With the upcoming brand extension, it’s clear and obvious that WWE doesn’t have as deep of a roster as what would be necessary to pull this off. Last year, a handful of injuries caused huge gaps, forcing the company to make do with pushing some lower talent, doubling up on shows, and so forth.
Undoubtedly, the way WWE plans on getting around this is to go on a hiring spree in various means, which I’ll be breaking down over the course of the next few articles speaking about NXT stars to move up and more.
Rumor has it, a good number of older stars are going to be re-hired, so the focus of this post in particular is going to be the top 10 wrestlers in that category that I feel would be best to add back to the roster.
NOTE: I’m working under the assumption that the most recent batch of releases like Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes are off-limits, as they shouldn’t have let them go to begin with if they were just going to bring them back. Likewise, I’m not fully up to date on all of the potential contractual issues that could be preventing anyone below from coming back, so some of these may not actually be on the table due to obligations with other companies.
With all that being said, let’s jump into this…
Anyone who has followed me for a while knows that I have zero interest in The Shining Stars and think that they aren’t worth keeping around, not even necessarily in this brand extension. However, WWE seems to think otherwise, so they aren’t being tossed aside just yet.
If that’s the case, Carlito has to come back to help them out, forming another trio-stable where he can be the leader. Primo and Epico just aren’t good on the mic, while Carlito excels more at that than anything else. He could be a solid midcarder to help put over some of the younger guys, as well as a force in the tag team division with his brother and cousin.
Assuming he wouldn’t prefer to stick around Lucha Underground as Johnny Mundo (or be prevented from leaving), John Morrison is someone who I’ve always felt didn’t get a fair chance at being something more. Every time he started gaining momentum, the rug was pulled out from underneath him.
Was he the most popular star during his time? No, I can’t fool myself into thinking that. But he did have a solid fan base that seemed to be perpetually supportive of him even when he was in matches with bigger names. Rewind yourself to how the WWE Universe felt when he was placed in the Elimination Chamber and was doing well enough that he could have pulled out the win. It didn’t seem so out of left field, did it?
Morrison’s worst problem was his mic work, but the company has become a little more relaxed about that since then. It’s still something that is necessary for top-tier status, but if you are going to give Cesaro and Roman Reigns a pass, Morrison deserves the same. At the very least, JoMo would be a great addition to the upper midcard plateau. Imagine the matches he could have with AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and more!
I still think one of the biggest mistakes WWECW ever had on its tertiary brand was not giving the ECW Championship to Shelton Benjamin at some point. His “Gold Standard” character was a significant step up, and I was absolutely loving it. Like Morrison above, Benjamin was someone who had the look and the believability as an in-ring performer, consistently putting on great matches, but his mic skills needed more work and WWE clearly considered that something they couldn’t get past.
Now that he’s a little older and a little wiser, I wouldn’t expect Shelton to wrestle at the same pace he did before, nor would I want him to bust his ass that much and receive little to no praise in response, but if WWE is willing to have him be a go-to leader for the midcarders, dancing with upper midcard status, I’m 100% down.
Sadly, you’re not going to see Charlie Haas on this list to coincide with him. As much as I think more tag teams wouldn’t hurt, The World’s Greatest Tag Team isn’t something I’m looking forward to seeing make a resurgence. Benjamin on his own is better than being one half of a pair with Haas, who I have nothing against, but would rather see work as a trainer at the Performance Center than a regular on-screen character.
Let’s just keep the ball rolling with this trio, as you can’t mention The World’s Greatest Tag Team without thinking of Kurt Angle.
It really goes without being said that if he’s got his act together and isn’t too beaten up, Angle is the #1 pick that should be brought back to the company. Nobody is a bigger star than him in the grand scheme of things and everybody has wanted him to come back for years as it is, so that isn’t really going to change.
The more time that goes by, the less the chances are that he can come back and actually wrestle, even at a significantly diminished rate than what we would all want, but he always gives off the impression that he wants to return and it’s more on WWE’s end to make the call. It may never happen, or it might only come to pass as a Legend’s deal where he doesn’t step into the ring and just accepts a Hall of Fame induction, but here’s hoping we can get at least a few choice matches before he hangs up the tights for good.
Montel Vontavious Porter is one of the few characters from the mid-2000s era that built up enough steam to justify possibly giving him a world title reign. All it would have taken was for one or two bigger fish to be out of the equation long enough and he likely would have had that shot. It never did happen, but he still accomplished quite a bit.
Since then, MVP tarnished his legacy somewhat by going to TNA, but not so much that he’s untouchable. He would likely jump at the chance to come back to WWE at a schedule that wasn’t a killer, and with some decent money (especially since it would be guaranteed instead of a “maybe” like TNA seems to be).
Oddly enough, I think one of the biggest reasons to bring MVP back isn’t even for the main roster, but the WWE Network. That avenue opens up so many more projects for creative people to prove their usefulness and MVP strikes me as a guy that would have some fun trying to do something with that platform.