Vince McMahon knew something most of the WWE Universe was not aware of when he announced back in May that 2016 would eventually feature the biggest roster in WWE history. This declaration preceded the announcement of the brand extension, but also coincided with the return of many top WWE superstars coming back from injuries.
Late last month, Vince revealed that it was NXT that allowed them to go through with the brand split and proved it by calling up seven of their top stars. Plenty more are right on the doorstep of a promotion, but the WWE didn’t want to leave the NXT cupboard bare until they felt comfortable with suitable replacements. Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, and Bayley are more than ready for the call to the main roster, but management needs to make sure stars like Bobby Roode, Andrade Cien Almas, Hideo Itami, and Asuka are ready to lead the next wave.
In order for the WWE to adequately fill out two unique rosters, they needed to look beyond NXT. The prevailing notion behind the company’s pursuit of more talent was that they were looking for former WWE superstars who were still capable of putting on a good match and working the full-time schedule. The likes of Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, and Rey Mysterio didn’t completely meet those criteria as they’re looking for part-time roles, albeit in high-profile programs in the twilight of their careers.
As a result, that’s why we saw the likes of Shelton Benjamin, Rhyno and Jinder Mahal brought in, and all three men have already been used on television in one capacity or another. Curt Hawkins was also backstage at Smackdown this past week, signed to a deal with WWE and ready to compete on Tuesday nights. Brian Kendrick and Tajiri are expected to return to the WWE full-time as members of the revitalized Cruiserweight Division on RAW.
Former General Manager Teddy Long was right about Shelton Benjamin’s return, but it remains to be seen whether his claim that MVP is on his way back comes to fruition as well. But there’s still one more former WWE superstar that Vince has remained hot on the trail for since plans for the brand split went into effect.
According to Daily Wrestling News, Mr. McMahon continues to pursue John Morrison, and WWE officials expect his return to the company before the end of the year. Morrison, who presently wrestles under the name Johnny Mundo, is still under contract with Lucha Underground, but Vince has asked on multiple occasions what his status is and when the earliest he could sign him would be.
Whether this has any correlation or not, it’s interesting nonetheless. Lucha Underground was originally scheduled to wait until next year to start filming their fourth season of television, but they are apparently looking to push it up to later in 2016. They’re obviously well aware of WWE’s desire to sign Morrison away, so perhaps by speeding up their time frame, they may think they have a better chance of retaining one of only two Triple Crown champions in Lucha Underground history.
WWE needs more bodies to beef up their rosters in light of the brand extension, specifically on Smackdown. However, Morrison does have a built-in, ready-made feud waiting for him if he is to return. His WWE run was ended in 2011 by The Miz, who hit a Skull-Crushing Finale on Morrison on the stage, causing him to be stretchered out of the arena and never seen in WWE again. The two, of course, were former tag team partners and champions in the WWE. Feuding with The Miz would provide Morrison with a smooth transition back to the company he spent seven years with and a familiar face for his first storyline.
[Image via WWE]