Dave "The Animal" Batista quit the WWE in the middle of "Monday Night Raw" after Triple H refused to grant his "Evolution" stablemate a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight title. Reuters

In recent years, WWE has placed a lot of importance on returning superstars. While wrestlers like The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho have come back to headline major pay-per-views, even more stars that used to be with the company could be set to make appearances in 2014.

WWE’s implementation of a part-time schedule for returning stars has made for an attractive option for former superstars. Lesnar’s win over WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 proves that the company is willing to commit to part-time wrestlers. With the future of TNA in doubt, WWE has a chance to expand its roster.

Below is a look at three former WWE stars that could return in 2014, or in time to have a match at WrestleMania 31.

Kurt Angle

It’s been eight years since the former Olympian appeared in a WWE ring, and his return to the nation’s top wrestling company would be one of the biggest in recent years. He joined TNA in 2006, but his time there might be coming to an end. With TNA reportedly failing to come to terms with Spike on a new TV deal, and Angle’s contract set to come to an end on Sept.21, his days on “Impact Wrestling” are likely numbered.

Before Angle left, he was one of WWE’s biggest stars. He had four different reigns as WWE champion, and headlined WrestleMania 19 with Brock Lesnar. While a return to WWE that could include one more WrestleMania match might be welcomed by fans, the chances of one happening might not be very good. According to Mark Madden, Angle upset Triple H by going over his head and speaking directly to Vince McMahon. This reportedly came after Angle was previously told by the COO that WWE wasn’t currently interested in re-signing him.

Several obstacles could prevent Angle from returning to WWE, including his past substance-abuse issues and health concerns. If Angle did make his way back to WWE in 2014 or 2015, it would likely be as a part-time wrestler.


Despite quitting the company in the storyline in June, Batista is set to return to WWE, eventually. He made his comeback just prior to the 2014 Royal Rumble, and he wrestled full-time for four months.

Batista’s initial return was unlike any other that WWE had seen in recent years. He was brought back to win the Royal Rumble and reclaim the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 30 as a babyface. However, the fans quickly turned on him, and WWE had no choice but to make him a heel. His proposed title run never came to fruition, and he tapped out to Daniel Bryan in the main event of WrestleMania 30.

Now that his blockbuster movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” has been in theaters for nearly a month, Batista’s return could come sooner rather than later. He’s stated that he intends to remain a heel, and has mentioned Triple H and Titus O’Neil as wrestlers that he’d like to work with in his next run.

Bubba Ray Dudley

After spending the last two years as the top star in TNA, Bully Ray, which he became known as when he left WWE, is reportedly a free agent. While the wrestler still appears on TNA’s official website, his contract has expired, according to He left WWE in 2005 and hasn’t been back since.

In WWE, Bubba Ray and D-Von helped make the Dudley Boyz one of the top tag tams in the history of the company. In recent years, though, Bubba has become a star as a singles wrestler. He became, arguably, the best heel in the business, doing things that he never did in WWE. Now that he’s free to sign elsewhere, Bubba could look to get his WrestleMania moment as a singles star.

While Bubba could be a major asset to WWE and help put over the company’s rising stars, his age and history with current WWE superstars could make a return difficult. According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE isn’t interested in signing the 43-year-old, who isn’t favored by some in the company, including Randy Orton. Bubba recently said on “The Ross Report” that there was no major issue between the two, though Orton buried the former TNA champ in a 2008 interview.