Looking at the current WWE product, the roster is deeper than ever before with talent infusing all three brands in NXT, SmackDown Live and Raw. However, with that said, more talent is always needed and welcomed by the company. With all the recent call-ups, NXT is in need for more stars to help the brand even further. Raw, being three hours, can definitely use more bodies. The need for more wrestlers is always something necessary, and usually, bringing back a familiar face is even greater and easier to introduce.
Bringing back The Hardys has been well received by all wrestling fans and it proved how key a return can be to the company. Looking at the success of both Matt and Jeff, we have reason to believe the WWE is now scouting the indie scene for more possible returns down the line. The 15 names included on the list can serve a purpose down in NXT or even, on either of the main rosters. Being familiar with their work, these 15 can easily join any of the three brands.
So without further ado, let’s look at our crystal ball and take a look at some former names Vince might be thinking about. Enjoy the article and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Also, let us know which names on the list you’d love to see return and which Superstars you’d rather not see back in a WWE ring. Here are 15 wrestlers Vince McMahon might consider bring back!
15. Sean Waltman
Nowadays, it seems like recovery stories are starting to trend. With the WWE’s plethora of rehabilitation services, many past performers have been able to get the proper help they need and in some cases, that help turned out to be life saving. Sean Waltman aka X-Pac is the perfect example of that; he was on the verge of suicide years ago and he’s now looking better than ever both physically and mentally, at the age of 44.
Working indie shows and appearing at several meet and greets, Waltman is in fine form nowadays. He’s currently under a legends contract with the company and some believe that can be upped even further. Whether it’s joining his buddy down in NXT aiding the younger generation or perhaps dare we say, coming back for one more bout. An X-Pac return can actually be likely in some capacity looking how great he’s doing today.
14. AJ Lee
After being away from the limelight for quite some time, AJ’s name finally resurfaced after the unveiling of her new autobiography, Crazy Is My Superpower; How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking Rules. The book has received rave reviews debuting at number ten on the New York Times Best Seller list. Along with that, numerous current WWE stars have posted about the book. It’s quite evident she still keeps in touch with a lot of the talent.
While doing PR work for the memoir, Lee admitted to missing the squared circle. Retiring so young and still being only 30, you can understand this kind of statement. Despite being linked to Punk, there’s no doubt the WWE would be open to a return given her talent and plethora of possible feuds. Taking on the likes of Asuka, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks and Bayley is something the WWE surely wouldn’t want to pass up. The door might be closed on Punk for the time being, but it might be half opened for a possible AJ return.
13. Zack Sabre Jr.
An innovative technical style inside of the squared circle, Zack Sabre’s in ring work was a breath of fresh air in the CWC tournament and something WWE fans hadn’t been exposed to in quite a while. His tournament run was well received, however, he chose to leave following the brief exposure.
Back on the indies with the likes of New Japan and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, we can safely say Sabre Jr. made the right decision for his career given the current state of the Cruiserweight Division. In all likelihood, Sabre thought better of himself and chose to go back on the independents, something you have to commend him for. However, the door is likely wide open for a return and given the need for more bodies down in NXT, having him back would be great especially with the new United Kingdom Championship now being in play.
12. Gail Kim
The Canadian Gail Kim underwent some big time misfortunes during her run with the WWE. Vince wasn’t a fan of her look and it undermined her obvious talent which was well above the others at that point. Kim asked for a release, but was forced into staying till her contract expired. After her time was up, Kim stated she’d never return, but like they say, never say never.
Gail let her work do the talking, thriving in the Knockouts Division over with TNA. She’s been out for a while but vows to return once she’s medically cleared. Given her talent, one final run with the WWE should be welcomed by the company, especially given all the success Mickie James has endured since making her return. Age-wise, the two are both in the same ball park and that factor might sway Gail to make a return. Whether it’s joining Raw, SmackDown or NXT, the list of possible opponents seems endless.
11. Wade Barrett
The veteran leaving the WWE was a decision that was quite shocking as he chose to take time away from the business in search of a new career in acting. However, unlike so many of his counterparts, Barrett chose to leave the door open, claiming he’d one day return for another run with the big company. Along with that, he’s never spoken ill about the WWE and kept a low profile since leaving. All signs point to a return somewhere down the line.
In terms of booking Barrett, the possibilities are truly endless. He can easily become a veteran face down in NXT competing for the UK Championship. However, he can also serve a purpose on either main roster whether it be on Raw to push a younger talent, or over on SmackDown forming a Tag Team with another performer. At the end of the day, when his acting time is up, Barrett returning shouldn’t surprise anyone, making him one of the most likely names on the list to return.
10. Christopher Daniels
Known as, The King of Indies, it’s hard to believe Christopher Daniels started his wrestling career back in 1993. At the age of 47, he’s still going strong resurfacing his gimmick as a big time player with ROH. Some tend to forget, but Daniels was actually with the WWE from 1998 till 2001; as you probably imagine, his involvement was very infrequent appearing on the B level shows throughout his run. 15 years later, the WWE might be inclined to write this wrong by welcoming him back to the company.
His experience has NXT written all over it. Daniels can prove to be a huge asset with the developmental brand working programs with the likes of Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black and Roderick Strong, just to name a few. As we stated before, NXT is in need of more talent, and bringing in a reliable veteran face like Daniels might provide instant dividends. Once his contract expires with ROH, Vince and Hunter should consider bringing him back.
9. Kota Ibushi
Kota Ibushi being added to the CWC tournament was well received by the fanbase, as the Japanese wrestler provided the WWE Universe with some incredible moments during his brief run in the tournament. Fans got excited when he started to perform with NXT, but the run was ultimately short-lived as he opted out of his WWE deal.
Coming back from injury, Ibushi chose the route of a freelance wrestler feeling the schedule of working for two promotions (New Japan & DDT) was too much for him to handle. Today, he’s appearing at events around the world working the indie scene.
At the age of 34, and being in his prime, it’s a shame things didn’t work out with the WWE. However, that door can easily reopen. NXT needs more performers, and if Nakamura succeeds on SmackDown Live, the company might be inclined to bring in another elite Japanese talent to rival Shinsuke, enter Ibushi. We hope Vince might consider bringing this phenomenal talent back for another run.
8. Kelly Kelly
An unlikely return saw Kelly Kelly comeback to the WWE taking on the role of an ambassador. She worked the fan expo during the WWE WrestleMania weekend and it remains to be seen what the future has in store for the former WWE Diva.
Kelly has admitted to being open for a return in some capacity. Like many others in the past, Kelly retired young. Nowadays, she’s only 30, making her easily accessible to prolong her career inside of the squared circle. The only real problem is in terms of booking; where would the WWE slot Kelly? Whether it be NXT, Raw or SmackDown Live, the company might be having a hard time piecing that together. If anything, she has a strong social media presence so adding her to the cast of Total Divas would be a welcomed start. The door seems to be open, but it remains to be seen if she’ll actually sign a talent type of deal with the company.
7. Shelton Benjamin
When the brand split was announced back in the summer of 2016, fans quickly got hyped when the announcement was made of Shelton Benjamin’s return to SmackDown. He kept working the indies following his WWE release, and he was still able to go with the best of them. However, the return would be stifled in an awful manner when he received an untimely injury. Tearing his rotator cuff, the WWE immediately scrapped the idea and he wasn’t signed ultimately. Shelton has finally returned to the squared circle taking up indie dates. With that said, we hope the door is once again opened now that he’s healed his wounds.
The likelihood of the talent returning seem extremely likely and something that can definitely happen in 2017. The company is likely waiting for Shelton to get some matches under his belt to shake off the ring rust. He’ll easily slot back into SmackDown Live or even Raw, reuniting with Kurt Angle once he returns.
6. John Morrison
The WWE fanbase and Morrison himself saw big things in his future, however the WWE felt differently, not willing to make him ‘the guy’. Due to creative differences, Morrison chose to leave the company renewing his brand on the indie scene. He’s absolutely thrived since leaving the WWE, joining Lucha Underground. Morrison became the poster boy of the brand winning the World Championship. He’s also working with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and, is a regular on the indie circuit. Set to turn 38 in October, the time seems right for a WWE return sooner than later.
Morrison has expressed his desire to return on a number of occasions. The biggest thing is timing for the Lucha Underground star. Whether it be joining NXT, or reuniting with The Miz on Raw, Morrison can be a huge asset for the company. Vince will likely consider bringing Morrison back once his contract expires.
5. Brie Bella
One of the more obvious names on the list likely to return at some point is of Bella Twin Brie Bella, who’s currently on the sidelines starting a family with Daniel Bryan, set to give birth any day now. Bella has expressed her desire to return at some point, and we’d guess Vince wouldn’t have a problem with that given all the success the twins brought to the company with their involvement on Total Divas and their own spin-off, Total Bellas.
In terms of in-ring abilities, Brie was incredibly underrated. Names like Sasha Banks have praised Bella for her work inside of the squared circle. Along with that, she was very professional behind the scenes and well liked by her peers (aside from Maryse). When she’s ready to return, we assume the door will likely be wide open. Like Mickie James, her role most likely will be to put over the new talent and dare we say, reunite with her sister if Nikki can also prolong her WWE run.
4. Rey Mysterio
We admire the WWE for trying, but at the end of the day, the Cruiserweight Division has been one big letdown. The CWC Tournament was fantastic, but all the fun ended there as the WWE once again put an unnecessary “sports entertainment” twist on the Division. Nowadays, it’s just all so scripted and pretty all over the place in terms of booking. Aside from Neville, everything has been quite lackluster.
When we think of the word Cruiserweight, most of us don’t think of today’s class, but instead, we remember the crop of WCW stars that changed the landscape of pro wrestling with their involvement in the division. A name forever associated with the division is Rey Mysterio.
His return, even if it’s part-time, can add a new element to the Division and something it desperately needs at this point. The WWE usually loves to bring in old stars during the Survivor Series period, and Mysterio might be the next in line. It’s really likely Vince is considering his return, especially when you note his prowess in selling merchandise.
3. Cody Rhodes
Hard to believe that rumors were already swirling pertaining to Cody coming back to the WWE. Those rumors can officially be dropped as the 31 year old has finally inked a new deal with ROH. However, a return still seems very likely down the road.
With creative issues, Rhodes left the company. His brand split plans were actually really cool and consisted of Rhodes appearing on both brands as Stardust and himself, Cody Rhodes. As great as it sounded, the big decision maker in the company was none too pleased, shooting down the idea. Rhodes eventually had enough and chose to re-brand himself on the indies. He’s backed that up working around the world in such a short time period appearing with TNA, New Japan and countless other indie promotions. He never once bashed the WWE harshly, and a return seems inevitable once his new ROH contract expires.
2. Hulk Hogan
Hard to believe that it’s already nearly two years since Hogan’s WWE termination, which took place back in July of 2015. The Hulkster was immediately released after a leaked adult tape caught him using some racial slurs. Hogan made the wise choice of laying low since the unveiling of the tape and his WWE departure.
Almost two years later, it seems like the WWE is finally turning the corner on re-inviting Hulk back into the company. During a recent interview, Triple H expressed the fact that Hogan returning is a real possibility and something the company is open to. Yes folks, time heals all wounds and that’s especially evident looking at Hogan’s relationship with the WWE.
For what it’s worth, The Hulkster is also selling WWE merch at his shop, meaning he might be on good terms with the company behind the scenes. In all likelihood, we might see Hogan in a WWE ring before 2017 ends, or at some point in 2018.
1. Daniel Bryan (In-Ring Return)
The biggest story to come out of pro wrestling in 2016 was the announcement of Daniel Bryan retiring as an in-ring performer. After sustaining multiple concussions throughout his career, WWE doctors were no longer clearing Bryan for in-ring activity. He was forced to leave a job he loved dearly before he was ready to give it up.
The irony of it all is the fact that other doctors have cleared Bryan but ultimately, it’s all about the WWE doctor’s decisions. Bryan was brought back as the GM of SmackDown Live, however, fans are still hoping he’ll somehow return to in-ring action.
Bryan has stated time and time again that he’d love to return if the WWE would allow him to. It’ll be interesting to see what happens moving forward, especially when Bryan’s contract expires. Some believe he might be inclined to return inside the ring with another company, while some believe the WWE would put him back in the ring due to a fear of losing his talent to another company. At the end of the day, we truly believe Vince’s thinking about the possibility.