Let us take a moment and give the WWE some credit, as they finally given WWE fans a sense of excitement and something to talk about again. It just didn’t feel like a New Era yet, as young stars weren’t getting pushed properly and it just felt like there were way too many cooks in the kitchen. To develop young stars properly, a brand extension seems absolutely necessary. With this mind, the WWE is addressing a major concern which stems around adding some depth to both Raw and SmackDown via former WWE veteran stars that can help to push some young faces.
A rumored list of potential recruits recently emerged, sending shock waves across the pro wrestling landscape. Some names got us excited, while others had as scratching our heads as to what and why? The list featured a variety of names from lower card tag teams to previously established mid carders. The names on the list gave us different emotions. In this article, we will further evaluate those names and classify which we are excited for and which we really don’t care for.
With this being said let us begin, here are eight wrestlers we want to see and seven we’d rather not at this point.
15 DO: John Morrison
His skill set defines what the New Era is all about, as he's a regular sized Superstar with some serious in-ring skills. Morrison’s athletic prowess mixed in with his experience and in ring talents would fit perfectly into the WWE’s new vision. Adding him to the roster would be a great depth move, which is something both brands desperately need in order to thrive and more importantly put over the younger talents. In terms of making Superstars look good, Morrison is right up there.
14 DON’T: MVP
When the list of names was made public of who the WWE (allegedly) contacted for a possible return, many fans were surprised to see the name of MVP on the list. Montel is set to turn 43 this year, so he’s certainly getting up there in age.
Eventually, like so many others, MVP lost his way after a promising debut with the SmackDown brand as a highly sought after free agent. His career highlights included multiple United States Title runs along with a random Tag Team Championship reign alongside Matt Hardy. Following his championship involvements, MVP was regulated to a role at putting over younger stars and he was later released from his WWE contract.
13 DO: Carlito
Similar to MVP, Carlito eventually got lost in the mid-card. It seemed like it happened overnight, as he went from an upper mid carder to a low card tag team wrestler. With the proper booking, Carlito had the ability to excel, but ultimately his demise was both his fault, along with the WWE’s for not booking him properly. Carlito’s run with the company came to an end after the veteran talent refused to check into a rehab facility. WWE officials were worried about the talent after he showed up to a Raw taping from Toronto, Canada in terrible condition. It was later revealed following his release that the former Untied States Champion had a painkiller addiction.
12 DON’T: Stevie Richards
Most pro wrestling fans can agree that Stevie’s name was probably the most random one to surface once the names were made public of who the WWE might be pursuing for the brand split. Set to turn 45 this year, we struggle to understand how the veteran can make an impact. Richards was the prototypical journeyman throughout his career. He travelled the world wrestling everywhere from ECW, WCW, WWE, TNA and, as recently as of 2015, Ring of Honor. His impact in a WWE ring was marginal, as Richards found himself as a lower card wrestler throughout his career. His biggest successes came in the midst of the wacky Attitude Era, leading a faction called Right To Censor.
11 DO: Jeff Hardy
Since his WWE departure way back in 2009, several rumors have surfaced pertaining to a return by The Charismatic Enigma. Hardy’s career was plagued by his heart being in the wrong place at times, which caused him to be a solid player but not a crucial one. The WWE also believed in his talents, don’t forget, as Jeff had stints with both the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Championship. Not to mention, he became the 18th Triple Crown in WWE history.
10 DON'T: Matt Hardy
When you look at things from a technical standpoint, Matt is the better brother, although in terms of general draw value and creativity, fans have sided with brother Jeff, leaving Matt as the odd man out. Hardy’s draw value over the years has taken a bit of hit because of his constant babbling online. From disputes with fans to bashing the WWE product, Matt seems to always have an opinion on things. This has caused many fans that once adored Matt to grow fed up of the former Tag Team Champion.
9 DO: Shelton Benjamin
Similarly to John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin will be the perfect piece to the New Era puzzle, as they crave a veteran talent which is highly skilled and has the ability to make anyone look good. Not many people outside of the WWE do this better than the 40 year old Shelton Benjamin. His release in April of 2010 caught many off guard, as Shelton was released with several other WWE stars due to budget cuts.
Since leaving the company, Benjamin has stuck to his guns and continued to do what he does best: wrestle at a high standard. After spending some time on the indie scene, Benjamin was involved with Ring of Honor and New Japan. He is currently working with Pro Wrestling Noah.
8 DON’T: Cody Rhodes
Here’s a name you probably didn’t expect to see for a while, but Cody’s name has somehow already resurfaced in regards to a possible WWE contract renewal. The WWE is apparently interested in resigning Cody, perhaps on a part time basis. There interest stems from content and merchandise sales, as the company was very high on his Stardust gimmick, unlike Cody who wanted to take of the paint and join the elite members of the WWE’s upper card.
7 DO: Trish Stratus
Although her name was not on the list of former WWE stars to be contacted, Trish made headlines when she said that she was open to a possible return. The former Diva of the Decade states that if the right concept came along, a return might entice her enough to return.
6 DON’T: Cryme Tyme
Similar to Stevie Richards and MVP, some wrestling fans scratched their heads when thinking about Cryme Tyme’s involvement in a WWE storyline, given all the tag teams in place at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, having veteran teams certainly helps, but in the grand scheme of things, how much will this team really help a brand, aside from adding lower card comedic relief to either Raw or SmackDown.
5 DO: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan's story just seems like it isn't quite done yet. Bryan is still loved by wrestling fans and he recently made headlines by claiming he still dreams of being a wrestler at night. For the time being, an in ring return seems unlikely, though several rumors have surfaced that Bryan will eventually return, just not in a WWE ring. With this being said, his popularity is still relevant and Bryan can add value to a WWE show in other ways.
4 DON’T: Any Previous General Manager
With the WWE using former GM’ to fill the void of a three hour show, all the angle has really done is show wrestling fans how much we really don’t care about any of these former faces. With the likes of Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis appearing on Raw, you just get a sense of outdated programming, as opposed to a nostalgic feeling that Stone Cold Steve Austin gives wrestling fans when he randomly reappears. The current product is in dire need of something fresh and new. Putting a reliance on former faces will certainly not do the trick.
3 DO: Goldberg
During his failed WWE run, Goldberg learned the hard way that the WWE is not WCW. His run, which seemed impossible to mess up, failed miserably. Both sides failed and played their part in this terrible run. Goldberg had a poor attitude after stepping foot into the WWE and his ego also didn’t help his cause. As for the WWE, well their booking of the WCW mega star was extremely poor. The company tried to rush Goldberg in making his debut with the likes of The Rock, a storyline they should have waited for. In terms of booking, the company needed to go with the AJ Styles approach, by slowly easing him into things with a long term storyline with an established veteran talent. Instead, the company pushed him too fast and the WWE Universe just didn’t buy it.
2 DON’T: Rey Mysterio
I won’t go as far to say that no fans are excited to see a Rey Mysterio return, however let’s not forgot that during Rey’s final days, fans became sick of Mysterio and really didn’t care for his departure. The master of the 619 managed to stay relevant for several reasons. For one, he appealed to a younger demographic. Second, he drew great numbers with foreign markets. Though as for the main North American side of things, fans got tired of seeing Rey, as his gimmick was dry and just stayed the same for far too long. Fans wanted to see something new out of him but the WWE weren’t willing to do so because of the demo he appealed towards. Mysterio also admitted, he wanted out and it was actually at his request that he left the company and not the WWE’s don’t forget.
1 DO: Kurt Angle
It's unbelievable to think that Kurt Angle last stepped foot in a WWE ring almost a decade ago. At one point, it looked the Olympic Gold Medalist would never step foot in a WWE ring again, as things were really bad between both sides. Well, like we’ve seen so many times before, things just find a way to work out. The two sides have both done a lot of growing up in the last decade, reopening talks. Angle was the first wrestler to emerge for a possible WWE comeback during the brand extension and rightfully so. Angle’s contributions to the SmackDown brand were memorable to say the least.
The rumor mill further intensified recently when Angle said it was a matter of “when” and not “if” after meeting with Triple H. With this in mind, fans are that much more excited for the brand extension with the possibility of Angle returning. His role remains to be revealed and possibilities include a GM role, part time wrestler, mentor for American Alpha or even a prominent in ring wrestler. Either way, we are excited to see him make his long awaited return.
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