In a surprising turn of events, former WWE NXT referee Drake Wuertz, also known in the wrestling world as Drake Younger, has announced his retirement from professional wrestling. Wuertz had spent a significant part of the 2010s in WWE's developmental system, where he officiated high-profile matches during NXT's glory days and even refereed on the main roster.
Notably, he was in the ring for Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut alongside Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34. Before his WWE tenure, Wuertz had made a name for himself as a hardcore independent wrestler, prominently featuring in promotions like CZW.
His skill and dedication to his craft had led many to believe in his promising future within the WWE.
Wuertz's Controversial Exit from WWE
However, Wuertz's career trajectory took an unexpected turn, leading to his WWE release in 2021.
His right-wing political views, notably his vocal opposition to mask policies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, raised eyebrows. These controversies, alongside other undisclosed issues, became the catalyst for his departure from the company.
Post-WWE, Wuertz attempted to transition into politics with a run for the Florida House of Representatives. Unfortunately, his campaign was unsuccessful. Following this, he returned to the independent wrestling scene before ultimately deciding to hang up his boots.
In a heartfelt message, Wuertz revealed the decision to end his 21-year wrestling career: "Anyone involved in professional wrestling knows that this physically demanding profession can be halted at any moment. When that day arrives, it is nonetheless stinging.
I have had an INCREDIBLE on-camera career in our business. From my initial $5 payday in 2002 at the Evansville Coliseum and a bonus hamburger to headlining Korakeun Hall in Japan, legitimizing American Deathmatch Fighting, and stepping into the WrestleMania ring in front of 80,000 spectators – the journey has been unforgettable.
However, it's time to prioritize my family over wrestling, which has dominated half my life. I have a beautiful wife, three children, and twin boys on the way. My back injury was a disguised blessing, offering a much-needed slowdown.
I need to repair some damage at home and better myself for my family. My gratitude goes out to fans worldwide for their unwavering support." Wuertz's retirement comes on the heels of fellow ex-NXT talents Chad "Jaxson Ryker" Lail and Kimberly "Kimber Lee/Abby Laith" Frankele, who also retired this year.
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