WWE: Rating the Chances of Attitude Era Legends Returning
As a proud WWE fan, is it so wrong to pine for the past?
My wrestling-loving days were born at the heart of the Attitude Era, when Stone Cold, Triple H and The Rock seemed able to make anything possible in and out of the ring.
These days, I probably spend as much time re-watching the old classics as I do the latest matches on Raw and Smackdown.
But out of the era's finest no longer with the company, is there even a vague hope that any might one day return to the WWE?
Here are six departed legends and the possibilities that a dream return may one day prove reality.
As always, this list is intended to spark debate, rather than end it.
Jeff Hardy: 70 Percent
Along with the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian, Jeff Hardy and his brother Matt made the tag team division one of the most entertaining aspects of the WWE in the late-90's/early 00's.
With Jeff now wrestling for rival company TNA, a return is by no means on the close horizon.
But never say never—only last month, PWInsider was reporting that there was a feeling within the Hardy camp that he might eventually come back for one last payday (h/t Wrestling Inc).
Possible reasons against? Jeff has no desire to work a full schedule—his battered body is unable to take the endless punishment that the house shows produce anyway.
Shawn Michaels: 5 Percent
As great as it would be to see Shawn Michaels fight one more match, the chances are surely slim to none.
The Heartbreak Kid went out on such a high in his final WrestleMania clashes with Undertaker—setting the bar so high nobody could hope to top it.
In May this year, he spoke to the Miami Herald, addressing the possibility of a return by saying "You have to be careful because if you leave it as an open option, you're going to be getting calls on a regular basis.
"Every time somebody gets injured or every time somebody comes up with an idea, the phone is going to be ringing, and you're going to have to deal with 'should I or shouldn't I?'"
Perhaps his is a legend best left untouched.
Stone Cold Steve Austin: 60 Percent
First off, let me clarify one thing. The possibility of Stone Cold Steve Austin returning to a WWE ring one day is probably close to 100 percent.
The possibility of him wrestling another match, though, is not quite as high.
Chances are it wont happen at next year's WrestleMania—the ongoing problems with his knees are likely to prevent a dream card.
But should he stay healthy the following year, I can easily see a main event showdown with CM Punk shaking the very core of the business.
Kurt Angle: 30 Percent
One of the absolute greatest of all-time, Kurt Angle's chances of one day gracing the WWE with his presence again isn't as high as some might hope.
And I say that with the heaviest of hearts—the guy is a legend, no matter how many controversial tweets he posts or WWE legends he slams.
But that's the thing: Has Angle now burned his bridges?
It's no secret that he wouldn't be averse to a return—in August he revealed to WrestlingNewsWorld.com that "Anything is possible. A lot of wrestlers like to retire at Mania. They like to go out with 80,000-100,000 fans watching you. I'm no different" (h/t Wrestling Inc).
But this is still one scenario I struggle to see happening.
Vince McMahon: 1 Percent
The man who runs the show, Vince McMahon was never afraid to mix it with the company's top guys at the peak of the Attitude Era.
But the last time he actually wrestled was back in 2010, beaten by an avenging Bret Hart at 'Mania.
Since, then his appearances on TV have been sporadic, suggesting that he himself feels that there's no longer a place for a 67-year-old in the ring.
Still, I'd be a fool to rate the possibility of a return as zero percent. After all, anything is possible.
What would you rate the chances of the Attitude Era's finest one day returning to fight?