There are often rumors about stars potentially returning to WWE during WrestleMania season, and this year is no different. Plenty of speculation is surrounding the futures of a few former WWE champions.
While the WrestleMania 33 card isn’t set in stone, the direction in which WWE is going is pretty clear. Goldberg had his return match at Survivor Series in November, and he’ll be facing Brock Lesnar on WWE’s biggest stage, likely as the WWE Universal Champion. No other returning wrestler is expected to be on the card, though. The Undertaker should have a match after performing once in the past year.
That leaves the door open for possible returns on the episode of “Monday Night Raw” following WrestleMania, which is usually WWE’s most important non-PPV event of the year. Former champions could also come back in the following weeks or months in the build towards SummerSlam 2017.
With so many big names involved in rumors, let’s take a look at what’s actually going on with former WWE stars that are in the news.
Kurt Angle, pictured at the Lions Gate Premiere of “See No Evil” at the Century Stadium Promenade 25 on May 8, 2006 in Orange, California, left WWE 11 years ago. Photo: Getty Images
Angle is back with WWE. There’s no debating that. He’ll headline the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame class and be inducted the night before WrestleMania 33.
The question remains whether or not he’ll return to the company as an on-screen character, and more specifically, if he’ll have another match in WWE.
With Angle back having a working relationship with WWE, it’s hard to believe that he won’t wrestle for the company at least one more time. He’s one of the biggest stars in the company’s history with five world championship reigns, and he’s still wrestling at 48 years old. Angle probably won’t ever be a full-time member of the roster again, but it only makes sense that he’d get back in the ring for WWE.
Before he has another match, Angle could take on a different role in WWE. Mike Johnson of PWInsider recently reported on “The Taz Show” that Angle will appear on “Monday Night Raw,” the night after WrestleMania 33, speculating that he could become the show’s next general manager. That would make sense, considering the storyline seems to be headed in a direction in which Mick Foley could soon be fired as the current GM.
Whatever happens, expect Angle to appear on WWE TV sometime shortly after WrestleMania 33.
The Hardy Boyz
Neither Matt Hardy nor Jeff Hardy has appeared in WWE since 2010, but the door might be open for the tag team to return. Their contracts have reportedly expired with TNA, allowing them to work for another major promotion.
I wish @IMPACTWRESTLING all the best going forward, especially the INDUSTRIOUS talent. I hope they're all treated with respect & fairness.
— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 28, 2017
With both Matt and Jeff becoming wrestling free agents, there is of course speculation that they could wrestle again for WWE, especially since the road to WrestleMania 33 hasn’t featured many compelling tag team stories. The Dudley Boyz left TNA and returned to WWE in 2015, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Hardy Boyz do the same.
Inserting them into a WrestleMania feud so quickly seems unlikely, but it’s hard to believe WWE wouldn’t welcome back the tag team with open arms at some point. Jeff was a three-time world champion during his stint with the company, and Matt’s “broken” character has become one of the most interesting aspects of the professional wrestling world over the last year, even receiving chants at WWE shows.
There are no reports of an imminent return, but one seems to be likely in the future.
The former WWE diva isn’t in the same conversation as Angle or The Hardy Boyz, but she will be back working with the company. Kelly confirmed on “Conversations with Maria Menounos” on Sirius XM that she’ll be in Orlando for WrestleMania 33.
“I don’t know if I’m gonna be wrestling, per se, but I will be at Mania,” Kelly said. “I will be at Mania, I will be at Hall of Fame and I’m gonna do some Axxess signings.”
Kelly added that she would be inducting someone into the WWE Hall of Fame, and it appears that person will be Beth Phoenix, who was announced as the latest inductee Monday. She also said she’s contemplated coming back for a “mini-run” in WWE, though the women’s division has seen a significant change since she left more than four years ago.
Kelly last wrestled for WWE in 2012 after spending six years with the company. She held the Divas Championship for 104 days and competed in multiple WrestleMania matches.
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