For better or worse, WWE is still the ultimate goal for most aspiring superstars.
The company's huge market share essentially means that they control the wrestling world, and nobody can match their reach, exposure, and financial clout. WWE have no serious competition, and this gives them unparalleled power in the labour market, allowing them to sign almost any free agent on a whim.
Leaving the company is therefore considered a huge blow, and you need only look at recently released wrestlers like the floundering Adam Rose to see why. Surviving on the independents isn't easy, and while WWE's gruelling travelling schedule is well known, the weekly grind of driving hundreds of miles to compete at smaller shows for less money can be just as taxing.
Departing a major company isn't always the death sentence it's made out to be, however. Some wrestlers embrace the grind, and thrive under their newfound freedom, no longer hindered by their previous employer's restrictive rules and regulations.
Few things generate buzz like a great independent run, and countless wrestlers flipped the negative into a positive, using their release to rebuild their ailing careers and take their name value to incredible new heights...