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By Kendall Jenkins on 2021-06-09 17:31:00

Lio Rush

Former WWE superstar Lio Rush has announced his retirement from professional wrestling following his recent debut for AEW. Rush, who left WWE on less-than-amicable terms, featured as the Joker in AEW's Casino Battle Royale at the Double or Nothing PPV. He is also only months removed from signing a deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling. 

Rush revealed having separated his AC joint during the battle royal, noting the injury was more serious than he initially thought. On Tuesday night, he took to Instagram to deliver the unfortunate news.

“The moment I went home in a sling, I kept saying to myself “this was like any other time I got a little bruise or strain and I will shrug it off and continue on my new journey”. Once the pain subsided and I started to feel how uncomfortable it was to feel my arm hanging from my body, I sank into an immediate and rapidly growing depression because I knew something was wrong…

“Got the news that I’d be taking some time off due to this injury. Me thinking it would only affect my wrestling obligations, I still tried to go about my days as I knew them. I realized just how much this would affect my everyday life. For anyone who knows me, you know that I work endlessly for me and my family. It became more frustrating everyday finding little things that I could no longer do. Like simply putting on a shirt and a much harder fact to deal with, not picking up my newborn son.

“Now here comes the part that kept me up every night since #DoubleOrNothing ….Knowing that u just made my surprise debut in one of the most exciting times in my career. That part sucked. But I’m grateful. Grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had this past year after my WWE release. So cool of #AEW still wanted to sign me despite separating my AC in the Casino Battle Royal. Which would have led to me being the first person in history to be signed to two major wrestling organizations simultaneously. This is an unexpected turn down a road I would have and could have never seen coming…

“But I’m looking at this as a blessing in disguise. Since the injury, it’s given me some time to think. Think about what I want in life. What I want for my wife and kids, and what’s going to make me happy as far as my mental health is concerned. The timing of this injury has forced me to stop and re-evaluate and ultimately it resulted in making the decision to retire.

“Thank you to the fans who have fought it out with me for the past 7 years and the people in my corner. Thank you to all the promoters and friends that I’ve met along the way who believe in me and my vision. This has been a great ride, but it’s time to get off and do what truly makes me happy. Due to contractual obligations with NJPW, I will be making my final appearances once I am healed. But for now, thank you all from the Bottom of my heart and I’ll see you all soon.”

Rush signed for WWE in August of 2017 on the back of an impressive run on the independent scene. He started out at NXT but was quickly made to perform in the cruiserweight division on 205 Live. He was later moved to the main roster but mostly worked a gig as the hype man for Bobby Lashley before moving back to NXT. He was among wrestlers released as a result of supposed budget cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic last April but he wasn’t on very good terms with the company leading up to that point. 

The Maryland native published an email he sent to WWE citing racial insensitivity back in June of 2020, which was just one of the complaints he had while on the brand. There was also a very public spat with Mark Henry, who was recently unveiled as an AEW signing himself.

The 26-year-old will hardly be short on options as he started up a music career after leaving WWE, but it’s pretty unfortunate that he’s had to retire due to injury so young. 

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