The Next Big Thing
May 3, 2005 by Alexander T.

I know what you are all thinking, oh yes another Cena or Batista column, maybe even Orton. Well you are all wrong I am talking about the man formerly known as one half of the self proclaimed world greatest tag team, yes you are right I am talking about our current Intercontinental champion: Shelton Benjamin.

In my opinion there are 4 ways of becoming a WWE champion:

1: You need to be a very good technical wrestler. I'm talking about guys like Benoit.

2: You need great charisma. Now I'm talking about guys like Hogan and currently Cena, these guys have very limited potential, but they are extremely popular and they have great charisma.

3: You have both of these things, but this is of course very rare. The people I am thinking about now are guys like: Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and Kurt Angle.

4: The last option: very simple, you need to be a big guy. Look at Batista, Kevin Nash and many more.

Let's take a look at Benjamin:
He is not a big guy we all know that, but he is a very talented wrestler. Just look at his latest matches, he can put on a show and he is very technical and agile, guys like that don't come often. And then the charisma: well he is no Hulk Hogan but it isn't that bad it's mediocre to say the least. But that's good enough; look at Benoit. He was a decent champion with a successful title reign, and if you add the youth and speed of Benjamin to a guy like Benoit this could become very nice. The sky is the limit for this talented young wrestler and I predict that in a year or two Benjamin will be our champion.

Now I will take a look at the push he has been given. It maybe doesn't seem like he is been given a push but I think that from all the young superstars in the WWE his push has been great. I don't know if this was intentional, but it has been working out great so far. Why" You might ask. Well instead of being over pushed like Batista and Orton the WWE has chosen to take the slow way and often more successful way. First they had him beat HHH (not once but three times!!) and then they made him the Intercontinental champion. The only thing I do not like about his title reign is the lack of decent feuds. He hasn't had one good feud in his seven month reign. What!" 7months" Yes, I know I can't believe the WWE hasn't made a big deal out of this, but they will later...I hope! Back to the feuds: when I think of his sad feuds I think of his Maven feud (were he won in two minutes, twice!!!) and his feud with Chris Jericho (the one where Y2J said: hey I want a title shot. great job WWE!). But except for his crappy title feuds he has been able to bring us some great matches, just look at the 6-man ladder match at WrestleMania, he was simply amazing!

Well, I hope you enjoyed it, and feedback is always welcome!

by Alexander T. ..

Cecile Gallant wrote:
I totally agree. Shelton is a great technical wrestler and his matches are very entertaining! He does lack charisma though, but that's allright. Little by little, his interviews are improving. But your right, he hasn't had a good feud in his reign. I think that he should drop the Intercontinental tilte, get traded to Smackdown! and start a feud with Kurt Angle. That would be definitly be something to see!
Johnny LaRue wrote:
You forgot #5 which is you have to be white. Sorry, I just can't see Vince making a black man a long term champion of the company. With the exception being John Cena....
Jamal Kiyani wrote:
I thunk that the WWE are underrating Shelton Benjamin and they should give him a title shot or a oppurtunity for the World heavyweight title.
Clinton Latsha wrote:
Benjamin should consider himself lucky that he isn't being pushed up like a rocket in the WWE. A sudden appearance with a very fast title push is a disaster. Need I say Brock Lesnar" His head swelled to a size 9, he decided that he was better than wrestling, and went on to try out for the NFL. He still thinks to highly of himself, since he apparently won't hone his skills in Canada, Europe, or the AFL.

Yokozuna got a fast title shot (and remains one of the youngest champs, ever), and died due to his morbid obesity some years later!

I love Randy Orton as a wrestler, but he's just not ready. His feud with HHH was good, but getting the belt taken away after one month just shows that he's not there yet.

I am a huge Benoit fan. He has built his reputation up over the years, and he reminds me of Bret Hart, possibly the best technical champion ever. I also admire Y2J, and would not be surprised if he jumps to TNA so he can get Heavyweight Gold, something oddly denied to him (with one notable exception) by the WWE.

I agree with Alexander. Benjamin got the Tag Gold, he is I-C champ now (and is approaching Orton lengths), and will be champ in a matter of time.

Hey, LaRue, shut up with the race-baiting! There were WWE champs who weren't white: Antonio Inoki, The Iron Sheik, Yokozuna, The Rock, Eddie Guerrero..

Inoki was legit Japanese, Yoko was Samoan, The Rock was half-Samoan, half-BLACK, Sheik was Iranian, and Guerrero was Mexican. Here's another thing: MOST WRESTLING FANS HAVE BEEN WHITE. Why do you thinks it's most popular in the south" I admire several black wrestlers: Benjamin being one of them (another favorite is Curtis Hughes), D-Von Dudley (though I hated the Reverend gimmick), Booker T (who also deserves WWE gold), Orlando has position to go far. If you think Vince is rascist why don't you go to TNA where I counted three blacks on the roster.

Here's an idea, boo for the obviously exploitative racial gimmicks (Nation of Domination, Team Canada, lWo, etc.), and root for those who don't flaunt race when in the ring or on promos (The Rock, Benjamin, Orlando, D-Von. I want a colorblind WWE like everyone else., but wrestling is staged, and Vince makes it what it is. On the other hand, maybe Ron Simmons would have gotten a title shot if Triple H wasn't a ten-time world champion.

Long live Benjamin, may HHH never hold gold again, and let's get cracking on getting Bret into the Hall of fame.
Ed Chan wrote:
I totally agree that Shelton Benjamin has the potential to be the "next big thing". It's so exciting to have a worker in WWE that is given such reign to perform as athletically in the ring as he has so far. To see him springboard nearly all the way across the ring, run up a ladder, and leap to the top's simply awe inspiring. This kind of athletic ability combined with his strong foundation in amateur wrestling makes him a top notch ring worker. He also has a good range in his moveset with a variety of suplexes, aerial maneuvers, and mat techniques. He's 6'2" and 240+ pounds¬ and should be able to work with both junior heavyweights/cruiserweights as well as heavyweights.¬ With his moveset, he can adapt¬ for pretty much any sort of match.¬ Physically speaking, he is untouchable amongst the new generation of workers in the company. No other new worker has performed at his level in the ring.

As noted, he is strong in the ring work area but needs improvement in the charisma and promo/mic areas. Charisma can be worked on by letting Benjamin be more natural in his role. Don't come up with some overly cliched and contrived gimmick. There should be some connection to truth in his character. This will allow him to draw upon something when performing and when developing the character. By having a personal connection, it'll help him come out of his shell and project a good performance. Also consider that it's mostly a team effort in pro-wrestling both in and out of the ring. Benjamin needs a good foil to play off of. He needs someone to provide a either a good contrast or a good compliment to feud with. In addition, the feud should last a little while. There are too many "stop and go" feuds that are too short lived. What's the use of a feud when there's little significance in the long run" The company seems to have faith in Benjamin due to his long title reign as intercontinental champion. It would be a good business decision at the very least to invest in Benjamin by utilizing him to the best of his abilities(the Heyman way of "hide the weaknesses and focus on the strengths"). Benjamin will also need to step up and, if he already hasn't, immerse himself in the business by watching every match, analyze them, study the craft of pro-wrestling(especially ring psychology), and constantly ask for advice from the veterans. Their experience is invaluable.
Jonathan Ayres wrote:
I agree with your article to a certain point. Yes hes a great athlete with good technical ability, but at the end of the day is that enough" Shelton seems to be lacking the 'it' factor i mean would he be a crowd pleaser or hate figure where people would want to see him in the main events of ppvs" Probably not as at the end of the day some guys have it and others dont. Look at the likes of Jericho, hes a great all round wrestler but has never been the main man. So with Shelton its goin to be hard to see him as the main man.
Mac Brown wrote:
Ok I have to comments one for the article. Although Shelton Benjamin is a great wrestler. I still don't think he is ready for the World Championship belt. Now before anyone starts to jump on me. I' am a fan of Shelton a big fan but the fact is the WWE has evolved into something besides just pure wrestling. They have moved to more of acting and wrestling then just pure wrestling. So when I look at that I don't think that Shelton Benjamin is ready for the title he wont bring that much money to WWE. Now as far as the knucklehead who said that wrestlers have to be white in order to become champ you haven't been watching wrestling long enough or you would recognize that a lot of black wrestlers has gotten the heavyweight title in a lot of organizations.
KC McCormack wrote:
This is in response to the article written all about Shelton Benjamin and how he is to be in the same company as Batista, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Christian as the future of WWE. I do believe this is a bit of a stretch. Shelton Benjamin's performance with Shawn Michaels was indeed quite entertaining. And lets not forget about his performance at Wresltemania 21 in the "Money in the Bank" ladder match. (That stair way clothesline...unbelievable). However, Benjamin has one giant flaw: his mic skills. Every word that comes out of his mouth sounds staged and written. It's like watching a 4th grade class play. I do believe he can be an asset to the WWE if and only if he works on his mic skills and maybe gets himself a good catch phrase or two; maybe even a nick-name. His gimmick right now is Shelton Benjamin: Intercontinental Champion. I believe that the character of Shelton Benjamin is in deep trouble if he loses that belt and can't come up any nick names/catch phrases.

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