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3.09.2008

Another “Big” WWE return?

The recent returns of the Big Show and Chris Jericho are symptomatic of the WWE’s biggest problem that I touched on in my first column: developing and acquiring talent. Instead of developing or finding talent that is new to the WWE audience, the fed is bringing back old faces in the hopes of increasing ratings. Seeing as how they aren’t about to change their ways, I say let’s make a game of it. I’ve compiled a short list of former WWE stars who could potentially (and I stress POTENTIALLY) make a return to the company for one final run. Here are the rules . . .

A) Current health and age are taken into consideration. So as much as we (especially Tyson Dux) may wish to see the likes of Arn Anderson or Ricky Steamboat make a return, such stars do not apply.

B) The willingness for a potential return must be shown. Therefore, guys like The Rock and Brock Lesnar, who’ve successfully branched out into other avenues and have shown absolutely ZERO interest in returning to the squared circle, do not apply.

With these rules in mind, I made a list of 4 individuals. Let’s start with the biggest name on the list:

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Admittedly, it’s a long shot. The possibility of him returning for a final run is even less likely than Fatty finishing the CN Tower stair climb in under 20 minutes. Or “Panda Bear” Fatty picking up one of the bikini-clad ladies who will be accompanying him on the climb. But Austin’s movie career has been less-than successful thus far and The Condemned grossed less revenue than any other WWE Films offering (which is saying something considering how bad those films have been). In recent online interviews, Austin has voiced his frustration over the lack of offers he’s received for movie roles; he’s also expressed the desire to do some comedy flicks, but again, the demand just isn’t there.

If you haven’t seen The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin DVD, make sure that you do - it reinforces the notion that there is no wrestler currently employed by the WWE who has his ability to draw in the audience. Crowds were littered with Austin 3:16 signs and t-shirts and fans literally hung over the guardrails when Austin came to the ring. He had one of the most compelling characters and he was a hell of a worker to boot.

Are there health concerns with Austin? Absolutely. Not to mention, he should be financially set for life and he has little to prove. Most likely, we’ll have to settle for the occasional Austin appearance, like the one-shot deal with Santino or his appearance at Saturday Night’s Main Event at MSG, with the possibility of one more match. But out of all the wrestlers on the list, Austin is the one I’d most like to see return for one more run.

Rob Van Dam
From the least likely to return, we move to the most likely to return. RVD is still in high demand. TNA has been trying to sign him ever since he left the fed; ROH wants him to work their next show at the Manhattan Center; and the WWE made overtures at the Raw 15th Anniversary Show - they didn’t want him to leave in the first place. So far, RVD has rejected these offers. But he’s also said that if he were to return full-time, he would require a substantial offer and the WWE is the only company that can afford his services. From a health standpoint, RVD is the healthiest wrestler on this list. My guess is, after 1 or 2 yrs relaxing (RVD style), he’ll start to miss the WWE dollars, as well as the spotlight, and he’ll make his return - just like Chris Jericho. When he does return, it’ll likely be to the mid-card status he held before - just like Chris Jericho.

Mick Foley
Foley has shown that he’s willing to do almost anything for a payday - he’s a “whore” according to Paul Heyman. How else can you explain his willingness to work with Hornswoggle and Coach? On the Legends of Wrestling panel on WWE 24/7 (or YouTube), Foley even admitted that he’s agreed to do certain matches just for the money (although he didn’t use Heyman’s terminology), and I don’t blame him. It’s not like the WWE offers nice retirement packages. Foley has even opened up an EBay account to sell his merch, so clearly he’s realized that his savings haven’t stretched out as far as he had hoped. As such, I think a solid offer from the fed would entice him back for one last extended run.

Just like with Austin, there are health concerns with Foley (and weight concerns too). But he’s also shown the drive to get in shape for a big match like his match with Randy Orton at Backlash 2004 and his match with Edge that stole the show at WrestleMania 22. Certainly, getting into shape for one match is different, for example, than a 6-month string of matches; but then again, during Foley’s most popular run, 1998-99, he was also in the worst shape of his career.

Sid Vicious
Perhaps this name comes as a surprise to some, but if you frequent wrestling rumour sites you’d know Sid has been campaigning for months for a return to the WWE. In September on the Slam Wrestling site, Tha O Show favourite, Johnny Devine wrote that he’d worked Sid on a show and the former WWF and WCW champion was in great shape - he showed no ill effects of the nasty leg injury he suffered in WCW in early 2001. Devine also wrote that he suspected either TNA or the WWE would sign him shortly. Well, it’s been over 5 months and he remains unsigned, but I still wouldn’t rule it out. You’d think there wouldn’t be a spot for him on the roster considering all of the other big men currently employed: Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Big Daddy V, Great Khali, Mark Henry. But all of those guys are on Smackdown/ECW, so perhaps Raw would be the right fit. Like Devine, I’m actually surprised Sid hasn’t made his return already - Vince has always been a mark for the giants. It’s probably a money issue since Sid’s self-perceived worth is greater than his actual worth. He’s never drawn ratings or buys. But I’d love to see him return if only for the unintentional comedy he’d provide. His “Millennium Man” promos were classic in WCW and I’d love to see him fumble incoherently with scripted lines.

None of these workers’ returns would increase ratings dramatically, as seen by the returns of the Big Show and Y2J, and like I said, these returns would only reinforce the WWE’s problems with developing new talent. But since the fed continually looks to the past, with Show and Jericho returning and Triple H and Undertaker main-eventing for years and years, why not see the return of more favourites?

As always, O-sters, your feedback is encouraged. Out of the 4, who would you like to see return the most? Are there any other former WWE Superstars who could make a return?


13 comments: on "Another “Big” WWE return?"

D.J.B. said...

I'm assuming you mean a full-time in-ring run, so I'll go with that. I'd like to see Austin but it's impossible with his neck. I've heard hundreds of times that he couldn't handle anything more than one match, and if he does do just one more match it'll draw like crazy.

His sporadic and heavily advertised "one-time" appearances haven't done much in the ratings department, so I don't know what effect it could have.

Foley shows up so much and so randomly people have almost completely lost interest. He'd done RoH, he considered TNA but he's still a WWE guy, and whenever he gets his own reality show, new book or needs a few extra bucks he'll show up and put somebody else over.

As far as RVD he will be back, but I don't think it'll have any sort of effect on the ratings other than for a week or two if any. He's in high demand no doubt, but with RVDTV on his site and making money through that, I don't think he'll be back anytime soon.

Psycho Sid. I don't think he'd do anything in the way of ratings either. I wouldn't mind seeing him make a comeback, but I really don't think it would matter. I don't know if anyone wants him back or not, inside the locker room, because Vince is a mark for big men and Sid's been wanting a comeback for a while now and nothing really has been done.

Good article, and good premise, I just don't think that there is any one man, or group that can come back and do alot in the way of ratings. DX was semi-succesful but they don't count seeing as they were both still in the E and it was nothing but a feud with Vince.

If there was one guy period that I personally would like to see come back it'd have to be a guy still in the company who I just think should be pushed, because he can do it, and he deserves it and that's Val Venis under the Sean Morely gimmick. No Chief of Staff gimmick, just a natural gimmick one that allows him to shine again, but that's just me.

Christopher Casúr said...

Add Ron Killings to that list. He's in great shape right now, and has gotten remarkably over since he left the fed back 2001. He could be a major player on SmackDown! as a face or on Raw as a heel. Not to mention, the E has reportedly tinkered with the idea of signing him in the past year or so.

If the E were smart, they would snag this guy up. He clearly hasn't retired from wrestling, so I think if Vince offered him reasonable salary and a spot high enough on the card, he'd come back.

D.J.B. said...

Killings is already signed apparently. He's just working other bookings until the E has something to do with him.

I don't see him as a world champion in WWE, but I do agree with you in that he could play a large role.

Christopher Casúr said...

I do see him as a world champion in the E. Maybe on SmackDown! or ECW as opposed to the overcrowded cesspool that is Raw, but he could be valuable to the company if given a big belt.

He's got charisma out the ass, he can work, he's good on the stick, and he's got the look of a superstar. In short, not to steal from Deaner, but Killings has "it".

D.J.B. said...

I would like to see him as a champion in the E don't get me wrong, I've long been a Killings mark, but I can't see the E doing that.

MVP just qualified for MitB at a house show, and I think Killings would get in line behind, MVP, Benjamin, Burke and Big Daddy V for top-black-guy.

Dante Ross said...

Dan. All the ones I'd like to see come back are dead. How depressing. If i had to pick someone though I would go with Big Van Vader. I have always liked that big, crazy bastard.

Dr. Death Steve Williams. I still think he has enough in him to pull off a Finlay type role in The E.

Adam Bomb. In ECW. Thank you. Next question.

Anonymous said...

i am half the man sid is.
and he has half the brain i have.

Andrew Gray said...

djb - I'm with ya, like I said in the article, I dont think any of their full-time returns will do much in the ratings department, even Austin. Val is a solid worker, and he definitely needs a new gimmick. My roommate made a funny comment about him a few weeks back: why does he still have the porn star gimmick . . . do girls actually even find him attractive anymore? He's bald and fat lol

Christopher - I've never really been a big fan of Killings . . . the twirly shit he does into every bump or after every move is annoying. But he's a fresh face at least, and I would be interested in seeing how successful his second go-round with the fed would be.

Dante - I thought about writing a "no-holds barred" column, for lack of a better expression, which would have allowed us to go back in time to include dead wrestlers and wrestlers in their prime. Essentially, it'd be a true "fantasy" booking. Instead, I just decided to keep it as realistic as possible, even if the full-time returns of Austin and Foley aren't very realistic at all :). If my list had included the deceased, Mr. Perfect and Rick Rude would have been at the top of the list. It's a shame those guys never got a run with the big strap in the fed. Either of those guys feuding with Hogan long-term would have been money.

Anonymous said...

I want Bret Hart to come back but he would never come back....Remask Kane and give him a title run that is longer than one day

Dante Ross said...

I keep a weekly Kane hair watch. I feel bad that he has to go through airports looking like that. I want him to change something about himself. Losing the mask was cool until he shaved and started talking.

I would love for Bret to come back and feud with HHH, Kennedy, or Shelton. Maybe even Punk seeing as how Bret revealed all that shit about himself. have Punk say how Bret let so many people down.

Chris said...

Iron Shiek, just have the camera follow him around backstage.
I'd watch that.
I think Steamboat as a trainer / manager would be good.
But for overall ratings...
dunno, Randy Savage would probably bring people out for awhile. But I don't see that happening.

Anonymous said...

All the E has to do is bring in or make some tag teams and use the tag team titles cause i remember how awsome it was back in the day when there were great teams that were so entertaining from the Dudleys to the Rockers.

Also Killings would be a great Intercontenental or US title contender which brings me to the next way which is START USING ALL TITLES! Like seriously even the cruserweight title would be entertaining.

arllyn said...

hey i really think the come back of Stone cold Steve Austin's come back was really awaitened and i really liked it. i enjoyed the movie The Condemned and his acts in the movie. i really miss him and his wrestling. i so want him to come back in wrestling or atleast have more of his films. i hope even u guys enjoy it and agree with me.