Rhyno made a surprise appearance at IMPACT Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view event in Dallas, Texas on Sunday night.
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.
Brian Cage successfully retained the Impact World Championship against Michael Elgin. Elgin was a sore loser and attacked Cage before turning his eyes to color commentator Don Callis. 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.
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.
What makes Rhyno’s appearance even more surprising is that he said during an interview in May that his WWE contract will expire on July 17. Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet asked a WWE source on Rhyno’s status with the company and was told he’s still under contract. His contract is still slated to expire on July 17, but WWE “is unlikely to make an issue” out of his appearance.
Spoke to a source in WWE who confirmed Rhyno’s WWE contract expires on July 17, but they said the company is unlikely to make an issue out of his masked appearance at Slammiversary over the weekend.— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) July 8, 2019
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,” Rhyno told Chris Van Vliet in Detroit, Michigan.
“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.
“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.”