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The return pop would be big. But just to put things into perspective.
Austins ENTIRE wrestling carreer was 14 years.
Austin has now been retired for 17 years.

This also means that a large portion of Austins fanbase from his prime are now in their 30's and 40's. And a large part of them have probably quit watching wrestling many years ago.

The initial pop of seeing Austin come back as a wrestler would be huge. But I think it would quickly fizzle out, when people realize he can't perform well in the ring anymore and how neutered he would be in a pg environment.
And if you look at WWE's (and wrestling in generals) target audience. There will be a very large percentage who never saw Austin live in his prime. Because they werent born yet or much too young to watch wrestling.

Think about how much Hogans 02-04 run reeked of nostalgia. And he had only been away from a wwe ring for 9 years.
Those are all intelligible points. I think Austin is a different animal to Hogan. I mean, if he came back and it was the same sterile WWE, yeah, there's only so much that's going to matter. But that's the same for everyone. You'd probably try, at least a little bit, to book around Austin if you had him again.

Dean Ambrose and Jon Moxley are NOT the same character.
They most definitely are.
 

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Those are all intelligible points. I think Austin is a different animal to Hogan. I mean, if he came back and it was the same sterile WWE, yeah, there's only so much that's going to matter. But that's the same for everyone. You'd probably try, at least a little bit, to book around Austin if you had him again.



They most definitely are.
And if you book around a 56 year old Austin, half the internet would erupt with rage after the second week xD just look at Goldbergs recent run. And WWE would absolutely have to book Austin pretty similar to Goldberg in his age/condition. Very short, simple matches where Austin kicks ass and comes out on top.

It wouldnt be long until "Get old man Austin off my screen, he puts noone over and sucks in the ring" threads would be everywhere :)
 

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I think the only real answer is Punk. I don't see Austin coming out of retirement, even though of course that would be biggest of them all.

People didn't really care about Ambrose when he was leaving. His last Wrestlemania match was on the preshow. I'm sure there is a nostalgia pop for The Shield reunion and some good matches to be had, but as a singles? Pass. Cody would be bigger and I would pay for HHH vs Cody at some point down the line.
 

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Life events can always change people's mind. Everyone says that Steve Austin doesn't want to wrestle...but that's until he does. WWE is a billion-dollar company with these TV deals. Things are very different, and who knows how well Austin has rested that neck and what treatments he's been using. If the dude goes to a doctor and they're like "your neck is stronger than ever" and Vince offers to put him on $10 million a year to work a few matches? It's not impossible.

Austin going against Brock Lesnar would be MASSIVE business. Austin going against Punk. I'm sure Austin would love to get in there and do something proper with Randy Orton, Edge and Taker too. Hell, Austin going against Shawn Michaels would be fucking massive. And if they could get a hold of Mike Tyson, they could literally do Austin vs. Tyson, which is insane to think about.

So yeah, I'd go with Austin as the biggest. Shawn Michaels is also up there.
Austin has said a number of times that even if he was fit enough to wrestle he wouldn't as he cant go like he used to be able to and he only wants fans to see him at his best. He's already a wealthy man and seems happy doing what he's doing so i dont see him ever coming back despite the money offered. Not to mention his character would be watered down, i believe even his return guest appearances have been a bit meh.

Disagree with Shawn Michaels too, he ruined that with his match in Saudi Arabia which was god awful.

Realistically CM Punk is the only one at this moment in time.

Chris Jericho in a couple of years when his contract at AEW is up.
 

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Dean Ambrose and Jon Moxley are NOT the same character.
They are, the only difference is that Moxley swears but look back at the promo he cut when that snowed in RAW happen and you can compare that to many of his NJPW and AEW promos. They are basically the same character with a new lick of paint.

The only difference is effort really despite what Moxley may claim, you could tell he checked out of the company after the Brock match, like he was there for the money and that's it.
 

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Of the current stock now, you're pretty much right. A returning Cody or Ambrose/Moxley in years to come could be considered huge, along with Jericho.

I think we need to give it a few more years to see what happens with the current crop of "superstars" to be sure.
 

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And if you book around a 56 year old Austin, half the internet would erupt with rage after the second week xD just look at Goldbergs recent run. And WWE would absolutely have to book Austin pretty similar to Goldberg in his age/condition. Very short, simple matches where Austin kicks ass and comes out on top.

It wouldnt be long until "Get old man Austin off my screen, he puts noone over and sucks in the ring" threads would be everywhere :)
Okay, I can't argue with that part, haha. That being said, Goldberg was good for business, and I think Austin would be even better. But you're right, you would have to be smart about booking it. The great thing about Austin is that he's such a great performer and overall worker that I truly believe he could make it work. If you wanted to do him against Lesnar, it would almost be all angles, bar for maybe one physical one to go home. It'd be a lot of sit-downs, a lot of reflecting on whether or not Austin is walking into a "Death By Brock" situation. Heyman's promos about how he made Steve Austin and gets no credit. It's doable, and it would be huge, and fuck the people who would whine, frankly, haha.

Austin has said a number of times that even if he was fit enough to wrestle he wouldn't as he cant go like he used to be able to and he only wants fans to see him at his best. He's already a wealthy man and seems happy doing what he's doing so i dont see him ever coming back despite the money offered. Not to mention his character would be watered down, i believe even his return guest appearances have been a bit meh.

Disagree with Shawn Michaels too, he ruined that with his match in Saudi Arabia which was god awful.

Realistically CM Punk is the only one at this moment in time.

Chris Jericho in a couple of years when his contract at AEW is up.
I'm not doubting that he's said that, it's just that people change. The money gets larger. The itch needs more of a scratch. He's got two daughters, a third if you include the one he adopted. One of them is 24. Who knows if she got into wrestling and really wants to see her dad wrestle? Or one of them has a kid that thinks granddad is just the coolest and wants to see him do a Stunner live at some point? There's so many things that go into it, especially with the incredible stuff they can do to repair injuries and help guys out now. Edge was in a worse place to wrestle than Austin. It was completely off the table for Bryan at one point. Austin's neck could be in better shape now than it was during his hottest run.

I'm just saying that it's not impossible. Shawn Michaels stayed away for a long time too. And I think Mick Foley meant it at one point too.
 

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They are, the only difference is that Moxley swears but look back at the promo he cut when that snowed in RAW happen and you can compare that to many of his NJPW and AEW promos. They are basically the same character with a new lick of paint.

The only difference is effort really despite what Moxley may claim, you could tell he checked out of the company after the Brock match, like he was there for the money and that's it.
I mean call it what you want, but that "paint" is the difference between not bad but clearly not caring and pretty awesome.
 

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Could be. I miss Punk in the ring and think WWE has sucked for the most part since he left, but I dunno if I'd want to see have a final WWE run. He already achieved most of what WWE allowed him to achieve and they failed to capitalise on his popularity in 2011 during the Summer of Punk storyline. I fear that, if Punk came back, he'd be a former shadow of himself and WWE would make sure not to give him ANY freedom at all on the mic.
 

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The problem with returns like this is that the excitement of it is rarely sustainable. With a guy like Punk(who let's be honest here isn't remotely the impact player people seem to hype him as being) and the ever-diminishing fanbase it wouldn't amount to a hill of beans in reality. He'd be cheered and maybe some people but not a sizable portion of people would be inclined to check it out but it'd really not mean much in the grand scheme of things because he isn't that important culturally or historically to WWE or wrestling in general. I like the guy's work and always found him entertaining but he's never and will never be the game changer people claim him to be and the proof of that is easy to find.

Getting a big POP doesn't mean jack squat in the long run unless it's sustainable and at this point, with his best years clearly behind him and likely his lack of desire to work a regular schedule(if at all) would mean he's just out there for nostalgia purposes and that isn't going to be sustainable because like I said earlier he isn't that important in the grand scheme of things.
 
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