A new WWE Top 10 video was posted today on WWE’s Youtube channel and the topic intrigued me, so I figured I may as well write about it. As a reminder, this is WWE’s video and they picked the order. I’ll provide some insight into the moments while also posting the video at the bottom and sharing final thoughts as well.
This is a look back at the Top 10 Raw after WrestleMania returns.
10. Big Show – 2020
They showed Big Show confronting Drew McIntyre after WrestleMania this year, which was shown on Raw. Show trash talked McIntyre, who didn’t want to fight him since Drew just beat Brock Lesnar, so Show slapped Drew and that set up the match. I wouldn’t have included this, but obviously WWE wanted to have something very recent on the list.
9. Jeff Hardy – 2018
Seth Rollins, who was the Intercontinental Champion at the time, and Finn Balor were in the ring facing off against The Miz, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. The situation set up perfectly for somebody to save the faces Rollins and Balor, which led to Jeff Hardy’s return after a shoulder injury. The pop that Hardy got was pretty good with the fans giving Jeff a nice ovation. It set up a match later in the night.
8. Batista – 2009
The Legacy trio of Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes were beating up Triple H when some familiar music played as Batista ran down to the ring for the save. I had forgotten about this moment, but it was a very big ovation for Batista. I had forgotten why Batista made his return here, so I looked it up and saw he had surgery on a torn hamstring in late December after Randy Orton took him out with The Punt. It was the perfect timing for a return. Anyway, Batista cleaned house by beating up all three Legacy guys.
7. Sheamus – 2015
Sheamus was out of action in late 2014 after having surgery and he came back on the Raw after WrestleMania in 2015 with a new look. There was more of a spiked hairdo, he had braids off the beard that he had and the fans didn’t know what to make of it. Sheamus cleared Wade Barrett from the ring, it looked like maybe he was a face, but then Sheamus went back to his heel ways by hitting a Brogue Kick on Daniel Bryan. That drew boos and later “you look stupid” chants as well.
6. Nia Jax – 2020
This was from Monday’s Raw when Jax returned to action after missing a year with double knee surgery. Jax won a short match over Deonna Purrazzo. I wouldn’t include this on the list, but WWE wants to have current stuff on here.
How can you really rank this ahead of Batista or Jeff Hardy? Odd choice.
5. X-Pac – 1998
I remember this one pretty well because it was the return of Sean Waltman to WWE after spending a few years in WCW. We first got to know him as the 1-2-3 Kid in 1993 and now he was back with a new name…X-Pac. The promo he delivered on this night felt like a “shoot” promo because he took shots at WCW’s Eric Bischoff. It was the best promo of his career. They only showed Triple H introducing him, but that promo was memorable.
4. Maryse – 2016
The Miz was challenging Zack Ryder for the Intercontinental Title on the Raw after WrestleMania in 2016. Ryder won it at WrestleMania 32 in a great Ladder Match. The Miz got into an argument with Zack’s dad at ringside, which led to Zack’s dad shoving Miz on his ass. That led to Maryse (Miz’s wife) getting involved by slapping Zack’s dad in the face. Moments later, Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Ryder to win the IC Title. It was the official return of Maryse as a TV character. I thought Miz had a great year in his career after that with Maryse as his manager.
3. Finn Balor – 2017
This was a cool moment where Balor made his return after missing about seven months following shoulder surgery. Balor hurt the shoulder on the same night he became the first Universal Champion in history at SummerSlam 2016 when he beat Seth Rollins. Who did Balor return to team with on this night? Seth Rollins. The reaction for Balor was pretty awesome. It’s a nice reminder of how popular Balor was.
2. Bobby Lashley – 2018
Bobby Lashley left WWE in February 2008 after getting a pretty big push for a few years. Lashley went on to do other things, he had some good runs in other wrestling companies and tried MMA as well. On the Raw after WrestleMania in 2018, Lashley returned after 10 years away. Elias was in the ring playing a song that annoyed the crowd and the reaction for Lashley was very loud. It was probably one of the biggest reactions of Lashley’s career.
1. Brock Lesnar – 2012
The first one on the list is a great choice because it was one of the loudest crowd reactions I’ve ever heard in a wrestling arena. There were a lot of rumors that Brock Lesnar was in Miami during WrestleMania weekend in 2012. What we didn’t know is if he would show up at WrestleMania on Sunday or Raw on Monday. Keep in mind that Lesnar left WWE in 2004, he sued the company after that to try to move on with his life and Lesnar went on to have success in UFC as a former Heavyweight Champion and a huge draw there. Lesnar returning to WWE was a very big deal. John Cena was in the ring doing a promo, the crowd really didn’t care for him that much and then when Lesnar’s music hit, the fans went crazy for him. Lesnar did a slow power walk to the ring, stared at Cena, Lesnar gave him an F5 and the crowd loved that. It set up Lesnar vs. Cena at Extreme Rules 2012, which Cena won and that’s a booking decision that I hated.
On a personal note, I was at WrestleMania 28 in Miami. It was a great time. Lots of drinking and fun memories. I was there for four days. Maybe five. Anyway, I flew home that Monday morning and was back home to write about Raw that night. When I got saw Lesnar’s return here, I hated myself for not staying an extra day to be a part of that moment. The next time I went to WrestleMania two days later, I stayed for the Raw the next night and I’m glad I did. The lesson is if you go to WrestleMania, try to stay for the Raw after WrestleMania because it’s usually a fun show.
Here’s the video of WWE’s list.
The order was okay, but not great. It’s important to note that they are only counting people returning to WWE only on Raw rather than debuts or anything like that. If I had to order this myself, my top five would be:
1. Brock Lesnar – 2012
2. X-Pac – 1998
3. Batista – 2009
4. Finn Balor – 2017
5. Jeff Hardy – 2018
I wouldn’t even include the two from this year, but as I noted above, it’s just a case of WWE wanting to include more recent stuff.
Here’s a link to the archive of my posts looking at past WWE Top 10 videos.
Thanks for reading.