8 WWE Returns That Were Much Better Than Expected

You can never go home again. Except when you can.

Ricky Steamboat Chris Jericho WrestleMania 25 XXV

Shawn Michael's Crown Jewel fiasco proved, as the wrestling business has over and over again, that even the greatest tap out to Father Time eventually.

On Friday in Riyadh, The Heartbreak Kid was more like The Heartbreaking Kid, a pale imitation not just of himself but of Kendall Windham, stumbling through a depressing mess against two similarly depreciated legends. Was a reported $2 million worth it to completely repeal the rare dignity of his wrestling retirement?

For thirty minutes' work, the answer is probably yes.

It was a shame more than a disappointment. If anyone could have another great match after eight years in retreat, it was Shawn. Yet deep down, we all knew it was unlikely. Age might be just a number, but so is 53 - and it's not a small one.

Perhaps the weight of expectation worked against Michaels in the desert. Were it, say, Bryan Clark headlining Crown Jewel, maybe we'd have been wowed by such a sloppy outing. Heck, it would have been one of his best ever matches.

That's the key, really. When you expect nothing, it's easy to be wowed by something. Sometimes, that something is just a wrestler displaying more mobility than a bungalow.

8. Greg Valentine

WWE's Raw Homecoming show in 2005 had two consequences. Firstly, it began the interminable three hour era of the company's flagship show which has ultimately - yet paradoxically - resulted in its lowest ever ratings, but largest ever TV deal.

Secondly, and perhaps less significantly, it set one-time La Résistance member Rob Conway off on an iconoclastic tear. After interrupting the obligatory 'Legends Gathering' on the show, featuring all the usual Jims - Jimmy Snuka, Hillbilly Jim, Jimmy Hart - Conway found himself set upon by the flock of fossils.

In retaliation, he vowed to systematically destroy a series of old-timers. First up Greg Valentine, who at 54 looked just as good (and by extension, just as bad) as he had during his most recent appearance - way back at Royal Rumble '94 - keeping pace with Conway throughout. 'The Hammer' famously needed '20 minutes to warm up' - but managed to get to peak temperature in just seven in the pre-warmed privacy of Heat.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.