Every now and then, we get to witness our favorite wrestlers have a spectacular final match. When a guy like Shawn Michaels goes out in the main event of WrestleMania after one of the best feuds and matches of the modern era, it feels truly special. That’s because it is. As great as “last matches” are and as often as promoters try to book them, it’s rare that a great wrestler ever actually gets to go out in a match that feels like a proper send-off to their career. Sometimes that’s because of decisions on their part. Other times, it’s just the result of unforeseen circumstances.
As rare as a proper final match is, there are some last matches that stand the test of time due to how forgettable they truly are. They’re not all necessarily awful matches, but they’re notable for being entirely forgettable despite the fact that they were the last match for some truly beloved competitors. In fact, we’re willing to bet that you never even knew that some of these climatic contests even existed. If so...well, it's probably best you don't' seek them out. That’s because these are 15 wrestlers whose careers ended in throwaway matches.
15 The Ultimate Warrior: vs. Orlando Jordan - Nu-Wrestling Evolution
While there’s no denying that The Ultimate Warrior’s legacy was tainted somewhat by revelations concerning his personal beliefs, his backstage attitude, and his general nature, he’s still a very important part of WWE’s history. There was a time when he was arguably the biggest singles star on the planet and a favorite of many of the kids that grew up watching him. That makes it all the more shameful that Warrior’s last match is so very forgettable.
In 2008, The Ultimate Warrior wrestled Orlando Jordan in a promotion called Nu-Wrestling Evolution.
While it’s nice that Warrior’s family was in the front row and that quite a few people were in attendance, it’s hard to watch the Warrior clearly struggle to put together a match for a promotion you’ve probably just now heard about.
14 Daniel Bryan: w/ John Cena vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro - SmackDown
While those who watched Daniel Bryan in the indies know that he was one of the best in the world, few people figured that Bryan would find much success in WWE. He just wasn’t the kind of guy that WWE looked for. Of course, you probably know what happened next. Through sheer force of will, Daniel Bryan became one of the most beloved WWE wrestlers of all-time.
Sadly, a career filled with injuries caught up with Bryan who was suddenly increasingly prone to concussions. Before unexpectedly retiring from in-ring competition, Bryan wrestled his last match on April 14, 2015, in a tag match with John Cena against Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. Some believe that Bryan will wrestle again one day, but it’s looking like that might be his final bout.
13 Brian Pillman: vs. The Patriot - Shotgun Saturday Night
It’s tempting to say that Brian Pillman was ahead of his time, but that’s not quite true. Brian Pillman was of his time and just a bit ahead of the curve. He began to incorporate shoot elements into his promos and characters at a time when most major wrestling promotions still considered kayfabe to be sacred. While others arguably stole Pillman’s spotlight around that time, he was still one of the most exciting wrestlers of his era.
Pillman’s last match came during a Shotgun Saturday Night taping on September 23rd, 1997.
He defeated the Patriot by DQ. Pillman also participated in a dark match for a taping of Raw that same night. Pillman the passed away on October 5, 1997, before he could have a final PPV match.
12 Owen Hart: w/ Jeff Jarrett vs. Val Venis and The Godfather - Monday Night Raw
Owen Hart was one of those guys who you don’t fully appreciate until you learn a little more about how professional wrestling works. He wasn’t quite as crisp as his brother Bret, but Owen’s ability to implement his character into every match and work a variety of matches against all kinds of opponents made him special. Of course, many remember Owen due to the circumstances of his passing. It was a tragic, shocking, and arguably preventable demise that took away a beloved man in the prime of his life. If you’re wondering what the last match Owen ever wrestled was, it was a tag match that saw him partner with Jeff Jarrett and take on The Godfather and Val Venis. Needless to say, it wasn’t an epic encounter.
11 Chris Benoit: vs. Elijah Burke - ECW on Sci-Fi
It’s still not easy to talk about Chris Benoit. In fact, it still feels downright impossible to properly separate the wrestler Chris Benoit was the circumstances of his death. While no decent person can casually brush off the horrible things he did, those who grew up watching him also have a hard time forgetting what a great wrestler he was. In fact, Benoit might have been one of the absolute best in terms of pure in-ring work. As such, it’s always a bit strange to look back on his final match. While he did at least win the ECW Championship from Elijah Burke during his last bout, it’s really just a reminder of how far Benoit fell in WWE’s eyes before he killed his family and himself.
10 Randy Savage: w/ AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall - TNA Turning Point 2004
It would really be hard to argue with someone who calls Randy Savage the best wrestler of all-time. Savage had a great look, could cut some unique promos, was legitimately talented in the ring, and built the kind of character that writers could only hope to come up with.
Given that he played an important role in the life of pretty much every young WWE fan, you’d think that every wrestling fan would be able to tell you the exact date and circumstances of his last match.
Yet, how many of you know that his final match happened in TNA. Yes, he participated in a very forgettable six-man tag match in TNA during the company’s Turning Point 2004 PPV. He died seven years later without ever getting a proper send-off in WWE.
9 Arn Anderson: vs. David Flair - WCW Thunder
Arn Anderson is another guy who tends to draw the most love from fellow wrestlers and other people who are incredibly interested in what it takes for a wrestler to be truly great in the ring. Arn was a guy who always cut a promo and wrestled his matches like he truly believed that professional wrestling was real. He was a true tough guy and one the absolute best that the industry has ever seen. It’s always been a little sad that Anderson never got to wrestle at least one match in WWE after WCW closed. Actually, his last match came during a taping of WCW Thunder in 2000 when he took on David Flair. There’s a reason you’ve probably never seen that match.
8 Curt Hennig: vs. David Flair - TNA Weekly PPV 2003
Even before he adopted the Mr. Perfect moniker, Curt Hennig really was pretty much the perfect professional wrestler. He grew up around wrestling his whole life and learned from a young age that being a great professional wrestler is really about the little things. He exemplified that quality in WWE as Mr. Perfect where he ended up on the radar of wrestling fans across the world.
While Hennig’s journey to WCW pretty much meant the end of his great matches, many fans will likely be disheartened to hear that Hennig didn’t even get to wrestle his last match for that promotion.
Hennig's final match didn't even come during his brief WWE return in 2002. Instead, his final bout came in TNA against David Flair in an “Axehandle on a Pole Match.” You know, Hennig probably should have turned that one down.
7 British Bulldog: vs. Eddie Guerrero - Sunday Night Heat
British Bulldog remains a controversial figure amongst some longtime wrestling fans. When you’re young, it’s very easy to appreciate Bulldog for his inhuman physique, interesting promos, and general presence. He was also a pretty good power performer who felt like he could convincingly outmuscle most wrestlers. However, later on in life, you realize that Bulldog was not exactly a great performer. He was also a guy who was known to get incredibly high before matches and cause his opponents to almost literally carry him.
Still, for a guy with his star power, you’d think that he might have received a last match worth remembering. Instead, he scored a double disqualification with Eddie Guerrero during a taping of Sunday Night Heat. He passed a couple of years later.
6 Eddie Guerrero: vs. Mr. Kennedy - SmackDown
We’re sure the mere mention of Eddie Guerrero during that last entrant got you wondering why you suddenly can’t remember Eddie Guerrero's last match. After all, Eddie did pass suddenly, but it’s not like the guy was in the twilight of his career or wasn’t being given things to do by WWE. As such, you’d think he could have even accidentally participated in a last match worth caring about. Sadly, that’s not even close to being the case.
His final match came during an episode of SmackDown when he beat Mr. Kennedy by disqualification.
While it’s true that he competed against Batista in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship about a month earlier, we can guarantee you that this forgettable showdown is not how WWE would have chosen to book Guerrero's final match if they knew it would be just that.
5 CM Punk: vs. 29 other Wrestlers - Royal Rumble 2014
There’s a bit of debate concerning this entrant. First of all, a Royal Rumble match is hardly meaningless, but for Punk's storyline purposes, his unceremonious exit following this match made his 45-minute stay in the match pointless. Also, this may not go down as his last match. After all, who is to say that CM Punk won’t wrestle another match for WWE or some other promotion? There’s always the chance that’s exactly what happens. After all, CM Punk spent most of his life completely absorbed in the world of professional wrestling. It’s entirely possible that he might return to it despite his insistence that he’d absolutely never do such a thing.
However, every year that passes really does make it feel like CM Punk has wrestled his final match. Of course, we all remember the much-hated 2014 Royal Rumble match that saw Batista step in and beat a roster of full-time talent. Hmm...maybe there’s a good reason that Punk turned his back on wrestling.
4 Andre The Giant: w/ Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura v.s. Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Motoshi Okuma - AJPW Budokan Hall Show 1992
While they say that you had to be a wrestling fan during the ‘70s to really appreciate just how much larger than life Andre the Giant really was, even those who grew up addicted to ‘80s WWE will tell you that Andre was a truly special performer. He was a guy who had such incredible presence that you couldn’t help but be drawn to him no matter much his declining health affected his in-ring performances.
Most WWE fans will choose to remember his final match as his emotional send-off at WrestleMania VI.
However, Andre actually went back to Japan to wrestle a few forgettable bouts for some final paydays. His last match was buried in the mid-card of a pretty big show and wasn’t even promoted as being such.
3 Mick Foley: vs. Mickey Gambino - OMEGA Night Of A Champion
Did you ever hear the rumors that Mick Foley wanted to comeback to WWE to have one final hardcore match against Dean Ambrose? How great would that have been? After all, Foley’s hardcore style and daredevil mentality inspired many wrestlers like Ambrose to get into the business and give it their all even if they lacked the “traditional” star features. Of course, WWE told Foley that he simply wasn’t in good enough health to have that kind of match. At that time, it seemed like Foley had retired from in-ring competition. However, he actually had one more match for a company called OMEGA in which he beat indie wrestler Mickey Gambino. While that card did feature some TNA talent, it wasn’t the stage you’d think that Foley would have ended his career on.
2 Roddy Piper: w/ Bob Orton Jr. vs. Mick Foley and Terry Funk - Juggalo Championship Wrestling
Roddy Piper was a one-of-a-kind performer. If you’ve never seen some his early, pre-WWE heel work, you owe it to yourself to go back and find clips of Piper working Los Angeles crowds to a near riot. Sure, he wasn’t the best in-ring worker ever, but Piper knew how to ensure that every wrestling fan in the world left the show still thinking about whatever he did that night. Piper actually enjoyed a fairly long wrestling career that even included some trips back to WWE.
Sadly, Piper didn’t choose to end his career in WWE.
Instead, his final match came in the form of a tag contest for Juggalo Championship Wrestling in which he took on Mick Foley and Terry Funk. You’re better off not watching this match.
1 Ric Flair: vs. Sting - TNA Impact 2011
It’s rare that a wrestler is gifted the perfect final match. Yet, that’s exactly what WWE gave Ric Flair when they booked him against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV. It was the culmination of a long storyline that was seemingly leading to the kind of epic send-off that somehow completely captured everything that made Ric Flair’s career so special. Then Flair decided to go to TNA. It was a bit appropriate, really, when you consider that Flair’s money problems prevented him from having the perfect final match in WWE. Instead, he settled for a final match against Sting on TNA Impact in 2011. While the two were storied rivals, both men were well past their prime and TNA Impact didn’t offer the same glorious send-off as WrestleMania would have.
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