WWE's long-held monopoly on the pro wrestling biz has loosened since Tony Khan and family came along, ploughed millions of personal funds into AEW's start up and offered talent somewhere else to work and make good money away from Vince McMahon's purse strings.
The competition posed by All Elite also means WWE's old 'spring cleaning' release cycle, one that once saw loads of performers pushed towards the exit door post-WrestleMania, should slow. Now, the company are much more likely to try and keep hold of talent rather than willingly release them into the wild. Sometimes though, even that hoarding strategy isn't feasible.
This list is a collection of workers who left WWE life behind in 2019 for various reasons. Some were disgruntled by the promotion's tight corporate structure, others were outraged by the way they were being treated creatively and a few just fancied seeing what else was out there before the option of an AEW jump was even realistic.
One wrestler in particular might steal the spotlight. Their release was mired in so much controversy it threatened a PR disaster...