Many WWE wrestlers had become so beloved in the professional wrestling world that they had their fans screaming for them to do one more match. Just one more. Other wrestlers seemed to have great potential but unfortunately, their careers never took off and many believe that they retired too soon. But you can’t blame any of them; living the life of a professional wrestler is no doubt brutal. You have to work over three hundred days a year, which means you hardly ever go one week without at least one fight in the ring.
So, what exactly causes or forces these wrestlers to retire? Some wrestlers say it’s only because of their old age catching up to them but yet, the fans insist that they had more years left in them. For others, their bodies could not physically go on. And for just a few, they were too frustrated at where their careers were headed, and were offered contracts to something else that was possibly more lucrative.
However, many would argue that a few of the wrestlers on this list weren’t given the fair shot they needed by WWE, and could have gone on to become some of the most popular wrestlers of all time, had WWE let them stay. Ultimately, the fans saw more in certain wrestlers than WWE, or in anyone in the professional wrestling world saw. Regardless of the reasons why these wrestlers did retire (or were forced to retire), they all have one thing in common: the fans and the audiences believed that they had retired too soon.
Many where shocked to see JBL go, as he always drew in huge crowds when he fought in matches. When he did go, it was abrupt and many people didn’t see it coming. More surprising about his sudden retirement was that he repeatedly referred to himself as the ‘wrestling god,’ so the fans were shocked to see him leave the scene in a hurry and never return. Many saw great potential in JBL and thought that he could have become the next CM Punk or John Cena, had he stayed.
9. Low Ki
Many fans were upset to see Low Ki leave the WWE, but on financial terms, it was the right move. Low Ki did very well at WWE, and gained lots of attention for his appearances on Pay per View and on Smackdown. However, he was offered an even bigger contract to wrestle in Japan, where he went before retiring for good, at the age of thirty four. Low Ki had an excellent run in WWE and many believed he still could have done so much more, had he not retired so soon. Low Ki may have been skilled but then again, he was largely set for the rest of his life.
Mordecai had a brief but somewhat notable career on WWE. He engaged Rey Mysterio in a brutal fight on Smackdown, in which Mysterio won and Mordecai was decisively defeated. After that, WWE sent him packing. Many were disappointed at this, as Mordecai provided great comic relief for the crowds during his performances but as it turns out, WWE apparently doesn’t hire wrestlers for comedy. But the reasons behind Mordecai’s forced retirement were also due to the fact that WWE was losing more money on him than gaining, so from a financial standpoint, it made sense.
7. Dean Malenko
Dean Malenko retired at the age of forty-one, which is rather young for a WWE wrestler. Nonetheless, Malenko had a very lucrative and notable career. He was named as the best wrestler in the world by many magazines throughout the 1990s, and in 1995, he engaged with Eddie Guerrero, in what is widely regarded as one of the most brutal fights in WWE history. Who knows if Malenko would have been involved in any other great achievements had he not retired, but it was his decision and no one can blame him for that.
Lashley tried his hand at a number of things in WWE, including as an announcer behind the mic and as a wrestler. But many argue that Lashley was not given enough time to develop his skills and that WWE cut him off, far too soon. Lashley is hardly remembered in WWE at all anymore, but those who do remember him, say that if he would have been given just a few more years in WWE, he could have become something.
5. Lance Storm
Some might consider it invalid for Lance Storm to be on this list, since he is technically only semi-retired. The only time he does wrestle anymore is briefly at wrestling promotions. Other then that, he is officially retired. He is also set for life, having made a lot of money throughout his career at WWE. He gained attention early in his career, since his first ever match was against Jericho. He was followed closely by fans after that, and it’s obvious that he could still be wrestling today, if he wanted to. Nonetheless, he chose to live out the rest of his life in peace.
Goldberg was never a favorite among WWE fans, but no one can deny that he wasn’t a skilled wrestler. He decisively defeated Bret Hart in one match, which put him on the lists of the top wrestlers. Even though his career was just warming up, he still retired in his late thirties. There are rumors that he may return to the ring, but it still seems heavily unlikely.
3. Rene Dupree
Rene Dupree had everything going for him that WWE looked for in a wrestler. Even so, he only worked at WWE for five years, and it’s because he requested he be released. The reasons for why he requested to quit are currently unknown, but he had already made a lot of money and he must have thought it would be a good idea to retire early and live the rest of his life in peace. Like with Goldberg, there are some rumors persisting that Dupree will return to the ring, but also like Goldberg, that seems heavily unlikely.
2. Scotty Goldman
Cabana never gained much traction when he was in the WWE, and he lost the overwhelming majority of his matches. Even so, the fans still seemed to like him and he was given the nickname, Scotty ‘Boom Boom’ Cabana. He was also never given very much time on TV by WWE, perhaps because everyone expected him to lose beforehand. Even so, some argue that, had Goldman been given more attention and exposure to motivate him, he could have unlocked his skills and done well later on. But WWE didn’t think so and released him, and instead of heading off to somewhere else, Goldman promptly retired at that point. The chances of him returning to any wrestling organization appear to be very, very slim.
1. Bret Hart
Bret Hart has always only been off and on with WWE, but he is still one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. One time he even told Vince McMahon directly to his face, that he would never work for him again. The last time Hart did return to the ring, he lost decisively, but it could have just been a stroke of bad luck. Today, he is officially retired.
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