The current WWE roster is as strong as it has been in quite some time. The roster was getting pretty thin due to injuries prior to WrestleMania, but most of the injured Superstars have since returned. Plenty of NXT talent was also recently called up, which brought in much needed fresh faces to main roster. However, as important as it is to bring in new talent, there is nothing wrong with giving the roster a boost by bringing back past fan favourites.
The WWE has a huge alumni of past performers, but there are only so many who are capable of making a jaw dropping impact. The most recent example is when The Dudley Boys made a return to the WWE, after a more than ten year hiatus. When their music hit, the fans went absolutely crazy. By bringing in The Dudley Boyz, we were able to see much more fresh matchups and they also helped get new Superstars over. As you can see, there are a great deal of benefits in brining back former Superstars.
The people that are included on the following list fall into a few different categories. First off, you have Superstars that most likely only have one more match left in them. Secondly, you have wrestlers that still have a few good years left in them. Finally, you have talent who may not be actual wrestlers, but are still capable of making a huge impact. If all the people included on this list have one thing in common, it's that they all have the ability to get new Superstars over.
Here are 12 WWE returns who would make you lose your mind and the actual likelihood of them coming back.
12 Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff nearly took the down the WWE while he was in charge of WCW, but that didn’t stop Vince McMahon from hiring him in 2002. Being the man who almost single handedly took down the WWE, Bischoff easily became an instant heel RAW General Manager. Although his run in the WWE was fairly brief, it was still a good run with some memorable moments. Bischoff was “kayfabe” fired from the WWE in 2005. It wasn’t the best send off for Bischoff as the last time he was seen on WWE television was when he tossed into a garbage truck on his way out of the building.
After leaving the WWE, Bischoff joined TNA in a significant on and off screen role. Working alongside Hulk Hogan, Bischoff tried to recreate the Monday Night War with little to no luck. He stayed with the company from 2009 to 2014.
Bischoff made his return to WWE television in 2015, albeit on the WWE Network in an interview with JBL. The WWE also just recently released a new DVD set entitled Eric Bischoff: Sports Entertainment's Most Controversial Figure. Even though there was a time where Bischoff was probably Vince McMahon’s least favorite person on the entire planet, you can tell he stills respects what Bischoff has accomplished in this business. With Bischoff still looking like he’s on good terms with the WWE, he would make an fantastic authority figure for the upcoming brand split,
Return to WWE: Somewhat Likely
11 Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio had a fantastic first run with the WWE, being billed as the ultimate underdog. After the death of Eddie Guerrero, he was given a major push. He was the second entrant in the 2006 Royal Rumble, but still ended up winning it, lasting a record 62 minutes. The highlight of his career came at WrestleMania 22, when he pinned Randy Orton to become the World Heavyweight Champion.
Mysterio hasn’t been gone from the WWE for too long. His last match in the WWE was on the RAW after WrestleMania XXX in 2014. Mysterio wasn’t officially released by the WWE until February of 2015, which frustrated Mysterio, who was looking for his release.
Mysterio has kept busy since his release, wrestling for both AAA and Lucha Underground. However, there were contract issues between Mysterio and AAA, so they parted ways in early 2016. If Mysterio wants to make some stable money, there is no better place than the WWE. If he returns, it would mostly be on a part time basis. At this point in his career he most likely won’t be in WWE Title picture, but the small man would still provide a big boost to the current WWE roster.
Return to WWE: Somewhat Likely
10 Jim Ross
Jim Ross is the greatest wrestling commentator in the history of the WWE . He has lent his voice to some of the all-time biggest matches and moments in the WWE. He has so many legendary quotes that will live on long past when leaves this world. Who could forget his famous line after The Undertaker threw Mankind off the top the cell, “Good God almighty, good God almighty, that killed him…as God as my witness he is broken in half.” It’s hard as a wrestling fan not to get chills after listening to that.
Ross had a near twelve year run as the voice of Monday Night RAW. In 2008, he was moved over to SmackDown, where he only lasted a year due to health complications. Ross officially left the WWE in 2014 and has had a busy life ever since. He currently works for Fox Sports as a writer and he occasionally commentates boxing matches. He is also the lead English announcer for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
It doesn’t look like Jim Ross plans on retiring any time soon, but at the age of 64, he might be too old for the WWE. The WWE looks to be going in a younger direction with their current commentary team. Besides a potential one night appearance, don’t expect to see “Good Ol’ JR” behind a WWE announce table again.
9 John Morrison
John Morrison had good run in the WWE, but it couldn’t been so much better. He was a three-time Intercontinental Champion, five-time Tag Team Champion, and a one-time ECW Champion. Although he was decorated champion, a guy with his in-ring skills and charisma deserved to be in the main event picture, rather than being stuck in the midcard.
Since leaving the WWE at the end of 2011, Morrison’s stock has risen. He became one of the most sought after wrestlers on the independent scene. In 2014, he joined the upstart promotion Lucha Underground as Johnny Mundo, where he immediately established himself as one of the top guys in the promotion. He was the last man eliminated in a 20- Man Battle Royal to determine the first ever Lucha Underground Champion.
Morrison has been very open about a return to the WWE. He has stated that he would love to have a match with Seth Rollins. Morrison and Rollins are some of the most talented workers in the business. If they got in the ring together, they would be sure to bring down the house. If Morrison does come back to the WWE, his amazing talent will hopefully be more appreciated by the WWE brass the second time around.
Return to WWE: Likely
8 Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley showed a great deal of promise during his rather brief time in the WWE. He was initially built as an absolute dominating figure. He achieved his greatest WWE success during his time in the ECW brand revival. He would capture the ECW title in 2006, but Vince McMahon made the belt seem like a joke after he won it off Lashley. He then had a short run on RAW, with his most notable feud being against John Cena, before leaving the company.
Lashley’s departure from the WWE in 2008 wasn’t on the best of terms. The rumour was that there was a riff between Lashley and Michael Hayes. Lashley felt he wasn’t getting the push that he deserved because Hayes was simply being flat out racist.
Since Lashley left the WWE, he has gone to have success with TNA, as well as compiling an impressive 14-2 MMA record. If Lashley can get over his past issues with the WWE, he would be a great add to their current roster. With his size and legit toughness, he would be a perfect opponent for The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar.
Return to WWE: Not Likely, But Still Possible
7 Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin was one of the most exciting and underrated performers during his time in WWE. His run lasted from 2003 to 2010, where he was a three time Intercontinental Champion, two time Tag Team Champion, and a one time United States Champion. Despite being one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, the WWE did not have any faith that Benjamin was capable of being a World Champion. He was an upper midcard wrestler at best with the company.
Benjamin has been in demand ever since he was released. He has spent time wrestling for Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and he currently works for Pro Wrestling Noah.
The WWE clearly made a mistake letting him go in the first place. It would be great to see him back in a WWE ring and in the main event picture, where he belongs. He’s in a great spot right now wrestling Japan, so he might not be rushing back just so Vince McMahon can waste his talent again. Benjamin isn’t the youngest guy any more at the age of 40, but like his old WWE theme song said, there still “Ain’t No Stoppin” him.
Return to WWE: Somewhat Unlikely
6 Trish Stratus
When talking about the greatest female wrestlers in WWE history, Trish Stratus’ name is right at the top. She made her debut in 2000 managing the likes of Test and Albert, but it wasn’t too long before she was the one throwing punches. She started to make a name for herself when she aligned herself with Vince McMahon, The angle eventually turned Stratus into a huge babyface, which propelled her career.
Her most famous feud came against fellow future WWE Hall of Famer, Lita. In 2004 they were involved in the first ever women’s main event match in RAW history. During her six-plus years, she won a record seven WWE Women’s Championships. She won her last title against Lita at WWE Unforgiven, before retiring from the ring.
Since her retirement, Trish has competed in a few matches, mostly tag matches. As a yoga instructor, she has remained in phenomenal shape. There are more talented women wrestlers in the WWE than ever before, which means there are so many great potential opponents for Trish Stratus. There have also been rumors of her return, making this return more likely than it would’ve been a year ago.
Return to WWE: Somewhat Likely
5 The Hardy Boyz
The Hardy Boyz are one of the most popular and successful tag teams in WWE history. From 1998 to 2008, they won the WWE Tag Team Championship on six different occasions. They became beloved by fans for putting their bodies on the line in matches like Tables, Ladders, and Chairs.
Since leaving the WWE they both have gone to have varying degrees of success in TNA. Both Matt and Jeff are former TNA World Heavyweight Champions. However, TNA’s future as a company is shaky at best and it might be time for The Hardy Boyz to jump ship.
The Hardy’s have mostly focused on their single careers ever since they initially split up back in 2002. However, at this point in their careers they are probably more valuable as a tag team. The Dudley Boyz recently made a WWE return in 2015 and it was clear that the fans still loved them. There is no reason why the fans wouldn’t be just as excited, if not more, if The Hardy Boyz made their return to the WWE. Seeing The Hardy’s and Dudley’s square off one more time would be amazing. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs at WrestleMania 33, anyone?
Return to WWE: Not Likely, but Still Possible
Goldberg was arguably the biggest star WCW ever created. He went on an incredible 173-0 streak upon entering WCW. When the WWE bought WCW, fans were salivating at the mouth at the prospect of Goldberg coming to the WWE. It took a bit of a wait, but the fans finally got their wish in 2003. His run in WWE was pretty lackluster though, as the WWE poorly booked the character of Goldberg. His run ended with him being booed out of the building in a match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX.
Goldberg has publicly stated that he wants to have at least one more match in the WWE, so his now grown up kids can see him perform. It's rumored Goldberg doesn’t get along with Triple H or Vince McMahon, but it possible they have since let bygones be bygones. Goldberg was just announced as the special pre-order bonus for the upcoming WWE 2K17 video game. Goldberg signed a deal with 2K Sports, not the WWE, but Vince McMahon still had to sign off on it. It looks like it’s only a matter of time before Goldberg is in a WWE ring and hopefully his second WWE run is better than his first.
Return to WWE: Likely
3 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels is one the greatest WWE performers of all-time. He started his WWE career as a member of The Rockers, alongside Marty Jannetty. It wasn’t too long before Michaels singles career took off. He became the Intercontinental Champion on multiple occasions, before finally winning the WWE Championship against Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII. He was forced to retire in 1998 due to a back injury, but made his return to the ring in 2002.
When “The Heartbreak Kid” retired for the second time in 2010, he still seemed like he was at the top of his game. He was just coming off another stellar match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI. His main reason for his retirement was so that he could spend more time with his son.
Michaels has made many appearances since his retirement, mostly in non-wrestling roles. His latest appearance came at WrestleMania 32, where he was actually wearing his in-ring attire and he looked like he was in amazing shape for a fifty year old. He took some bumps before delivering the Sweet Chin Music a couple times. If Michaels didn’t have a return match at the biggest WrestleMania in his home state, then it is very doubtful that it will ever happen at this point, but fans can always dream.
2 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle might have been the most gifted natural athlete to ever enter a WWE ring. The Olympic Gold Medalist was a very fast learner when it came to professional wrestling. He only started to train in 1998 and, by early 2000, he would capture both the European and Intercontinental Championships. Angle would go on to have a decorated WWE career, winning a total of six World Heavyweight Championships ( four WWE, one World, and one WCW).
It seems like ever since Kurt Angle signed with TNA in 2006, wrestling fans have been counting down the days until he makes his WWE return. Angle surprisingly stayed with TNA for almost a decade, leaving the company in March of this year.
Now that he is no longer under contract with TNA, the rumours of his return to the WWE have ramped up. If he does make his return, don’t expect him to be around too long, considering he is nearly fifty years old. There are so many fresh faces for Angle to feud with in the WWE. It would be nice to see Angle put over younger talent such as Rusev. The U.S. Olympian versus The Bulgarian Brute would make for an excellent showdown.
Return to WWE: Likely
1 CM Punk
Outside of John Cena, CM Punk might have been the most popular Superstar of the last decade. He first had success in WWE's revival of ECW, winning the brand's championship back in 2007. In total, he won six Heavyweight Championships (one ECW, three World, two WWE), which included a 434 day reign as WWE Champion.
Punk's last match in the WWE was the 2014 Royal Rumble match, where he lasted until the final four. After that night, he walked out on the WWE, eventually stating that he would never wrestle again. He wasn't officially fired until July 14th, which just happened to be on his wedding day. Punk went on his good friend Colt Cobana's podcast, where he proceeded to go on an angry rant on how the WWE mistreated him.
CM Punk is now trying to start a career in the UFC, with his first fight expected to be sometime later this year. At this point, it looks like there's a better chance of hell freezing over than CM Punk returning to the WWE, but never say never in the world of professional wrestling.
Return to WWE: Very Unlikely... but Never Say Never
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