Have you ever found a beloved childhood toy hanging around in a deep, dark corner of a closet, shed, or storage space? The sudden rush of sentimental succulence is so good that the tiniest taste is enough to get you high until the downfall sets in and you are now stoned on sorrow following the realization that your neglect of this old friend has left the little bastard in the poorest condition.
You have grown up and forgotten all that you once loved - moved on to new experiences, new interests, new loves. However, the past can be haunting and horrible if brought about at the wrong time in a person's life. The constant reminder of simpler times; when the world was young and responsibility was a far off thought. When heartache and despair where unknown feelings and every day was just a euphoric journey of bright-eyed optimism - long before bloodshot eyes and perpetual pessimism.
If you're a wrestling fan then you may experience this strange trip from time-to-time. The result of a random YouTube video that may have triggered that sense of nostalgia or a classic match viewed on the WWE Network that brought you back to that place and time when smiling wasn't a difficult as it is nowadays. When finding joy was as easy as tuning into your favourite wrestling program - long before life was real life.
The following article is a selfish look back at some of our favourite wrestlers who no longer lace-up boots for the squared-circle. Those who have simply retired. Those who have been forced out of action due to injury or health concerns. Even those who are no longer with us but we wish we could have back. The ones we grew up with and the ones who we have not forgotten despite change and chaos.
These are the top 20 wrestlers we wish were still wrestling:
Chyna may be one hot mess right now but there was once a time when she was kicking ass (males included) in the WWE as the most dominant and powerful Diva to ever grace the squared-circle.
Chyna has been lobbying for her spot in the WWE Hall of Fame - something we may never witness and although we know for certain we will not be seeing her in a WWE ring ever again, it is still nice to entertain the thought.
19 Terry Funk
What do you get when you mix hardcore wrestling and an aging Texan? You get Terry Funk, one of the toughest men to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. Funk has carved out a legacy like no other.
Terry Funk was seemingly invincible - having transferred from traditional wrestler to the hardcore scene with ease and going down as one of the most brutal in-ring performers around. It's too bad the old-timer doesn't have one last demented run left.
18 AJ Lee
AJ Lee has retired from wrestling - or least from WWE. The former Divas Champion called it a career at a very young age, shocking the WWE Universe in the process and leaving unanswered questions.
We know that AJ did not retire due to injury and it is fairly obvious that she can still go if she should chose to return to the ring and back to the profession that she once lived for and loved.
17 Mr. Perfect
Unfortunately for fans of Curt Hennig, there is no possible way to watch Mr. Perfect wrestle again as he was taken from the world at the young age of forty-four. However, he is far from forgotten.
Mr. Perfect was a mat technician and one of the greatest professional wrestlers to have never worn the World Championship. We would certainly love to see that gum spit-and-smack one more time.
16 Trish Stratus
When a Canadian bombshell invades your company; expect great things. Trish Stratus is (on paper) the most well-accomplished female professional wrestler of all time who we know could get back into the ring.
So, why doesn't Trish Stratus take another run in WWE? Who knows. Stratus is sure to have her reasons as she seemingly feels as though her in-ring days are a thing of the past, even though she would work so well with the women of NXT.
15 Booker T
The five-time WCW Champion and one-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion has found himself sitting at a desk or training the young contestants of Tough Enough. Yes, we miss Booker T in the ring.
Can Booker still do his thing between those ropes? Probably. Booker is in great shape and could potentially put on one last great match if the situation called for a short-term comeback to the ring.
The current Divas Division - while on the rise - lacks that punk-rock edge that Lita once provided to the WWE. Lita was a true original who could do things in the ring better than many past legends.
Lita transcended the Women's Division during a time of hostility and havoc. To see her back in action would be an absolute delight as Lita was a rarity in the wrestling world. Perhaps something we will never find again.
13 The Ultimate Warrior
Just as quickly as The Ultimate Warrior ran back into the WWE Universe; he was gone - passing away just a few shorts days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame; lost in flash.
Some of us may not have loved the Warrior's in-ring abilities but the character, the entrance, and the energy are enough to make us wish that we could see, hear, and feel The Ultimate Warrior run again.
12 Bret Hart
The Hart family are wrestling royalty in Canada. However, in many ways, it was Bret "The Hitman" Hart who would provide the measuring stick as the obvious standout and most successful family member.
We have seen Hart "wrestle" Vince McMahon and The Miz since mending fences with the WWE but it has been a far stretch from the "Excellence of Execution." If only we could see The Hitman in his prime once again.
11 CM Punk
Wrestling fans patiently await CM Punk's UFC debut - even those who are not particularly fond of the sport. The reason is simple: we want to see if CM Punk has what it takes to be a real fighter.
Punk has stated that he will never wrestle again and perhaps he will hold true to his word. However, given the circumstances of his departure from WWE, fans of Punk would love to see him back inside of a wresting ring.
10 Owen Hart
The career, and more importantly life, of Owen Hart was cut short due to tragedy when a wrestling spot went terribly wrong and the promising young Superstar would lose his life in the process.
Owen Hart was still on the rise prior to this accident and could have very well been a future WWE Champion. We will never know what could have been of The Black Hart but we wish he were still around today.
9 Dusty Rhodes
The recent passing of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes caused us to remember just how great of an entertainer Dusty Rhodes really was both in the ring and on the mic - a lost art for many modern wrestlers.
The stories about Rhodes and looking back at video of one of the best babyface wrestlers of all time makes us miss the sly-talk and the big-man-walk that Dusty Rhodes brought to the industry.
8 Macho Man Randy Savage
Macho Man Randy Savage never officially made peace with WWE and was thus not afforded his proper send-off and final moment in the professional wrestling spotlight. While many stories surround Macho Man and WWE, we still miss the Madness.
Macho Man Randy Savage - like many of his peers - passed away before the throes of old age. Although many of these performers probably felt the pain of an aged man on a daily basis. It is a shame that Macho Man did not find that final moment back home in WWE.
7 Eddie Guerrero
The great Eddie Guerrero passed away far too soon - another terrible tale of a man gone while in the prime of his existence. Eddie Guerrero was truly a unique, one-of-a-kind professional wrestler.
When we think of those who have passed that we would love to see in the ring today, Eddie Guerrero instantly comes to mind. Latino Heat could entertain with the best in the business.
Early retirement in some professions sounds great; like an all-out luxury. However, in professional wrestling, early retirement is a not only a hard pill to swallow but leaves a harsh aftertaste.
Edge was forced out of the business for health concerns but his contributions are appreciated by fans all over the world. While we would love to see Edge competing back in the ring, due to these health issues, such a day will never come.
5 Mick Foley
Who can hate on Mick Foley? The man is perhaps the most lovable professional wrestler of all time. Foley literally gave his body to the business - a decision he lives with everyday while struggling with mobility.
So, who are we to ask for more from Mick Foley? Perhaps we are a bunch of sadistic little wrestling marks who crave that hardcore action that we know the new generation of WWE Superstars cannot provide.
4 Hulk Hogan
The rumours of Hulk Hogan getting back into the ring pending a physical continue to run rampant. Do we want to see Hogan get into the ring one more time; potentially against John Cena? Hell Yes!
Will the match be an instant classic? Hell No! However, it's Hulk Hogan and we all know that deep down - no matter how hard we try to fight it off - we are still a bunch of Hulkamaniacs at heart.
3 Ric Flair
Ric Flair still struts and Wooos and pops in on the WWE Universe from time-to-time but damn do we miss the Nature Boy inside that ring. The greatest professional wrestler to walk that aisle.
Obviously time has caught up with Ric Flair and his days of stylin' in the squared-circle have past. However, we still have his daughter and now that she is on the main roster, we attain our Flair Fix from Charlotte.
2 Shawn Michaels
There are probably very few people who would question whether or not Shawn Michaels could get back into the ring and be the same guy he was another lifetime ago. Shawn Michaels has it as it pertains to in-ring ability.
While Shawn Michaels maintains a promise he made to The Undertaker regarding his final match, we hope that someday Michaels will break that promise. Although, it is highly unlikely.
1 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin is the greatest WWE Superstar of all time. Yes, Austin surpasses Hogan in WWE terms. The demand to see Austin back in a WWE ring is huge but remains a distant dream.
Will The Texas Rattlesnake ever again lace up those black boots, throw on the vest, and take on one final opponent? Well, we all wish that he would and we try to remain positive about the possibility but let's not overdo the hopefulness.
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