Many WWE Superstars have left the company over the past few years and many of those were released by the company and not of their own free will.
Wrestling for the biggest promotion in the world is a dream for every wrestler from the moment they lace up their wrestling boots, but when the dream is cut short due to budget cuts, a disagreement behind the scenes or even a Wellness Policy violation, it makes it much harder to deal with.
When this happens, many Superstars remain on the Independent Circuit for a number of years before joining one of WWE's competition, becoming a much better Superstar, and WWE then look at resigning the talent they had released many years before. Luke Gallows is a great example of this. Gallows was Festus for many months on the SmackDown brand before he became a part of CM Punk's Straight Edge Society many months later.
Gallows was then released from WWE and became a huge star as part of The Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling so WWE decided to resign him and has since allowed him and Karl Anderson many shots at the Tag Team Championships on the Raw brand.
This could easily be an option for many previously released Superstars including the list of 15 below. Could they return to make a much bigger impact on the newly split WWE roster?
17 Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin was a huge star on WWE's Raw brand back in the early 2000s before he was released from his WWE contract in 2010 along with a number of other known Superstars.
Shelton is a former Tag Team Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and United States Champion and was widely considered to be one of WWE's most athletic wrestlers. Many of the WWE Universe have noticed the similarities between Jason Jordan and Shelton Benjamin and have wondered if the former Ring of Honor Superstar was set to return to WWE. Shelton was set for his return to WWE following the Draft but sadly suffered an injury that required rotator cuff surgery and his return was then called off. Hopefully, when he's officially cleared he will make his long-awaited return.
16 Rey Mysterio
The King of Mysterio was without a doubt one of the biggest stars in WWE in the early 2000s. He was the first Lucha style Superstar to make it to the biggest wrestling promotion in the world and he became a huge star in the company.
Rey was just 175 pounds at his peak and in 2006 he was given the World Heavyweight Championship, something that is unheard of at that size. Sadly for Mysterio, his move set became a huge problem for him because his knees took a lot of punishment. Surgery after surgery kept him out of action for a number of months while under contract with WWE and he failed to feature on WWE TV at all in the final year of his contract. It was reported that Rey managed to leave the company on good terms and was even said to be open to a return earlier this year, but recent photos of the former Cruiserweight guarantee that he will be a much bigger challenge this time around.
15 John Morrison
John Morrison has been a huge loss for WWE over the past few years. He was a talented Superstar and WWE sadly had no idea what to do with a talent like him, much like poor Dean Ambrose.
Morrison left WWE in 2011 after suffering a neck injury and decided not to sign the three-year contract that WWE offered him because he wanted control over his free time and wanted time to heal properly. Since then Johnny Mundo has become a huge star in Lucha Underground and has mentioned many times that he would love to return to WWE to face former World Champion Seth Rollins. Vince McMahon has also stated that he would love to have Morrison back in WWE and would be open to signing him to a contract when his career with Lucha Underground is done.
14 Chris Masters
The Masterpiece had so much potential that WWE never truly tapped into during his time with the company. His Masterlock Challenge made him a huge star and one of the people to beat in WWE, but after two runs with the company that lasted around six years and not a single title reign, Masters was released from the company for the second time.
Masters first release was due to his second violation of WWE's Wellness Policy but the company still rehired him a few years later. Since then Masters has become a star over in the UK where he is a former PCW Champion. Masters has moved over to the UK since his second departure from WWE but would definitely be open to another return to the company if WWE decided to give him the push he deserved this time.
13 Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was considered to have been one of Vince McMahon's biggest mistakes. Lashley was never supposed to become ECW World Champion and his match at WrestleMania 23 ended up being the biggest one in his short career before he was released in 2008 after a six-month hiatus due to injury.
Bobby Lashley has since moved over to TNA and became a Heavyweight Champion in his own right but has recently mentioned that he would love to return to WWE to face Brock Lesnar. Could this be a main event level feud that would end at WrestleMania, and would Vince be open to making the same mistake with Lashley again? Only time will tell but at this point is Bobby Lashley even on the same level of Brock Lesnar?
He spits in the face of people who don't want to be cool, but what happens when he is no longer cool? Carlito inducted his father into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 and mentioned that he was still wrestling but in front of much smaller audiences. (Hint, hint, WWE?)
Carlito was always an incredible talker and many fans have mentioned how well he would fit in with his brother and cousin's newly repackaged group. The Shining Stars practically scream Carlito, from the way they are dressed to the way the duo talk, WWE could easily make it a trio and at least try to make the group slightly relevant. Carlito would definitely be open to this as long as WWE made the call.
10 Rob Van Dam
You would be hard pressed to think of a year in WWE where Rob Van Dam didn't make a return to the company for a few months just to put over a few new guys then head back home for a while before he repeated the same again. RVD was doing it before Chris Jericho made it cool, but for some unknown reason, Rob hasn't made a return for the past few years.
Rob's last WWE match was against Seth Rollins back in 2014, and when he was asked about returning to WWE following the Brand Split, RVD revealed that he had been asked to return to partner with The Dudley Boys in 2015 but the money offered didn't make it worth it. He was instead replaced by Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno. At 45-years-old it seems Rob is now open to a final run in the company before he officially retires.
9 Drew Galloway
Known as Drew McIntyre during his time in WWE, Drew Galloway was scouted by Vince McMahon himself who was a huge fan of the European Superstar for many years before he became a jobber in the company and was released along with a number of other Superstars as part of a cost-cutting measure.
Shockingly WWE has already resigned his 3MB partner Jinder Mahal, but Galloway has had so much success with both TNA and the Independent Circuit since his release from WWE that it is understandable that he isn't keen to sign back with the company right now. Galloway would feel the hit if TNA was to suffer the worst fate and would then opt to return to WWE. It is obvious that he didn't want to leave the company, to begin with, but is making the most of having control of his travel schedule.
The former WWE Women's Champion has been running a wrestling themed restaurant with her husband for the past few years but has recently moved back to California to focus on other career paths.
Along with many other former female wrestlers, Victoria's name was rumoured following WWE's Brand Extention Draft back in July and it seemed that she was open to returning to the company if they contacted her. Victoria enjoyed brief runs in both Ring of Honor and TNA following her release from WWE and she is obviously still in great shape. She would be the perfect person to return to take on Nia Jax. iF only for a one-off match she would prove that Nia isn't the only dominant female to have walked through the WWE curtain.
Melina is a former WWE Women's and Divas Champion and she is the former manager of Tag Team Champions when she managed MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury). She had one of the best feuds of the last generation when she was embroiled in a rivalry with Mickie James but her career began to go downhill after Mickie was released in 2010 and Melina followed suit in 2011.
Since her release Melina has enjoyed some time on the Independent Circuit as well as Lucha Underground and recently won the Queen of Southside Championship at the British Promotion. Melina has mentioned that she would accept a return to WWE if the opportunity arose, although WWE may not be as happy to have her back since she departed in a rather controversial fashion.
6 Jeff Hardy
The Charismatic Enigma has had two runs in WWE with his latest one being the most successful after Hardy lifted the WWE Championship. Sadly this fairytale run came to an end in 2009 when The Rainbow Haired Warrior was released from WWE because of his third violation of WWE's Wellness Policy.
Since his release Hardy has headed over to TNA where, after a few hiccups along the way he has become one of the biggest stars in the company while being in a feud with his real-life brother Matt Hardy. The Final Chapter of the feud gained international attention for TNA and has allowed WWE to begin talking about a return to the company for Jeff Hardy even if it is as a one-off since Hardy is still unable to leave America because of drug convictions.
5 Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus is the most decorated female wrestler in the history of WWE and since her departure from the company she has become a WWE Hall of Famer and a mother. Since baby Max was born Trish has been concentrating on running her own gym and fitness center and being an entrepreneur but she is always on hand when WWE need her for any returns.
Trish has stated in many recent interviews that she would love to return to the company and wrestle the female talent that has come through since her departure. Lita and Trish laid down a challenge to Nikki and Brie Bella for a tag team match that never happened a few years ago. It wouldn't be a lengthy return for Trish, but a return to wrestle someone like Charlotte or Sasha Banks in a one-off match would make many of the WWE Universe's dreams come true.
The 2005 Raw Diva Search winner and former 2007 Playboy cover girl left WWE back in 2008 when she made it public knowledge that her seven-year-old daughter was ill and she wanted to leave the company in order to care for her.
Ashley has since been working outside of WWE and looking after her family but was recently trolled on Social Media site Twitter when a fake Stephanie McMahon account invited Ashley to an episode of Monday Night Raw. Without checking the account's credentials Ashley tweeted back thanking Stephanie and the WWE Universe before it was made apparent that the tweet was fake and Steph was not inviting the former Superstar back to the company. Although Ashley was duped on Social Media, there remains the possibility of a return someday.
2 Kurt Angle
The former World Champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist left WWE not long after he dropped his World Championship to Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania 22 because he wanted time to recover from many injuries that he had been suffering with for a few years.
Angle, like many other Superstars, went on to make a name for himself in TNA before being a part of his farewell tour earlier this year. Angle was speculated to be returning to WWE a few years ago to go up against Rusev as the American who would defend his country but this never happened. Angle has been speculated to be returning to WWE soon as a final run before his official retirement but there hasn't been an update about this in the past few months.
The former Heavyweight Superstar had a lacklustre run in WWE leading up to his departure in 2004. Since then Goldberg has dipped his toe in many pools including MMA and appearing in many films and TV shows.
Goldberg was officially unveiled as a character on WWE 2K17 this year and since then speculation concerning a return has been heating up. Brock Lesnar recently stated that he was in talks with WWE and a match with Brock Lesnar has been decided. Many speculate that the match could take place as early as next month at Survivor Series as a way to promote WWE's newest game ahead of holiday season. This match has been all but confirmed but should be next week on Monday Night Raw when Goldberg appears to answer a challenge laid out by Paul Heyman.
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