Re: HBK's Return in 2002
If I'm not mistaken, he had his own wrestling school around that time and actually sold it when he came back to WWE. So, I'm pretty sure he stayed active & in shape during those years off, especially since the back surgery was 2-3 years before he returned. Not sure the extent or interaction he had with them but Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Hernandez, Michael Shane and Brian Danielson, among others, all spent time training there.
Rumor was he was supposed to start much earlier than 2002 (I wanna say 2000) and work a program with HHH but on the taping that the program was scheduled to begin, he showed up "in no condition to perform" and was sent home.