Craig Wilson & Russ Morgan
Few things light up a crowd more than a returning superstar and it’s those moments that are the focus of this latest Top Five as we discuss our favourite wrestling returns. Disagree with the picks or think they’ve missed someone out? Leave a comment below.
5. A Perfect Return
Nobody that knows me will be at all surprised that I’ve included this. As a kid it was Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect that I admired most and I marked out big time when Perfect’s music hit and he made his way down the aisle to join the 2002 Rumble as the 25th entrant. It was also cool to see him make the final four that year and even hit a Perfect Plex into the bargain.
4. Chris Jericho’s 2007 Return
To this day Jericho makes sporadic returns to the WWE, largely to help put over new talent and mostly on the house show circuit. But it’s his 2007 that is the most memorable and nearly on par with his debut with the company. He’d left in 2005 and as September 2007 approached, a series of videos began to air on WWE TV featuring cryptic messages and code with only SAVE_US.222. visable.
3. The Kid Returns as a Man to WWF
The last time we’d seen Sean Waltman on WWF TV it had been back in 1996 as the 1-2-3 Kid. A lot had changed in the meantime and the night that Triple H became the leader of D-X and needed a new gang in tow. Waltman was announced as the first new member – he’d be joined by the New Age Outlaws – and would cut a stinging promo attacking both Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan.
2. Lex Luger returns to WCW
It’s difficult not to include this one. Despite being low balled by Eric Bischoff during contract negotiations and appearing at a WWF event the previous night, to the surprise of virtually everyone Luger made his way out on the inaugural episode of WCW Nitro and firing one of the earliest shots in what would become the Monday Night Wars.
1. Shawn Michaels returns to the ring
After his back injury at the 1998 Royal Rumble few would have expected Michaels to step back in the ring after the WrestleMania XIV main event. In the end, not only did Michaels return but had many of his best matches after his return to the ring. Showing what can be done with a change of an in-ring style to counter and injury. Boy did us wrestling fans benefit as a result.
5. RVD Royal Rumble comeback
Whilst on a hiatus from the WWE, RVD’s music hit as he returned to the Royal Rumble in 2009. The crowd went absolutely bananas and so did I.
4. Bret Hart finally returns to WWE
Bret made his first appearance on Raw in 12 years in 2010. We all know what happened at Survivor Series in 1997 and arguable that set in montion the Attitude Era and WWE beating WCW. Bret’s first segment brought him and Shawn Michaels together. It was emotional folks, but for me it was great to see Bret where he belonged. On a personal note, I urge you to read the “Hitman” autobiography, it is a fantastic read.
3. Jeff Jarrett returns to WCW
I don’t think we will ever know the truth behind whether Jeff asked for a massive payoff to drop his IC title to Chyna in 1999 or not but boy did he make a grand entrance back to WCW. He jumped Buff Bagwell and became “The Chosen One”. This propelled Jeff to main event status during the last years of WCW. What an entrance.
2. Ric Flair returns to the WWF
Ric had a, lets say, arduous first tenure in the WWF. From the south, Ric never really got over with the WWF faithful and although he captured the WWF title, he returned home and stayed in the WCW until it folded. When the Invasion storyline ended, Vince thought he won, little did he know that Ric was to return as his “business partner”. Compelling viewing and a whole new story started.
1. Mr Perfect’s Rumble comeback
Everybody loves a comeback at the Royal Rumble, but this is my favourite. Mr Perfect who hadn’t been in the WWF since 1996, returned in grand fashion at the 2002 Royal Rumble and made it to the final 3. Unfortunately for everyone his WWE return was cut short by the “plane-ride from hell” and Curt Hennig passed away shortly afterwards. This was his last run and I will always remember this moment.
All the other top five lists can be found here.