and is now a veteran that doesn't actually mind the fact that he is now being used to put over some of the newer stars coming through the business. Jericho has left and returned to WWE so many times over the past few years, because of his commitments outside of the company, that many rumors have suggested that one day Jericho may actually leave the company and not return. Right now he is on hiatus as he tour's with Fozzy. So, it is unknown how true these rumors actually are.
12 Left Company: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar may be the current WWE Universal Champion but over the past few years, Brock and WWE haven't always seen eye to eye.
Brock became a huge star in WWE very quickly and the youngest ever WWE Champion at SummerSlam back in 2002. Brock then decided that he was unhappy and since he had already made enough money from WWE, he was happy to walk away. This ruined his WrestleMania showdown with Goldberg since the WWE Universe were aware that Brock was leaving. WWE panicked so much that they banned Brock from wrestling for anyone but them. Brock obviously sued the company and moved on to wrestle elsewhere before becoming a UFC Champion. In recent years it seems that both parties have now developed a much better relationship.
11 Rumored: The Undertaker
The Undertaker has been at the top of the WWE locker room for more than two decades. He is a former seven-time World Champion and has the longest undefeated streak in the history of WrestleMania. The Undertaker is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. It was rumored that following his loss to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX, that The Undertaker was then done with the company.
It was The Undertaker's idea to lose to Brock to give him ground to go on to be the most dominant star in WWE at that time. But The Undertaker didn't stay away afterwards. He has appeared at the last three WrestleMania events and most recently lost to Roman Reigns in Orlando. As with his loss to Lesnar, WWE is yet to announce whether or not Undertaker has officially retired from WWE.
10 Left Company: Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon was a huge part of WWE programming up until 2010. But being in his father's shadow was too much for Shane to take, so he decided to leave WWE and set out to make a name for himself elsewhere.
Shane became the Chairman of YOU On Demand as well as being on the Board of Directors of International Sports Management during his six-year break from WWE before he decided to put the past behind him and return to his father's company once again. Shane returned in place of John Cena ahead of WrestleMania 32 and faced The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match. He has since been named the Commissioner of SmackDown Live and seemingly is staying with WWE for the time being.
9 Rumored: Brie Bella
Brie Bella is a former Divas Champion in WWE and one of the faces of both Total Bellas and Total Divas. Unlike her sister, Brie hasn't played a major role in any WWE storylines for a while and when her husband Daniel Bryan was forced to quit WWE back in February 2016, Brie followed him out the door. She decided to quit WWE following her match at WrestleMania 32.
Brie had always stated that she wanted to walk away from the company so that she could start a family and only a few months after she left WWE she announced that she was pregnant with her first child. Birdie Jo was born earlier this year and now Brie has already started training to make her WWE return.
8 Left Company: Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio doesn't have the greatest history with WWE. After he was signed by the company in 2009 he went on to become World Champion, but was shockingly fired a few years later when he slapped an employee backstage after they made a racist joke.
Del Rio still decided to return to the company in 2015 and won the United States Championship from John Cena. But this was the height of Del Rio's return with the company after he was suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Policy in August 2016 and later decided to quit rather than remain with the company for a few more months and finish up his contract. It is highly unlikely that Del Rio will ever be making a return to WWE in the future.
7 Rumored: Ryback
Ryback was a strange star in WWE. He only managed to hold the Intercontinental Championship once. He was a member of The Nexus and later was even managed by Paul Heyman. But none of this actually helped his career.
Ryback was also the strange kind of character on Social Media which gained him a lot of heat backstage with other wrestlers. Especially when he would put things on his Twitter page about being released and sent abuse out to fans. It came as quite a shock when Ryback did finally leave. After months of teasing he sent out a lengthy Instagram post that went into detail about WWE's pay scale which was the main reason he had decided to quit. WWE later announced that he had been released since he never returned to the company after that post was uploaded.
6 Left Company: Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio was one of the biggest stars that WWE had at one time. He was popular with the WWE Universe and was a former two-time World Champion. But Rey had his fair share of problems throughout his career.
Rey took some time off in 2014 to heal from a wrist injury and it was later revealed that WWE had extended his contract without his consent. Rey didn't want to return to WWE after he was cleared to compete and began sending his cheques back to the company so that they would give him the release he wanted. This was an ongoing saga online for a number of months until WWE finally decided to release Rey in February 2015 and he has since been able to return to wrestling in Mexico instead.
5 Rumored: Lana And Rusev
Lana and Rusev have been a formidable couple in WWE now for a number of years. Rusev is a former United States Champion and has recently returned from shoulder surgery to be a member of the SmackDown Live roster. Lana has become the newest addition to the WWE Women's Division over the past few months since WWE made the decision to split up the couple on WWE TV.
Over the past few weeks, there have been rumors that the couple could be set to leave WWE and Rusev has been uploading some cryptic messages on his Twitter page where he states that has been thanking a number of people. The duo has set the record straight and is not going anywhere, but the cryptic tweets have continued, which has confused many members of the WWE Universe.
4 Left Company: Batista
Batista is a former World Champion in WWE. They then decided that Batista should return to the company and win the 2014 Royal Rumble. His return didn't exactly go to plan and after Daniel Bryan's popularity basically turned him into a heel. Batista was forced to turn heel and then reform Evolution with Triple H and Randy Orton.
Batista was promised a WWE Championship when he returned to the company, but it became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to be given the title that he wanted. So he sensationally quit the company in the middle of the Evolution storyline, which then allowed The Authority to recruit Seth Rollins instead. So, technically it's all Batista's fault that The Shield split. Maybe it's good that he isn't returning to the company anytime soon.
3 Rumored: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler may be a former World Champion and former Mr. Money in the Bank, but over the past few years, Ziggler hasn't really had the best push of his career. Ziggler feuded with The Miz for a number of months back in 2016 when it seemed that Ziggler was actually going to leave WWE to pursue a career in stand up comedy.
The Miz and Ziggler actually collided in a Loser Leaves WWE match at Backlash but it was Ziggler who came out on top and became Intercontinental Champion. Ziggler has only recently returned to WWE TV on SmackDown Live after completely missing the build up to SummerSlam this year and not even playing a part in the event itself. Rumors about The Show Off's WWE future continue to circulate online.
2 Left Company: CM Punk
CM Punk is perhaps one of the most controversial WWE Superstars of all time. Punk walked away from WWE following the 2014 Royal Rumble and the WWE Universe were completely unaware of his reasons for leaving the company until he was part of Colt Cabana's podcast in November 2014 more than nine months after he quit the company.
Punk quitting was perhaps one of the most talked about things in WWE that year and the fact that Punk later claimed that WWE fired him on his wedding day after he had already quit, left the WWE Universe in a place where they felt that they had to take sides. Punk's wife AJ Lee later retired from the company following WrestleMania 31 back in 2015 after she stated that the backstage problems with many other wrestlers were becoming a huge problem for her.
1 Rumored: Paige
Paige was once seen as the future of the WWE Women's Divison. She was the inaugural NXT Women's Champion, the youngest ever Divas Champion, and the only woman to ever hold both the NXT and Divas Championship at the same time.
Paige had a bright future ahead of her until she announced that she was dating Alberto Del Rio in early 2016 and the couple were then both suspended on the same day back in August 2016 when it was revealed that they had both failed the WWE Wellness tests. Paige was then suspended for a second time the following month, as the rumor mill began to speculate that Paige was trying to get fired from WWE because she was contracted until 2019. Paige has since undergone neck surgery and is thought to be returning to the company soon, which could be interesting.