The last few years of World Wrestling Entertainment storylines and television programming have been wonderful for well-known wrestling stars from the 1990s. WWE brought Sting back to work a feud with Seth Rollins over the company’s top title, and one can only imagine what might have been had the “Icon” of World Championship Wrestling not suffered a serious injury during a match that forced him out of action seemingly for good. Triple H is working a program that will, at the very least, go through WrestleMania 33. Chris Jericho was one of the true WWE MVPs of 2016 and the first three months of 2017 for his work alongside Kevin Owens, and Goldberg, the biggest star created by World Championship Wrestling during the Attitude Era, won the Universal Championship.
Knowing how open WWE has been about bringing stars from the 90s back for a variety of different runs, we can’t help but think of others the promotion should consider signing at some point down the road. Some are famous names who remain active in the business, including a pair of performers who re-worked their characters and, in the process, created arguably the hottest gimmick in the business for 2016. Others, meanwhile, haven’t been involved with the WWE for quite some time. It’s worth noting not every 90s wrestling star mentioned in this piece would have a long-term future with the WWE, but that does not mean the organization could not use such performers for short-term feuds or even a single Pay-Per-View event.
15 Jeff Jarrett
Things in the wrestling world often come full circle, and, thus, it’s only natural that Double-J would eventually make a return to the WWE for one last run. Jeff Jarrett can still go in the ring for a program with any number of babyface wrestlers on the WWE roster, he can be a solid heel manager for a stable and he would legitimately draw heat from fans via his promos.
Jarrett hasn’t been back on WWE television since leaving the company in the late 1990s to return to WCW, and he is largely responsible for the existence of what is currently known as Impact Wrestling. The story of Jarrett “invading” WWE programming writes itself, and it could be fun to present to passionate fans.
14 Alundra Blayze/Madusa
Heading into WrestleMania 33, there were a plethora of rumors about former women’s wrestlers potentially returning to the WWE. Why not the performer known as Alundra Blayze in the WWE/Madusa in WCW? Madusa, who famously threw the WWE Women’s Title into the garbage during an episode of Nitro, never had an opportunity to make a return to WWE following the Attitude Era, and she is good to go in the ring for a feud or two as far as we know.
We’ve already seen Mickie James come back to the WWE in 2017, and she has had some entertaining matches in NXT and as part of the SmackDown roster. Madusa could draw a pop from fans if she were to return at the right show, such as one after WrestleMania or SummerSlam.
13 Ultimo Dragon
Passionate wrestling fans probably remember that Ultimo Dragon did not have the greatest of runs during his original stint in the WWE. Dragon can still physically compete inside the ring, and he could be a benefit for either the 205 Live portion of the roster or the NXT brand. It would also be nice to see the well-known veteran and icon of the industry be able to leave WWE fans with some positive memories.
If nothing else, Dragon would undeniably be a plus working with younger would-be stars in the company’s developmental system. Dragon has seen it all and done it all working in promotions all around the world, and the knowledge he could he share with those just beginning in the business could be invaluable.
12 Jushin Thunder Liger
Many of the things mentioned about Ultimo Dragon making a return to the WWE at some point in 2017 ring true for Jushin Thunder Liger. Truth be told, Liger may be even more familiar with pockets of fans than Dragon because of his brief appearance at the first ever NXT Takeover: Brooklyn show back in 2015.
Liger, like Dragon, is a living legend of the industry who earned a reputation for putting on memorable matches in North America and all around the world. He would immediately improve the Cruiserweight Division were he to be signed, he could even serve as a trainer and could be a future replacement for The Brian Kendrick if the WWE decides to have Kendrick become more of a full-time trainer than an on-air personality.
11 Diamond Dallas Page
It’s almost difficult to imagine creating a piece about 90s wrestling stars the WWE should hire without mentioning the master of the “Diamond Cutter.” Diamond Dallas Page remains one of the best gimmicks WCW pushed during the second half of the 90s, as he truly became that company’s version of the “People’s Champion” who remains over among audiences largely because of his awesome finishing move.
Page can still drop opponents with that finisher as far as we know, and the WWE somewhat owes him after the promotion buried the character following its purchase of WCW. Bring Page back, WWE, if only for the pops he would draw from audiences and so that younger wrestlers who idolized him can feel the BANG!
10 Ken Shamrock
In a way, it’s somewhat hard to believe it’s been roughly two decades since Ken Shamrock emerged on the scene as the “world’s most dangerous man.” After all, casual fans know so much more about mixed martial arts than they did when Shamrock got an ankle lock over as a killer finishing move.
Shamrock, a veteran of pro wrestling and MMA, has proven he can still compete in legitimate sports at his age, and he could help shake things up on either Raw or SmackDown. He could also be a trainer for younger wrestlers who need to make their moves look more real to audiences. Maybe the WWE could even go so far to book a program involving Shamrock and Brock Lesnar, although we’re not sure Shamrock should be taking any trips to “Suplex City” in his 50s.
Those of you who watched the original Extreme Championship Wrestling in the 90s probably remember the days when Taz, a relatively undersized wrestler compared to the monsters who dominated WWE television at the time, terrorized opponents as the “human suplex machine.”
Taz, as you probably know, cannot wrestle on a full-time schedule anymore because of the injuries he suffered during his career, but he remains a talented talker who would be one of the best commentators in the WWE today if the company gave him a chance. Taz has hosted national radio shows over the years, and he was always a good promo cutter even when working on the SmackDown desk. He could offer a lot on NXT programming and as a trainer if the WWE chose to utilize his services.
8 Lance Storm
It’s actually a little remarkable WWE hasn't made it worth Lance Storm’s while to make a move down to Florida to train future wrestlers in developmental. Storm, after all, runs his own training school, a facility that has already created a number of performers who have featured in NXT and on WWE programming.
The Canadian who would likely ask us all to be serious for a moment is also still in fantastic shape, and he could have the occasional match if he was to be placed in a feud against any of his former students. One could make the argument Storm would be the best trainer working for WWE if the promotion signed him, and that alone is why we’d like to see this former 90s star back working for the organization.
7 Bully Ray
You have to give the artist currently known as Bully Ray a lot of credit for all that he has achieved over the past several years. Formerly one-half of the Dudley Boyz/3D team, Bully did well to completely change his character en route to becoming a true main-eventer for the Impact Wrestling promotion. While Bully’s initial return to the WWE beginning in 2015 did not go all that well, he should be given another opportunity to shine, this time as a solo worker.
Bully could get over as a heel wrestling on either NXT or for one of the two top brands, and he would also be a solid trainer. Don’t forget that we haven’t really seen the Bully character ever perform as part of the WWE roster, so it would be new to pockets of the audience.
6 Torrie Wilson
Wrestling fans who watched only or mostly WWE programming during the Attitude Era may not realize Torrie Wilson is actually a 90s wrestling star who first made her debut working in WCW. Those of you out there who follow Wilson on social media platforms such as Instagram are probably aware the former WWE Diva remains in incredible shape, and it looks as if she could make a return to the ring at any given time.
Granted, Wilson may not be able to put on a five-star match with the likes of Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha Banks, but seeing her back on a handful of Raw of SmackDown shows could be entertaining for wrestling fans who remember her from many years ago. Odds are she wouldn’t be the worst female on the roster.
5 Sean Waltman
Recent pictures of Sean Waltman that have emerged via social media websites make it appear as if the veteran and 90s wrestling star could have a match inside a WWE ring in 2017. Some fans out there may know Waltman as being responsible for what became known as “X-Pac Heat,” but nobody out there can deny he was a tremendous worker in both the WWE and WCW.
Waltman would bring some name value to the WWE Cruiserweight Division were he to put pen to paper inking a deal with the promotion in 2017, and the real-life friend of company executive Triple H could also be a teacher and trainer for those working through the developmental system and the NXT touring brand. Waltman returning would make for a great comeback story considering all he’s been through during his career.
4 Jeff Hardy
It's truly commendable how Jeff Hardy conquered whatever alleged personal problems plagued him and nearly cost him his wrestling career. With the help of his brother, Matt, Jeff re-tooled his wrestling persona and helped put Impact Wrestling back in front of fans who abandoned that product years ago, and it seems as if it’s only a matter of time before the former WWE Champion is back working with the promotion.
We wouldn’t even need to see the “Brother Nero” character play out on WWE programming, as Hardy was a star who worked in main events and competed for titles during his last stint with the organization. He may be one of the top babyfaces in the WWE whenever he appears on either Raw or SmackDown.
3 Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating individuals in the pro wrestling industry today. Matt’s brilliant “Broken” character was a revelation for the Impact Wrestling brand that was seemingly in the grave as of the summer of 2016, and both Matt and Jeff have used their new personas in independent promotions since leaving Impact.
These men are two of the biggest 90s wrestling stars still taking dates as active workers, and the Hardy brothers would bring some much needed excitement to either Raw or SmackDown. We can only hope rumors linking Matt and Jeff to the WWE are accurate and, just as importantly, that they are able to use their new characters. What’s the point if Matt cannot DELETE opponents inside a WWE ring?
2 Scott Steiner
So what if Scott Steiner never had a five-star match during his final WWE stint? Big Poppa Pump was a fun and beloved character because he was a huge guy who threw opponents all over the ring and because he cut unscripted promos that made fans laugh and that stuck in our minds.
We wouldn’t even need to see this 90s wrestling star have a match to make a return to the WWE worth it, as Steiner could serve as a heel manager for a younger performer working on the main roster. Imagine, for example, Steiner cutting promos on behalf of Baron Corbin, a character the WWE obvious likes but somebody who needs help on the microphone. The WWE would probably have to remind Steiner the company now airs PG programming, but all can cross that bridge at a later time.
1 Steve Austin
We’re sure Stone Cold Steve Austin is doing just fine and doesn’t need the money, but that doesn’t change the fact that the biggest single 90s wrestling star out there today would be a major benefit to the current WWE product. Austin could do wonders as it pertains to teaching younger performers how to cut believable and entertaining promos that go beyond a script, and he could also spend time as an in-ring trainer even if what he can and cannot do between the ropes is limited because of injury woes.
It also must be mentioned that we who watched Austin in the 90s and 2000s are still hoping he has one last match in the tank. Remember when the WWE teased a potential feud between Austin and CM Punk? Make it so.