There is a natural interest for fans to see wrestling’s biggest legends get back in the ring. There’s nostalgia value, besides the intrigue of seeing an intergenerational dream match between a star of yesteryear and a contemporary performer. Not all wrestlers should have one more match, though.
One need look no further than the Super ShowDown main event between The Undertaker and Goldberg to see how far off course a match with an old timer who isn’t in any condition to perform any more can go. Some legends can still go under the right circumstances, with the right opponent, but others really ought to stay out of the ring because their legacies are only hurt when they keep working. This article looks at five legends who should have one more match and five who should never wrestle again.
10 One More Match: The Undertaker
As evidenced by his most recent matches opposite Goldberg, Triple H, and DX, The Undertaker doesn’t have a lot of high-level wrestling left in his tank. After his widely panned outing with Goldberg at Super ShowDown, it would be easy to say that The Dead Man should never work another match.
However, The Phenom has such an impressive body of work behind him that it would truly be a shame for him to go out on an embarrassing match. He’d be much better served to have one more match under highly controlled circumstances. His squash over John Cena at WrestleMania 34 was a prime example of this kind of outing, working a wrestler of comparable star power, in a short, decisive outing that covered up his physical limitations.
9 Should Never Wrestle Again: Hulk Hogan
There’s no denying Hulk Hogan’s value to the wrestling business - he’s on the short list of the most important legends of the business for how central he was to WWE’s national expansion in the 1980s, not to mention his brilliant heel character work as the leader of the New World Order in WCW.
Every now and again, The Hulkster makes mention of wanting to work another match or be a part of another major wrestling angle. While he still does have the ability to connect with fans for short promos and appearances, he has absolutely no business working a match at his age. His body is broken down, his in-ring appearances for Impact Wrestling were poor, and he’s not in a position to do much of value in putting anyone else over at this point.
8 One More Match: Sting
After an all-time great career in WCW and, to a lesser extent, Impact Wrestling, Sting finally made his way to WWE. His WrestleMania 31 showdown with Triple H was a fun spectacle, and his program with Seth Rollins was fine for what it was, but after The Icon got hurt, he announced his retirement a bit abruptly upon his Hall of Fame induction.
While Sting is well past the point he can be expected to work productively on a full-time basis, he remains a star with no shortage of prospective dream matches opposite fellow legends like The Undertaker and John Cena, as well as newer stars like Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, or Kofi Kingston who might be better equipped to carry him to a good match. Given how little he got to work in WWE, it would be good to see him get one last high profile bout against a first-time opponent.
7 Should Never Wrestle Again: Kurt Angle
When Kurt Angle returned to the WWE fold, it offered a real feel good moment. His Hall of Fame induction was inspiring, his time as Raw GM ran its course reasonably well, and his final run of matches, leading up to a WrestleMania retirement bout with Baron Corbin, was a fair send off for a talent whose body had run out on him.
While fans may pine for another look at the Angle of old, he simply can’t perform at the level he was best known for in his prime. In Angle’s case, when he was so synonymous with athleticism and physicality, it’s best to leave good memories of what he once could do in the past.
6 One More Match: Kane
Kane is a legend, no doubt, who has in many ways moved on from his wrestling career. He was elected the mayor of Knox County, and as such, has limited availability to work with WWE, besides which father time has caught up to the Big Red Machine, making him a shell of the performer he once was.
Despite these limitations, Kane is enough of a longstanding, iconic character, that he does deserve some sort of send-off in one big angle, or a final match. It would be sad to think of someone who contributed so much to the WWE landscape across two decades simply fading away, never to be seen again.
5 Should Never Wrestle Again: Goldberg
Goldberg was a captivating star in the 1990s whose persona, build, and approach to squash matches all worked together brilliantly to justly make him an icon. His early 2000s WWE run was lackluster, but his more recent 2016-2017 spell with the company largely rewrote his legacy. This period, which included a Universal Championship reign, didn’t include great in-ring performances in the traditional sense, but he worked under protected circumstances for an entertaining, nostalgia-fueled, short-term role.
Goldberg’s match with The Undertaker at Super ShowDown highlighted Goldberg’s downside at this stage of his life. He is 52, and while he still looks outstanding, his body can’t deliver in high impact situations the way it once could. For the purposes of physical safety and protecting his legacy, it’s best that he stays out of the ring from this point forward.
4 One More Match: Alundra Blayze
Alundra Blayze is an all-time great of women’s wrestling. It’s truly a shame that her career came during a relative downtime for women’s wrestling on the whole, and in particular before the current Women’s Revolution when she would have had a lot of dance partners who could keep up with her, without having to turn to the Japanese women’s scene.
Blayze is the past the point at which she could be expected to work a full-time schedule, but using her appearance in the Evolution battle royal as an indicator, she still is capable working a match around her limitations and it would be good to see her in the ring on a major stage one more time.
3 Should Never Wrestle Again: Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash is an important figure in wrestling history for his time spent as Diesel in the mid-1990s, and all the more so his role as a founding father of the New World Order. His value as an in-ring talent has diminished by degrees since, including lackluster follow up runs with WWE and Impact Wrestling.
Nash remains a big guy with a big personality who has spoken jokingly in shoot interviews about still having another run in him. Nash was never necessarily a great worker bell to bell—much more an outstanding talker with an impressive physical presence. At this point, he has little to nothing of value to contribute between the ropes, and could risk derailing younger stars, as arguably happened when he got involved with CM Punk in 2011.
2 One More Match: The Big Show
The Big Show will go down as an all-time great big man for his longevity and capacity to evolve and stay relevant over time. He may have never been the face of WWE, but his size and knowing how to use it to his advantage made him a worthwhile contributor across decades of professional wrestling.
Show’s injury issues in his recent runs confirm that time is catching up to him, and he probably can’t be expected to ever work a traditional full-time schedule again. Still, he’s a character worthy of a proper send-off, and in decent enough shape that he should be able to work a final bout worthy of his legacy.
1 Should Never Wrestle Again: Jake Roberts
Jake Roberts was a skilled in-ring talent and a master wrestling psychologist who will go down as one of the very best in the business to have never grasped world title gold. Timing—the fact that he rose to his greatest fame in WWE while Hulk Hogan was on top—meant he never got the top spot. Moreover, his issues with substance use limited how much promoters could depend on him in the long run. Nonetheless, Roberts was the kind of talent who undeniably deserved his Hall of Fame induction.
During Roberts’s time recovering under the guidance of Diamond Dallas Page, he declared a goal of working the Royal Rumble match. That opportunity didn’t materialize, and it’s probably for the best. While it’s good to see Roberts doing better personally, it’s probably best for his health, and his legacy that he stay out of the wrestling ring at this stage.