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Yes, wrestling is fake. There is no denying that, but it comes with quite a few advantages. For example, pretty long careers. The scripted matches allows wrestlers to still keep going in their 50s or even longer, making wrestlers living Long Runners
. Overlong careers are mostly a result of wrestling being the only income for most wrestlers, either because they don't have anything waiting for them after wrestling or for other reasons.
Fans are fighting over this theme constantly. Some people think that the old guard only take up space and TV time that could be used for younger wrestlers, while other fans enjoy the nostalgia and think that the oldies still have their place on the show and are not really to blame for younger wrestlers not being used. Fan reactions will also depend on how much talent and effort said wrestler will still put in the ring (i.e. Ric Flair
still pulls a lot of respect for his ring-work while others are often lambasted for still maintaining main event space despite a now deeply limited ring effort.)
Notable Ring oldies:
- Bruno Sammartino (52 years old upon his last match in 1987).
- Roddy Piper (59 years old, as an occasional wrestler).
- "Bullet" Bob Armstrong (70 years old)
- Abdullah the Butcher (71 years old)
- Dory Funk Jr. (71 years old)
- Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka (69 years old)
- Terry Funk (68 years old)
- Fray Tormenta (66 when he wrestled his last match, but had been semi-retired since 56. Still serves as a Roman Catholic priest.)
- El Santo (was 64 at his last match (47 year run), dying 2 years later)
- "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan (58 years old)
- Finlay (54 years old)
- Ric Flair (was 59 at his last match in WWE, though he had a short run in TNA and various indie leagues until the age of 63). Officially announced his retirement in December 2012, citing Jerry Lawler's heart attack a few months earlier as a galvanizing event driving home the dangers of even a physically fit man wrestling at his age.
- Glacier. Will be 49 years old this year and still works indy shows.
- Hulk Hogan (57 years old at his last match at TNA)
- Kevin Nash (53 years old)
- Sting (54 years old)
- Lou Thesz (officially retired at 63, worked occasional special events until age 74, when he had a retirement match against student Masahiro Chono)
- Ultimate Warrior (50 years old as of his last match, with independent federation Nu-Wrestling Evolution (NWE))
- The Undertaker (48 years old, since 1990 in WWE)
- "Butcher" Vachon (74 years old)
- Chavo Guerrero, Sr. (63 years old)
- "Cowboy" Bob Orton (54 years old when he teamed with his son Randy)
- The Crusher (retired in 1989, age 63)
- Verne Gagne (officially retired at 58, but worked special matches until he was 62)
- Mae Young (final match at age 87; started wrestling in the 1930s, and as of Raw on 11/15/10, officially wrestled across nine decades. Died in January 2014 at 90.)
- Her last "match" deserves a disclaimer. It took place during the old school retro edition of Raw and was a falls count anywhere, no-DQ match against LayCool. She was flanked by a pair of other divas who helped her walk up and down the aisle, she never had to climb the stairs to get to the ring (thus, "falls count anywhere"), and all the quote-unquote ring work was done by pretty much the entire women's roster on her behalf. And at the end, she count not even get to her knees to make the pin, instead making the pin while standing with a foot on her opponent's chest. Still, give credit where credit is due.
- It should also be noted that she was still taking bumps and being put through tables well into her 70s.
- Jerry "The King" Lawler (64 years old as of 2013). Was thought to have wrestled his final match in September 2012, after which he suffered a near-fatal heart attack at the announcer table and spent over two months in recovery... but was later medically cleared to return to wrestling, and still works occasional indy shows.note
- Johnny Saint (only semi-retired as of 2011, aged 70), in CHIKARA managed multiple 'this is awesome' and 'we love wrestling' chants. Fellow Brit Johnny Kidd was only 55 in the same weekend.
- The Sheepherders/Bushwhackers. Born in 1944, Butch retired in 2001 following a neck injury. Luke, born in 1947, still makes indy appearances here and there.
- George "The Animal" Steele was 61 when he had his last match in WWE in 1999.
- The Barbarian is 55 and still competes.
- Chief Wahoo McDaniel had his first matches in 1961 and his last in 1996.
- The Fabulous Moolah had her last match in WWE at 81. Her last singles match was at 80.