Wrestling at 47: Comparing the Undertaker to Ric Flair and Other Veterans

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Wrestling at 47: Comparing the Undertaker to Ric Flair and Other Veterans

WARNING: This is a long, long article.

In recent years, the topic of when it is best for a professional wrestler to retire has been a hot topic. Why only of late?

Well, until the Hulk Hogan era, wrestling did not have superstars in the same way it does today. Sure, you had wrestlers famed within wrestling circles, but things were more about wrestling, not as significantly about larger than life cartoon characters.

Before then, greater lengths were made to make wrestling appear credible and realistic.

One long-term effect of that is men who are popular for their persona and mic skills as opposed to wrestling ability, and able to remain popular when past their best. The greater attention given to storytelling has had an impact too, as a veteran wrestler might improve as a storyteller even as they slow down. 

In the last decade, many of those wrestlers have finally reached the age when their retirement has become a topic of debate. Ric Flair was teasing us with his retirement as long ago as the mid 1990s, and he is still—albeit infrequently—still with us.

By far the most hotly debated topic is when The Undertaker should retire however, as well as when he will opt to do so.

The Undertaker has gone down an unusual route, of wrestling a five-star match once a year, apparently allowing him to extend his career beyond what he would be able to do if he was wrestling on a full-time basis. Bodies age at different rates, especially in a business where some people take more injuries than others. That being said, history is there to be learned to, and comparisons are interesting to make.

Come WrestleMania 28, The Undertaker will be 47 years old. The topic of this slideshow, then, will be exploring the careers of other wrestlers who continued to compete at that age—focusing on what they were doing at that time, and what they have done subsequently. It may surprise you.

So many fans dread seeing Undertaker become "the next Ric Flair" if he stays in the ring for too many more years. At what stage does a wrestler become too old?

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