WWE is the most popular pro wrestling company in the world. The company's global appeal allows its Superstars to achieve mainstream success. Many people dream of being a WWE Superstar. For some wrestlers, this dream works out. But sometimes, the roster sometimes gets so stacked that the company has to trim the fat.
As a result, some of these stars feel relieved that they were finally released after they were underutilized for years. But others are unhappy about the nature of their departure.
Over the decades, several major WWE Superstars have left the company on a bitter note. This pattern could be linked to disagreements stemming from their creative direction or a variety of other reasons. Regardless, it sours the reputation of a company that has time and again made it clear how much it values its performers.
Here's a look at five instances where WWE Superstars were dissatisfied with the way they left the company.
#5 Maria Kanellis (Released by WWE in 2020)
Maria Kanellis had two stints with WWE. During her first stint, which began in 2004, Kanellis was mainly used in a non-wrestling role in her early years. While she became an active in-ring competitor for a few years, she couldn't win the championship gold. After she was released in 2010, Kanellis performed on the independent scene along with her husband, Mike Kanellis.
The couple signed with WWE in 2017, and fans expected Mike and Maria to be featured on WWE programming. But their careers were marred by numerous factors. They were finally released from the company in April 2020 due to budget cuts.
Upon their release, Maria was unhappy with the company, and she made her dissatisfaction public. On the ROHStrong podcast, Kanellis elaborated on her release.
"From this company that prides itself on being this family-based company, to be fired. I didn’t receive a phone call after I had Carver to ask if I was okay. If the labor went okay. I didn’t receive a phone call seeing how my recovery was going with either of my children. But I received a phone call to be fired in a pandemic. I had given a lot of years to WWE, and a lot of years to wrestling, and that is not how I thought my relationship with WWE was going to end. I didn’t think it was going to end in that very cold way."
Since they left WWE, Maria and Mike Kanellis have performed for Ring of Honor, and they have started their own podcast called "Non-Essential Wrestlers."