10 WWE Superstars That Got Out At The Right Time

Shawn Michaels got it spot on, until he un-Stopped The Show...

Shawn Michaels

CM Punk may never return to WWE.

It's the subject of endless debate (and of a superb new WhatCulture series) but it'll always be speculative because WWE have yet again made the seemingly impossible rather tragically possible thanks - in this case, at least - to piles and piles of cash

Shawn Michaels' Crown Jewel payday was obviously enough to turn eight years of "No" into a big fat "Yes", but before that, his WrestleMania 26 retirement was the industry standard for how to part ways with a profession so few could do. Terry Funk, Roddy Piper and Ric Flair became punchlines to an increasingly unfunny joke. Retirement was a stipulation to be sold rather than a consequence to be bought until Shawn forced himself from the limelight he'd once craved.

It's sort of understandable considering his scattershot CV. Timing is everything in professional wrestling, and one of the few occasions Shawn was out of sync cost him fortunes. Suffering a devastating back injury ahead of WWE's financial rebirth in 1998, Michaels missed out on what would have been the four most profitable years of his career had he not pocketed a second life's worth of cash between 2002 and 2010 (and perhaps even more for the Saudi Arabia one-off).

Getting out when the going's good has proven harder than it would seem to us mortals. Who knew a life falling hard on your back and neck could be so intoxicating...

10. Edge & Christian

Shawn Michaels

Though both were forced out of an industry they'd clearly and openly adored, Edge & Christian's injuries were well-earned in legacy and era-defining Tables, Ladders & Chairs bouts with The Dudley Boyz and Matt and Jeff Hardy.

It speaks to the brutal nature of those battles that the pair both had to part ways with the industry thanks to neck and head concerns. Edge being physically forced from the fray in 2011 was followed up by Christian's 2014 concussion-driven departure.

Their chemistry and propensity for entertaining outside of the ring gave them both avenues to continue performing as scaled back versions of their personas on podcasts and WWE Network projects, and the pair are a welcome presence whenever they're drafted in to d*ck about on Monday Night Raw.

Different to many of those that had their careers taken from them, neither Adam Copeland nor Jay Reso seem to resent not getting to go on their own terms. With legacies assured by magnificent bodies of work together and apart, the duo's wrestling-related fame was forever assured by their outstanding back catalogues.


We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash). Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, new AEW storylines or the new WWE push they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.