Ranking the 10 Best Televised Returns to WWE Action
What wrestling fan doesn't love a good superstar return? As much as fans love certain superstars, they are so much happier to see them return from some time off. Whether it was due to injury, retirement or another type of hiatus, superstar returns are almost assured to get a response from the crowd.
A perfect example of that was last Monday night's episode of RAW, when Chris Jericho was revealed as the man behind the cryptic "It Begins" promos, which had taken over television feeds and become popular viral videos on the Internet. His return sparked a lot of buzz, especially with Twitter-happy fans. Jericho dominated the worldwide trends for the time period that he was on WWE programming once again.
Many superstars have returned over the years, but they are often featured at a big stage like a pay-per-view. An event known for returns and special appearances is Royal Rumble, coming up in a few weeks. However, it is so much more special when a superstar returns on a televised episode of a brand. Instead of having to purchase the event just to see the nice moment, WWE and the superstar are able to feature the unique moment on free television.
Here are 10 of the best televised returns from throughout the years. You will notice that many of them ended up being the more shocking and more unforgettable returns in recent years.
Brian Christopher Shocks the WWE Universe
This certainly was a shocking moment last year on RAW. Sure, Brian Christopher isn't exactly a known superstar, but at least his video, music, and lack of coordination jogged many of our memories.The man fans knew as Grandmaster Sexay came out unexpectedly to rib at Jerry Lawler, his real-life father.
Christopher came out just to be a part of his father's feud with Michael Cole. Like most sons of wrestlers, Christopher's words laid blame on his famous father for not being a good dad. The segment was unexpected and told many wrestling fans that Christopher was Lawler's son, something that was not made public on WWE programming before.
In fact, it is not the only family member of Lawler's to be in WWE and not be acknowledged as related to The King. The legendary Honky Tonk Man was actually Jerry Lawler's brother.
Matt Hardy Returns from the Dead
The feud between Matt Hardy and Edge was very intriguing, mostly because it was based on a real-life love triangle. Hardy was hired back by WWE because of the real-life feud, which became a WWE storyline in 2005. Intelligent fans were aware of the situation, making it all the more exciting to see Hardy formally hired back to WWE.
Hardy was never a main event player, but this segment from an episode of RAW was about as high-profile as he would get in his career. The reaction he got was about as well as he could get in his WWE career. Even if it wasn't shocking, the pop that Hardy was given made this one of the more memorable Matt Hardy moments ever.
Foley Is Commissioner
Shawn Michaels was no longer the commissioner of WWE, but was a spokesman for the company. When there was a need to appoint a new authority figure, Michaels came to the ring to make the announcement. Next to his friend, Triple H, Michaels revealed the name of Mick Foley, a rival of The Game's.
Foley had his career ended by Triple H, so putting Foley in charge was not a good move in Triple H's mind. Triple H wanted a guy who would help him regain his world championship, but Foley didn't seem like that guy. The reaction to Foley, new haircut and all, was roaring. Foley is still one of the more memorable authority figures in WWE history.
Kane Fights for America
Kane has returned to WWE for multiple reasons over the years. Be it to attack The Undertaker, D-Generation X or John Cena, it is usually a fiery vengeance for The Big Red Monster. However, back in 2002, Kane had a slightly different target in his crosshairs: The Un-Americans. The pro-Canadian group made up of Christian, Lance Storm and Test wanted to make a big statement on an episode of RAW. Their decision was to burn an American flag live on television.
The trio went to the ring with a blowtorch, but was greeted by a Kane return promo. After the scare, Booker T and Goldust tried to avoid the crime of desecrating Old Glory. With nobody in their way, Test nearly burned the flag until the fires of Hell came from the ground and Kane had actually returned.
The Second Coming of Jericho
Chris Jericho was a one-of-a-kind talent that WWE elevated. Coming over from WCW in 1999, Jericho was a very decorated superstar in his tenure. However, Jericho was so talented that he wanted to do other things. The main thing was Jericho's fascination with the music industry. His band, Fozzy, has had unexpected success, especially overseas. Another passion of Jericho's was writing. That is why it was so shocking to hear murmurs of a return by Jericho after publishing his first autobiography, A Lion's Tale.
The cryptic "SAVE_US" promos had played for weeks, but all led to Jericho's "Second Coming". Sporting a different hairstyle, a shiny vest, and the same attitude, Jericho had returned as the savior once again.
Shawn Michaels Returns as an NWO Member
It seemed like every member of the WCW roster, at one point or another, had tried to become a member of the New World Order. Thankfully, when WWE brought back the group, they limited the men who joined the faction. There were some alliances that were a little bit unusual, such as Booker T's inclusion in the group, as well as Goldust's desire to join. However, there was nothing more shocking than the return of Shawn Michaels as a co-leader of the nWo.
The Heartbreak Kid may have been a member of the legendary Kliq, a behind-the-scenes stable of close friends. Michaels, along with Triple H, started D-Generation X, the popular WWE faction that, some would argue, was WWE's version of nWo back in the day. With that said, seeing Michaels return in a black and white shirt from what wrestling historians would consider DX's rival faction was just crazy.
Edge Returns from Career-Threatening Injury
Back before Edge was forced to retire and was a massive success with world championships, he was a young up-and-comer who had finally been close to potentially earning a world title. Edge had gained popularity since winning King of the Ring in 2001, but those dreams were sidelined with a neck injury in 2003, sidelining him for more than a year. Some fans wondered if Edge would ever wrestle again.
Shockingly, Edge returned right after WrestleMania XX for the WWE Draft in an unexpected return. A year later at WrestleMania 21, Edge was Mr. Money in the Bank for the first time and the rest was history. It all began again for the Rated-R Superstar at the 2004 Draft.
Christian Joins the Land of Extreme
In what ended up being an awful call by Todd Grisham that was slightly salvaged by Matt Striker, Christian returned to WWE by joining the ECW brand. When Christian was off of television on TNA, WWE fans hoped that Captain Charisma would return to the promotion he once called home. Christian did just that and even claimed two previously unattainable world title reigns, but it all started in ECW.
Christian was the crown jewel of ECW until the brand was discontinued, but bringing the star back on a random episode of ECW was a good moment and an unexpected surprise. Some could speculate returning to RAW, where his best work as a singles competitor took place, or Smackdown, where he could be inserted into a storyline with Jeff Hardy as the "dark cloud" following him.
Ric Flair Buys Part of WWE
It was the night after 2001's Survivor Series, which ended the Invasion storyline with the WCW and ECW superstars. As Vince McMahon stood tall with the WWE, familiar music played. Ric Flair returned to WWE to announce that he had bought Shane and Stephanie's stock in the company, making him a half-owner of the company.
This was shocking to see The Nature Boy, a former world champion in WWE and a WCW superstar in its final moments before being sold to McMahon. Flair did not take part in the Invasion storyline, but an argument could be said that Flair alone created an equally memorable storyline as an owner of WWE compared to the entire roster of the Alliance during the Invasion storyline.
Triple H Returns to Stare Down Undertaker
The "2.21.11" promos seemed to point toward The Undertaker returning, which made it all but academic when the countdown struck zero and revealed the return of The Deadman. As The Phenom slowly walked to the ring, complete with smoke and purple lighting, fans were ecstatic to see such a legend return to active duty in WWE. His streak of WrestleMania victories would mean that The Undertaker was going to start a storyline with his planned opponent.
Little did we know that it would be before The Undertaker said a word and would be another returning superstar. Triple H shocked us all by returning. The Game would take on The Deadman at that year's WrestleMania and put on one of the best matches either man had ever been involved in, especially at WrestleMania.