Even though some wrestling fans hate to admit it, the WWE is still the biggest wrestling promotion in the world and as such is the ultimate destination if you are a professional wrestler. While some wrestlers enjoy working in smaller promotions with hardcore fans, the WWE is the place to be if you want to be seen worldwide and have access to millions of fans on television and the Internet.
The WWE does not have much legitimate competition anymore and it has not since the Monday night wars era with WCW. Promotions like TNA or Ring of Honor have good fan bases, but the size of these companies still pales in comparison to the WWE. The superstars on this list left the WWE at one point, but could realistically make their returns sometime during 2016.
Rumors of returns have been surrounding some of these guys, and for others it just makes sense. If you want to finish your career strong, the WWE is the place to do it. Getting in good with the McMahon family is also important if any of these wrestlers hope to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame anytime soon.
10. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley left the WWE in 2009 and has not been back since. Although he did hold the ECW World Championship twice and the WWE United States Championship, he never achieved the biggest goal in the WWE which is to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Lashley has recently been competing in TNA, but has not been used properly. He has held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship twice, but his total combined reigns have only equaled about four months. Lashley would be great competition for the likes of John Cena or Brock Lesnar if he returned to the company where his career was launched.
9. Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Anderson, who was known as Mr. Kennedy in the WWE, is another guy who has been underused in TNA wrestling. Anderson has always been a crowd favourite, but only managed to win the WWE United States Championship and the Money in the Bank contract in 2007. He joined TNA in 2010 and was prominently featured, winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship twice. He has also been a part of the factions Immortal and was the vice-president of Aces & Eights. Anderson is not doing much in TNA anymore, so his career would likely be revived with a move back to the WWE.
8. Gail Kim
Gail Kim started out her professional wrestling career in Canada before joining the WWE. Kim has bounced back and forth between the WWE and TNA a couple of times and could be due to go back to the promotion that made her famous. Gail has held the TNA Knockouts Championship five times and only won the WWE Women’s Championship once, so she may still feel she has something to prove. There is plenty of competition to be had thanks to the Diva’s Revolution, and the WWE’s women’s division is much stronger than TNA’s, which are both good reasons why Gail Kim could be headed back to the WWE in 2016.
7. Evan Bourne
The wrestler formerly known as Evan Bourne has wrestled for promotions all over the world. After competing in TNA, Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate, and Wrestling Society X, Bourne wrestled in the WWE from 2007 to 2014. He won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Kofi Kingston and had plenty of momentum going for him when he ws suspended for violating the wellness policy in 2012, and was injured in a road accident and eventually released from the company. Since then he has wrestled in Evolve, Dragon’s Gate, Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Bourne could make quite an impact if he was able to return to the WWE this year.
6. John Morrison
John Morrison started off his pro wrestling career by winning a WWE contract on Tough Enough III. As Johnny Nitro he was part of the tag team MNM with Joey Mercury and their manager Melina. Morrison had a lot of success in the WWE and won the WWE Tag Team Championship four times and the World Tag Team Championship once. He also captured the WWE Intercontinental Championship three times and the ECW World Championship once. He is currently signed with Lucha Underground, but has said that he would consider a return to the WWE. Morrison holds a record for being the longest combined reigning WWE Tag Team Champion, holding the titles for a total of 541 days.
5. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam made his WWE debut just after ECW folded up in 2001. RVD captured the WWE Championship and the new ECW World Championship as well as the Intercontinental Championship six times among many other accomplishments. He then competed in TNA wrestling where he was a big favorite of Hulk Hogan and won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and the TNA X Division Championship. Van Dam had a brief return to the WWE from 2013 to 2014 before returning to the independent circuit. He could return to the WWE once again to finish his career and there would be some great competition waiting for him. By finishing his career with the company RVD could take on a behind the scenes role and be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.
4. Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio is another one of those journeyman wrestlers who has competed in several promotions since his career started in 1989. He was very popular in the WWE where he competed off and on from 2002 to 2015. In 2014 Mysterio took some time off for injury and the WWE tried to extend his contract without his approval. His contract officially expired in February 2015 after 13 years and he did not come back. Since that time Rey has returned to Mexico to compete in AAA and on the independent circuit, and has also appeared in Lucha Underground. Mysterio is a two time World Heavyweight Champion, two time Intercontinental Champion, and one time WWE Champion among plenty of other accomplishments.
3. Matt Hardy
If Jeff Hardy returns to the WWE, Matt Hardy may be right behind him. The brothers could reform one of the most popular tag teams of all time and could rekindle a feud with the recently returned Dudley Boyz as well. Matt was fired from the WWE for posting some not so kind videos on YouTube, but Vince McMahon might overlook that and let bygones be bygones. Matt has recently captured the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the second time, but the way TNA goes he might not hold it very long. A return to the WWE would give Matt a chance to team up with or feud with his brother in the biggest promotion in the world.
2. Jeff Hardy
There have been many rumors that Jeff and Matt Hardy could return to the WWE sometime soon. Jeff had a lot of success as a singles competitor and the “Charismatic Enigma” has held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship three times. Even if his brother Matt does not return, Jeff Hardy could be a very popular singles wrestler for the WWE and could take on high flying superstars such as A.J. Styles, Chris Jericho, and Kalisto. Jeff was arrested and charged with drug trafficking shortly after he left the WWE, but he is contractually available to return and the company may be able to move forward and give him another chance.
1. Kurt Angle
We know that Kurt Angle has embarked on his retirement tour in TNA, but that doesn’t necessary mean he has to retire from wrestling altogether. There have already been talks in the works to bring Angle back to the WWE in some form or another, likely behind the scenes working with young talent. Angle is a lock for the WWE Hall of Fame and he may have one or two great matches let in him. The former Olympic gold medalist and WWE Champion may come back and wrestle part time like The Undertaker and Triple H have been doing for a while now.