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Ring Oldies

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Yes, Professional Wrestling is predetermined. There is no denying that, but it comes with quite a few advantages. For example, pretty long careers. (In some cases.) The planned structure of matches allows wrestlers to still keep going in their 40s, 50s or even longer,note  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, such as the love they have for the profession.


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 the wrestler will still put in the ring (i.e. Ric Flair still pulled a lot of respect for his ring-work late into his career while others are often lambasted for still maintaining main event space despite a now deeply limited ring effort, such as Batista during his 2014 return.) Older wrestlers who go out of their way to make the young talent look good and help them get ahead in the business also tend to be better-regarded by fans than those who use their established fame to insist on being booked to beat the new talent.


Due to the increasing awareness of the various long term physical and mental effects of wrestling on the body, more and more wrestlers are retiring from wrestling at younger ages (sometimes against their will), so it's possible that this may end up being a Discredited Trope in the future. However, there are still enough examples remaining that it probably won't happen for another decade or two.

In order for a wrestler to qualify as a Ring Oldie, they must have been an active competitor until they were at least 45 years old.


Known Ring oldies (listed alphabetically, don't have the patience to keep up with retirements):

  • Abdullah the Butcher (73 years old, retired.)
  • Abyss (45 years old)
  • Ole Anderson (47 years old when he retired in 1990.)
  • Kurt Angle (50 at the time of his retirement match at WrestleMania 35)
  • Las Monjas Asesinas: Lola González and Vicky Carranza, acting as a pareja on the Mexican independent circuit at 55 apiece. González kept it up till 59.
  • Atlantis, wrestling in CMLL's main event at 53, in response to fan request.
  • "Bullet" Bob Armstrong (79 years old during his final match.)
  • The Barbarian is 61 and still competes.
  • Baron Von Raschke (55 years old, retired after a 30-year career in 1996.)
  • Batista was 45 during his 2014 run and 50 for his 2019 retirement match with Triple H.
  • The Big Show (47 years old)
  • Nick Bockwinkel (58 years old during his final match in 1993, retired from full-time wrestling in 1987.)
  • The Boogeyman started training to wrestle at age forty and is still working occasional indy dates into his fifties.
  • Booker T and brother Stevie Ray wrestled one last match as Harlem Heat in Booker's Reality of Wrestling promotion in February 2015. Both men were 49 and 56 respectively. Booker would wrestle a few times since, most recently in 2020 at the age of 54, also in Reality of Wrestling.
  • El Canek, IWL Independent Heavyweight Champion at 62.
  • Dos Caras still wrestles at 67.
  • Christian initially retired in 2014 at 41 due to concussion-related issues. He would return to the ring in 2021 at 47.
  • The Crusher (retired in 1989, age 63)
  • Christopher Daniels (51 years old) and is still doing THE BEST MOONSAULT EVER
  • Disco Inferno (51 years old, semi-retired)
  • Tommy Dreamer (48 years old and still hardcore)
  • "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan (65 years old; semi-retired)
  • Bill Dundee debuted in 1962 and still occasionally wrestles in 2019 at 75.
  • Edge was forced to retire at 37 due to a serious neck injury, but he returned at 46 in the 2020 Royal Rumble match, and won the 2021 Royal Rumble match.
  • El Dinámico, wrestling in the main event of Italian Wrestling Superstar at 50.
  • El Santo (was 64 at his last match (47 year run), dying 2 years later)
  • Sid Eudy: Wrestled his final match in 2017, at age 58.
  • Finlay (56 years old. Seems to have retired for good as of 2018.)
  • 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 (who's the same age as him) having heart attack a few months earlier as a galvanizing event driving home the dangers of even a physically fit man wrestling at his age.
  • Mick Foley made his final appearance in the 2012 Royal Rumble at 46. He quietly retired soon after when his doctors informed him that he can never wrestle again.
  • Yoshiaki Fujiwara is 66 and still wrestles.
  • Jim Fullington (55 years old, still caning people on the indy circuit)
  • Dory Funk Jr. (79 years old)
  • Terry Funk (73 years old)
  • Verne Gagne (officially retired at 58, but worked special matches until he was 62)
  • Ron Garvin (70 years old as of his last match in 2014, wrestled part-time from 1993 on.)
  • Giant Haystacks last wrestled at 49 before dying a little over two years later of cancer.
  • Glacier 55 years old, still works indy shows.
  • Goldberg was thought to have wrestled his final match in 2004 at the age of 37, but announced in 2016 that he'd be coming out of retirement to have a final run that extended beyond his 50th birthday. He's since been brought back several times to wrestle for big events.
  • Goldust (50 years old) is still going strong, wrestling his younger brother Cody at AEW's Double or Nothing pay-per-view.
  • Mike Graham (60 years old at the time of his final match in 2012, wrestled sparingly after the early 90s.)
  • The Great Khali (45 years old)
  • Chavo Guerrero, Sr. (67 years old at the time of his last match; he died a few months later at 68.)
  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. (50 years old)
  • Billy Gunn is still working the occasional match at 57. His tag partner, Road Dogg, barely qualifies at 47.
  • Scott Hall: Retired in 2010 at the age of 51.
  • Although Bret Hart retired in 2000, he made a brief return to the ring ten years later after reconciling with WWE, wrestling his final match at 53 years old (though the term "wrestling" is used loosely. Because of lingering issues with repeated concussions and a stroke suffered after his retirement, the most he could do was throw punches and swing folding chairs without being able to take bumps).
  • Gran Hamada, wrestling alongside his students at age 67.
  • Matt Hardy (45 years old, been wrestling since he was a teenager.)
  • Mark Henry (45 years old during his final match, officially retired the following year)
  • Hulk Hogan (58 years old during his final match at TNA. Still attempting to come back for one final match as late as 2020.)
  • Honky Tonk Man: (66 years old, still wrestles occasionally)
  • Malia Hosaka (believed to be semi-retired in 2012, the Cauliflower Alley Club mistakenly announced her as a recipient for an award reserved for retired wrestlers, but she could be found coming up with evermore acrobatic(and illegal) jack knife pins as late as 2019 (at age 49)
  • Ivory (Retired at 45, returned at 56 to compete at WWE's first Evolution PPV)
  • The Iron Sheik (68 at the time of his final match in 2010)
  • Chigusa Nagayo became Pro Wrestling ZERO1's first Blast Queen champion at age 53. Proved her mettle inside and outside the ring when she received a letter of appreciation from the Sapporo police after standing up to a man attacking his wife on a parking deck at age 54.
  • New Jack ("retired" at 50, but has worked a few special matches since.)
  • Jacqueline (53 years old; semi-retired)
  • Marty Jannetty was 58 as of his last match in 2018.
  • Jeff Jarrett (51 years old and still smashing guitars over people's heads)
  • Chris Jericho (turned 50 in November 2020, and the inaugural AEW world champion)
  • Gypsy Joe took part in the World Legend Revival series of SMASH at 76.
  • Jushin Thunder Liger (born in November 1964) had his retirement match on the second night of NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 14 in January 2020 at 55.
  • Leilani Kai, challenging for title belts in Florida at 57.
  • Kamala (60 years old as of his final match in 2010; he was forced to retire due to health problems)
  • Kane (53 years old, semi-retired. He's probably working a very limited schedule from here on, as he was elected mayor of Knox County, Tennesseenote  in 2018.)
  • Ron Killings (47 years old)
  • Aja Kong (49 years old)
  • La Parka (55 years old as of February 2021, while holding the MLW tag team belts along with his son. The other man who used the La Parka gimmick last wrestled at 53.)
  • Jerry "The King" Lawler (71 years old). 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 
  • Steve Lombardi (58. Although he officially retired from full-time competition in 1998, he still does matches on the indy circuit several times a year.)
  • Lex Luger (48 at the time of his last match in 2006; forced to retire due to severe health problems)
  • Dr. Luther (52 years old, still wrestling in All Elite Wrestling)
  • Jerry Lynn (49 years old, retired in 2013.)
  • Mil Máscaras taking bookings at 78.
  • Dump Matsumoto, making rounds on the Japanese independent circuit at 57.
  • Chief Wahoo McDaniel had his first matches in 1961 and his last in 1996 at 57.
  • Shane McMahon is still wrestling part-time at age 50.
  • His father Vince McMahon also wrestled on occasion, last doing so in 2012 at the age of 67.
  • Shawn Michaels originally looked like he was going to avoid this. He retired in 2010 just before his 45th birthday. However, in 2018 he made his in-ring return at age 53 in WWE's Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. Only time will tell if this was a one-off match or if he'll return for special matches in the future.
  • The Fabulous Moolah had her last match in WWE at 81. Her last singles match was at 80.
  • The Great Muta still wrestles occasionally at 57.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. (46 years old, career spans over thirty years.)
  • Kevin Nash (59 during his last match in 2018. He retired in 2020 per a post on Twitter.)
  • Negro Navarro, defending the trios titles of IWRG alongside his sons at 58.
  • Jim Neidhart: Semi-retired in 1999 at age 44, though he continued to make occasional appearances, wrestling his final match in 2016 at age 61.
  • Atsushi Onita ended his career in a barbed wire board tornado street fight bunkhouse brawl at age 60 after the barbed wire baseball bat exploding knee pad lumber jack match two days beforehand failed to finish him off.
  • Paul Orndorff retired from full-time wrestling at 46 in 1995 due to injuries. He had a couple of matches after his official retirement, including a notable tag match at Fall Brawl 2000 at the age of 50.
  • "Cowboy" Bob Orton (54 years old when he teamed with his son Randy. He also occasional wrestles, mainly at legends shows, at the age of 68.)
  • Diamond Dallas Page started wrestling at 35, so he was pretty old when he started. Page retired from full-time wrestling in 2006 at 50, but has come out of retirement a few times, most notably in the 2015 Royal Rumble match at 58 years old, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32, two days before his 60th birthday, and for All Elite Wrestling at 63, which he has claimed was the final match he'll ever do.
  • Roddy Piper (was 57 during his last match, dying 4 years later)
  • Montel Vontavious Porter (46 years old, announced he has wrestled his final WWE match and intends to retire completely very soon.)
  • Psicosis (48 years old and still wrestling).
  • Psicosis II is 52 and still wrestles.
  • Harley Race (47 years old when he retired in 1990.)
  • Raven (54 years old, semi-retired.)
  • Butch Reed (57 years old, last wrestled in 2011.)
  • Dusty Rhodes wrestled his last match in 2010 at the age of 64. It was a six-man tag with his sons.
  • Rikishi (54 years old, semi-retired, though he makes occasional appearances)
  • The Rock 'n' Roll Express are still wrestling and training at 61 and 63 respectively.
  • Johnny Saint (only semi-retired as of 2011, aged 73), in CHIKARA managed multiple 'this is awesome' and 'we love wrestling' chants. Fellow Brit Johnny Kidd was only 55 in the same weekend.
  • Mike Rotunda: (45-46 years old when he retired in 2004, wrestled one last time at RAW's 15th anniversary in 2007 at age 49)
  • Bruno Sammartino: (52 years old upon his last match in 1987).
  • Tito Santana: Born in 1953; last worked a full-time schedule at age 43, but continues to work occasional shows, both in the indies and AAA, as of this writing (February 2021).
  • Randy Savage wrestled his final match in TNA at the age of 52. His brother, Lanny Poffo, is still occasionally wrestling in his sixties. Their father, Angelo, wrestled his final match at 66.
  • Dan Severn retired from MMA at the age of 54 but still competes in pro wrestling despite saying once that pro wrestling has given him more injuries that MMA.
  • The Bushwhackers. Born in 1944, Butch retired in 2001 following a neck injury. He came out of retirement in 2018 at the age of 73 for one last tour with Luke. Luke, born in 1947, wrestling as of 2018 at 71.
  • El Sicodélico doing tercias matches at 71.
  • Sgt. Slaughter (65 years old, seems to have retired for good in 2014)
  • Gene Snitsky (48, announced his impending retirement in 2018)
  • Al Snow (57 years old) works matches in TNA now and then and in the indies, though he abused steroids heavily in 2014 and thus physically doesn't look his age anymore. Also runs a wrestling school.
  • Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka (wrestled his last match at 72 years old)
  • George South (57 years old)
  • Ricky Steamboat looked like he was going to miss out, first retiring in 1994 at the age of 41, but he made an impressive return run in WWE 15 years later in 2009, feuding with Chris Jericho.
  • George "The Animal" Steele was 61 when he had his last match in WWE in 1999. He had his final match in 2000 at 63.
  • Scott Steiner (58 and still wrestling at indy shows. His brother, Rick, is mostly retired but still works occasional legends and indy matches at 59.)
  • Sting was thought to have wrestled his last match in September of 2015 at 56 years old, officially retiring in April of the following year due to cervical spinal stenosis. However, he made his shocking debut for All Elite Wrestling in December of 2020 at the age of 61, returning to the ring three months later.
  • Kevin Sullivan (69 years old, career began in 1970 and was still occasionally working matches in 2019.)
  • Super Delfin, touring through Asia at 50.
  • Pantera Sureña seemed to have wound down her career as a luchadora at 52.
  • Genichiro Tenryu, at 65 lost his retirement match to 28 Kazuchika Okada.
  • Lou Thesz (officially retired at 63, worked occasional special events until age 74, when he had a retirement match against student Masahiro Chono)
  • Fray Tormenta (66 when he wrestled his last match, but had been semi-retired since 56. Still serves as a Roman Catholic priest.)
  • Triple H (49 years old, though he has semi-retired due to his duties as head of Talent Relations and eventual successor to the WWE empire.)
  • Ultimate Warrior (49 years old as of his last match, with independent federation Nu-Wrestling Evolution (NWE))
  • Último Dragón, teaming with El Dinámico, among others also at 51.
  • The Undertaker (55 years old, retired in 2020.)
  • "Butcher" Vachon (77 years old)
  • Jimmy Valiant (77 years old)
  • Johnny Valiant (59 years old during his final match, wrestled infrequently after his forties.)
  • Big Van Vader wrestled occasional matches until he was 61, dying two years later.
  • Greg Valentine (66 years old; semi-retired)
  • Victoria/Tara (retired in 2019 at 48 years old).
  • Sean Waltman (retired at age 47 in 2019; had been semi-retired for several years before)
  • Jaguar Yokota, touring as a singles wrestler and one half of Diana's tag team champions at 54.
  • "Exotic" Adrian Street retired at age 69 not long after NWA Wrestle Birmingham, where he was Heavyweight Champion of Alabama, shutdown.
  • Mae Young (claimed to have wrestled across nine decades, although this is dubious — evidence suggests she first wrestled pro in 1941, not 1939 as she claimed, and as we'll see below, it's also doubtful whether her sole match in the 2010s counts. She said she wanted to wrestle against Stephanie McMahon on her 100th birthday - unfortunately, she 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.
  • Lord Zoltan (59 years old) is in semi-retirement, but still wrestles on approximately a monthly basis with the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance, including the annual DeafFest match that he originated.


How well does it match the trope?

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