11 Must See WWE Returns
Sometimes when a WWE legend returns… it is a breathtaking event, the kind of moment you remember forever. Other times, it reminds you of how silly this whole pro wrestling thing really is, giving your inner child a chance to emerge for a moment. Either way, it serves as a reminder that no one is absolutely gone from WWE forever (though CM Punk might be the exception). Here’s 11 times that pro wrestling legends made shocking returns to WWE, even if only for one night.
Kevin Von Erich
It was thinking about this moment that prompted creating this list. I had a memory of Kevin appearing on Raw and giving someone the Iron Claw, but I couldn’t remember any of the other details. Turns out that his was the most memorable appearance on the October 3, 2005 Raw Homecoming from Dallas, the first Raw on USA after the company’s brief dalliance with TNN (now Spike). One of the most tragic figures in the history of pro wrestling, seeing Kevin Von Erich have a moment where a sold out arena crowd in the cradle of World Class Championship Wrestling could explode for an unexpected last chance to see one of their beloved hometown boys put a nasty heel to the mat with the family’s famous finisher was a truly heartwarming moment in an industry that is not exactly overflowing with them. Sorry about the video quality, but I don’t think the show is on the WWE Network yet.
The “Other Guy in the Rockers” or “Guy Shawn Michaels chucked into a window” is no stranger to surprising returns. He won the Intercontinental title from Michaels the night of one of those returns back in 1993. But by 2006 nobody would have expected to see Marty pop up on Raw. But apparently tag teams never break up, they just go on a break, because when Michaels was facing a beatdown by the most dangerous stable ever, The Spirit Squad, Jannetty came out of the crowd to lend his old partner a hand. The reunion didn’t last long, as Jannetty isn’t the best at things like holding down a job or not breaking the law. But for one night the spirit of the Midnight Rockers lived. A-W-A~! A-W-A~!
WHOOOOO! Ric Flair is one of those people who seems to be able to come and go as he pleases in wrestling, so after a while they can blend together. But in WWE there is one return that will never be forgotten. 2001 was the most important year in the history of pro wrestling. When the year began, WWE, WCW, and ECW were all competing to be the top company. In the spring everything changed. ECW withered away, and Vince McMahon bought WCW. At Survivor Series 2001 Vince McMahon booked an angle where WWE, already owner of WCW and ECW, defeated the already dead companies once and for all. On the November 19, 2001 Raw, as Vince celebrated his ultimate victory, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” began to play, and Charlotte, NC reminded everyone watching that they would always be Flair Country. When Vince learned he had a new co-owner of WWE he gulped like never before, and Ric Flair had returned from the ashes of WCW to be The Man once more.
You can’t talk about Ric Flair without mentioning his eternal sidekick, “The Enforcer.” After Flair’s aforementioned return in 2001, scheming and chicanery occurred, and somehow Undertaker was involved in Vince’s family drama (notice how often that seems to happen?), and Flair vs. Taker was set for Mania X-7. Flair bled like crazy while trying to defend his honor and the honor of his son, David Flair, who had been brutalized by Taker as a message to Ric. At the time no one expected Flair to win, as The Streak had become a thing by then. The moment Arn popped up in the ring to give Taker a picture perfect spinebuster made everyone watching forget everything they thought they knew about the outcome. It’s a moment that lasted just a few seconds, but it still stands out in my mind as one of the most perfect moments ever in WWE.
Whatever name you may know him by – Sid Vicious, Sid Justice, Sycho Sid, Softball Sid, Scissors Sid, Squeegee Sid – the thing to remember is that he is the master and the ruler of the world. I love Sid. If Sid appeared on Raw next week and beat AJ Styles to become the #1 contender to Roman Reigns, I would consider that a wise decision by WWE. So when Sid took a break from whatever a Sid does in his retirement (and watching his kid on Big Brother), and graced all of us unworthy peasants on June 25, 2012, with his first appearance on Raw in nearly 15 years, I knew joy in a way I never truly had. Future historians will mark that date as the beginning of the eventual Golden Age of Sidmanity.
When it comes to WWE returns, Brock Lesnar’s comeback on April 2, 2012, felt so inevitable to many. Amazingly, he’s now been in WWE longer in this current run than he was in his original run. Nearly a decade had passed from Brock’s leaving to his return. In between Brock tried out for football, wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura, became the biggest draw in MMA history, got a bad tummy ache, and finally decided pretending to be punched in the face was better than really being punched in the face. The Beast Incarnate was back where he belonged, and he damn sure wasn’t having of John Cena’s stupid hat getting in his way.
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