The nature of pro wrestling is that it is a form of sports entertainment, and thus the matches that one sees inside of arenas are more so acts of theater than they are competitive events. It is for this reason that performers who are no longer in the primes of their careers are still able to find work in different companies even though their days of being underneath the World Wrestling Entertainment umbrella occurred years ago. Wrestlers who are in their late-40s, 50s, 60s and, in some cases, even their 70s can, in some capacity or another, still go inside of rings.
Many of the so-called older wrestlers showcased in this piece should be recognizable to those who would consider themselves to be diehard followers of organizations such as WWE, World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling. Some made their names during the more “cartoony” times in the history of the business. Others found multiple gigs, fame and fortune during what the WWE called the “Attitude Era” of the 1990s when wrestling was hotter in North America than at any other point before or after those days. The WWE is still hoping to hit on another “boom period.” Best of luck with that.
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20 Sean Waltman
Sean Waltman was a mainstay on cable television wrestling shows throughout the 1990s. He first became a star as the Lightning Kid and then the 1-2-3 Kid in the WWE before making the jump to WCW where he was repackaged as Syxx and as a member of the new World order. Waltman returned to the WWE in 1998 to link up with real-life friend Triple H and the D-Generation-X faction, taking the name X-Pac during that run. While Waltman has made sporadic appearances at WWE shows, he still shows up on the independent circuit from time to time.
19 Balls Mahoney
The former “Chair-Swinging Freak” of the original ECW was given a chance to work for the WWE when the company resurrected the ECW brand. His style of in-ring work made him an underdog to climb up WWE cards, though, and Balls Mahoney ultimately made a return to the independent circuit. Mahoney has been a featured act at ECW reunion shows and he has also had stints with a variety of smaller promotions. The veteran of the industry is still taking independent dates, some of which include other former ECW stars, as of June 2015.
18 The Nasty Boys
When is it no longer time to “Get Nasty?” Only Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags will be able to answer that question at some point down the road. One thing that is not in doubt is that the duo is still having fun working at different shows despite the fact that both are currently in their 50s. Along with doing autograph signings for independent promotions, Knobbs and Sags are still lacing up their boots and having matches in front of audiences. They recently were part of the Legends of Wrestling tour that has traveled to ballparks located in the United States.
17 Big Van Vader
One has to give Big Van Vader credit for keeping himself in good enough shape to continue working in the business as of 2015. Viewed by some fans and analysts as the best overall big man to ever work in international promotions, Vader has won championships in multiple countries. It is likely that you remember seeing Vader in WCW and the WWE back in the 1990s, where he feuded with babyface acts such as Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. Vader is still able to take dates as of the posting of this piece, and he recently appeared on an edition of Total Nontstop Action Wrestling.
16 Greg Valentine
There has, over the years, been some speculation that Greg “The Hammer” Valentine was one of the inspirations for the main character Randy “The Ram” Robinson in the movie The Wrestler. It would be easy to understand why one may have that opinion. Valentine will turn 64-years old later on this year, and yet he continues to make appearances at shows. Those of you who remember watching Valentine in the WWE and WCW back in the day can still meet him at events, as Valentine is scheduled to tour with the Legends of Wrestling group.
15 Bob Orton
One would imagine that “Cowboy” Bob Orton will be able to continue having matches so long as he can make journeys to the ring. Orton can, after all, always bring back that famous cast that he wore when working as a heel back in the day. That he turned 64-years old earlier this year has not prevented Orton from mixing it up with opponents during the first half of 2015. He has made appearances with organizations such as the Pinfall Wrestling Association this year. That Orton has not had a true retirement match suggests that he still has something left in the tank.
There was once a time when some working inside of the business thought the man known as Nova could be a major superstar in a promotion such as the WWE. That did not occur, however, in part because Mike Bucci was saddled with a character known as Simon Dean, a fitness guru who was more so a comedy figure than one to be taken seriously. Nova actually chose to step away from the industry as an active worker for a time, but he eventually returned to independent promotions playing his “Hollywood Nova” role. He appeared with his other blue World order teammates in June of 2015.
13 Jake Roberts
The story of Jake “The Snake” Roberts is one that has been covered by many outlets over the years, and it is a tale that may very well have a happy ending. Roberts spent decades fighting personal demons and addiction, and he has done well to get himself sober and avoid what could have been a tragic end to his life. It was in June of 2015 when Roberts, who is 60-years old, stated he's planning on making a comeback. Here is hoping that Roberts will be able to have some successful appearances and, most importantly, remain on a sober track that allows him to enjoy this portion of his life.
12 Chavo Guerrero Jr.
A veteran of the industry who has been wrestling for over two decades of his adult life, Chavo Guerrero Jr. introduced himself to worldwide audiences on WCW shows in the 1990s. His greatest successes while working for top-tier organizations in the United States came when he and Eddie Guerrero linked up in the WWE to form “Los Guerreros.” Chavo spent a couple of years working for TNA Wrestling after leaving WWE, and he is still at it on the independent circuit. Fans can also watch Guerrero. Jr. work for the Lucha Underground promotion.
11 Terry Funk
Terry Funk is a legend of the industry who has starred all around the globe and who was, in his best days, responsible for classic encounters that still hold up decades after they first occurred. Funk is also notorious for never having an official retirement match despite the fact that he is in his 70s. It has been a year or so since he last worked a match, but there is, as of July 2015, no reason to believe that Funk has hung his boots up for good. In fact, any story that claims that Funk is about to have a retirement match should include the notion that he could soon after have yet another “last match.”
10 Mick Foley
Mick Foley has kept himself rather busy since entering the “semi-retired” portion of his career. Foley, who has authored multiple successful books and who still pops up on WWE television every now and again, has hosted numerous stand-up comedy shows and he also serves as a Santa Claus at certain events. As it pertains to wrestling, Foley has worked for the OMEGA promotion and also for Pro Wrestling Syndicate. Much like the previously mentioned Terry Funk, Foley has not yet had what has been deemed to be a definite “retirement match.”
9 Great Muta
Great Muta is well-respected for being a Japanese wrestling superstar who also managed to get over with fans in the United States. In fact, there are unquestionably wrestling fans in the United States who mostly know Muta for what he accomplished while working with World Class Championship Wrestling and the NWA. He is still going strong despite turning 50-years old in 2012, working in his own promotion Wrestle-1. Those who only follow North American pro wrestling organizations were also able to watch Muta work for TNA earlier this year.
8 Jushin Thunder Liger
Like Great Muta, Jushin Thunder Liger is a Japanese superstar who is not showing many signs of walking away from the business despite the fact that he is 50-years old. The New Japan Pro Wrestling legend had multiple stints with the old WCW organization, and he has also worked in the United States under the TNA Wrestling and ROH banners. Liger has appeared at ROH shows in each of the past two years, challenging for titles during those events. He was, in June 2015, featured on ROH television in a match that featured Dalton Castle as an opponent.
Anybody who ever even considers doubting the toughness of pro wrestlers needs to only examine the career had by Sabu. The man known for being homicidal, suicidal and death-defying has the scars to show all that he has been his body through while working in the industry. Sabu made his name working for the original ECW and he also spent time with TNA Wrestling and the WWE before venturing out on the independent scene. Sabu, who remains outspoken about matters in the wrestling business, is still taking wrestling dates well into 2015.
6 Jim Duggan
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is not letting the fact that he is 61-years old prevent him from keeping active in the wrestling industry. Duggan is most known for his work in the WWE years ago, but he actually won many championships in multiple organizations. The WWE Hall of Fame member has a Legends deal with that company, one that allows him to work dates with other organizations. Duggan is still taking independent dates, and he also recently signed a contract with Global Force Wrestling. GFW is set to get off of the ground in the summer of 2015.
5 2 Cold Scorpio
2 Cold Scorpio has been a journeyman performer throughout the bulk of his wrestling career, never landing one true home with any particular organization. He made moves from New Japan to WCW and then to ECW before linking up with the WWE in the 1990s, where he adopted the “Flash Funk” gimmick. Scorpio is no longer a mainstay at weekend independent shows, but he has never had an official retirement match. He has kept himself in great shape over the years, so much so that he can still have above-average matches even though he will turn 50-years old in the fall of 2015.
4 Scott Steiner
There is one thing you know about Scott Steiner if you are an independent promoter who is able to get his services for one of your shows: The 52-year old may make headlines if he is allowed to speak over a live microphone during that event. While the days of Steiner performing the "Frankensteiner" are now well into the past, he continues to work for independent organizations as of the summer of 2015. Steiner, like Jim Duggan, has also put pen to paper on a deal with Global Force Wrestling. Big Poppa Pump is not yet ready to call it a career.
3 Jimmy Snuka
Do not expect to see Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka flying off of the tops of cages these days. The legend of the industry who has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame is 72-years old, after all. Those who have followed the life and times of Snuka since he made an exit from the mainstream pro wrestling scene are likely aware that he has, in interviews, said that he is probably never going to officially retire from the business. A man his age does not need to even think about taking a significant bump inside of a ring, but that does not mean that Snuka cannot make contributions to independent shows at his age.
2 Honky Tonk Man
You have to admire what Honky Tonk Man has been able to accomplish on the independent circuit. The 62-year old has, over the years, shown up at shows, cut promos, done well to take as few bumps as possible and then cashed in checks for his appearances. That is not shabby work if you can get it. Along with making these types of cameos, Honky Tonk Man has also earned quite the reputation for the shoot interviews that he has delivered about the business over the years. His comments, some of which have been controversial, can be heard on YouTube.
The wrestling industry has a long history of performers walking away from the industry, supposedly for good, before making triumphant returns. There was no reason to believe that Goldberg would again work inside of the wrestling ring in June 2015 when he showed up at the Legends of Wrestling show held at Citi Field, where he hit Scott Steiner with a spear. Goldberg looked pretty good for a former wrestler who turned 48-years old in 2014, and the truth of the matter is that he could probably make good money on the independent scene. The former WCW superstar may not be finished with wrestling quite yet.
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