Being a professional wrestler doesn’t necessarily mean you will be feeding your family on a consistent basis. In a business so crude and unpredictable, that pink slip could arrive at any time.
Then what? Time to feed the kids some Ramen and search for somebody else who will pay you twenty bucks to get your ass kicked in a high school gymnasium. The life of a professional wrestler is rough.
At home, they sit staring at their phones, hoping Vince McMahon and the WWE will come calling. All the while, life continues to worsen and their souls become just a little more rotten.
And even if Vince does call, whose to say they’re good enough to stick around? Over at WWE, firings are commonplace. It’s strutting through the front door one day, and being tossed, a battered mess, out the back door the very next.
Some of these guys and girls decided to return after they’ve been slipped the pink. Some show up better than they were when they left that back door, while others should have never gotten out of the gutter.
Here Are 8 Fired WWE Wrestlers Who Came Back Better Than Ever And 7 Who Should Have Stayed Far Away:
15. Better Than Ever: Jeff Hardy
In 2003, Jeff Hardy was struggling to avoid the lure of that High Life. With that in mind, WWE offered Hardy some help. However his refusal to accept this aid and attend rehab left the company with no other alternative: Hardy was released.
Fast forward three years and WWE are willing to take another chance of Hardy. And sure enough, the eccentric Superstar was able to pick up where he left off, and then exceed expectations by becoming the hottest commodity in wrestling for a while.
By the end of 2008, Hardy was WWE Champion; a sight many fans dreamed of seeing but thought they never would. Yet, there he was: all colorful and full of energy, and holding the WWE Championship.
14. Should Have Stayed Away: Booker T
The commentary of Monday Night Raw could be great; if Corey Graves called all the action, Michael Cole chimed in once-in-a-while, and Booker T was removed from the announce table all together.
What’s going with Booker T? How can he be that bad at this job? Is this all one, big joke? Booker T is a wrestling legend. One of the all-time greats. Yet, hearing him on commentary can cause a fan to long for Mike Adamle.
Booker T was let go from the company back in 2007, before moving on to a stint with TNA. When Booker T was brought back into WWE, it was not to wrestle. However, this commentary gig is not working out.
13. Better Than Ever: Drew McIntyre
Much like fellow 3MB member, Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre needed time away from WWE to truly figure himself out. McIntyre, once dubbed “The Chosen One” by Vince McMahon was let go back in 2014.
At this point, McIntyre looked like a WWE bust. However, a few years away from the company would do McIntyre a world of good. Suddenly, there was interest once again, and in April 2017, McIntyre was back with WWE.
Only this time around, McIntyre would need to earn a main roster spot. The once “chosen” Superstar was sent to NXT, where he excelled and captured the NXT Championship; showing much promise for a main roster run.
12. Should Have Stayed Away: Jake Roberts
To an entire generation of fans, Jake “The Snake” Roberts may only be remembered as the guy who lost in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, back in 1996.
Of course, Roberts means so much more to the business. Roberts mastered the art of ring psychology and helped make the heel character feel like something so much more than just a catalyst to help get the “good guy” over.
Throughout his life, Roberts often struggled with addiction. Battling personal demons was much harder than taking on Andre the Giant. So, when Roberts was let go in 1992, he really should have called it a career.
11. Better Than Ever: Jinder Mahal
While Jinder Mahal’s WWE Championship reign felt like one, big, drawn out yawn, you have to give credit where credit is due. Think back on Mahal’s career. What would he have been known for had he not changed his look? 3MB?
When Mahal was let go from the company in 2014, nobody thought that just a few short years later, he would return – ripped and ready to take on the world – and become the fiftieth WWE Champion in history.
It can be argued that Mahal was in the right place at the right time, as the company were looking to promote an Indian champion to help boost their value in India. And yes, they could have found a better Indian wrestler but WWE like to keep things comfortable.
10. Should Have Stayed Away: Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio was fired from WWE in 2014 after an apparent altercation with a backstage employee over a racist joke. While racism is terrible, Del Rio leaving the company was not. If overrated applies to anybody, it’s Del Rio.
However, the company had a change of heart in 2015, and Del Rio was brought back into the mix. In fact, upon his return, Del Rio defeated John Cena, clean, for the United States Championship at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
This time around, Del Rio was paired with Zeb Colter; a combination that did not work out at all. The entire MexAmerica angle felt forced and Del Rio once again brought nothing to the table.
9. Better Than Ever: Matt Hardy
It has become the most discussed love triangle in professional wrestling history. The Matt Hardy-Lita-Edge scandal, which was the hottest ticket around in 2005. Especially considering the real life drama that came along with the angle.
While Hardy was home recuperating from an injury, Lita was in bed with Edge. And to make matters worse, Hardy was soon released from his WWE contract. It appeared as though Hardy couldn’t catch a break.
Ah, but those wrestling fans let it be known that Hardy was done wrong. And sure enough, the outcry was heard and Hardy was reinstated by the company. Hardy was now the hottest Superstar in town.
8. Should Have Stayed Away: Jeff Jarrett
Some professional wrestlers are truly delusional. And Jeff Jarrett fits the bill. Somewhere along the way, Jarrett began to believe that he could actually draw Hulk Hogan-type numbers. However, Jarrett was never close.
At best, Jarrett was a mediocre mid-card performer. During his first stint with WWE, Jarrett would claim the Intercontinental Championship while portraying an outlandish country music star of sorts.
Eventually, Jarrett was let go from the company. However, he would return a few years later. And, once again, Jarrett would find himself in the mid-card, where he barely belonged. Jarrett’s return to WWE excited no one.
7. Better Than Ever: “Road Dogg” Jesse James
Keeping with Jeff Jarrett, we come to The Roadie; who served as an assistant to Jarrett during the country music star gimmick. The twist here? The Roadie was actually the voice behind the song credited to Jarrett.
When Jarrett was let go, The Roadie wasn’t far behind. And that was that. Nobody really thought that The Roadie would return, much less make an impact on the landscape of WWE. Of course, everybody was wrong.
One day, The Roadie was back. And for a while, WWE continued to run with the country music angle; which was going nowhere. So, The Roadie had to die. And from the ashes rose, “Road Dogg” Jesse James.
6. Should Have Stayed Away: The Ultimate Warrior
By 1996, the WWE audience had grown tired of the old product. And certainly a face-painted relic would not change anybody’s mind. The Ultimate Warrior’s time on top had long since passed.
In 1992, Warrior was let go by WWE, and he should have stayed gone. Upon his return, the company were on the fringe of the Attitude Era and certainly didn’t need a wrestler who looked like Warrior anymore.
This was a time when Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels had become the top guys in WWE. The rise of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock was just around the corner, and Warrior was left in the dust.
5. Better Than Ever: Mickie James
Mickie James is a little bit older than the rest of the Women’s Division. However, that doesn’t mean James can’t hang with the best female Superstars WWE has to offer. James is aged, but in the way of a good whiskey.
In 2010, the company decided to let the six-time champion go, in order to take the then-Divas Division in a “new direction.” Following this release, James would compete for TNA; where she continued to prove how good she was to the wrestling world.
Then in 2016, James was called back to WWE to take part in the NXT TakeOver: Toronto event. A few months later, James appeared on SmackDown Live, officially marking her return to the WWE main roster.
4. Should Have Stayed Away: Shelton Benjamin
When Jason Jordan was revealed as Kurt Angle’s “son,” Chad Gable was left all alone over on SmackDown Live. This could have provided Gable – an accomplished wrestler – with an opportunity to make something of himself as a solo competitor.
However, WWE decided to take Gable down a different yet very familiar road. Gable was paired with the returning Shelton Benjamin to form an American Alpha 2.0 type of tag team.
In 2010, Benjamin was let go from the company. Away from WWE, Benjamin was doing all right on the Independent Circuit. In realty, Benjamin didn’t need to return to WWE. Especially since his role is that of a fill-in for Jordan.
3. Better Than Ever: Daniel Bryan
Has there ever been a more organic rise to the top of WWE than Daniel Bryan? Think back on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, whose rise was also organic, but who was supposed to be a star all along.
Bryan was never meant to be anything more than – in the words of Stephanie McMahon – a “B+ Player.” There was a lot of truth behind that promo when it was delivered by McMahon on Monday Night Raw.
Who would have thought that the wrestler WWE once fired for choking Justin Roberts (kayfabe), would win the hearts of their precious Universe. So much so, that the company had no choice but to take action, which they did at WrestleMania XXX.
2. Should Have Stayed Away: A-Train
Deciding not to stay away from WWE actually worked out rather well for A-Train (real name: Matt Bloom), who now works as the head trainer at the WWE Performance Center down in Orlando.
When Bloom was released from WWE in 2004, he decided to head for Japan, where he became a major star in NJPW. Eventually, Bloom’s former employer took notice and he was soon back stateside.
Bloom was now known as Tensai; a gimmick that quickly flopped. So, what next? The company then decided to pair Tensai up with Brodus Clay, to form a dancing duo tag team known as, Tons of Funk.
1. Better Than Ever: Eddie Guerrero
In November 2001, Eddie Guerrero was arrested for drunk driving. And just a few days later, was released from WWE. It had appeared as though a rising star in the wrestling world had already burned out.
However, Guerrero was given a second chance. The company welcomed Guerrero back, and he was off to the races. Guerrero quickly became one of the most beloved WWE Superstars around.
And then, at No Way Out 2004, Guerrero reached the very top of the industry by defeating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. Guerrero winning the title remains one of the most feel good victories in WWE history.
Unfortunately, Guerrero passed away at a young age, and was never quite able to complete his great wrestling journey.
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