World Championship Wrestling was often a hotbed of contention and controversy amongst its roster until its swift demise in March 2001.
In its tumultuous 13-year history WCW management would have fireable issues with plenty of its talent. From the future ‘Texas Rattlesnake’ Steve Austin getting let go over a knee injury and never-ending bad attitude, to a drug-fuelled Juventud Guerrera being let go after ‘disturbing the peace’ during a tour of Australia where he casually tore off all his clothes in public, to Sean ‘Syxx’ Waltman getting his walking papers after pulling Ric Flair’s trunks down to expose his ass on national television.
But then there were times when the company would go too far and cause the issues themselves, causing wrestlers to leave over planned angles on TV. So let’s take a trip down memory lane with WCW and look at 10 wrestlers who quit one of the top professional wrestling promotions in the United States over angles and storylines they weren’t particularly thrilled to be a part of...
10. Mick Foley - Lost In Cleveland
Mick Foley was one of the central wrestlers in the formative Attitude Era that helped catapult the WWF into finally defeating WCW in the Monday Night Wars. But before signing with the WWF in 1996, he made a name for himself as Cactus Jack in the early ‘90s with World Championship Wrestling, where he participated in some legendary battles with Sting at Beach Blast and Big Van Vader.
Foley left WCW for many reasons, with a significant one being the ‘Lost in Cleveland’ skits they made him participate in. They’re cringeworthy to watch, with Mick going on record as saying “nothing approached the levels of awfulness that 'Lost in Cleveland' did.”
They originated from Mick needing some time off the road, so WCW wrote him off TV after Vader powerbomb on the concrete floor. Rather than hype Foley’s return to savagely get revenge on Vader with the intense promos he was known for cutting, WCW had him film comedic vignettes where a fake news reporter tried to get to the bottom of Foley’s whereabouts.
It would ultimately be revealed Jack went insane and was institutionalised, only to escape and develop amnesia. They did nothing to hype the eventual return to the company. Actually, they did worse than nothing - Foley quit WCW not long afterwards for ECW and Japan to reclaim his Hardcore Legend identity.