The Royal Rumble match is known to throw up surprises and one of the major shocks in the 2021 men’s edition was the return of former WWE United States Champion Carlito. The Puerto Rican star arrived back in tremendous physical condition, entering the match at number eight.
Carlito had originally been advertised to appear on RAW Legends Night earlier in January but was absent from the show.
Appearing on The Wrestling Inc, Daily Caribbean Cool has now revealed why he didn’t appear on the show and how he came to wind up in the Royal Rumble instead.
“I was originally supposed to go for Legends Night, then it got canceled, and then it turned out they had a better idea,” Carlito recalled. “They said, ‘Why use you on Legends Night when we can bring you out for the Rumble?’ To me, it made more sense. I preferred that. It was a great idea.”
Carlito went on to detail how a group of WWE Superstars had been lobbying for his return, and that it was this that initially started the process.
“A couple of the boys have been talking backstage like MVP, Shelton [Benjamin], Bobby [Lashley], The Hurt Business guys have always been throwing my name around in the back,” Carlito revealed. “So I think they’re the ones that got the ball rolling, and then [Mark] Carano ended up calling me and asked if I want to be in The Rumble. It was a good two days.”
Carlito originally appeared with WWE from 2004 until 2010 when he was released from the company due to a wellness policy violation. Reflecting on returning to a WWE ring after 10 years away, Carlito said that it was good to catch up with some familiar faces, remarking that a lot of things had stayed the same in the time that he had been absent.
“Hadn’t been in a WWE ring in over 10 years, but it was weird man. A lot of stuff was new, but at the same time, a lot of stuff is the same, and the first 20 minutes, I felt something new,” Carlito admitted. “And then after that, it’s kind of like back in the day, which is surprising because so many years have gone by, you think it wouldn’t feel so familiar, but for some reason it did because a lot of the backstage people are still there, which is crazy because they were there before me too.
“So it was good to see a lot of them. There was a lot of familiar faces that I didn’t expect to see. Of course, the culture, the backstage area [and] just the way the business is run in the back, it was different, but like I said, a lot of different things at the same time. A lot of stuff is very very much the same.”
Following his appearance in the Royal Rumble Carlito also reportedly tried out as a producer on RAW.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.