It's not been a good image for WWE, but lately, current talent has been voluntarily leaving the company in unprecedented numbers. Absolutely miserable, Neville walked away from this contract, Austin Aries asked for his release, Nia Jax disappeared from Raw in what some reported was a dispute and Jimmy Jacobs was happy to be fired as a head writer. There are rumors that more people want out.
Despite the exodus of WWE talent, the company will survive. They've had much bigger stars leave and like clockwork, WWE has put new faces in the places of those who departed. Like a train, the WWE keeps chugging along and always will. Still, with ratings low and live attendance even lower, the fact that so many WWE talents are looking to leave and outside talents not looking to come in, it begs the question as to what is going on behind the scenes.
Why are so many talents looking to leave? Here are Five Theories Why WWE Superstars Are Leaving In Droves.
It used to be that to make it big in the wrestling industry, you needed to work for WWE. Yes, there was a time in the 1990's when WCW was stiff competition, backed by a billionaire and giving out handfuls of money to the talent, but outside of those few years, the big payday came from Vince McMahon.
Now, that's not so much the case. Yes, most wrestlers are still making better money with McMahon and the WWE than without them, but once you're an established star, you can command some good money on the independent scene, in Japan or working for other promotions.
4. The Schedule
Austin Aries put it best when he tweeted that he made more in a few weeks on the independent scene than he did his last six months in WWE. This is including his match at WrestleMania. WWE makes their talent work a grueling schedule. It becomes a question of whether the equal (or in Aries case) lower pay is worth the intense schedule.
If you asked anyone to work twice as much for less money, they'd likely laugh at you. WWE does this all the time. The trade-off his exposure and the ability to become a household name.
Speaking of WWE's ability to make a wrestler a star, it's not the same as it used to be. WWE is clearly in more homes on a television basis and they have over a million subscribers to the WWE Network, so the reach is huge. That said, promotions like New Japan, Ring of Honor, and other independents show are easy to find on the Internet now and if you wanted to, you could see any star wrestling almost anywhere.
You no longer have to go to the WWE to become famous. Look at guys like Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, or Ricochet. They're huge stars in wrestling and haven't had any sort of WWE push along the way.
2. Big Pond, Little Fish
In the WWE, you are one of a hundred wrestlers on the roster. With three unique brands, multiple shows and a variety of outlets, to make it as a star in the company means you did something extremely right. It's much tougher to make your way to the top of the totem pole in WWE than it would be almost anywhere else.
Look at a talent like Cody Rhodes. He gambled on himself and left WWE. He's since done extremely well for himself and become the ROH Champion, landing the biggest signing deal that company has ever given out. Realistically, he's a mere mid-carder in WWE.
1. Bad Writing
You can blame the awful writing on the wrestlers, the writers, Vince McMahon, or the road agents, but whomever you choose, it's clear WWE is not doing a good enough job pushing the right wrestlers at the right time and with the right characters.
Talents like Shinsuke Nakamura, Neville, Mike Kanellis, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, and countless others have legitimate gripes with the WWE who has given them some of the worst ideas to try and make work, it's near impossible not to kill your own character.
The writing appears to be stronger on a lot of the smaller shows. Or, they're focused more on the wrestling and less on the soap opera and that has a lot of talents leaning away from WWE.