One of the greatest things about being a professional wrestler is that you can wrestle well into your 40s, and quite often your 50s or 60s. A professional athlete in any other sport (NFL, MLB, NHL and the NBA for example), can only be content enough if they get the chance to play in their 40s.
Some wrestlers have been able to put on clinics of matches, no matter how much they've aged. But everything in life reaches a breaking point. This includes times and situations when a wrestler is no longer able to compete the way they used too. As they get up their in age and take more bumps and bruises, they're no longer capable of putting on a "wow match".
That hasn't stopped wrestling promotions and bookers from trying to implement legends in big-time matches, even if they were too old. Here is a look at 15 wrestlers who were too old for a big match.
15 Triple H: WrestleMania 33 vs. Seth Rollins
You have to give Triple H plenty of credit for remaining in tremendous physical shape at the age of 48. And there's no doubting that WrestleMania would be far more boring if The Game didn't put on a match annually.
That being said, his WrestleMania 33 bout with Seth Rollins suggested that The Cerebral Assassin isn't going to put on high-quality matches at this point of his career. It's what you expect, however, when a guy who's been wrestling for over two decades nears his 50s.
Everyone knew that Seth Rollins was going to beat Triple H -- but it's too bad the match itself wasn't that entertaining. Rollins is much younger, faster and far more athletic than Triple H at this point. The match had mediocre choreography and the slow pace made it even more boring.
You wonder how many more matches Triple H will put on until he realizes that he's not much of an in-ring performer at this stage.
14 Batista: Feud with The Shield
Batista's return to the WWE was hyped up big time, but the creative team really ruined it. He came back as a face, but was rejected and booed by the fans after winning the 2014 Royal Rumble.
As such, there was no choice but to turn The Animal back into a heel, and he reformed Evolution with Triple H and Randy Orton. The trio feuded with The Shield, but it was hard to buy into at times, since Batista was well past his best in-ring days.
He was never a great wrestler in the first place, so it wasn't surprising to see a 45-year-old muscle machine struggle in the ring. Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose were (and still are), in their peak wrestling conditions. Had Batista been five to 10 years younger, then his feud with The Shield would have been far more exciting.
But it wasn't that thrilling to see him move slowly and do almost nothing against three guys that are a decade-and-a-half younger than him.
13 Mick Foley: Return at 2012 Royal Rumble
Mick Foley is undoubtedly one of the most beloved and entertaining wrestling personalities ever (excluding his failed run as the general manager of Raw). But Vince McMahon has often been ignorant to knowing when it's time to stop bringing back wrestling legends when it's unnecessary.
Take the 2012 Royal Rumble, when he thought bringing back a 46-year-old Foley was best for the match. Consider it a publicity stunt if anything else.
Foley was the seventh entry and eliminated three wrestlers in the bout (Justin Gabriel, Primo and Epico. Foley lasted just six and a half minutes into the rumble before Cody Rhodes eliminated him.
His return at the Rumble was a complete waste of time. Everybody knew he wasn't going to win, and he didn't make the match that exciting -- considering the three guys he eliminated weren't exactly big stars.
12 Chris Jericho: WrestleMania 33 vs. Kevin Owens
Let me be the first person to emphasize that Chris Jericho's latest run with the WWE is undoubtedly the best of his career. Never have I personally been more entertained than "The List", and his great friendship with Kevin Owens. Y2J only added to his legacy by adding "stupid idiots" to his list.
But let's be honest, Jericho is an extremely mediocre in-ring performer at this point of his career. It was great of him to help put Kevin Owens over at WrestleMania 33, but the match itself was very boring.
For one, Owens is one of the top wrestlers in the WWE today. He's put on great matches vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn. But Jericho hasn't been a good wrestler for some years, and his age of 46 did show at WrestleMania. If only their match took place a few years earlier, when Jericho was good in the ring.
11 Sting: Night of Champions 2015 vs. Seth Rollins
It was so nice of the WWE to finally bring Sting to the company at Survivor Series 2014. Fans had waited forever to see The Vigilante finally join WWE after spending years as the face of WCW and eventually TNA.
Sting faced Triple H at WrestleMania 31 -- and the match wasn't all that bad considering the ages of 56 and 45, respectively. But when The Icon faced Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions, it was clear that Sting delayed retirement for too long.
Sting wasn't mobile enough to keep pace with Rollins. And as everyone remembers, Sting suffered a legitimate neck injury during the match which eventually forced him to retire for good. It would have been better if this match never happened -- because, hey, maybe he would have faced Undertaker at WrestleMania!
10 New Jack: 2003 Match vs. Gypsy Joe
New Jack helped put ECW on the wrestling map, thanks to his extremely dangerous and hardcore style of wrestling where he often put his career on the line. He's quite remembered for seriously injuring a 17-year-old jobber (who claimed he was 19 and professionally trained), during an ECW show in 1996.
So any who, that's the background on New Jack for those of you that weren't familiar with him before. New Jack faced off against Gypsy Joe in a 2003 hardcore match on the independent circuit -- one that was memorable but also featured a 40-year-old Jack who wasn't in his peak wrestling shape any more.
The match was pretty lackluster and apparently got heated, with Jack saying that Joe headbutted him twice. Nonetheless, the match was a pretty forgettable one -- and served as a reminder that New Jack wasn't a great wrestler at that point.
9 Jerry Lawler: 2012 Tag Team Match with Randy Orton
The Sept. 10, 2012 edition of Monday Night Raw is tragically best remembered for commentator Jerry Lawler suffering a legitimate heart attack near the announcer's table. The King thankfully made a full recovery and was soon back on the headset.
But moments before he collapsed, Lawler teamed up with Randy Orton to face CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler in a tag team match. Now, as fun as it was for nostalgic sake to see Lawler return to the ring, the match itself wasn't all that spectacular. Lawler was 62 years of age in this bout, and the match was dominated by Orton for the most part.
A tag team match againt three premier superstars wasn't the right time to bring Lawler back into action. Another match against Michael Cole would have been awesome -- right?!
8 Ric Flair: MITB Match at WrestleMania 22
"WOOOOOOOOO" turned to "BOOOOOOOOO" as The Nature Boy participated in a Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 22. This match also featured Rob Van Dam, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin and Bobby Lashley. Hmm, so you have some of the most electrifying and risk-taking wrestlers like RVD and Hardy in a ladder match.
Cool. So why in the world was the Nature Boy in this one?
As much as everyone loves Flair, his wrestling career dragged on for far too long -- especially for a guy who was never THAT entertaining as an in-ring wrestler. Flair had no reason to be put in a ladder match, because guys pushing 60 aren't really supposed to climb and fall off ladders.
Classic WWE at its absolute finest.
7 Goldberg: Survivor Series 2016 Vs. Brock Lesnar
Goldberg was never that good of a wrestler to begin with. The former pro football player could only do the Jackhammer or the spear -- and it somehow made him a legend in WCW for some time.
The 270-pound muscle machine worked out extensively after re-signing with the WWE in 2015. He announced his intentions to face Brock Lesnar at the 2016 edition of Survivor Series -- and yes it was a hyped-up match, of course.
But Goldberg was 49 years of age during this match, and he never had the stamina to put on a decent match for more than two minutes. So of course he beat Lesnar in 1:26 in extremely dominating fashion. At least their match at WrestleMania XX lasted nearly 14 minutes!
6 The Fabulous Moolah: No Mercy 1999 Vs. Ivory
The Fabulous Moolah pioneered women's professional wrestling and really paved the way for future legends like Trish Stratus, Lita and others. Moolah was an extremely active wrestler for decades, becoming a prominent name in the industry throughout the late '40s and much of the '50s.
But for some reason, the WWE thought it was smart to have a 76-year-old Moolah face Ivory for the Women's Championship at the 1999 edition of No Mercy. Moolah was obviously not in prime wrestling shape any more, and the match was more of a comedic relief if anything else.
Moolah would hold onto the title for eight days before Ivory regained it. It was nice for Moolah to become the oldest Women's champion, but the match was not really spectacular -- as you would expect with a 76-year-old participating.
5 Bret Hart: WrestleMania XXVI vs. Vince McMahon
Bret Hart infamously was involved in The Montreal Screwjob and left the WWE on bitter terms in 1997. Looking to finally put the past behind him (along with Vince McMahon), Hart returned to the WWE in 2010 and engaged in a feud with the company's chairman. The two agreed to face off at WrestleMania XXVI in a No Holds Barred Lumberjack match.
In this one, members of the Hart Family came ring side (Vince paid them off to screw Bret over, but they double-crossed Vince). The match was dominated by Hart, who tortured McMahon with the Sharpshooter while attacking him over-and-over again with a steal chair.
Now, it was a nice way for them to close the book on the Montreal Screwjob. But Hart was 52 in this match, and nowhere in shape to perform a good match. Had this been done five to 10 years earlier, it could have actually been a decent bout. But Hart was too old to make this hyped-up match a worthwhile one.
4 The Ultimate Warrior: Nu-Wrestling Evolution vs. Orlando Jordan
The Ultimate Warrior was never a great in-ring wrestler, but his awesome intro music and presentable character got him over with wrestling fans all over the world in the '80s and '90s. As WCW began to sink and Warrior stopped being relevant to fans, he retired from wrestling in late 1998.
Warrior would then return in 2008 for Nu-Wrestling Evolution to wrestle against Orlando Jordan (remember him?). The two faced off for the World Championship, with Warrior emerging victorious.
Warrior was nearly 50 years of age when the match happened. Throw that in with the fact that he hadn't wrestled for a decade, and you can see why he shouldn't have wrestled in the first place. It was fun for some fans to see him return (just for nostalgic sake and all), but Warrior was well past his best ring days in this one.
3 Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka: WrestleMania XXV
Every year at WrestleMania, the WWE tries to make things for fun by bringing back veterans to either perform a segment or even wrestle in a match. WrestleMania XXV featured a Handicap Elimination match between Chris Jericho (The GOAT), Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat and other WWE legends in Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka.
Jericho was still in his wrestling prime (as a performer), and Steamboat wrestled extremely well for a man in his mid-50s. The two men brought the crowd to their feet with great performances.
But Piper (a year younger than Steamboat) wasn't in shape or condition to wrestle at this point. Snuka was also 10 years older than Steamboat, and obviously not capable of putting on a strong performance. Jericho won a match that was half lackluster, because of the mistake of adding two guys that weren't in shape to perform.
2 Hulk Hogan: WrestleMania X8 Vs. The Rock
In one of the most hyped up matches of all-time, Hulk Hogan (who had recently returned to the company after WCW was bought out by Vince McMahon), faced The Rock at WrestleMania X8. It was Hogan's first match since returning on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
It was two of the biggest wrestling faces in history. Hogan -- the man who made the WWE the global powerhouse it's known as today and The Rock -- who helped the WWF launch into The Attitude Era which helped put WCW out of business.
The match is considered a classic, mainly because of how insanely loud the folks at The SkyDome were in Toronto. But this match featured a 48-year-old Hogan vs. a 29-year-old Rock -- who is among the most gifted athletes in human history. The Rock had to oversell just about every attack from Hogan -- including the Leg Drop. Rock won in a back-and-forth bout, but the match would have been more exciting if it took place 10 years earlier. Hogan was too old in this one, brother.
1 The Undertaker: WrestleMania 33 Vs. Roman Reigns
Alright, so WrestleMania 33 was basically a show where too many past-their-prime veterans performed.
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns was doomed to fail from the beginning. Probably less than one percent of WWE fans will say that The Deadman's final match should have happened against a wrestler that we've universally rejected. Oh, and it was pretty obvious Reigns would win -- so that didn't help, either. It was great of 'Taker to put Reigns over.
But the whole match was just a yawn fest. The Undertaker was 52 in this match. Roman Reigns was 31. The pace, choreography and lack of excitement made this one of the worst main event matches in recent memory.
This isn't a knock against The Undertaker. He's been wrestling for three decades, has suffered many legitimate injuries over the years and his style of wrestling didn't mesh well with Reigns. But if he was 10 years younger, then the match would have been great. Shame on the WWE for allowing Reigns to completely dominate The Phenom. At WrestleMania. In his final match.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!