With WrestleMania right around the corner you can’t help but think of how many injuries the WWE is dealing with going into their biggest show of the year. This may be the most depleted WrestleMania roster in a long time. Really makes you realize how much of an impact these recent injuries have had on the company’s star power. Just think of some names likes Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and John Cena; ouch. You can literally pick 10 Main Event matches involving those five wrestlers.
With injuries comes rumored returns. Names like Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin have all been linked to a return. With so many roster slots empty, it seems like the WWE might be pretty desperate to bring back some of these names.
Whether it’s through injury or the WWE’s will to bring back a wrestler from the outside, the company desperately needs some reinforcements to solidify their product. Here are 12 wrestlers that can help with that. Enjoy this list of 12 wrestlers the WWE needs desperately to return!
12 Randy Orton
The plethora of high profile injuries started way back in November when Orton was sidelined with a partially torn rotator cuff. In the moment, it wasn’t really a big deal, as the WWE’s roster was so deep that it just meant an opportunity for someone else. Months later, high profile talent continued to drop and now all of a sudden, Orton’s departure is a pretty big one. According to Orton, he is progressing very well and should be back soon. Some believe Orton may in fact return in time for this year’s WrestleMania. With a limited amount of star power, Randy’s presence would certainly change a lot. Some believe if Orton does return, he would be paired against Brock Lesnar, in a match that wrestling fans have been waiting over a decade for. It remains to be seen if Orton can get healthy for the WWE’s version of the Superbowl.
11 Jeff Hardy
The good news about this entry is the fact that a return is actually a legitimate possibility. Hardy revealed during Ric Flair’s podcast that he still has so much left to accomplish with the WWE. Jeff made it clear that he and his brother Matt, would love to end their careers with the WWE. Hardy also said that he would love to have another encounter with the Dudley brothers. Hardy concluded the interview stating that a return will happen, it’s just a matter of when.
With a lack of depth due to injuries, there is no time better than now for Jeff to make a return. The WrestleMania card would get a huge boost having this daring high flyer back in the mix. However, with Matt Hardy as the current TNA Champion, it seems unlikely to happen in the near future. No matter when, WWE fans would love to see Jeff make his return to the WWE roster.
10 Shelton Benjamin
Like Jeff Hardy, there actually is a real possibility of having Shelton Benjamin return to the WWE roster. Benjamin is currently wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling. He also worked an event with Global Force Wrestling.
Many were shocked to find out that in April of 2010, Benjamin had been released by the company. Despite his release though, Benjamin has found tremendous success outside of the WWE reinventing himself in front of a different audience. Despite his success outside of the WWE, Benjamin claims that he will be back with the company at some point in his career. Shelton said during an interview that he left on good terms and that the door will always be open for him to return.
Shelton can be used in a variety of ways with the WWE. Some see Benjamin as mentor in NXT, while others believe Benjamin can be inserted into the mid-card with the capabilities of stealing the show on a nightly basis. No matter what his role would be, wrestling fans would love to see this insanely talented wrestler back in the ring.
The WWE universe was devastated to find out that Cesaro would be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury. The timing of the injury was especially bad because of all the heat Cesaro was gaining with not only the WWE universe, but with his peers as well. Ric Flair, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin all praised Cesaro for his work. Foley began the support for Cesaro claiming he was shocked with how the WWE was treating Cesaro. Foley urged the WWE to push him. Austin also agreed with Foley, blaming the WWE for not helping Cesaro be a top line name for the company. Flair added to this statement claiming Cesaro can work a huge storyline with the likes of Brock Lesnar.
With all this praise coming his way, you can expect big things from this guy once he gets back. Will he finally get a crack at the championship?
8 Shane McMahon
With the McMahon family back on television, one can’t help to think; hey, where the hell has Shane been? Shane was arguably the most entertaining out of all the McMahons; who can forget some of his most unforgettable death defying stunts which left WWE crowds in absolute awe? Shane left the company in October of 2009 when he decided to go out there and make it on his own. In 2010, Shane would become the CEO of You On Demand, the first VOD & pay-per-view service in China. In 2013, Shane stepped down as the CEO, but still remains Chairman of the board.
During an interview, Shane was asked if he missed the WWE, and according to Shane it’s in his blood, so he obviously does. Shane admitted he would be open to a return, as long as the timing was right and it would make a significant difference. I think we can all agree a return from Shane-o-Mac is long overdue!
7 Kurt Angle
It’s time Kurt Angle makes his long anticipated return to the WWE. With his career winding down, Kurt Angle has made it pretty clear that he would love nothing more than one last run with the company. Angle expressed some interest in making a return in the past, but according to alleged rumors, the WWE wasn’t interested in bringing Angle back. Kurt also noted that he wasn’t interested in working with NXT at this point in his career.
If he is to return, Angle made it clear it would be with the WWE’s main roster. With so many fresh new faces on the WWE’s roster, you can only imagine how many WWE stars Angle can be matched up with. Not to mention some rematches against familiar foes like Brock Lesnar. So many possibilities for Kurt, so let’s hope the WWE can finally reach an agreement with the former Olympic gold medalist.
Despite her troubled past, Chyna deserves some sort of recognition from the WWE for her prestigious accomplishments with the company. Chyna has reached out to the WWE several times for a possible comeback, only to have it rejected time and time again. I can understand the WWE’s unwillingness to bring her back, but sooner or later the WWE must put those issues aside and at the very least, honor Chyna’s tremendous career with the company. If a return is out of the question, a Hall of Fame induction should at least be considered.
5 CM Punk
I’m sure this is probably the last name some wrestling fans want to see on this list after Punk left the WWE for the UFC. Despite his awful departure, Punk was entertaining and controversial, two factors that at the end of the day sell tickets. Although Punk believes he’ll never wrestle again, some believe the door will always be open for one final stint with the company. We saw what the UFC did for Brock’s career, and it can ultimately do the same for Punk and his stock with the wrestling business down the line. Can you imagine the amount of buzz a CM Punk return would generate with the WWE universe?
4 John Cena
Love him or hate him, Cena is the company’s biggest draw and hardest worker. Fans were devastated to find out that Cena would be missing this year’s WrestleMania. As Donald Wood discussed on Forbes, “Losing Cena throughout the entire build to the event would undoubtedly lessen the mainstream notoriety WWE would have received if he was involved in a marquee matchup." With Cena out the biggest event of the year certainly does lose a whole lot of star power. Not to mention that Cena was going to headline the show taking on The Undertaker in the nights marquee matchup. All the WWE can take from this situation is to see it as an opportunity for another wrestler to emerge and rise as a must-see type of wrestler like John Cena. This factor will ultimately create a deeper roster. It’ll be interesting to see who breaks out in Cena’s absence (I hear you, Roman empire).
3 Seth Rollins
After a year to remember, on November 4th during a house show in Dublin, Ireland, it all came crashing down for the former WWE Champion. Rollins tore his ACL, MCL and medical meniscus in his knee while attempting a sunset-flip powerbomb. As a result, Seth was scheduled to be out for six to nine months. This injury couldn’t have come at a worse possible time, especially with Rollins at the prime of his career. Rumors also began to surface that Rollins would take on Triple H at WrestleMania in a passing of the torch type of match.
Despite the injury, his return will make him bigger and better than ever. It is said that Rollins is currently flying through rehab so the possibility of a quicker return is very real. It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd will react to his long anticipated return.
2 Stone Cold Steve Austin
Jim Ross speculated that Stone Cold Steve Austin is 99% confirmed for WrestleMania. This statement generated a massive amount of buzz leading wrestling fans to believe that Austin will return this year for one final run. A rumored name for him to take on at the moment is Brock Lesnar. Having this kind of a match this year makes more sense than ever before. Here are a couple of reasons as to why. First off, WrestleMania’s in Texas, Austin’s home state. With a massive arena holding the event, the WWE hopes to sell as many seats as possible. With all these injuries pilling up, bringing a name like Stone Cold Steve Austin into the mix can certainly help fill up a building in a hurry. Austin’s been linked to a return to the ring forever it seems like. There is not better opportunity to do so than now!
1 Daniel Bryan
The WWE universe was heartbroken after Daniel Bryan relinquished his Intercontinental Championship on May 11th. Believe it or not, 8 months later Bryan is still out with the same concussion, despite being medically cleared to wrestle by UCLA doctors. WWE doctors however, have still not medically cleared Bryan to wrestle. This has left wrestling fans extremely angry. Some rumors have indicated that Bryan himself is beginning to get very upset and may consider leaving the WWE to go wrestle elsewhere.
Bryan is the most over wrestler out there today. If the WWE needs anyone going into WrestleMania this year it’s this guy. It’ll be interesting to see what the future has in store for the WWE and Daniel Bryan.