As demonstrated by the one off returns of Ric Flair (for the time being at least), The New Age Outlaws, The Boogeyman and Tommy Dreamer on this week's Slammy Awards edition of Monday Night Raw, WWE is currently going through another one of their nostalgia kicks in a bid to boost ratings and also roster depth.
One of the main beneficiaries of this drive to get veteran hands back into the WWE fold looks to be current Ring Of Honor (ROH) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) star Shelton Benjamin. Dave Meltzer on his subscriber only Dec. 18th Wrestling Observer Radio show reported that Benjamin has handed his notice into ROH because WWE is interested in him returning to their company full time.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Benjamin will leave his current home of ROH, but it allows him to legally negotiate with WWE, who are now doing everything by the book after TNA filed a lawsuit against them for tampering with Ric Flair's contract in May, a case that has yet to be resolved. When WWE comes calling though, they are very hard to say no to, so the odds are good that Benjamin will re-sign with the promotion within the next three months.
Meltzer also mentioned that WWE has their eye on other former talent to make comebacks, but didn't drop any other names.
For ROH, Shelton Benjamin has outlived his usefulness. He was a very valuable member of the roster when he was first brought into the company in September 2010 with his tag team partner Charlie Haas. With both men having something to prove after WWE cut them earlier that year, they delivered some vibrant and spirited initial performances against The Kings Of Wrestling (WWE's Antonio Cesaro and NXT's Kassius Ohno) and The Briscoe Brothers, but somewhere along the way that spark and fire largely evaporated. He's now just another guy on the roster, filling up space that could be given to someone much younger and with more long term potential.
For Shelton Benjamin, at age 37, time is running out on having one last big WWE run. That doesn't necessarily mean he should take their offer though. It's very rare for somebody who was fired by WWE for the reasons of cost cutting and removing deadwood from their bloated roster to have much better luck or a bigger push on their return. Even if the WWE creative team makes a genuine attempt to get Benjamin over at a higher level, being typecast for years as a career midcarder could do him in, just like it did Tensai, at being accepted as anything more.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Am I being too gloomy? Would you be happy to see The Gold Standard shining bright on your television screens again?