The Retirement Match, or some variation of it, might be the longest running gimmick match in wrestling history, next to the battle royal and steel cage. In the older days of regional promotions, these matches were billed as "Loser Leaves Town" matches, where the loser would simply move to another wrestling company down the road. Another popular variation that sprung up was the Career vs Title match, where a wrestler put his entire career on the line to get a shot at the championship. As the Monday Night Wars heated up, they became an easy way to write off guys jumping between WCW and WWE. And finally, in the more recent brand extension, they were prevalent when guys went from RAW to SmackDown and back again.
However, despite the built-in high stakes, these matches can be hugely disappointing. Especially in the era of dirt sheets and internet news, the winner can be obvious weeks in advance. Even if it's any kind of swerve ending, most of the time the retirements only last long enough for a wrestler to rehab an injury or film a movie. The below matches are the most disappointing examples, featuring several matches both old and new across the WWE and WCW. After watching through these matches, any wrestling fan is going to want to permanently retire the retirement match.
15 The Rock vs Mankind - Pink Slip on a Pole Match, RAW 1999
14 Matt Hardy vs. Edge - Loser Leaves RAW/MITB Ladder Match, RAW Homecoming
On paper, the Matt Hardy vs Edge feud over Lita was a no-brainer. Edge was one of the hottest rising stars in the WWE, the real-life drama was red hot, and the two had been famous foes at the height of WWE's popularity in TLC matches. Their previous matches at SummerSlam, Unforgiven, and a RAW street fight had all been pretty solid.
13 Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan, Bash at the Beach 1997
This was a great feud, lasting over a year, with several good matches along the way. It was also a pretty solid match and blow-off to a big storyline. Even better, the right person won, with Sullivan putting over the young Benoit. Even better, Sullivan actually disappeared from TV after his loss. So why is it here?
12 Ric Flair vs. Mr. Kennedy, No Way Out 2008
In late 2007, Ric Flair started on a series of matches where Vince McMahon ordered that if Flair lost, he would be retired. It was a great story that culminated in Shawn Michaels' unforgettable Wrestle?ania moment, saying "I'm sorry, I love you" before Superkicking Flair into oblivion. However, most of the matches leading up to this weren't as memorable.
11 Layla vs. Michelle McCool - Loser Leaves WWE, Extreme Rules 2011
10 Kevin Sullivan vs. Cactus Jack - Loser Leaves WCW, Fall Brawl 1994
9 Ric Flair vs. David Flair - If Ric Flair Lost, He'd Retire, Great American Bash 2000
8 Chris Jericho vs. John Cena - You're Fired Match, RAW 2005
7 Triple H vs. Goldberg - Title vs. Career, Unforgiven 2003
6 Marc Mero vs. Sable - Loser Leaves Town, Over the Edge 1998
5 Scott Steiner vs. Kevin Nash - WCW Title Retirement Match, Superbrawl Revenge 2001
4 Hulk Hogan vs. Billy Kidman - Winner Gets A Title Shot/Hogan Would Retire If He Lost, Great American Bash 2000
3 Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash - Retirement Match For The WCW Title, Road Wild 1999
2 Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd - Andre's Career vs. 15.000 Dollar Bodyslam, WrestleMania I
1 Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania XX
And then, 19 years later, the WWE reached the platonic ideal of the horrible retirement match. The double retirement match. This wasn't an official stipulation, but the crowd and everyone watching at home knew they were both leaving for other pursuits. So why should they care? The WrestleMania crowd was brutal, booing both wrestlers when they did anything. Special Referee Steve Austin basically had to beg them to hook up and, even then, it wasn't pretty. After sleepwalking through their signature moves, Goldberg mercifully ended the match and disappeared from WWE forever. There were really no winners, although the suffering fans did at least get a couple of Stone Cold Stunners and middle fingers after Austin took out all their collective frustrations on the two.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!