9 Shocking WWE Superstar Departures
Now you see them, and now you don’t. These WWE wrestlers retired from the industry and left the hearts of their fans broken. Here are nine professional athletes who left the ring too soon.
1. CM Punk
Phillip Jack “Phil” Brooks began life as a wrestler during the 1990s. The athlete soon went from the backyards of wrestling to the main stage with a little help from trainers Ace Steel, Danny Dominion, and Kevin Quinn. Phillip’s dream of becoming a professional athlete became a reality in 2000 when he joined the Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (IWA Mid-South). He won the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship two times and the industry’s heavyweight championship on five different occasions.
Things were looking up for Brooks until the WWE moved his profile from the active roster to the alumni page on its website in 2014. The industry did so without releasing a statement. Brooks, however, cleared the air with a detailed interview that told fans about his suspension that led to termination. Vince McMahon later apologized to Phillip for the manner by which he released Brooks.
The WWE is just now getting over Brooks’ departure with potential wrestlers to work in his stead. There will, however, never be another CM Punk.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Steven James Anderson was born on December 18, 1964. The athlete goes by his ring name “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, which was a title he picked up after exhibiting a disrespectful persona that defied the establishment.
Such defiance was not just good acting as Austin feuded with several people in management behind the scenes. Vince McMahon was certainly not thrilled with the wrestler’s sudden absences that led to revenue loss. Still, Stone Cold continued to show up and leave as he pleased until June 3, 2003. It was on this day that the professional athlete walked out of the arena for good.
Fans knew that Adam Joseph Copeland would have to hang it up one day, but few expected the departure to be so abrupt. Edge was forced to retire from WWE in 2011 after suffering a major injury during one of the Raw matches.
4. Kurt Angle
It has been a decade since America’s wrestler retired from the industry, and some fans still cannot believe that he is gone. Kurt Steven Angle came to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1998 and fought his last match in 2006. Few could forget the star’s persona that started out as polite. Kurt had a special place in his heart for Stephanie McMahon and pursued her on the show despite her husband being the one and only Triple H. Kurt endured many challenges during his career but, nevertheless, was able to build a respectable name for himself.
William Jason Reso was the other half of the ‘Edge and Christian’ team. The wrestler broke away from his partner to explore life as a professional fighter by himself. Christian won several championships on his own before competing in his final match in 2014. Although the wrestler told media that he was technically still on the roster earlier this year, he deemed his lack of activity as a strong implication of his retirement.
6. Hulk Hogan
Terry Gene Bollea has been in and out of the professional wrestling sphere for the past few years. Although the veteran athlete, who began his career as a wrestler in 1977, is on the books as a retired star, he makes occasional appearances at WWE fights. Hulk Hogan has been the WWE World Heavyweight Champion six times as well as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He is also an actor who had roles in Rocky III, The A-Team, Walker, Texas Ranger, and American Dad.
7. Randy Savage
Randy Mario Poffo was known as “Macho Man” in the ring and for a good reason. The star is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time with 29 titles to his name, two of which are world championships with the WWE. Macho Man was set to receive a spot in the industry’s hall of fame but died in a car accident before receiving the honor in 2011. Randy Poffo was 58-years-old at the time of his death.
8. Rey Mysterio
He was fast, exuberant, and mysterious. Oscar Guitierrez, a.k.a. Rey Mysterio captivated crowds with his technique that often took his opponents by surprise. Perhaps his liveliness is why the professional wrestler’s decision to retire was such a shocker. Several reports cite Perro Aguayp Jr.’s death as the reason for Mysterio’s departure.
9. Bret Hart
Bret Sergeant Hart was known as “The Hitman” in the rink. His decision to retire was partially the result of an injury that he suffered while competing with Bill Goldberg in 2000. Several media sources cite the career-ending match as a thorn in Bret’s side.