The world of pro wrestling is filled with stories of tragic retirements and triumphant comebacks. Many superstars hung up their boots, only to work premium live events for all the Saudi money. However, there are performers who have stayed retired. That being said, here are five WWE superstars who have stuck to their retirement.
The arrival of Paige predates the ascent of the ‘Four Horsewomen of WWE.’ Paige was primed to be the torch bearer of the women’s division. WWE’s ‘Anti Diva’ had humble beginnings in the WWE, starting with FCW. Paige’s WWE career is nothing short of amazing.
She is the first-ever NXT Women’s Champion, a title she vacated after winning the Divas Championship the day she debuted on the main roster. Unfortunately, recurring neck injuries forced her to retire from pro wrestling in 2018 – a decision she’s sticking to, to this very day.
The departure of top stars such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar in 2004 left a void in the upper echelons of WWE, and Vince McMahon had to find a credible heel. Of course, Triple H was still there but he ‘didn’t wanna work Tuesdays.’ Vince turned his attention towards Bradshaw, a fan favorite, and turned him into the villainous JBL.
As JBL, Bradshaw feuded with the likes of Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker and others before passing the torch to WWE’s next biggest star in John Cena. JBL retired from in-ring competition following his humiliating loss to Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania 25. Safe to say that JBL has stayed true to his word about retirement.
AJ Lee’s influence on the modern-day women’s division of WWE is undeniable. AJ had the looks of an angel but could play the role of the mischievous devil to perfection, just ask CM Punk or Bryan Danielson. On top of that, she had the mic skills to verbally eviscerate her opponents. Unfortunately, a series of injuries plagued her career and she permanently said goodbye to wrestling in 2015. She currently serves as an executive producer on Women of Wrestling.
Batista was slightly older than his peers when he broke into the business, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the ‘Animal’ he would be known for years to come. Batista worked in OVW, WWE’s developmental at the time, for nearly two years before making his main roster debut in 2002. He spent the next eight years winning multiple championships.
Batista parted ways with WWE in 2010, only to return and work two more stints with the company. His retirement came at the hands of Triple H at WrestleMania 35. Now, he’s a mega star in Hollywood and the proud co-owner of a tattoo parlor in Tampa.
‘Diamonds are forever, and so is Ric Flair.’ Nobody could’ve said it better than the Nature Boy. Flair is one of pro-wrestling’s all-time greats and there’s no arguing that. His matches with Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, Terry Funk and Harley Race are a stuff of legend.
Flair had a career-ending match against Shawn Michaels in 2008. The retirement, however, didn’t last long as the two-time WWE Hall of Famer bled buckets with Hulk Hogan during the Hulkamania tour and later joined TNA. Flair’s in-ring career came to an end in 2012. He’s still very much active on his podcast where he reminisces about his career.