Former WWE superstar Shelton Benjamin was scheduled to make his long-awaited return to SmackDown Live last summer. Following the WWE Draft, the company signed several veteran superstars, including Benjamin, who was promoted to return in video packages.
But the former Intercontinental, United States, and Tag-Team Champion was forced to miss the next nine months of action after suffering a torn rotator cuff during an indie match shortly before his scheduled WWE appearances.
On Thursday, however, Benjamin tweeted that he’s officially been cleared by doctors to return to action, effective immediately.
After 9 of the hardest months of my life, I'm happy to announce I have been OFFICIALLY CLEARED to return to action. Effective Immediately!— Shelton J. Benjamin (@Sheltyb803) March 30, 2017
While it hasn’t been confirmed, WWE officials Vince McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque are rumored to still be interested in bringing back Benjamin despite the injury. SmackDown still has a need for more mid-card talent, and the former NCAA amateur wrestling standout is still one of the most solid in-ring workers in professional wrestling.
Benjamin also confirmed that he intended to make a WWE return while he was still rehabilitating in November.
For the record. I will make moves to return to @WWE when I am back to 110% physically. Anywhere from 4 to 6 months by my doc calculation.— Shelton J. Benjamin (@Sheltyb803) November 22, 2016
The timing of the announcement is very interesting with WrestleMania just three days away. Benjamin teased fans about a potential return earlier this month, claiming his doctor told him to bench 300 lbs by April, which, of course, is when the event takes place.
Benjamin could have some part in the event, especially considering former on-screen mentor Kurt Angle will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame tomorrow night. Angle is also rumored to return to WWE television on a weekly basis soon, so that provides Benjamin with a possible storyline should he return.
There’s also the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal match, which will take place on the preshow. Let’s be honest, it’s one of the least anticipated matches on the card, but there is a chance to gain interest by having former superstars compete.
Last year, Tatanka had an unceremonious appearance before being eliminated. Benjamin, on the other hand, should get an entrance if he’s inserted into the match, which would get the fans excited before the official kickoff of WWE’s biggest event.
WWE was rumored to have planned a big mid-card push for Benjamin prior to his injury, which would have seen him challenge for the Intercontinental Championship on SmackDown Live. There were also rumored discussions about bringing back his Team Angle and World’s Greatest Tag Team partner Charlie Haas to improve the brand’s ailing tag team division.
Considering SmackDown’s top tag team prospects American Alpha have already drawn comparisons to the fellow former amateur wrestlers, a feud with Haas and Benjamin would have been an ideal scenario.
Fans have monitored Benjamin’s potential return since his injury. In January, he fended off rumors of a potential Royal Rumble return, which many assumed fit his projected timetable of four to six months.
“I seem to keep getting asked when am I returning to WWE on twitter and in person. For the record. I will make moves to return to WWE when I am back to 110 percent physically. Anywhere from 4 to 6 months by my doc calculation. Believe me when I say I am just as anxious to get back in the mix as a lot of fans are to see me.”
Benjamin’s return to WWE hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s something fans hope to see in the near future. The veteran superstar would provide an immediate spark to SmackDown Live‘s roster and provide a great mentor for rising talent.
[Featured Image by WWE]