The Crow's Nest - Been Away Too Long (or 6 Wrestlers I'd Like to See Return to the Ring)
Aug 11, 2013 - 4:41:32 PM
1) Been Away Too Long (or 6 Wrestlers I'd Like to See Return to the Ring) (08/11/13)
There's a sad truth that exists in the world of wrestling, and that is that if a wrestler disappears from TV for a longish period of time, they also disappear from the minds of most wrestling fans. Sure, if someone is a particularly big fan of a wrestler they might bring it up from time to time, but regardless of how high up on a pedestal they've been placed, the business moves on. Other wrestlers fill the void, other wrestlers become the focus, and the one that pulled the vanishing act is slowly forgotten. It's not exactly a revolutionary concept by any means, bringing to mind that old adage "out of sight, out of mind" but I've been thinking recently about who I'd like to see make a return to the wrestling ring, or more specifically to a wrestling ring that I can watch on TV.
As you read this column, keep in mind that when I say "return to televised wrestling" I'm talking about either TNA or WWE. I don't follow RoH or any of the various indy companies very closely anymore simply because I don't have the time. Aside from catching the odd DVD or clip on YouTube, those entities essentially don't exist in my fandom. Is that something I'd like to change? Absolutely. There is a hell of a lot of talent out there that will likely never get to make it to the big stage, and it's a shame that many people are missing out because they just don't know what's out there. I do know what's out there, I just don't have the time required to watch it as religiously as others do.
But that's a topic for another day.
The first name on my list is one that I, and many other people I'm sure, feel got the short end of the stick when it came to how he was forced into an early retirement. The gimmick was pretty edgy, given the times the world was experiencing at the time, but like many gimmicks throughout the history of this industry, it was that sense of "people like this actually exist, this is real" that helped sell his character. Of course, I am talking about Muhammed Hassan. This is a guy that could hold any crowd in the palm of his hand, inciting strong reactions with every word that came out of his mouth. Better than that, he fully embraced the character he was given and made "Muhammed Hassan" come alive. One of the moments that sticks out in my mind came just after the 2005 London bombings, or right before Hassan's release, when he brought to the ring a copy of an article from the New York Post where he and Daivari were called "terrorists".
Unfortunately, just a week after that segment aired, Hassan was written off TV after being given a Last Ride through the stage by The Undertaker. UPN had apparently pressured the company to keep the Hassan character off of their programming, and just two months after his match with The Undertaker at The Great American Bash, Hassan was officially released from his contract.
Considering the man is only 31 years old, a return to the ring would not be an impossible stretch. Sure, he's "retired" now, but since when has that stopped a professional wrestler from returning? Have him return with a modified version of that original character. It's not as if racial tensions have vanished from the world, particularly in the Middle East, so this character could still be very relevant and effective. Perhaps he could be the answer to the failed attempts at getting another certain "All American" over?
The next name on my list is going to come as a surprise to many of you who have followed my past columns, rants on LoPR or Twitter posts, because I have made it clear that I'm not a particularly big fan of this wrestler, believing him to be insanely overrated and put on a pedestal, even being called "The Next Shawn Michaels" by some. That's right, the second name on my list is none other than John Morrison. I remember back in the earlier days of Morrison and Miz' tag team when people were sure that Morrison would be the breakout star of the pair, and that Miz was going to end up fading into irrelevance as soon as the team was broken up.
Well, we all saw how that played out.
As much as I think Morrison was overrated, that doesn't mean I didn't see his potential. He has a great look for a professional wrestler, and his athleticism is apparent to even the most clueless of fans. When he left the WWE, I assumed it was only a matter of time before he debuted in TNA. What better way to inject some freshness into a failing X-Division then by debuting a big name? His skill set is perfect for the X-Division. Beyond that, I think TNA could have done with Morrison what they did with Christian: build him up as a main event guy on a smaller stage. But, rather than prepare him for an eventual return to WWE, I think Morrison could be a guy to help build the TNA product. The guy has crossover appeal and could be an excellent face to represent the company. I'm sure there would be some people that would complain about another ex-WWE guy being brought in, but at the end of the day I think they would be in the minority. I have no problem with ex-WWE guys being brought in to help the product, and I think that's exactly what Morrison would do.
As long as Melina stays at home, that is.
The third name I've chosen is a guy that many feel got the short end of the stick from TNA. After being taken out with a very serious injury, there was a long period of time where nobody was sure he'd ever be able to wrestle again. Once he healed up a bit, I began making predictions as to how he would return. The obvious choice was in a revenge angle against the guy that injured him in the first place, and I looked forward to seeing him capitalize on the potential I saw in him from the moment I saw him appear on TNA programming. Of course, I am talking about Jesse Sorensen. He's young, he's athletic, and while recovering from his injury he has improved his look into less of a "baby faced good kid from Tennessee" into a guy that looked like he could be a World Champion. It's the same kind of transformation Triple H went under when he bulked up and took on a bigger role in the WWE. Not that I'm saying Sorensen is the next Cerebral Assassin, but it's the best way I could think to describe his physical transformation.
I remember watching that injury happen live. As soon as Zema Ion came down and landed as awkwardly as he did, I knew something was wrong. At first I thought it might have just been a stinger, maybe he had just knocked Sorensen out cold, but then the ref kept Ion in the ring and ended the match, throwing up the dreaded "X". It wasn't long after that the details about just how serious the injury was came out.
Sadly, despite allegedly being promised a job for life by Dixie Carter after this incident, Sorensen was released from his TNA contract as part of a cost cutting initiative, and we never got to see what could have been. For a company that is often accused of not pushing its homegrown talent, this was a perfect chance to shut people up. Sorensen had the right look, the right skill set (or rather a skill set that was evolving and improving rapidly) and the easiest possible return storyline. Revenge is a tale as old as time, and I really believe that the TNA fans would have embraced Sorensen's return. His age is absolutely going to work in his favour right now as he's only 24, giving him loads of time to work his craft on the independent circuit and make a return to the main stage down the road. Maybe he'll go back to TNA, maybe WWE will pick him up, who knows. I just hope that the last thing he does in a major company isn't getting smashed on the head by Zema Ion.
Jeff Jarrett is a name that I've brought up many times in the past, and I'm always surprised at how many people agree with my opinion on him. Anything pre-TNA was, to me, kind of "meh" and I don't think he was quite as valuable as he thought he was. I think he was a talented wrestler, but I would never have pegged him as a guy that would create wrestling history. But then, after the demise of WCW and WWE opting not to bring him onboard, he went and created his own company. Whether or not you are a fan of TNA, the fact that a simple conversation over a fishing trip led to the creation of what is now the #2 professional wrestling company in North America is a pretty big deal.
It's been quite some time since we've seen Jeff Jarrett on any TNA programming, and if recent reports are to be believed, the company has no chance of changing that any time soon. Personally, I think he should be brought back, even if only temporarily, and take his rightful spot in the TNA Hall of Fame. Regardless of whether or not that award means anything to any of us, there would be no TNA without this man. The wrestling landscape today would be a very different place without Jeff Jarrett, and that needs to be acknowledged, even if only by an appointment to the TNA Hall of Fame.
And now, with their resident veteran wrestler Kurt Angle off TV for the time being, could it be the perfect time to bring him back? It doesn't have to be in a major capacity, but his involvement in any storyline really boosts its credibility given who he is. Hell, with Bound For Glory just around the corner, use the "Why am I not in the Hall of Fame yet" thing as his motivation for returning. He doesn't need any help getting the crowd riled up, and placed in a feud with the right wrestler, he could really make a splash. Jarrett deserves a final run in TNA, and while the company certainly doesn't need him to return, I believe he could help the product at least a bit.
This next name is one that I don't often see brought up in conversation. In fact, until recently when I discussed it with former Main Page writer and current host of IMPACT the Revolution, LOPMystic, I didn't think anybody else really remembered this guy and how good he was. Monty Brown, or Marcus Cor Von in WWECW, is a classic "what should have been" tale. To this day, I believe that he would have become a World Champion in TNA had Christian Cage not debuted and received the push instead. I'm a big Christian fan, so naturally I was happy that he was given a chance to shine, it's just too bad that Brown paid the price. Despite being pushed as an absolute beast and elevating to a position where people bought him as a threat to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, he never reached that next level, and left for WWECW in late-2006.
His time in ECW didn't exactly inspire, and he was never really able to connect with the fans on a meaningful level. Whether that's his fault for not trying hard enough or WWE's fault for not pushing him properly doesn't matter. What's unfortunate is that less than a year after signing, Brown was released from his contract, subsequently retiring from professional wrestling.
Brown, to me, represents everything that a monster wrestler needs. He's got the size, but he also has legitimate athleticism and the ability to make people believe he really wants to hurt them. He got over in TNA as a beast, and had he been given a shot, I think he would have been able to replicate that success in WWE. I imagine him in a spot like Ryback was in when his big push started, but I believe Brown could have carried and ran with it much better than Ryback did. At 43 years old, Brown probably isn't on any company's radar right now (the fact that he's also retired doesn't help much) but considering he's reportedly working as a personal trainer right now, you'd have to imagine he's kept himself in shape. Would it be beyond the realm of possibility to think he could make a comeback? Crazier things have happened.
And finally, to close out this column, we have my final pick for this list. This is a guy that did quite well for himself in TNA over the almost eight years he was with the company. You wouldn't know it looking at his championship history, having only a single Tag Team Championship and X-Division championship on his resume, but in terms of popularity and consistency in the ring, this man was solid. He was one half of one of the better tag teams we've seen in recent years, and had it not been for untimely injuries plaguing his partner, I think he would have had more than that single reign. Of course, I am talking about Alex Shelley.
After Shelley's contract with TNA expired, there were more than a few rumours floating around that he was on WWE's radar. Considering his talent and popularity, I was not surprised by this, and assumed that that's where he'd be heading, maybe after a quick tour around the indy circuit. If that didn't happen, I was sure he'd negotiate a new contract with TNA and go back there. Neither of those things happened, obviously, and he now calls New Japan Pro Wrestling home.
I would love to see him return to TNA, especially now considering his former tag team partner is the World Champion. I had always thought that if either of the members of the Motor City Machine Guns were going to win a World Championship that it would be Shelley, and perhaps if he hadn't left the company it would have worked out that way. Nothing against Sabin, because I am a big fan of his, but Shelley just feels like more of a TNA World Champion kind of guy to me.
I'm sure Shelley is happy where he is right now, but I would love to see him return to this side of the pond someday. He's ready for a big time singles push, and I'd love to see TNA give him that chance to shine.
Well that's all the time I have for today folks. I'd like to know who you guys would like to see return (or debut) to a WWE or TNA ring. I'm sure there's names I haven't included here that you'll have an argument for, or maybe you disagree with a name I did include. Either way, you know how to reach me. If not, take a quick look below. I'll catch you all next time.
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