For the last few weeks and months, WWE has been running promos and dropping names for the respective returns of Brodus Clay and the mystery "1/2/12" man (who turned out to be Chris Jericho).
While both debuts were heavily hyped, the boys down at WWE creative have been known to miss, even when attempting to shoot proverbial ducks in a proverbial barrel.
After the weeks of waiting, we have now seen both of these men on Monday Night Raw. Did their returns live up to their hype?
Everyone knows the story here.
A few weeks back, WWE started linking to YouTube videos and playing vignettes on-air for a mystery return on 1/2/12. The videos were dark and ominous, and never really gave a big clue as to whom they were for.
While the IWC wasn't exactly unanimous on who they thought would be retuning (thoughts of Undertaker and Shane McMahon both floated around the various dirt sheets), the majority of the speculation was on the return of Y2J.
Despite numerous claims otherwise via Twitter, last Monday Chris Jericho came back to Monday Night Raw and said...nothing.
The inevitable cheers and "Y2J" chants faded and he left without saying a word to mixed reactions from the crowd.
Absolutely, but not the way that the crowd in Memphis, Tenn. expected it to.
As has been stated a million times before, Chris Jericho is at his best when he is playing the heel. I sure didn't expect him to come back kissing up to the same crowd that cheered when Randy Orton punted him in the head back in 2010.
This week, we got a second silent promo from Y2J, and I, for one, still love it.
When he came out this week, the crowd cheered his name and acted like last week never happened. A few more of these silent assaults on the crowd, and they'll be going back to what Jericho loves most—hatred for him.
I certainly don't expect Jericho to stay silent forever, but don't expect to hear his voice until after his first attack (most likely on CM Punk).
I welcome back Chris Jericho, even if we saw it coming.
Anticipation Rating: 9/10
Surprise Rating: 3/10
In NXT, Brodus Clay was a monster, however, under the wing of then-pros Ted DiBiase and Maryse, he wasn't really gaining any heat as a heel.
The WWE decided to make a midseason switch, and move him under Alberto Del Rio, and that was the best decision they had made on NXT to this day.
Clay started showing up on Monday Night Raw with ADR as a bodyguard-of-sorts, and the crowd actually had a decent pop when he came out for a singles match.
Shortly thereafter, Clay disappeared.
Some time ago, John "My catchphrase is way too freaking long" Laurinaitis started slipping in Brodus Clay's name on Raw, each week claiming that his debut would be on the following episode.
Each week, we got nothing.
People started wondering if he would ever come back, or be lost in the void that now holds the anonymous Raw general manager.
Tonight, we finally saw this beast come back to the WWE...as "The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay.
I sure hope so.
Billed from "Planet Funk" and accompanied to the ring by two dancing beauties, Brodus Clay looked nothing like the WWE Universe was expecting.
He looked like a mix of Dude Love, The Godfather, Val Venis and Rikishi.
The crowd wasn't sure how to react, but as his squash match against Curt Hawkins progressed, they started to get behind the strange gimmick.
He was obviously having a great time in the ring, and I think a lighthearted character with the size to actually compete with the big guys is going to be a breath of fresh air on a product that was quickly becoming stale.
Anticipation Rating: 2/10
Surprise Rating: 10/10
I'm not usually one to toot the horn of WWE creative, but with both of these returns, I think they are hitting the nail on the head.
Add in the impressive return of Kane and a few upcoming title matches that could showcase some incredible in-ring performances, and the Royal Rumble is going to be an event you won't want to miss.
How did you react to the return of Y2J and the debut of the Funkmaster? Let me know!