With Survivor Series coming soon, we are starting to get closer and closer to WrestleMania season. The WWE usually uses the November event to start hyping up things for the grandest stage of them all. Who can forget Sting’s long awaited debut when he appeared out of nowhere attacking Triple H which set up a legendary match between the two. Will the WWE do the same this year with Goldberg running in during a Lesnar match?
As you can see the speculation has already begun; rumors further intensified when the WWE announced their return to the Alamodome in front of 60,000 strong. You’d think some faces might be returning for that event. We'll have some of the rumored wrestlers on this list and others that might be inching towards an in-ring return.
We will also take a look at the other side of the coin and project which careers seem to be coming to an end. One in particular has been announced to end following next year’s WrestleMania.
Let us now begin and speculate who these names are; here are eight retired WWE stars rumored to return and seven that might be retiring shortly. Enjoy!
15 Return: Shawn Michaels
With the announcement of the Royal Rumble set to take place in front of 60,000 strong in the Alamodome in HBK’s hometown of San Antonio, Texas, rumors are once again running rampant linking Shawn Michaels to a return in the ring at the event. Michaels appeared at the PPV last time it was held in the location and defeated Sid for the WWE Championship, and boy what a reaction it drew!
Not surprising the rumors are still heating up regarding a possible HBK return. Flair added to the fuel when he leaked info pertaining to McMahon apparently begging Shawn to wrestle at last year’s WrestleMania. Although Shawn did decline, he still appeared at the event looking in terrific shape while supporting his ring gear.
Let’s be honest, HBK can still put on a five star match, which is why we were all so disappointed and saddened that he decided to call it a career. Although he tells us otherwise, we have reason to believe Shawn is in line for one more run in some capacity.
14 Retiring: Kane
According to his peers, the true beauty of Kane lies underneath the surface of his tough exterior. Behind the scenes, the demon is said to be one of the nicest and smartest guys in the entire business, something you could not predict when watching his work on television.
With all his smarts and knowledge, Kane is beginning to branch out into the world of politics alongside his wife. The couple reside in Tennessee, and are looking to move closer to their political office which justifies how serious things really are. Kane has also stated that he has serious intentions of perhaps running for a mayoral seat in 2018, making the possibility of his WWE career coming to an end that much more possible.
After a career that spanned over two decades, we would all like to applaud Kane for his tremendous career and accept his career decision to take his talents elsewhere at this point.
13 Return: Bill Goldberg
In terms of retired wrestlers with an adequate chance of returning, Goldberg is perhaps the most likely to happen sooner rather than later. For years fans have linked Goldberg to a return and the reports are finally starting to look more valid than ever due to his involvement with the new WWE 2K17 video game.
His work with the game allowed the door to once again open up for a possible return. Things between both sides seemed very rocky at one point, even with Goldberg expressing his interest to return. Now, however, the two sides are finally talking and we won’t be too surprised if we see Goldberg’s name in the WWE on route to next year’s WrestleMania.
Bill Goldberg has indeed returned to the WWE and is set to appear on the next episode of Monday Night Raw.
12 Retire: R-Truth
Let’s give some props to R-Truth who has truly aged gracefully in the past couple of years; the guy is well into his 40s (at the age of 44), but he still looks great and manages to perform at a decent level nowadays in the twilight of his career.
He’s been wrestling since 97’, so truthfully (no pun intended) he’s due to call it a career in the very near future. Truth has travelled the world for years now, though he is finally enjoying a lighter schedule which sees him perform one to two times a week.
Outside of his WWE life, he lives in a secluded area in Indian Trail, North Carolina, unlike the norm of wrestlers that reside in the Florida area. With a family and the father of five no less, we can expect Truth to call it a day very soon and enjoy some much needed rest alongside his family in the North Carolina area.
11 Return: Hulk Hogan
Hard to believe it’s already over a year now since Hogan parted ways with the WWE after the controversial racial slurs he uttered were leaked online.
Since departing from the company, Hogan has been in and out of court cases with Gawker, which finally saw him walk out with $100 million plus. The case however, is still on-going with Gawker looking to exact some revenge on the verdict.
When it comes to Hogan’s WWE career a return seems very possible in the near future. The WWE has deleted all of his info for the time being but that seems more like a short term punishment more than anything. The WWE was more likely trying to take some heat off for the time being.
Triple H himself expressed interest and has said he was open to Hogan returning to the company. When the timing is right, you can expect Hulk to return to the company.
10 Retire: Goldust
We discussed his partner earlier in the piece and now we turn our focus to the legend that is known as Goldust.
At the age of 47, like Truth, Runnels has been in the pro wrestling business for quite some time. With wrestling in his blood line, Dustin began way back in the tail end of 80s believe it or not, wrestling for an independent promotion out of Florida. He’d go on to have a long career which saw the travelled veteran leave and return to the WWE on five different occasions. As of now, he finally seems to be staying put with the company for the rest of his career, which seems to be winding down.
Like Truth, he still has something left in the tank, whether it be a comedic promo backstage or an in-ring tag match during a pre-show or even Monday Night Raw. Though, with the influx of young talent his days might be coming to an end sooner rather than later. A Hall of Fame induction seems like a layup judging by his accomplishments over the years.
9 Return: Mick Foley (In-Ring Competition)
Fans were saddened when Mick Foley announced his retirement following his storyline with Dean Ambrose. Doctors were unable to give Foley medical clearance which caused the legend to announce his retirement from in-ring competition.
We finally got a nostalgic feeling in our stomachs and hearts when Foley appeared alongside HBK and Steve Austin at the past WrestleMania. Foley entered the ring in a hurry landing a series of vintage jabs along with the always popular “Mr. Socko”. You can see it in his eyes, he seemed very emotional during the cameo and it may have lit a fire under the hardcore legend.
Following his WM appearance, Mick was contacted by the WWE to be Raw’s new General Manager. He’s on-screen more than Stephanie nowadays, and seems to be fitting in quite nicely in his new role. Some speculate this will lead to a future match down the line. We can expect these rumors to only intensify down the road.
8 Retire: Jerry Lawler
You know you’ve been in the business for a long time when Mark Henry’s thanking you for getting his career started during a recent WWE.com interview. Yes, Jerry Lawler is pretty old at the age of 66 but in his defense, age is just a number as “the king” still looks great for a guy entering his 70s in a couple of years.
To give some perspective, Lawler has been in the business since 1970 if you can believe. So it’s only normal if he’ll officially leave the company for good in the near future. The steps already seem like they're being taken with Lawler leaving the SmackDown commentary booth and joining the panel on WWE pre-shows.
When Lawler’s time finally comes to an end with the company we can expect the legend to retire peacefully in his home located in the Memphis area, a region he loves dearly and has stayed in since his humble beginnings.
7 Return: Daniel Bryan (in-ring competition)
This past year has been crazy to say the least for Daniel Bryan. It all started in February when Daniel announced his retirement on Raw Live from his home state in Washington. The night was filled with saddened emotions and many of us thought we’d never see Bryan for a long time.
After he separated, various rumor mills indicated that Daniel would resurrect his career outside of the WWE; the speculation finally came to a close once Bryan returned as the acting GM of SmackDown Live.
WWE crowds are thrilled to have him back but that desire to see him perform in the ring hasn’t gone away for the audience and Bryan himself. The WWE is also constantly poking at this with a heated feud involving both Bryan and The Miz. One way or another, we expect the former WWE Champion to return in the ring in some capacity and boy, what a spectacle that will be when it plays out.
6 Retire: Mark Henry
We thought we’d seen the last of the Austin, Texas resident when he initially announced his retirement, though ultimately Vince would convince the big man to return.
Nowadays Henry still appears at every Raw show behind the scenes but rarely competes in any type of in-ring action, with the company pushing the youth so heavily and more so than ever before. With that in mind, Henry has been relegated to behind the scenes work, something he probably doesn’t mind at the age of 45 and with two decades worth of experience in the business.
We can expect Mark to call it a career for real this time sooner rather than later. Rumors have been circulating that Henry potentially plans on making his final appearance at the Royal Rumble, set to take place in his home state of Texas. There perhaps is no better platform to leave the company than on such a stage.
5 Return: Trish Stratus
You can’t help but to think Trish might be interested in returning, seeing the development of the women’s division nowadays. When Trish broke the mold during her time, the division still catered to beauty and all those antics, today however, it is all about the wrestling. Just recently, Sasha and Charlotte main evented Raw in Los Angeles and proved that the division is better than ever.
With that said, Trish must be edging towards some type of return. She did state in interviews that she was open to returning, although the timing had to be right and it needed to be something worthwhile. Well, looking at the state of the division it certainly seems worthwhile and with WrestleMania on the horizon, the timing seems pretty good as well.
Many rumors indicated that it’s truly a matter of when at this point. Her return would add yet another degree of intrigue to the division on either Raw or SmackDown.
4 Retire: Big Show
Although Big Show has more than a year left on his WWE contract as of this writing, he admitted that his final WrestleMania match is likely to go down at the upcoming event when he takes on NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal. The match has been announced for quite some time now and is being labelled as Show’s final bout. The big man did however indicate that he plans on sticking around following the match but his in-ring career will likely be done.
With Show’s career winding down and his lack of appearances as of late, you can expect the company to once again give Big Show one last final push before his bout against Shaq. It will be a type of “farewell” tour for the big man.
You can expect to see the former World Champion stick around behind the scenes for a little while. A Hall of Fame induction seems to be very possible as well, following the announcement of his in-ring retirement.
3 Return: Kurt Angle
Hard to believe it’s already been a decade since Kurt Angle last appeared on WWE television; man, does time ever fly.
Similar to Goldberg, wrestling rumor sites have linked Angle to a WWE return for years now. Finally, we got some validity to the rumors when Kurt announced that he had in fact spoken to Triple H about a possible return in the near future. Similar to how the company dealt with Sting, Angle seems to be sitting back and enjoying his time off till the WWE comes calling. It truly is a matter of "when" and not "if" at this point. The variety of matches we’d love to see Angle in is mouth-watering to say the least. The only downfall is how long fans had to wait to see it happen after his bitter departure from the company.
Like Goldberg, his return will be a tremendous redemption story that will receive a huge reaction from the WWE Universe.
2 Retire: Paul Heyman
Heyman has endured a rocky relationship with the WWE looking back at his run with the company. Behind the scenes, Heyman was fired at one point for listening in on a confidential conference call, and he also walked out of the company on another occasion which saw the infuriated Heyman fed up with McMahon’s creative tactics during the ECW show.
The history has been pretty rocky, but finally today Heyman seems to be getting along with everyone else better than ever before. A big reason for that is generally because he only appears as Brock’s manager and has limited involvement behind the scenes. Aside from his part-time appearances, Heyman runs his own agency out of New York where the 51 year old resides these days.
When his run with Lesnar reaches its boiling point, expect the legendary face of ECW to call it a career for good with the company.
1 Return: Stone Cold
At the time of the match back in March of 2003, nobody could have predicted that this would be Steve Austin’s final match in front of a crowd in Safeco Field, that featured 54,000 strong in attendance. The Rock finally defeated Steve Austin in the second last bout of the night; almost 15 years later, Austin hasn’t wrestled a single match which is truly shocking.
Rumors have swirled as you might have heard, linking Austin to a return, time and time again. At one point, fans thought he’d return to take on Brock but that also seemed to die down once Goldberg began to be linked quite heavily to Lesnar instead.
Which leads us to now. Still, fans crave one more appearance from the Texas Rattlesnake and with the Rumble set to take place in his home state, you can expect the rumblings to once again intensify.
What do you guys think, does the Texas Rattlesnake have one more match left in him?