5 stars who returned to WWE in 2023

CM Punk shocked the world with his return to WWE in November.
CM Punk shocked the world with his return to WWE in November

It's a given that talent comes and goes for any wrestling promotion, and with WWE being the biggest such company in the world, it tends to see more traffic than other companies.

In a given year, several stars could leave for a variety of reasons. An injury could end a career, or the star could retire or be released. Unfortunately, in 2020 and 2021, nearly 100 performers were released from WWE.

As the COVID pandemic has waned in severity, movement between companies has returned and is gradually increasing. The following five stars returned to WWE in 2023, increasing the anticipation of what might happen in 2024.


#5 Chelsea Green and #4 Nia Jax both returned in the 2023 Royal Rumble

Chelsea Green certainly made an impact when she appeared in the 2023 Royal Rumble. That impact, however, was memorable for the wrong reason.

As she made her way into the match, she was quickly eliminated, setting the record for fastest elimination. Since then, she's grown into an entertaining heel and current Tag Team Champion.

Nia Jax also re-emerged in the 2023 Royal Rumble. The polarizing star shocked the fans when she came through the entrance area. It took a few months, but The Irresistible Force returned for good over the summer by costing Raquel Rodriguez her shot at Rhea Ripley.


#3 Carlito made a triumphant return at Backlash in May

The fans cheered Carlito upon his return in May.
The fans cheered Carlito upon his return in May.

Carlito's return to WWE at Backlash in Puerto Rico was pretty cool. After being away from the company for years, he participated in the 2021 Royal Rumble. Nothing else came from that appearance until May of this year.

Things changed at Backlash in Puerto Rico as Carlito returned to help Bad Bunny beat Damian Priest in a street fight.

He was off of television for months but reappeared over the fall to back up the Latino World Order. Santos Escobar injured him after he turned on Rey Mysterio and the LWO.


#2 Kairi Sane returned at Crown Jewel in November

Another shocking return came at Crown Jewel. As Bianca Belair was attempting to become a champion again, Kairi Sane emerged from out of nowhere to attack The EST.

The move shocked Bayley of Damage CTRL since Sane was last seen during an attack from Bayley.

Sane's return added to Damage CTRL's ranks, but it hasn't led to much success for the former NXT Women's Champion. She hasn't won a singles match and also lost the WarGames match at Survivor Series.


#1 CM Punk returned to WWE at Survivor Series: WarGames

Punk's first rivalry took shape before he even returned.
Punk's first rivalry took shape before he even returned.

Perhaps the biggest move in wrestling over the last decade was CM Punk's return at Survivor Series: WarGames. As the show was set to go off the air, Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" hit and Punk emerged from backstage.

It was a pivotal move in history as Punk had famously walked out of WWE in 2014. He made his return to wrestling with AEW in 2021 but had trouble meshing with the young promotion.

Proving that he still had more to give to the industry, The Voice of the Voiceless did the unthinkable by rejoining the company at an important time. Over the last year, WWE and AEW have been one-upping each other with big additions.

Former TBS Champion Jade Cargill joined WWE this year, while Edge and Will Ospreay signed on with AEW. Whether Punk's return to the Stamford-based company will entice more All Elite stars to make the jump remains to be seen.

We found a missing AEW star RIGHT HERE.