The first two surprise entrants for the 2013 Royal Rumble have been confirmed. The news leaked earlier today via the subscriber-only newsletter from PWInsider.com, before being picked up by several other sites as well.
Both men left the WWE in 2010 and are both former Intercontinental, United States and tag team champions.
Cagesideseats.com ran the details from the newsletter on their site.
The article states the two confirmed surprise entrants will be Shelton Benjamin and Carlito.
The article says:
PWInsider.com is now reporting that two surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble match scheduled for this Sun., Jan. 27, 2013, at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, are now confirmed and both are veterans of the company.
Shelton Benjamin is one and Carlito is the other.
The annual Royal Rumble event has become a hotbed for surprise returns. The big names who showed up unexpectedly in the past include John Cena, who came back early from an injury, Diesel, Bob Backlund, Kharma and the Honky Tonk Man.
It will be great to see both men setting foot inside a WWE ring again, even if it may be a one-time thing. Cagesideseats.com notes there is no confirmation of any long-term contracts with the two having been signed.
It will be interesting to see if these two former WWE stars will get the chance to stick around for the long term. The difference between a guaranteed contract and a one-night one could mean a vast difference in what they will do in the ring.
Carlito debuted on the main roster in 2004 and defeated Cena for the United States championship the same night. Benjamin first appeared in on the main roster in 2002 alongside his tag team partner Charlie Haas.
Benjamin had been wrestling with Ring of Honor, but recently requested and was granted his release. He was grossly misused as a singles wrestler during his last stint in the WWE.
Despite winning six titles during his run, he was never given the chance to carry one of the world titles. Never mind the fact that, not only was he fluid and graceful in the ring professionally, he was just as good as an amateur. He was a two-time All-American with a 36-6 record.
Carlito is a second-generation wrestler, the son of Carlos Colon, Sr. He wrestled in his father's promotion, World Wrestling Council, and won the WWC Universal Heavyweight title many times.
Bringing these two men back for the Rumble will inject a huge dose of excitement into the somewhat predictable event this year.
But if the WWE really wanted to get fans talking, they would sign both men to contracts. The WWE is in a transitional period, whether they want to admit it or not. The big-name stars are aging and some of the newer guys just aren't ready, or well-known enough yet.
Benjamin and Carlito are nowhere near past their prime. Having them back on the roster might bring back fans that have tuned out during the PG Era.
Now that would be cool.