The WWE has put on thousands of matches over the years. Some are remembered as all-time greats, some are thought of as some of the worst of all time, and some are just never remembered. Everyone has their favorite wrestler though. Sometimes those stars leave with little to no notice, shocking their fans.
If you could go back and re-watch their last match for the first time ever with the awareness that it was their last match, how would you feel about it? If you knew that Edge would retire after his WrestleMania match with Alberto Del Rio would you have enjoyed it more? So many careers were ended prematurely due to injuries or in some cases, death. I know it upset me that the last image of Eddie Guerrero was him getting hit by a steel chair.
Very rarely do wrestlers get their storybook ending. For every Shawn Michaels, there is a Ric Flair that desperately tries to hold on to his career, although his last WWE match was a classic. This list is filled with sad endings to truly great WWE careers.
None of these matches would fall into that all-time great category, but many of the wrestlers on this list would. So let's not wait any longer and dive into the 15 Times You Didn't Realize It Was A Wrestler's Last WWE Match.
15 15. Beth Phoenix - RAW vs. AJ Lee
Beth Phoenix was one of the strongest divas to ever wrestle in the WWE. She played a great heel in her time in the WWE. During her WWE run Beth would win the Women's title once, and the Divas title on three separate occasions. She is most known by new fans as the woman who is shown eliminating the 7-foot-4 Great Khali in every Royal Rumble advertisement.
14 14. Umaga - Extreme Rules 2009 vs. CM Punk
Umaga had an interesting run during his WWE career. He debuted as a member of 3-Minute Warning with his cousin Rosey. They would attack people at the request of Eric Bischoff. After that gimmick died Eddie Fatu would re-debut as Umaga. Umaga would go on a lengthy undefeated streak and would beat many top names in the company.
13 13. Rey Mysterio - RAW vs. Bad News Barrett
Rey Mysterio is one of the greatest high-fliers in pro wrestling history. Rey would dominate the cruiserweight division in WCW and WWE. Rey would give hope to the smaller wrestlers everywhere by winning the World Heavyweight Title and the WWE title during his time in the company. Rey would unfortunately struggle with knee injuries throughout his WWE career. Due to all this missed time, the WWE was able to add time to his contract without his approval. Mysterio wanted a much easier schedule as his body was wearing down.
12 12. Davey Boy Smith - Sunday Night Heat vs. Eddie Guerrero
Davey Boy Smith is another sad cautionary tale for wrestlers everywhere. He had a long career in wrestling. Sadly drugs, alcohol, and steroids cut his career far shorter than it should have been. Davey Boy would be in and out of the WWE throughout the 1990s. He suffered a horrific back injury while working for WCW in 1998. When he returned to the WWE he was not the same.
11 11. Brian Pillman - Shotgun Saturday Night vs. The Patriot
Brian Pillman could play an unstable loose cannon like no one else. Dean Ambrose is the closest comparison to anyone in the WWE today but his character doesn't come close to the type of stuff The Loose Cannon would do. Pillman was a member of the Hart Foundation at the time of his tragic and untimely death. He was scheduled to face Dude Love at Badd Blood: In Your House, but the morning of the PPV. Pillman was found dead in his hotel room at the age of 35.
10 10. Christian - RAW vs. Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus & Dolph Ziggler
Christian was one of my favorite wrestlers in the WWE. He was so underrated. He was thought of as a low-level wrestler in his first run in the company. After winning the world title in TNA, Christian came back in a much bigger role in the WWE. After some years of toiling away in the upper midcard, he would win the World Heavyweight Championship twice (winning the first one with a little help from his recently retired friend Edge).
9 9. AJ Lee - RAW with Paige & Naomi vs. The Bella Twins & Natalya
AJ Lee was one of the most beloved, and most hated divas during her time in the company. She sparked the Divas Revolution that has now seen women main event multiple shows and PPVs. Women in the company today owe a lot to the outspoken former diva. It is said AJ Lee was miserable during her last year in the WWE. She became more outspoken against management and fought for better pay and exposure for the women in the company.
8 8. Owen Hart - RAW with Jeff Jarrett vs. Godfather & Val Venis
Owen Hart was not only a great technical wrestler but also a hell of a high flier. A member of the iconic Hart family, Owen was always somewhat in the shadow of his more successful brother Bret. At Over The Edge 1999, Owen would tragically pass away. The harness that was holding him for his descent to the ring released and Owen fell to the ring. Owen was one of the most beloved wrestlers in the entire company. The WWE had a tribute episode of Raw to him after Over The Edge.
7 7. Hulk Hogan - SummerSlam 2006 vs. Randy Orton
Hulk Hogan was with the WWE for the majority of the 1980s. He took part in all the biggest matches and was the world champion for much of this time. His initial run in the WWE ended in controversy due to steroid allegations. Hulk would reinvent himself as a heel in WCW, which likely extended his career. He would return to the WWE numerous times over the years. He would also have a huge failed run in TNA, which would all take place after his last official WWE Match.
6 6. Kurt Angle - ECW vs. Sabu
It was just recently announced that Kurt Angle was returning to the WWE to join the WWE Hall Of Fame. An in-ring return is never out of the question but with his health and the cautious nature of WWE doctors, I doubt it. Kurt Angle would have his last match on an ECW taping in early August 2006. Kurt would face Sabu and the match would end in a No Contest due to interference from RVD.
5 5. Eddie Guerrero - SmackDown vs. Mr. Kennedy
Eddie Guerrero had a long and winding road in the WWE. He struggled with drug and alcohol abuse that cost him his job and his family. Eddie's story of redemption is inspiring to those who are going through similar problems. Eddie would reach the top of the mountain in the WWE at No Way Out 2004 winning the WWE Title. Eddie would establish himself as a top superstar in the WWE right up until his death. He was rumored to be winning the world title again which would have happened a few weeks later in a match against Batista. Eddie unfortunately would pass away before that happened. He passed away on November 13th, 2005 due to heart failure.
4 4. Andre the Giant - WrestleMania VI with Haku vs. Demolition
Andre The Giant was one of the biggest stars in wrestling history. He was undefeated for over a decade. His match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III is one of the most talked about matches in WWE history. His last match in the company came at WrestleMania VI. Andre was already clearly slowing down at this point. The man lived in constant pain. Andre's last match in the WWE had him and Haku taking on the team of Demolition. Andre would lose his last match, but he left in a memorable fashion, turning face after being scolded by Bobby Heenan. While Andre would wrestle a couple more times for WWE on tours, this was his final televised WWE match.
3 3. CM Punk - Royal Rumble 2014
CM Punk scratched and clawed his way to the top of the WWE. His pipebomb promo would go down as one of the most talked about moments in wrestling history. Much like his wife, Punk fought for the smaller wrestlers in the company to get more opportunities. Punk showed the bosses that the small "vanilla midgets" could draw big money for the company. CM Punk would have his last match at the Royal Rumble in 2014. After he was eliminated from the match, Punk would take a leave of absence.
2 2. Edge - WrestleMania XXVII vs. Alberto Del Rio
This is one of the saddest ones for me on the list. As a lifelong Edge fan, it was a damn shame to see his career end prematurely. Edge had a hell of a WWE career, winning the WWE title four times and the World Heavyweight Championship seven times. All this after a lengthy career as a tag team wrestler with fellow list mate Christian.
1 1. Daniel Bryan - SmackDown with John Cena vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
The leader of the YES movement had a hell of a rocky career in the WWE. Every time he would break through to the top of the company, he would suffer an injury and be forced to miss significant time. He was so loved by the fans that people booed long time fan favorite Rey Mysterio during his entry at #30 in the '14 Rumble because they wanted Bryan. Bryan would win multiple titles during his time in the WWE, unfortunately having to vacate some of them due to injury. Like Christian, Bryan struggled with concussions.
His last match took place on an episode of SmackDown on April 16th, 2016. Bryan teamed up with John Cena to defeat Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. Since retiring Bryan has become the GM of SmackDown and one of the stars of Total Bellas.
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