Why Did Taz Retire From Wrestling?

Hamish Woodward


ECW Legend Taz has not stepped into a ring for a real match in over 20 years and currently spends his time as the resident commentator in AEW. He can regularly be heard of both AEW Dynamite and Rampage, as well as recently being the leader of the menacing faction known as “Team Taz“.

Taz has been retired officially for a long, long time and his career seemed to have been cut short. His run in WWE was a short one as a wrestler and some say he was cut down in his prime, and there are still many dream matches fans would have loved to see him in.

His in-ring career ended in 2002 for two different reasons. Taz revealed he retired because he was burnt out with wrestling and because the injury in his neck was getting worse. He suffered a broken neck while in ECW and wanted to be able to play with his son (AEW’s Hook) when he grew up and not spend his life in a wheelchair.

Taz revealed in an interview with WWE.com that he retired because he was “burnt out” wrestling in the WWE undercard and was worried about his neck. He also thanked Michael Cole for taking him under his wing and helping him becoming a commentator in the WWE.

I had about 11or 12 years experience in wrestling before I got to WWE, and I had injuries. I felt burnt out in a way, and my neck was also a factor. It’s still not 100 percent. So when certain opportunities arose, I had to think about the future. My neck wasn’t going to get any better and I had to think about my son. My son was a baby at the time, and I thought to myself, “When he’s 10, will I be able to throw a baseball with him?”  

When I was given the opportunity for a color commentator role, I felt like, “Man, this is a good opportunity.” And then I started to work with Michael Cole on SmackDown, and even though I didn’t know him well back then, he took me under his wing.

Taz on retiring from wrestling

Why Did Taz Fail In WWE?

Taz failed in WWE because of his injury status and the fact that he was shorter than a lot of other WWE superstars. WWE is often labelled as “the land of the giants” and for good reason – the top stars rarely stand shorter than 6 foot plus and have even topped 7 foot tall at times (Andre the Giant, The Big Show, etc).

Jim Ross revealed on the Grilling Jr Podcast that Vince McMahon did not believe in pushing someone as a badass when they were only 5 foot 8. He also noted that some wrestlers did not want to sell for Taz, both for his height and for the reputation that his suplexes were dangerous (while they looked brutal, he was incredibly safe).

“So I guess at the end of the day, Vince trusted my judgment but then he got unconvinced. I don’t know if it was after meeting Taz. I have no idea. I really don’t know. But, bottom line is he fell out of favour and a lot of people that he could have drawn money with, believed that selling for a guy that is 5’8” didn’t make any sense and people would not believe it even though Taz could probably whoop their ass in a real shoot, but we weren’t shooting. We were working.”

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