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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Retirements are sad, but like them or not, they are inevitable in this mortal world. One of the most important duties for every wrestler, I claim, is to exit the squared-circle with artfulness, grace, and respectability.

Obviously, this subject is ambiguous, as people have different opinions on when a wrestler ought to retire. Some people feel a wrestler should continue until his or her body dies, ala Hogan and Flair. Other people feel a wrestler should continue until his or her popularity is gone. Other people feel a wrestler should depart as a champion, when he or she is still on top.

I favor the latter because it preserves the memories.

Here is my list:

1). Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18. It may seem odd to argue that Hogan's first WWF match in nearly a decade should have been his last. Consider, however, that Hogan was already an old-man approaching 50, with 20+ years of wrestling under his belt. The way he got cheered over the Rock despite being a heel was like a fairy-tale, and the passing-of-the-torch dynamics gave the feeling of a Hogan farewell/tribute. The Rock was young, respectable, and credible enough to retire Hogan here. We wouldn't have gotten Hogan vs Lesnar, Hogan vs Vince, Hogan vs Michaels, or Hogan vs Orton; but the benefits of his retiring here outweigh the losses.

2). Ric Flair after WCW buyout Ric Flair's last match should have WCW's last match, with Flair and Sting ending an era. Flair's work inside the ring from 2002-2008 were more embarrassing than good, so he could have saved his name here. His work as Evolution's mouthpiece was fine, making me feel that Flair should have worked primarily as a manager or GM, not wrestler.

3). Bret Hart post 2000 What I mean here is that Bret should have never wrestled after his 2010 return. With his frail, stroke-beaten body, Bret didn't have the wherewithal to wrestle in any capacity; see his match with Vince @ 'Mania 26. I'm glad Bret returned and reconciled with WWE, but leave the Sharpshooter memories alone.

4). The Rock at Wrestlemania XIX This pick might be the most controversial. I too endorse the unwritten rule that every wrestler must lose his or her final match, but I make an exception here. Rock and Austin go together, hand-in-hand. With the end of the trilogy, both should have gone together, like a wedded couple. The match is already poignant, especially the "I love you man" at the end, because it was Austin's retirement (as it should have been), yet a Rock' retirement would increase that poignancy twofold. We wouldn't have gotten Rock vs Goldberg, Rock vs Cena, or Rock vs Punk; but the benefits outweigh the negatives.

5). Undertaker and Triple H Wrestlemania 28 (End of an Era) This streak match wasn't as good as the prior 3 streak matches, but it was still passable. The dynamics as well as Triple H and Undertaker's age support a double retirement. Had Undertaker left, the streak would have had a nice, round 20-0 remaining, and the final image of Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels staring back at the ring would have acquired more poignancy.

6). Triple H at Wrestlemania 29 This number doesn't contradict number 5. Triple H refused to retire after Wrestlemania 28, so I see another good opportunity for him to do so. He lost at Summerslam 2012 to Brock via submission before emotionally mouthing to the crowd, "I'm done." He also cut his hair, ala Edge post-retirement. Triple H at this point was already working part-time and was becoming more of an executive. Instead of beating Brock Lesnar unnecessarily, he could have walked away with some grace and thereafter enacted the slow heel culminating at Summerslam 2013. We wouldn't have gotten Triple H vs Bryan or Triple H vs Sting; but the benefits again outweigh the negatives.

7). Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30 Again, this doesn't contradict number 5 for the same reasons given in number 6. Here, the venue is special, being Wrestlemania 30 -- a nice, round number. Undertaker was 49, meaning a retirement here prevented him from wrestling at age 50. He got a warm, poignant standing ovation from the crowd and WWE personnel. The concussion suffered in the match and the ambulance ride after the match point at Father Time. He lost to Brock Lesnar, an athlete whose credibility transcends this sport. Symbolically, Brock ascended the ladder partly by beating Undertaker, so a loss here meant Undertaker never "got his win back." Ridiculously coincidental, Lesnar won this match by countering the Tombstone just as he did at No Mercy 2003. Whether Undertaker goes 22-1 or 21-2, the result is that the streak loses its sanctity. With all these details being as they are, WHY IS UNDERTAKER NOT RETIRED?
 

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I disagree.

Rock shouldn't have retired @ Wm19. Hunter shouldn't have retired @ Wm28 or 29.

Taker should've retired @ Wm28 and Hogan should've retired @ Wm18 though. Bret too. (His final match was a tag team with Cena against Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez fpalm).
 

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Taker shouldve retired after WM 28 or 29. HHH proves that he can still go so no point in him retiring yet.

Rock i disagree with. He broke the status quo which we saw for 6+ years. Hogan I can agree with.
 

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Sting after WCW closed down.
 

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Taker and HHH both should have retired at WM28. They did call it "End of an Era."
 

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And OP, you keep saying "the benefits outweigh the negatives" ...? No. The benefit is money which is all that matters to this company.
 

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The only reason why Bret came back was he wanted to bury the hatchet with Shawn, and make some money while his current wife finished her education. I believe he never wanted to wrestle in the first place but since Bret was the one who approached WWE, Vince used it as leverage and said he would like to work a program with Bret and use the montreal screwjob incident for everything it was worth. The program with Vince was terrible but part of the blame has to go on Vince, who wanted Bret to be in a match when he very well knew that Bret was in no shape to be even 1% as good as he was before the concussion and stroke. The whole Hart family coming out and tearing Vince apart sort of made it even more cringeworthy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And OP, you keep saying "the benefits outweigh the negatives" ...? No. The benefit is money which is all that matters to this company.
It's ambiguous, as I say in the opening. If you work for WWE or own stocks for WWE, you might see the "benefits" as money. By "benefits," I subjectively mean the gracefulness in which that wrestler made his exit:

One of the most important duties for every wrestler, I claim, is to exit the squared-circle with artfulness, grace, and respectability.
 

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Flair should have retired after his match with Shawn and never wrestled in TNA. Andre should have retired after WM IV (possibly III).
 
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Flair should have totally retired after WM24, no Australia tour and no matches in TNA

Taker should have retired after WM30, for me the streak ending was always the natural conclusion for his career

Hogan should have retired at Mania 19

Foley should have retired after WM 22

Disagree with Rock/HHH, Rock has one more big match in him and HHH has a few left in him
 

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I strongly disagree with Flair after the WCW buyout, which I've heard before. Once Flair got his confidence back in the E, he clearly showed he had some left in the tank, contributed a role in evolution and hell that final stretch from 06 to his retirement, he was having some damn good matches against a wide variety of opponents ranging from a tlc match with Edge (a modern classic) to Foley to Umaga and even Big Show. In that little run of "the last match will be your final", Flair threw down some good promos too and some great selling actually got the huy over as a sympathetic face somehow after spending so much time as a strong GOAT candidate heel. Now, post WM 24, absolutely Flair should've hung it up but he needed money. HHH clearly has plenty in the tank and according to his Muscle and fitness interview is in the best overall shape of his life. Undertaker's perfect set off imo is winning in his home state of Texas in front of 100,000 against the man who he hasn't ever faced one on one on ppv since being the longest wwe face since Sammartino in Cena.

If I had to do a quick 7 list for me off my head in no order

Foley after leaving wwe
Billy Graham before that weird karate comeback in the 80s
I don't know where to pinpoint it, but Kurt Angle is a shell of himself and whenever I see him wrestle on rare occasion seems to have been for the last 5 years
Kane after team Hell No
Harley Race after beating JYD
Terry Funk (sad for me to say as he is my goat pick and favorite wrestler)
I agree with Hogan at 18.
 
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