The word “retirement” can have several different meanings in sports… You can retire like the late Kobe Bryant, dropping 60 points in his final game, grabbing the microphone, and emphatically stating “Mamba out,” ending one of the most significant NBA careers of all time. Or, you can retire like NFL Quarterback Tom Brady did earlier this year, saying his goodbyes and then announcing six weeks later that he was coming back for his 23rd season in the NFL.
Flipping to sports entertainment and professional wrestling, however, retirements don’t usually end up being the end for talent. Although many have retired and never wrestled again, stars constantly make appearances on shows, hitting their iconic finishers, or they’re used in ways to help build other stories.
An excellent example is WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who wrestled one match after his retirement WrestleMania 26. Still, it has been involved in several storylines and angles since and used by the company during several anniversary shows.
With news of Vince McMahon announcing his 40+ year time with the WWE had to end just before the July 22 “SmackDown,” some believe Vince’s retirement won’t be any different from that of superstars in the past.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if Vince came back to the WWE. I definitely won’t be shocked if Vince made appearances periodically,” WWE Hall of Famer Booker T said during 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 could see Vince back in some capacity.”
Unlike Booker, who believes WWE could use Vince as an attraction, AEW World Champion CM Punk doesn’t believe Vince’s retirement will mean his role with the company will change. Punk stated that he doesn’t think the structure will change in WWE and still believes Vince will be hands-on despite retiring.
In contrast to those comments, WWE quickly transitioned from Vince’s retirement, announcing that Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan would replace him as Co-CEOs of WWE and that Triple H would be stepping up as Head of Talent Relations and Creative. With a new dynamic in the creative walls of WWE, Booker believes this could heavily impact talent in certain positions.
“A lot of these guys are used to dealing with Mr. McMahon directly, and there’s a certain comfort there that these guys have with Vince,” Booker said. “They can knock on that door, go in there, and they can actually have a conversation with him and get that wisdom, that advice from Vince. I’m going to tell you right now, a lot of guys cherish that. A lot of guys went through their whole careers having Vince be that 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 transcription.
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