Pro wrestling loves its traditions. The entire art form is steeped in the ways things have always been done, in not disrespecting the sacrifices made by generations that came before. Of course, this is often overlooked when Vince McMahon needs to do something wacky, but theoretically, this is an industry built on respecting tradition. That and pretending to fight, obviously.
One of the biggest traditions in wrestling is the idea that you should put someone over on the way out. When an individual decides to leave a territory (or a promotion, in the modern-day and age), the idea is that they will lose their final match, ensuring that someone who is sticking around gets a rub and the territory in question gains something in return. It makes sense, in a lot of ways, and the tradition has survived well. More often than not, retirement matches are lost.
Of course, those retirements are rarely adhered to, but that isn't the point.
Every now and then the trend is bucked, and a wrestler manages to sign off from a promotion with their hand raised in victory. This can be for a number of reasons, but politics tends to dominate. Some people just don't like losing, after all.
The circumstances were almost always different but these individuals managed to sneak out of a wrestling promotion with a victory. Tradition schmadition, am I right?
10. Chris Benoit
Okay, let's get this one out of the way. We all know what happened with Chris Benoit in the summer of 2007, and there's no way to talk about moments from his career and life without that most awful of shadows creeping into the picture. With that in mind, on we go.
In the final months of the last millennium, it was clear that Chris Benoit's WCW career was coming to an end. For years, he had been arguably the best professional wrestler on the planet, yet the Canadian grappler had been overlooked for top honours time and time again. Benoit informed WCW brass of his decision to leave for pastures new (WWF, in other words), and he would be wrapping up his run in Ted Turner-land at the next possible opportunity.
The next possible opportunity in question came in the form of a WCW World Heavyweight Championship win. Benoit defeated Sid for the belt at Souled Out 2000, a decision years overdue, but it still wasn't enough. Benoit left the company the next day (alongside the other Radicalz), and the championship was vacated for the fourth time in three months.