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WWE Road to WrestleMania: Brock Lesnar and 20 Stars Who Should Return to the WWE

John AtkinsCorrespondent IIIDecember 23, 2016

WWE Road to WrestleMania: Brock Lesnar and 20 Stars Who Should Return to the WWE

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    WrestleMania season is now in full swing, and is it usually around this time of year that former/injured/AWOL superstars make their triumphant return to the WWE for a fat April paycheck.

    Since January, we have already seen the returns of Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. (Yes, it still counts as a return, even though it's his 5,000th!)

    Now, by no means am I saying that I dislike the current WWE product or want a total upheaval of everything by bringing back every man and his dog who has ever competed (*Spoiler*—Al Snow does not appear in this article), but it would be great to see even a handful of these 20 former stars back in the company.

    As much as I'm not into the whole fantasy booking or anything like that, the following slideshow will examine and analyze 20 realistic superstars who I feel could (and should) return to the WWE, even if only in a limited capacity (a la The Rock).

    Enjoy!

Notable Omissions

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    Edge

    The 11-time World champion served the WWE well, but there is no need for him to return to the ring and risk killing himself.

    The well-deserved Hall of Famer is now signed to a Legends contract, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Rated R Superstar return.

    But all I shall say for now is best of luck to Adam Copeland in all his future endeavours, and I sincerely hope he enjoys a peaceful retirement.

     

    Hulk Hogan

    Being as mad as a box of frogs, Hulk Hogan could well return to the WWE at any given moment.

    His legacy is undeniable, but at times he is his own worst enemy through nonsensical rants and outrageous claims (lies).

    He has also only recently returned to TNA as the mystery trainer of Garett Bischoff, so don't expect Hulkamania to run wild in the WWE again any time soon.

     

    The Ultimate Warrior

    Like Hogan, James Brian Hellwig (or "Warrior" as he is now legally known) is completely bonkers.

    If not publicly denouncing homosexuality, the former World champion spends time in retirement, shooting on the Hulkster about everything and anything.

    In many ways, it would be hilarious to see the feud between these two come to a head on WWE television (though definitely NOT in a wrestling match!).

     

    Scott Hall

    A legend, admittedly, but this guy just needs help.

    It is very possible we may see him again with all four of his fellow Kliq members still involved in the WWE in some sort of capacity or another.

    But I for one would much rather remember the dominant Razor Ramon and subsequent NWO member than the disheveled, weak and frail old man that he has become.

20. Carlito

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    Appearing between 2003-2010, Carlito was released by the WWE in mid-2010 for violation of the WWE Wellness Policy (sound familiar?) and his subsequent refusal to attend rehab for addiction to pain killers.

     

    Where are they now?

    Carlito returned to the World Wrestling Council soon after his release from WWE, quickly becoming WWC Universal Heavyweight champion by defeating Shelton Benjamin.

    More recently, however, he has been spotted at the World Wrestling Fan Xperience (WWFX) Champions Showcase Tour in the Philippines, competing under the name of Carlitos.

     

    Why should they return?

    Carlito was both entertaining and talented in equal measure. The Carribean Bad Apple was successful as both a heel and face, capturing the United States and Intercontinental titles during his WWE tenure, while also becoming the one-half of the first duo (along with brother Primo), to simultaneously hold both sets of the company's tag team titles.

     

    Potential feud(s)?

    It would be great to see Carlito return and fully reform the Colons (with Primo and newbie Epico). He is known for his talking and comedic delivery, so a singles feud with a character such as Brodus Clay could also prove to be wildly entertaining. 

     

    Likelihood?

    The company's Wellness Program is pretty clear (ask Evan Bourne), and refusing treatment was probably the ultimate nail in the coffin for Carly Colon's WWE career.

19. Paul Bearer

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    The former mentor of the Undertaker, Paul Bearer, was one of the best managers in WWE history.

    Where are they now?

    In late-2010, Paul Bearer made his most recent appearance with the company as ally/manager to Kane. Following his preposterous involvement in the Edge-Kane World Heavyweight Championship feud, however, Bearer was once again written off WWE television.

    From 2006-2010, Bearer was the managing director of Coastal Funeral Homes & Crematorium in Moss Point, Miss.

    Why should they return?

    Kane will need direction once the Cena feud comes to an end this Sunday, and Paul Bearer could give the Big Red Machine a much-needed character boost.

    Alternatively, with the Undertaker's streak seemingly winding down to some sort of a conclusion, it would only be fitting for Bearer to somehow be involved in the final chapter of the legacy of his former protege.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Aiding Kane in the torment of Zack Ryder and/or aligning with the Undertaker to either help or attempt to betray the Dead Man at WrestleMania.

    Likelihood?

    At (just) 57 years old, Bearer could easily make a return to the WWE in any sort of managerial capacity.

    It would be nice to see him featured in any storyline involving the Undertaker's ultimate retirement, but even as manager of a younger heel, the Father of Destruction could put any aspiring superstar over the top.

18. The Godfather

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    Charles Wright wrestled under many pseudonyms whilst with the WWE, but my personal favourite had to be during his tenure as the Godfather.

    Where are they now?

    Wright was released from the WWE in late-2002 in the midst of his Goodfather gimmick (of Right to Censor). Whereupon he returned to Las Vegas to manage the Gentleman's club Cheetah's; a company he still owns to this day.

    The Godfather character has appeared subsequently on WWE programming along with his Ho-Train in predominantly comedic segments.

    Why should they return?

    The Godfather was inarguably one of the most entertaining characters of the attitude era. Following the portrayal of Papa Shango and Kama Mustafa, Wright's pimp gimmick really got him over as a fan favourite.

    It was a real shame that the Parent's Television Council (PTC) were so anti-pimping in 2000, forcing Wright to join the Right to Censor stable under the moniker of the Goodfather—a gimmick which would never really take off.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Gimmicks like that of the Godfather shouldn't be used only as sideshow novelty acts. Instead, someone of Wright's undeniable stature and experience could be well-utilised in the same way as Booker T, in putting younger mid-card talent such as Cody Rhodes or Dolph Ziggler over.

    Obviously the similarities between the Godfather and the Funkasaurus could also provide some fun interaction.

    Likelihood?

    As the Godfather used to say, "Pimping Ain't Easy," and this is especially true in the current PG-climate within the WWE.

    The Godfather gimmick is fondly remembered by attitude era fans, but re-igniting this gimmick as successfully now would require strong consideration of what is a much younger core fanbase in 2012.

17. John Morrison

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    JoMo only left the WWE late last year but is already missed by what is undoubtedly a wafer-thin roster.

    Where are they now?

    Written off television by former partner The Miz in December, Morrison posted a video online stating that he was taking time off in order to heal.

    In February though, he made a swift return to the ring in becoming the first-ever WWFX World Heavyweight champion at a Champions Tour event in Manila.

    Why should they return?

    Morrison was the WWE's go-to guy for insane spots and acrobatics.The Parkour Prince will always be remembered for the highlights he provided such as in the video (above).

    The unpredictable nature of the former-Johnny Nitro was always exciting and thrilling for fans to see, and Morrison could have undoubtedly thrived at main-event level had it not been for his obvious lack of skill on the mic.

    Potential feud(s)?

    If JoMo was ever to return to the WWE, he should ideally address the man who put him kayfabe on the shelf (and former partner), the Miz.

    With Morrison's lack of charisma, a return feud with someone like Jack Swagger over the United States Championship could work, with Vickie Guerrero able to carry the feud promo-wise.

    Likelihood?

    I definitely see John Morrison returning to the WWE one day. Athletic performers have always been huge fan favourites, and Morrison is a bankable star in that sense.

    His twitter comments and reaction to Trish Stratus at WMXXVII though didn't do him any favours. Therefore, a WWE return will be more likely when his relationship with Melina eventually dissolves.

16. Sable

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    Rena Marlette Mero Lesnar, or Sable as she is better known, became only the second WWF Women's champion after the title was reinstated into the company in the mid-1990s.

    The three-time Playboy cover girl and current wife of Brock Lesnar was one of the most dominant female competitors ever to appear in the WWE.

    Where are they now?

    In 1999, Sable left the company on extremely bad terms, filing a $110 million sexual harassment lawsuit after quitting—a decision bought about by refusing to go topless on television. Following an out-of-court settlement for the incident, she returned to the WWE as a heel in 2003.

    In 2004, WWE.com announced that Sable and the company had once again parted ways, but this time on much better terms. Sable now lives with her husband Brock and two young children in Alexandria, Minn.

    Why should they return?

    Sable performed in an era where women were greatly under utilised by the WWF/E. Resigned predominantly to bra and panties and evening gown matches, females were there to be gawked at as opposed to be taken seriously as competitors—a great shame considering the talent harboured within the roster.

    In today's WWE, very few divas have even an ounce of the wrestling talent as the likes of Sable and Luna Vachon. The return of an attitude era star such as the Wildcat could really bolster a Divas division which looks to turn a corner with the inclusion of more physically commanding women such as Kharma and Beth Phoenix in the near future.

    Potential feud(s)?

    In a wrestling capacity, Sable could be well-used to put over divas such as Natalya (anything to get her out of this ridiculous farting "storyline") and/or Layla, whilst also feuding with the likes of Beth Phoenix over the Diva's title.

    Sable could also make a great manager or valet to the likes of The Miz or even Drew McIntyre to really draw heat to the characters. A partnership with another superstar mentioned further down this list could also be extremely interesting...

    Likelihood?

    Sable should eventually be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, so it is only natural to assume that she will return to the company at some point. The current Diva's division severely needs a facelift and bringing back past stars could be the key to a hugely essential overhaul.

15. M.V.P.

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    Montel Vontavious Porter's WWE tenure proved to be a short-lived but ultimately succesful period for the former-United States champion.

    Where are they now?

    Porter left the WWE in 2010 after requesting a release from his contract.

    Currently with New Japan Pro Wrestling, MVP has only recently dropped the IWGP Intercontinental Championship after an impressive 148-day reign.

    Why should they return?

    On Porter's twitter (@The305MVP) the former WWE star continually answers questions relating to a return to the company which made his name (he's also a big soccer fan so that holds him in high esteem in my book).

    During his time with the company, MVP was successful as both heel and face, and a full-time return could bring prestige back to a mid-card title such as the United States Championship (with which Porter had the third longest reign of all-time).

    Potential feud(s)?

    If MVP were to return, I would expect him to receive a huge pop from fans and so he would most likely appear as a returning babyface.

    A feud with someone like Jack Swagger or a heel Zack Ryder over the U.S. strap could prove to be a great way of building either of the newer guys into legitimate main-event threats.

    Likelihood?

    One day I think MVP will almost certainly return to the WWE, but at 38 years old, he isn't getting any younger. 

    Voted Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Most Underrated talent in 2008, Mr. 305 has seemingly defied the odds though and actually improved with age through competition in Japan.

    A return to the WWE, I'm sure, would be embraced extremely positively by all members of the Universe.

14. Goldberg

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    Bill Goldberg had slated 2011 as the year of his triumphant return to the WWE. It is now 2012 by my count, and there is still no sign of the man who is listed as once having a 173-0 winning streak in WCW.

    Where are they now?

    Goldberg was last seen in the WWE at Wrestlemania XX in a match against Brock Lesnar—a bout which saw both wrestlers heavily booed throughout, with it being common knowledge that it would be the final match of the two men's WWE careers.

    The former-NFL defensive tackle now co-owns and operates the "Extreme Power Gym" Muay Thai and Amateur boxing training facility in Oceanside, Calif.

    Why should they return?

    The WWE loves returning stars and Goldberg would be a big coup for a big event such as Wrestlemania. As stated in a number of interviews, he fancies taking on Stone Cold Steve Austin, but any match between the two would be far from a technical classic.

    At 45, Goldberg would prove a rather shocking return to the WWE (especially given the way his last run ended) but would undoubtedly increase interest of the casual viewer if the destructive star were to come back.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Goldberg's ego would not allow him to job to non-established stars, so feuding with the likes of Austin, The Undertaker and John Cena would be the only plausible feuds in a return to the company.

    Likelihood?

    Goldberg may want it, but is it good for business? The WWE seem to be using a lot of older generation stars recently to push young talent to the next level, but is someone like Goldberg the really the right guy to be jobbing?

    Strangely enough, I can actually see this one happening.

    Vinny Mac would be laughing all the way to the bank if he could get Goldberg vs. Austin on the card for WrestleMania 29. Inside the MetLife stadium would also seem like the perfect fit for the former football player to finish his wrestling career.

13. Mickie James

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    "Hardcore Country" Mickie James currently serves in TNA as one of the most successful faces in the Knockouts division.

    Where are they now?

    The former five time (five time, five time, five time, five time) WWE Women's Champion returned to TNA in October 2010, after being released earlier in the year by WWE.

    Reportedly James' release was because WWE Officials were "looking to go in a new direction with the Diva's division," effectively meaning that they knew the Diva could wrestle, but rather unfortunately didn't look like a Barbie or even a potential Playmate.

    Why should they return?

    If WWE were to ever look to really bolster it's women's division it would do well to bring back the likes of Mickie James and Trish Stratus to the company (in addition to renaming it back to Women's as opposed to Diva's).

    James is a fan-favourite in TNA but could return for a successful run in the WWE as either a face or heel.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Before leaving WWE, Mickie was embroiled in a feud with LayCool so a revival of this could always be a possibility. Far more likely though would be to return as a face in order to fight the likes of Beth Phoenix or Natalya.

    Likelihood?

    James' final storyline with the WWE ("Piggy James"), and subsequent reasoning for release would appear to make it extremely difficult in persuading the talented Knockout back into a WWE ring.

    Whilst TNA continue to use James as a key component of their women's division, it is very tricky to find a reason why Hardcore Country would leave such a cushy position anytime in the foreseeable future.

12. JBL

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    John Bradshaw Layfield was once the longest-reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown...spanning a total of 280 days holding the title.

    One of the greatest heels in the history of the company, JBL's tycoon gimmick was loathed universally, predominantly due to his ability to draw heat from shoots and promos.

    Where are they now?

    JBL quit the WWE emphatically in 2009, after dropping the Intercontinental title to Rey Mysterio in just 21 seconds at Wrestlemania XXV.

    He was most recently seen in a WWE ring as recently as last March however, as Michael Cole's specially-selected referee for his Wrestlemania 28 match with Jerry "The King" Lawler.

    JBL's return last year though was unfortunately short-lived, as he was replaced as guest referee for the bout by none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin.

    Layfield now regularly appears on the Fox News Channel business show, Bulls & Bears.

    Why should they return?

    When asked on Twitter if he would consider a return to the WWE, Layfield responded by boasting that even in his mid-40s, he could still out wrestle every other competitor on the current roster.

    Bradshaw undoubtedly plays up to his character in real life and it is bold claims such as this which makes such as compelling argument for the return of the big Texan.

    Admittedly, not in the shape he used to be (and even that wasn't great!), JBL would be an invaluable addition to the WWE roster...even if he were to return in a non-wrestling capacity as a manager or trainer.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Before leaving the company, JBL had feuded with the best in the business; from Shawn Michaels to John Cena to Edge.

    A return to the company though could actually be a huge help in putting over younger talent such as Kofi Kingston, or even The Miz if he were to be turned face.

    Likelihood?

    After last year's cameo appearance in the Cole-Lawler feud, I thought JBL would be returning to the WWE on a limited basis at the very least. This was not to be, but I genuinely hope that we get to see the former Bradshaw back in the WWE sooner rather than later.

11. Chyna

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    The Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna was undoubtedly one of the most domineering female competitors in WWE history.

    The only Diva to ever compete full time in the men's division, she was also the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble match, qualify for the King of the Ring, and be named number one contender for the WWF Championship.

    In 1999, Chyna also became the first and only woman to hold the Intercontinental championship...a title she acquired on two separate occasions.

    Where are they now?

    You don't want to know...Chyna has been on an extremely slippery slope since leaving the WWE in 2001. 

    From domestically abusing boyfriend Sean Waltman (X-Pac), to substance abuse, to becoming a porn star; Chyna needs to seriously get back on track (if she ever was on track in the first place).

    Why should they return?

    Chyna proved in 2011 that she could still go in the ring, appearing in the Angle-Jarrett TNA feud.

    With her current personal situation, a WWE return could be mutually beneficial for both parties, but it would be a great question of whether the former-Women's champion could reconcile with a company that now employs two of her former lovers (HHH and Waltman).

    Potential feud(s)?

    A return run in the current Diva's division against the likes of Beth Phoenix or Kharma could produce some of the best women's matches in history.

    But if she were to return and again compete in the men's division, any number of battles with young chauvinists could be a great way to put heels such as Cody Rhodes or Dolph Ziggler over the top.

    Likelihood?

    As much as neither would probably admit it, Chyna and the WWE need each other—Chyna needs a lifeline, and the WWE needs a more respectable women's division.

    Unfortunately, I think the relationship between the two is now too far gone to be repaired, and will likely result in one of the greatest female superstars ever being snubbed entry into the Hall of Fame.

10. The Dudley Boyz

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    We kick off the top 10 with a duo who quite frankly made the tag team division during the attitude era.

    Highly touted as the most decorated tag team in professional wrestling history, Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley are 23-time World Tag Team champions, spanning across seven promotions.

    Where are they now?

    The Dudleys left the WWE in 2005 and subsequently joined TNA under the names of Brother Ray and Brother D-Von where they enjoyed successful runs in both a face and heel capacity.

    In 2010 though the table-loving duo parted ways and began a feud with each other, kicking off individual singles careers as Bully Ray and Devon.

    Why should they return?

    The WWE tag team division is in a dire state at present, and the re-introduction of a team such as 3D could bring the fun, exciting and entertaining element back to what once was a thriving outlet for tag teams.

    The Dudley's ECW background meant they personified the hardcore style, and by showing this to a new generation of fans, even the men in their 40's could spearhead a new era in the history of WWE tag team wrestling.

    Potential feud(s)?

    The Dudleys would most likely return to a huge ovation and would probably be able to pull off the gimmick as over faces.

    Due to this, any feud with heel challengers over the WWE Tag Team titles would definitely work, even if it was against a .largely heat-lacking team such as the Colons (Epico and Primo).

    As long as the Dudleys came back with tables in tow, to me it would make absolutely no difference who these guys feuded with.

    Likelihood?

    On a personal level, I would love to see the Dudleys back on WWE television (with Spike!). Unfortunately, though, I genuinely don't see it happening.

    Bubba and D-Von are on different levels of the TNA hierarchy, and persuading both to compromise by leaving and teaming with each other again would probably prove too difficult of a deal to wager.

9. Rob Van Dam

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    RVD was one of the most exciting performers in the WWE during his seven-year tenure with the company between 2001-2007.

    The only man to have ever held the elusive Triple Crown in both the WWE and ECW, Van Dam's extreme and enigmatic style made him a key component of the invasion angle and subsequently during the Ruthless Aggression era.

    Where are the now?

    RVD is currently under contract with TNA, where he has been very much under utilised over the past 12-months or so.

    The 41-year-old was most recently written off television during January's Genesis event, where he was stretchered backstage after being DDT'd onto the concrete floor by Gunner.

    Why should they return?

    Van Dam's shares a similar hardcore style and athleticism to many superstars currently on the WWE roster, and his re-inclusion would mesh perfectly with many established stars and newcomers alike.

    A return by the Whole F'n Show would provide the WWE with fantastic experience in the form of RVD, and would provide a great stepping stone for up-and-comers to cut their teeth against.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Any feud with a cocky young upstart like Cody Rhodes or The Miz would fit RVD perfectly, and like Booker T recently, the former Hardcore-champion would happily job in order to progress the careers of younger talent.

    To go down a more extreme route, matches against the likes of CM Punk or Daniel Bryan would provide great entertainment value and be worthwhile in putting either of the current World Champions over even further (particularly Bryan).

    Likelihood?

    Despite a number of ECW products making it in the current WWE, there may no longer be a place for RVD's extreme style in today's PG era.

    Even though his experience would be invaluable, without the extreme rules style that he was accustomed to over a decade ago, Van Dam may actually be a less exciting prospect than we nostalgically remember.

    I sincerely hope that this Sunday's ambulance match between John Cena and Kane is a sign of things to come however—in WWE potentially evolving from the current PG era into a far more liberal and old-school product.

8. The New Age Outlaws

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    "Road Dogg" Jesse James and "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn were one of the most (if not the most) popular tag teams in WWE in the late 1990's.  

    During the period, the members of the second incarnation of Degeneration-X were the third highest sellers of merchandise in the company, beaten only by Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock.

    Where are they now?

    After splitting in 2000, Road Dogg was released from his WWE contract in early 2001, with Billy Gunn being released in 2004 after 10 years with the company.

    From 2002-2008, the duo were revived as the 4Live Kru, The James Gang and the Voodoo Kin Mafia in TNA—but none of these gimmicks managed to match the dizzy heights of success achieved whilst with the WWE.

    Monty Kip Sopp (Billy Gunn) now features predominantly in indie promotions, most recently featuring for Lucha Libre USA in 2011.

    Brian Gerard James (Road Dogg) on the other hand has made a number of appearances with the WWE since his departure.

    After inducting his father, "Bullet" Bob Armstrong at 2011's Hall of Fame, the Real Double J returned in December to present CM Punk with "Pipebomb of the Year" at the Slammy Awards.

    On January 29th, Road Dogg entered the Royal Rumble match at number 23 and lasted nearly five minutes before being eliminated by Wade Barrett.

    Why should they return?

    Road Dogg can still go in the ring as evidenced by his Royal Rumble appearance, and I would guess that Billy Gunn can still do the business as well.

    If the WWE were to take their revival of the tag team division seriously, the re-introduction of the New Age Outlaws could go a long way in promoting this.

    Potential feud(s)?

    The duo could easily pick up a feud with any team in the WWE (all two of them!).

    But in all seriousness, a feud with the likes of the Kings of Wrestling (when they eventually debut) would provide a great means of enhancing the reputation of any new teams.

    Likelihood?

    Road Dogg is to an extent, already back in the WWE.

    Last year after being involved in the 2011 Rumble, both Booker T and Kevin Nash went on to be involved heavily in the year's programming...and with James now apparently under some sort of contract with the company, it wouldn't be too shocking to expect a return to television over the next year or so.

    Billy Gunn though was very critical of the WWE following his release.

    In particular his comments towards new COO Triple H may be the ultimate stumbling block in any potential return to the company, and subsequently the re-formation of this tag team within the confines of the WWE.

7. Lita

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    During Amy Dumas' tenure with the WWE, the former member of Team Xtreme became arguably the most popular Diva in the history of the company.

    Where are they now?

    Having left the WWE in 2006, Lita has only appeared sporadically with the company ever since.

    In the same year as her departure, Dumas formed the band the Luchagors (a reference to Lita's early wrestling style), with boyfriend Shane Morton. The band released their first self-titled album in 2007.

    Currently a part-time radio DJ for PunkRockApocalypse, the former WWE-star is now also reportedly writing material for a new album.

    Why should they return?

    Characters like Lita are desperately needed in the current Diva's Division.

    Wildly talented in the ring and on the mic, Dumas was involved in many infamous angles within the WWE during her tenure, and would be a great draw for the currently flagging division.

    Potential feud(s)?

    I would love to see a return angle in which Lita (or anyone else for that matter) comes to claim what a sham the title of "Divas" is, and that the division should be replaced with its previous incarnation of the Women's Championship.

    Litas style and build, in addition to her prevalence as a heel, would also complement a feud with the likes of Layla or Kelly Kelly.

    Likelihood?

    Another returnee at last year's Slammy Awards, the presenter of the "Divalicious Moment of 2011" could be another face (in the literal sense) who makes a welcome return to the company in the near future.

    With WWE hopefully looking to bolster the Diva's division over the coming months, an addition such as Lita could be invaluable.

    Even in a valet/manager role for the likes of Christian (controversial, I know!) could help to draw a lot of heat for any budding heel in the company.

6. Shelton Benjamin

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    The former Team Angle member may well go down as one of the most athletic competitors in the history of the WWE.

    Where are they now?

    Benjamin currently competes for Ring of Honor, where he was one half of the tag team champions along with Charlie Haas as recently as December 2011.

    The Gold Standard also competed alongside MVP in New Japan Pro Wrestling in December, in a hard-fought victory at Wrestle Kingdom VI.

    Why should they return?

    During his tenure with the WWE, Shelton Benjamin was the resident spot-specialist of the company - being the highlight of Money in the Bank Ladder matches in particular.

    With the holes that have been left by the absence of high-fliers John Morrison and Evan Bourne, the WWE now requires cruiserweights more than ever.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Just throw this guy in the MITB match and see what he does I say!

    No, on a serious note, Benjamin would be great for reviving the now-defunct Cruiserweight Division alongside the likes of Sin Cara and Kofi Kingston.

    Likelihood?

    Released from his WWE contract in 2010 along with Mickie James—I honestly don't know what the company were thinking when they future endeavoured the former Intercontinental Champion. On an even more shocking note they also released Kung Fu Naki during this batch of releases!

    Benjamin is undoubtedly thriving in ROH, and was also recently featured in the WWFX World Championship match in a losing effort to John Morrison.

    However, it does remain to be seen as to whether this relatively small-time success may be enough for the 36-year-old in the twilight of his career.

5. Paul Heyman

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    The creative force behind ECW in the 1990's, Paul Heyman is the kind of egomaniacal character which WWE currently has a plethora of, but none quite of the calibre of Paul E. Dangerously.

    Where are they now?

    Since leaving wrestling in 2006, Heyman now works in a collaborative relationship with the UK's top tabloid newspaper, The Sun.

    Through the Sun's website, he produces the regular "Heyman Hustle"—described as "the high definition video blog of a rambling mind"—where Heyman comments on the latest developments in the world of wrestling.

    Most recently, Heyman collaborated on former-protege Brock Lesnar's autobiography "Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination and Survival" in 2011.

    Why should they return?

    During his short WWE run, it was Heyman's mouth that drew him most acclaim; firstly as a colour commentator, then as the first ever manager of three consecutive World champions and finally as Smackdown GM.

    It was Heyman's role of Head Writer for the blue brand in 2004 which also led to one of the most successful periods in Smackdown history, during the Ruthless Aggression era.

    Potential feud(s)?

    CM Punk claimed last year that he was a "Paul Heyman" guy, so why not have the loudmouth manager return and have one of his prospective clients feud with the current WWE Champion?

    Feuds between Heyman and they Second City Saint could build to epic proportions on the mic, and he would be the perfect heel figure to compliment Punk's anti-hero approach.

    Likelihood?

    Heyman hasn't been high on the McMahon family in his most recent "Heyman Hustle" blogs and this could be a huge roadblock in any potential return to Vinny Mac's WWE empire.

    If a superstar who will appear further down this list were to return, however, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility for Heyman to revive a role within the company as a manager...

4. Jeff Hardy

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    Jeff Hardy was once one of the brightest young stars in the WWE, with his high-flying and extreme in-ring style.

    One of half of Team Xtreme alongside brother Matt, the former six-time World Tag Team champion was renowned for his crazy spots and unbelievable athleticism.

    Where are they now?

    The Enigma currently competes with TNA and has most recently been a part of the main event scene, losing a fatal-4 way match vs. Bobby Roode, James Storm and Bully Ray at Feb. 12's Against All Odds PPV.

    Hardy left the WWE in 2009 after losing a WHC rematch to CM Punk on an episode of Smackdown. The storyline retirement match was used by Hardy in hope of recovering from two herniated discs and a neck injury.

    Why should they return?

    Hardy was an amazingly popular competitor during his time with the WWE.

    Fearless and daring, the former Hardy Boy will forever be remembered in lists of the most shocking moments in the history of the company.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Hardy and CM Punk had a genuine dislike for each other when feuding in 2008-2009 and this could be revived very easily over the other major WWE world title.

    Alternatively, Jeff could put on classic matches with any up-and-coming heel character such as Dolph Ziggler—subsequently putting them over through jobbing in wildly entertaining back-and-forth matches.

    Likelihood?

    It is no secret that Hardy has had his fair share of drug-related problems throughout his wrestling career, and this issue has really hit new heights since beginning his tenure with TNA.

    Recent arrests and jail time for the performer would not be perceived favourably by any employer, but particularly by the WWE who takes it's Wellness Policy so seriously in light of recent developments and the suspension of major talent.

3. Batista

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    The Animal was one of the most physically commanding competitors to ever step inside a WWE ring.

    Feuding with the very best during his main event tenure, the former-World Heavyweight Champion was one of the biggest draws in the company—an achievement made that much more impressive by the fact that he was once told by WCW that he would never make it in the wrestling business.

    Where are they now?

    Batista left the WWE in late 2010, citing the reason for his departure being that he did not like the direction in which the company was heading.

    After failing to negotiate a contract with Strikeforce last year to embark on a career in MMA, the Animal is now apparently looking to pursue a career in acting—billed to be starring as Brass Brody in the upcoming movie The Man With The Iron Fists.

    Why should they return?

    Batista wasn't the most gifted in-ring performer but was undoubtedly a fantastic draw for the company.

    His feuds with Cena, HHH and Shawn Michaels were gripping and brutal in equal measure, and it is rivalries such as this which should provide the standard for storyline arcs in today's WWE product.

    Potential feud(s)?

    With Triple H seemingly at the end of his career, I really would not recommend this obvious return feud.

    Instead, it could be exciting to see a potential Batista vs. Taker feud at WM29, or even more appealing could be the Animal vs. Randy Orton; in order to partially revive Batista's last real storyline with the company. 

    Likelihood?

    Batista has slated the WWE product on twitter for what seems like an eternity now, and this normally means one thing and one thing only—he wants to/will return "unexpectedly" (check out Jericho's twitter before and during the "It Begins" angle).

    Batista doesn't appear to have many more angles with which he could pursue having failed at MMA, so a return for the 43-year-old could be a very likely outcome whenever he needs his next big payday.

2. Kurt Angle

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    The former Olympic Gold Medalist is now in his forties, but can still hang with the best in the business today.

    Where are they now?

    Angle left the WWE in 2006, after reportedly requesting a release from his contract in order to heal from various injuries.

    Shortly afterward, the former Olympic champion signed for TNA were he quickly became World Heavyweight Champion of the company.

    After a horribly contrived feud with Jeff Jarrett in 2010-11, the Wrestling Machine has now returned to the main event scene in TNA, now on the cusp of a fresh feud with Jeff Hardy.

    Why should they return?

    Love him or loathe him, Kurt Angle was one of the most technically gifted performers in the history of the WWE.

    Vicious, aggressive and psychotic at this very best, the former Grand Slam champion was a one of the great assets to a company loaded with top stars following the Invasion angle.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Angle could wrestle a broom for 40 minutes and it would no doubt be entertaining, so take your pick of the current WWE roster.

    He would probably not be overly-willing to put over too many younger stars (as he once did with John Cena), and so feuding with established performers such as Randy Orton would seem most plausible—Angle has recently bashed Orton on social networking sites for apparently stealing his signature moves and gestures.

    The possibility of Kurt returning to a WWE ring may appear unlikely, but the notorious tweeter and egomaniac may one day be persuaded back to the company, which made him the star he is today.

1. Brock Lesnar

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    Brock Lesnar gets the No. 1 spot on this list predominantly for the huge draw he could be for WWE who has recently struggled in terms of buy-rates, and suffered greatly from flagging interest in the product.

    Where are they now?

    Lesnar's last wrestling match was in 2006, losing effort to Kurt Angle in an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match. This signaled the end of a stay with New Japan Pro Wrestling, and came two years after his retirement from the WWE.

    Lesnar most recently appeared as part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion.

    After becoming UFC Heavyweight champion during three years with the company, Lesnar's success tailed off with difficulties arising from illness.

    His last bout for the company was Dec. 30 of last year, where he was defeated in just 2:26 of the first round by Alistair Overeem.

    Why should they return?

    A return by the Next Big Thing would be an unquestionably good choice for drawing casual viewers back to the WWE.

    A worldwide star, Lesnar appearing even on a part-time basis would be the intriguing spark needed to ignite the WWE's popularity, especially if reunited with former manager Paul Heyman.

    Potential feud(s)?

    The most obvious choice would be a feud with the Undertaker for Brock, potentially in a Streak vs. Career stipulation match.

    The seeds were planted for this rivalry during Lesnar's UFC days and a possible WrestleMania 28 match between the two was heavily rumoured following his most recent defeat.

    Have no doubt that if Vince McMahon could negotiate a deal to bring Lesnar back to the WWE, for the cash cow that would be Brock vs. Taker, this match would happen.

    Likelihood?

    Since being defeated by Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 in December, rumours of a Lesnar return have run rampant.

    His inclusion in the WWE '12 video game has led many fans to believe that this was a clear indication of the Next Big Thing's imminent return to the company which made him famous.

    Having now retired from Mixed Martial Arts, a return to the WWE is probably now the most likely it will ever be.

Bonus Pick: Shane McMahon

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    After compiling this list of returning superstars I would like to see, I couldn't conceivably think of a way to justify Shane McMahon being No. 1—therefore, I gave him the equal honour of being my bonus 21st pick for the slideshow.

    Shane-O-Mac was my third favourite WWF/E character as a young fan (bettered only by the Rock and the Godfather), but to justify his inclusion in this list, please check out the video (above)—it's insane!

    When scouring for footage of the Boy Wonder, it was almost impossible to find a clip or image that fully encapsulated how much Shane bought to the company—both in an in-ring and non-wrestling capacity.

    Where are they now?

    McMahon currently sits on the Board of Directors for International Sports Management (ISM) -a company who represent talent such as golfers Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy.

    He has been most recently spotted congratulating clients McIlroy and Darren Clarke in recent Major Championship wins for the pair in 2011.

    Why should they return?

    Shane tendered his resignation from the WWE in late 2009, citing the pursuit of outside endeavours as his primary reason.

    Before leaving though he featured as referee, manager and competitor within the WWE, proving to be one of the most entertaining and fearless performers the company has seen.

    His hardcore bouts with Kurt Angle, Kane and Steve Blackman will go down in history as providing some of the most unbelievable moments of all time for the company.

    Potential feud(s)?

    Speculation was rife late last year for the potential return of Shane-O-Mac as the possible intended subject of the "It Begins" promos.

    Many speculated Shane would return to "take back what was his" (the WWE) from Triple H, who had displaced his father Vince as COO in the Autumn.

    As much as this wasn't meant to be, a return from Shane even in a non-wrestling capacity could be extremely interesting in feuding for power with either HHH or John Laurinitis.

    Likelihood?

    With his surname as McMahon, one would have to consider that someday, Shane will return to take his rightful place within the company which his family built.

    I would hope however that this return would come sooner rather than later, as the former-Mean Street Posse leader was one of my favourite wrestlers (not just characters) when growing up with the WWF/E.

    And who can honestly say they wouldn't love to see another Shane-O-Mac Coast to Coast special?

Thanks for Reading!

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    Yes, I know I got a bit carried away with 21 picks, but hey, I just couldn't leave Shane off of any slideshow listing people who should return to the company.

    Hopefully the picture shows exactly why he had to be on this list...

    Please feel free to leave your comments or thoughts in the comments section below, and I fully welcome any additions/alterations.

    Once again, thanks for reading!

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