The Best "Second Run" in WWE history

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by S.J. Maximus, Mar 10, 2016.


Who had the best "Second Run" In WWE History?

  1. Shawn Michaels 2002-2010

  2. Brock Lesnar 2012-present

  3. Hulk Hogan 2002-2003

  4. Eddie Guerrero 2002-2005

  5. The Rock 2011-present

  6. Jeff Hardy 2006-2009

  7. Chris Jericho 2007-2010

  8. Christian 2009-2014

  9. Ric Flair 2001-2008

  10. Batista 2014

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. S.J. Maximus

    S.J. Maximus Championship Contender

    Sep 27, 2010
    Likes Received:
    One of the most famous sayings in pro wrestling is "Never Say Never". So many times we have seen guys leave WWE, only to come back later and absolutely dominate the business. The point of this thread is to tell me who you think did the best on their second run.

    The only criteria for this is that they had to be relevant during their first run (So you can't say Daniel Bryan, his two matches on Velocity meant nothing) and that they can't be under contract during whatever hiatus they took (So no saying HHH after he came back in 2002 or Undertaker's American Bad Ass Gimmick). With that being said, this is my top 5:

    5. The Rock 2011-present- I really really really really really wanted to put Eddie Guerrero on this list. Eddie Guerrero's second run did wonders for his legacy in ways that have rarely been duplicated (look at #3) but my heart simply wouldn't let me leave Dwayne off this list. Yes, he rarely appears, but how can you discredit 6 straight WrestleMania appearances, 2 back-to-back WrestleMania main events, and 1 title reign that outlasted the reigns HBK and Hogan had during their second runs. Memorable promos, hilarious segments, and great matches with Punk and Cena are too big for Latino Heat overcome.

    4. Hulk Hogan 2002-2003- Easily the most anticipated second run of all time, Hulk Hogan absolutely delivered in 2002. His showdown with Rock was one of the most legendary matches ever and his battle with Vince one year later was definitely Vince's best outting at the big show. Add in a title reign, some more dream matches with guys like Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle, and you have an extremely successful (and absolutely memorable) second run in WWE.

    3. Jeff Hardy 2006-2009- Probably the most controversial choice on this list, Jeff Hardy's second run did wonders for his legacy IMO. When he left in 2003, he was a popular mid-carder who had a great run on a very popular tag team. That sounds a lot like Marty Jannetty, or someone like John Morrison. His second run allowed him to become the 10th Grand Slam Champion ever, a 3-time World Champion and a 4-time Intercontinental Champion. There simply is no arguing that those are the accolades of a WWE Hall of Famer. When he left WWE in 2009, he was the single hottest attraction in the business, a bonafide main event star for the company. I wish they were able to work out a part-time deal for him so that he could've remained in WWE but it's fine: 2009 was good enough for me.

    2. Shawn Michaels 2002-2010- I'd imagine this guy to be everyone's top choice, seeing how his second run was arguably better than his HOF-worthy first run! In 2000 it was doubtful, by 2002 it was a mere dream but later that year he proved us wrong and delivered the same (if not better) high quality matches that he was known for in the 90's. His return story hijacked the original Elimination Chamber match and gave us one of the best matches ever. His feud with HHH was probably the most intense and bloody rivalry in WWE history. His participation in the main event of WrestleMania XX is a big reason why to this day it is still my favorite WM main event and also my favorite triple threat match of all time. His match at WM25 with Taker is widely regarded as one of the best in history. 8 years, 1 World title reign, several high-profile feuds, and 5-star match after 5-star match. Damn, how the hell did I NOT put HBK first!?

    1. Brock Lesnar 2012-present- Call me overzealous, call me crazy, but 4 years into his second run I think it's safe to say Brock Lesnar is having the best "rejuvenation" of any man in the history in WWE. A lot of it is due to how he spent his hiatus (proving yourself as a legitimate fighting machine looks way better to the public than just being home injured like HBK or in rehab like Eddie Guerrero) but regardless he came back to WWE and made an immediate impact. 2012 might have been a questionable year in terms of creative direction but by 2014 it was very clear that he was going to be the biggest draw in wrestling. His title reign was great, he ended the streak, and continues to be the most over guy in the business by and extremely large margin. The best part is that we still have many years to come, many more moments and matches that will bring us right from the edge of our seat into Suplex City.

    Honorable Mention: Eddie Guerrero, Christian, Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, Batista
    Hollywood Naitch and tdmoon like this.
  2. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Sep 14, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Shawn Michaels no question about it. Rock, Hogan and the other guys already reached legendary status by the time these guys had their 2nd run.

    Shawn Michaels pretty much established himself as an Icon in his 2nd run. Heck if you a "Top 10" HBK maches most of them were in 2002 and afterwards.
  3. MoRtAnDaD

    MoRtAnDaD Getting Noticed By Management

    Jun 3, 2010
    Likes Received:
    The truth its strong in this gentleman.

    HBK has the best second run ever, amazing matches, amazing storylines, not that much ego, he helped to put guys over. And gave us 2 of the best matches in history with taker.

    Brock comes behind, but if it wasnt for HBK, Lesnar's second run has been the best.
  4. OYDK

    OYDK King Of The Ring

    Feb 19, 2014
    Likes Received:
    The obvious answer is Shawn Michaels.

    The guy basically had 2 HOF careers, and his second was arguably better than the first.
  5. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

    Apr 29, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Gotta go with HBK on this one, he's not really near my favourite of all time and I think he can be overrated by WWE brass sometimes but theres no denying that his second run was a thing of beauty...arguably better than his first, definitely better for him outside of the ring to be sure.
  6. Aquaman6686

    Aquaman6686 Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Mar 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Brock Lesnar's is an absolute joke. He wrestles 3 or 4 times a year. To even consider him is an insult to the others who have been mentioned.

    It's Shawn Michaels. There's no question there. Shawn Michaels from 2002 on was so much better than his first run, it's night and day. Probably 95% of HBK's best matches are from his second run.
  7. Hollywood Naitch

    Hollywood Naitch The current reigning and defending

    May 27, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I've got to agree with everyone else and say Shawn Michaels.

    His second run was arguably better than his first, which is incredible when you remember he had come back from what was thought to be a career-ending back injury and was a half-decade older. To come back after that kind of injury and time out and IMMEDIATELY be as good as you were before is amazing.

    Shawn had classic match after classic match in his second run, great feuds with the likes of HHH, Kurt Angle, Undertaker and many more. Multiple match of the year candidates, stealing the show night after night. It's disappointing that WWE didn't give him more than a month-long title run while he was performing so well but I read somewhere that all champions have to work full time schedules while Shawn didn't do house hows, so I can understand why.

    I'm glad everyone else agrees with me, Shawn Michaels 2nd WWE run is EASILY the best 2nd run in company history.
  8. harrythem

    harrythem Championship Contender

    Feb 26, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I'm with everyone else and saying HBK. Shawn's first run was pretty amazing (even if he was a massive thundercunt backstage) but, when he returned, he was completely amazeballs!

    What was really amazing was how he actually did a whole lot less in his second run but eveyrthing meant a whole lot more because he completely mastered just about every single aspect in the ring (just watching his sell-job of Lesnar "breaking" his arm is 100 times better than the current roster)

    I don't care what it costs them, they need HBK to go to the performance centre and teach the young guys his skills.

    As for Jericho....surely that's just a case of an upper mid-card guy coming back annually to take a big pay-day away from a regular roster member and drone on in repetitive promos that don't really ever lead anywhere, before doing the same shit from previous years, to less of a reaction? Plus he claims it was him that made Fandango at WM29, what a cunt!
  9. stingray11214

    stingray11214 Cena is no Bruno & Cole is no Solie

    Aug 14, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Just two things: 1) Shaun Michaels, the way that list was done, is a no-brainer. Coming back from back surgery, he had one of the greatest runs ever. He was arguably far better AFTER going under the knife than before. Second, Hogan's 2002-2003 run was actually his THIRD run. His first was in 1979-1980, with "The Hollywood Fashion Plate" Freddie Blassie as his Manager. It was a bit uneventful before going to Japan. We all know what his true Second run was. And, if you had correctly made THAT his Second run, this conversation would have been moot 8 posts ago.
    S.J. Maximus likes this.
  10. Alex

    Alex King Of The Wasteland

    Sep 12, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Well I think anybody would be hard pressed to find someone going with someone other than Shawn Michaels. As someone who watched wrestling a little bit in the early 2000s, stopped and then came back to watching it in 2005 I loved Shawn Michaels. And when I found out he'd been in the company before I was amazed.

    If we're going by who had the best second run after Michaels I'm going with Jeff Hardy.

    The guy was a tag wrestler in his first run before having a singles run which was ok. He comes back again and he ends up a mainstay of the midcard (often carrying it) and then he moves up to main event level. His storyline to finally winning the WWE title was awesome. Everyone wanted him to win it and it was awesome. And when you have his feud with CM Punk (Punk's best feud I believe) one of the most personal feuds in history he had a brilliant second run. That and he was giving Cena a run for his money in terms of most over wrester.
    S.J. Maximus likes this.
  11. Charismatic Enigma

    Charismatic Enigma Grand Slam Champion

    Nov 12, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I'll throw a few more names on that list:

    Christian- came back for fairly strong singles run after returning from TNA, had a hot feud with Orton, won the World Heavyweight Championship. Was previously a tag team/midcard goof ball, got a more serious push that probably cemented his legacy.

    Chris Jericho-when he came back after a two year hiatus, he gave us one of the best feuds of all time with HBK, and really evolved his character a lot. I know most people would probably just view it as he took time off or something, but that was pretty long absence to come back so hot from.

    Eddie Guerrero-Not that his first run was bad by any stretch, but after getting his life cleaned up, he returned to put on some great matches, team with Chavo, and have a run as both US and WWE Champion before passing away ending his run way too soon. If he had continued on, it might have gone even better.

    Daniel Bryan-his first "run" if you even want to call it that, consisted of being on a stupid game show, before getting fired over choking Justin Roberts. His second run, led to him to being one of the most over guys of all time, and headlining WM30 to win the WWE title. If it hadn't been cut short due to injuries and concussions, I could make a case that this was actually the best second run of all time.
  12. theuk savior

    theuk savior Dark Match Winner

    Jan 27, 2013
    Likes Received:
    what about aj styles or jeff jerret or the lod

    but from the list it has to be hbk
    tdmoon likes this.
  13. MattBrady425

    MattBrady425 Dark Match Jobber

    Mar 5, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I would have to say Alberto Del Rio's current second run (2015-ongoing.) His character definitely has more direction than he did during his first run (2011-2014.)
  14. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

    Jun 2, 2006
    Likes Received:
    They way I see it, Shawn Michaels had two careers, not two runs.

    There was the first that ended at Mania 14 and then a whole second career, that had basically a different man, backstage, how he lived his life... so it's easy to give it to him... but I won't.

    Some others who should be considered -

    Ric Flair: For sure he was better the second time around, but achieved a heck of a lot in terms of getting talents over, facing Taker at Mania and while the IC title run was pure storyline, Flair was integral to WWE for that whole second run.

    Ted DiBiase - Many forget that Ted's first WWWF run was in the late 70's and he was the original choice for their secondary title, then the North American title. For whatever reason it didn't work out and they went with the IC title and Pat Patterson. When Ted redebuted in 87 as The Million Dollar Man he became a cornerstone of the WWF for over 6 years. While he didn't get the big belt properly, he was the one talent of that time who could go from Main event to mid card between PPV's and it not require any effort to make happen. A bit like Chris Jericho could in his later runs. He's pretty much my pick...

    Bam Bam Bigelow also fits - he had his 1987/88 run and then his better known run from 93 onwards.

    Depending how you class a "run" you could add RVD to the list, as he had that blink and you missed it run in 97 while part of the ECW invasion. So everything he then did was on his second run with the company, multi-time IC, Tag title holder and holding the ECW and WWE title however briefly was pretty impressive.
  15. tdmoon

    tdmoon Pre-Show Stalwart

    Mar 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    To me, the answer is obvious....and I haven't even seen it mentioned yet.

    I was one of those obnoxious kids who hated the wrestlers everyone else loved and vice-versa. In the mid-eighties, the United States was going apeshit over Hulkamania while I was dismissive; the Horsemen were the best thing going in wrestling and the WWF itself was mostly a joke(in my self-righteous opinion). That said, I still had to acknowledge that Hulk Hogan was easily the most important wrestler not only of the era, but of all-time.

    In the late seventies/early eighties, Hogan wrestled in the WWF as a heel. This wasn't an insignificant run; he was managed by Freddie Blassie, fought Backlund for the title, and had a memorable feud with Andre, which led to a big match at Shea Stadium in what was at the time something close to a super card-type event. He then departed to Japan and the AWA, returning to the WWF a couple years later and becoming the most popular wrestler of all-time.

    With that in mind, I would venture that Hogan's second WWF run was not only the best second run in WWF history but the best run of any kind in all of wrestling's history.

    While on the subject-though I've made it clear that Hogan is my answer-how about a mention for Bob Backlund? There are other wrestlers who ultimately did have better second runs, but the fact that he won the title in his second run along with a complete character change, should merit him a mention!
    S.J. Maximus likes this.
  16. EastCoastFan

    EastCoastFan Championship Contender

    Feb 20, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Based on the criteria given, I'd go with Shawn Michaels. Shawn had a good career during his first run, but had a reputation for not wanting to put over anyone outside of the Kliq. During his second run, he was more of a team player and willing to let other guys shine.

    Of the others you mentioned, The Rock and Brock Lesnar have only been part-timers since returning, Hogan's second only lasted a year and while Jeff had a successful second act as a singles wrestler, it was overshadowed by his drug problems near the end.
  17. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

    May 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    For a lot of these guys the "second Run" was very short. Rock basically came back to wrestle 3 matches in a one year time with a considerable hiatus in between. When you compare to the length and total contribution of guys like HBK post 2002 and Ric Flair post 2001 it doesn't rate.

    Lesnar has contributed but his limited schedule (even more limited than the part time schedules HBK & Flair had) leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, while Lesnar has main evented some big matches, who really has he helped elevate ? He put over John Cena basically as a gift for Cena cleanly losing at Mania to The Rock, then put over HHH at Mania only because HHH had done him the favor at S-Slam (to get him some heat after losing to Cena) simply because HHH had lost a lot of Mania matches recently, he put over Taker at S-Slam (albeit in screwjob fashion), another guy who really didn't need a rub from him and got little out their feud.

    Not only has Lesnar not appeared often but he's mostly been paired with established stars who don't really gain much from the pairing. I would argue in the end Cena and Taker both did more for Lesnar than the other way around even though Cena dominated their last few encounters (by virtue of the clear cut $#@ whopping Lesnar gave him at S-Slam to win the title).

    Now Lesnar is out of the title scene and off the top teir of the card altogether.

    When you consider what HBK did, maintaining his star status, adding a World Title to his resume, helping to elevate Benoit, Batista, Orton, plus his legendary matches vs Flair & Taker, he not only added gold and a few main event tilts to his resume but he helped push and promote new stars as well. He did a lot for Cena helping establish him as a top tier guy as well.

    Same with Flair, who turned in memorable PPV matches vs HHH, HBK, & Taker as well as fairly impactful reigns as Tag Champ (w/Batisita) and IC Champ, winning a good bit of his matches but also helping to elevate Orton, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Batista, and Carlito. Unfortunately not everyone takes advantage of the great solid a really good storyline and win can do for you (Benjamin was pushed to the moon with a new gimmick, wins over Flair, HHH & RVD, and still disappeared soon thereafter) but you cant blame a guy for trying.

    For both Flair & HBK it solidified their legendary status as well. The last few years of WCW had clearly run down Flair, WWE gave him the opportunity to resurrect his career and remind fans of greatness and contributions through the years. HBK found a bigger personal redemption in that he erased much of the past (deserved) criticism for his prior bad behavior behind the scenes by being a "team guy" and actually helping to build guys up, not just prop up his own character.

    Based on the World Title run and match quality If give the edge to HBK, although despite being 10 years older than Michaels Flair did some great work in the ring against Taker, HHH, and Edge and was very good against Orton, Angle, Christian, and a few others. You can probably come up with five outstanding matches from Flair's second run, but you can get maybe 10 from HBK, since they were both about the same in length and both did a lot not just for themselves but to build new talent around them, Id give the vote to HBK.

    Hogan's second run really was 2002-2007, he wrestled through out that time, and although he added a World Title run to his credit he did little for any newer talent and wrestled much less frequently post 2003, even less than Lesnar. It was a nice career ending book end for him, and included some significant wins over HBK & Randy Orton as well as his Mania Moments vs Rock & Vince McMahon but he did less than Lesnar has done in my opinion, although it was a good run.
  18. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Pre-Show Stalwart

    Sep 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Hogan's second run actually started in 1983.

    It's likely that no star will ever be as popular as Hogan was during his Hulkamania period.

    That would get my vote!

    His third run starting in 2002 was sensational in terms of initial crowd reactions, though I think the 'less is more' approach worked better for him during this time.
    tdmoon likes this.
  19. nwocongo

    nwocongo Getting Noticed By Management

    Feb 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Depending on what you deem to be Hulk's "second run", it's between him and HBK.
    Just to go off the list briefly and continue to be an insufferable mark for Raven and Sean Waltman, Raven's second run could have been pretty good if they would have given his character any respect. Obviously this was a competitive time when the roster was stacked so he probably never would have been a top of the heap guy but he could have been utilized a lot better than he was.

    When he returned as X Pac, Waltman had a pretty strong mid card run for a couple of years and put on some very entertaining matches. The problem with him (aside from his own issues with substance abuse and whatever else), was that they had no idea what to do with his character and how to be creative with him post DX. I guess it is possible that being frustrated with his personal shit, they just had no desire to do anything of importance with his character and he was just kept around due to his friendship with Vince and Hunter. Anyway his 2nd stint with the company could have been a lot longer and interesting had things played out differently, same could be said for Hall and Nash I guess.
  20. shalliin

    shalliin Getting Noticed By Management

    May 28, 2007
    Likes Received:
    hogan and rock's returns in the times you listed were not their 2nd runs. more like 3rd or 4th runs. especially hogan. hogans best 2nd run was his main run in the 80's. he'd actually been in wwwf during the end of 70s into about 81/82? and then left ot japan to return for late 83/earl 84ish. then left in 91 and returned in 92. so he's been in and out a number of times prior to your claims. same with the rock.

    It depends though on how you mean. sure the big names had great return runs, but lets look at ome of the lesser guys. guys whoe first runs were wastes of time and then broke out with a fresh start later. guys like charles wright (papa shango, kama mustafa, godfather), dustin runnels (dustin rhode/runnels as bland no gimmick then a cowboy gimmick, gold dust), glen jacobs (unibomb, isaac yankem, fake diesel, kane) and the best of course being mick foley(jobbed some in late 80s early 90s as cactus jack, then mankind, cactus jack redux, dude love, mick foley).
  21. HatchetMan84

    HatchetMan84 Pre-Show Stalwart

    Feb 4, 2010
    Likes Received:
    In my opinion, Shawn Michaels without a doubt. He came back like a few others had from a legit "career ending" injury, and in my opinion he was even better than the first go around, because he had saved the high spots (moonsaults and such) for big PPV matches and every "old" move that he did had so much more meaning.

    He gets my vote because he was my favorite besides Bret, but also because he was offered another World Title Run around 2004 or 2005, and he turned it down to help other talent. He also worked house shows and went back on the road, which is what a lot of "part timers" today won't do....

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "afb8e5d7348ab9e99f73cba908f10802"