After several years of competing inside the squared circle, a few former WWE Superstars decided to hang up their boots in 2021.
This year has been full of important pro wrestling events. Several former WWE Superstars came out of retirement in the past few months. Christian Cage, for example, retired several years ago but returned to the ring earlier this year to join AEW. CM Punk also followed in Cage's footsteps and made his long-awaited comeback after seven years of retirement to join Tony Khan's company.
Meanwhile, a few other former WWE Superstars retired from in-ring competition in the past few months. Some of them are working in backstage positions in WWE. However, others are yet to reveal their next step.
Here are five former WWE Superstars who retired in 2021.
#5. Former WWE Superstar Kenny Dykstra
Kenny Dykstra kicked off his wrestling career in 2001. He made a few appearances on WWE TV before officially signing a developmental contract in 2004. After spending less than two years in developmental, Dykstra returned to WWE TV as part of The Spirit Squad. Alongside his Spirit Squad teammates, the 35-year-old won the World Tag Team Championships in 2006.
Dykstra spent nearly two years on the main roster before WWE released him from his contract in November 2008. Excluding a brief return to WWE in 2016, Dykstra spent 11 years wrestling in different promotions. Nevertheless, he announced his retirement last April.
"I’ve decided to retire from in ring wrestling. When I started at 13 I thought I’d retire at 40. But smart investments overtime have allowed me to be done now. I’m in my prime, and that will go towards my family and being a father. Thanks to the fans who stuck by me," said Kenny Dykstra in a post on Twitter.
Following his retirement, Dykstra returned to WWE. He's currently a coach at the Performance Center.
#4. Former WWE Superstar Jordan Myles
Former WWE Superstar Jordan Myles made his pro wrestling debut 14 years ago. He then spent 12 years wrestling in different promotions, including Evolve, Lucha Libre AAA World Wide, and IMPACT Wrestling.
Nonetheless, the 33-year-old signed a developmental contract with WWE in February 2019. A month later, he made his NXT debut at a house show. Myles first wrestled in WWE under his real name Albert Hardie Jr. However, WWE later changed his name to Jordan Myles.
Myles' WWE run only lasted a few months. He competed in 47 matches before getting released from his contract in November 2019. During his time in WWE, he won the 2019 NXT Breakout Tournament. The 33-year-old also challenged Adam Cole for the NXT Title once but came up short.
Following his departure, Myles competed on the independent circuit and in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Nevertheless, he announced his retirement from in-ring action last June in an Instagram post.
"No need for the dramatic or emotional word play. As of today I will officially step away from professional wrestling. Thank you all for the support and love," he wrote.
Although he retired four months ago, the former NXT Superstar is yet to reveal his plans for the future.
#3. Former WWE Superstar Kharma
Former WWE Superstar Kharma has been one of the most powerful women in pro wrestling over the past two decades. She kicked off her career in Empire Wrestling Federation in 2002. She then spent five years wrestling in different promotions.
In 2007, the 44-year-old joined Total Nonstop Action (IMPACT Wrestling). She quickly won the Knockouts Championship and the Knockouts Tag Team Championships. Nonetheless, she moved to WWE in 2010.
Kharma made appearances on WWE TV, attacking a few Divas in May 2010. However, WWE later took her off television as she announced her pregnancy.
After nearly two years of absence, Kharma returned at the 2012 Royal Rumble, competing in the men's Royal Rumble match. She eliminated Hunico before Dolph Ziggler eliminated her from the Rumble. The Royal Rumble match was Kharma's first and only official bout in WWE. A few months later, WWE released her from her contract.
Although her WWE run was unsuccessful, Kharma made history by becoming the third female to participate in the men's Royal Rumble match. Following her departure, the 44-year-old competed in several different promotions, including TNA and AEW. Nonetheless, she announced her retirement last August at the NWA EmPowerrr pay-per-view.
#2. Former WWE Superstar Jake Atlas
Jake Atlas kicked off his wrestling career just five years ago before officially signing with WWE in 2019. He made his NXT debut in April 2020, losing to Dexter Lumis in his first WWE match.
The 27-year-old then participated in the 2020 Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship round-robin tournament, and the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, alongside Isaiah "Swerve" Scott. However, he failed to win any of them.
Atlas spent nearly two years in WWE before the company released him from his contract last August. Following his departure, the 27-year-old wrestled only two matches on the independent circuit before announcing his retirement in September.
"I’m not concussed or “banged up.” I simply just can’t keep going anymore. Take your mental health seriously, both for yourselves & for each other, because we only have one life to live. Thank you to anyone who did support me for 5 years. I didn’t do much, but what I did was fun," he wrote on Twitter.
Jake Atlas has not yet revealed what his post-retirement plans are. However, he has recently been modeling for Franky Monet's clothing brand, Loca.
#1. Former WWE Superstar Brian Kendrick
Brian Kendrick made his WWE debut in 2003 after wrestling for a few years on the independent circuit. After nearly a year on SmackDown, the 42-year-old left WWE. Kendrick, however, returned to Vince McMahon's company in 2005.
During his second WWE run, Kendrick formed a successful tag team with Paul London. They won the WWE Tag Team Championships and the World Tag Team Championships.
Kendrick left WWE again in 2009. Following his departure, he wrestled in different promotions, including TNA and NJPW. However, in 2014, Kendrick signed with WWE to become a trainer at the performance center. Shortly after, he returned to in-ring competition.
Kendrick mainly competed on 205 Live. The 42-year-old captured the Cruiserweight Championship in October 2016 before losing it to Rich Swann a month later.
Kendrick competed for the last time nearly a year ago when he teamed up with Mansoor to defeat Chase Parker and Matt Martel on 205 Live.
Last April, the former WWE Tag Team Champion confirmed his retirement in a video package titled Brian Kendrick: Life After Wrestling. The 42-year-old currently works as a backstage producer in WWE.