Sunday, June 23, 2024
Editorial10 Former WWE Stars Who Should Return After Brand Extension

10 Former WWE Stars Who Should Return After Brand Extension

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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…

Carlito

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.

John Morrison

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!

Shelton Benjamin

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.

Kurt Angle

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.

MVP

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.

There’s a running theme that I would like to see these wrestlers hang around the midcard scene, and the same applies to MVP. Really, what’s the downside?

Ethan Carter III a.k.a. Derrick Bateman

Before he was Ethan Carter III in TNA, he was competing as Derrick Bateman in the early days of NXT. I was a big supporter of his and was really looking forward to what the future had in store for him, as I figured he had a ton of potential and would at least be Intercontinental champion some day.

It took him going to TNA for a lot of others to start paying attention to him, and I think since carving out his niche as a main eventer in that promotion, WWE probably has much more interest in him than ever, as they should.

As a fan, I would put him right into the upper midcard, giving him a chance to move up to the main event if things work out, but I could even understand the hesitation and a placement in the midcard at first instead. For that matter, I would even be happy with him moving to NXT to be in the main event of that brand for a while. Somehow, some way, I would love to see Carter/Bateman/whatever name he would go by back in WWE where he belongs.

James Storm

Originally, I had someone else in this spot, but typing about NXT and TNA made me remember that James Storm is technically a name that could be brought back as he was in WWE for a hot minute. We all know Bobby Roode is going to make things official soon enough and the Beer Money tag team shouldn’t be split up if they can be paired up.

Both of them could work as singles stars, but why not bring them onto the main roster as a tag team to help out that division in the meantime? Storm and Roode are old enough that if they don’t catch on enough to branch out on their own, it’s still okay for them to just be a team, as fans will eat the act up regardless.

Brian Kendrick

The greatest thing since Sliced Bread #2 is somewhat in the WWE family as it is right now, working with Eva Marie, having wrestled a bit in NXT and competing in the Cruiserweight Classic, but he’s not a main roster member like he once was, and I’d be totally okay with that changing.

“The Brian Kendrick” is a gimmick that I’m admittedly not sure he can quite bring back, although I also wouldn’t rule it out. He might even be at an increased level of doucheyness (doucheness? douchitude?) now that he’s older and would come off as a guy past his prime to be acting like he thinks he’s cool, so that could even be a benefit. Even if that character isn’t even attempted again, that’s not stopping him from just wrestling as himself. Maybe he can

RVD

It’s weird for me to say this, considering how I’ve always thought Rob Van Dam was overrated and—spoiler alert—I have an article coming out soon where I’ll say that ECW Originals shouldn’t be hired again, but with all that being said, I still think RVD should come back as a regular performer.

Just because I don’t love someone as much as everyone else doesn’t mean my opinion supersedes a smart business decision, and if someone is popular enough, of course you should bring them back. The fans were digging his appearances from the past few years and if he hasn’t lost his step, he can be another valuable asset in the midcard picture or even pairing him up with a younger guy in a tag team if someone clicks.

Mickie James

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one woman on this list, wouldn’t I? There’s plenty of names I would like to see come back for Hall of Fame inductions and the like, but while I could suggest women like Victoria and Beth Phoenix for that reason or Kelly Kelly and Taryn Terrell for the sake of eye candy, the one woman I would like to see make a return above the rest is Mickie James.

For my money, I think James is as good as it gets for women from her era, and I would even put her on par or perhaps better than the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita. If she is in good enough shape to do what she did back then with some of the women on the current roster, that can only be a positive.

Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and more could all still learn a thing or two from working with a veteran like James, and this could lead to a position as a trainer at the Performance Center that has been long rumored as well as a Hall of Fame induction in the future—all of which should all come her way.

Would you want to see these wrestlers come back, or should they all stay away? Who should they feud with if they do return? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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