WWE Superstars work hard to set themselves apart and grab onto those proverbial brass rings of success. In the span of one’s career, the chances are pretty strong a wrestler will spend more time trying to get “over” than actually being “over.”
When one finally connects with an audience, it can be hard to let go of the sweet taste of success.
Over the years, many of the best struggled with when to give up and, unfortunately, stayed well past their expiration dates. Here are five that should have retired long before they did.
— BIZBoost™???? (@BIZBoost) March 25, 2017
5. Andre the Giant
As WWE Superstars go, Andre the Giant was an institution. His place in the company’s Hall of Fame is well-deserved. Born Andre Rene Roussimoff, he was “blessed” with a unique physique that lent him instant star power.
Unfortunately, that same physique — caused by a condition known as acromegaly — also caused him numerous health problems and chronic pain over the years.
As reported in this tribute by the New York Post, it also led to a reliance on alcohol.
By the time he worked his famous feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, he could barely get around with an extremely limited move-set.
The pinnacle of Andre’s career was WrestleMania III in March 1987. He continued for another five years.
4. Bill Goldberg
Bill Goldberg was not originally among the WWE Superstars.
He was first pushed by booker/wrestler Kevin Sullivan in the now-defunct WCW. With an intimidating build and the look of a tough guy, Goldberg’s famous “streak” of squash matches won him enormous popularity.
But once WCW sold out to WWE, there was little room left for Goldberg on the roster, and he wisely bowed out of the company in 2004.
So far, so good.
Then WWE 2K17 came along, and speculation began running rampant that he would be more than just a video game character.
He made his official return to competition in November 2016 at Survivor Series, where he defeated Brock Lesnar in 86 seconds.
The win got a huge pop from audiences, but it became apparent in subsequent appearances — an appearance at the Royal Rumble, a 20-second “match” with Kevin Owens — that Goldberg was a short-burn gimmick that didn’t have the tools to work the full length of a main event match.
He will face Brock Lesnar once more at WrestleMania 33, but fans are already booing.
— Big Vic Johnson (@Quickvic002) March 23, 2017
3. Ric Flair
In his day, Flair was one of the best villains in the business. His mic skills were unequaled and his in-ring performances were breathless.
Father Time would eventually take over, however, and the “Nature Boy” would see his body surrender to the laws of gravity.
Suddenly, the sexist promos and the skimpy wrestling gear no longer held the same appeal to mass audiences.
Yet Flair continued to stay.
In fact, he would not wrestle his final match until WrestleMania 24 in 2008. While the match was well-received, Flair has continued to throw out the same old schtick in his subsequent appearances on WWE programming and for other organizations.
It just has the sad tinge of a washed-up performer who doesn’t know when to hang it up at this point. Throw in the fact that he cannot bring himself to criticize WWE for anything these days, and the once-stylin,’ profilin’ champ comes across as a company lapdog and a lightweight among WWE Superstars of today.
2. The Undertaker
Brock Lesnar ending the streak in what was actually a pretty boring match — save for the ending — should have been the end for the Undertaker’s run as one of the top WWE Superstars.
Fans instead have had to suffer through his limited appearances, top billing, and diminishing move-set.
The Undertaker’s matches have lost their allure as has the character. As Kevin Wong of Complex puts it, he looks “rickety and unhealthy the entire time” he is performing.
— 80’s Wrestling Pics! (@80sWrestlingPic) March 19, 2017
1. Hulk Hogan
If ever there was a guy who ruined his legacy, it’s Hulk Hogan.
Hogan was once a consummate role model and leader among historical WWE Superstars. Today, he’s the guy who would have sex with his best friend’s wife and utter racist remarks to her afterward while not knowing he’s being filmed.
For Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), the “prayers and vitamins” version of Hulkamania has sailed. Plus, watching him perform in the ring makes you wonder what you ever saw in him back in the 1980s.
Just how bad of a performer that Hogan is can be best summed up with this Shawn Michaels SummerSlam match in which “The Heartbreak Kid” hilariously oversells everything the Hulkster does.
The sad part is, Hogan would come back tomorrow for yet another “farewell match” if the McMahon family would let him.
But what do you think, readers? Do you think these WWE Superstars stayed around too long? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by WWE]