10 Most Controversial WWE Exits

Don't let the door hit you on the way out...

23 years ago today, WWE presented No Mercy, a pay-per-view most fondly remembered for the breakout ladder match between the Hardys and Edge & Christian. 

The most interesting story from that show, however, came not from something that happened in front of the cameras, but rather behind it. 

Jeff Jarrett - whose contract had expired - requested money owed, such as pay-per-view bonuses, be transferred into his account before he would wrestle (and drop the Intercontinental Title to) Chyna as scheduled. 

In later years, this story became highly exaggerated but, regardless, Double-J 'holding up Vince McMahon' remains one of the most controversial exits of a WWE performer ever. 

It stung so badly that, following the sale of WCW to WWE, Vince McMahon publicly 'fired' Jarrett live on Raw. He didn't have the power to do that, since Jeff had a guaranteed contract with AOL Time Warner until 2002, but still.

Jarrett's manner of leaving before heading to WCW, coupled with his involvement in TNA, prevented him from returning to WWE until 2018. 

It's a story that would play out the same for many other WWE stars who left on less-than-preferable terms. For some of them, the way they left the company would prevent them from ever returning to the company again.

10. Lex Luger

Lex luger 1994 car

On September 3, 1995 Lex Luger worked a WWE house show, teaming with the Shawn Michaels to beat Tag Team Champions Owen Hart and Yokozuna (by DQ) in the main event. 

Two days later, Luger showed up unannounced on the debut episode of WCW Monday Niro, shocking not only the wrestling world but also those working at Titan Towers.

Incredibly, Luger had been working for WWE without a proper contract for some time, meaning that he was legally allowed to 'jump ship' without issues. 

Still, the lack of proper notice rankled with those in WWE, including Vince McMahon. The company wasn't doing incredible business in this era, and Lex was one of their bigger and more marketable stars. 

WWE may have failed to make him the next Hogan-esque all-American superstar, but he was still a featured player. Losing him to WCW was a blow and also gave the competition a big victory over them on their very first Nitro, causing a lot of buzz. 

Interestingly, WCW Senior Vice President Eric Bischoff didn't even want The Total Package and lowballed him during negotiations (giving any sort of offer as a favour to Luger's best friend Sting), only to be surprised when Lex settled for a fraction of the amount he was making when he left the company in 1992. 

Some say that Luger's secret departure is one of the reasons that he wasn't accepted back after the sale of WCW years later. 

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Lewis Howse

Written by Lewis Howse

Features journalist for and script writer for the Cultaholic YouTube Channel.