It’s no secret at this point that the WWE is in hot pursuit of talent to help bolster a pool of superstars that will soon be split into two separate brands. The company has been searching for fresh faces, as well as those who have past WWE experience. The latter of which would be signed in an effort to bring in recognizable stars who could help keep the younger crop of talent moving forward in the New Era.
The most star-studded names linked to WWE returns have been Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio. The Inquisitr reported last week that Angle would not be returning, at least in 2016. There is the slightest chance that the WWE is swerving reporters, but it appears the soonest we might see Kurt back in a WWE ring, if ever, would be around next year’s WrestleMania. Goldberg is making baby steps towards reconciliation, but no contact outside of the recent video game deal has been signed.
And so, in light of today’s news, none of those big named, former WWE superstars will be returning to the company for the brand split. In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Ringside News), reports indicate that neither Hardy or Mysterio have even been contacted by WWE because officials are aware of their respective contract status with TNA and Lucha Underground, and WWE will not try to breach any deals to lure them back.
Today’s news leaves MVP, Carlito, and Stevie Richards as the most recognizable characters from WWE’s past that have the best chances of returning. Of those three, only MVP and Carlito would appear in a physical role as we’ve noted before that Richards would primarily be used as a coach in NXT. And even Carlito’s role might be on the sidelines with the rumors of his involvement limited to managing The Shining Stars, which may end up being the only thing that saves the tag team from complete failure.
We’ve noted in the past that the WWE is in search of former stars who can still go, but the new buzz word circulating this week is “coachable.” WWE is heavily scouring the independent circuits right now in hopes of signing talent that can be taught both in the ring and on the mic, as well as being very attentive.
The other important factor that the WWE is considering when recruiting a new star is their record. Angle’s past history with DUI’s and various addictions has prevented him from coming back, and in light of recent events involving Adam Rose, Jerry Lawler, and Roman Reigns, wrestlers with the cleanest noses will likely get the first opportunities. Independent wrestlers are being encouraged to clean up their social media accounts to remove anything that can be perceived in a negative light.
Outside of the indies, WWE is fiercely scouting the Lucha Underground promotion, and specifically those who are contractually able to depart should they choose to do so. Mysterio, of course, is a key star for LU, but his deal is firmly in place. We’ve noted recently that Vince McMahon remained high on former WWE superstar John Morrison, who performs in Lucha Underground as Johnny Mundo. The two parted amicably, and Morrison’s status has elevated since his departure in 2011. He’s stated on several occasions that he would be open to returning to the WWE, and that time may be approaching faster than ever before in the last five years.
The key date to watch WWE on television is July 19. Smackdown‘s first live Tuesday night episode airs that night featuring the reincarnation of the WWE Draft. The company’s goal will certainly be to have deals in place before then in order to reveal their return during what they hope turns out to be a special and historic show.
[Image via WWE]