Being a WWE superstar is the dream of many wrestlers in this business. Regardless of what critics might think of their brand of “sports entertainment,” the Stamford-based company is still the pinnacle of the industry and a major goal for competitors just getting started and grizzled veterans alike.
However, 2020 through mid-2022 was a tumultuous time to be a WWE superstar, and not just due to the pandemic. During that two-plus-year period, more than 120 wrestlers were released, giving their walking papers amidst uncertain times. Many of them found employment elsewhere, such as AEW or Impact, while others took to the independent scene to carve their own path.
Starting in August 2022, however, WWE reversed that trend under Triple H. The newly minted head of creative began undoing a lot of his father-in-law’s firings, bringing back nearly 20 superstars who were axed in recent years.
Triple H’s rehires were lauded in certain corners of social media as evidence of a resurgent WWE. A popular meme circulated of Hunter as Thanos, wearing an Infinity gauntlet adorned with the heads of returning superstars in place of Infinity stones.
But as we sit here a year later, how do we rate these rehires? Some have fared well, but sadly, most have been far from magic stones powering WWE to greatness and are more cannon fodder troops to fill out the roster. This doesn’t mean rehiring them was a bad idea – just that they aren’t being utilized well.
Let’s get to it…
15. Hit Row
Unfortunately, Triple H’s first rehires that appeared on TV are also arguably in the worst spot.
The quartet Hit Row was unceremoniously released in November 2021, just weeks after debuting on the main roster. It was a body blow to the group, taken out before they even had a chance to fail or succeed on their own. Swerve Strickland would make his way to AEW the following spring, leaving B-Fab, Ashante Thee Adonis and Top Dolla to carry on as a trio.
In August 2022, the group made their unannounced return on SmackDown, picking up a quick win. They would renew hostilities with NXT rivals Legado Del Fantasma and even get a tag title shot in December, but they’ve had only a handful of televised bouts this year, losing all but one of them, both in tag and singles action.
At one point, Top Dolla had an unfortunate botch in trying to dive to the floor, resulting in Michael Cole constantly burying him as Flop Dolla and saying he’s the favourite to win a battle royal because he can’t go over the top rope.
The group went from Triple H’s first return salvo to jobbing jokes, getting beat up by LA Knight in dark segments. It’s always possible they string together a couple of victories, but they seem like the definition of enhancement talent.