Why Wrestlers Walk Out On WWE | Smark Out Moment

Why Wrestlers Walk Out On WWE

Posted by Joshua Jones Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Sasha Banks and Naomi's walkout before Monday Night Raw gave the Women's Tag Team Championships a much-needed spotlight. While some call their actions unprofessional, many applaud the two women for standing up for what they believe is right.

It's the old McMahon adage: you have to stand up for yourself; otherwise, what's the point?

Banks and Naomi certainly aren't the first to walk out on WWE, and they won't be the last. These walkouts are a byproduct of constant disagreements between talent and creative. Sometimes, these disagreements stem from a match being booked, while others are long-gestating anger against those in charge. 

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Perhaps one of the more infamous walkouts in WWE history came from Stone Cold Steve Austin in 2001. Austin was treated as one of the company's top stars and was careful to ensure that his character and reputation were intact. However, Vince McMahon saw a lot in Brock Lesnar, who was being molded to be the next big thing. McMahon wanted Austin to lose a match against Lesnar on Monday Night Raw, but Austin disagreed with it. 

According to multiple reports, Austin apparently wanted the match to have a solid buildup for a pay-per-view. The scheduled match McMahon wanted was just a King of the Ring qualifier with no fanfare or story. Austin ultimately no-showed and then left the company mid-2002. He wouldn't return until 2003. Many talents were dissatisfied with Austin, and the company decided to use the broadcast to bury Austin, leading to the now-infamous line from McMahon that Austin  "took his ball and went home." 

It's clear that Austin just wanted to protect his character even if it meant disagreeing with McMahon's decision. While Lesnar impressed McMahon and others backstage,  he hadn't quite reached the heights he eventually would reach when he defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Lesnar was just a rookie, and Austin probably wanted to be sure to give the rookie a fair shot at a storyline. Rush booking and no proper planning have been a blind spot for the company, and many have suffered greatly. But morale also plays a significant part in why a great talent would just up and quit WWE. Without good morale, it's hard for any worker to keep working for their employer. Just ask CM Punk. 

Picture of CM Punk

The issues between  CM Punk and WWE are well documented. Punk wanted to main event WrestleMania, but McMahon and others had other plans. CM Punk always had trouble being one of the company's top stars simply because WWE saw money in more established names like John Cena and The Rock. Although Punk was WWE champion for 434 days, he never quite got the same main event treatment that Cena received despite the magnitude of talent and personality he showed while champion. 

This all came to ahead in 2014 when mere hours after Punk was eliminated from the Royal Rumble match, he decided to walk out of the company. Since then, there have been reports about Punk suffering through many injuries and being slated to face Triple H or Kane at WrestleMania 30. While these reports weren't confirmed by the company, it's easy to see Punk being put in this type of position after he had gone through so many start and stop pushes throughout his tenure. 

The most disgusting part about the whole situation is that WWE apparently fired Punk on his wedding day. Punk never looked back, though. Instead, he decided to pursue other avenues before ultimately returning to wrestling in 2021 after signing with AEW. If there's one thing to take away from the situation with Punk and WWE is that sometimes it's best to capitalize when the iron is still hot and not being pressed at you. 

Naomi and Sasha Banks

This leads us to the situation with Naomi and Sasha Banks. Both women apparently want more respect to be put into the women's tag division, but it doesn't seem like the company won't budge. WWE did announce a tournament to crown new tag champions to compensate for losing Naomi and Banks. Whether or not the tournament will be enough to satisfy fans of both Naomi and Banks, only time will tell. As far now it seems many are on the side of the former tag champs.

 Not giving an entire division enough care and time ultimately can lead to talent walking out on WWE. If Austin, during his tenure, was invested in the tag division and was part of a successful tag team, would have that been another reason for him walking out as well? It's difficult to say because sometimes WWE values different things for reasons beyond the fan's comprehension. One moment they can value Austin's star power, and the next, they'd instead value the Intercontinental Championship more because someone like The Rock is holding it. So it's just rather difficult to comprehend WWE's decision-making, but we can listen to those who did walk out on them and understand their perspective on things.


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