It would seem many in the WWE have a different definition to you and I when it comes down to the word ‘retired’.

There have been many superstars in the past that have claimed that they would be hanging up their wrestling gear for good and would not be setting foot in a squared circle ever again as a competitor. However, the phrase ‘Never say never’ certainly rings true as many of them make comebacks.

Indeed, when they do make a return, it is usually a rather triumphant one and one that will see a packed-out arena go berserk as it will be one of the biggest events likely to be scheduled to take place.

However, there have been times when certain superstars have said they are retiring and have meant it. Here are just some of them to have stuck to their word.


Known to many in the wrestling world as ‘The Animal’, Batista was a star in the WWE and had once left to go on to try out in Hollywood as a big-screen actor. He has since done well for himself on the big screen, however he did make a return to the ring in 2019 as he went for one more feud with Triple H. After being beaten, he hung his boots up for good and is now focused on his move career.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin might make the odd appearance every now and again and be used as a special guest referee in a number of contests, however he has not been in a match since March 2003 after he decided to call it quits following a loss to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson at WrestleMania 19.

CM Punk

Perhaps one of the most polarizing superstars to have wrestled for the WWE in the late 2000s and early 2010s, CM unk dramatically quit the company in 2014 straight after the Royal Rumble in sudden fashion. There were suggestions that it may have been a storyline, such as the one he had in 2011 at the Money in the Bank PPV, however he has not returned and does not appear to have any plans to do so.

AJ Lee

Married to Punk in real life, AJ Lee quit the WWE around a year after her husband did and has not wrestled since. She was arguably one of the best female competitors at the time as she walked over everyone in the division and helped elevate it to a new level. She has since become a writer and has written a number of books.

John Bradshaw Layfield

Simply known to many as JBL, John Bradshaw Layfield used to arrive to the ring in a stretch limousine during his later years, having been part of the APA before then. JBL’s body could not keep up with him in the ring, though, as he aged and he retired in 2009 after a defeat at WrestleMania 25 to Rey Mysterio and proclaimed ‘I quit!’ at the top of his lungs. He did return as a commentator for a number of years, in a role many believe he suited well.


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