Ratings are hitting new lows and the post-WrestleMania WWE hasn’t been the greatest in general. The current Universal Champion is on the sidelines, the hottest commodity on Raw, Braun Strowman is injured and the champion on SmackDown Live is a dude that played the role of jobber throughout his career (Jinder Mahal). To make matters worse, the indie scene is booming at the moment with the likes Evolve, ROH and New Japan making waves with their excellent storylines and talents.
With all that in mind, an old formula the WWE seems to use time and time again when ratings are down is the return of a former beloved face. The formula has helped the past (recently with Goldebrg), and we won’t be too surprised if it happens again. The company is in need of a boost heading into the summer, and these names on this list can help kick things up a notch.
Whether it be as a talent, or HOF candidate, these are 15 names that are rumored to return at some point in the future. Some might return to the company in mere weeks, while some others we speculate can return further down the line. These are 15 rumored WWE stars set to return. Let’s begin, enjoy the article!
A return that lasted longer than even Goldberg himself expected, the former undefeated WCW man recently left the WWE after his extended run losing to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33. The loss put an end to his WWE run but Goldberg himself has admitted to wanting to return again in the future.
During his Ross Report interview, Goldberg stated that he told Vince he’d be back for another run in the future. The big man even hinted that he was interested in appearing at Summerslam or, next year’s WrestleMania. Bill admitted that he’d do his entire run all over again if he had to despite the sacrifice and strain it put on his body. Getting the chance to be a super hero dad made the experience worth it and it seems like we haven’t seen the last of the former Universal Champion just yet.
14 Maria Kanellis
Her initial WWE run was quite impactful and she was a fan favorite with the WWE Universe. Ultimately, she was released by the company, but unlike so many other female wrestlers in the past, Kanellis wouldn’t give up on her dream resurfacing her name on the indie scene.
It seems like the failed Total Divas contract with the WWE worked out for the best as Kanellis became a credible manager with ROH, New Japan and TNA Wrestling. Alongside her husband Mike Bennett, the duo became a popular heel act outside of the WWE. It seems like McMahon’s representatives took note as Maria is set to return any time now as reports have circulated that she’s currently signed to a WWE contract. Kanellis along with her husband are set to debut on the SmackDown Live show.
13 The Rock
Yes, even the Great One himself is bound to return but according to Jim Ross, his future appearances might be in jeopardy depending on what the future has in store for the mega Hollywood star.
According to Ross, a serious run for President can put a huge strain on The Rock’s WWE future. If Rock is to pursue a career in politics, it’s believed he’d have one more match with the company in order to get the fans on his side for his Presidential campaign. However, it seems that an appearance of the sorts would be his last given his run in such a field.
Rock was scheduled to attend this past WrestleMania but a scheduling conflict put him on the shelf. We're happy to hear of his return, but according to the recent news, it comes at quite the cost as his future in wrestling seems to be limited.
12 Hulk Hogan
Hard to believe that as of July 24th, it’s going to be two years since the departure of Hulk Hogan from the WWE. He’s undergone some major court issues since, however, his WWE involvement has been kept silent.
Finally, the rumor mill is starting to percolate regarding a future return. One sign is the fact that Hogan was selling WWE merchandise at his local shops. The second sign was recently unveiled as the WWE used a Hogan picture on a Kids Magazine poster. His name also keeps coming up slowly but surely, recently on the WWE Network’s Bring it to the Table, his name was discussed pertaining to a possible return.
Triple H put in the final dagger claiming the WWE is interested in bringing him back. At this point, Summerslam or next year’s WrestleMania seem like the two biggest possibilities for a return.
11 Eric Bischoff
Sticking with the WCW flavor, Bischoff might not be the first name you think about when discussing former faces returning to the company. However, we believe he’ll return at some point as an inductee for the Hall of Fame. McMahon loves controversy and inducting a guy like Bischoff would certainly get people talking.
Yes, Eric is quite the polarizing figure. His leadership skills weren’t the greatest, but his legacy should be celebrated as he changed the business by pushing the boundaries of reality on-screen, something the WWE wasn’t doing. Without Bischoff, the wrestling boom would have never transpired and we believe McMahon is well aware of that. We expect to see Eric at one point as the WWE celebrates his prestigious pro wrestling accomplishments from the 90s.
10 John Morrison
We’ve seen so many wrestlers leave in the past with the intent of coming back in the future. Drew McIntyre executed that to perfection as he resurfaced his name on the indie scene only to come back as an upper card name with NXT. The likes of C.J. Parker and Cody Rhodes are other performers who seem to have the same goal.
Before these wrestlers inducted that mind-set, Morrison had the idea in mind. Unhappy with the WWE’s creativity pertaining to his character, Morrison decided to step out of the company in order to accommodate his personal needs as a wrestler. Ever since leaving the WWE back in 2011, John has been superb becoming the lead face over in Lucha Underground. He promised a WWE return when the time is right and at the age of 37, we believe that moment is soon approaching.
9 Zack Sabre Jr.
The CWC Tournament was by far the greatest WWE event of 2016. From the commentary of Mauro and Daniel, to the excellent in-ring action, the tournament was a complete hit and just another brilliantly booked concept by the mind of Triple H.
It seemed like the finals was bound to be Zack Sabre Jr. taking on the master of the Last Ride Powerbomb, Kota Ibushi. Instead, the WWE threw us a curve ball and the likes of T.J. Perkins and the uber talented Gran Metalik met in the finals. Things made a little more sense however when Sabre Jr. decided the leave and Ibushi also parted ways shortly after.
It seems like Zack made the right choice as his talents seem to be way too good for the division, especially looking at how badly it’s currently being booked. Such a technical wizard, we believe the WWE will come knocking on Sabre’s door one more time in an attempt to sign him for the NXT brand and a future main roster promotion.
8 Brie Bella
According to the rumor mill, Brie’s comeback training is already underway as documented through her YouTube channel. Brie is currently in “Workout Mode” trying to shed her baby weight. Bella and Bryan recently welcomed Birdie Joe Danielson into the world as she was born on the 9th of May.
Her last WWE match took place on April 3rd, 2016, during the WrestleMania 32 pre-show. She deserved a nice send off and she got it on a pretty prestigious platform in front of a record breaking crowd of 100, 000 plus WWE fans. It seems like her road isn’t quite done just yet as she’s stated that she does plan to return inside of the squared circle, proudly kicking butt as a mama. For the time being, she’ll focus on motherhood and getting back into shape but we can expect a return at some point in the future.
7 Shelton Benjamin
Unlike most of the Superstars on this list, Benjamin didn’t leave on his own terms as he was shockingly released by the company in April of 2010. The decision didn’t sit too well with WWE fans as Benjamin possessed great in-ring skills and natural athleticism that you really can’t teach. However, his persona grew dry and his mic skills never really reached the self-proclaimed, “Gold Standard”.
Leaving the WWE, he brought his skill set onto the indie scene working with just about every company from New Japan, to Ring of Honor, to Pro Wrestling Noah. He signed a verbal deal with the WWE but that negotiation fell apart once he suffered an injury. Many believe he’s still destined to return at some point but it remains to be seen when that’ll go down.
6 Gail Kim
This might be the boldest rumor on the list, especially when you consider the fact that Gail stated she’d never return to the WWE, a sentiment we’ve heard in the past from others, only to see them return. If Bret Hart could comeback, the door is open for anyone folks!
In a recent interview, Kim added to the speculation stating “never say never”. With the success of her peer Mickie James in the WWE, Kim might be inclined to walk in her footsteps. Gail has even been buddy buddy in photos with some of the current crop of females with the WWE including Charlotte as two were recently spotted together. With all the plethora of female talent in the WWE, Kim might be intrigued to pursue one final run.
5 Kenny Omega
For the casual fan, this entry might be a little confusing. For those of you that don’t know, Omega was actually in the WWE system back in 2005 joining the "developmental dump” known as Deep South Wrestling. He’s stated in several shoot interviews that his time with the company was awful and that the trainees were treated terribly by the staff.
He would go onto to become the hottest name on the market and Triple H took note of his work. According to Omega, Hunter claimed he’d have Kenny on a private jet to NXT ASAP if he agreed to a deal with full accommodations. However, Omega turned down the deal as he wasn’t willing to give up his creative freedoms just yet. For now, he continues to tear it up on the indie scene working as the main face in New Japan Pro Wrestling. You got to believe his paths will one day cross with the WWE (please bring the Young Bucks with you).
4 Cody Rhodes
You have to admire Cody Rhodes for his WWE exit. Frustrated with his role in the company, Cody bet on his talent and left the company. He repeatedly tried to save the relationship pitching ideas to creative, but his requests always fell short. Since leaving the company his work has been spectacular, working high profile indie matches against Kurt Angle and a Wrestle Kingdom 11 bout for New Japan against former NXT star C.J. Parker aka Juice Robinson.
Similar to Drew McIntyre, we believe Cody will eventually return with his stock higher than ever. Just imagine a Bullet Club invasion as Cody, the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega debut down in NXT and take control of the brand? Man would that be something. No matter what happens, Cody will be back in a WWE ring down the road. For now, he’ll continue to enjoy his work as an independent wrestler.
3 Rey Mysterio
He recently reunited with his good buddy Batista and we would assume the two discussed some nostalgic memories from their WWE days. Rey leaving the WWE was a big blow for the company, especially when you assess his merchandise prowess. Rey was among the very top in terms of sales as his name was huge with the youth and fans overseas in Mexico.
Getting up there in age at 42, Mysterio is likely thinking about a final WWE run. Surely, the company will welcome his talents back with open arms. Possibilities of a return are numerous in terms of the type of involvement he’ll have. For starters, the WWE loves incorporating alums during Survivor Series season to promote their new 2k video game, Mysterio can be the perfect face to do so. Other booking possibilities include a HOF induction and, a vital role in rejuvenating the CW Division. With all these possibilities, a return seems inevitable, it truly is only a matter of when.
With his second Guardians of the Galaxy film recently coming out, Batista took part in various interviews which included being a guest on the Chris Jericho podcast, Talk Is Jericho. During the interview, Batista admitted he missed the business and would be open to a return. According to Batista, he pitched a final angle for his career feuding with Triple H in a last match to end their epic feud. However, it seems like the WWE wasn’t as interested in the idea, although they’re interested in bring The Animal back in some other capacity.
Batista is just another name we expect to see down the line, especially with the success of his acting career, something the WWE hasn’t really capitalized on. We expect that to change at some point when both sides agree on a return.
1 AJ Lee
Lee was an advocate for a Women’s Revolution long before it became a Twitter trend and something the WWE pushed at will. Lee was a standout during a dark point for the division and it seemed like once she left, new stars finally started to emerge.
Looking at all the current talent, Lee has admitted she’s salivated over the likes of a possible return claiming she misses the ring dearly. She stated those exact words during her book tour. The comments opened the door for a possible return, and she certainly has age on her side just entering her 30s a couple of months ago. The Women’s Division appears to be a little stale at the moment and adding someone like Lee would definitely rejuvenate the talent.