Ranking the 10 greatest WWE returns of the last decade including Edge and The Rock

Edge

A return to WWE is huge on any scale, but in some of these instances, they’re even bigger. Whether it be coming back from injury, a significant hiatus from the company, or beating a life threatening illness, some superstars have proven even these factors can’t stop them.

Here are the top 10 Superstar returns in the last 10 years:

10 | Bobby Lashley

Bobby Lashley returned to the WWE in 2018 on the RAW after WrestleMania 34. 10 years after last being in the company. Lashley interrupted Elias, stared him down, then hit the musician with a stalling suplex.

The All Mighty has has won three titles since coming back to the WWE, capturing his first and second Intercontinental Championships in 2019. He then won another US Title, a Championship he won in his first tenure, beating Apollo Crews last year.

He later joined MVP, creating The Hurt Business. This faction has helped push Lashley’s dominance, with him recently capturing the WWE Title on the March 1 2021 episode of RAW, beating The Miz in three minutes - this belt has eluded him for 16 years.

Bobby Lashley

9 | Nikki Bella

Nikki Bella was the surprise member in a six-women tag team match at Summerslam in 2016. This was her first match in 10 months following neck surgery.

Bella received a huge ovation when she appeared, despite being billed as a heel. She joined Natalya and Alexa Bliss to face Becky Lynch, Naomi and Carmella - picking up the win for her team by pinning Carmella.

Nikki was part of the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble Match in 2018, where she finished runner-up to Asuka.

She retired from the ring in 2019, following a scan that revealed she had a cyst on her brain - Bella was later inducted alongside her sister Brie, into the 2020 Hall of Fame.

Nikki Bella

8 | Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa returned on the October 2 2019’s episode of NXT, confronting Adam Cole - who surpassed his previous record of 237 days as the longest reigning NXT Champion.

As soon as NO ONE WILL SURVIVE hit, the crowd went wild for Ciampa, who had been forced to relinquish the belt in March of that year due to a neck injury.

Tommaso began a rivalry with Cole that saw them, and their respective teams fight inside WarGames, before having a title match last year at NXT TakeOver: Portland.

He has gone on to have feuds with Johnny Gargano and Timothy Thatcher since last year.

Tommaso Ciampa

7 | The Hardy Boyz

WrestleMania 33 was an event that saw one of the biggest crowd reactions to a return that I’d ever seen. The Hardy Boyz came back to the WWE that night after being announced as the surprise fourth team in the RAW Tag Team Championship ladder match.

Jeff and Matt Hardy won the belts that night, in their first match in the company since leaving in 2009 and 2010.

They added their eighth Tag Team Championship reign within the WWE to their names, when they beat The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles in April 2019 on SmackDown.

Both title runs were forced to be relinquished due to Jeff suffering injuries. Matt has since left the WWE, while Jeff remains part of the RAW roster.

The Hardy Boyz

6 | Paige

Paige returned to the WWE in November 2017 on an episode of RAW, interrupting a fatal-four-way match between Sasha Banks, Mickie James, Bayley and Alicia Fox to a huge ovation from the crowd. This was her first appearance since June 2016 after suffering a neck injury and requiring surgery.

The Brit wasn’t alone, bringing Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose with her to beat down three of the fatal-four-way competitors, as Fox ran away from the group.

Paige beat Banks in a singles match on the December 4 episode of RAW, but just 23 days later re-injured her neck in a six-women tag match on a house show.

The subsequent injury forced her to retire from in-ring competition, this was confirmed by the Brit on the RAW after WrestleMania 34 in 2018 - at the age of only 25.

Still only 28, Paige will be hoping for similar news as Tommaso Ciampa, being able to return to the ring after such a big injury.

Paige

5 | The Rock

The most electrifying man in sports entertainment, The Rock came back to the WWE in 2011 to host WrestleMania 27, the reaction to his music hitting was insane - this was his first appearance in the company for seven years.

Following this, The People’s Champ had a full-time run in the WWE, feuding with John Cena at ‘Mania 28, beating Cena. He went on to win his eighth World Title in 2013 at the Royal Rumble, before dropping it to Cena at WrestleMania 29.

His full-time run ended after this loss and The Brahma Bull has made sporadic appearances since.

The Rock

4 | Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship in October 2018 due to a second battle with leukaemia. He returned to the WWE in February 2019, announcing that he was in remission.

Reigns’ return was an interesting one, because it led to another last year due to him taking time off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was set to face Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 for the Universal Championship, but because of concerns for his health and coronavirus spreading in the US, he opted to sit out of the event as a precaution.

The Tribal Chief came back at SummerSlam 2020, attacking The Fiend and Braun Strowman, cementing his intention to regain the Universal Title.

Reigns, now a heel, aligned himself with Paul Heyman and won the belt for the second time at Fastlane last year in a triple threat match between him, The Fiend and Strowman. The Tribal Chief has held the title since and will face Daniel Bryan at Fastlane this year, with the winner taking on Edge at WrestleMania 37.

Roman Reigns

3 | Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar came out to a huge roar from the crowd, when he returned to the WWE on the April 2 episode of RAW in 2012. The Beast interrupted John Cena, who was asking for The Rock to come to the ring. Lesnar stood face-to-face with Cena, F-5’d him and then stood tall.

Brock has had a love/hate relationship with fans since coming back to the company on a part-time schedule, receiving scrutiny for breaking The Undertaker’s 21-win streak at WrestleMania 30.

However, his in-ring work can’t be faulted, having won three Universal Championships and one WWE Title since his return.

The Beast has not been seen on WWE TV since losing the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36, but is being rumoured to be involved at ‘Mania 37.

Brock Lesnar F-5s John Cena

2 | Daniel Bryan

After lobbying to be cleared to wrestle again in WWE for a while, Bryan announced on the March 20 episode of SmackDown that he had been cleared to compete for the first time in two years. The crowd erupted into YES chants after hearing this.

His return has seen him shift between being a heel and face, winning his fourth WWE Championship in 2018, and the SmackDown Tag Team Titles with Rowan in 2019.

He has the opportunity to win his fifth World Title, and first Universal Championship at Fastlane, when he faces Roman Reigns for the belt.

Daniel Bryan

1 | Edge

Edge was part of the 2020 Royal Rumble match, entering in the number 21 spot. A goosebumps moment for me as a viewer, and I’m assuming for those in attendance too - this was his first bout since retiring from the ring nine years ago.

The Rated-R Superstar began to feud with former tag team partner Randy Orton the following night on RAW, before it leading to having one hell of a match at WrestleMania 36 - in which Edge was victorious.

This rivalry would continue into the Backlash pay-per-view, where Orton would get his payback and secure the win. Unfortunately Edge tore one of his triceps in the match and was side-lined until this year's Royal Rumble.

Entering at number one in the Rumble, The Rated-R Superstar won the match and has chosen to face the Universal Champion at WrestleMania 37. His opponent will be either current holder Roman Reigns, or Daniel Bryan, as the two men face off at Fastlane.

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