There are several jobs out there where workers can float through a day without contributing much and still manage to keep their jobs. Sure, the free ride might come to an end sooner or later but some people are somehow able to hang on to their jobs for quite a while, if not until retirement. The same can’t be said for professional athletes. Unless you happen to be in the upper echelon of your sport, there is little tolerance for a lack of development and regression is most often a one-way ticket out. There are several reasons why athletes don’t stay on top forever. Father time spares no one. Injuries are a major factor and a lot of professional athletes simply don’t meet expectations. Of course, personal conduct issues have also derailed a lot of careers.
All of the major sports offer their athletes a comfortable living, to say the least, but careers don’t often last long. It is widely accepted that the average professional football player’s career lasts just 3.3 years. It’s 5.6 years for professional baseball players and it’s about the same for professional hockey players, while the average NBA career ends after 4.8 years, which is a pretty small window. For every Tom Brady, Jaromir Jagr, Carlos Beltran, and Vince Carter, there are dozens of other pros that were done before their careers could even get off the ground.
One sport that has seen a lot of its members enjoy long careers is professional wrestling. Say what you will about the authenticity of the competition but these people are finely-tuned athletes that take a pounding every time they enter the ring. Still, there comes a time that even the toughest of professional wrestlers need to call it quits. Recently, Enzo Amore was released from the WWE due to personal misconduct. Now that Enzo’s gone from the WWE, here are 15 others that can join him on the unemployment line – part 2.
It certainly appears as though Big Show’s loss to Braun Strowman in September 2017 was his swan song. It is largely accepted that being tossed through the steel cage and then tended to backstage was the WWE’s way of writing the 7-foot behemoth out of the program. It’s also well-known that the 383-pound veteran superstar has undergone a much-needed hip surgery. The thing is, he hasn’t officially called it quits. In fact, he has openly stated that he has not completely ruled out a return to the ring. He has mentioned making another championship title run or another tag team championship run and has repeated the phrase, “Never say never,” when asked about returning to the ring. While an electrifying and memorable send off would be nice, it might be wise to leave well enough alone.
Mickie James made a name for herself as Trish Stratus’ number one fan back in 2005 and 2006. With her behavior being nothing short of obsessive, James eventually teamed up with Stratus but the union was short-lived as she tried to kiss Trish, resulting in the two becoming enemies. Now that’s entertainment! She followed that up with an epic feud with Lita in 2006. Over ten years and countless feuds later, Mickie has several championships under her belt, including 5 WWE Women’s Championships and a Divas Championship. While the 38-year-old can still impress, her career seems to have come full circle after she faced off against her one-time idol, Trish Stratus, at Royal Rumble this past February. Mickie has carved out a fairly successful music career and it’s time that the WWE lets her focus on it full-time.
2017 was a memorable year for Kurt Angle and his fans. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and subsequently appointed as the general manager of Raw. 2017 also marked Angle’s return to the ring as a replacement for Roman Reigns. He was teamed up with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins and did battle against Cesaro, Braun Strowman, The Miz, Sheamus, and Kane in a handicap match. He was then named Team Raw’s captain for Survivor Series, where he was set upon by Triple H. Now, Angle has had a great career but the 49-year-old ex-Olympian needs to stay out of the ring unless he’s holding a microphone. He has nothing left to prove and it would be sad to see such a fine legacy get further tarnished.
Windham Lawrence Rotunda has gone by several ring names since signing on with the WWE nearly 10 years ago. Sure, he’s a pretty big dude, he’s got some skill, and he’s still just 30-years-old, but he seems destined to be nothing more than a palooka to be used as a whipping boy and a stepping stone. He had a couple of decent showings and notable feuds in 2017 but the year ended on a sour note, as he was eliminated from Royal Rumble by the “Woken” Matt Hardy. It doesn’t appear that Bray Wyatt will play a prominent role and it might be a good idea for the WWE to simply cut the 6-foot 3-inch 285-pounder loose. It’s almost certain that it wouldn’t take long for Bray Wyatt to be totally forgotten.
Standing 7-feet tall and weighing in at 323 pounds, Glenn Jacobs has spent his fair share of time in the WWE limelight since joining the WWE in 1995. Since he was introduced as Kane in 1997, he is likely best-known for his association with The Undertaker, with whom he has been both an enemy and an ally. Kane has won three world championships and 12 world tag team championship among others but, at 50 years of age, his best days are far behind him. His last appearance in the ring came this past January when he was defeated by Braun Strowman. After the beatdown at the hands of Strowman, Kane ended up needing medical assistance. He apparently got off the examination table and crawled away. It’s been one heck of a ride but it’s clearly over.
His WWF/WWE career started out in September of 1990 and, 27 years later, Goldust holds the distinction of being the longest active WWE wrestler. During his long and illustrious career, he has amassed 20 championships yet, despite his accomplishments, the 48-year-old veteran has still failed to secure his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. While it’s not guaranteed by any stretch, it would seem likely that his name will someday be enshrined. He recently competed at 2018 Royal Rumble but was eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. He then partnered up with Mandy Rose for the Mixed Match Challenge. Goldust has been a valuable asset to professional wrestling as a whole but the key words in that statement are “has been." While there is room for him somewhere in the WWE, it shouldn’t be competing in the ring.
Once labeled as “the most polarizing professional wrestler ever," 40-year-old John Cena has enjoyed the highest of highs during his time with the WWF/WWE, which began in 2001. He has been packaged and repackaged several times over the past 17 years but, as John Cena, he has become one of the most prominent names in the history of professional wrestling. He has won 25 WWE championships, which include his 13 WWE Championships and 3 WWE World Heavyweight Championships. While John has been the man to induct a few people into the WWE Hall of Fame, he has not yet been enshrined. Although, it’s safe to say that he’ll find himself immortalized one day. With John finding success with other ventures outside of wrestling, it might be time for the WWE to give him a grand send off.
Along with her twin sister Brie, Nikki stormed onto the scene in 2008. While the pair found success as the Bella Twins, it was Nikki who went on to become the longest reigning WWE Divas Champion in WWE history. She also made headlines at WrestleMania 33 when her real-life boyfriend John Cena proposed to her in the ring after the two defeated Maryse and The Miz in a tag team match. Although Nikki recently competed at the 2018 Royal Rumble where she was defeated by Asuka, the 34-year-old has been mulling retirement for a while. After all, she has sustained several injuries including a spinal condition that has pretty much rendered her a part-timer. Like John Cena, Nikki has other things on the burner and the WWE would be doing both sides a favor by severing ties.
Turning 40 doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to retire from wrestling. There are certainly a large number of professional wrestlers that have competed at a high level throughout their 40s and even into their 50s. It’s just that Sin Cara isn’t exactly a candidate to do so. The 40-year-old made the WWE’s main roster back in 2011 and he’s had a pretty good career, despite not taking home a lot of hardware. He’s won a Slammy Award and he was an NXT Tag Team Champion but his appearances in the ring have become quite sporadic of late. After being sidelined with a leg injury, the diminutive Sin Cara made his return in a U.S. Title loss to Baron Corbin in November 2017. With his role being diminished, it is likely that Sin Cara will find himself on the unemployment very soon.
Joseph Hennig, also known in the ring these days as Curtis Axel, hails from a pretty strong wrestling family. In fact, he is the son of the late Curt Hennig, who tragically passed away in 2003 at the young age of 44. His grandfather, Larry Hennig was also a successful professional wrestler. Curtis Axel has claimed a WWE Intercontinental Championship, as well as a WWE Tag Team Championship, along with being involved in some high-profile feuds but he has never really able to remain at the top. His career can be summed up nicely by the word “mediocre." The WWE seems to be relegating Axel to smaller roles and could very well be preparing to give the third-generation wrestler his walking papers. It’s not like anyone will really miss the guy.
There was a lot of speculation around Dolph Ziggler's enigmatic appearance on the December 2017 episode of SmackDown Live, in which the two-time World Heavyweight Champion and 5-time Intercontinental Champion abandoned his title belt in the ring and walked away after holding an impromptu celebration of his career. Apparently, Ziggler felt that the fans didn’t deserve him. While he did vacate his title, Ziggler was not done with the WWE, as he returned to the ring for Royal Rumble in 2018, where he defeated Goldust before being bounced by Finn Balor. Let’s face it, Ziggler doesn’t have that many fans left and the WWE will be just fine without him. Thanks for giving us some memorable moments but hopefully the WWE lets him ride off into the sunset for good.
Things might not have worked out well for Brock Lesnar’s ill-fated football career but The Beast Incarnate has certainly made the best of a life inside the ring. Whether it has been in the UFC or WWF/WWE, Lesnar has kicked his fair share of butt and he has been a huge drawing card. He is a 4-time WWE Champion, WWE Universal Champion, 5-time Slammy Award winner, and he was King of the Ring in 2002, as well as the winner of the 2003 Royal Rumble. The 6-foot 3-inch 286-pound monster has also been one of the more controversial and polarizing figures in professional wrestling. The 40-year-old will probably find a place in the WWE Hall of Fame but his appearances are becoming more infrequent and it might be a great time for the WWE to cut the part-timer loose.
There is no doubt that Jerry Lawler deserves to go down in wrestling history as one of the greatest of all time. While “The King” never won any titles as a member of the WWE, he won 168 championships over the course of his wildly successful career. The 68-year-old is definitely a few decades removed from peak condition but he can still be seen mixing it up on occasion. He has mainly been a broadcaster in recent years and, despite his knowledge and years of experience, his role has diminished quite a bit as of late. He has been relegated to doing the pre-shows on Raw and SmackDown, where it is becoming more and more obvious that he shouldn’t ever have a live microphone in his hand. It’s time to put him behind the scenes or the unemployment line.
Well, it looks like all of those rumors of WrestleMania 33 being The Undertaker’s last stand were greatly exaggerated. It certainly looked like the 52-year-old superstar had called it quits after suffering defeat at the hands of Roman Reigns but his unexpected appearance on a January 2018 episode of Raw, along with the fact that he has not officially announced his retirement, leads many to believe that we could see him in the ring again. The Undertaker is absolutely one of the most popular, beloved, and successful professional wrestlers that the WWE has ever seen but it is about time for him to move on. He’s got nothing left to prove and, with the exception of the WWE giving him a proper send-off. They should release the gargantuan grizzled veteran before he becomes a joke.
There have been loads of wrestlers to burst onto the scene in a flamboyant fashion, only to find themselves abruptly pushed aside and sent back into obscurity. If there is any justice in this world, then we should see this fate befall Andrade “Cien” Almas. After stints in other organizations, Almas signed a developmental contract with the WWE in 2015. It took about two years for the 28-year-old to capture and defend his NXT Champion title. He made his main roster debut at the 2018 Royal Rumble, where he eliminated Kofo Kingston before falling to Randy Orton. It’s not like this guy isn’t talented because he is and he is still young but the 5-foot 9-inch, 210-pound newcomer just doesn’t seem to have that much appeal. He’s quite boring and could easily join Enzo on the unemployment line.