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News20 Wrestlers In The Twilight Of Their Careers

20 Wrestlers In The Twilight Of Their Careers

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Matt Hardy (41)

The older Hardy brother has seen recent singles success in TNA Wrestling with two World title reigns. After being screwed out of the title the first time by EC3 (Ethan Carter III), Matt Hardy went through a transformation by screwing EC3 out of the title, and at the same time turning EC3 in to a crowd favourite.

He now goes by “Iconic” Matt Hardy, and is accompanied by his wife Reby Hardy, Tyrus, Rockstar Spud, and sometimes his baby son Maxel. He’s been using the power of social media to further his online persona, often going as far as trolling the fans.

But his iconic reign came to an abrupt end as Drew Galloway became the first man to successfully cash in the Feast or Fired World title briefcase. With his new image, I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt continues to fight for the title in 2016, as well as feud with his brother Jeff who recently returned after his motorbike incident.

Should he retire? No, I don’t think he should or will. He can teach the youngsters, and along with his brother Jeff, is one of the remaining veterans on the roster after so many departures, and TNA needs to keep some veterans around to teach the next generation.

Rey Mysterio (41)

Poor old Rey. He had a hard time getting out from under the claws of WWE management, and the only place he could go was his old stomping grounds in AAA. Recently he signed up for Lucha Underground’s season two, and while we know he still has value, I wonder if he’s a major draw for the show? I highly doubt it .. but I wouldn’t be surprised if he still sells masks like hot cakes.

Should he retire? With his list of injuries and use of painkillers, I wonder if Rey is going down a destructive path. He has nothing left to prove, and probably doesn’t need money, so I can only see his eagerness to continue a mark of his passion. But just like other wrestlers with the same passion, it can lead to life-changing injuries, and I don’t want to see him in pain for the rest of his life. While I appreciate everything he’s done, I hope he retires before a severe injury makes the decision for him.

Abyss (42)

The most loyal wrestler in the history of TNA Wrestling isn’t slowing down. He loves wrestling, and TNA, so while he’s done everything (except win the TNA World title), including a reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion, he still has something to offer the company.

After many creative changes to his character, it looks like he’s finally settled in to something which suits. As a member of the stable Decay, Abyss can mentor Crazzy Steve and Rosemary, and it’s a good thing when you have someone with his experience who can elevate them and show the world they’re here.

Should he retire? Abyss appreciates the company which gave him a job for so many years, and while he’s become the old dinosaur of the show, he still has a lot to give, and he’s in the best spot to do so. He will continue to be a locker room leader, and show the world you don’t need to have worked for WWE to be remembered.

The Rock (43)

I’ve always loved Rocky. Without The Rock, the Attitude Era wouldn’t have been the same, and without Dwayne Johnson, WWE wouldn’t have a movie star they can feature.

But while I love his charisma, and while I appreciate everything he’s done and how much of a draw he is, it pains me when he returns and takes a spot on a PPV card. Yes, he’s a movie star and made millions, yes he can still go in the ring; but is he deserving of a spot when he left the business so long ago?

While he hasn’t earned it recently, his name is so huge you can’t blame Vince for taking advantage. At the end of the day, Vince is a promoter and chairman, and if he can promote The Rock .. he’s going to do it. It’s cruel on the wrestlers who work every week on the road, they put everything in, and then The Rock returns and takes a spot, but life isn’t fair.

On the other hand, The Rock paid his dues years ago. He already worked the grueling schedules and did everything there was to do in WWE. He wanted to try new things, and see if he could make it as a movie star; so should we hate him for trying new things? Should we hate him for becoming a movie star? Are we selfish for saying he should have stayed in WWE for us, and not for him?

Should he retire? It’s a tough question to answer. On one hand, he’s pretty much retired anyways because he only wrestles once, maybe twice a year on average. On the other hand, WWE continues to place him on a pedestal above every full-timer on the roster, so it sets a bad precedent. It tells everyone .. “The Rock is the real star, and no one on the current roster is”. While that is true, it’s not helping the future. It’s not helping the current generation of wrestlers in getting over, because they will never be as good as The Rock, and they will never be placed above him.

So after much thought, I’ve decided what my answer is. I’m still torn on this, because he’s a huge draw and Vince will continue to use him no matter what I, or anyone else says, but my answer is Yes, he should have one last match, a career threatening match which will end with him passing the torch to the next generation. No idea who he could pass the torch to .. perhaps Seth Rollins? Or Dean Ambrose? Either way, it can’t be Roman Reigns because we know they’re related and the fans would crap all over it. One last match is what I want to see .. the night after being inducted in to the Hall Of Fame.

D-Von Dudley (43)

Doze Daaamn Dudleyz! I still can’t believe D-Von and Bubba are back in WWE after so many years working for “the other company who shall not be named”. Sadly for D-Von, he never made it as a singles wrestler except some minor achievements in TNA. He’s always been in the shadow of his kayfabe brother Bubba, and he still is.

Aside from the “Oh My Brother, Testify!”, D-Von doesn’t have much to offer. He can set up the 3D, or get the tables, but as a worker he’s slow and predictable. He was mentioning retirement after leaving TNA, and I’m surprised it didn’t happen. Perhaps he was holding out for one last run in WWE? Luckily he and Bubba are good trainers, so they have something to fall back on when their services are no longer required.

Should he retire? As much as I love D-Von, he doesn’t have what it takes to be World Heavyweight Champion, and he’s nothing more than a nostalgia act in WWE. He may claim the Dudley Boyz are still the “baddest tag team on the planet”, but I’m not buying it. He should retire and focus on training, because we need new talent more than ever, and he has the experience and mentality to train new stars.

R-Truth (44)

The truth shall set you free! Truth is one of those guys who looks far younger than he is. While his ring work is as predictable as ever, it’s his backstage segments and promos which keep him alive. He’s a natural clown, someone who loves to entertain, and he doesn’t need a “push” to enjoy life at work. He’s happy to have a job, and we should be happy for him.

While his recent work with Goldust has been a little amusing, I wish WWE would use him as a manager or tag team partner for a youngster. There’s so much he can pass on to the next generation, and if he’s going to be used as an enhancement talent, pair him up instead of teasing us with the possibility of a tag team we know isn’t going to last long.

Should he retire? He’s still having fun and providing comic relief. I can’t see WWE letting him go, so they should play to his strengths and either give him a group of youngsters, or ask him to become a manager. If they’re going to continue to use Truth for comedy, I’m not going to hate it, but I’ll wonder how long it will take til it becomes too much of the same thing.

Big Show (44)

“Please retire!”. A funny chant considering there’s other wrestlers on the roster who’re older and in worse shape. It’s not really about the fans wanting him to retire, it’s because his character is as stale as an old cracker left down the back of the sofa.

He loves working for WWE. He expressed his thoughts on the recent Stone Cold Podcast, and while I appreciate his love and passion, it’s time for a change, and no .. I’m not talking about a face/heel turn. If he’s going to continue working in WWE, his character needs a revamp, and it needs to stay revamped.

You could see it as WWE being lazy and not wanting to do anything drastic; why should they do anything fresh with Big Show? Would there be any point? We’ve seen so many incarnations of the Big Show, so there’s not much left he can do. He’s done everything, so at this point he’s nothing more than the biggest (physically) enhancement talent of all time.

Should he retire? Unless WWE is willing to give Big Show a character overhaul and stick with it, then yes, I think he should. While he can still go, and while he could be used as an enhancement talent, it doesn’t feel right for a 7-foot giant to be a glorified jobber. One last run as a mid-card champion would be acceptable, but only if he retires after losing the title to someone with unlimited potential on one of the bigger events of the year. But my opinion doesn’t matter .. because Show loves to work, and WWE will use him as long as he stays healthy.

Mark Henry (44)

There’s been talk of Mark retiring soon, and it’s not surprising. Just like Big Show, Mark has switched face and heel so many times we don’t know who we’re going to get, but the biggest difference is that Mark is very injury prone. It’s worrying for his health when he returns for a month or two, then gets injured again and disappears. And it hasn’t just happened lately, it’s been happening for years.

Should he retire? Absolutely, Mark has nothing left to offer, and while I admire his dedication, the multitude of injuries tells me he needs to stop before his Hall Of Pain becomes a self-induced reality for the rest of his life.

Bubba Ray Dudley (44)

Bubba Ray is the exact opposite of his tag team partner. His work in TNA proved he can deliver at a main event level, but he’s yet to have a memorable singles run in WWE. Also, he’s in the best shape of his life, and it would be a shame to waste. While his age goes against long-term plans, in the short-term he has the talent to be far more than a nostalgia act.

His work as a villain is top-notch. It’s hard to match, but he’s known as one-half of the Dudleys and that’s where the money is. Bubba has the ability to spark riots with a live mic, but with PG programming how insulting could he be? Would they allow him to go to the “extreme”? I highly doubt so

Should he retire? He’s in good shape, and has something to prove with his brother D-Von. They want one more successful run in WWE before they consider retiring, and that means winning the Tag Team Championship at least once; I would consider it a major achievement at this point.

I wouldn’t be surprised if D-Von retired, but I would be if Bubba did. He’s never mentioned retiring, and still appears animated and passionate. He’s like a vintage wine, he gets better over time, and there’s not many wrestlers who can do that. A huge question mark looms over his future, so I’m not going to play Mystic Meg and guess what’s going to happen next .. the only thing I can do is hope he gets a singles run in WWE to end his career on a well-deserved note.

Tommy Dreamer (45)

Tommy! What can I say about Tommy? He’s like the heart of professional wrestling. We know he’s getting on, but we don’t mind because wrestling’s his life, and if you’re going to run your own promotion you need to work hard to keep it alive.

And he doesn’t mind showing up in WWE or TNA, put someone over, then promptly return to the independent scene to promote House Of Hardcore. It seems Tommy has stable connections with WWE and TNA, so if they need a surprise return .. rest assured Tommy will pick up the phone, cash the cheque, and do the job with as much heart as always.

Should he retire? No. He has a promotion to fund, wrestling is his life, and while he’s had some nagging injuries, he wrestles when he likes and has time to rest. His promotion will continue to grow under his leadership, and he won’t fear competition as he’s so likeable, other promoters will respect him and want to work with his promotion.

Christopher Daniels (45)

The one thing about Daniels is .. he never ages. Watch any of his early matches in TNA or ROH, and then watch his recent ROH matches, and you’ll think .. damn, how does he do that? What’s his secret? Is it all those appletini’s? Is he even human?

However he’s doing it .. his age hasn’t taken anything away from what he does. His current entrance attire is a generals suit, which is fitting considering he is the exact definition of a ring general. The next few years will be the toughest of his career, as there’s plenty of young lions stalking in the grass.

Should he retire? He’s not hurting anybody. He’s professional and passionate for wrestling, so if a young lion wants to take his spot, they will have to take it the hard way. Daniels will continue working for anyone who will have him, and while he’ll never be a World Champion, he should be remembered as one of the best workers of the past fifteen years.

Chris Jericho (45)

Have I ever told you how much I love heel Jericho? It’s a breath of fresh air I have to say. Jericho vs AJ Styles is my most anticipated match for Wrestlemania, so although Jericho has been over-selling on occasion, I don’t care because they’re going to steal the show. He’s on a mission to put AJ Styles over, and he’s going to do it in the best way possible.

Should he retire? Jericho is a tough one, because although he is excellent at what he does, we know wrestling isn’t his only passion. He spreads himself around .. he doesn’t like to do the same thing for too long, and I admire that, because doing the same thing over and over is not what life’s about.

He’s healthy, willing to lose matches when necessary, and never loses the ability to deliver. But he doesn’t just come back for one match, when he returns he does the full schedule and goes on the road. He’s earned the right to take breaks when he needs to go on tour, and I don’t think anyone on the roster would argue the fact. So my answer is no, unless he loses his passion for wrestling altogether.

Rob Van Dam (45)

His status is questionable. His latest run in WWE was lackluster, and he didn’t appreciate it too much. He’s appeared sporadically since leaving WWE in 2014, so I’m not aware if he is injured or just taking a break. I haven’t been keeping up with his interviews .. so if anyone could shine some light on his status, I would appreciate your contribution.

Should he retire? RVD’s getting to that age where I wonder if it’s wise for him to do hardcore matches. There’s always going to be a place for him on a wrestling card, but it’s questionable whether he can remain healthy and drug-free. At this point I can’t say whether he should or not.

Shane McMahon (46)

That pop though! It showed how much the fans missed Shane O’ Mac in the WWE. Unlike other wrestler’s on the list, Shane isn’t a guy who’s wrestled full-time for years so all needs to do is train. He should be safe for one match, as long as they don’t do anything overly risky in the Hell in a Cell.

Should he retire? The real question is .. should he have come out of retirement? Do we really need to see Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker in the most heavily booked Hell in a Cell match in the history of WWE? It’s a matter of perspective, and from my point-of-view, while it’s cool to see Shane O’Mac one more time .. all I can think about is the “black hole” injury list which likely contributed to this excessively promoted booking decision.

Goldust (46)

Very similar to R-Truth. While I appreciate the comedy, pairing him with a youngster would make better use of his experience. At the same time, there’s far too many guys in their twilight and Goldust is probably the most expendable.

Should he retire? While he’s on the main roster, Stardust suffers because everyone’s going to be drawn to Goldust before Stardust, so if they ain’t going to use him for anything besides filler, then why have him? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like him, and he can still work, but I’m not tuning in to see Goldust. I’m going to say yes this time .. because he would contribute more behind the scenes like his father did. Dusty Rhodes did wonders for NXT, and Dustin Rhodes could do the same.

Triple H (46)

The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion. What does that tell you? When Vince thinks .. hmm, who can we stick the belt on? Should we put it on Triple H and hope the fans hate him so much they’ll get behind Reigns?

“I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS!”

Triple H is respected because of his work in NXT, well, not completely, but a lot more than he used to be. The fans know Triple H is leading NXT, and it’s an exciting show to watch, so when they have the choice of cheering Triple H or Roman Reigns, they’re going to cheer Triple H. And why? Because Triple H has character, and he’s more talented. He’s used the fact he married the bosses daughter to sustain heat for many, many years, and not only that, he’s proven himself as a face during his time in D-Generation X.

But I still see some fans who HATE Triple H. I mean, there’s no talking to them. They have it in their heads that he purposely infiltrated the McMahon family business by plotting a grand scheme of marrying Stephanie so he could control WWE one day. I wish I was joking, but some fans hate Triple H so much they imagine him to be the “Cerebral Assassin” in real-life. It’s like people don’t understand why Triple H was champion so many times; whether he had political help or not .. he was consistently loathed for many years; and that’s what great heels do!

Should he retire? At this point he’s around to put guys over. It’s an inevitability that Reigns will defeat him at Wrestlemania, much to the disdain of fans. It’s far too predictable, and I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t hate Reigns as a human being, I just don’t care for how his character is booked. That time he snapped, and his time in the Shield .. that’s the real Roman Reigns .. but the rest of the time he’s just a cheap John Cena knock off; another polarizing underdog figure.

Triple H won’t retire as long as the current generation of wrestlers struggle to overthrow the previous generation, and it’s a sad fact which is likely to continue for a few more years.

Kurt Angle (47)

Angle’s still going. Despite his departure from TNA, he worked a match with Rey Mysterio and is scheduled for more matches in the future. He denied a move to WWE and a Hall of Fame induction, so it seems Kurt’s decided to stay clear from either promotion and work part-time on the independent scene. That gives him more time with his family, and he isn’t tied to anyone so he can work when and where he pleases.

Should he retire? I believe he should. I follow his Facebook and he’s always posting pictures of his family, and he doesn’t need to be wrestling full-time to make a living. His past incidents with drink-driving will keep him away from a Hall of Fame induction for a few years, unless WWE see past it and give him a call, but at least he has that to look forward too.

He can still wrestle a decent match .. but if I was Kurt I would be questioning the future and whether it’s the right thing to wrestle. I would be thinking of the family, and about Sting’s recent injury, because you never know when a serious incident can happen with an unfamiliar opponent.

Kane (48)

The Big Old Red Machine. I suppose he’s good for battle royals and royal rumbles, but what else can he give at this point? He’s done everything, and while it’s been fun on occasion, I lost interest in Kane several years ago, and he will never be what he was in the late 90’s.

Should he retire? He should. I know he won’t, and he’s always going to have a job as long as he’s healthy and wants to do it, but he’s just another name living off the popularity of the Attitude Era. A little harsh perhaps, and I’m not against him working for a living, but I’ve seen enough Kane matches to last a few lifetimes.

The Undertaker (51)

There’s one basic fact about The Undertaker .. he’s a draw, and WWE will milk his character as long as the man is capable and willing to work. He’s been sidelined as a part-timer for many years, and I can understand if some fans feel resentment towards him for having the privilege of a guaranteed spot at Wrestlemania.

But he’s the definition of sports-entertainment and wrestling, he’s still capable of delivering on the grandest stage, and it creates a unique selling point for Wrestlemania. In other words, if you want to see The Undertaker wrestle, you have to go to Wrestlemania, and even without The Streak, the fans will pay to see him.

Should he retire? Tough one to answer! I love Taker, the man behind the character is seriously respected, but everyone knows he hasn’t got much left. He’s been running on borrowed time for a while, and despite sitting on the sidelines, he’s delivered and stole the show at Wrestlemania on so many occasions. None of the youngsters come close to The Phenom in any aspect, so as long as Taker can do it, and as long as he’s needed, I’m going to say no .. because Wrestlemania needs The Undertaker. WWE needs The Undertaker.

Jushin “Thunder” Liger (51)

Unbelievable. He’s still going strong as a wrestler for NJPW, ROH, and even on NXT (when he fought Tyler Breeze). Liger can move as well as a thirty-year-old, and he’s been wrestling longer than I’ve been alive. Liger is the epitome of consistency, and his work over three decades has been exceptional.

Should he retire? Why would the legendary Jushin Liger retire? He’s an attraction, and as long as he loves wrestling, he will work for the rest of his life. If Lou Thesz could wrestle at the age of 74, then we know Liger can!

And again you’ve made it to the end. Apologies if I made you feel old .. but I had to make a follow-up. The message behind the piece is that age is only a number, and the reasons for retirement doesn’t amount to how old someone is, it has more to do with health and motivation.

Like us, wrestlers have to work, and we should appreciate them before they ride off into the sunset. Time will catch up, and when that time comes we can celebrate their careers and remember the good times. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again in April.

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