The 10 Best Wrestlers over 40

Andy Soucek@Andy_SoucekFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2013

The 10 Best Wrestlers over 40

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    Unlike professional sports, wrestlers can often compete into their 40s, 50s and even 60s.

    Sure, you'll see guys like Andy Pettitte, Jamie Moyer, Martin Brodeur or a Brett Favre cross the 40 mark, but they are the exceptions.

    Pro sports are a young man's game. But in wrestling, 40 can just be the start of another chapter.

    Since wrestling isn't just based purely on physical performances, guys don't have to hang it up until far later in their careers. They can find ways to stay on top by reinventing themselves, or becoming better workers to keep their spots.

    Within WWE and TNA, there is a noticeable number of talent that are still going at the age of 40 or above. Some should have retired years ago, but quite a few are still earning their keep, and putting to shame guys half their age.

    This list excludes part-time wrestlers like Undertaker, The Rock and HHH and instead focuses on those who are working a full-time (or close to full-time) schedule. 

    Here are the 10 best wrestlers over the age of 40 currently competing in wrestling.

No. 10 R-Truth (41 Years Old)

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    Truth debuted in the WWE in 2000, and 13 years later, he looks like he's in just as good of shape as ever.

    While most men pack on a few pounds as they age, Truth is just as cut as he was when he was Road Dogg's tag team partner. 

    The man has aged well, and he is still able to perform all of his signature moves with ease. Though rarely counted on for longer matches or big storylines, Truth remains a solid midcarder for the company.

    While he'll probably never get another pay-per-view main event like he did at Capital Punishment 2011, don't be surprised to see Truth stick around with the company for a few more years.

No. 9: Sting (54)

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    Sting has only wrestled 13 times this year, so it's hard to really classify him as a full-time wrestler, but he gets a little slack for competing into his mid-50s. 

    While some may say it's time for him to step aside, you can't deny that there are few men in all of wrestling who remain as consistently popular as Sting is with live crowds.

    At 54, Sting can still put on some pretty good matches from time-to-time. Sure, most of his matches are composed of shortcuts like run-ins and brawling outside of the ring, but that's to be expected with his age.

    Only his recent encounter with Matt Morgan on Impact treaded into embarrassing territory (check out the half-hearted Scorpion Deathlock), but his other signature spots haven't slowed down the past few years. While Sting usually wears a T-shirt to cover up his physique these days, the face paint helps shave a few years off of his look. 

    Every year it seems like Sting is ready to call it a career, but he sticks around as TNA's active legend. There's no reason to expect that to change, so he should be around the company in some capacity for years to come.

No. 8: Mark Henry (41)

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    It wasn't until Henry was nearly 40 did the Hall of Pain open for business, but since it opened, business has been gangbusters.

    While he's been with the WWE since 1996, Henry struggled to reach his potential. In 2011 though, he turned heel again, and this time it worked. He was pushed as an unstoppable monster, and played the part to perfection. 

    A few injuries have slowed him down from his recent peak, but he's still one of the best bad guys in the business. From a pure power standpoint, the "World's Strongest Man" appears just as strong as ever. 

    Henry is currently out with another in a long line of injuries, but hopefully he'll be able to open the Hall back up again before his run is over. 

No. 7: The Big Show (41)

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    For about the past decade, The Big Show has never really gotten any better or worse in the ring.

    That’s a back-handed compliment of sorts, but still a compliment nonetheless. With the right opponent, Show is still able to put on some pretty good matches, as we saw from his hard-hitting feud with Sheamus. 

    Show debuted with the WWF in 1999, and was immediately thrust into a top position. But he started to gain weight, lose mobility and saw himself move up-and-down the card ever since.

    After years of being a goofy babyface, Show became interesting again when he turned heel in 2011. Along with his "iron-clad contract," Show has been an effective bully for the company. 

    Vince McMahon loves larger-than-life characters, so you can imagine that Show will have a job in the WWE as long as he wants one. 

No. 6: Tara (42)

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    Tara looks strikingly similar to how she did upon her early days in the WWE when she was battling Trish Stratus over 10 years ago.

    Besides still looking fantastic, her in-ring work has remained just as strong. Tara can be counted on to deliver consistently good Knockout matches in TNA from nearly everyone in the division. She can still dish out great-looking backflips and tilt-a-whirl slams with ease. 

    Tara has gone through quite a big character change since her psychotic days, but she's done a great job adjusting to a comedy act who can still back it up in the ring.

    While Tara is seven years older than the oldest Diva in the WWE (Layla), she's arguably a better worker than any woman in that division.

No. 5: Chris Jericho (42)

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    It's hard to say that Jericho is truly a full-time wrestler, but whenever he does come back to the WWE, he gives it his all.

    Unlike other returning stars like The Rock or Brock Lesnar, Jericho shows up every week when he's on duty.

    Jericho is a solid ring veteran who delivers entertaining matches with virtually everyone on the card. He's a step slower than he used to be, but his in-ring work remains among the best. Whether he's working as a heel or a face, he's always getting great crowd reactions.

    What makes Jericho so good is that he can be placed anywhere on the card, and it won't feel out of place. He can take on a rookie like Fandango in the opening match, or he can be battling for the title in the main event. Either way, the fans buy into it.

    Jericho still looks to be in great shape, and without working year-round anymore, he probably has a few more runs left in him, when he finds the time, that is. 

No. 4: Christopher Daniels (43)

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    Like a fine wine, or a delicious appletini, Christopher Daniels just gets better with age. 

    Along with Kazarian, their tag team Bad Influence is arguably the most entertaining in all of wrestling. 

    Just a couple years ago, who would have predicted that Daniels would transform into such a goofy, but entertaining heel? He's a long ways from The Fallen Angel, but for the first time in TNA, he seems to have truly found his groove as a character. 

    While Daniels isn’t relied on for big spot-fest matches anymore, his in-ring work remains crisp, and remains among the best in the company. 

    Hopefully he stays healthy and in great shape, as this pillar of TNA deserves a lot more time in the spotlight.

No. 3: Kane (46)

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    It’s incredible to see Kane still wrestling every single week on national TV.

    He has competed in the most Raw matches in WWE history (382), the third most SmackDown matches (285), and the third most pay-per-view matches (153) (he’ll probably be No. 1 within a year).

    You wouldn't be able to tell all that by looking at him, as the character appears ageless (though the mask probably helps with that).

    Currently, Kane is consistently stealing the show along with his tag partner Daniel Bryan. And If you watch a match of his a few years ago and compare it to today, there isn’t much difference. The man simply ages well.

    The only other wrestlers on the roster who have taken the kind of punishment Kane has would be his storyline brother The Undertaker and Triple H. But at 48 and 43, Taker and Hunter wrestle a mere fraction of what Kane does these days. 

    Maybe it’s luck or genetics to thank for Kane's astounding amount of work in the company, but by the looks of it, he may easily cause terror well into his 50s as a full-time act.

No. 2: Kurt Angle (44)

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    Kurt Angle at 44 is still better than nearly every wrestler 10 and 20 years younger than him.

    While he’s no longer the best wrestler in North America, he’s still capable of putting on good to great matches every night out. There's no one who gives it his all like Angle does, and very few who can wrestle as physically demanding matches as he competes in. 

    When watching Angle, it’s amazing to think that he’s still able to wrestle at all after the years of abuse his body has taken. He famously competed in the Olympics with a broken neck and won the gold medal. And that was in 1996!

    Seventeen years later, Angle is still giving it his all every week. He's a true warrior inside of the ring, and doesn't seem ready to hang it up any time soon. Don't be shocked to see the man compete into his 50s and beyond.

No. 1: Bully Ray (41)

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    Simply, Bully Ray started doing the best work of his career in his 40s.

    His character is at an all-time high, he's slimmed down, his in-ring work has improved and he’s the best heel in all of wrestling right now. 

    Bully has always been a good talker, but there are few in the industry who can match him in terms of believability on the mic. He's even somehow managed to make a storyline with Brooke Hogan not terrible.

    That's some serious talent. 

    Sure, Ray has the advantage of being one of the younger guys on this list, but he's done a phenomenal job of transforming himself into a relevant act as a singles star. A few years ago, who would have guessed that the former Bubba Ray Dudley would be holding the TNA Heavyweight Title?

    Bully deserves all the credit he's received for this career resurgence, and hopefully he stays on top for years to come.