One of the more fun things about wrestling is that you can never predict how long someone will be able to perform before retiring. NFL players typically end their careers in their early 30s and that number is shrinking every year with the dreadful injuries in the sport. NBA and MLB stars are often playing into their late 30s before hanging it up. There’s no formula in wrestling, as the scripted aspect works to the advantage there. The most athletic talent gets the top spots in sports because it’s a real competition that sees the late 20-year-olds dominate the game. Wrestling is all about drawing money and legends can work at any age as long as WWE is fine with it.
Many of the wrestlers on the last few WrestleMania cards were up there in age with the selling point of name recognition getting fans to tune in. Sting main evented a PPV for the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins at the age of 56 in 2015. Triple H just main evented WrestleMania as the WWE Champion at 46 years old. The differences in ages create interesting matchups between various talents allowing so many dream matches to be possible. We’ll never be able to see Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James in the NBA due to the age gap, but WWE was able to give us Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock in 2002.
While wrestlers can wrestle longer than other athletes can compete, that doesn’t mean it always makes sense. Between the risks of putting their health on the line with the very real dangers in the ring and the cold landscape of only being worthwhile if drawing money, not everyone will have long careers in WWE. The company is currently having a bit of a youth movement with NXT’s rise creating new stars. Along with the timing, that means many of the current stars are on borrowed time. Looking into the future, we will attempt to forecast the roster changes WWE will see in the next four years and predict the top fifteen wrestlers that will retire by 2020.
15 The Undertaker
13 Mark Henry
9 Nikki Bella
7 Chris Jericho
5 Brock Lesnar
4 Big Show
3 Eva Marie
2 The Miz
1 John Cena
Most of the top stars in the wrestling industry work into their mid-40s unless an injury shortens their career but John Cena has the makings for being the exception to the rule. Cena gives everything he has to the WWE when on the clock but has quite an array of desires outside of the wrestling business. His acting career and business aspect of Cena’s life will only grow as he gets older and attempts to change his priorities. The recent injuries and aging process have to be weighing on Cena’s mind. John may be the richest man in wrestling history (excluding The Rock’s money from acting) and can leave any time he wants to. His effort being put into outside projects makes Cena the prime candidate to retire in the next four years before injuries damage his future endeavors.
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