Lio Rush, who appeared among rookie cast members on The Challenge: Double Agents, has made a major announcement regarding his future career plans.
The former WWE superstar has announced his decision to retire from professional wrestling, following a recent injury he suffered after appearing with a new wrestling company.
Rush, real name Lionel Green, shared the news of his retirement in an Instagram post on Tuesday, June 8, surprising many friends, fans, and colleagues with the announcement.
Lio Rush announces his retirement from wrestling after injury
On Tuesday, former WWE superstar and recent AEW star, Lio Rush shared an Instagram post (below) in which he let everyone know he’d officially decided to end his career in the wrestling ring.
“It’s been a crazy ride but it’s time to get off and do what makes me truly happy,” the 26-year-old Rush shared, adding hashtags, “#ThankYou, #Lio, and #LioRush.”
For part of his announcement post, Rush shared an image of himself in his wrestling gear that he wore during his surprise debut with All Elite Wrestling, a rival promotion to WWE. Rush had just debuted during AEW’s Double or Nothing, a pay-per-view event in Jacksonville, Florida, at the end of May.
He shared details of his decision to retire based on his should injury suffered during the Double or Nothing event’s Casino Royale battle royal. Per Bleacher Report, Rush separated his AC joint during the match. He said the injury was more serious than he thought originally and causing him daily issues. One of the toughest he mentioned was not being able to pick up his newborn son. AEW reportedly offered to sign him despite the injury.
However, he called the injury a “blessing in disguise,” which gave him time to think more about what he wants in his life and for his wife and kids. Rush said he also thought about what would make him happier with his mental health, which led to his retirement decision.
For the final slide of his IG post, Lio showed off a look at his shoulder injury with an X-ray or MRI image.
Amongst Lio’s career accomplishments in WWE were becoming the youngest superstar to win NXT Cruiserweight Championship and winning WWE’s United Kingdom Championship Invitational. He also was a ringside manager/valet working alongside Bobby Lashley for a portion of his time with WWE.
In addition to WWE and AEW, he has worked with Ring of Honor and Combat Zone Wrestling. Lio is still signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and under contract with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. He said he plans to finish up with NJPW after he’s healed from his injury.
Rush retired from wrestling to focus on other opportunities
Rush had been part of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) from July 2017 up until April 2020. Upon his release from the company last April, he chose to retire from professional wrestling, per News 18’s report. At that time, he began to focus more on his music, including the release of various singles and albums.
He also went on to appear on Season 36 of MTV’s The Challenge, aka Double Agents. Lio started the season as teammates with fellow rookie Gabby Allen and had memorable moments, including an exchange with veteran Chris “CT” Tamburello during deliberation.
In Double Agents Episode 6, Lio’s decision to leave the show was amongst the storylines. The focus was on his past trauma from living in a group home when younger and how being away from his family was tough on him. Lio’s personal health and being with his family while his wife was pregnant during the pandemic were reasons he presented for leaving.
He also spoke about his decision to leave on The Challenge Aftermath show hosted by Devyn Simone, indicating he just didn’t have it in him to “screw people over” on the show either.
Even after departing from the show, Rush continued to link up with some of his castmates, including fellow rookie and musician Joseph Allen and Survivor-turned-Challenge-star Jay Starrett. The trio released a song earlier in 2021 called Stone Cold that they referred to as an anthem for The Challenge. As of this report, it’s achieved over 43,000 views on Joseph Allen’s YouTube channel.
It seems possible that Lio will now focus on his music more, which seems to be something he enjoys. While he said he would make more appearances with New Japan Pro Wrestling to close out contractual obligations, he’ll certainly be missed by many fans in the wrestling ring.
The Challenge Season 37 premiere date is TBA on MTV.