Ending a long-term relationship is never easy but in the world of professional wrestling people break-up and make-up so often it is sometimes hard to keep up. Wrestlers leave promotions and shoot on the company or owner and can then re-join a couple of years later as if nothing happened. Some people just can't let go of the past. Back in April I wrote an article as to why WWE shouldn't re-sign Kurt Angle and should instead look to promote talent within when rumours of a possible return were circulating. (http://www.wrestlingnewsworld.com/finn-balor-is-why-wwe-were-right-to-be-kurt-with-angle/)
More recently there have been rumours of a return to WWE for both Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy. If reports are to be believed there is indecision from both parties with regards to Rey with a return for Jeff the more likely. Even in the case of legends and former WWE Champions such as “The Master Of The 619” and “The Extremest” there are always plenty of positives and negatives when former stars return. Although offering initial excitement and a dose of nostalgia for those who remember them fondly from their peak, it can do so at the detriment of an up and coming star on the rise. Some fans always want to see their favourite stars back, others would say you can’t recreate old magic and stars should just finish on a high. I’m going to look at the positives and negatives of a return for Rey and Jeff.
From a business perspective it makes perfect sense for Mysterio to be brought back into WWE programming. With the transitional period the business is going through with trying to grow the WWE Network and shareholders to please finance is a factor and WWE don’t have a big Mexican star to generate extra revenue in that market. A returning Rey would mean sell out Mexican shows and an always welcomed and profitable boost in merchandising.
Although it seems like Rey has been around forever he is still only 40, perhaps not as quick and agile as he was 20 years ago but he still has a few miles left on the clock. It could be said that WWE is lacking in experienced top level superstars and he is a big name that could be used to bring on the new generation. A feud with the latest top high flyer Neville would be logical and “The New Sensation” coming out on top would be a big career boost for him, as well as delivering some exciting matches. It would also add to Seth Rollin’s credibility as champion to defeat the Triple Crown Champion and Royal Rumble winner.
Jeff is younger still at 38 and WWE have been lacking in a top anti-hero since the departure of CM Punk, despite Dean Ambrose’s flirtations with the main event. Like the recently returned Dudley Boyz, Hardy has always been popular with the fans for his “leave everything in the ring” attitude and legendary gimmick matches. With his well-documented real-life personal issues it could be interesting to see Bray Wyatt engage him in mind games and try to bring him to the dark side. If Hardy can deliver the standard of matches that took him to the top of WWE it could be a memorable feud.
For those who would reference WCW as an example of stale performers blocking the progress of the younger wrestlers some would say the cream always rises to the top.
On the flipside it could be argued that WWE simply don’t need either. Despite a lack of established top-level superstars you can only have so many and there is a big pool ready to make the leap. Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Finn Balor and Neville all have the potential to make the leap to main event regulars. Bringing in more past their best former superstars is only going to block their path. There are also other stars from other promotions of the same standard or better that could provide more longevity than the aging high flyers such as Aj Styles.
Although both are not old in comparison to The Undertaker and Sting who have both returned to headline PPV events, their in-ring style isn’t one that gets better with age. Jeff Hardy’s ring style was one that many thought would see him with a serious permanent injury before the age of 30. Those TLC bumps will have left a lasting legacy and he has had a catalogue of injuries including two herniated discs in his lower back and more recently a broken leg. Mysterio has also suffered as a result of his fast paced style with injuries to his knees and wrist amongst others.
Then there is the issue of adherence to the companies wellness programme. Both have had multiple suspensions in the past, Jeff’s problems being more severe than Rey’s, but still it brings a risk to the company’s image. As well as more bad publicity for WWE after recent events with ex-stars it would also cause chaos in creative if they had to be suspended or released in the middle of a high profile feud.
Having weighed up the positives and negatives I don’t think bringing back both performers would be a progressive move for WWE and again I will say they would be better served promoting and pushing Finn Balor who is a superstar in the making. There is also Hideo Itami and Sami Zayn waiting in the wings, these guys are the future of WWE. You can’t keep living in the past and instead I’d rather enjoy them in their prime on the Network and see new stars on Raw.