WCW was known for having a lot of issues backstage even during the many years of success. The biggest difference between WWE and WCW according to wrestlers that worked for both is that Vince McMahon made sure to lead WWE’s ship while WCW did not have a stronger leader in Eric Bischoff. Wrestlers with massive contracts, favorable clauses and general power over others would make their own rules while others with smaller name value suffered for it.
Quite a few wrestlers made the decision to leave WCW on their own due to the frustration associated with working there. Everyone had a different story that led to them walking away from a company that paid more money for a weaker road schedule than WWE. These performers just wanted to escape the company with their happiness intact. Find out which ten wrestlers walked out on WCW and why they did it.
10 Chris Jericho: Wanted a bigger push
The use of Chris Jericho by WCW did not allow him to continue growing as a performer. Jericho started to break out in the cruiserweight and mid-card picture with an entertaining heel act. A great program with Dean Malenko showed his potential and he tried to get a program with Goldberg afterward.
Jericho cut great promos setting up a match with Goldberg that never came. Goldberg destroyed him on Nitro to drop the storyline altogether without a payoff on PPV. Jericho realized he would never thrive as a top star in WCW due to the political game of the company.
9 Raven: Took Eric Bischoff’s offer to leave
1999 was when WCW started to decline dramatically with ratings and attendance numbers dropping. Many of the younger wrestlers were disgruntled due to the lack of opportunities with the big names holding all the relevant spots.
Bischoff had a backstage meeting with the locker room basically calling out the talent for their unhappiness. Raven was one of the wrestlers called out by Bischoff when saying anyone that wants to leave could walk out of the door and get out of their contract there. Raven took him up on the offer and decided to leave WCW right there in front of the roster as he returned to ECW.
8 Haku: Wanted better job stability
The legendary Haku was known for being one of the toughest people in wrestling history. Haku had a solid run for WWE in the 80s with a reputation of being the last wrestler anyone would want to get into a real fight with outside of the ring.
WCW used him as Meng for most of the Monday Night Wars until 2000. Meng would leave as Hardcore Champion forcing WCW to retire the belt. The decision to leave came when his contract was running out and he made the move to WWE for better job stability. Unfortunately, the WWE run didn’t go well and he was released within a year.
7 Ted DiBiase: Felt Eric Bischoff undercut him
WCW signed Ted DiBiase away from WWE in the mid-90s with a tremendous role as the benefactor of the New World Order faction. DiBiase joined the original trio of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash essentially serving as the person running the entire group while cutting promos for them.
The role of DiBiase would lose importance when Eric Bischoff joined the group with basically the same duties. Bischoff surpassed DiBiase which led to the latter getting kicked out of the group. A short run managing the Steiners ended quickly and he decided to leave due to the unhappiness with Bischoff.
6 Kimberly Page: Unsafe work environment
Diamond Dallas Page’s ex-wife Kimberly Page was a part of WCW when the two were still together. Scott Steiner developed a reputation for being a loose cannon backstage towards the end of WCW with the Page family feeling his wrath.
Kimberly was verbally attacked by Steiner in an unscripted promo after she reported Scott’s friend Tammy Sytch for having drugs backstage. This led to Steiner getting into a fight with DDP that almost badly injured the latter. Kimberly would walk out on WCW after feeling unsafe working with Steiner.
5 Big Show: Wanted to become a legend
WCW gave Big Show a great push early in his career as The Giant. The fact that he won the WCW Championship and feuded with Hulk Hogan one match into his career was a huge opportunity for such a young wrestler.
However, the New World Order forming and other former WWE stars signing made The Giant an afterthought. Vince McMahon would win him over as a free agent by promising him a bigger push and the chance to become a legend in WWE where giants were icons. Big Show walked out on WCW to become a WWE fixture and is still a legend there today.
4 Paul Heyman: Wanted to run own promotion
Paul Heyman had a solid run in WCW as Paul E. Dangerously leading the Dangerous Alliance. Great wrestlers like Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Madusa and others benefited from having Heyman as their manager.
Heyman however grew unhappy in WCW with people in charge of the company not viewing him with much respect. The decision to walk out on WCW came with the idea of wanting to run his own promotion. Heyman originally tried to start a promotion with Jim Crockett Sr. in Texas, but he instead went forward running ECW to create a new legacy.
3 Brian Pillman: Tricked WCW into firing him
Brian Pilllman is viewed as one of the most underrated wrestlers of the 90s today. The incredible matches in the early 90s along with the character work later in the decade created amazing pieces of work that exist today.
Pillman was growing unhappy in WCW as one of the younger stars not getting a bigger opportunity. His “loose cannon” gimmick was gaining steam and he tricked Eric Bischoff into firing him to fool everyone with plans of a big return. Pillman however used the real release to leave WCW and get the first guaranteed WWE contract ever.
2 Eddie Guerrero (Wanted a fair chance)
Eddie Guerrero and the rest of the Radicalz made a memorable move by leaving WCW to show up on WWE television one night after a WCW PPV. Guerrero along with his friends were in the undercard with no chances at moving up.
WCW made it clear they were secondary players on the roster, but they wanted to prove they were more. Guerrero was the one to shine the most in WWE by eventually becoming the WWE Champion and a legend. The fair chance offered in WWE was worth leaving WCW.
1 Triple H: WWE was his dream
Most fans have little to no memory of Triple H in WCW, but he worked there before WWE in the early 90s. Triple H showed potential under the name of Jean-Paul Levesque with impressive matches against William Regal and Alex Wright.
However, he walked out on WCW when his contract expired to take less money for his dream job in WWE. Ric Flair revealed that he knew Triple H was going to be a star and advised him to join WWE where younger stars had a real chance to break out.