Wrestlers and retirement go hand and hand with superheroes dying in comic books; it rarely happens and even when it does, they somehow manage to return from the dead and in wrestler’s cases, even regardless of retiring from the ring, they often don’t stay away for very long. Whether they become ambassadors for one of the major brands that they were involved in or announcers or even trainers, the addiction to the action is in their blood and often they keep coming back for more.
Remember the famous “Retirement Matches?” Yeah, how many of those really have held true to their word? Maybe the wrestler retires from that specific organization, then shows up in the ring for another organization or, better yet, gets convinced somehow, someway to have one more match. Look at how many times fans have begged for Hulk Hogan to retire or for Ric Flair to walk away from the ring for good and, yet on the flip side, they still beg for a dream match between Shawn Michaels and A.J. Styles.
For the most part, the following 15 wrestlers have hung up their wrestling boots, trunks and tights and started to explore the other options that life has to offer outside of the ring, however there are some that are rumored to be returning to action under the spotlight or at the very least in some sort of backstage capacity.
15. Ted DiBiase Jr.
A short spin with Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton as the group The Legacy was another attempt at getting Jr. over with the WWE Universe, but that quickly failed. Sadly all the potential talent seemed to have gone to waste before it even had a chance to be fully displayed, as a result of multiple injuries and a desire to spend time with his growing family. With that, Ted decided not to renew his contract and hung up his boots after only five years in the big time.
In addition to his duties at home, DiBiase Jr. has also spent time focusing on his non-profit organization helping the less fortunate. Maybe his multi-millionaire character isn’t as Scrooge-like in real life as it was made to appear on screen.
Ariane Andrew made her name in the WWE as a contestant on Tough Enough season five when she declared to Stone Cold Steve Austin that her favorite wrestling match was a RAW match between Melina and Alicia Fox (hey, why couldn’t it be someone’s favorite, why all the hate?!). From there Cameron joined Naomi as part of The Funkadactyls, a pair of ringside dancers for Brodus Clay.
After moving on from shaking their junk for Tons Of Funk, Cameron and Naomi took to the ring in tag team and singles action. Both ladies also joined the cast of Total Divas in spotlight roles for the first three seasons, while Cameron would see her role be cut down for season four.
After being sent back down to the farm (NXT) in 2015, Cameron would find herself with a pink slip in hand early in 2016. She’s currently is engaged with different media avenues focusing on health and wellness as well as anti-bullying campaigns.
13. Eve Torres
Eve Gracie may be one of the most beautiful, athletic, yet completely underrated WWE female competitors of this generation. After joining the WWE as part of the 2007 Diva Search, Torres took on a role as a non-wrestling performer for her first couple of years. For the next four years, Torres would take on a number of personas as she would switch between a full-time wrestler, a manager and a “management” role.
Even though the former model and dancer was able to capture the Divas Championship belt three different times, her place in WWE history is often overlooked. After marrying into the famed Gracie family, the multi-talented Torres has not only taken a prominent position with the Gracie Women Empowerment program, but has also dabbled in a number of other ventures including a return to acting (both movie and television) and as well assisting with her sister-in-law’s event management business.
12. Santino Marella
Unfortunately, despite his wrestling and martial arts talents, Santino Marella would find himself as a comedic character rather than a serious contender to any actual championships in WWE. Although he would be rewarded with a second IC title run, a stint with Vladimir Kozlov as the Tag Team Champions and a US Championship during his seven year career on the main roster, things like becoming Miss WrestleMania and “The Cobra” became his calling card.
After a series of neck injuries would demand that he hang up his boots and singlet in 2014, Marella would take up the role of an analyst and make several guest appearances to stay relevant with the WWE Universe. Over the past couple of years, Marella has removed himself from the wrestling scene and focused his time as a trainer at his own facility in Ontario called Battlearts Academy.
Lisa Marie Varon was once one of the most interesting and impressive female wrestlers to compete in both a WWE and TNA ring. After seven years battling the rest of the Women’s Division in the WWE, Victoria (Tara) would join the ranks of the TNA Knockouts and wear the championship belt numerous times during her four years with Dixie Carter’s organization.
When her contract wasn’t renewed in 2013, Victoria would travel through the indie organizations and ROH before hanging up her boots. While she was still performing in the ring, Victoria dabbled in the restaurant business, owning a number of different places during her career, some of which she still has a hand in during her time away from the ring. While many may look past her time in the WWE, let’s remember that although she may not have been as decorated as others, Victoria does hold the honor of preforming in the first ever women’s Steel Cage match.
10. Layla El
Despite having limited wrestling talent and being used more as eye candy, the former cheerleader and backup dancer would manage to wear both the Divas Championship and the Women’s Championship belts at various points during her career. Although Layla would improve her skill set over time, the most memorable moments during her career came as part of the dance trio known as Extreme Expose (with Brooke Tessmacher and Kelly Kelly) or as a co-hort of Michelle McCool.
Following a losing effort to Paige in her final match in the WWE, Layla would head into retirement from the ring and spend her time pursuing other ventures including acting, a return to the dance world and supporting and building her family. She lives a low key life nowadays shying away from the spotlight.
The co-winner of the WWE’s first ever Tough Enough competition, Nidia would join the WWE ranks following a brief stint with OVW. Her run in the company was short-lived as she predominantly spent most of her time managing Jamie Noble. Due to roster cuts in November of 2004, Nidia was released by the company.
She continued on briefly joining the indie circuit along with working a minor deal with TNA Wrestling. Eventually, she decided to leave the business starting a family and pursuing a culinary career. The 38 year old was spotted at the Hall of Fame ceremony last year sitting next to Lita. Although she’s closing in on her 40s, the first ever Tough Enough winner still looks to be in great shape.
8. David Flair
This one isn’t all that surprising as David Flair took the smart route opting to leave the wrestling business. Despite his limited in-ring abilities, Flair actually gained success due to his family name winning the US Title with WCW. After the company went under he stayed on the indie circuit for a little bit along with joining TNA, before leaving the industry completely.
Recently, Charlotte Flair gave an update on her brother’s situation during the Sam Roberts Podcast. He’s now living a quiet life away from the wrestling business running a Seal Wire Company alongside his wife. The two are currently residing out of the North Carolina area. Unlike Nidia, Flair’s inching towards his 40s and it seems rather apparent as the aging process hasn’t done the former WCW star any favors.
7. Bull Buchanan
Wrestling wasn’t exactly in a normal state during the 90s as several gimmicks made their way to the WWE including the one of Bull Buchanan. From being a member of the Right To Censor faction to joining forces with John Cena, Bull Buchanan was generally a background player for the company during his stint that started in ’97 and ended in 2003.
He would continue to wrestle despite his inability to stick with the WWE. He continued to work in the industry all the way till November of 2014 when he finally fought his final match teaming up with D’Lo Brown, taking on AJ Steele (not Styles) and Brad Lynch (not Becky Lynch, that’d be weird). Following his retirement, Bull changed fields becoming a County Sheriff.
Celeste Bonin turned her career as a fitness model into a four year run through the WWE before retiring in 2014. After signing her first contract in 2010, Kaitlyn would split time between NXT and SmackDown. After multiple attempts throughout 2012 to capture the Divas Championship from either Layla El or Eve Torres, Kaitlyn finally found success just after the calendar changed, defeating Torres for her first and only wrestling championship.
Although she was still raw (excuse the pun), Kaitlyn had the physical look and started to show promise in the ring as her career continued. However, before she could expand her range and skill-set, the former bodybuilder walked away from the ring in order to explore her true passion, with a return to being a fitness model and spokesperson, as well as developing her fitness clothing line, Celestial Bodiez.
5. Petey Williams
If you’re an average wrestling fan, chances are you never had a chance to see The Maple Leaf Muscle in action. For those who are familiar with TNA, ROH and Lucha Libre along with the various independent organizations, watching Williams wrestle was a treat, if even just for his finishing move, The Canadian Destroyer.
As a mainstay of the TNA X-Division, Williams would proudly support his Canadian heritage as a member of Team Canada along with Eric Young and Bobby Roode. After five years with the organization playing various roles, Williams would take his talents on the road for three years before eventually returning to his original stomping grounds for one last run before hanging up his boots. Currently pursuing a career in law enforcement and raising a family, Williams turned to retirement at the early age of 33 before injuries could take there toll.
4. Tyson Kidd
For over eleven years Kidd bounced around the globe before landing a contract with the WWE. Kicking off his career as part of The Hart Dynasty (with DH Smith, Davey Boy Smith’s son) and Nattie as their manager, the trio were a big part of the SmackDown tag team scene, capturing the championship belts nearly one year after making the main roster.
From there Kidd endured a roller coaster of events including returning to NXT, various tag team partners and some major injuries. In what was one of his most successful programs, Kidd teamed with Cesaro for the later portion of 2014 and half of 2015 to once again become a Tag Team Champion and one of the WWE’s more popular tag teams. Sadly for Kidd, his family and fans, a match against Samoa Joe and a Muscle Buster led to the insertion of 16 staples, four screws and a steel rod being inserted into his neck and spine.
3. Amy Weber
It’s pretty common for a female WWE star to leave the wrestling business following their time in the spotlight. Many in the past have tried to bank of their wrestling fame by joining the entertainment field. Weber did exactly that as she pursued a music, television and film following her brief and uneventful WWE run. She left the WWE due to the backstage atmosphere claiming that it was like a frat house. Listening to some of the stories, she’s probably right.
She did in fact muster up some decent success musically, but ultimately, that success was short-lived. Nowadays, the former member of JBL’s cabinet is living a quiet life away from the ring as a proud mother. With all this JBL bullying speculation, we wonder how he treated Weber during her brief run on SmackDown.
2. Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool was insanely underrated during her WWE stint. Similar to Charlotte Flair, Michelle was an athlete at heart and it caused her to pick up her craft in pro wrestling rather easily. Her time in the company is generally forgotten about because of the state of the division at that point, but her work was certainly noteworthy. She played a terrific heel and the WWE rewarded her work with four title reigns, two as the Divas Champion and two as the Women’s Title holder.
She seems perfect for the current revolution but it looks like her in-ring days are done for as she’s been “semi-retired” for quite some time. She’s a happy mother nowadays living a quiet life with The Undertaker away from the spotlight.
1. Vickie Guerrero
EXCUSE ME! For well over a decade, Eddie Guerrero’s widow played a villainous role on both Raw and SmackDown either as a manager, a love interest or as the General Manager. Before her husband passed away Vickie played a minimal role in his feud with Rey Mysterio and then pairing up with Eddie’s nephew Chavo.
As time passed, Vickie’s television time would increase, taking on a larger variety of roles including romantic stories with Edge and Dolph Ziggler, as well as aligning herself with LayCool (Layla and Michelle McCool). While she wasn’t a fully trained wrestler, Vickie would find herself in several high profile matches including ones against AJ Lee, Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus. After one final match against the current Raw Commissioner, Vickie was written off TV and eventually parted with the WWE in order to pursue a new family life and a career in the medical field.
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