Many WWE superstars have left the company over the past few decades and the WWE Universe have longed for their return. Many stars leave the company with a bad taste in their mouth after an argument or because they feel they can no longer wrestle, and then decide in a few years that they will return.
Others have returned to WWE over the past couple of years but in a non-wrestling capacity. There are so many stars in WWE that the fans want to return to the ring, but instead, they return to cut promos and be part of the build of different feuds they aren’t even a part of.
Other stars walk away from WWE and don’t bother looking back behind them, they see it as a step in the right direction and they move on to better things. WWE is used as a stepping stone for some people, and these are the ones that the WWE Universe long to return, but they are still yet to.
Here are 15 WWE superstars that the WWE Universe want to return to in-ring action in WWE but they never will.
15. Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus or Lita could be the top of this list, they were the two biggest trailblazers in WWE before they both retired back in 2006. It’s hard to believe that WWE has lasted 11 years without Trish and Lita, even though the women have returned for one-off matches over the past few years.
Trish was set to return to face Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship in Toronto last year, but when she fell pregnant for the second time, she was replaced by Mickie James. Trish is a mother of two children now, she can’t be as carefree as she used to be and she can’t risk being injured. It seems that the former seven-time Women’s Champion is now done with the business where she first found fame, which is sad considering how many women she inspired.
14. Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan became one of the most popular superstars in WWE back in 2014 when he decided to rage against the machine and prove that he deserved to be World Champion despite The Authority thinking he was only a B+ player.
Sadly it was this feud that caused him a shoulder and neck injury that has now seen him forced out of the ring and into a General Manager position on SmackDown. Bryan is not comfortable watching wrestling and not being able to be involved, but since the doctors refuse to clear him, it will be something he has to learn to get used to.
13. Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio is a former World Champion and the man that WWE decided to bring back to end John Cena‘s reign as United States Champion. Del Rio left the company once before after he was racially abused by a member of WWE’s backstage staff but was still convinced to return.
The situation is slightly different this time since Del Rio is in a relationship with current WWE star Paige and the company doesn’t support it, plus the fact that Del Rio was suspended just before he was released after he failed their Wellness Policy. It seems that the former World Champion would rather ply his trade on the Independent Scene from now on.
12. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett or Bad New Barrett decided to leave WWE in 2016 and take some time away from the Wrestling business. Barrett was contracted with the company until June 2016 but decided to leave in May after he stated that he didn’t want to sign a new contract. It is thought that Barrett hadn’t been happy with his position in WWE for a while and so he decided to do something about it.
Barrett is still on hiatus as he continues to concentrate on an acting career instead, but while he said he will return to the ring “when the time is right,” it is thought that he wouldn’t be returning to WWE, but instead, he would return to the British Independent Circuit.
11. AJ Lee
AJ Lee is a former Divas Champion and at one point she was the most popular female wrestler in the company. She decided to part ways with WWE in 2015 after playing her part in WrestleMania 31.
It is thought that her husband’s departure from the company and the heat that was on her from that was one of the main reasons, but her new book entitled Crazy Is My Superpower that will be out next month looks at her time in WWE. It is thought that many of the comments she makes in the book about WWE employees would prevent her from ever returning to the place she retired from two years ago, despite how much fans wish she would return.
10. Shawn Michaels
HBK is without a doubt one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, he is Mr. WrestleMania, he is the Showstopper, and sadly that career came to an end a few years ago at the hands of The Undertaker. This was the right time for Shawn Michaels to walk away. He isn’t as healthy as he used to be and he’s getting too old to put his body under that kind of stress on a daily basis.
Michaels has returned to WWE many times to be part of feuds and to cut promos, but he refuses to wrestle again. He stated many times that he retired and he will remain retired. He wants to be the first wrestler to prove that when he hung up his boots, it was for the final time.
9. Steve Austin
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin has a podcast on the WWE Network, he has been part of some of the best moments at WrestleMania over the past few years, but he is still yet to step back into a WWE ring and have a match.
Austin teased a match against Brock Lesnar at last year’s WrestleMania, a match that never happened because Austin’s knees and his neck are still in bad shape. It is thought that Austin hasn’t been fit to wrestle for a very long time, but WWE fans still keep pushing for him to return, when it isn’t physically possible, because he was such a huge star in the 1990s.
8. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake Roberts is a WWE Legend, he’s a Hall of Famer, and one of the best wrestlers to have never held a championship throughout his time in WWE. Roberts has had a number of health issues over the past few years but was able to return to WWE for a one-off segment back in 2014.
Fans were overly excited when it was made clear that Jake was in good health again, before his health deteriorated once again. It would be incredible if Jake could make a return to the company one more time, even just to insert himself into a feud, but it seems that Jake is concentrating on a much calmer life right now.
7. Scott Hall
Scott Hall, or Razor Ramon, as he was known for many years in both WWE and WCW, has been brought back down to earth over the past few years after many health problems and addictions to less than legal drugs.
Hall has been on WWE TV a few times, but WWE is not too eager to sign him to any kind of deal since he is an unreliable star because of his addictions. He is also in no fit shape to wrestle anymore and despite Diamond Dallas Page’s help and many stints in rehab, it seems Scott Hall isn’t willing to be fixed.
6. Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy is a former three-time WWE Champion, he was popular with the WWE Universe, and at one point was part of The Hardy Boyz with his brother Matt. Sadly, Jeff became addicted to a number of painkillers when he was working for WWE, and despite them sending him to rehab, he failed their Wellness Policy three times.
Jeff was then released from WWE after a number of warnings and decided to head over to TNA where he and his brother Matt have once again become huge stars. Because of Jeff’s criminal record, he still isn’t allowed out of America which means that even if WWE wanted to resign him, they couldn’t use him in any lengthy rivalries.
Ryback is a former Intercontinental Champion, and at one time, was even aligned with Paul Heyman, but back in 2016, Ryback walked away from WWE without being released by the company after an argument about money.
Ryback then released all the details about the argument on his Instagram page and now works on the Independent Circuit where he openly discusses personal things that happened during his time in WWE on his weekly podcast. Ryback wanted to be paid as much as the other person who he faced in main event matches, WWE’s pay scale didn’t work that way, and so he walked out. It’s not likely he will be coming back anytime soon, either.
4. Cody Rhodes
The son of the late great WWE Legend Dusty Rhodes walked away from WWE last year after he stated that he wasn’t happy with where Cody Rhodes was as part of WWE and that he had much better plans for his character.
He has since been part of TNA and the British Independent Scene and, along with his wife, former ring announcer Brandi Rhodes, Cody has shown little interest in ever returning to the company that he feels held him back. He has shown over the past few months just how good he can be when he isn’t being toned down.
3. Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was once the biggest legend that WWE had and they would milk his attendance at any WWE event whenever they could, but after some historic racist comments were leaked, it seems that WWE would rather cover themselves than back one of their legends.
Hogan is a WWE Hall of Famer, but that didn’t stop the company from removing him from everything on their website and banning superstars from mentioning his name. Hogan would have to be stupid to ever return to a company that refuses to stand up or even protect talent that has done so much for them over the years.
2. Bret Hart
The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be has burned a few bridges as of late. Bret Hart made up with Vince McMahon after the Montreal Screwjob and even returned to WWE and won the United States Championship in Canada, but it seems that lack of wrestling has made him bitter over the last few months.
Bret has been taking shots at many WWE superstars including former World Champion Seth Rollins stating that he’s dangerous in the ring. While Bret has returned to WWE a few times to manage Natalya as part of her matches, it is thought that he has generated a lot of heat lately and WWE are not ready to have him back.
1. CM Punk
CM Punk walked away from WWE following the 2014 Royal Rumble. This then became one of the biggest wrestling related stories of all time when WWE decided to fire him a few months later. Punk waited until ten months after his WWE departure to then go on Colt Cabana’s podcast and tell all about how he was treated by WWE.
It’s baffling that the WWE Universe still think that Punk would return to WWE after the way he was treated, and after the fact that WWE allowed their doctor to file a $1 million defamation lawsuit. WWE even had the insensitivity to fire him on his wedding day, which should be enough to tell you that he definitely isn’t stupid enough to make the same mistake twice.