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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Failed Comebacks
June 7, 2006 by Nathan Ritchie


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I'm Nathan Handley from Birmingham, England. I'm kind of sick having people have like a whole paragraph introducing themselves. So I thought I wouldn't do that and get on to my column.

Now, my column is about the failed comebacks of the last 10 years. I have decided to do this column because I believe it's very relevant to what's going on at the moment. I mean with Batista coming back from injury, DX reforming! And also ECW is coming back this year. So before we get too excited I would like to remind you of a few failed comebacks.

In 2001 at No Way out the WWE witnessed the return of three former superstars from the WWF era they were Diesel, Razor Ramon and Hulk Hogan. However a lot has changed for them over there time in WCW, not only did they just change their names to Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hulk Hogan. They had formed one of the most successful factions in wrestling history called the New World Order. They had practically run WCW Mondays and were the main driving force on the "Monday Night Wars" for WCW. It was a heel faction who had grew to a giant 18 members including Ted Dibiase, The Giant (Big Show),Randy Savage and Curt Hennig. It caused the collapse of a legendary tag team the Steiner's, when Scott Steiner turned on his brother. However the NWO was going a bit dry because there dominance had gone on for so long so WCW had ago at trying to change the NWO splitting it up into groups, when that didn't work they tried reuniting them and when that didn't work they tried to make a NWO 2000. All this was rather tedious. Eventually it collapsed and so did the WCW with it. It was eventually signed by Vince McMahon. WWE witnessed the return of the NWO in 2001. They quickly started rivalries with Stone Cold and The Rock. It would be Scott Hall vs. Stone Cold and The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8. Stone Cold beat Scott Hall in their match up and The Rock beat Hulk Hogan in theirs. A bad WrestleMania was summed up when Hollywood Hulk Hogan returned to his fans and became a super-face once again. However Nash and Hall still went at it as NWO. But this time they added a new member... X-Pac formerly know as Syxx in WCW. He was previously in the NWO. Big Show and Ric Flair also joined the NWO, but Scott Hall was fired so Kevin Nash was the only original member left. Booker T soon followed and joined the NWO. Shawn Michaels would also join and literally kick out Booker T for trying to "steal the spotlight". But Kevin Nash got injured, which led to the failure of the NWO in the WWE.

In my opinion, this comeback failed because NWO did not make the impact they would have hoped. Losing both matches at WrestleMania X8 could have had an effect on the NWO and how powerful they actually were. Also, at that same WrestleMania losing Hollywood Hulk Hogan was just too damaging to the NWO. They tried out new members but none of them made much of an impact apart from maybe Shawn Michaels. Scott Hall being fired contributed a lot to the demise of the NWO because now Kevin Nash was the only member of the NWO who had been there from the start. Not letting Goldust join, in my opinion was a big mistake because he would have introduced and interesting new angle for the NWO. The legacy of the NWO was forgotten because of the way the NWO had ended in WCW. The NWO comeback is now a forgotten one, I thought it was great that the WWE signed up those guys. But they could have made them more effective.

Now, I'll go on to talk about The Rock. The Rock started off in the Nation of Domination as a heel, and he became leader, a very successful leader as a heel. He broke up from the Nation of Domination and joined the Corporation and not long after that became WWF champion... as a heel. As a heel he was a good wrestler with good mic skills. He could get people to hate him and that makes a good heel. However as a face he turned from a good wrestler with good mic skills to a half decent wrestler with great mic skills. He was now becoming the champ on the fact that people liked him.

Now he had sometime to do his movies and he returned to the WWE as a heel. I was delighted; it's about time The Rock concentrated less on the fans. However I find myself deeply disappointed when instead of concentrating on the wrestling part of the WWE, he concentrated on the entertainment side once again. His storyline was basically that he was bitter that the fans had turned on him at WrestleMania X8. Now correct me if I'm wrong but I am pretty sure that at WrestleMania he showed his disrespect to Hulk Hogan, insulting HULKAMANIA!! He had said before his match with him at WrestleMania that he loved watching Hulk Hogan as a Kid. The WWE are ignoring past comments The Rock made. He then went on to face Stone Cold and Goldberg. The Rock then (once again) left the WWE to shoot yet another movie.

Now I think this is a failed comeback plainly because The Rock's wrestling talents are once again being ignored. Once again I feel the WWE had the right intentions and did the right thing turning The Rock into a heel once more. However once again it's the WWE writers that get it wrong. The Rock can go to Hollywood to act. I don't want to see acting when I'm watching TV on Monday or Friday nights, I want to see WRESTLING.

I had a lot to decide from when I went for my last pick for failed comebacks. Marty Jannetty, Scott Steiner, Chavo Classic and The BWO are among the failed comebacks. But I have decided to go for Road Warrior Animal. He and Hawk formed the legendary Legion of Doom becoming 16-time tag team champions in all.NWA, WCW, WWF, IPW, PCW, AWA and GWC have all been graced with the presence of this fantastic team. They were loved by fans all across the globe.

Road Warrior Hawk sadly passed away in 2003. This left Animal distraught and stranded in the world of wrestling. He and his tag team partner had been together for so long, it was strange not seeing Hawk by the side of Animal. However, in 2005 we saw the return of the legendary Animal. He wore the same face paint and the same attire. But this time he would have a new partner; an abysmal storyline including Heidenreich trying to find a friend concluded with Animal taking him on board to be Road Warrior, Heidenreich wore the same face paint as Hawk and wore the same attire as Hawk. But Heidenreich was nothing like Hawk in the ring. They became Tag Team Champions purely on the basis that they were Legion of Doom. Now I see that Animal is going his own which is really what I wanted and I am glad he has done that. However once again WWE has not considered the history of the superstar. Animal cut a promo bad mouthing Heidenreich, Matt Hardy and HAWK! Now correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure MNM said something bad about Hawk to Animal and Animal became angry.

Now this comeback is not over yet I'm sure of that. Animal would make a great heel and a successful wrestler. But I just think WWE are pushing too hard to get heels these days, without even considering the history that superstar may have. I have nothing against Hawk being involved in a storyline. I mean, he lived and loved wrestling. I also think that once again WWE have got the right idea. Now Animal is a heel, he doesn't have to disgrace the Legion of Doom with another mediocre wrestler as his tag team partner. But once again WWE have gone the wrong way about it.

by Nathan Ritchie ..


Michael Minchington wrote:
Hi Nathan, nice column.In my opinion the NWO was never going to be a permanent thing in the WWE, it served mainly to bring back Scott, Kevin and most importantly, Hulk.Also speaking of the Rock, that promo he cut with the NWO at No Way Out 2001 (I think") was brilliant, when he called Scott Hall "Rico Suave", that was classic.I wish the Rock would come back to the WWE, I miss him.It's ironic that he left wrestling to do movies, yet his best acting was clearly in the ring. Oh well.
Brad Dykens wrote:
I just had a thought when I was adding the above feedback. I don't know how many of you are aware, but Henry O. Godwinn actually attemped a come-back earlier this year at OVW and lasted one match and it was said to be beyond horrible. I guess that qualifies as a failed come-back!
Unknown wrote:
Sadly, I hate to burst your bubble but a few days before I read this article, I went to look on the WWE homepage and I found out that Animal was released by the WWE. Sorry to say this but The Road Warrior has became A statistic of failed comebacks.Or the WWE Is killing off their best talent.
Stephen "The general" Carlson wrote:
Ok I was reading your article and I had a few things I disagreed on, but first I must touch on the fact that the nWo made there WWF debut in 2002, not 2001. Anyways, I was reading the article and in it I noticed you said The Rock was not as good a wrestler. That I can't understand, sure he did a little more showboating to the crowd in his matches but that in no way made him a "half decent wrestler". Let me tell you some "half decent wrestlers" and ask yourself if The Rock is one of them. Mark Henry, Gene Snitzky, Bill Goldberg. The rock is, was, and always will be a GREAT wrestler not like the following three. Now also I am not sure at the time of writing this you were aware but animal was released from his contract. Thats about all I have to say except next time try a little longer to get your dates right.
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