Wrestling can be a dangerous sport. For all the practice competitors put into making the show as safe as possible for each other, it still takes a huge toll on the body and injuries are commonplace. It’s not rare for wrestler’s to retire early, and the lucky ones who manage to keep going tend to reach their forties before calling it a day.
Sometimes an indie wrestling promotion rolls through town, and the headline act catches my eye. It’ll usually be a superstar from the 80s or 90s, coming back for a small show to help sell more tickets, and it never ceases to amaze me that there are people from that era still wrestling.
Other times, wrestlers retire for reasons completely unrelated to age or injuries. Sometimes their careers just aren’t going anywhere, or they grow tired of it all. There are plenty of stories of wrestlers who left the WWE and decided to end their careers there rather than spending their last few years on the indie circuits.
This is what makes the names on this list so surprising. These are people who by rights should have retired long ago, but still find themselves stepping between the ropes on a regular basis. Chris Jericho said on his podcast while talking about CM Punk that “The itch will come back. Maybe it won’t be in the WWE, but he will wrestle another match.” It can only be this itch that causes all these superstars to keep going. To push past the injuries, the pain, and sometimes even the lack of skill, because being in that ring is all the want to do.
While we can't believe the WWE insists on keeping Big Show, Kane and Mark Henry around after all these years, that's not what this list is for. We know they're active and we know Sting and Undertaker are still there on occasion. This list is for wrestlers you might not have known were still out there wrestling somewhere.
Here’s my list of Superstars you won’t believe are still active wrestlers.
22 Jerry Lawler
Jerry Lawler's work in WWE only requires him to work a TV taping for WWE every week and the monthly pay-per-view/WWE Network special. What does the King do in his spare time? Well, the 65-year-old still competes in the ring. The WWE hasn't cleared Lawler to wrestle for them since his heart attack in 2012, but Lawler still wrestles local shows in his hometown of Memphis.
21 Honky Tonk Man
For a bad Elvis impersonator, the Honky Tonk Man managed to have a decent career in the WWE and WCW, including a record setting Intercontinental Title run. He returned to WWE for a brief showing at Cyber Sunday 2008, but this wasn’t a one-off show for him. Despite his age, Honky Tonk still occasionally shows up at indie shows to wrestle as a nostalgia draw, including wrestling in a tag team with Doink the Clown in 2011. According to his official facebook page, he is also available for weddings and parties, which depressingly might explain why the man is still wrestling at 62.
20 Bushwhacker Luke
Bushwhacker Luke was one of the most recent inductions in the WWE Hall of Fame, along with his tag team partner Butch. The pair were famous across various promotions as The Sheepherders, a far more dominant tag team than their WWE persona of The Bushwhackers. Nowadays, Luke still wrestles on the independent scene across various promotions. Unfortunately, it's without his old partner, as Butch had to retire back in 2001 due to a neck injury.
19 Jeff Jarrett
At 48, Jeff Jarrett is nowhere near the older side of this list. But his career is so confusing and all over the place, it’s easy to lose track of the guy. His longest time at a company was at TNA, the company he started, though even then he left in 2014 (But returned in 2015, because Jeff Jarrett’s career is nuts). The amount of traveling and wrestling this guy still does is astounding, as many would be taking a more part-time approach by this stage. But Jarrett still goes all out, business man by day and wrestler at night.
18 Sean Waltman
As far as important figures in the Attitude Era go, X-Pac was easily one of the most forgettable. His promo upon leaving WCW and joining WWE was legendary, but the wrestler himself was frequently overshadowed by everyone around him. For most, he seemed to just fade away into the mist, never to be heard from again.
However, for fans of Chikara Pro, you might remember his run as the 1-2-3 Kid from last year. Inexplicably, the guy who is mostly known these days for showing up alongside Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in random cutaways at pay-per-views is still wrestling, somewhere out there.
Vader actually did retire in 2007, after an esteemed 20 year career that included multiple championship reigns. It was also in 2007 that Vader started experiencing health and personal problems, which may have led to decision to leave the business.
After a few years as a high school football coach, Vader made a one-off appearance in 2010 wrestling in a six-man tag match. It wasn’t until 2012 that he finally left retirement, going on a run of indie competitions and WWE appearances before eventually joining the TNA roster.
16 Bob Armstrong
While his son still wrestles on occasion in the WWE (Road Dogg), the patriarch of the Armstrong family is still active as a wrestler, competing for Combat Sport Pro. Bullet Bob Armstrong's career spanned five decades and included multiple championships across the NWA. Armstrong competed in TNA from the mid to late 2000s and has since wrestled on the independent circuit for the odd occasion. Armstrong was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
WWE fans may remember the winner of the first season of Tough Enough from knocking The Undertaker out from the Royal Rumble and promptly getting destroyed. He stuck around the company for a few years before being released by the company in 2005. After a few years he said that he was leaving professional wrestling in 2007.
However, in 2015, he announced his return to the ring. He wrestled a few matches, and is now commentating for Extreme Cage Fighting, though there is more wrestling in this, still relatively young, man’s future.
14 Gregory "Hurricane" Helms
The Hurricane was one of the most entertaining wrestlers of the Ruthless Aggression era, with his ridiculous costumes and catchphrases (I still regularly ask “What’s up wit dat?”). However, as the product moved forward, his gimmick was left in the dust, and even being moved to the revived ECW in 2009 wasn’t enough to save his WWE career.
After that, Helms continued to sweep through the indie circuits in his superhero gimmick, earning several championships along the way. He’s finally settled at TNA, although it remains to be seen if he will be working in-ring for the company.
13 Savio Vega
Savio Vega was a solid mid-carder in the 90s, and holds wins over some of the bigger stars in the WWE’s history. However, like most people who never find their way out of the mid-card, he eventually dropped lower through the ranks before being released in 1998.
Savio then spent over a decade working for Puerto Rican brand International Wrestling Association, before a brief TNA stint. Now he works local promotions and the occasional international event, still wrestling for a living. Not bad for a mid-carder from 20 years ago.
12 2 Cold Scorpio
2 Cold Scorpio's time in WWE mainly saw him as Flash Funk. The WWE rebranded him after he came over from ECW. Towards the end of his run in WWE, he changed his name back to 2 Cold Scorpio, but never got past the lower mid-card. Nowadays, Scorpio wrestles at various indie shows and even main events many of them. Scorpio expresses regret over his past drug habits, but he's turned his life around and is still doing what he loves at age 49.
10 Rey Mysterio
Luchadore styled wrestlers often tend to have shorter careers, as the amount of stress they put on their bodies due to their high-flying theatrics is far greater than the mat-based technicians and brawlers. Rey Mysterio is one of the most successful lucha wrestler’s in history, having been a success in WCW and WWE, even winning the World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion.
After a few injuries, he left the WWE in 2015, and went back to Mexican brand AAA who he previously wrestled for in 1995. At 40 years old, his matches are a little bit slower than before, but Mysterio still brings the 619 after over two decades in the industry.
Gangrel is most known for being part of The Brood with Edge and Christian, and later for joining the Ministry of Darkness. However, after his various factions ended, he found little success as a singles competitor and was quietly released in 2001, disappearing from TV and the memories of most WWE fans.
Alongside his other pastime of…directing adult movies, Gangrel has been active in the independent circuit since then. He has kept his vampire gimmick, and has even almost resigned with the WWE a few times, but issues with his weight have stopped him from returning.
8 Scotty 2 Hotty
Scotty 2 Hotty was a staple wrestler of the late 90s and early 2000s, with his stable Too Cool always providing a fun break from a lot of the visceral action that populated that era. However, when the rest of his team were released from the company, Scotty was left wrestling preshows for three years.
While he occasionally still cameos on WWE TV, he mostly wrestles the independent circuit, as well as being a Firefighter and training to be a Medical Technician. Who knew the guy responsible for The Worm would turn out to be so multi-talented?
7 Bill Eadie
Bill Eadie has been wrestling so long that when he started, the promotion was called the “World Wide Wrestling Federation”. Since then, they dropped a W and changed the F to an E. He's mostly remembered for being part of Demolition, the longest reigning tag champs in history. Not only that, he also has a brief team-up with Andre the Giant to his name.
Since leaving the WWE in 1991, Eadie has been a consistent name in the indie circuit, often wrestling under his Demolition alias “Ax”. A tag specialist, he has won multiple team championships all across the U.S.
Surely one of the most uncomfortable wrestlers to watch, and a gimmick that would definitely not go down at all today, Eugene was certainly an interesting guy. He has briefly resurfaced a few times on NXT as a trainer, but his tenures have never lasted long. Where he has found success though is the independent circuit.
A 10 time Heavyweight Champion and 11 time Tag Team Champion at Ohio Valley and other multiple belts around the U.S., Eugene has had a pretty decent career outside of the WWE, and is still wrestling today. Thankfully under a different gimmick.
5 Jushin Thunder Liger
Liger is an absolute legend of light heavyweight wrestling, bringing the unique Japanese quick style to WCW in the 90s. Already a legend in Japan by then, he tore up in WCW, quickly becoming a fan favorite. Since then, he’s appeared in promotions in Japan and the U.S., managing to maintain his signature style despite the fact he’s 50 years old.
Most recently, he came out at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn to defeat Tyler Breeze. For most people, this was the first time they saw Liger since the 90s, and the fact he was still sprightly was a huge shock.
Sabu has had his neck broken twice in the ring, has flown through tables, has scars all over his body, yet at the age of 50, he's still going at it. He had a brief run in WWE during their ECW resurrection before WWE released him in 2007. That didn't stop him. He's one crazy S.O.B. His promotion is currently Big Time Wrestling. He recently had a big match against RVD (less surprising that he's still wrestling) losing in a Chair match at the Lackawanna college gym in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
3 Scott Steiner
Big Poppa Pump is a wrestler famous for his very brash promos and his intimidating style. While he never won any of the big titles in the major promotions, he still managed to capture the audience and is still remembered fondly today.
As he should be, because the guy is still wrestling. He recently joined Global Force Wrestling after working the smaller circuits, and still manages to entertain the crowd with his unorthodox presentation. The man famed for being at the center of controversy still looks good for his age, and will surely be wrestling for a good few years to come.
2 Terry Funk
At 71, Terry Funk should be relaxing in a mansion somewhere, reflecting on his esteemed career. Instead, he’s still actively trying to add to it. He started wrestling in the 60s, getting into the WWE in the 80s. Since then, he’s been involved in multiple promotions, and is still being booked for future matches.
He has announced retirement several times, but always comes back for more. He is a guy who is either desperately broke or has a real love for wrestling, and could quite possibly wrestle until the day he dies.
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