WWE and the Inevitability of Time: How Long Does Each WWE Veteran Have?
Last week, I posted an article about the five stars who needed to be released.
Noticeably absent from that list was the Great Khali.
He is a veteran who has been with the WWE for five years now and never really had the ability to wrestle in any capacity.
So why did I not include him?
Because I believed that the Great Khali would stay with the WWE for the long haul thanks to overarching politics and wanting to appease the audience in India.
Well, lately reports have been coming from all around that the Great Khali may be done with the WWE for good.
He is 39 years old and has always had some lack of ability to work, so it was not truly unexpected.
However, it shocked me.
It reminded me that the Great Khali is worn out, just like many other veterans in WWE today.
The question is, how soon will this same wear hit other stars?
Well, let's look at the 10 biggest veterans in WWE and analyze how long they probably have left through rough estimate based on their age and past.
Note: The veterans are men who have been in pro wrestling for at least five years and have enough experience or age that they should be mentioned. Only stars currently on the WWE roster will be featured.
Ability: Anyone who has seen the last three WrestleManias can tell that the Undertaker has still got it. However, anyone who watched him wrestling with Kane this last year knows he is certainly reaching his final limit.
Injuries: groin, orbital bone, concussions, broken bones, pectoral muscle.
Time: three months, max.
21 years. That is how long the Undertaker has wrestled in the WWE. That is an extremely long career. He has nothing left to gain in this business. With a perfect WrestleMania record and seven World Championships, he is ready to retire. He may have a couple matches left in him, but that is about it. If he comes back soon, he will finish his career at WrestleMania XXVIII.
Ability: He can still work. As a veteran, he can pull out decent matches with the right stars, though, his age is obviously slowing him considerably.
Injuries: hand injury, fracture, bicep.
Time: two years, max.
Kane has been lucky as he has avoided serious injuries or any real need for surgery over the years. He has been a steady workhorse for the company and could easily go on for another year or two. After that, he should retire simply because he is slowing to the point of being unable to compete at the top level he used to.
Ability: While he is reaching an age where he needs to step back, there is no doubt that he can go when called upon. His matches with CM Punk and the Undertaker lately have proven that.
Injuries: knee, quadriceps muscle, various minor injuries.
Time: as an active wrestler, one year; as a special attraction performer, three years.
Triple H is getting older. It is obvious that he has a lot of nagging issues physically. However, he will be around for a while to come. As a McMahon family member, he could very easily be permanently taking over Vince's job one day. Right now, he can probably last a good three years or so as a special attraction at pay-per-views. After that, he should only get physical in a match or two every few years. Regardless, he will be around longer than possibly any other wrestler on this list.
Ability: He is at his peak right now, amazingly. He has been given a good gimmick and rolled with it. His style allows him to be hard-hitting and brutal while showing off his somewhat impressive agility at his size and age.
Injuries: knee, back (before starting in pro wrestling), quadriceps muscle, pantella tendon.
Time: three years.
Very few men have ever looked as impressive in their twilight years as Mark Henry. He has been a pro wrestler for 15 years, and he seems to have reached his peak now. In the end, though, one more injury might be enough for Henry to call it quits. With his hard work finally being rewarded with a World Title, I see him as an active veteran for a few years before one more injuries comes about, then he will decide to call it quits.
Ability: He is huge, so his ability is a little difficult to grasp. For a big man, he can still use his power and shove around his weight. While he has slowed a bit, it is not incredibly noticeable yet.
Injuries: fractured fibula.
Time: five years, if he wants.
It is really up to Big Show at this point how much longer he stays in the business. He has had extremely few injuries in his career. It is worth noting that he had acromegaly (gigantism), though, he had successful surgery for it which has halted the process, so it should not be a factor. At this point, nothing is stopping the Big Show from competing, going at least three more years, if not five if he doesn't get burned out. In his 16 years of pro wrestling, Big Show has held five World Titles. He has almost nothing left to accomplish, so all he is waiting for is a new monster to step up and take his place.
Ability: Another man who reached his peak late, R-Truth looks better in the ring than he ever has. He still has great agility and high-flying ability to boot.
Injuries: various minor injuries.
Time: five years, max.
R-Truth entered the game a bit later than most stars, as he finally hit the WWE 12 years ago. Most of his best work was done in TNA after he left WWE in 2001. When he came back to the WWE, he found his niche and became a star. R-Truth has yet to be given a WWE Title, but it won't take long. Truth is at the prime of his career and will be here for a long time to come.
Ability: He is one of the top five wrestlers in WWE today. He is quick, efficient and a great storyteller. None of his work in the ring seems to be slowing at any considerable rate.
Injuries: back, pectoral muscle.
Time: six years, max.
His injuries are a bit worrisome as they are major and, but Christian looks as good as he ever has in the ring. He outperforms the majority of the locker room to this day. At this point, his 13-year career only seems to be continuing forward.
Ability: He can still out-fly some of WWE's most agile, but his movement is steadily slowing. Once one of the quickest and most athletic cruiserweights, Rey has now been growing into the role of a grounded striker.
Injuries: bicep, knee (multiple and recent), various minor injuries.
Time: one year, maybe two.
Rey Mysterio is reaching the final stretch of his career. For most wrestlers, 36 is a good age to keep performing, but Rey is a small guy who began at the age for 14. His nagging injuries, especially his recent double knee surgery, are troublesome and seem to be calling for the end of a great career for Mysterio.
Ability: He is in the best shape of his life. He is incredibly strong and agile. For a guy at his age, he is perfectly healthy, especially considering that he is a pro wrestler.
Injuries: neck, pectoralis major muscle.
Time: eight years.
John Cena is an nine-year veteran in WWE. He has accumulated more World Titles already than anyone on this list not named Triple H. His injuries have been serious before and could pop up again, but you can expect John Cena to close in on the longevity of many of these veterans for about a 17-year career in WWE. We have not seen the last of John Cena for a long time.
Ability: Randy Orton is in top form as of late. He can do a lot in the ring. He is probably in the top five or so wrestlers in WWE and consistently performs at a main event level.
Injuries: shoulder (multiple) due to hypermobile shoulders, collarbone.
Time: 12 years
Seriously, this guy is only 31! That is incredible. With a nine-year career already in the books and with nine World Titles to match, Orton will probably break every record in WWE, even passing up Cena. Unless he has a serious injury or his hypermobile shoulders become too much of a problem, Orton is here to stay for the long haul, unless he feels burned out.
Age, the Inevitable Master
Eventually, we all succumb to old age.
It is a sad fact.
Age affects us all, including pro wrestlers.
They come in around their late 20s to early 30s, and they retire as late as their mid-40s, unless they are a few unnamed TNA stars.
The Great Khali has shown us that eventually all of our stars will grow and move on.
It has never been more apparent than in the WWE today, where we continue to lose stars each year.
Let's hope that each of these veterans can last as long as possible, and then find a way to move on.
Thoughts? Concerns? Comment!