Earlier today, there was a report about Stone Cold Steve Austin potentially coming back for another match, something that has been rumored about for years. Sure, Austin's return for a big match would do good business and would be a great moment, but it would just be another brick in the house that the WWE has built for itself. A house where short-term box offices come before long-term foundations. The same could be said about Goldberg coming back for a big match. Both men are well into their 40s, so it isn't like they can supply their provider with good business for years to come, it would be more likely a one-and-done type deal. It just is not a sound business strategy for a company that has been around for 50 years, and would like to be around for 50 more.
It also probably hurts guys in the lower-card's confidence when the WWE brings in past stars for the big roles. To draw an analogy from the gridiron, two years ago Colts quarterback Peyton Manning went down with a season ending injury. The Colts had young backup Curtis Painter behind Manning in the depth chart, yet they elected to sign veteran Kerry Collins instead to replace Manning. This caused a big riff in the sports world, because what is the point of even having Painter on the roster if the team was not confident in his ability to replace Manning? Painter did eventually get the starting job, but he played poorly, perhaps because the Colts had shown that they had zero faith in him at the beginning?
I know that comparison may be a stretch, but the confidence in guys like Bryan, Barrett, Ziggler and others must take somewhat of a hit when the WWE basically says "We have no one to work with Punk or Cena for Wrestlemania, never mind the rest of the roster, we better bring back the Rock or Lesnar to work with them because the rest of the roster can't get it done."
The WWE has shown a little faith in a few younger stars, especially Ryback. While other guys like Sheamus and Ziggler had been in the upper-mid card/main event for longer than him, Ryback blew the doors off of both of them in route to feuding with Punk over the WWE Championship and now John Cena over that same prize. Will Ryback be the next big star for the WWE? So far the numbers and the support for Ryback indicate that it is far from a resounding yes, but that is for another column. In the meantime, the WWE is crossing it's fingers hoping that Ryback can draw big money. Of course, if he doesn't they can always bring back a part-time guys to work with Cena :D.
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