WWE have a habit of allowing both past and present superstars to make dramatic returns to the company when they have either resigned or been cleared after an injury.
The Royal Rumble pay-per-view itself has become the sole event of the year where surprise returns are the one thing that most fans look forward to more than anything and sometimes WWE goes all out to make sure the fans get what they are paying for.
Sometimes these returns are ones that fans remember for years, like John Cena at the 2008 Royal Rumble. A return like that one proves that they have some of the best creative minds in the business working for them.
But not all returns are the same, as there are many returns that fans consider to be terrible, either because they were predictable or because there was no need for that person to be inserted into a storyline.
This of a list of the 15 times WWE got their return dates wrong. The following superstars were better off not returning because what awaited them was not worth their time.
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15 Randy Orton
Randy Orton made his return to WWE at the inaugural FastLane event in 2015, when he ran out to the ring to confront Seth Rollins, Kane and Big Show after they attacked Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback following their match.
This led to a match between Rollins and Orton at WrestleMania 31 which showcased what could possibly be the best RKO ever seen. But Orton then dropped off WWE’s radar and suffered a shoulder injury later in the year which has kept him out of action ever since. Although this return started off well, it ended with a whimper.
14 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is one of the most talented superstars to have ever set foot in a WWE ring, but he's also one of the most injury prone. After he was forced to relinquish the WWE World Heavyweight Championship several weeks after he won it at WrestleMania XXX, WWE gave Bryan some time off to recover from a shoulder injury.
Bryan returned and won the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 31 but in what was a freaky déjà vu moment; Bryan was once again forced to relinquish his title due to more injuries. Bryan then retired from WWE in early 2016.
13 Shane McMahon
As far as shocking returns go, this was perhaps one of the best, but as far as storylines go, it could have been much better. It seems that Shane was only added to the WrestleMania 32 card because John Cena was not going to be cleared in time. Which means that all of the build up to the match, all of the personal family issues, all of the promise of a new WWE and a brand split were all just lies to have the fans become invested in the product before The Undertaker easily defeated Shane.
12 Chris Jericho
Night of Champions in 2015 was one of the most anticipated pay-per-views in a while because it included a match where former Shield members Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were forced to find a new partner to face The Wyatt Family.
Many of the WWE Universe hoped it was Seth Rollins, but he was already competing twice that night, so instead we got Chris Jericho. The trio lost the match and Jericho walked out on Reigns and Ambrose, leaving behind an obviously tense atmosphere in the process. But this was never picked up for any kind of storyline and it never really made sense in the end.
11 Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus is the most successful women’s wrestler of all time and her record for the most Women’s Championship reigns (seven times) is not going to be matched any time soon. She will go down in history as the most successful Women’s wrestler of her time.
Trish returned to WWE in 2011 to partner Snooki of Jersey Shore fame. While fans were happy to see Trish return, they wished it would've been in a more interesting scenario. Especially considering the fact that she looked like she could still compete with the best of them.
10 Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash returned to WWE when he attacked CM Punk at SummerSlam. Sometime later, he decided to make another return to WWE at the 2014 Royal Rumble. Considering Nash eliminated seven men in 18 minutes during his Royal Rumble debut, it was a sad sight to see that he only managed to eliminate Jack Swagger before Roman Reigns made his entrance and eliminated him. The return wasn't very memorable and felt more like a bland cameo appearance.
9 Diamond Dallas Page
The owner and inventor of DDP Yoga, and one of the most memorable WCW Superstars of all time, managed to return to WWE at WrestleMania 32 and was hardly even given a mention. At least he got an entrance though, as Tatanka (another returning legend) was only mentioned by the commentary team halfway through the match.
Diamond Dallas Page was one of the late additions to the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal but in a match that included a handful of men who were much younger than him, spo it was obvious that he was not going to be the winner. The match was eventually won by Baron Corbin.
8 Eva Marie
Eva Marie returned to Monday Night Raw the week before WrestleMania 32 as the final addition to team Total Divas against Team B.A.D. & Blonde at WrestleMania, but she was not the superstar that the WWE Universe hoping for.
Fans might've thought that Bayley would be the final addition, but instead they were given Eva Marie and she was instantly booed by the crowd. WWE were foolish to think that the crowd would react any other way and it will be interesting to see what WWE will do with her going forward.
7 Marty Jannetty
As part of The Rockers in the 1990s, Marty Jannetty found worldwide fame, until he was superkicked through a barber shop window and his career essentially came to an end. Jannetty then battled many personal problems before he ultimately found his way back to WWE. Jannetty ran out to save Michaels from The Spirit Squad as a part of the Shawn vs Vince McMahon storyline and was told that if he wanted a contract, he would have to join the Kiss My Ass Club. He never got the contract and was once again released by WWE for violations of the wellness policy.
Albert was a talented wrestler in the early 2000s and it seemed that he had a bright future ahead of him, but he left WWE and made his return in 2012 as Tensai. It was a terrible idea, as the fans instantly recognized him and began chanting Albert. Tensai was a credible wrestler, but he allowed himself to be turned into a comedy show along with Brodus Clay and The Funkadactyls. While their act was funny and entertaining, it did very little for Tensai and it came as no surprise that they split not long after. It was a return that should have been turned down.
The former Divas Champion left WWE almost four years ago and has since married current WWE Superstar The Miz. This means that she is never far away from the WWE spotlight and fans speculated that she would be returning to WWE many times. She finally did on Raw the night after WrestleMania 32. This was a lackluster return for someone of her caliber and it left many fans wondering if she had even returned or not. The graphic for The Miz’s match on Smackdown clarified that she had and when her place on Total Divas was announced, it finally all made sense to the WWE Universe. That didn't make the return any more convincing.
4 The Rock
The Rock has returned to WWE so many times that it is hard to imagine a return that wasn’t amazing, but there was one return that didn't quite sit right. The Rock returned on Monday Night Raw back in 2014 as Rusev was in the ring, once again trying to irritate the crowd. The segment itself was pretty dull and short. If it were another wrestler this might've passed as alright, but when it's The Rock, you expect a certain quality that just wasn't there.
Poor Batista. First his surprise return was leaked, so WWE then had to announce it. Then, when he did return, he managed to split his jeans in the middle of the segment. All before he won The Royal Rumble match. Fans were not impressed due to the predictability of his win and because they wanted Daniel Bryan to win, so they were forced to turn him heel because of the hate. He then failed to capture the title at WrestleMania XXX and after a couple of bouts between Evolution and The Shield, he left WWE and continued down the path that was paved by The Rock years before.
2 John Cena
WrestleMania 32 was set to be the first WrestleMania since his debut that John Cena would not be a part of. That was until Cena began to drop hints on social media about his presence at WrestleMania.
Unsurprisingly, John Cena made his return to help The Rock out of a three-on-one situation when he was about to be attacked by The Wyatt Family. Since WrestleMania XXVIII and 29 saw both John Cena and The Rock fight it out in two brutal matches for the WWE Championship, it is quite shocking that WWE would decide that they are now on the same page. On top of that, Cena's return was still pretty anti-climactic and could've definitely been handled better.
1 AJ Lee
AJ Lee once held the record as the longest reigning Divas Champion, before she was defeated by Nikki Bella in 2014. Nikki then went on to break that record while AJ Lee had some much needed time off, but when she returned to the WWE, very little had changed.
AJ predictably ran out to save Paige from The Bella Twins, which set up a WrestleMania tag team match between both teams. AJ managed to gain the win for her team thanks to her Black Widow, but just a few days later she had decided to retire from the company and left the WWE Universe in complete shock.
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