WWE has been in business for many years and have employed hundreds of wrestlers for their product. Whether part-time wrestlers who act as special attractions like Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, or the full-time wrestlers who put in work for most of the year like A.J. Styles and Seth Rollins, the company’s use of these wrestlers has directly correlated to the success of World Wrestling Entertainment.
However, sometimes the wrestlers the WWE hires end up getting released from the company or quit before their potential could be reached. Other wrestlers accomplished a lot in their careers, left to wrestle elsewhere, and are missed by the fans with the thought of retirement looming for many. Whether as main event talents, jobbers, or mid-carders, the WWE has released a lot of wrestlers with potential and many of those wrestlers reached their potential somewhere else. Some wrestlers took to TNA, others took to the indies and worked for Ring of Honor, while others went to other countries looking for work in wrestling companies like New Japan Pro Wrestling and AAA Mexico. Some wrestlers have decided for themselves that they wish not to come back to the WWE, but others are open to possibilities.
So with that in mind, this article will discuss 15 wrestlers the WWE should bring back and give another try to.
15 Rey Mysterio
It goes without saying that Rey Mysterio is one of the greatest luchadores in the history of professional wrestling. He’s a traveled performer whose wrestled in all major promotions in the USA and some of the biggest ones in Mexico like AAA and Lucha Underground. He’s had epic feuds and matches both in the various Cruiserweight Divisions of WCW and WWE and even outside of his weight class. He’s a bonafide WWE Hall of Famer whenever that time comes and with the Cruiserweight Division’s return, he could potentially have one more run as a Cruiserweight legend.
His contract with Lucha Underground is supposed to come to an end by the summer of 2017 and if he wishes to come back to the company, he can easily be a special attraction and fight one of the Cruiserweight wrestlers for the championship at SummerSlam. He’s more injury prone so a full-time return won’t work, but a one-time match would be best for business if he's given the right opponent.
14 Christopher Daniels
For those who don’t know, Christopher Daniels was signed by the WWE back in 1998 to a developmental deal. He never debuted on the main roster and would be used as a jobber until his departure. Since that point, he's worked the indie circuit wrestling in ROH, TNA, Chikara, and AAA. He had some great moments fighting in TNA’s X-Division and was involved in some of the greatest matches in the history of the company. He’s an experienced veteran with a good gimmick and fantastic wrestling ability, so the WWE could benefit from bringing him in.
Whether in NXT or on SmackDown, Daniels could go to either show fighting former rivals Samoa Joe or the current WWE Champion, A.J. Styles. Daniels is unlikely to go any higher than the mid-card, but even that role would be beneficial for both him and the company.
13 James Storm
Though James Storm technically never signed with the WWE, The Bearded Outlaw did have a momentary stint in NXT. He agreed to sign back with TNA instead and has done little to nothing of note since that return. Storm accomplished all he could in TNA during his 14 year run with the company, winning multiple championships and was recognized as the Tag Team of the Year in 2005 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He reached the top of that promotion, so the WWE should try to make him another offer should the situation present itself.
He never got a chance to reinvigorate himself like Bobby Roode did, so maybe Storm can do the same if he were to sign next time around. The fans wanted to see Storm in the company and his return to NXT could make for some interesting encounters.
12 Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre was initially built up as The Chosen One personally brought to the WWE by Vince McMahon. He would then go on to win the Intercontinental Championship and the Tag Team Championships alongside Cody Rhodes, but that would be where his resume would cap. The last years of his WWE career would see him used in a group of jobbers known as 3MB.
When he left the company, he returned to the indies and eventually became the TNA World Heavyweight Champion as Drew Galloway. He’s shown that his potential as The Chosen One wasn’t just a result of booking and that he had more to offer when given the chance. While a main event run is highly unlikely, a solid run in the mid-card would help bolster the WWE roster. He could easily start a program with Dean Ambrose over the Intercontinental Championship or feud with other wrestlers in the company. A lot has changed since his departure in 2014 and his return could be great for the company’s mid-card.
11 Paul London
Brian Kendrick and Paul London were one of the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in the history of the WWE. Only when The New Day recently broke the record did Kendrick and London’s run back during the Ruthless Aggression Era become more of an afterthought. Many fans thought that when both men were released from the company that neither would be likely to return. However, Kendrick came back to the WWE last year for the Cruiserweight Classic and even went on to become Cruiserweight Champion. So, if Kendrick can be brought back, perhaps a possible return by London could happen?
London is currently signed to Lucha Underground, but hasn’t done much of note despite being the leader of The Rabbit Tribe. However, a potential reunion with Kendrick and a confrontation with The New Day could make for some interesting TV.
10 Damien Sandow
The Intellectual Savior of the Masses was considered a fantastic part of the roster since his debut in 2012. The fans loved his promos, his wrestling was good, and the energy he brought to his gimmicks made him an entertaining wrestler. Sadly, for whatever reason, the company never used him to his potential following his break off from The Miz. He had a short run with Curtis Axel as The Mega Powers, but that ended following Hogan’s racial controversy. After that, the company just stopped using him until they released him last year.
Sandow became a member of the TNA roster shortly after and went on to become the inaugural Impact Grand Champion, but no one has really cared. His run in TNA is not even remotely interesting to most fans and a return to his former gimmick in the WWE as The Intellectual Savior would be much better than…whatever he’s doing now.
9 Montel Vontavious Porter
Montel Vontavious Porter had a solid career in the WWE while he was there. He was only with the company for three years, but he had a lot of memorable encounters and storylines with Superstars like Matt Hardy, Kane, and Triple H. His run with the United States Championship is regarded as one of the better championship runs with that title at the time of his employ and many people liked his arrogant, brash persona as a heel and as a face.
He left the company in 2010 and worked in various promotions like NJPW where he became the first IWGP Intercontinental Champion. He’s had success in all the promotions he’s worked for, so a return to the WWE could benefit them both. MVP’s run in the mid-card was his most memorable time with the company and with better wrestlers to work with, a run at the United States or Intercontinental Championship could add some interest to the WWE’s mid-card scene.
Initially, many fans wanted Carlito to come back so that he could add some meaning to the floundering act that is The Shining Stars. However, after witnessing the absence of a mid-card scene on Raw, the WWE could still use a Superstar like Carlito regardless of whether or not he leads a stable of Colóns.
Before Carlito left the company, he had a good resume and some memorable feuds as a singles competitor competing for the United Stated and Intercontinental Championships and as a tag team wrestler competing for the Tag Titles and unifying them at WrestleMania XXV. He was a charismatic guy with a gimmick that worked well as a heel and his talk show segment was always fun to watch.
Whether with The Shining Stars or without them, wrestling fans would be happy to see the man who 'spits in the face of people who don’t want to be cool' back in a WWE ring.
7 John Morrison
Before John Morrison became The Face of Lucha Underground, he was one of the wrestlers in the WWE who fans thought would eventually go on to become a World Champion. He won the ECW World Championship before the belt became completely meaningless, was a three-time Intercontinental Champion, five-time Tag Team Champion, and was called the Most Improved Wrestler of the Year in 2009. He was an accomplished wrestler in the WWE, so if he returned to the company at some point, he would be welcomed back.
With guys like Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho, and A.J. Styles in the company for him to work with, Morrison could put on some great matches whether in the mid-card or for contending for the top titles. The Prince of Parkour still has a lot he can do in the WWE should he return and the fans would be more than happy to see him.
6 Evan Bourne
While the Cruiserweight Division has picked up some steam since Neville’s return, the WWE could still use some more energetic wrestlers who are fun to watch. They have several great high-flyers like Neville, Gran Metalik, and others, but the return of Air Bourne would add some extra excitement to the division. Bourne has proven to be a fantastic wrestler over the years, now wrestling as Matt Sydal, and has had some excellent matches and memorable moments over the course of his career. His Shooting Star Press created a lot of memorable moments in the WWE and his wrestling in NJPW and ROH has earned him a lot of praise.
Many fans thought Bourne would be limited in the WWE because of his size, but the Cruiserweight Division is perfect for a guy weighing in at 185 pounds. Bourne’s a familiar face and, being a fantastic high-flyer, would be help make the Cruiserweights more interesting should he be given a second chance.
5 Wade Barrett
By all accounts, Wade Barrett should’ve been a World Champion at least once or twice in his WWE career. He was good in the ring, had good mic skills, and made an impactful main roster debut as the leader of The Nexus. He seemed like a wrestler on the cusp of the main event, but it never worked out.
When The Nexus was white-hot, Barrett’s losses to John Cena would take his momentum and an injury would prevent the plans of him winning the Money in the Bank from unfolding. His runs in the mid-card were well received especially when he became Bad News Barrett, but it went downhill after he won King of The Ring. He left the company after a long losing streak, but who could really blame him? The company is in need of more talents, so if they were willing to book him credibly, then his return would be the opposite of Bad News.
4 Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes was viewed by many as a wrestler who would be successful if he was given the chance and his run outside of the WWE has proven that. His last two years in the company were riddled with mediocrity and boredom following the birth of Stardust, which was the main thing holding him back in the company.
When he left the company, things started off slow with him becoming a champion in Global Force Wrestling and abysmal appearances in TNA, but wrestling fans have been receptive of him in both NJPW and ROH. He has made a name for himself outside of the WWE and is a proven commodity on the indie scene. Rhodes was recently released from the WWE, so a return in the next year is highly unlikely, but seeing a return a few years down the line wouldn’t be impossible.
3 The Hardy Boyz
The Hardys are easily one of the best teams in the history of professional wrestling. They have history that dates back from the Attitude Era to the present with individual accomplishments and memorable moments for both Matt and Jeff. Their legacy in TNA is not as fondly remembered as their legacy in the WWE, but they both contributed majorly to the success of that company. So, with a new gimmick working its magic and their contracts with TNA coming to an end, the WWE should bring The Hardy Boyz back.
Both men have potential as individual competitors with Jeff Hardy being a former World Champion competitor and Matt Hardy working the mid-card like they did before their departures. As a team, they have even greater potential and could feud with The Wyatt Family like fans have been hoping for since the creation of Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy). Both men have had done all they could in TNA and with the WWE in need of stars, Matt and Jeff Hardy would be gladly welcomed back to the WWE.
2 Kenny Omega
Unlike most wrestlers on this list, Kenny Omega never got the chance to be a main roster Superstar. His time in the company never got further than the WWE’s old developmental system, Deep South Wrestling. He wrestled there for a year and spent the rest of his time building his legacy outside of WWE in ROH and more notably NJPW. He has risen to the top of NJPW and just recently main evented against one of their biggest stars, Kazuchika Okada, at their biggest show, Wrestle Kingdom 11. Recently, he has announced that he plans to step away from Japan to reassess his future, so now would be the time to bring Omega into the fold.
As a relatively new star in wrestling, Omega could either be hitched with the remnants of the Bullet Club in the WWE, feud with them, or do his own thing independent of them. Omega has said he’s interested in a feud with John Cena and Cena’s Instagram post also has indicated a similar interest. With Omega taking a break from NJPW and the Road to WrestleMania beginning, the WWE could benefit greatly by reacquiring The Cleaner.
1 Kurt Angle
With the Royal Rumble on the horizon and legends returning for cameo performances, one wrestler that fans would love to see return before his retirement is The Wrestling Machine, Kurt Angle.
Angle is one of the best wrestlers in the world with a career that covers the last two decades of professional wrestling. He is a six-time World Champion in the WWE, a six-time World Champion in TNA, and has won countless awards and praise from both the Wrestling Newsletter and Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
He was released from the company in 2006 and fans have been hoping for a return ever since his retirement from TNA. His presence is so desired in the WWE that fans probably wouldn’t care who he wrestled, just that he was back in the company so the fans could chant "You Suck!" to the tune of his theme music one more time.
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