WWE's 15 most epic returns
Whoever said, 'There are no second acts in American lives," clearly wasn't watching WWE. From Brock Lesnar's attack on John Cena to The Undertaker's epic WrestleMania XX comeback, take a look back monumental returns that rocked the WWE Universe.
The Ultimate Warrior (WrestleMania VIII)
In the final match of WrestleMania VIII, Hulk Hogan battled Sycho Sid. Hogan had the match won until Papa Shango interfered. It looked bleak for Hogan until Ultimate Warrior made his surprise return to even the score. ( WATCH)
Trish Stratus (Raw, Dec. 22, 2008)
When John Cena needed a partner for a Mixed Tag Team Match against Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix, he brought out none other than one of the most popular Divas of all time to help achieve victory.
Booker T and Diesel (Royal Rumble 2011)
You never know what can happen in WWE, especially when it comes to surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble Match. The 2011 40-Superstar encounter was the largest ever and featured appearances by Booker T (No. 21) and Diesel (No. 32).
The Rock (Raw, Feb. 14, 2011)
In an electrifying moment on Raw, The Great One returned after a seven-year hiatus and announced he’s back and would host WrestleMania XXVII. Fast forward to WrestleMania XXVIII and The Rock headlined The Show of Shows in his "Once in a Lifetime" Match with John Cena. ( PHOTOS)
Edge (Royal Rumble 2010)
Now we know him as a short-haired WWE Hall of Famer. But in 2010, a bearded Rated-R Superstar returned after a seven-month absence due to injury, charged into the Royal Rumble Match as surprise entrant No. 29, and punched his ticket to WrestleMania XXVI. ( WATCH)
Batista (Raw, Oct. 20, 2003)
Sidelined with an injury, Batista made a surprising return and interfered in a Goldberg vs. Shawn Michaels match on Raw. Leaping from the second rope, The Animal shattered Goldberg’s ankle that was pinned in a steel chair to claim a $100,000 bounty. The brutal attack ushered in his return to Evolution.
Chris Jericho (Raw, Jan. 2, 2012)
No stranger to making surprising returns, Chris Jericho made his latest return at the beginning of 2012 after a series of cryptic videos ( MORE). He quickly set his sights on WWE Champion CM Punk, whose family members became his favorite target. At WrestleMania XXVIII, they took their personal battle to the ring. But even The Grandest Stage of Them All couldn’t settle the score between the two, as Jericho continues to target the champion with both verbal and physical attacks.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Royal Rumble 1998)
With Mike Tyson – now a WWE Hall of Famer – cheering "Stone Cold" on, he came in as unexpected entrant No. 24 and fought his way to beat The Rock for his second Royal Rumble victory in a row.
Ric Flair (Raw, Nov. 19, 2001)
Following the end of The Alliance, Mr. McMahon stood in the ring the night after Survivor Series 2001 and told the WWE Universe it needed Kurt Angle as its champion. As he was about the hand over the title, Ric Flair emerged in his own hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina to reveal that he was now co-owner of WWE! To add to the shocking news, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin emerged, attacking both McMahon and Angle, forcing them from the ring. With the tile in their possession, Austin and Flair raised a toast as McMahon and Angle looked on in horror.
Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania 21)
The WWE Universe in the Staples Center for WrestleMania 21 absolutely erupted when Hulk Hogan made a surprise appearance to come to the aid of an injured Eugene.
Daniel Bryan (SummerSlam 2010)
Betrayed and attacked by his fellow WWE NXT season one rookies, The Nexus declared Daniel Bryan would never return to WWE. But in a shocking move at the start of an epic Elimination Tag Team Match at SummerSlam, John Cena revealed Bryan was the surprise member of Team WWE who would go on to help lead them to victory.
Shawn Michaels (Raw, June 3, 2002)
After Shawn Michaels' year-plus absence, the WWE Universe was stunned to see him return and be introduced by Kevin Nash as a new member of the reformed nWo.
Undertaker (WrestleMania XX)
Following Undertaker’s match with Mr. McMahon at Survivor Series 2003, The Phenom was buried alive by Kane. His brother hoped he was gone for good, but Undertaker rose for their clash at WrestleMania XX with a shocking new look as The Deadman.
Triple H (Raw, Jan. 7, 2002)
After a potentially career ending quadriceps tear kept Triple H out of action for most of 2001, The Game made his triumphant return in front of a raucous WWE Universe inside Madison Square Garden. Perhaps the most exciting return of all time?
John Cena (Royal Rumble 2008)
Out of action due to a pec tear, John Cena shook Madison Square Garden to its core as the surprise 30th entrant in the Royal Rumble Match.