The shelf life of a wrestler is completely unpredictable. Various things such as health, financial situations and fan interest will decide how long a wrestler can continue performing. Chris Jericho recently proved that age can just be a number. At 47 years old, Jericho co-main evented Wrestle Kingdom 12 by having a classic match with Kenny Omega. The work of Jericho showed he could hang with the best wrestler in the world for nearly 40 minutes. On the other side, there are wrestlers like Bret Hart and Steve Austin who had to retire earlier than expected due to health issues.
The story doesn’t always end in grand fashion unfortunately with many wrestlers quietly retiring. Not everyone gets to have the storybook ending like Shawn Michaels losing his final match in the main event of WrestleMania. Quite a few wrestlers have retired recently with little fanfare or attention due to it being out of the WWE bubble. We'll look at the names to hang up their boots and start the next chapter of their lives. The wrestlers that will likely retire soon will be examined again. These are eight former WWE stars that you weren’t aware recently retired along with seven that will be next.
15 Retired: Candice Michelle
Many fans would have assumed Candice Michelle retired many years, but she didn’t make it official until a few months ago. The former WWE Women’s Champion wrestled her final match at Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore event back in December. Michelle wanted to retire on her own terms and had the last match of her career in her home of Wisconsin against close friend Lisa Marie Varon aka Victoria.
14 Next: X-Pac
X-Pac is still wrestling on the independent circuit at shows all over the world. The veteran has a strong passion for wrestling as seen with his weekly activities. X-Pac hosts a podcast every week breaking down the stories in the world of wrestling. The social media pages of X-Pac also feature him interacting with fans discussing wrestling from WWE to New Japan to the independent circuit.
13 Retired: Adam Rose
Life after WWE has been difficult for Adam Rose when it comes to continuing his wrestling career. The release of Rose saw him motivated to prove his talent outside of the WWE restrictions like other wrestlers to thrive. Unfortunately, the fan interest in Rose was weaker than the other wrestlers. None of the hot independent promotions booked him and he has been struggling to get bookings.
12 Next: Carlito
Carlito is one of the wrestlers with the most wasted potential looking back at the hype he had entering WWE. The company had him defeat John Cena on his first night on television to win the United States Championship. Carlito had entertaining matches, a decent amount of charisma and the support of management yet it went nowhere.
11 Retired: Damien Sandow
Damien Sandow received a lot of love from the fan base during his WWE career. From the elitist intellectual heel character to the stunt double of The Miz, Sandow made the most of his minimal opportunities to stand out. Fans were vocally supporting him, but WWE didn’t have faith in him being a major player and he eventually lost his role on television after splitting from Miz.
10 Next: Hardcore Holly
Hardcore Holly is remembered for being one of the toughest and cruelest wrestlers in WWE. Young wrestlers often felt the wrath of Holly with stiff hits in the ring and verbal beat downs backstage when he believed they were stepping out of line. Holly spent fifteen years with WWE working in the mid-card picture for most of his run.
9 Retired: Alex Riley
Great day in the Desert with @aliafsharesx , Director & Writer #AlexRanarivelo & @ladychristinamoore ... Ass-Kicking Wrenchman or Power Forward for the @nyknicks ? ............. Find out 2018 #ForrestFilms #MotoXMovie #KileyJrRingToScreen #Dixon ( photo cred to my boy @hunterclowdus of @mtv #teenwolf )
The WWE career of Alex Riley was a massive disappointment. Riley fit the old cookie cutter mold that WWE wanted when looking to hire new talent. The look and athletic background of Riley landed him a job with WWE. Aside from being The Miz’s lackey, Riley didn’t do anything of note. A big push saw him split from Miz to turn face and it culminated with him botching his way off television.
8 Next: Billy Gunn
D-Generation X legend Billy Gunn created a few memorable moments in WWE throughout his long career. Gunn struggled to find success in his opportunities getting pushed as a singles upper level act. However, the success of Gunn came in tag team action as one half of the New Age Outlaws. The combination of Billy and tag partner Road Dogg allowed them to shine in the Attitude Era.
7 Retired: Matt Morgan
#flexfriday taken Election Day Nov 7 when I became Longwood City Commissioner. About to start work on a new video series I'm going to be featured in on The 5% Nutrition YouTube channel on bulking during my off-season (Grow season!) from NPC competing. When we are ready to launch I will let you know here. #5percenters #5percentnutrition #5percentsponsoredathlete #5percentermentality #welcometomyworld #longwoodlove #longwood #MattMorgan #sayfie
WWE once valued Matt Morgan enough to consider him a major player in their future. Jim Cornette raved about him in the OVW development system. At one point, Morgan was viewed as the best big man prospect since The Undertaker. A horrible WWE run saw him turn into a joke with a stuttering gimmick done in poor taste.
6 Next: Melina
I'm dying of laughter. Been walking all over the place listening to Galway Girl (❤️) with a huge smile on my face. I swear, people are looking at me and smiling back at me as if they want to high five me! I think they think I just had sex. 😂#GoodGame #iJustHadSex #SmilesForMiles #ThisIsJustMe #ToHellWithMakeUp #ImAGalwayGirl #LiveLifeToTheFullest #iSmileBecauseImAlive Now I'm waiting for a text from my mum. #iSwearIveBeenGoodMum #AtBeingBad #JK #LoveYouMummy!
The women’s wrestling division in the 2000s saw Melina become one of the top heels. Melina brought an athletic style of entertainment in her matches along with highly impressive character work as a manager for the MNM tag team. The peak of her run saw her became arguably the top female performer in the company.
5 Retired: Mark Henry
A quiet retirement to go down in 2017 saw Mark Henry step away from the ring. Henry revealed in an interview that he has given up the wrestling boots in exchange for a producer role backstage. The schedule of Henry has him appearing at Raw and SmackDown every week helping put together matches. Henry also has proven to be a great talent scout recommending Braun Strowman, Apollo Crews and a few current NXT talents.
4 Next: Kane
Another star of the past two decades that is nearing retirement would be Kane. The recent return of Kane has seen him enter the main event picture again. Kane is shockingly getting a Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble in a triple threat bout with Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar. This appears to be the final run of Kane and that is why he’s being booked so strongly.
3 Retired: Gail Kim
A huge retirement that is going down focuses on women’s wrestling legend Gail Kim. The talent of Kim has always put her among the top of the list when it comes to best women’s wrestlers. WWE never appreciated her talent and consistently underutilized her during her two stints in the company. Kim has made a legacy in Impact Wrestling to become a legend for women’s wrestling.
2 Next: Alberto Del Rio
#sisisi time to go home amigos but before I do it,I want to say thanks to everyone involved to make this trip amazing... starting with my beautiful family,all my friends from the media, the amazing fans at my friend’s Chabelo restaurant for giving me so much love and support with my charity event, to my team Alex,Ana, Richie @danleor for busting your trasero for me everyday,even when I’m gone... to the fans in #tijuana and my amigo @goyito_perez for coming and having so much fun and taking 2 or 3 chairshots for me 😂😂😂 @combateamericas for the support that night to show the world how the combate familia its always together,to @azteca and @televisa_deportes for having me at the boxing fights to see my friend #laguerrerita become champion @wbaboxingofficial and also was amazing to see the GOAT @jcchavez115 To my good friend @gaby.fdl for all the fun... and that’s actually gonna be a great, amazing surprise for the kids in #xmass in my #mexico Simplemente agradecer a la gente que lo merece antes de que regrese a casa en 3 horas más. Empiezo con mi hermosa familia, después la fanaticada de Tijuana y a mi amigo #goyitopower por rifársela en el ring conmigo, a mi gran equipo de trabajo que se rompen el alma conmigo para hacer todo esto posible a todos mis amigos de la prensa, mi amigo Raúl y Juli por siempre poner el mejor gym de mexico a mi disposición @gbg_gym ,a mis amigos de Azteca por dejarme compartir con el #campeonmexicano #juliocesarchavez a mi amiga #silviatorres por esa gran pelea para coronarse campeona minimosca, a mi amiga Gaby Fdz. Por la diversión en el zócalo y que de hecho va a ser una gran sorpresa para los niños de mi mexico esta navidad. Dios los bendiga todos los días de su vida #sisisi
Alberto Del Rio has become one of the biggest train wrecks in wrestling today. The talent of Del Rio allowed him to become a top player in WWE for a few years. Things eventually trended downwards and he has failed to adapt. Del Rio was released for a second time in 2016 when requesting to get out of his contract.
1 Retired: Bully Ray
Ring of Honor signing Bully Ray at the beginning of 2017 was a huge surprise. The veteran joined the promotion and worked with the younger wrestler for most of the year. Bully however signed with the intention for it to be his final year as a wrestler. The in-ring career of Bully recent ended when he teamed with Tommy Dreamer to face Jay and Mark Briscoe at Final Battle.
Bully was treated to cheers from the New York crowd. His comments following the event have stated that he felt he ended his career on the right terms. Bully hosts a wrestling radio show on Sirius XM Radio and is running his wrestling school. The wrestling career of Bully ending in 2017 seems to be the best decision for all.
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