There was a mass release of WWE Superstars in April 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. WWE received a lot of flak for it, and while some were re-hired, most have found new places of work elsewhere.
With the rise of competition, WWE is no longer the go-to option for many wrestlers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of WWE Superstars were open about negotiations with competitors, and it resulted in them getting better contracts.
The same wasn't the case in 2020, but that doesn't mean that other Superstars wouldn't have explored their options outside WWE. In a lot of cases, unsatisfied WWE Superstars remained with the company for the guaranteed money they were receiving in a difficult time like the COVID-19 pandemic.
If it weren't for that, these WWE Superstars would have likely left once their contract expired:
#5. Zack Ryder/Matt Cardona - WWE contract was expiring in August 2020
Matt Cardona fka Zack Ryder was a long-tenured employee of WWE and lived his dream for many years. However, he didn't find the success in WWE that he would have hoped for, and the company never seemed intent on pushing him to become anything more than a low-card star.
Either way, he made his money and got a lot out of WWE. When he was released in April 2020, it sent shockwaves since Ryder had been associated with WWE for over a decade. And it was hard to see him working anywhere else.
His contract was reportedly set to expire in August of 2020, and Fightful reported that he was slated to leave the company when his contract expired. It made a lot of sense since there was clearly not much that he could have done in WWE apart from collecting a paycheck.
He worked limited-appearance deals with AEW and Impact Wrestling after his WWE release.