It’s hard to tell an athlete to hang it up but sometimes you have to give out some tough love. We’re all critics, whether we’re qualified or not, and sometimes the writing is on the wall for these athletes. Professional wrestling is more about entertainment than scorecards, but that doesn’t mean wrestlers can’t be terrible at their job.
This list is comprised of wrestlers across several generations throughout the world. They may be on here because they’re too old or just flat out terrible. If you’re a purist of the industry, then you may have no qualms with this list. Many wrestlers - and we do mean many - are not in their prime and are just one bump away from never wrestling again. Also, many talents in the industry can’t wrestler if their life depended on it, yet because of their charisma or look, they get a chance over a potential young stud that could be the next Ricky Steamboat or Daniel Bryan.
Name recognition is a big reason why these wrestlers still perform. Their name can make them money and we don’t blame them for showing up to an event. Just look at Marty Jannetty. Does anyone care for him, nope, but does he keep showing up to shows? Yep! Yep! Yep!
15 Tito Santana
The 1989 King of the Ring winner is still wrestling and as much as we love him, we got to let him know, it’s time to hang it up. Tito Santana would make his professional wrestling debut in 1976. Over forty years later, the Texas native is still booking dates for his fans. It’s always cool to see a legend run the ropes but there has to be a point to where enough is enough.
Santana was known as a workhorse, a pioneer, and one of the best in-ring workers of his generations. As a fan, do you really want to see a wrestler who was thoroughbred in his prime, come out as an old donkey decades later? You can argue he’s the most underrated Intercontinental Champion, but that’s not going to help a cringeworthy match in 2018.
14 James Ellsworth
Everyone remembers where they were on September 13th, 2016, right? James Ellsworth remembers. He was the mystery tag team partner for WWE World Champion A.J. Styles on SmackDown Live that day. Ellsworth doesn’t look like your typical wrestler but that didn’t stop the WWE from giving him a full-time contract after the WWE Universe cheered his name. The underdog would become a name known around the world that night, for better or worse.
Ellsworth is out of the WWE in 2018 but no one should be surprised that he’s milking his new found fame. He’s already made appearances at several independent shows this year and we doubt that stops. He doesn’t have the look, and he doesn’t have the wrestling skills, but he does have the name, and sometimes that’s all that matters in the industry.
13 Rock 'n' Roll Express
On March 31, 2017, NWA fans witnessed one of the greatest tag teams in the industry get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Jim Cornette. Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson have been wrestling longer than when the first Apple Macintosh went on sale. Debuting in 1983, the fantastic duo has worked for the biggest promotions around the world. You can argue they revolutionized tag team wrestling with their speed, in-ring skills, and rock star personalities.
Although they only had a brief time in the WWE, their mark on the industry will be left for generations. Enough with the unctuous statements, The Rock ‘n’ Roll need to hang up the boots. Both are well past their prime and a few years away from becoming senior citizens - so enough with the indie wrestling already.
12 Buff Bagwell
He was part of the new wave of performers in the WCW during the early 1990s. Bagwell, 2 Cold Scorpio, and “Fly’ In” Brian Pillman were just some of the young budding wrestlers that WCW was molding as stars of the future. He had the look and charisma to be a big star but something happened along the way. Maybe it was injuries or the toxic environment backstage, but Bagwell would be stale by the turn of the century.
When WWE bought WCW in 2001, Bagwell had a brief stint and was released. He’s been performing on the indie circuit ever since and we have no idea why anyone still pays to watch him. Maybe he’s a nostalgic draw but when it comes to actually wrestling in the ring, we believe customers will pass on him. Stick to being a gigolo Buffy.
11 The Blue Meanie
It’s well known The Blue Meanie’s best years were with ECW. Guess how many titles he won during his tenure with the promotion? Zero. Titles aren’t always the measurement when debating the skills of a wrestler but it does play a big role in the conversation. It speaks volumes that ECW never pushed a title run on him.
Was he a great wrestler, no, but he did connect with fans in his own way. Decades later, Blue Meanie is still wrestling and hasn’t changed one bit. You can only go to the same gimmick so many times before fans stop caring. At his age, 44 years old, Meanie has scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to his career. It’s time to call it a day and put away the blue paint for good.
10 Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner’s freaks and hoochies may not be as vibrant and noticeable as they once were but that hasn’t stopped the man they call “Big Poppa Pump” from performing in the squared circle. If you have been following the ups and downs of Impact Wrestling, then you may have read Steiner will be present for television programming in 2018. Most fans can agree that substituting EC3, Bobby Lashley, and Rockstar Spud (WWE’s Drake Maverick), for a veteran past his prime is a bad idea, but that hasn’t stopped Impact from going forth with the idea.
Whether he becomes an authoritative figure, personality star, or part-time wrestler in the promotion, Steiner is going to use the same old shtick, which isn’t a good thing in 2018. As Steiner once said, “Just like at Hirojima[sic], when Pearl Harbor bombed the Germans,” Steiner will bomb in his next run with Impact Wrestling.
9 Jim Duggan
Hoooooo! You may love patriotism or not, but you cannot deny Duggan’s love for the red, white, and blue. Unless it was the time in WCW where he was all about Team Canada but will forget that ever happened. The inaugural Royal Rumble winner and WWE Hall of Famer is going strong in 2018 and has already performed in several matches.
As we mentioned in the intro, this list is about tough love, and as much as we love Duggan waving the flag and holding a 2x4, it’s time to call it a wrap. The New York native would make his professional wrestling debut in 1979. He would make his WWE debut in 1987 and has been a household name across the world ever since but in 2018, he's forgotten about and it’s time to go.
8 Dulce García
Dulce García aka Sexy Star has the skills and looks to be a legit contender in any promotion she’s in, however, due to her actions in a controversial match with Rosemary at AAA’s Triplemania XXV, she should never wrestle in a ring again. If you were in a fog in the summer of 2017, Sexy Star purposely injured Rosemary in their match. The video went viral and Star took a lot of the heat.
There’s one thing injuring your colleague by accident, it’s another thing when someone intentionally wants to cause harm. Star has been shunned like the plague but still has been involved in some matches since the incident. Her unprofessional actions are enough to warrant a lifetime exile from the industry. It’s a shame it had to come to this, but, Sexy Star, please quit.
Glacier was all the hype several decades ago for WCW. Ted Turner wanted entertainment in his brand, and he saw Glacier as being one of those wrestlers who can bring it. With a background in mixed martial arts, Glacier was given a gimmick similar to Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero. History has shown us that WCW wasted tons of money on the gimmick and it still failed.
Fast track to this year and Glacier is making a resurgence of sorts. He was spotted with ROH and has participated in some credible indie shows. It’s a cash grab for sure, and we understand why he’s around, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t criticize his skills. Glacier is still a terrible wrestler and moves just like a glacier, so let’s hope he doesn’t stay around too much longer.
6 Billy Gunn
We got two words for you! Please retire. Billy Gunn was given the opportunity to show the world he still has it when he went toe-to-toe with NJPW’s former IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi, in the summer of 2017. Although he looks in great shape, he’s a shell of his former self. Slow, predictable, and basic isn’t the best way to have a wrestling match in 2018.
That’s what you’re going to get with Gunn. We love him because he’s a member of Degeneration-X, so will tolerate the mundane performances in the ring. At his age, 54 years old, training an individual may be a better career path than wrestling an individual. Most of us can agree on the premise that if Gunn saw this list, he would tell The Sporster to suck it and we wouldn’t have it any other way, however, it’s time to hang those boots up Billy.
5 The Sandman
Smashing a beer can against your face was once seen as a form of badassery and no one did it better than The Sandman. Before Stone Cold Steve Austin went bald and made drinking beer one of the coolest things in wrestling, The Sandman was doing it for ECW. A five-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Sandman is still booking dates at 54 years old.
The raw and hardcore persona has made him a legend, but in 2018, are wrestling fans really clamoring for an old guy to smash beer cans on his head? He was never a technical wrestler and his style is very basic but fans love his passion for violence. Sandman can no longer keep up that hardcore pace and it could be pretty cringeworthy when he tries.
4 Beer City Bruiser
We get it, he looks like your average Joe and comes out with a keg of beer. How can you not like that guy? Beer City Bruiser has a gimmick you can love or hate. The big gut, pigmentless skin, and few hairs on his head make him stand out from others in the business. However, his wrestling skills are mediocre at best.
Isn’t ROH supposed to be about in-ring technical wrestling? CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins are just a few of the names you think of when talking about ROH. Beer City Bruiser is nowhere close to those guys. We get his gimmick, we get his purpose, but after a while, enough is enough. Drink your beer and hang it up Bruiser, or at least leave ROH.
3 Takashi Iizuka
The Japanese fans are a different breed than American fans. Polite, patient, and non-combative, Japanese fans will love a gimmick that most Americans will see as terrible. One of those gimmicks is the one Takashi Iizuka uses. As one of the bigger talents in NJPW, Iizuka performs as a wild man who needs to be on a leash at all times.
As a member of the heel faction, Suzuki-gun, he’s the perfect wrestler to interfere in matches. With his iron glove, Iizuka not only terrorizes other wrestlers but also fans as well, however, that’s about all he can do. Don’t expect a thrilling match with Iizuka in it. The 51-year old’s move set is limited and quite frankly, he wouldn’t last a second if he worked in North America.
2 Greg Valentine
Show of hands, do you care at all about Greg “The Hammer” Valentine? Besides that one Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling fan in the back raising his hand, we can all agree, no one cares about Valentine. The last time he was relevant was when he donned a mask and went out as The Blue Knight at the 1993 Survivor Series. Sure, the guy is a WWE Hall of Famer, but he was inducted in 2004 with a plethora others because the last time the WWE held a HOF induction was in 1996.
Maybe the critics don’t understand Valentine, they don’t understand his move set, character, or the type of entertainer he is. At 66 years old, do you think anyone is getting excited to see Valentine in the ring? We understand he has to make some money but at 66 years old, it’s time to hang up the boots. We're not even going to get into the overtly racist innuendo promos he's done in the past.
1 Enzo Amore
The WWE Universe was rocked by a bombshell report involving Enzo Amore at the start of 2018. Amore, was accused of assaulting a woman in 2017. WWE would release Amore but not because he was accused of a crime. They would release him because he didn’t tell the company about his legal problem. On the 25th Anniversary of Raw, the company had to field questions about Amore’s issues rather than the event itself. This infuriated the top brass at WWE and the next thing you knew, Enzo was fired.
Amore is going to wrestle again, that’s a fact, and no one should be surprised. However, he was arguably the worst in-ring wrestler on the roster and if it wasn’t for his gift of jab, he wouldn’t have been in the position he was in. Perhaps a career on the microphone might be better than one in the ring.