It's a common understanding within the wrestling business that retirement never comes soon enough for most. Even when a wrestler 'retires', you can bet we'll be seeing them in the ring somewhere else before long. For the titans of WWE, plenty of Superstars bid their final farewell in a match or storyline that was ill-fitting of their legacy.
For some of these men and women, circumstances outside their control meant they never got a proper goodbye. Others got their last hurrah but were just too far past their prime for it to live up to expectations. In one case, real-life feelings marred the end of a trailblazing career. It's rare for wrestlers to get the perfect WWE send-off, and while a couple could return for rewrite their ending, the ship has sailed for most.
Honourable mention: The Undertaker. Had that 'Mania match with Roman Reigns turned out to be his last, 'The Deadman' would certainly have made this list. He made up for that with a fantastic cinematic affair with AJ Styles, and then his retirement address at last year's Survivor Series put him right back in the running for saddest endings, just in a very different way.
10. Bret Hart
Bret went undefeated in his second WWE run between 2010 and 2011, so why does he feature here? While he may not have suffered a loss, and also had a week-long reign as United States Champion (for some reason), Hart was clearly not the performer he used to be.
Before Goldberg's boot got a little too familiar with The Hitman's head, Bret was the best technical wrestler on the planet. In 2010, he was a stroke survivor in his 50s, and no longer the supreme in-ring general of the 1990s. The WrestleMania XXVI grudge match with Vince McMahon would have provided a great storyline closer, 13 years in the making, had it been a five-minute demolition. Instead, we had to watch 11 minutes of mostly old men beating down an even older man as the crowd willed for the finish.
After that painful match, Hart won the US title from The Miz, then relinquished the belt to become to General Manager of Raw; a poorly fitting role for a man whose one big fault was a lack of charisma. Bret was put into a few tags and multi-man matches to protect him, but it was sad to see The Best There Was go out as a passenger.