The WWE brand split is fast approaching and the company is kicking the tires on several former superstars in an attempt to fill out the Smackdown and RAW rosters. While it is widely expected for both RAW and Smackdown to draft a number of NXT talent (Finn Balor included), WWE is interested in bringing in some outside talent to help with the historic event.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter stated on Twitter that WWE has been calling former talent about coming back to the company: ”[WWE is] calling lots of 40+ year old guys to return for the new era,”
On Sunday’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that Carlito, MVP and Stevie Richards are just some of the names that have been contacted about a return to WWE. Meltzer said that he’s talked to some names but he cannot reveal who they are because he was told by them to keep quiet but there are many names being called.
According to sources, this talent includes the likes of Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio and TNA’s Jeff Hardy.
Goldberg has been rumored to return to the ring since WrestleMania 32, but it is likely his return will be limited run or a one-off match at WrestleMania 33. However, WWE is hoping they can squeeze a couple of big matches out of Goldberg so they can help bolster a brand split.
Kurt Angle has been “angling” (no pun intended) for a WWE return for over a year with no success. WWE is discussing bringing Angle back and putting him on the Smackdown brand. To make things even more interesting, WWE is said to be kicking around the idea of aligning Angle with NXT tag team ‘American Alpha’ to form a new version of “Team Angle”.
Rey Mysterio is currently aligned with Lucha Underground but it is said that Mysterio is open to a WWE return and WWE is interested in the same. With WWE’s globalization efforts and brand expansion Mysterio, who departed WWE in early 2015, would be a great addition to either RAW or Smackdown, with the likely destination being Smackdown.
Although he is currently signed with TNA, Jeff Hardy has not been shy about a potential WWE return, where he aims to close out his career. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Hardy opened up about his desires to return to WWE:
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Decent names to bring in as long as they're used to put over the younger talent, like they are saying putting American Alpha's with Kurt.