The word “retirement” can have many different meanings in sports… You can retire like the late Kobe Bryant, lose 60 points in their last game, grabbing the microphone and emphatically declaring “Mamba out”, ending one of the most important NBA careers of all time. Or, you can retire like NFL quarterback Tom Brady did earlier this year, saying goodbye and then announcing six weeks later that he was returns for his 23rd season in the NFL.
Moving on to sports entertainment and pro wrestling, however, retirements don’t usually end up being the end of talent. Although many have retired and never wrestled again, the stars are constantly making appearances on shows, hitting their iconic finishers, or being used in ways to help build other stories.
A prime example is WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who wrestled one match after his retired from WrestleMania 26. Still, he’s been involved in multiple storylines and angles since and used by the company on multiple anniversary shows.
With news from Vince McMahon announcing his 40+ year time with WWE was to come to an end just before the July 22 “SmackDown” some believe Vince’s retirement will be no different than that of superstars of the past.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if Vince returned to WWE. I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if Vince made periodic appearances,” WWE Hall of Famer Booker T said on the latest episode of “The Hall of Fame with Booker T and Brad Gilmore” podcast. “I wouldn’t be shocked at all because he’s an attraction… I might see Vince again to some degree.”
Unlike Booker, who thinks WWE could use Vince as an attraction, AEW World Champion CM Punk doesn’t think Vince’s retirement will mean his role at the company will change. Punk said he doesn’t think the structure will change in WWE and still believes Vince will be active despite his retirement.
Contrary to those comments, WWE quickly moved on from Vince’s retirement, announcing that Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan would replace him as co-CEOs of WWE and that Triple H would step in as Talent and Creation Relations Manager. With new dynamics within WWE’s creative walls, Booker believes this could have a big impact on talent in certain positions.
“A lot of these guys are used to dealing directly with Mr. McMahon, and there’s a certain comfort there that these guys have with Vince,” Booker said. “They can knock on that door, walk in, and they can actually have a conversation with him and get that wisdom, that advice from Vince. I’ll tell you right now, a lot of guys cherish that. A lot of guys have gone through their entire career with Vince as their umbrella.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Hall of Fame Podcast with ah/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.
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