Good. You’re here. Just in time to read this little Fantasy Book column. Enjoy.
The last few weeks I plotted out a course for The Undertaker to retire. John Cena was also retired in the scenario. It got me thinking about how the WWE can move forward. Everyone talks about the new era and all this talent they have on the roster right now, but we still complain that when it comes to the main event of big cards like WrestleMania, it is the same suspects in the hunt. Even part-timers are clogging up the top of the card. So I figured, let’s work through the roster and see if we can convince anyone to retire thanks to The Fantasy Book.
- Big Show – We all sort of know that Show is on his last go-round anyway. He’s been used to put over Big Cass and Braun Strowman recently. His best days are long, long behind him. He’s super slow in the ring. His matches are never exciting. And only if he is working with someone who can carry the excitement of a match himself (as with Strowman) is he even the least bit over. My suggestion would be to have him win the Andre the Giant battle royal at WrestleMania and retire right after. Show is still a good talker and could be good on color commentary on Smackdown perhaps.
- Brock Lesnar – I know this one may be controversial, especially given how dominant Lesnar has been as champion. He still pops the crowd. He still has an aura about him. People still see him as a legitimate badass, and that is a very good thing. The thing of it is that Lesnar is 40 years old and everyone’s body starts to break down at some point. It might be a good thing to start thinking about an exit strategy for Lesnar and consider someone to use his exit to get over. Someone other than Reigns, I would suggest.
- Curtis Axel – Axel has seen a bit of a career resurgence by being associated with The Miz, and that is great for him. And wrestling will always have a need for a jobber to the stars. So I wouldn’t say that Axel NEEDS to retire, but I can not help having the same thought everytime I see him wrestle – that he exemplifies lineage over talent. With as good as his father and grandfather were, it is maybe just a little sad to see Axel be as mediocre as he is. Maybe he can retire from full-time wrestling and move to NXT to work as a coach. He can be used in the ring to help get the NXT guys over on an as-needed basis.
- Darren Young – Young is always hurt. And he is not over in the slightest. Hell, even his old tag team partner, Titus O’Neill, has made a bigger name for himself. Hell, even Bob Backlund couldn’t help get Young over. I think it is time to cut his losses and hang up hit boots.
- Goldust – Oh, I hate to say it, but it is probably time for Dustin to put away his gold makeup for good. Rhodes is 48 years old and as much as I like him, his in-ring work hasn’t advanced with the times. He is still solid in the ring, but he isn’t seen as a threat any more, and he deserves to be. Perhaps he should retire before he fades too much out of the spotlight. I’d be cool with him hosting a movie program on the WWE Network even. Like a Siskel and Ebert thing. Or hosting movies from the WWE Studios. That could work.
- Jeff Hardy – Hardy’s act is as stale as three-year old bread. His high-risk moves are not as shocking as they were in the past, plus they seem to be even more dangerous than before. Or maybe that is just the fact that Jeff is aging himself at greater speed than normal. He’s never been good on the mic and the nostalgia factor has worn off. The times of the Hardys being “Broken” are over, and were carried by Matt anyway. And that is why Matt is not on this list. Even though he is the older brother, Matt has shown that he can get himself over time and again with his mic skills, thus hyping programs to greater heights.
- John Cena – See last week’s column.
- R-Truth – I believe Little Jimmy is ready to go, Truth. You’ve always been better than we anticipated, but never good enough to be taken seriously. It’s time to step aside and enjoy your retirement.
- The Brian Kendrick – Kendrick proved he could make the big comeback and get back to the top of the mountain. Even if that mountain was only a short hill. He worked hard and got back into the good graces of the WWE. But, as sad as it may be, he is an iPhone generation or two behind the young stars in 205 Live right now. You know what 205 Live doesn’t have that the WWE brass likes to think is necessary to success? An authority figure. Kendrick could retire, become the new GM of the Cruiserweights, and drive 205 Live into ratings glory.
- Baron Corbin – Here is another one that is sure to be controversial. Love him or hate him, Corbin has been a big part of WWE storylines since his main roster debut. He’s gotten better in the ring, although still not great, and he’s a heat magnet in almost any feud he is involved. But, it seems that Corbin has a bit of an issue backstage due to his history of protesting the NFL doctors regarding concussions. You know what might be a good way to bring attention to the issue? Corbin can build to the biggest match of his career at a major event and then retire a few weeks prior, citing risk of concussions as his reasoning. He would have a huge forum to use and spread some good information about the health risks of concussions, CTE, etc. It would be a sacrifice to end his career that way, but could bring him even greater success as an activist for a cause he believes in.
- Chris Jericho – I hated putting a couple people on this list, but none more than Jericho. I’ve been a huge fan of Jericho from the beginning, and his most recent run with Kevin Owens was simply superb, but Jericho doesn’t need wrestling any more. The dude is an actual rock star now. He has a podcast. He is a television host. He has his own cruise, for crying out loud! He doesn’t need to put his body through the rigors of wrestling any more. He could stay on as an ambassador for the WWE. He could even stay on TV with the Highlight Reel if they wanted. And the WWE could continue to stretch into mainstream areas with Jericho’s multitude of outside interests.
- Kane – I like Kane. Always have. They watered down his character too often, but he has always been a fun big man wrestler. He is also a very smart man and is currently running for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Win or lose, I don’t think we need to see the Big Red Machine back in regular competition. He could still be an on-air personality as he does very well with backstage segments. In fact, I would love to see him as the intrepid backstage reporter. It would add a different dynamic to the interviews that JoJo and Charley and Renee do. They could also do a WWE Network show called “The Politicians” and have Kane, former governor Jesse Ventura, former Memphis mayoral candidate Jerry “The King” Lawler, and former Congressional challenger (and storyline Presidental candidate) Bob Backund. The panel could discuss current events both in and out of the ring. Given Linda McMahon’s political career, this may be a non-starter, but I think it would be a fascinating bit of internet television.
- Randy Orton – Because I don’t like you. Go RKO someone who cares.
- Tamina – You just never got good. See Curtis Axel above. I’m sorry, because I wanted to like you, but it just never happened.
- David Otunga – You speak well in the mainstream press, but you sort of suck at everything else. Maybe do something backstage or develop a talent competition show like The Voice where judges watch unknown wrestlers in masks perform moves or a match. It could be the setup to another Tough Enough or something.
- The Undertaker – See last week’s column.
- Dolph Ziggler – Your heart is just not in it. It is just getting sad now.
- Vince McMahon – Yeah, I know people still think he has his place in the business, but I think his desperate attempts to hold on to the bodybuilder hero concept is way past its time. In addition, he seems reluctant to allow the business to grow and change. I think it is time he retires and goes off to rest somewhere. I am not totally sold on Stephanie or Shane or Triple H as leader the WWE, but maybe they would be able to be a little more inventive without the elder McMahon breathing down their necks. Regardless, I think it is time for them to get an unadulterated shot.
And there you have it. A list of 18 current employees of the WWE that should consider retirement. Next week, we will see what new blood could be infused to help the company grow. I’ll consider underused main roster talent, call ups from NXT, and even potential stars from other companies. Until then…