Sammy Guevara returned to Dynamite Wednesday night, one month after All Elite Wrestling suspended him indefinitely without pay.
Guevara emerged from under a mask before the show went off the air, celebrating his on-screen return with the Inner Circle’s Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager. Prior to Wednesday night, Guevara had not been on Dynamite since June 17 when he tagged with Jericho against Chuck Taylor and Trent.
AEW announced on June 22 that Guevara was suspended without pay until further notice, stemming from inappropriate comments he made about Sasha Banks during a podcast interview four years ago.
On a 2016 episode of the Raw’s 4th Hour podcast, Guevara said that he wanted to “go rape” Banks when he saw her at a WWE tryout.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, AEW President/CEO Tony Khan addressed his decision to bring Guevara back from his suspension.
“Sammy completed four weeks of extensive sensitivity training, and his curriculum included subject matters of tolerance, gender, race relations, and why people’s words matter,” said Khan. “During his suspension, he was very contrite. I asked him to use that time to try and become a better person, and I think he did.
“Sammy was off television for a month and suspended without pay for 30 days, and I think it was the right time for Sammy to come back because he’s shown that he’s very sorry and that he can change. He’s spent every day over the past month trying to prove that.”
Khan confirmed that Guevara’s salary was donated to the Women’s Center of Jacksonville during his suspension.
“The Women’s Center of Jacksonville put out a very nice statement about how this terrible situation has turned into a positive. Sammy completed the entire curriculum we put out in front of him. He was clearly committed to change.”
During his absence from television, Guevara was missed on the weekly Dynamite show, and the 26-year-old remains an important piece of the company’s present and future. But Khan was quick to note it was not a given that Guevara would return from his suspension, as reinstatement was something he needed to earn.
“I meant what I said about re-evaluating his status with the company based on his conduct,” said Khan. “Sammy needed to make a lot of strides to keep his job and make amends for stuff he shouldn’t have said. None of us knew he said those things, and it’s stuff that was years old, but that doesn’t make it right.
“I think Sammy was very happy to have an opportunity to apologize, publicly and privately, and do something to turn a terrible comment he made into something positive.”