We've spoken about the revolving door of WWE many times over the last few years, but now, it feels more relevant than ever before. There are high-level superstars coming into the company at a rate we've never seen, and in contrast, fewer stars than ever are choosing to leave. With that being said, there's still a plethora of guys and girls on the outside world who have been linked with a return more times than we can count.
Something that is always brought up when it comes to these cases is the direction of the company, with Triple H seemingly being the heir to the WWE throne once Vince McMahon finally walks away from the business. Many fans naturally believe that things will be much better once The Game takes over on a permanent basis, and whether or not that proves to be true, you can guarantee that once it happens, we'll start to see some familiar faces popping back up.
The multi-time world champion just seems to have an ability to draw people back in, which ultimately, means great things for WWE. However, there are some that just won't budge regardless of what anyone can offer them to come back.
25 Never: Ryback
From the moment he turned into 'The Terminator' of WWE, Ryback seemed destined for the top of the card. After a few months, everything seemed to be going relatively well, and his career was following the trajectory that many had anticipated. Following a series of squash match victories he was thrust into a WWE Championship bout against CM Punk, but after losing that match, everything just seemed to go downhill.
They attempted a series of 'reboots' with The Big Guy but nothing ever quite seemed to work out for him, and over time, you could feel him getting more and more bitter. His attitude backstage reportedly wasn't great, and that was kind of showing in his work on-screen. Sure, he should've been handled much better, but you still need to maintain some kind of professionalism along the way.
Ryback was never able to transition into the main event scene as many were hoping, but at the very least, he's been able to build a notable career for himself - so that's something. While he isn't exactly setting the world on fire with his work on the independent scene, it doesn't feel like a return to WWE is going to be on the cards anytime soon.
24 Never: Sunny
What is there to say about Sunny that hasn't already been said? It's been extremely upsetting to see her decline over the last few years, and unfortunately, it shows no signs of slowing down. Sunny was once considered to be the original diva of WWE, as she evolved from being nothing more than a model into becoming one of the most interesting valets in the history of the company.
The reason why was because she was different. Sunny had a different kind of appeal than we'd ever seen before, and in many ways, she was the personification of the Attitude Era. Her early work speaks for itself and while her recent work doesn't exactly reflect that, it's still worth noting that Sunny kickstarted an era in which women were featured more prominently on WWE television.
In terms of a return, however, don't bet on it. If they didn't want to bring back Chyna due to her chosen career path after professional wrestling, then they certainly can't bring back Sunny. It'd cause outrage amongst fans who would see straight through the hypocrisy of the situation, and in the wake of the Saudi Arabia controversy, that's not something they'll want to deal with.
23 Might: AJ Lee
AJ Lee is just perfect, really. Not only did she work her way up through the ranks prior to coming to WWE, but once she got there, she was an absolute revelation. The quality of her work speaks for itself as she became the first 'diva' in a long time to really make a lasting impression with the WWE Universe. Her character work was phenomenal, and beyond that, she was actually quite good in the ring.
Towards the end of her run, you could almost sense that things were starting to wind down for her. Some think that she left due to her relationship with CM Punk, whereas others felt like she just wanted to move onto something new. Whatever the case may be, it was extremely upsetting to see her go - especially considering the women's revolution was just a few months away.
AJ clearly loved her time in the business and clearly still has a passion for professional wrestling, but given how busy she is now as an author in addition to the other work she does, a possible return remains up in the air. With that being said, with Triple H in charge, literally, anything is possible as we've seen courtesy of the recent Hall of Fame inductions that we thought would never happen.
22 Never: CM Punk
In many ways, this one doesn't require an explanation, but we'll provide you with one anyway. As many people know, CM Punk is known for being one of the longest reigning WWE champions of the modern era. Oh, and he also cut that pipebomb promo that sort of changed wrestling for a brief period of time. His body of work speaks for itself, but in the present day, his priority is the octagon as opposed to the squared circle.
Punk has hinted at making an appearance at 'All In' later this year, which isn't exactly something that will go down well with WWE. On top of that, his problems with Triple H have been well documented, and it's not like he's Vince McMahon's biggest fan either. Punk is clearly happy with everything that he's doing outside of professional wrestling and WWE, so why would he change that?
The guy has enough money to last him ten lifetimes, and he's done pretty much everything there is to do in the business. If Punk never returns then at the very least, we got to see some world-class matches from him during his run with WWE. If he stuns the world and does come back, then just be ready for things to be a lot different this time around.
21 Might: Neville
Neville isn't just the King of the Cruiserweights, but he's the king of everything. Or, at least, he should be. As a heel, there's an argument to be made that nobody in all of WWE can hold a candle to this guy, and while we realise that's a big statement, it's also a fact. The cruiserweight division was always beneath him, and his realisation of that is probably what led to his exit from the company.
There's nothing wrong with that, because if you feel like you should be valued in what you're doing, then you need to take a stand if things aren't right. Alas, his absence has only made our desire to see him even greater, and Triple H probably knows that. He's very 'in touch' with the British wrestling scene, and Neville has been at the forefront of pro wrestling's growth in this country for quite some time.
If anyone is going to convince Neville to come back, it's Hunter. He needs to be featured as a main event superstar, or at the very least, an upper midcarder. His size should play no role whatsoever in the decision-making process here, especially given that people like Daniel Bryan are allowed to parade around on the main roster.
20 Never: Ted DiBiase Jr
When fans hear the name Ted DiBiase, they tend to think of the Million Dollar Man as opposed to his son who featured in the Legacy stable with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. That's probably for the best, too, because no matter how hard WWE tried, they weren't quite able to get Ted Jr over on his own - which was a shame, because he certainly showed promise at times.
DiBiase seemed as if he'd be the breakout star of Legacy, but as we now know, Rhodes and Orton both continued to go from strength to strength following WrestleMania 26 whereas Ted just sort of floundered. It's always difficult to try and step into your father's footsteps, especially given how successful Ted DiBiase Sr was, but it never felt like Jr was ever able to take things to the next level.
It seems as if he's put professional wrestling in his rearview mirror now, and that may be the best thing for everyone. Ted had his stint in the spotlight and while it didn't go quite as planned, at least we got some entertaining moments out of it. He was able to wrestle some of the best guys in the business, and now, he's enjoying being a father and helping to run a sports camp in Jackson.
19 Might: Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes is the living proof that there is a life for top-level professional wrestlers outside of WWE, and there's a great deal of money to be made. After spending time with many different independent promotions in the first few months following his release, Cody set up shop with Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling - and the rest, as they say, is history.
He has been able to build his own brand in addition to enhancing the quality of Bullet Club & Being The Elite, and under his guidance, the highly anticipated 'All In' show in September is set to be one of the biggest non-WWE wrestling events of the year. So, given that he's done all of those things in the last few years, why on earth would he consider going back?
Well, probably because things would be a lot different if he did. WWE clearly recognises that he's a bigger star than they ever thought he could be, and if he's given the kind of freedom on the main roster that he has right now, anything is possible. Rhodes wants to be seen as the best in the business, and if he continues down this path, it'll be hard to deny him of that honour.
18 Never: Muhammad Hassan
Are you tired of hearing about Muhammad Hassan? If the answer is yes, then we apologise profusely, because we're about to bring the whole thing up again. Hassan was a guy who was once scheduled to become World Heavyweight Champion and then in the blink of an eye, he was gone from the professional wrestling scene for well over a decade.
That's not exactly something that happens all too often in this business, contrary to what some may believe. Hassan had all of the tools necessary to succeed at the highest possible level but he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, WWE didn't exactly help themselves by strapping an extremely offensive gimmick to his back, but that's just something that we've had to come to terms with.
Hassan actually returned to the pro wrestling scene recently after more than 13 years away from the business, but don't get your hopes up too high regarding a WWE return. There's no real place for him in the current climate, especially not with the gimmick he once had. Hassan must have some kind of other venture going on outside of the business, so perhaps it's best for him to stick with that.
17 Might: Kharma
The bizarre story of Kharma's WWE run began when she first debuted and tore through several members of the main roster. Then, in an extremely unusual moment, she announced her pregnancy to the WWE Universe before getting emotional and eventually leaving the ring. Still, she said that she'd be back in one year, but due to a series of different circumstances, it never came to fruition.
While she may be 40 years of age now, that by no means indicates that she's done in this business. We've seen the likes of Goldberg come back in recent years, and he'd just turned 50 prior to his WrestleMania 33 match against Brock Lesnar. When it comes to Kharma there are a lot of hurdles they need to get over, but if they can manage that, they've got a serious talent on their hands.
Just imagine her tearing through the entire SmackDown Live or Raw roster before eventually coming face to face with Nia Jax. It'd be an epic battle between two of the most intimidating female superstars of all time, and you just know it'd draw a great deal of interest for WWE.
Maybe one day it'll happen, and we can see Kharma wreaking havoc once more.
16 Never: Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is an extremely divisive figure, and if you don't understand what we're talking about, go ahead and search for some of his opinions on Triple H and WWE. He's one of the few guys who can't seem to get over this grudge that he's had for what feels like forever, which is a shame because back in the day, he was a phenomenal in-ring performer.
These days, it's just kind of sad to see what he's become, especially now that he's attempting to re-live his glory days in Impact Wrestling. Not even The Game would want any part of Steiner right now, and not because he couldn't take him, but because he's just not worth the hassle anymore. For Scott's sake and our own, we kind of hope he retires at some point in the next twelve months.
People can always go back and have a look at his glory days in World Championship Wrestling, but beyond that, he's never really had any sustained relevance. He's known for his outlandish comments and bizarre promos, but what does that really do for his image? Answer: not a whole lot.
Perhaps one day he'll patch things up, but we wouldn't bet on it.
15 Might: Gail Kim
This entry is really very simple: Gail Kim was horrendously misused in WWE, but she became a legend in WWE. It's not too hard to think of some other guys who fall into that category, who have wound up turning things around during a second shot at the big time. While Kim hasn't exactly been eager to jump back into things with the company, her body of work speaks for itself.
Kim is a pioneer in women's wrestling and that's just a fact. She's been around for as long as we can remember, and yet, she still feels like someone who is constantly evolving as a performer. A few years ago her ties to TNA would probably cause a great big roadblock with this kind of move, but in the current climate, it makes all the sense in the world for her to give it a shot.
It's not like she hasn't tried before, but perhaps she needs to be given the freedom to do things her own way this time around. Obviously, we're speaking as if it's already happened, when in reality it probably won't even get off the ground - but Triple H is a magician with this kind of stuff.
Truthfully, we just really want to see her teach some of the current main roster stars how it's done.
14 Never: Sable
It's difficult for many fans to forget Sable, as for a brief period of time, she was one of the most popular figures in all of WWE. Her shoots with Playboy helped to put her on the map, even more so than she already was as a competitor and a model. Sable just had a natural beauty and appeal to her that drew many fans in, and also drew in many media outlets.
Alas, Sable didn't exactly leave on great terms, and the only real association she has with the industry now is through her husband Brock Lesnar. Even then, she's more likely to be pictured at a UFC event with the Beast Incarnate as opposed to at a WWE event - which tells you all that you need to know.
At the age of 50, there's really no reason for Sable to come back now. She's done everything she needs to do or could've ever dreamed of doing, and she seems to enjoy her life away from the spotlight. We could be completely wrong about this given that we haven't heard from her in a long time, but the evidence would suggest that Sable is more than happy to sit and cheer her husband on from a distance.
13 Might: Goldberg
It's only been a month since we saw Goldberg being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in New Orleans, but we're already eager to see who's next. While his WWE 24 special made it clear that he had several issues in the lead-up to his in-ring return, that doesn't mean the guy doesn't want to strap on his boots one more time for another WrestleMania moment.
His series of matches with Brock Lesnar were a lot of fun, and while they weren't exactly technical masterpieces, they were never going to be. Goldberg is someone who caters to a very specific audience, and as such, he has a very specific moveset. There's nothing wrong with that and if anything, it helps to celebrate the diversity of professional wrestling.
We'd like to see Bill come back for one more match against someone like Braun Strowman or Roman Reigns so that he can fully pass the torch over to another hard-hitting power wrestler. We saw his face-off with Reigns in early 2017, and while anything involving Roman probably wouldn't get a great reception from the crowd, you just know it'd bring some casual fans back to the product.
Hell, you could even have him squash Ryback - we'd be okay with that, too.
12 Never: Enzo Amore
His name is Enzo Amore, and boy oh boy did he mess up. After months of speculation regarding how the other superstars perceive him backstage, Amore's world was turned completely upside down when he was hit with assault allegations a few months back. It was an issue that seemed to spiral out of control awfully quickly, and before long, Enzo was on the unemployment line.
It was a surprising end to what was once a promising WWE career. Amore clearly had a lot of talent on the mic and while he wasn't a particularly good wrestler, he worked well enough alongside Big Cass to make it work. Of course, having him win the Cruiserweight Championship from another member of this list was a tragedy, but that's neither here nor there.
While Amore may be getting his life back on track personally, that doesn't mean things are going to work out for him professionally. When you're a part of the WWE family you need to make sure that you keep them in the loop with everything that's going on in your own life, and because he failed to do so, they probably wouldn't even consider bringing him back to the big time.
Editor's Update: Enzo has officially been cleared of all charges, so who knows what's in store for him and the WWE in the future.
11 Might: Batista
This is our baby Sadie. She’s the happiest girl in the world and you’d have to convince me that there’s a sweeter soul on earth. We’re grateful for every second we’ve had with her and we’ll spend every second of her life trying to give her the happiness she’s given us. She’s the heart and soul of our family and we love her beyond words. #sealdog
While Batista's last run didn't exactly go to plan, his overall impact on professional wrestling needs to be appreciated. This is a man who won multiple world championships, carried the company on his back alongside John Cena for many years, and played a key role in one of The Undertaker's finest WrestleMania matches ever back in 2007.
Big Dave is much more than just a Hollywood star: he's a WWE legend. Unfortunately, the company refuses to treat him as such, in a sort of 'life imitating art' sort of manner. Batista has openly voiced his desire to come back and work one more major feud before officially retiring from the business, and yet, they just don't seem interested in doing so which seems absolutely bonkers.
Hopefully, if HHH takes over, he finally sees sense and decides to book Batista for one final run leading into WrestleMania. It couldn't happen to a more deserving guy than Dave, and we're honestly staggered that it's taken this long for them to even consider the possibility.
Maybe they think he'll get booed again like last time, but that was their fault in the first place. Perhaps they need to think about booking him a little bit better this time around.
10 Never: Melina
Melina seemed like someone who was destined to reach the top of the industry, and in some ways, she did. As part of MNM, she quickly established herself as one of the best valets/managers the company has seen in quite some time. She was kind of like the original incarnation of Zelina Vega, which you should all see as a huge compliment because Vega is awesome.
Unfortunately, her actions away from the ring led to people looking at her a little bit unfavourably - or at least, her alleged actions. Melina was always considered to be a bit of a hot-head behind the scenes, and as we've all seen before when you get heat backstage in WWE, it's often hard to claw yourself out of the whole that you've been put in.
If they were even remotely interested in bringing her back, it'd probably be as a Vickie Guerrero-type of character, because she doesn't appear to be anywhere near the level she was once at either as a manager or as a professional wrestler. Thankfully, she seems to come across fairly well in interviews and things of that nature, so perhaps she has turned a corner. Then again, maybe the initial issues were all exaggerated anyway.
9 Never: Alberto Del Rio
We're confident in saying that at one point or another, Alberto Del Rio was a decent human being. Alas, over the last few years, he's proven himself to be anything but - at least, that's what the parade of reports from the media would suggest. The former WWE champion has had a dramatic fall from grace as of late, leaving him on the outside of the pro wrestling spectrum looking in.
While WWE has shown interest in bringing him back for a third stint, it seems as if those desires are slowly fading away as Alberto continues to hit the self-destruct button. Obviously, he's an exceptionally talented wrestler and deserves to be recognised for that, but when it comes to throwing around words like 'respect', you have to question whether or not he deserves another chance.
When your public image is tarnished like that it's often hard to recover, and that appears to be the situation that Alberto finds himself in right now. We can't imagine that either Vince or Triple H would want to take a risk on him because at this stage, it could so easily blow up in their face.
'Never say never'? Yeah, we're breaking the big rule for this one.
8 Never: Mr Kennedy
Want to give a HUGE thank you to this good brother, friend and veteran @reyrey_championship_belts for toiling away in his shop to make this amazing championship belt for The Academy. The detail and the work on the leather is just incredible. Hit him up if you want one yourself or for the best replicas money can buy. I can’t wait to let @officialairwolf hold this thing for 5 minutes. #TheAcademy #ProWrestling #MNdyWrestling
Mr Kennedy, also known as Mr Anderson in TNA, was tipped to become the next Stone Cold Steve Austin during his initial WWE run. That seems like a ridiculous statement to make given what we know now, but back in the day, it was entirely possible. He was a solid wrestler, he had a decent look, and boy oh boy could he talk on the mic.
We're talking about someone who possessed all of the tools that Vince is looking for, and yet, courtesy of a few bad mistakes along the way, he wasn't given the opportunity to shine like we knew he could. Kennedy himself will admit to having a big mouth, and perhaps that's one of the reasons why we'll always look back and wonder 'what if'.
Kennedy is in his 40s now and probably isn't even remotely interested in returning, but even if he was, WWE wouldn't give him a second look. There was a certain time frame in which he could've been successful at the highest level, but it's been a decade now since he was at the top of his game.
It's always a shame when this kind of thing happens, but the best thing to do is just appreciate the body of work we got from him during that time.
7 Might: Billy Gunn
Despite never really being a 'main-event' player in WWE, Billy Gunn was still involved in some pretty important storylines. While the whole Mr Ass gimmick didn't exactly do wonders for him, his time with DX certainly did. Then, after some years away, he returned as a trainer - only for his time with the company to end in a somewhat controversial way.
You can find out the rest of the details, but the important test here will be whether or not Triple H is quick to bring Gunn back once he takes over. We've always heard stories about how HHH always likes to treat his friends well, and given that Billy has been gone for a few years now, perhaps The Game will believe that enough time has passed for him to be 'forgiven' and brought back into the company.
Sure, he popped up at Raw 25, but that doesn't really count for anything in the grand scheme of things. While it's not like we think Vince is specifically making sure Billy isn't a part of WWE anymore, you have to question where the line begins and ends in regards to how much 'pull' Triple H has and will eventually have.
6 Never: Mistico
We're using the real name of the first ever Sin Cara, because for some reason, WWE still sees the benefit of using that character on a week-to-week basis. The masked man known as Mistico was considered to be a big deal when he signed his WWE contract, and even before he debuted many fans were tipping him to become the next Rey Mysterio.
It'd be an understatement to say it didn't work out so well for him, as Sin Cara flopped harder than anyone could've ever imagined - and we mean that literally. The Mexican sensation became infamous for his many, many botches during his tenure with the company, and despite their attempts to get him back on track, things just never really worked out.
Mistico himself allegedly didn't have the best of attitudes behind the scenes, which is hardly surprising given how frustrating things must've been for him. If he'd have been given the chance to learn the WWE style and work on things beforehand, perhaps in NXT, then maybe we'd be talking about him as a multi-time champion by this point.
Then again, given the circumstances, maybe it was fate that things never worked out as he wound up returning home where he truly belongs.
5 Might: Vader
While the likes of Big Show and Braun Strowman have proven that heavyweight wrestlers can be athletically gifted too in recent years, they weren't the first guys to bring it to the public's attention. Instead, it was Big Van Vader who spent years travelling the world putting on performances that should've been impossible for a man of his stature.
The guy was an absolute freak of nature, and it's a sin that his WWE run wasn't treated with more care or respect. In the present day, his many medical issues have been well documented, with a handful of superstars claiming that he only has a few years left to live. As depressing as that is, fans need to harness their anger and let WWE know that they want to see Vader being inducted into the Hall of Fame before it's too late.
He has earned the right to stand in front of his peers and celebrate his iconic career, which is something we shouldn't even need to be saying. There are so many guys who have been able to patch things up with the likes of Vince and Triple H in the last few years, and yet for some reason, they haven't felt the need to induct Vader into the Hall yet.
Let's make it happen in 2019, please.
4 Never: Abraham Washington
If you remember Abraham Washington, then we applaud you, because you must've been through some seriously horrendous times watching WWE a few years back. The company was in a bad position when Washington, aka AW, came into the fold as a manager, and for a while, it seemed like he could become the next big thing with his unique style of talking into a mic like some kind of motivational coach.
Then, in an instant, things went sour. AW made a Kobe Bryant joke on live television that just couldn't be ignored, and while he was kept on for a few more weeks, he was eventually released by WWE. Apparently, this was due to something else he did relating to a Linda McMahon tweet he posted, but given the situation, we'll probably never get any clarity on it all.
Washington has sort of faded into obscurity since then, although he still posts about the WWE product on social media from time to time. Given how his time with the company came to an end the last time it seems silly to suggest that he could return, and in our mind, he signed his own death warrant with that Kobe joke back in the day.
3 Might: Rob Van Dam
We know what you're thinking: why would WWE even want Rob Van Dam back? The simple answer, which is the one we're going to run with here, is that he's awesome, and he has been throughout the majority of his career. While he's certainly slowed down in recent times, that doesn't mean what he's doing is any less impressive.
RVD reminds us a lot of Jeff Hardy and while there's an obvious age difference between the two men, we'd still like to see Rob being given the same chance that Jeff has. As a talker, he was never that great but as a performer, he can still do things that guys who are twenty years younger than him can't. If that doesn't warrant another short run, even down in NXT, then colour us confused.
Rob continues to work on the independent scene, and much like Rey Mysterio, he has been competing for promotions that are way beneath him. We don't mean that as a knock on any companies in particular, because they should be praised for booking him, but RVD belongs in the big-time if only for one last major run.
After all, SmackDown Live is the land of opportunity, and Rob is someone who you can guarantee will get people interested in the blue brand.
2 Never: Rich Swann
There seems to be some kind of curse on the current incarnation of the Cruiserweight Championship. Neville is gone, Enzo Amore is gone, TJ Perkins & Brian Kendrick have slipped way down the card, Kalisto isn't anywhere near the level we thought he'd be and Akira Tozawa is pretty irrelevant at the moment. While that doesn't exactly bode well for Cedric Alexander, we're here to talk about Rich Swann.
Mr Can You Handle This was extremely over on the main roster following the birth of the purple ropes, and it should come as no surprise that he's also a former Cruiserweight Champion. Swann was being featured in high-profile matches, he got to tag with Sasha Banks, and he was considered to be one of the most well-rounded performers in the entire division.
But then came the personal problems which, much like Enzo Amore, completely derailed his WWE run. Rich eventually left the company, and since then, he's been pretty open about the whole situation on social media. He knows that he's lost his dream job, and it seems as if he's pretty set on retirement at some point in the next few months.
While we don't condone what happened, it's still a shame to see how far he's fallen.
1 Never: Colt Cabana
A few years ago, Colt Cabana came across as the 'king' of the independents. It wasn't necessarily because of his in-ring prowess, but instead, because he was the most notable name. He was one of the first guys to get a podcast, he was one of the first guys to make a solid living outside of WWE, and he also had that whole saga with CM Punk.
During his time with WWE, Cabana did virtually nothing note prior to leaving the company. As a result, it may not be seen as fair to include him on this list, but we're going to anyway. There is absolutely no way he's going to feature on WWE television any time soon, and to be honest, it feels like he kind of belongs on the outside world where he can be appreciated.
He doesn't really bring much to the table that WWE would be interested in unless they look to him as a possible announcer or commentator which could work out. His comedy work is great and he's certainly able to wrestle at a high level given the opponent and stage, but when you piece it all together, you aren't really left with someone who can have a consistent run at the top.