In my last column, we looked at current and ex-WWE and TNA performers who could be useful (or not) in today’s WWE as we move from the Royal Rumble towards WrestleMania. In this column, we will look at tag teams, legends and performers from other companies.
HHH has said that 2014 will see more of a focus on tag teams in WWE, which we have seen with Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards getting a tryout in WWE at the NXT facility recently. Some of the tag teams on the following list are previous tag teams that I would bring back, some are teams that I would bring in and some are wrestlers that I would bring back to WWE, but put them in a tag team.
Without further ado…………….
The Highlanders – Yes, you read that right. I’m not saying that they would be title contenders on a regular basis, but they have the experience to help up and coming teams on the road in WWE on the lue’ tour.
The Headbangers – They could do a similar job to the Highlanders, but I can see Chaz and Mosh getting over and having one last, proper run in WWE. We’ve seen with Goldust that when experienced guys are motivated, in shape and given a chance, that they can get over more than management could have imagined. I can see a similar situation happening with this combo.
Big Vito /Chuck Palumbo – I’m on the fence with them. I’ve spoken with people who would like to see them back as an opening match face team, but I’m not sure they would get over in 2014.
Trainers in developmental? Yes. Full time performers on the main roster? Probably not.
Deuce/Domino – see Vito and Palumbo.
Dudleys – Some people were surprised that I left them off the TNA section of the previous column, but it was simply because I intended to use them here. Bubba has worked so hard to develop his all round game in TNA and has really become a great top heel for them. If he were to return to WWE, the fans would be looking for a Dudleys reunion tour of sorts. If they could avoid becoming a parody of themselves (i.e. not just waiting for the ‘get the tables’ spot) then they would still have legs as a team in WWE. If that’s what they became, then I wouldn’t sign them, because it wouldn’t be fair to them.
The Briscoes – They almost signed with WWE, but then Twitter came along and all of a sudden they didn’t. If their gimmick was left as it is I think the WWE crowd would love them and they would become cult favourites. But let’s be honest, they would be tinkered with to a massive degree, not get over and be branded a failure on the big scene. Still an outside chance that they will appear in 2014…..
Marty Scurll/Zack Sabre Jr. – I’d love to see this UK duo given a chance. Remember that faction I talked about with Barrett and the Burchills? No? Then read column one again! But for those of you that do, I could see Marty and Zack playing a great part in it and in the tag division. Just a thought Hunter……
Karl Anderson/Tensai – I would sign Anderson and reunite this team now. Anyone who has seen them in Japan knows they would get over in WWE in a very short period of time. In my opinion, this tandem should happen ASAP.
Harry Smith/Tyson Kidd – If they were even given half a chance, they would get over based on work rate and ability alone. Their problem is that they aren’t very charismatic. Maybe linking them with Armando or Zeb might be an idea, as a tag team for hire.
Shelton Benjamin/Elijah Burke – This may seem like an odd combination, but I would like to see them both given a chance to have one final run in WWE. Elijah had the charisma that Shelton doesn’t, and Shelton has the in-ring skills in abundance compared to Elijah (who isn’t all that shabby, either!). I think that with a manager along the likes of Paul Heyman in a stable of guys that WWE haven’t given a chance to (after the inevitable Lesnar face turn) that they could be valuable to WWE.
Joe E. Legend – Ok, so I’m biased – I know Joe. But although he is heading into the twilight of his career, he could be used as the senior member of a tag team with an up and coming wrestler that WWE management have high hopes for. An on the job trainer of sorts. The kind of role that William Regal had for a few years as a single wrestler on the road.
Justin Credible – See Joe E. Legend.
Chris Hero – Many in the internet community were disappointed to see him released recently, although it shouldn’t have really come as a surprise. He could still have legs in WWE as part of a tag team, but I don’t see him returning as a singles wrestler anytime soon.
Trevor Murdoch – Again, this is a choice WAY out of left field. I just think that he has something. I’m not sure what that something is, but I think he could be great in a tag team in the current WWE scene. Maybe he and Hero could team up. Then again, maybe not. It’s been a long time since Trevor has been in WWE so he would be fresh enough to the WWE audience.
One time only brigade
This is a list of guys that I would bring in over the course of a year or two for one final match/appearance. In some cases, they’ve never been in WWE before and in others they have been in and out over the years. Some are just because the fan in me would like to see what would happen both in front, and behind of, the cameras!
Goldberg – A match with Ryback at ‘Mania, maybe one more at SummerSlam, and he walks off into the sunset.
Sting – If there is the opportunity for a short run, on a Lesnar type schedule, I would sign him in an instant. Not just for the Hall of Fame (which I would induct him into this year) but transitioning into a P.R. guy for the company (see below).
Sid – As much as Sid looked the part years ago, he was never as over as he, or others hoped he would be. He would be in the legends Royal Rumble spot, but if I had the chance, I’d leave well enough alone and not bring him back.
Scott Steiner – I just think it would be funny to see him do one last appearance. Not a match, per se, but Steiner + a live mic = TV gold.
Great Muta – Again, the fan in me would pop to see him make an appearance in the Rumble or do a match in WWE just to say he had. Yeah, he’s well past his best, but still, it would be good to have seen him there.
Jushin Liger – see Muta.
Kevin Nash – Sorry Kev, but your day has been and gone. Unless they introduce ‘Backstage Politics 101’ at NXT then you won’t be back.
Jake Roberts – A legends Royal Rumble spot, a DDT and elimination on someone like Jinder Mahal and then Jake is eliminated by Bray Wyatt as a passing of the torch.
Scott Hall – This is a tough call. Although Scott seems to have started to get himself back together, I would not put him in a match and I don’t think I would put him on TV, as he doesn’t look like people remember him. Maybe a Hall of Fame induction with Nash and then off to enjoy his retirement.
Trish Stratus – John Morrison’s favourite returning Diva. She could return for a one-off appearance or match whenever she wants, but the problem is that the crowd would like her back full time but she couldn’t live up to their expectations, so I don’t know that she’ll even come back to anything other than NXT for a training week.
Sunny – This is one that could go either way, but I think that a short (two month or so) run with an experienced, but charisma bereft, face wrestler would work, although she could dominate the screen time too much.
Associated others (incl. ROH, Japan and Mexico)
There are many other performers that I could have mentioned, but for two reasons I haven’t:
One – Space limitations;
Two – I don’t see enough of all of these companies. I have to rely on keeping up to date with them via the Wrestling Observer and Figure Four Weekly.
However, there are some that I have opinions on, both negative and positive, that I have included on the list.
Matt Hardy – Honestly, I wouldn’t bring him back to WWE, I don’t see what he would bring to them in 2014. He could become a trainer at FCW, becoming what Regal is on screen – i.e. having the odd match here and there, but not being a regular character as such – but I wouldn’t have Matt on Raw or SmackDown in 2014.
Colt Cabana – Commentator, wrestler or manager; It doesn’t matter what his role is, he should be in WWE now. End of.
Rhyno – Again, I just don’t see that he would bring anything worthwhile to WWE in 2014.
Mark Jindrak – He almost got his break in WWE as part of Evolution, but fate conspired for it not to happen. He’s now Marco Corleone in Mexico, but I’d bring him in under the management of Heyman.
Mike Bennett – It’s a toss of a coin. I think he has ‘it’ but whether he would get over with the crowd without Maria by his side is a tough call.
Maria – While it would be great to see her back in WWE, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. She would be used more as a character/valet than an in-ring performer, but she would be over straight away.
Kevin Steen – I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. At any rate, he’ll not get the call soon, so we needn’t worry about having the debate about whether he would get over or not.
Shinsuke Nakamura – This won’t happen, and if he did sign for WWE they wouldn’t use him correctly, but it would be great to see him there giving quality matches.
Kazuchika Okada – See Nakamura. And to think TNA had him and did relatively nothing with him. Unbelievable!
Prince Devitt – There’s a distinct possibility that he will sign for WWE in the next couple of months. A feud between him and Adrian Neville (Pac) would be a breath of fresh air on Raw, probably SmackDown, but I just don’t see them using him properly. If he does sign, enjoy it while it lasts!
Alex Shelley – As with Devitt, I don’t think they would use him correctly, but it would be good while it lasted. It’s probably the best time ever for a wrestler like Shelley to get into WWE, but I’m not sure they will ever sign him.
Legends for PR purposes
These are the guys that I would not have wrestle ever again, but are enough name value that they could appear on TV whenever you needed them for a segment and also could be used for WWE PR appearances.
Hulk Hogan – Everyone expects him to re-sign with WWE shortly and have some sort of appearance at ‘Mania. Please don’t have him wrestle! He should be a vital cog in the new WWE Network, however.
Ric Flair – He would already be the WWE’s go to PR guy, but for his discretions last summer, which also saw Jim Ross ‘retire’. Keep your nose clean Ric and you’ll be back sooner rather than later.
DDP – If you need anything promoted, he’s your man! Surely there must be a use for him, maybe even in NXT talking about promos, etc.
Roddy Piper – I don’t know whether I would have ‘Hot Rod’ on board for PR or not. I don’t think he’d be as useful for WWE as Hogan and Flair, so I’d probably say no.
Ultimate Warrior – Imagine if he did his PR appearances in full Warrior promo mode. It would be hilarious. My worry is that we will see one more Warrior match in WWE in 2014. Watch this space…..
Jim Ross – When the network kicks in, I would say he’ll be back and involved in it by the end of 2014. There are so many other names that I could have used during both columns, but I just wanted to show the possibilities that are out there.
Sometimes the performers in WWE, especially the main eventers, can get complacent and coast through life knowing that their spot is effectively safe forever. For some of them, it’s justified, whatever you think of John Cena, the man will be in WWE main events until he hangs up his tights) for some less so, but the more pressure that there is from the undercard the better everyone will perform. There is a lot of talent both inside and outside of WWE that could be beneficial for them –
it’s just up to Vince and HHH to utilise it effectively.
(Many thanks to Jeuron Dove for helping with these articles.)