The Top 5 Comebacks In WWE History

John Cena - Royal Rumble

Last summer, at Money in the Bank, John Cena made his first appearance in the ring in over 18 months, having last wrestled at WrestleMania 37, in a Firefly Fun House Match against Bray Wyatt.

While Cena did not participate in any wrestling on his comeback night, he did confront the reigning Universal Champion Roman Reigns and inform him that he was coming for his championship belt.

The audience roared when he appeared at the conclusion of the pay-per-view event and the usual cries of “Let’s go Cena” and “Cena stinks” were not so much in evidence, drowned out by the virtually unanimous applause and praise for one of the greatest WWE talents of this period.

Of course, there have been many other impressive comebacks in WWE history. As anyone who checks out the markets available for online sports betting in New Jersey or any of the other regulated sports betting states will know, there is huge interest in WWE among modern audiences.

That includes full appreciation for long-standing WWE heroes who make a comeback. Here are just five of the most memorable WWE returns.

John Cena – Royal Rumble 2008

Where better to begin than with Cena’s return to the Royal Rumble in 2008 as the final contestant?

To put things in perspective, Cena tore his pectoral muscle in an episode of Raw and it was expected that he would be out for at least six months.

He was many weeks ahead of schedule in terms of recuperation after undergoing surgery to the injury, according to reports, yet nobody anticipated that Cena could make the quick comeback that he did at the Rumble. He earned one of the greatest cheers heard in a wrestling stadium in years when he entered at number 30, and went on to win the bout by eliminating Triple H.

The Rock – Raw 2011

When it was revealed that The Rock would be the guest host at WrestleMania 27, he hadn’t been seen in a live WWE ring since 2004.

The Rock was one of the biggest performers in the WWE throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, and his spats with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H were critical to the success of the Attitude Era.

So, when on February 14, 2011 he returned to the WWE, he gained a huge standing ovation from the crowd. His return was not just for show, either. In his second WWE run, he went on to beat John Cena at WrestleMania in 2012, to huge applause from an appreciative crowd.

Edge – Royal Rumble 2020

With his comeback from a torn Achilles tendon at the 2010 Royal Rumble serving as a precursor to an exciting rivalry with Chris Jericho, Edge could have easily occupied two slots on this list on his own. But his reappearance at the Rumble 10 years later meant more to a generation of WWE fans who had grown up seeing him develop into one of the institution’s emerging stars.

Edge had retired in 2011 owing to cervical spinal stenosis and he did not wrestle in the ring again until the summer of 2019. Then, during the Rumble, he debuted as entry number 21, to a barrage of applause from the audience. Edge stepped into the ring, looking understandably emotional, and lasted 23 minutes before being beaten by Roman Reigns.

Shawn Michaels – Raw 2002

Shawn Michaels’ initial in-ring tenure with WWE came to an end in 1998 when he was forced to retire due to a back issue. He made intermittent appearances in other authority positions after that, but it wasn’t until 2002 that he returned to wrestling in the WWE.

The audience exploded as Kevin Nash unveiled HBK as the newest addition to the nWo stable. It was his first outing in over two years. Then, at Summer Slam, Michaels defeated Triple H in his first match since WrestleMania XIV, establishing one of wrestling’s all-time great rivalries.

Chris Jericho – Raw 2012

Chris Jericho’s exit from WWE in late 2010 was a shock to many fans, since he was one of the best in-ring and on-mic talents the organization had ever seen.

But fans were elated when Jericho reappeared after little over a year. In the weeks leading up to the January 2, 2012 episode of Raw, WWE released a series of cryptic teasers promising the return of a superstar. Eventually, Jericho stepped into the ring to rapturous applause, and despite not coming to the mic in his first entrance in almost a year, his presence was felt immediately.


WWE has provided many stunning comebacks over the years, rewarding fans who feel a loyalty to their heroes that is not found in most other sports. We could have added other spectacular comebacks to this list and we hope that there are many more to come.