We all know the wrestling industry can be a brutal one and there are no guarantees of a long career. That’s why it’s amazing that someone like Ric Flair or The Undertaker could be on top for so long. The years they put in adds towards their legacies and the fact that they stayed on top for so long makes them Gods to everyone who enjoys ‘rasslin’.
Most of these wrestlers aren’t on the level of Flair and The Undertaker, however, we can’t deny that their longevity in the business is something special to witness. They’ve given their bodies for our entertainment and to see them still active in the ring brings a smile to many faces. Why don’t they hang up the boots? Only they can tell you that but as long as their healthy and able to pull off a match, TheSportster will keep on supporting them.
We have wrestlers from different eras and different stages in their life so you might be surprised at some of the names you see on here. The only qualification is they had to have one official match for any promotion in the year. With these wrestlers still working inside the ring, it would be awesome to see a few of them make one last run in the WWE. Enjoy.
Duane Gill or everyone’s favorite parody gimmick of Bill Golberg, Gillberg, is still wrestling at the age of 58 in 2017. He would make his wrestling debut in 1990 and would work for the WWE from 1991-1994. This was before the Gillberg act and he mostly worked as a jobber. He would return to the company in 1998 and was part of the comic stable J.O.B. Squad. During this time, the character, Gillberg, would be created and he has stuck with the gimmick ever since.
Gillberg has worked three matches and actually won two of them in 2017. He would be involved in a battle royal for DCW in January and also worked a tag team match in February but his last match came against Rod Street in July. This image is of him and David Kline in DCW earlier this year.
The Native American character has become a lost art in the wrestling industry. Billy Two Rivers, Chief Big Heart, Chief Little Eagle, The Youngbloods, Wahoo McDaniel, and Chief Jay Strongbow led the way for that type of character decades ago. Tatanka would be inspired by these pioneers and two years after getting involved in wrestling, the WWE would give him the famous “Tatanka” character in 1992. He would have great momentum as a babyface but WWE eventually decided to make him a heel and paired him with Ted Dibiase which failed.
Although his momentum didn’t last long in the WWE, Tatanka still wrestles in 2017. He has worked four single matches this year, winning each one. Legends of Wrestling, British Championship Wrestling, and Freedom Pro Wrestling would acquire his services this year. He has a legends contract with the WWE, maybe we see him make another appearance at WrestleMania down the road?
13 Stevie Richards
A pupil of Mike Sharpe’s wrestling school, Richards would make his debut in 1992 for Eastern Championship Wrestling. The company would become Extreme Championship Wrestling under Paul Heyman and Richards would thrive. After being part of Raven’s Nest, Richards would become a founding father of The Blue World Order. The hilarious stable became a bigger hit than what was originally attended (a parody of New World Order) and is still talked about by fans today.
This image is of Richards with the WildKat Heavyweight Championship for the WildKat Pro Wrestling promotion. Although he has been working for other promotions this year, Richards has mostly been booked to defend that championship for WildKat. His bWo buddies, the Blue Meanie and Hollywood Nova, have also worked a few matches this year as well.
12 The Sandman
Before Stone Cold Steve Austin was drinking beers in the ring, ECW’s Sandman was already doing it. He may not be the most athletically gifted wrestler but Sandman brought a hardcore and realistic element that only a few others have mastered. Fans of the ECW instantly fell in love with the beer cracking, Kendo Stick swinging, and chain smoking wrestler.
The Sandman would make his wrestling debut in 1989 and has worked three matches in 2017 so far. In March, Sandman would win the DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Title against Joey Ryan at WrestleCon’s SuperShow of 2017. His last match was a win against Nick Depp for Terry Harper Presents Pizza King of the Ring in June. At 54 years old, Sandman still has a few more years left in him before the fat lady sings.
He would debut in the WWE in 1994 as “The Black Phantom” but most fans remember him returning to the WWE in 1998 as Gangrel. He would be paired with Christian and Edge and the trio would form the stable, The Brood. They had the look, in-ring ability, and great entrance but the team would split in just one year. It was obvious that Christian and Edge were gushing with talent and Gangrel would become the odd man out.
He would make his wrestling debut in the late 1980s and incredibly is still involved today. In this image, Gangrel is with Jessie Sorenson and Wes Brisco. He’s been involved in single matches with Kevin Thorn and Moose to Battle Royals involving other wrestlers past their prime, such as Marty Jannetty and Mr. Hughes.
10 Shane Douglas
On an electric night in August of 1994, Shane Douglas would pull off an epic real shoot promo that shook the foundation of several promotions in the wrestling industry. NWA would book him to win the World Heavyweight Championship and after the victory, Douglas would throw the belt down and introduced a new belt, telling everyone he’s the "Extreme Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion of the world.”
The fallout was incredible and was one of the last “wars” of the territory days as ECW would leave NWA with Douglas and create their own brand. Today, Douglas is still competing in championship matches. He would wrestle for the H20 Heavyweight Title, CKCW World Heavyweight Title, and POG Heavyweight Title, XICW Xtreme Intense Title, and PWASD Heavyweight Title all this year.
9 Savio Vega (With The Great Muta)
The Puerto Rican native made his wrestling debut in 1986. He would work for the WWC which dominated the Caribbean wrestling scene. After six years on the indie scene, Vega would sign with the WWE in 1993. Billed as Kwang, a gimmick with Asian elements, it failed terribly so Vince McMahon and WWE decided to change his character in 1995.
He would become the Savio Vega we all know and had a few decent runs and storylines before leaving the company in 1999. After being away from ring action for 17 months, Vega returned in June of this year. He's been involved in several multi-man tag matches and picked up a win in each match. This recent photo is of Vega and Keiji Muto otherwise known as The Great Muta in July.
8 Rock 'n' Roll Express
When Triple H says Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is one of the greatest tag teams ever, and he’s not lying. Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton epitomize the Tag Team Division. They were neither the tallest nor the strongest and had to work together to get a win. With their speed, combination of moves, and “Rock Star” gimmick, this team definitely deserves to be called Hall of Famers.
Still not convinced? Pretty much everyone from their generation is retired but these two are still making appearances and having matches. They have worked three matches together this year but also have worked separate events with other wrestlers. Their last match together was at MCW’s Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup VXII in July. It’s amazing how they debuted in 1983 and are still active today.
7 2 Cold Scorpio
The man who helped make the 450 Splash one of the flashiest finishers in the industry is still wrestling today. 2 Cold Scorpio would make his wrestling debut in 1985 but wasn’t faring well on the indie circuit in the United States. He would pack his bags and fly over to New Japan Pro Wrestling and would start to hone in on his skills. After traveling the world, 2 Cold Scorpio would return to the United States in 1992 and work for WCW.
As a pioneer of the Cruiserweight wrestlers exploding in the 1990s in North America, 2 Cold Scorpio deserves more recognition for his work. He may not be able to pull off the 450 Splash today but he’s still wrestling. This image was taken at FEW’s Super Party where 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Scorpio Sky earlier this year.
6 Jim Duggan
Hooooo! The patriotic legend, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, is still carrying a 2x4 and taking care of business in 2017. The winner of the inaugural Royal Rumble has worked a match several times this year. In March, he would defeat TC Washington and Akbar for Legacy Pro Wrestling and Legends of Wrestling respectively. The momentum carried over to a weekend of fun in April for the promotion Superstars of Wrestling Federation.
He would defeat Salvatore Sincere and be on the winning side of a six-man match on back-to-back days. Duggan’s win streak hasn’t be derailed yet, the legend beat Al Farat and won two tag team matches with Imperial Wrestling Revolution. At 63 years young and undefeated in 2017, who doesn’t want Duggan back in a WWE in ring one more time? Hoooooo!
As a member of the legendary Anoa’i family, Rikishi was born to be a wrestler. He would make his debut in 1985 and would work different territories until the WWE signed him in 1992. He was part of the “New Generation Era” as one-half of The Headshrinkers. Rikishi would be on the jobber’s path for a long time before exploding with charisma in the late 1990s with Too Cool.
The Hall of Famer won the Intercontinental Championship and several Tag Team Titles before leaving the company in 2004. At 50 years old, Rikishi has worked four wrestling matches this year. He would mostly be involved in tag matches and has won each time. It would be cool to see him reunite with his sons, The Usos, for one last run in the WWE.
4 Kevin Sullivan
At 67 years old, Kevin Sullivan made his wrestling debut in the early 1970s. With a background in amateur wrestling, Sullivan easily transitioned over to the industry. At five foot eight inches tall, Sullivan had a height disadvantage in the industry. He needed to rely on his charisma and creativity to make it to the big leagues. Sullivan would be known for the “Satanist” gimmick which he used several times over his career.
Not only was he a wrestler but he also was involved in backstage responsibilities including booking duties and producing content for several promotions. This image is Sullivan’s only match this year against Stockade of the H20 Wrestling promotion. Sullivan and Stockade would go to a no contest and it’s a no surprise that some hardcore elements were involved.
3 Tito Santana
Tito Santana is another awesome legend that's still active today. The longevity of his career is amazing and just adds to his legacy. Santana would make his wrestling debut in 1976 after a preseason stint in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Santana would eventually find a home in the wrestling ring.
He would be involved in key storylines for the WWE in the 1980s but never won the Heavyweight Championship. Although he didn’t win the big one, he was a Tag Team Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and won a King of the Ring tournament in 1989 (before it became a PPV). Nowadays, Santana has already worked four matches this year. This photo came at Big Time Wrestling’s Supershow 2017 and he teamed up with local Bay Area legend Shane Kody.
2 Paul Orndorff
Paul Orndorff was a great half-back for the University of Tampa but decided to pursue a career in professional wrestling after a becoming a bust. Orndorff would not become a bust in the wrestling industry so maybe it was the right move for the Hall of Famer. He would sign with the WWE in 1983 and would be involved in the main event of the inaugural WrestleMania.
Orndorff would win a few titles in his career but he was mostly used to put over other stars, which is what a true heel did during his era. After 17 years away from the action inside the ring, Orndorff made his triumphant return for CWE’s 8th Anniversary Show Tour earlier this year. He would be involved in a six-man tag match and as you can see, Orndorff wasn’t afraid to get a little dirty with the chair.
1 Dory Funk Jr.
We expressed how incredible it is for wrestlers that debuted years ago to still be active today. Now take a gander at Dory Funk Jr. who made his debut in 1963. This image isn’t photo-shopped and was actually taken at a live wrestling event in Japan in April. At 76 years old, Funk Jr. is one of the oldest active wrestlers in the industry.
If you don’t know who he is, Dory is the older brother of Terry Funk. He was a huge star during the territory days for NWA and other promotions. This year, the timeless veteran has worked five matches so far. He would be involved in four multi-man tag team matches for All Japan Pro Wrestling. He also worked one match earlier this year in the United States for FC !BANG!.