"That door's closed" - 5 WWE women who refuse to come out of retirement

AJ Lee (left) and Stacy Keibler with her family (right)
AJ Lee (left) and Stacy Keibler with her family (right)

Several female superstars have come out of retirement to compete inside the WWE ring over the past few years. Trish Stratus, for example, initially hung up her boots in 2006 after defeating Lita to capture her seventh Women's Championship at Unforgiven. Nevertheless, she has since returned to the squared circle several times.

Meanwhile, a few former female superstars have stayed true to their retirement. Unlike Stratus, Lita, and many other former superstars, they have not returned to the ring since hanging up their boots.

Here are five WWE women who refuse to come out of retirement.

#5. Stacy Keibler

After a short stint in WCW, Stacy Keibler joined WWE in 2001. The 42-year-old then spent about five years in the Stamford-based company before leaving in July 2006 and retiring from professional wrestling.

After her departure, Keibler pursued an acting career in Hollywood. She also dated Academy Award winner George Clooney for about two years. Following their breakup in 2013, several reports claimed that the former wrestler was planning to return to WWE. Others suggested that she would become Bryan Danielson (fka Daniel Bryan)'s manager at the time.

However, an informed source denied these rumors in an interview with TMZ, insisting that Keibler would not be returning to wrestling.

"We're told ... Keib feels very grateful to the WWE for helping to launch her career -- but she believes that part of her life is over and she wants to focus on other things," TMZ reported.

In 2014, the former wrestler married American technology entrepreneur Jared Pobre. Later that same year, the couple welcomed their first child. They then had their second child in 2018.

After becoming a mother, Keibler left Hollywood to focus on her family. She has also kept her life under the radar. The retired superstar has not been active on social media for over two years.

Since retiring from wrestling, Keibler has made only two WWE appearances. The first came on the company's reality show, Tough Enough, in 2011. Eight years later, she inducted her best friend Torrie Wilson into the Hall of Fame.

#4. Former WWE Women's Champion Layla

After winning in the 2006 Diva Search competition, Layla signed with WWE. She spent nearly nine years in the Stamford-based company, during which time she held the Women's Championship and the Divas Title, before retiring from professional wrestling in July 2015.

In an interview with Ring The Belle in 2021, the former Divas Champion explained why she decided to retire.

"I think I had a great career. I was very, very privileged. I explored everything I could have explored in WWE. Like, what else more could I have possibly done, you know? I got to be around great people, and I got to travel the world. I was able to get a great fan base behind me and I will always be grateful. They supported me from day one, since the Diva Search. Always be grateful for that. And it was just time. It was just time, and I didn't want to age too much on TV. The older we get, we're more prone to injury, more prone to who knows? It was just time to end that chapter of my life. Definitely a realistic choice," Layla said. (H/T: EWrestling News)

The 45-year-old also stated that she would never consider returning to the squared circle.

"I just feel that I had a very fruitful, long career. And I attained everything I possibly could have attained in WWE, and I was given every opportunity. That door's closed, and I'm okay with that. And I feel just happy that I was able to have that. I look at my past, and I'm like, 'Wow I did all that stuff,' and that was just how I'd like to keep it," she added. (H/T: EWrestling News)

After her retirement, Layla worked as a real estate agent. Although the WWE Universe will probably never see the former Divas Champion in the ring again, fans can still meet her as she has attended several autograph signings in the past few years.

#3. Dawn Marie

Dawn Marie is currently working as a nurse
Dawn Marie is currently working as a nurse

In 2002, Dawn Marie joined WWE after competing for a few years in ECW and on the independent circuit. The 51-year-old then spent about three years in the Stamford-based company before she was released from her contract in 2005.

Following her departure, Marie stepped away from in-ring action for a few years. In 2008, she returned to the ring to compete in a few matches on the independent circuit. That same year, the former WWE Superstar launched a charitable organization called Wrestler's Rescue to help wrestlers with medical care and living costs.

However, controversy surrounded Marie's organization after some wrestlers claimed they did not receive the money raised for them on the organization's website. In an interview with D-Von Dudley's podcast, Marie addressed these accusations, stating that she decided to retire from wrestling because of the controversy.

"I hung it up when the whole controversy. I thought I've had enough of you people when that whole controversy happened with Wrestler's Rescue. It was all lies. I put out so much proof that every single thing was a lie, everything. I had all this proof. No one wanted to hear it. All they wanted to hear was bad stuff, and people believed it," Marie said.

She added:

"I was like, 'You know what? I don't have to be hurt by this business anymore. Why am I here?' I was like, 'I can't do it anymore. That's it. I'm done. I'm washing my hands.' It was just consuming. I was so hurt that people, or should I say, the fans, actually believed it. I was like, 'You know what? I'm not putting myself there anymore. I'm done,'" she added. (H/T: Web Is Jericho)

Since 2008, Dawn Marie has made a few non-wrestling appearances on the independent circuit. However, the mother-of-two does not seem interested in returning to the squared circle. Instead, she is now focusing on her job as a nurse.

#2. Former WWE Women's Champion Sable

Sable left WWE due to Brock Lesnar's request
Sable left WWE due to Brock Lesnar's request

In 1996, Sable joined WWE alongside her then-husband, Marc Mero. Her first run lasted about three years, during which time she won the Women's Championship once. In 1999, the 54-year-old left the Stamford-based company on bad terms.

Nevertheless, Sable returned to WWE in 2003. During her second run, the former Women's Champion got romantically involved with fellow superstar Brock Lesnar. In 2004, she and Mero officially divorced. She also left the company and retired from professional wrestling upon Lesner's request.

"I wanted to marry Rena [Sable]. However, before I could do this, I needed her to get out of WWE. 'If we want a relationship,' I told her, 'neither one of us can work for that company. We both know the long-term side effects of everything there.' That was my only demand. Nothing else. Just that. And so she left World Wrestling Entertainment."

He added:

"She had worked so hard to get back into that company, and now she was leaving it again, except this time she was giving up her career for me. It couldn't have been an easy decision," Brock Lesnar wrote in his autobiography ""Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival."

Two years later, Lesnar and Sable tied the knot. The couple now lives with their children on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Although Lesnar has returned to WWE, his wife remains away from the wrestling business. She also keeps a low profile and is inactive on social media. The 54-year-old will most probably never compete again inside the squared circle.

#1. Former Divas Champion AJ Lee

AJ Lee retired from in-ring competition in 2015
AJ Lee retired from in-ring competition in 2015

After spending nearly six years in WWE, during which she became a three-time Divas Champion, AJ Lee left the company in 2015 and announced her retirement from professional wrestling.

The 35-year-old has not wrestled again ever since. When Lee's husband, CM Punk, came out of retirement last year to join AEW, rumors suggested the former Divas Champion could follow in his footsteps and return to the ring. However, Punk killed these rumors in an interview with the New York Post.

"I just want to say, no, just because [of] her neck. The reason she stopped wrestling is because of her neck. She's got a bad neck, you know. I wouldn't want her to jeopardize [her] health and neither would she, so we'll put an end to that rumor right now," he said.

Lee also addressed the possibility of her coming out of retirement. The former Divas Champion explained that although she never says never to anything, she believes the current generation of female wrestlers does not need her.

"I will say, I say the same thing in every interview, and it's always 'never say never, but don't hold your breath.' What I mean by that is, I never say never to anything; physically, mentally, emotionally, I'm healed from everything I've gone through in wrestling. I could technically do it, but I'm so enjoying letting the next generation have their spotlight. I got to do everything I wanted to do. So, it really would have to be, is that challenge there? I don't think the girls need me there. I think that they are going to take over the world all by themselves." she told Women Of Wrestling's Izzy

Lee is currently an executive producer for Women of Wrestling. She is also now a successful author. Her 2017 memoir, "Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules," was a New York Times Best Seller.

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Edited by Pratik Singh
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