With the brand split now in full effect, WWE's roster has once again been divided between its two shows: RAW and SmackDown LIVE. Last week, the company made headlines when it was reported that they had reached out to former stars, hoping for their return to help elevate the new era's young talent.
This is a great move by the company — the roster isn't anywhere near the standard it was during the last brand split back in 2002. They need more star power to attract viewers. Having already re-signed both Shelton Benjamin and Rhyno to SmackDown, let's take a look at seven other superstars that WWE should bring back, including one who just might return sooner than we think.
Kurt Angle is not only an Olympic Gold Medalist and one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the world, he is also one of the WWE's all-time greats, having had incredible matches with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar and a five-star classic with the Undertaker. Leaving the company in 2006 and joining TNA, he helped put the latter company on the map. He left the promotion recently when his contract expired and fans immediately speculated about a potential WWE return. He is one of the names constantly brought up when the rumors of potential draft signings circulate.
Having a legend like Angle would not only add much more prestige to his respective brand, it would definitely increase viewership and ratings. In WWE's new era that focuses on the wrestling, a veteran like Angle would be an obvious choice to help the young talent flourish. It is something the WWE Universe has wanted to see for the better part of a decade now. And there's no better place for Angle to end his incredible career in than WWE.
If there was ever an underrated gem in WWE, then it is without a doubt John Morrison. Debuting as Johnny Nitro with Melina and Joey Mercury by his side, he would go on to win the Tag Team itles and Intercontinental title. After winning the ECW Championship, he would become John Morrison. He eventually became a fan-favorite, winning over the audience with his incredible parkour-style wrestling. Since his release from the company in 2011, he has become one of the top stars on Lucha Underground, wrestling under the name Johnny Mundo.
The problem with John Morrison was that he was ahead of his time. This guy was billed as the next Shawn Michaels, yet the company would never complete his push with a major title win. They continued to focus on reliable but less worthy athletes. However, with the company's new era, wrestling is the main focus. And so, it would be the perfect time for his return. Could you imagine Morrison taking on Seth Rollins? The mere thought of that match gives me goosebumps.
Morrison is on good terms with the company and has been approached before. We know he will return to WWE one day, the question is: When?
A multi-time World Champion, Batista dominated SmackDown during the years following the first brand split, becoming embroiled in heated rivalries with Edge, the Great Khali and the Undertaker. Although his recent 2014 return received criticism from fans, WWE quickly saved things by turning him heel and reforming Evolution.
Batista has become a big star in Hollywood, starring in Guardians Of The Galaxy and Spectre, so bringing him back now would definitely attract a lot of attention. His last run never really felt complete, especially with us all assuming that he would return full-time. Instead, his film career flourished and nixed WWE's plans. With the company looking for big names to return, it would definitely be a good idea to contact the Animal.
Paul London & Brian Kendrick
Paul London and Brian Kendrick dominated the tag team division on SmackDown from 2005-2007. They ended up defeating Tag Team Champions MNM to win the WWE Tag Team Championship, which they held for an astonishing 331 days. Two highly skilled and gifted athletes, they defeated the likes of Regal and Taylor, MNM and even the Hardys. However, they were eventually drafted to RAW which did them no favors at all. I remember predicting that they would end up on Heat and that's exactly what happened. It wasn't long before London was released and Kendrick was repackaged as "The Brian Kendrick."
Now, with Kendrick currently taking part in WWE's Cruiserweight Classic, it would be the perfect time for WWE to bring London back and undo the injustice this team suffered years ago. The tag team division is in dire need of more legitimate threats and the former longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions would surely be capable of breathing some life back into it.
If the rumors are true, then we might be seeing Melina return to the squared circle very soon. Reports suggest that she is the closest to signing a deal out of all veterans approached.
A three-time Women's Champion and two-time Divas Champion, Melina was one of the most gifted, innovative, yet underrated female athletes to ever step foot in the ring. Known for both her incredible ring entrance and her amazing skills in the squared circle, Melina was right in her claims of being the "most dominant diva in WWE." Not long after her departure, the Divas division suffered big time. However, now with the Divas revolution well underway, a veteran like Melina would be a welcome addition to the talented roster. There are a few divas who could do with being taken down a peg, and I couldn't think of anyone better for the job than the A-List veteran.
Mr. Kennedy was billed as the "fastest rising star in the history of SmackDown" back in 2006. And I would have trouble arguing with that. He had intense rivalries with the likes of the Undertaker, Kane and Batista and somehow always managed to score a controversial victory. He then won the 2007 Money in the Bank Ladder Match and was destined to become a World Champion. However, tragedy struck when he was injured, lost the briefcase to Edge and the character never really recovered. He was released in 2009.
Kennedy would go on to enjoy a very successful run in TNA as Mr. Anderson, which ended after he was fired this year. Now would be the perfect time for WWE to capitalize on Kennedy's departure from TNA by offering him the chance to return. He was a really promising athlete and had his chance to shine ripped away from him. A Mr. Kennedy return would right all the wrongs that took place and allow "SmackDown's fastest rising star" to come home to the blue brand.
Jeff Hardy has been rightfully called the "Charismatic Enigma" but that is so much more than just a nickname. Hardy had a ring presence unlike anyone else and wasn't afraid to put his body on the line to entertain fans around the world. Being a part of arguably the greatest tag team of all-time — Team Xtreme with his brother Matt — Jeff would return in 2006 for a much more successful solo career, winning the Intercontinental, WWE and World Heavyweight Championship. Since 2010, he has performed for TNA Wrestling.
Like Angle, Hardy is also at the top of everyone's potential comeback list. The reason being that Hardy still has some incredible matches left to give, and the thought of seeing him go up against some of today's talent is just too amazing. Imagine seeing Hardy take on Seth Rollins or Finn Balor. He is also one of the most popular superstars of all-time and would unquestionably be a huge draw for whichever brand he signed to.
Hardy made headlines recently when he stated that he wanted to retire facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania inside Hell In A Cell. In order for that to happen, Hardy must return to WWE. And that, folks, is something we all want to see happen!
There's no doubt that WWE has entered their new era. The brand split has returned and they are heavily relying on wrestlers instead of their usual superstars. However, in order to make the brand split a success, WWE needs to bring back some veterans. With names like Tommy Dreamer, Jinder Mahal, Curt Hawkins, MVP and Melina all rumored to be returning, don't be surprised if some of these athletes show up too. It's an exciting time to be a WWE fan!
Which veteran WWE superstars would you like to see return? Let us know in the comments!