i dont know a single pvper who does it for the gear. PvPers do Pvp for the titles, rankings and statistics.
Arena players simply want to get to Gladiator title, they dont give a flying **** what gear theyre wearing. Most serious arena players delete their old season gear when they enter a new season. They have no care for the gear, the gear is simply a stepping-stone to get to Glad title.
Pvpers generally want fast and fun games, they wanna login and play a few games and be competitive. If gear was removed from the Pvp progression then players could login and play whatever class they liked, whenever they liked and all games would be decided more on skill than it is right now.
As an example GW2 has normalised PvP and it works very well. Basically everyone who enters a PvP area is changed to lev80 and into the same PvP gear. Therefore all PvP battles r decided by class skill and teamwork, nobody can use the excuse they lost cos they didnt have the right gear.