10 female WWE Superstars who retired too soon

Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita
Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita
10 female WWE Superstars who retired too soon
10 female WWE Superstars who retired too soon

Over the past two decades, several female WWE Superstars have hung up their boots at a young age.

The WWE women's division has changed drastically in the past few years. Several performers have joined Vince McMahon's company and led what has become known as the Women's Revolution. While some performers have joined the company, many have also left. Some leave for other promotions, while others want to exit the industry altogether.

These ladies retire from WWE for different reasons. The issue of injury often arises due to the physical nature of the industry, but that's not the only reason performers call it quits. Sometimes superstars leave the industry altogether to start a family or a business.

A number of these female WWE Superstars were only in their 20s when they hung up their boots. Some were even in the prime of their careers. Although these performers believe they made the right decision, many WWE fans think they retired too soon.

Here are 10 female WWE Superstars who retired too soon:

#10. Former WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool

Michelle McCool joined WWE in November 2004 after participating in the Diva Search competition. She captured her first title 4 years later when she defeated Natalya for the Divas Championship at the 2008 Great American Bash.

In the following years, the former school teacher became one of the top female superstars in WWE. McCool won the Divas Championship and the Women's Title on multiple occasions. However, she decided to retire in mid-2011 when she was only 31 years old.

In an interview with Lilian Garcia's Chasing Glory podcast in 2019, the former Divas Champion disclosed how her relationship with The Undertaker led her to hanging up her boots.

"It was tough. Just leaving in itself was tough because it got to a point where I was dealing with so much (...) mostly being Undertaker’s girlfriend and why I was on TV (...) even having a writer throw the papers up one day and say ‘Why don’t we just call it the Michelle McCool and Undertaker show?!' It was nonstop and I went to Vince (...) and bless his heart he was wonderful (...) I just said 'Vince, I don’t wanna hate something that I grew up loving so much and the longer I stay the more I’m like like getting a sour taste in my mouth.' So making that decision to leave was as hard as it is, but more than wanting to be in WWE or be a champion I’ve always wanted to be a mom," she said.

A year before her retirement, McCool married The Undertaker. In 2012, she gave birth to their first child, Kaia.

The former Women's Champion has made a few WWE appearances in recent years. McCool participated in the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble match in 2018. Later that same year, she participated in the 20-woman Battle Royal at Evolution. She still appears to be in great shape.

#9. WWE Hall of Famer Lita

Lita is one of the greatest superstars in WWE history. She joined the company in 1999 and quickly became one of the leaders of the women's division. The high-flyer played a part in several entertaining storylines, alongside legends like Kane, The Hardy Boyz and Edge.

However, Lita's most famous feud was with Trish Stratus. The two ladies were the first women to main-event Monday Night RAW. The former member of Team Extreme also competed against Victoria in the first-ever women's steel cage match in WWE history.

After winning four Women's Titles, Lita decided to hang up her boots in 2006. She was only 31 years old at the time.

Since her retirement, Lita has made several WWE appearances, even competing in four matches. In 2012, the former Women's Champion defeated Heath Slater on RAW's 1000th episode. She then participated in the 2018 Royal Rumble match before teaming up with Trish Stratus to defeat Alicia Fox and Mickie James at Evolution.

Lita's final bout came on RAW the day after Evolution. She teamed up with Stratus, Natalya, Bayley, and Sasha Banks to defeat Fox, James, and The Riott Squad.

#8. WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus

Trish Stratus is arguably the greatest female WWE Superstar in history. Despite all her achievements, she also hung up her boots at a young age.

The Diva of the Decade joined Vince McMahon's company in 2000 after working as a fitness model for a few years. Stratus debuted as a valet with no real wrestling experience. However, she developed her wrestling skills in the following years to become one of the best in-ring performers in the company.

The Diva of the Decade spent only six years in WWE, during which she won seven Women's Titles. Stratus retired in 2006 after defeating Lita at Unforgiven to capture her seventh Women's Championship. She was only 31 years old.

In an interview with the Wilde On podcast earlier this year, Stratus revealed why she decided to hang up her boots a decade and a half ago.

"At the time, it was a couple of things that happened. Number one, my contract was coming up (...) that meant I have to think about it for the first time and put some awareness towards my two to five years and think about what I want or need for myself (...) what else did I want to accomplish? What else can I accomplish? (...) then my mom got sick and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was just the universe saying, ‘This is your time to talk away and focus on family again.’ If you’re on the road, you can’t be there. I wouldn’t get to her treatments or be there for her. I could not imagine that," she said.

Since her retirement, Stratus has appeared several times on WWE television and competed in several matches. Her final bout came against Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam in 2019. However, she lost to The Queen.

#7. Former WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres

Eve Torres won the 2007 Diva Search contest to earn a WWE contract. A few months later, she made her main roster debut on SmackDown. Torres spent nearly a year on the Blue Brand before moving to RAW, where she began chasing the Divas Championship.

The 2007 Diva Search winner captured her first title in April 2010 when she defeated Maryse for the Divas Championship on RAW. She held the belt for two months before ultimately losing it to Alicia Fox in a Fatal-Four-Way match. Torres ended up defeating Layla, Michelle McCool, and Natalya to recapture the title in January 2011.

Torres lost the championship once again in April 2011, this time to Brie Bella. She recaptured the title for the final time in her career after defeating Layla at Night of Champions in September 2012. The three-time Divas Champion held the title until January 2013 and ultimately retired from WWE after losing it to Kaitlyn.

When she hung up her boots, Torres was only 29 years old. In an interview with WWE.com a few years ago, she disclosed that she had retired because she wanted to start a family with her then-fiancé and now-husband Rener Gracie.

The former Divas Champion has made a few non-wrestling WWE appearances in the past few years. She is also currently a WWE ambassador.

#6. Former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro

Ashley Massaro joined WWE in 2005 after winning the Diva Search contest. During her time with the company she feuded with several superstars, including Torrie Wilson, Mickie James, and Victoria. She also tried to capture the Women's Championship a couple of times in 2005 and 2007 but unfortunately failed.

The 2005 Diva Search winner asked for her release from WWE in 2008 due to her daughter being sick. Following her departure, Massaro quietly retired from in-ring action at only 29 years old.

In 2018, Massaro worked as a radio DJ for WWSK-FM/94.3. In 2019, the station was planning to make her the host of its evening program on Wednesday nights when she tragically passed away at the age of 39.

#5. WWE Hall of Famer Molly Holly

Molly Holly is one of the most talented female superstars to ever compete in a WWE ring. However, she hung up her boots at a very young age.

Holly joined WWE in 2000 after spending a few years wrestling in other promotions. She spent nearly five years in Vince McMahon's company, during which she won the Women's Championship twice and the Hardcore Title once.

However, the former Women's Champion left WWE and retired in April 2005 at only 28 years old.

In an interview with the latest Art of Wrestling podcast in 2017, Holly disclosed why she retired from WWE.

"I knew about a year before I quit that I needed to. I was crying everyday at work, I was so miserable and I think going so many years with so little sleep, sometimes four or five hours a night four days in a row plus always being sick. Because I was run down, I’d get colds constantly. I was always sick, I was always tired, my body hurt and because I had already accomplished everything there was to accomplish in women’s wrestling, I just felt like I had nothing more to give. I was worn out and miserable and wanted to be done but I didn’t quit because it was really good money. Then it got to a point where it didn’t matter how much they paid me, I could not to it anymore," she explained.

The former Hardcore Champion has made several WWE appearances in the past few years. She competed in two Women's Royal Rumble matches and two Battle Royals at WrestleMania 25 and Evolution. The Hall of Famer is currently working as a backstage producer in WWE.

#4. Former Divas Champion AJ Lee

AJ Lee kicked off her WWE career in 2009. She made her main roster debut nearly two years later. Lee ended up becoming one of the top female superstars in Vince McMahon's company. She won the Divas Championship three times. In addition to being an in-ring competitor, she was RAW General Manager for a few months in 2012.

Despite her success, Lee's WWE career lasted only six years. In April 2015, she left WWE and retired from professional wrestling. In her final match, she teamed up with Naomi and Paige to defeat The Bella Twins and Natalya on RAW.

When The Black Widow retired, she was only 28 years old. In her memoir "Crazy is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules," she revealed that her husband CM Punk's controversial departure from WWE was one of the reasons she left the company.

The former Divas Champion also disclosed that was suffering from permanent damage to her cervical spine and had fulfilled all the goals she set out to in WWE.

Following her retirement, AJ Lee became a writer and advocate for mental health awareness and animal welfare. The former Divas Champion recently returned to professional wrestling, becoming an executive producer in WOW – Women of Wrestling.

#3. Former WWE Superstar Stacy Keibler

After spending nearly two years in WCW, Stacy Keibler joined WWE in 2001. Over the next few years, she took part in storylines with superstars like The Dudley Boyz, Test, and even WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Keibler also shared the ring with several legendary female competitors, including Trish Stratus, Lita, and Molly Holly.

Despite never winning a championship in WWE, Keibler was one of the most popular superstars on the roster between 2001 and 2006. However, her wrestling career ended when she was only 27 years old. In July 2006, she officially left WWE and retired from professional wrestling to pursue a career in dancing and acting.

After her retirement, Keibler appeared on several TV shows, including How I Met Your Mother and Psych.

Keibler has made a few WWE appearances in the past decade and a half. Her last appearance came in 2019 when she inducted her friend Torrie Wilson into the WWE Hall of Fame.

#2. Former Divas Champion Paige

Paige is one of the most talented female WWE Superstars of the past decade. She joined WWE in 2011 and became the inaugural NXT Women's Champion in 2013. She defeated Emma in the finale of the NXT Women's Championship tournament.

The Anti-Diva's main roster debut was also historical. She defeated AJ Lee to capture the Divas Championship on her first night on the Red Brand in April 2014. Paige held the title for nearly two months before losing it to Lee. However, in August that same year, she defeated Lee once again to recapture the title at SummerSlam.

Over the next few years, Paige suffered a series of neck injuries. She returned to WWE after undergoing successful neck surgery in late 2017, however suffered another injury at a live event. In April 2018, the then-26-year-old officially announced her retirement from in-ring action.

Following her retirement, Paige has played different roles in WWE, including becoming SmackDown General Manager and the manager of the Kabuki Warriors. Despite not appearing on WWE television since 2020, her WWE contract is still valid.

#1. Former WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly

Kelly Kelly was only 19 years old when she signed her first WWE contract in 2006. She spent nearly two years on ECW before moving to Monday Night RAW in 2008. Over the next three years, she chased both the Women's Championship and the Divas Title.

In 2009, Kelly challenged Maryse for the Divas Championship a few times but was unsuccessful in capturing the title. She also faced Layla at Money in the Bank in 2010 for the Women's Championship but failed to capture the gold once again.

In June 2011, Kelly finally won her first title after defeating Brie Bella for the Divas Championship on RAW. She held the belt for nearly four months before losing it to Beth Phoenix at Hell in a Cell. About a year later, the former Divas Champion officially left WWE. She was almost 26 years old at the time.

In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Kelly disclosed why she decided to leave WWE and retire.

"For me, I had never been hurt. I had never really been out, [I had] never taken time off. From 19 until 26 years old, for 7 years basically, I was on the road straight 300 days a year. I was tired, my body was tired (...) It was just my time. I was just ready to be at home and put focus into my family. It wasn’t anything bad that happened," she said.

Kelly Kelly has made several WWE appearances since retiring. She participated in the 2018 and 2020 Women's Royal Rumble matches. The former Divas Champion also competed in the 20-woman Battle Royal at Evolution.

In 2019, the 34-year-old also appeared on the RAW Reunion episode, during which she won the 24/7 Championship. However, she lost the title later that night to Candice Michelle.

Vince Russo answers who killed WCW HERE

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