Everybody loves a good return. A superstar or diva returning to WWE after a lengthy absence.
Whether it's someone from your youth mending bridges with their former employer, or the swansong for a legend in the twilight of their career looking for one last run, you always get excited for an old, familiar face to emerge from behind that curtain when their music hits.
And nobody knows this quite like WWE.
Last year saw an unprecedented number of former stars return, from superstars in quick cameos after lengthy stints with rival companies, to the return of one of the greatest and most influential superstars of all time. And then of course there's The Rock.
But all joking aside, 2011 was ripe with returning talent. And not just returns, but WWE showing off their new-found best friends on television. Kevin Nash and Booker T returned at the Royal Rumble and by the end of 2011 were in two high profile matches at TLC. Trish Stratus returned and in a little over a month was in a match at WrestleMania XXVII. And let's not forget The Rock has, for nearly a year now, been jotted down for the main event of WrestleMania XXVIII.
But the buck doesn't stop there. 2012 has already seen the start of more returns. Chris Jericho came back for his third stint in the company on Monday with a new character and the obvious direction of headlining WrestleMania in April.
Dustin Rhodes aka "Goldust" has made his second consecutive appearance on SmackDown, addressing his real-life brother Cody which is lining up for a match at WrestleMania. And it looks like more returns are on the horizon.
Rob Van Dam is currently testing the waters with WWE after being disillusioned with life in TNA. Brock Lesnar's retirement from MMA has already sent speculation of him returning to WWE into overdrive.
WWE Magazine has hinted that we haven't seen the last of The Animal, Batista. And WWE has gone so far as to even talk about the possibility of more returns in 2012 on WWE.com.
Which has been your favorite return in 2011?
Now I like a good return as much as the next person, but are all these returns necessary? And what will this do to the current talent already employed by WWE? We know WWE care about ratings and quarterly profits, but are these returns good for the company in both short and long term?
How do you top Jericho's immensely successful second run in the company that saw him, in 3 years, win the World Heavyweight Championship twice, have a great program with Shawn Michaels, and headline WrestleMania XXVI?
Is Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes going to help Cody's career more than him against another good, young talent where both could have a great match in front of millions watching the WWE's biggest show of the year?
And what of the other potential returns? Is RVD really going add that extra 0.1 rating to RAW or SmackDown? How is, say, Jack Swagger working with him better than with, say, Evan Bourne?
Will bringing Batista and/or Lesnar back for a main event push or high-profile WrestleMania match help the WWE in the long run with the future talent pushes being shelved as WWE banks on already-made names to generate money?
We all know what happened to the last company that relied too heavily on already-made stars at the expense of younger talent.
Now while I don't think WWE will go the WCW route, we are seeing that WWE prefer to spend more money to have CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho at WrestleMania in lieu of CM Punk vs., say, The Miz, in fear of not drawing the 3.0 rating for RAW week in-week out, even though taking the time to develop the younger talent will turn the Miz's, the Dolph Ziggler's, the Cody Rhodes', the Sheamus', the Del Rio's, the McIntyre's, etc. into household names.
People like The Rock, Batista and Brock Lesnar are great impact returns, but they're not stars that will fill the main event void for the next five years. Instead, their returns will be limited.
They will not follow the hectic work schedule WWE maintain, and, as has been the case with The Rock, will rarely been seen on WWE television except for build ups to big money pay-per-views, leaving WWE to still rely on their current talent for much of the year but not rewarding them with the big matches at WrestleMania.
These are taken by the big names collecting the big paychecks for a month's work while the workhorses receive much smaller paychecks despite consistently performing throughout the year.
What do you think? Do you think WWE are right to have so many returns each year? Are the younger talent safe? Please comment below.
Thanks for reading.