On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, former Intercontinental and United States Champion Carlito sat down with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman. Hausman asked Carlito is his surprise return at the Royal Rumble came about after his falsely advertised appearance for RAW Legends Night.
“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 then revealed that the MVP and other members of The Hurt Business threw his name out there to management about returning. He was later called by WWE for his Royal Rumble return.
“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 talked about his Royal Rumble return and if things felt different after being away from WWE for ten years. He pointed out that there were some backstage people still in WWE from even when he started.
“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.”
Carlito revealed that he did not get a chance to talk to Vince McMahon. However, he noted that he still met with other people backstage like Triple H and Bruce Prichard.
“No, I did not. I don’t think Vince was at the Rumble or at RAW the next night,” Carlito said. “I got to see a couple guys, Triple H, and Bruce Prichard, Carrano, and Johnny Ace (John Laurinaitis) and a couple guys. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the big man.”
Along with Carlito, Christian made his return at the Royal Rumble as well. Carlito noted that Christian had been with WWE for so long that he didn’t realize that he had been gone from the ring for as long as he had been.
“No, it was weird because I didn’t realize he’d been gone so long too,” Carlito admitted. “I don’t know how long it’s been since he’d been the ring, but I just always felt like he was part of the company in some way shape or form. I’ve see him around in the last couple of years. I didn’t feel like it was that big of a surprise but still great great to see him out there. He’s a good dude.”
Carlito went on to talk about how not having fans in attendance creates a different space to perform in. However, he said his experience was still great even at the ThunderDome.
“You hear the buzz and people talking so it kind of feels like a third person because being out there, it was great to see all those faces, but still, you’re looking at a bunch of screens,” Carlito noted. “You can’t really get that heat that you get from a live crowd but just hearing the posts and stuff the people said after, it’s been great. The only thing missing was just that fan interaction that you just don’t get without a live audience.”
Carlito conceded that he saw the multiple positive comments about his physique on-line. Noting that he has been working on changing his lifestyle the way he wanted to.
“That’s another big thing that people have been talking about, which got me wondering, was it an insult? Is it a backhanded compliment?,” Carlito said. “That was one of things when I took my time away. I just wanted to get in shape. I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to eat different. I wanted to train differently, not just physically, my mind and everything. I just needed a break to get everything back the way I wanted it.
You can following Calito on Twitter @aliidayii1. Full audio and video from Carlito’s interview can be found via the embedded players below.