Rhyno made a surprise appearance at Sunday night’s Slammiversary pay-per-view event in Dallas, Texas.
Brian Cage successfully retained the Impact World Championship against Michael Elgin. Elgin was a sore loser and attacked Cage before turning his eyes to Don Callis on commentary. Elgin tossed Callis into the ring and was poised to put a beating on him until a masked man appeared and speared Elgin. The masked man then ran off.
.@MrGMSI_BCage retains the World Championship but CHAOS ERUPTS after the match!
Who is the MASKED MAN?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 8, 2019
— SnC | Big Willie-isms (@bigwillieisms) July 8, 2019
Rhyno was not identified by name, but according to PWInsider, it’s him. He previously worked for IMPACT from 2005 and 2010 before returning for a brief stint in 2014.
Although Rhyno hasn’t appeared inside a WWE ring since April on the WrestleMania 35 Kickoff (as a participant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal), the official WWE website still has him listed as a current Raw Superstar.
What makes Rhyno’s appearance even more surprising is that he said during an interview in May that his WWE contract was set to expire on July 17. His appearance tonight would indicate that he was given an early release from his contract.
WWE offered Rhyno a contract renewal at double his salary, but he turned it down so that he could wrestle more frequently (on the independent circuit). If he stayed with WWE, he feels that he’d mostly stay at home and become miserable.
“July 17th is my last date there. They actually offered me more than twice my downside but it wasn’t where they would have to use me because the downside is so large and it wasn’t about money, it was about me wanting to be on the road working and helping the younger guys, kind of like a player-coach,” Rhyno said.
“It was a mutual understanding that we were not going to figure out a number. And they’ve been great, I can’t say anything bad about them. I had a lot of fun. I was afraid that they would say yes to a larger downside than what they offered me because I was afraid that they would still sit me at home.
“It’s not that they don’t like me, there is a lot of talent there and they have to cycle the talent, which is normal because you want to get men and women out there to work. I was afraid that I would become miserable and that’s the last thing that you want to do when you’re doing something that you love. I would rather take a step back and work for some of these companies and work the independent scene.”