In recent weeks, viewers of SmackDown Live have been privileged to see the return of Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin is a former WWE Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion
and has widely been known as one of the more creative workers in the ring. When he first departed the WWE, it was somewhat of a shock. His return was a bit surprising too.
In a recent interview with WWE.com, Benjamin revealed what he's been up to since leaving and what brought about his return.
Benjamin said he'd never taken a vacation while a member of the WWE talent roster. That was the first thing he decided to do upon his exit. He spent some time in Australia and after relaxing for a couple weeks, he started back into the business working on the independent scene. His traveling took him to Ring of Honor (ROH) where he spent nearly two years wrestling and reuniting with former tag team partner Charlie Haas. During his time in ROH, some of the WWE's most current stars were filtering through the system. From Kevin Owens and Cesaro, Benjamin got to work, making him familiar with some of the current roster's greatest technical talents.
Benjamin then switched gears and discussed his return to WWE. It was an unexpected name that convinced him to reach out and see if the door was still open.
As was transcribed by wrestlezone.com, Benjamin said,
“I had always been waiting for the call, instead of pursuing the call. And, this is going to be very out of left field for anyone that hears this, but me coming back actually started with a conversation during WrestleMania 32 weekend that I had with Lilian Garcia. I ran into her and we were just talking. Basically, she slapped some sense into me. She said, 'Put yourself in a position to succeed. Don’t be afraid to initiate.' You’re never too old to learn something new. When someone is giving you wisdom, the source can come from anywhere.”
Sometimes it takes someone proactively getting back to where they want to be. The WWE is a huge company and Benjamin might have otherwise been overlooked if not for Lilian Garcia giving him a kick in the pants to get back in touch with the talent scouts.
It's a good thing Benjamin took her advice. It appears, while he's put on some size, he hasn't lost a step, and his involvement will not only be good for his own career but that of Chad Gable who he's currently teaming up with and close to next in line for a title shot against newly crowned champions The New Day.