Nigel McGuinness is one of the biggest “what-ifs?” in wrestling history. A fantastic wrestler who was years ahead of his time, and lost his big break before he could ever grab hold of it.
He was one of the most exciting stars ever produced by Ring of Honor. His battles in particular with Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan in the WWE) drew huge eyes to the company.
He agreed a deal to sign with the WWE in 2009, and wrestled his last match in ROH (against Danielson) in September that year. Sadly, an untreated bicep injury forced WWE to rescind the offer, scuppering his dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.
He went on to wrestle for TNA for a short period, but despite fantastic matches against Kurt Angle, retired from wrestling in 2011. It ended a career that should have been much more, which one WWE Hall of Famer said could have been WWE Championship-worthy.
Nigel McGuinness wrestled his last match in 2011, never once signing for the WWE as a wrestler. He joined up with the company as a commentator in 2016, but was released 6 years later, in October 2022.
But what happened to Nigel McGuinness? In this article, we’ll talk you through his WWE release, his retirement from wrestling and what happened next in his career.
Nigel McGuinness Was Released By WWE In October 2022
WWE signed Nigel McGuinness in 2016, to be a commentator for NXT. He later called many different WWE shows, including NXT UK, 205 Live and Main Event.
However, when the pandemic hit in April 2020, McGuinness was put on Furlough Leave until September, later that year. After that, he only commentated on NXT UK, before being released by the company in October 2022.
McGuinness, deemed not good enough to make the move to the main roster during the commentary shake-up of 2022, left the WWE to find work elsewhere.
It wasn’t known what would happen to Nigel McGuinness after this release – however, one thing seemed certain.
It was certain that he wouldn’t wrestle again, given that he was forced to retire from wrestling in 2011, due to a very serious illness..
He Retired From Wrestling In 2011
Nigel McGuinness retired due to being diagnosed with Hepatitis B. The disese in an infection of the liver that can spread through a variety of ways, most notably through the blood.
This made matches where bleeding is a key part (such as hardcore matches) impossible, due to the risk of spreading the illness. This limited what McGuinness could do inside the ring, causing him to lose his love for wrestling.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B include fatigue and high temperatures, not something conducive to pro-wrestling. Due to the disease, Nigel McGuinness had to retire from wrestling.
However, it was the pain from being rejected by the WWE that saw him stay retired.
He bemoaned the fact that he tried and failed to make it in the WWE, citing the fact that he had done everything else in wrestling except wrestling for the biggest company.
In a later interview with prowrestling.net, Nigel McGuinness revealed that he quit wrestling because he had done everything in his career – except wrestle for the WWE.
“I made the decision that I wasn’t going to wrestle any more unless I was doing something that I hadn’t done before, which really only leaves WWE. I put out feelers (to WWE), and from everything I could surmise, there wasn’t interest. So at that point there was really no option for me other than to retire.”
What Happened To Nigel McGuinness?
After his release from the WWE, Nigel McGuinness announced an upcoming show titled ‘CELEBRATION: The Magic of Nigel McGuinness – ONE NIGHT ONLY!.
This will combine him telling tales from his time in the ring, as well as magic tricks and other illusions. It will be a one-night only performance, and will the first time he has performed publicly in a magic show.
However, he did showcase some of his magic, via card tricks, during an NXT UK-exclusive video, on the WWE Youtube channel.
The former WWE Commentator and Ring of Honor Champion has never been shy in professing his love for the art of magic, calling it a “language”, rather than an art.
He has also been announced to appear for PROGRESS wrestling in the UK in May 2023, although the nature of his appearance is still under wraps.
Fans will be hoping that Nigel McGuinness is returning for one more match, coming out of retirement for the first time since 2011.
Former Ring of Honor Champion Nigel McGuinness made his long-awaited return to ROH, at the latest Supercard of Honor show.
Nigel McGuinness returned to Ring of Honor during their Supercard of Honor 2023 show, joining the commentary desk to take up his old position as a commentator.
McGuinness got a huge pop when he was announced as a new signing to ROH, less than six months after leaving the WWE.
Nigel McGuinness’ Ring of Honor return was 14 years after he last wrestled in the promotion, with his last ever match being against AEW’s Bryan Danielson.
Nigel McGuinness vs Bryan Danielson has recently been teased in AEW, and could take place in a sold-out Wembley Stadium for All In.
So, that is what happened to Nigel McGuinness. Tell us what you think about the former ROH Champion and NXT Commentator in the comments section down below, and tell us if you think he should come out of retirement for one more match.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.