On Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live, Bobby Roode debuted on the main roster as he interrupted Aiden English and then beat English with the Glorious DDT.
Roode had been rumored to be one of the call ups from NXT following his loss to Drew McIntyre this past Saturday at the Takeover special and dropping the NXT title.
The timing made a lot of sense as the addition of Adam Cole leads to McIntyre having an automatic program for the title and the heel side on SmackDown needs some fresh blood, which Roode provides.
Roode does have an outstanding program with Roderick Strong and they even shot a backstage interaction between the two following Takeover. It hasn’t been uncommon for talent to start on the main roster and still work NXT concurrently to finish up their NXT programs. The next NXT television tapings are Thursday night at Full Sail and should answer that questions regarding Roode’s status with NXT.
Tuesday’s episode also featured the return of Shelton Benjamin during a backstage segment where it appears he will be starting out as part of a tag team with Chad Gable. It was explained that Daniel Bryan made a deal with Kurt Angle to allow Jason Jordan to leave SmackDown and in return be able to sign one of Angle’s good friends.
Benjamin was scheduled to return to the WWE last summer and a vignette even ran promoting his return, but officials discovered Benjamin had a torn rotator cuff and had to undergo surgery.
In Benjamin’s first run with the WWE, he was signed to a developmental deal in 2000 and brought up to the main roster in late 2002 and paired with Charlie Haas as the World’s Greatest Tag Team.
Benjamin was thought to be a breakout singles star by 2004 and they broke up the team with Benjamin moving to Raw, but never clicked at the top level and worked in the mid-card over the next several years before his release in 2010.
Benjamin worked with Ring of Honor and was later a part of Suzuki-gun in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH before opting to return to the WWE last summer after the brand split.