“You still got it!” has become one of the most popular professional wrestling crowd chants of the last 15 years. As companies rely more and more on bringing back stars of the past, fans everywhere choose to pay their respects to those stars with a simple chant designed to remind them that they’re still just as great as they’ve ever been. While it’s somewhat derogatory to suggest these stars ever didn’t have it, the chant is still intended to be a sign or respect used only when a veteran wrestler manages to exceed expectations and perform well beyond their years.
More often than not, though, it’s used whenever an older wrestler actually manages to make their way to the ring. As great as it is to see a former star return to the squared circle, the fact remains that there are many wrestlers that return to the business who do not “still have it.” Whether its due to injuries, life troubles, or the simple effects of old age, there are some veterans and returning performers who should would have been better off letting fans remember their glory days. These are the top 15 returning professional wrestlers who didn’t still have it.
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15 Scott Steiner – 2002/2003 WWE
At the time that WCW folded, many fans and industry insiders felt that Scott Steiner was one of the biggest pieces of talent that WWE could add to the roster. The man known as Big Poppa Pump had experienced a career revival in WCW thanks to his incredible physical growth and cutting promos that blurred the line between reality and work. Due to contractual issues, however, Steiner didn’t sign with WWE after leaving WCW. WWE wouldn’t acquire the services of Steiner until late in 2002 and would begin to regret it starting in early 2003 once Steiner actually started to wrestle. While Steiner’s ring work had been deteriorating for quite some time, nobody could have quite predicted just how incapable the man was in the ring by the time that 2003 rolled around. His matches were simply embarrassing.
14 Roddy Piper – 2003 WWE
You could actually make the argument that WWE fans only got to see a few years of Roddy Piper in his prime. While Piper’s ring work has never really been outstanding, his brawler style and ability to cut a true heel promo made him a territory legend. As WWE slowly started to turn Piper into a babyface, he lost his edge. While his eventual lack of a defining character hurt his long-term prospects in WCW, at least he was able to bump ratings for that company for at least a couple of months.
There’s simply no excuse for Piper’s 2003 WWE return, however. WWE tried to turn a one-off Piper appearance into an extended run, but it soon became clear to everyone that Piper had nothing left in him either on the microphone or in the ring.
13 Jim Neidhart – 2009 TNA
To be honest, this entire list could be made up of bad TNA comebacks. Around the time that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff gained creative control of the company, TNA became absolutely obsessed with bringing back anyone who had ever worked for WWE or WCW and giving them the chance to beat a rising star or two. Because picking on TNA is like a shooting fish in a barrel, however, we’re going to only pick the worst instances of this booking strategy.
While Jim Neidhart wasn’t the biggest name TNA brought back, he was certainly one of the worst. By the time that Neidhart returned, he had put on an incredible amount of weight and was clearly struggling to make it through even a simple, short match. Strangely, he still received a "you still got it" chant for his efforts.
12 Jimmy Snuka – 2009 WWE
WrestleMania XXV would be remembered as one of the worst WrestleManias of all-time were it not for the fact that Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker put on one of the greatest matches of all-time mid-way through the show. The event itself was a collection of truly awful booking decisions that had many fans wondering if WWE planned the entire thing at the literal last minute. Consider, for instance, the match Chris Jericho had against Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, and Jimmy Snuka. While Jericho is always great and Ricky Steamboat genuinely still had it, Piper and Snuka exposed this sad attempt at capitalizing off some names of the past for what it was.
Of the two, Snuka was certainly the worst. While Piper at least appeared motivated in the short time he was asked to work the match, Snuka just seemed like he was as surprised as anyone that he was asked to be there.
11 Sable – 2003 WWE
To say that Sable left WWE on bad terms in the late ‘90s would be a bit of an understatement. Sable’s brief surge in popularity in 1998 had her convinced that she was the company’s biggest draw which, by all accounts, made her inhumanely arrogant and almost impossible to work with. Add to that the sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against the company and you had a breakup for the ages. While many fans speculated Sable would never return to WWE, it turns out that was just wishful thinking. She did return to the company in 2003 and stepped right back into her role as a sexual icon. Unfortunately, Sable also had to occasionally work a match or speak on the microphone. Whenever either of those things happened, the shows she was on suddenly turned into the low-grade soap opera that WWE was at its worst during the Attitude Era.
10 The British Bulldog – 1999 WWE
The British Bulldog has always had the tremendous fortune of working with people that are far better than him in the ring. Whether he was teaming with the Dynamite Kid or going against Bret Hart, Bulldog was always at his best when he was allowed to be a generic power guy that didn’t have to actually carry a match. For some reason, though, he was able to bounce between WWE and WCW during the company’s respective hottest periods.
WWE ended up getting the shortest end of the stick when they brought Bulldog back in 1999 and tried to make a main eventer out of him. By this time, Bulldog’s history of drug usage and attitude problems had completely caught up with him. He looked tired and unmotivated.
9 Test – 2006 WWE
The fact that you’re probably saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, Test made a comeback in 2006?” really summarizes the problem with this particular return. With all due respect to the late Andrew Martin, Test was really only as popular as he was in the late ‘90s because of how popular WWE was during that time. The company was firing on all cylinders at that time and was able to turn even the most generic of performers into superstars.
When Test arrived in ECW in 2006, he did so without the full force of the WWE booking team behind him. As a result, he had to rely on his in-ring and promo skills to win the crowd over. Suffice to say, he did not win the crowd over.
8 Tatanka – 2005 WWE
Speaking of performers you forgot made a return in the mid-2000s, we come to Tatanka. When Tatanka debuted in WWE, the company tried to push him by allowing him to enjoy a brief undefeated streak. It worked for a little while, but fans soon began to realize that the streak didn’t include many major wins and that Tatanka really brought nothing to the table outside of the drama of waiting to see if he would finally lose. While it made sense that smaller companies would throw Tatanka a pay day after he left WWE, it made no sense for WWE to bring him back as a full-time employee in 2005. There was absolutely nothing interesting about Tatanka during that period and his ring work consisted of about three moves that weren’t that good to begin with.
7 Mick Foley – 2008 TNA
While it would be cruel to only pick on TNA for their attempts to bring back former WWE/WCW stars, there are a few failed returns that were so atrocious that it would be wrong to ignore them. Among them, Mick Foley is one of the most notable. Foley has never been the world’s greatest wrestler but his willingness to put his body through hell and ability to tell a story in the ring make him one of the all-time greats. As you might imagine, the years of abuse Foley suffered had caught up with him by the time he started wrestling again for TNA in 2008.
What’s really sad, though, is that the awful booking that plagued TNA during that time pretty much made it impossible for Foley to tell any kind of story. As a result, Foley finally looked like a broken down man.
6 Bret Hart – 2010 WWE
This one is almost too sad to talk about. In his prime, Bret Hart was one of the best in-ring technicians to ever grace professional wrestling. He had the rare ability to tailor a match based on the skills of his opponent. He could brawl with Stone Cold, go move for move with Ric Flair, and put on the perfect tag match with his Hart Foundation friends when called upon. Even though he had been away from the ring for years by the time that WrestleMania XXVI rolled around, fans still had hope that Hart would find a way to put on a memorable match against Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. Sadly, it wasn’t long into the match before those same fans were forced to come to terms with the fact that Hart’s late career injuries had completely derailed him and that he was barely able to perform even his most iconic moves.
5 Hulk Hogan – 2009 TNA
This one is a little tricky. To be honest, Hulk Hogan stopped having “it” sometime during his WCW run when the mystique of the nWo started to fade. Still, there was something about seeing Hulk Hogan on-screen and in a match during WCW’s dying days that at least inspired a spark of excitement. Plus, he did have that classic encounter against The Rock at WrestleMania X-8 when he returned to WWE. Honestly, Hogan didn’t completely lose it until he wrestled for TNA.
Hogan could have just been an authority figure or spokesman for the company, but he just had to step into the ring yet again. If you thought Hogan’s WCW matches were bad, you obviously have never seen him struggle to even throw a punch as he did during his TNA run.
4 Kevin Nash – 2011 WWE
While Kevin Nash’s backstage political work helped make him one of the biggest names in professional wrestling once upon a time, he was actually a pretty all-around entertainer at one point. Nash worked clean matches and backed them up with a promo style that was built upon his genuinely likeable personality. The problem with Nash is that he was never able to stay healthy and he eventually just stopped caring about his performances.
While it was easy to ignore these attributes while he was in TNA because it was easy to ignore TNA, Nash’s 2011 WWE return stands as one of his most painful career moments. Nash should have never been in the main event spot with CM Punk that he was and he certainly shouldn’t have been allowed to work extended matches when he was barely able to move anymore.
3 Road Warrior Animal – 2005 WWE
Road Warrior Animal isn’t the biggest name on this list, but his return is one of those stories that makes you wonder why WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world. Back in 2003, WWE hoped to bring the Legion of Doom back into the fold as a full-time tag team. Unfortunately, Road Warrior Hawk died later that year which derailed their plans. For some reason, though, the company decided to bring back Road Warrior Animal in 2005 and pair him with Heidenreich as the new Legion of Doom. When that failed because Heidenreich got released, they tried to just turn Animal into a singles star named The Road Warrior. If there was ever a time when Road Warrior Animal could have worked as a singles wrestler, it certainly wasn’t 2005. His work during this time is some of the worst you’ll ever see.
2 The Ultimate Warrior – 1998 WCW
The Ultimate Warrior’s initial WWE run was one of those lightning in a bottle instances of surprise success in the world of professional wrestling. Warrior’s bizarre promos, tremendous look, and incredible energy made him an instant star during the golden era of WWE, despite the fact that he suffered from some obvious in-ring decencies. As the hype surrounding the Warrior died down, though, his flaws became that much more obvious. Warrior’s 1996 WWE comeback was pretty awful all-around, but it was nothing compared to Warrior’s 1998 WCW run. WCW had absolutely no idea what to do with Warrior besides pay him a lot of money. We can guarantee you they were asking for every dime of that money back once they saw that The Ultimate Warrior was somehow worse in the ring than he had ever been.
1 Ric Flair – 2010 TNA
Ric Flair’s match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV is one those matches that reminded people of why they love professional wrestling. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it should have been the perfect ending to Ric Flair’s historic career. For a while, it seemed like that’s exactly what it would be. Flair had sworn that was going to be his last match. Eventually, however, the bright lights and big pay came calling and Flair tried to mount a comeback in TNA. While Flair did work with a couple of pretty good wrestlers during his time in the promotion, Flair was a shell of his former self. No longer able to work the crisp in-ring style that made him a legend, he relied on little more than a few chops, his figure-four, and a lot of “Wooos!” It’s a shame he didn’t decide to go out on top.
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