As for why he’s leaving? Not really a surprise, but word is he was tired of broken promises, being lead to believe he’d be on the receiving end of a better push following his return. Since that didn’t materialize once he had his US Title run after he returned, it’s not too hard to see why he soured on WWE yet again.
So, with him exiting, there are a few questions: first, will we ever see him again? And second, is WWE making a mistake?
On the first? That’s pretty easy. As long as he remains a top star, as he did after his last exit, then of course WWE would always reconsider someone, and welcome them back. It takes a lot to be permanently ostracized from the company, and based on how smooth things appear to be going on this latest exit, I’d say the doors would remain open for Del Rio. Whether he wants to return or not? That’s probably a different story. On the one hand, the money often motivates guys, and there is no denying WWE is where the big money can be. But Del Rio is a big star elsewhere too, so he would probably be less motivated.
On the second? Yes, I think so. But I understand it, too.
Del Rio was an excellent champion. An excellent heel, and he even worked as a brief babyface. He’s versatile, he’s talented, and he is charismatic. He did not get his fair shot in 2016, all things considered, and when you see guys who are less gifted getting more exposure, you can understand why Del Rio felt frustrated and opted to leave. I don’t blame him at all for opting to be a big fish in smaller ponds, as he’s likely to become again.
But I also don’t blame WWE either. For one, Del Rio is coming off of a Wellness suspension. If he does it again, he’s gone longer. So, they probably took that into account, but it wasn’t likely a big factor. The biggest one? I would presume it was a numbers game. Specifically, look at things like the influx of new talent from NXT and elsewhere, and recognize that the New Era push is a real thing, and odds are it would only become harder and harder to push Del Rio. And with that in mind, they could come to an amicable release, and leave the door open for a future return, should either party feel it’s a good idea.
So, it does kind of suck to see a talent like Del Rio opt to leave, but in the end, this one was absolutely an understandable move, from both sides.