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Rise And Fall: 8 Wrestlers That Thrived After A WWE Release and 8 That Didn't

The WWE is the top dog in the pro wrestling industry and nothing will change that. WWE defeating WCW in the Monday Night Wars and buying their competition was the final nail in monopolizing the rest of the industry. The years have gone by and the stranglehold has tightened with no other promotions being able to achieve enough success to compete against the juggernaut. TNA had a small chance but made poor decisions every time they had a chance to grow. New Japan, ROH, Lucha Underground and other promotions offer the chance to make a living outside of WWE, but it can still be rather difficult.

Wrestlers have to hustle and use multiple platforms to gain success if released from WWE. The name value and television time are immeasurable, but it is up to the talent to earn more success off of that. Wrestling every weekend on the independent circuit and building a reputation to get to the highest paying and most popular alternatives is the way to get it done. Social media has helped in spreading the word of performers with buzz along with marketing from them. It is easier than ever to sell t-shirts or engage with the fan base. These are tools to create success.

Not everyone has been able to hit the magical formula in life after WWE. Plenty have failed in a new environment without the safety of a WWE contract to fall back on. The heart, determination and risk taking have helped a few talents blossom outside of WWE. These stars have used their name value to help rising promotions or create an even bigger brand outside of WWE. The ones that couldn’t are struggling to remain relevant and receive bookings on consistent basis. We’ll look at both sides of the landscape, as we look at the special stories of eight wrestlers that thrived outside of the WWE and another eight that didn’t.

16 Thrived: Matt Sydal

via rohwrestling.com

15 Didn’t: Justin Gabriel

via popista.com

14 Thrived: Chris Hero

via pt.wikipedia.org

13 Didn’t: Yoshi Tatsu

via neogaf.com

12 Thrived: Jim Ross

via mmamania.com

11 Didn’t: Josh Mathews

via youtube.com

10 Thrived: Trent Barreta

via wikiwand.com

9 Didn’t: Curt Hawkins

via thewrestlinginsomniac.com

8 Thrived: Ethan Carter III

via wrestlingnews.co

7 Didn’t: Ezekiel Jackson

via wrestlingnews.co

6 Thrived: Catrina

via pinterest.com

5 Didn’t: Ted DiBiase Jr.

via youtube.com

4 Thrived: Rey Mysterio

via philly.com

3 Didn’t: Brad Maddox

via youtube.com

2 Thrived: Drew Galloway

via youtube.com

1 Didn’t: CM Punk

via fightnetwork.com

It may not be completely fair to rate CM Punk’s time outside of WWE as a failure at this stage, but you have to look at the facts. Punk’s UFC fight has been postponed longer than anyone could have imagined and he is predicted to get slaughtered if he makes his debut in August as expected. Punk's overall brand has suffered with very little presence in the public. Punk’s new hobby writing comics have been met with mixed reviews and it’s not something he will likely be able to continue. The embarrassment of his UFC career not thriving and the passive aggressive comments about WWE are not a good look for Punk.

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Rise And Fall: 8 Wrestlers That Thrived After A WWE Release and 8 That Didn't