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Rick Martel abandons his partner Tito Santana during a match at Wrestlemania V.

  • Many old-time wrestling fans remember the famous confrontation between Gorilla Monsoon and Muhammad Ali. But before Ali entered the ring and the legendary exchange took place (Monsoon picking up Ali and putting him in an airplane spin before throwing him to the mat), Monsoon had a match, against stalwart Baron Mikel Scicluna. Monsoon was dominating Scicluna and was knocked from the ring after taking a heavy "Manchurian" chop... before Ali stepped into the ring to taunt Monsoon. Scicluna regained his senses and threw up his arms in disgust as he left ringside, as if to say the trope's name.
  • "The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd may not have been the first wrestler to do this, but he was the first one to make an art form of it. If he was in a match he didn't consider important and it started to go poorly for him, he'd just leave the ring and walk to the back. He did it so often that for a time the whole act was called 'pulling an Ernie Ladd.'
  • This was the end result of Tracy Smothers wrestling a bear at a Continental Championship wrestling show. To his credit, he did successfully get the bear in a couple of headlocks and take it to the mat a couple of times, but the wild eyed southern boy eventually lost his nerve.
  • EMLL ditched the NWA rather than help them deal with the WWF, although CMLL would return to help the NWA later. Disgruntled talent packing up and leaving EMLL led to the birth of both Lucha Libre Internacional (and by extension the Mexican UWA) and AAA.
  • Wrestlers departing from JWA led to the birth of All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, who would in turn be deserted by dissenters who would form Pro Wrestling NOAH and The Universal Wrestling Federation.
  • It's not uncommon for the Heels to fall back on this if they're losing the match, especially if they're defending championships (since you can't lose a title by being counted out). Often this plan will be foiled by 1) the Face grabbing the Heel and dragging him back into the ring; 2) an authority figure intercepting the Heel and telling him to get back in the ring; or 3) the authority figure declaring that losing this match in this manner would count as a forfeit (which does allow the title changing hands). Occasionally the reverse will happen, with a Heel trying to win a title from a defending Face just giving up and walking away, like Test did in his ECW title match with Bobby Lashley.
  • Bobby Lashley tried to do this himself, wanting to leave TNA. The official reason in real life was to focus on Mixed Martial Arts, but in-story, he was really frustrated with TNA's failure to protect his wife from Scott Steiner and she wanted him to ditch wrestling for MMA.
  • In 2002, when WWE wanted him to put over Brock Lesnar on Raw with no buildup, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin "took his ball and went home".
  • Also common amongst tag-team partners turned enemies. Examples:
    • Edge had his Start of Darkness by abandoning Chris Benoit to be pinned by La Résistance.
    • At WrestleMania 5, when Tito Santana accidentally hit his own tag team partner, Rick Martel, Martel left him mid-match.
    • At The Main Event in 1989, Hulk Hogan abandoned Randy Savage during their tag team match against the Twin Towers (Akeem and the Big Bossman) to take Elizabeth to the locker room for medical attention. When Hogan returned to the ring, Savage smacked him in the face and left him alone to face them, returning only briefly to get his WWF World title belt.
  • In 1988, The Powers of Pain did this to WCW. They were slated to be in a series of scaffold matches (wrestlers fight on a scaffold several feet above the ring, the object being to knock their opponent off the scaffold down to the ring below) against The Road Warriors, and they were booked to lose. Not wanting to risk their careers on this, they walked and went to the WWF.
    • Also leaving WCW for the WWF around the same time thanks to a scaffold match was Ray Traylor, aka Big Bubba Rodgers, later known as the Big Bossman. In his case the point of contention wasn't having to do the match, it was having to do it for half the money that everyone else in the match was getting.note 
  • The 1995 edition of Survivor Series had match with The Darkside (The Undertaker, Fatu, Savio Vega, and Henry Godwin) against The Royals (King Mabel, Jerry Lawler, Issac Yankeem D.D.S., and Hunter Hearst Helmsley). The whole point here was the Undertaker vs. Mabel feud, so after Taker easily dispatched the lesser heels by himself Mabel came in actually took over... for about 30 seconds. Cue Taker doing his sit-up and Mabel saying "To hell with this" and taking off for the locker room, losing by countout and giving us the rare Survivor Series match where an entire team survived. Taker would get his one-on-one confrontation with Mabel the following month at the In Your House PPV in what was probably the worst casket match The Undertaker has ever been in, and Mabel would be released immediately after the Royal Rumble in January.
  • A rare non-villainous, purely comedic example had Jackie Gayda attempting to ditch Stacy Keibler just before their Evening Gown Tag Team Match against Torrie Wilson and Sable at WrestleMania XX. All four Divas had to strip down to their bras and panties before the match began, and Miss Jackie decided at the last minute that she didn't want everyone to see her in her underwear. She tried to leave— but Torrie and Sable would have none of it, grabbing Jackie and ripping off her gown so that she'd have to wrestle in her underwear. Although, to be fair, Jackie didn't know about the "wrestling in underwear" stipulation until just a few minutes before the match; she thought that the winners would strip the losers, like in a traditional Evening Gown Match (the match originally was to be a traditional bra & panties match, but one of Sable's breast implants burst a few days before the match, meaning she couldn't get as physical as they had planned). Oddly, the match happened because Stacy and Jackie wanted to pose in Playboy instead of Sable and Torrie.
  • In a behind-the-scenes example, Molly Holly asked the WWE management in 2005 to let her do a Heel–Face Turn. When they denied her request on the grounds that it would never work, she asked for her release and retired from wrestling.
  • Subverted when Triple H apparently abandoned Shawn Michaels in the middle of a "weapons" match against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Turns out, he was just running to fetch his trusty sledgehammer. (One wonders why he didn't bring it to the ring to begin with, or just stash it under the ring before the match.)
  • The 10/3/11 episode of Monday Night Raw ended with this— by about half of the WWE Roster, as well as the announcers, the refs, the cameramen... and the guy that rings the bell.
  • Fandango used to be known for refusing to wrestle until someone pronounced his name correctly, which didn't happen until he was introduced by Jerry Lawler.
  • The 6/18/12 edition of Raw featured a 3-on-1 Handicap Match of John Cena versus the team of The Big Show, David Otunga, and (former) General Manager of both Raw & SmackDown John Laurinaitis, which essentially dwindled down to a mere one-on-one match. This came thanks to both Big Show and Otunga ditching Laurinaitis during the match, leaving the People Power proponent to have to fight Cena alone. It went about as well as you might expect for him.
  • On the Labor Day 2012 edition, CM Punk decided to take a "personal day" instead of facing Sheamus. Subverted at the end of the show when he came back to cost John Cena his match with Alberto Del Rio. On the same show, Jack Swagger decided to go on leave. Subverted again a week later when Punk tried this again with Randy Orton, only for Orton to chase him and bring him back to the ring. In early 2014, Punk had another one. After being passed over to be in the main event of WrestleMania for the third year in a row, he walked out and wasn't heard from until 2021, when he joined All Elite Wrestling.
  • Tyler Reks was already tired of being a rarely utilized jobber-to-the-stars when he and tag partner Curt Hawkins got assigned a male stripper gimmick. One week later he quit pro wrestling. To be fair, he had already been battling with the decision for a while, as he had a newborn at home, and decided to leave wrestling before the gimmick went any further.
  • In a battle royal, Santino Marella sees that he doesn't have a prayer of eliminating Triple H and John Cena, and decides to eliminate the one guy he knows he can: himself!
  • Gail Kim did this at her last appearance in WWE. Upset with the way she had been booked and realizing she wasn't going to be doing anything there, Gail gave her notice that she quit when at a Battle Royal she eliminated herself as soon as the match began. Apparently she was told to be eliminated from it in under a minute, they just didn't expect her to eliminate herself. A few months later, she made her return in TNA.
  • At Survivor Series it's not uncommon for a Heel to decide to do this; whether it's being outnumbered or an argument with his teammates, he walks out on them and heads to the back. Bad News Brown did this two years in a row because he accidently got hit by his teammates, and was named the worst teammate ever in Survivor Series history.
  • One of the rumors surrounding the Rock's departure from WWE after Wrestlemania 29 is this due to the way WWE booked his match with John Cena. His open dissatisfaction with Cena's storytelling skills and the fact that Cena's non-athleticism during the match led to the Rock's legitimate injuries as well have done nothing to quell the rumors. Cena fans, on the other hand, have tried very hard to shove down people's throats the idea that the Rock walked out simply to spite the pro-wrestling fandom, under the assumption that the pro-wrestling fandom and John Cena fandom are one and the same.
  • The night after WWE Payback 2014, Batista had enough of being denied a match for the WWE Championship since Triple H and Randy Orton were focused on ending The Shield. He left the ring, leaving Triple H screaming at him.
    • Four years prior, Batista quit after Bret Hart named Orton the winner over him in a qualifying match via forfeit despite The Animal twice pointing out how badly injured he was, not to mention suffering three straight pay-per-view losses to John Cena.
  • Nearly any time during Honky Tonk Man's Intercontinental Title run where he was in a fight he knew he couldn't win, he just grabbed his belt and left. He would lose the match by count-out, but he would keep the title.
  • The Omega Isaac Zercher's reaction to Jimmy Havoc and Paul Robinson trying to get him to side with either of them during the hardcore match between Havoc and Robinson at Progress Wrestling Chapter 21.
  • The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) teamed with Irwin R. Schyster against The Big Bossman and The Legion of Doom at WWE Survivor Series 1991, November 27, 1991. I.R.S.' interference led to Bossman being the first one eliminated. I.R.S. tried again, and this time it led to Typhoon getting eliminated. The Disasters abandoned the match, leading to the LOD easily eliminating I.R.S for the win.
  • After the Montreal Screwjob, both Earl Hebner (who had rang the bell) and Jim Cornette (who had pitched the screwjob in a creative meeting but believed that it had been vetoed) quickly drove out of the arena, fearing retribution.
  • Upon learning that his father, Vince McMahon, had slept with Mae Young, who was in her 80s at the time, Shane McMahon composed himself and made a quick exit from the ring.
    Triple H: There goes the money.
  • Edge once managed to do it during a triple threat match. He still took an Attitude Adjustment from John Cena, but landing on top of the much heavier Big Show and not under him (Cena had originally lifted both onto his shoulders for his finisher at the same time, and Edge immediately bailed, knowing how it would've ended for him if he hadn't).
  • Big Boss Man also managed to do this during a Handicap 4 vs 1 match in 1999. The Big Show quickly dispatched Prince Albert, Viscera, and Mideon with a Chokeslam, and Big Boss Man immediately left the ring, letting himself lose by count out, which was a more favorable result than facing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from the angry giant he was feuding with at the time.

Alternative Title(s): Professional Wrestling