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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Save Shelton Benjamin!
November 2, 2006 by Jayson R.


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In the WWE, there are many superstars with a great and promising future. Only a select few will become WWE Champion, and even less will be in the Hall-of-Fame. Shelton Benjamin was brought up in the WWE System and is the most athletic wrestler in the business today. His future is bright, but the WWE needs to keep it that way.

This past July, Benjamin turned 30 years old and is celebrating his 10th year Junior College National Champion Anniversary. Benjamin was recruited by Minnesota University and wrestled with Brock Lesnar. Together, the two of joined the WWE, as both had several OVW Tag Team Title reigns. Then Benjamin hit the big stage.

On the December 26, 2002 SmackDown! Benjamin teamed with Charlie Haas- who together formed Team Angle. Not even two months after, Benjamin and Haas were the WWE Tag Team Champions- something that was extremely uncommon- WWE Rookies as champions. This dominant and athletic tag team defeated such wrestlers as Edge, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Edge Tajiri, and Rey Mysterio before being in the WWE for four months. Later that June, Benjamin and Haas split from Kurt Angle and were then known as The World’s Greatest Tag Team. The World’s Greatest Tag Team went on to have another reign in the summer of 2003. Pro Wrestling Informer ranked Haas and Benjamin the best tag team of 2003. After this, I started becoming a hardcore WWE Fan. Shelton Benjamin was just some tag team competitor in my mind, but then something changed my mind- the first episode of SmackDown! after WrestleMania 20. Shelton Benjamin defeated Charlie Haas and Billy Gunn in a Gauntlet Match and advanced to face Rey Mysterio- one of the best wrestlers on the roster. Now Benjamin lost, but this started something I call the Benjamin Revolution.

Shelton Benjamin was drafted to the RAW Roster in the draft lottery on March 22, 2004 . In his first match on RAW, Shelton Benjamin defeated Triple H- the “best” wrestler on the show. He did it again the next week and immediately was known as a singles wrestler. He beat Ric Flair at Backlash 2004 and earned himself an Intercontinental Championship Match with Randy Orton at Bad Blood- which he lost. Benjamin suffered a hand injury shortly after and returned in September of 2004. He won the Intercontinental Championship about a month later. Shelton Benjamin held the Intercontinental Championship for eight months, as well as earning the title “The Most Athletic Superstar”.

This title reign is not to be summed up as in-coherent, but after he lost the title, Benjamin’s career might have been ruined. He participated in a few good matches over the summer of 2005, but in September of 2005, he was involved in a Sunday Night Heat rivalry with Chavo Guerrero- I mean, Kerwin White. Shelton Benjamin defeated White at Unforgiven September 18, but didn’t win a match on RAW (not including HEAT) or in a Pay-Per View until New Year’s Revolution in January 2006. What were the bookers thinking?

In February, he regained the IC title- beating Ric Flair, but making a heel turn in the process. Shelton Benjamin had a good rivalry with Rob Van Dam in April, but ended up loosing that too. He did win it back and lost it to Johnny Nitro, the worst promo-cutter in the world. Over the past month, Benjamin has again disappeared.

At this moment, Benjamin is in-between a face and a heel, which is confusing to me. Shelton Benjamin is still as good of a wrestler as he’s ever been and is wasted talent. If WWE can get Shelton out of the Intercontinental Title picture and into a WWE Title Picture- like he deserves, then maybe, just maybe, Benjamin’s career can be saved. The most exciting wrestler in the business needs to be given the credit he deserves- he can’t just be juggled between HEAT and Intercontinental Champion whenever the writers feel. For some time now, I have been running a fantasy wrestling league, and Shelton Benjamin is the World Heavyweight Champion. WWE hasn’t even given him a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship opportunity. It’s time.

By Jayson R.


Jason "Xtremefalls" Simmons wrote:
Shelton isn't pushed hard because he can't cut a promo its that simple. His run with Mama Benjamin was his most successful from a character stand point and until he can be a strong promo or have someone who can cut a strong promo for him he'll always be a great wrestlers who can't make it big.
Kilo Charlie wrote:
I agree with Xtremefalls. Benjamin is the man when it comes to the “in-ring” performances, buuut its painful to watch him in front of the mic. Even Benoit has some personality. It’s a sad thing to say that physical/wrestling ability can only take you so far, guys like Cena, Rock (and I liked Rock) and Hogan are examples of that. They weren’t/aren’t too spectacular when it comes to the number of moves they use, but they had charisma.

Shelton really needs a manager or stable. Hell, for that matter put him back together with Haas (another example of talent with no personality) in a tag team or stable. A stable of young guys with great physical ability would be a perfect place for him to work on his persona. That combination with a great mouth piece (Big Dust would be great!) would be awesome for younger wrestlers struggling for a chance in the spotlight.

As much as I hate falling for the whole he can wrestle but not talk thing, sometimes it’s hard too. If wrestling was a real sport it wouldn’t matter, but its part physical talent and part testosterone fueled soap opera. In my defense of that last statement, wrestlers are some of the best athletes out there, not all but a lot of them.
James Christopher Mason wrote:
While I agree that Shelton Benjamin is being underused and incorrectly booked, I don't think he's ready to be World Champion. His ability at cutting promos is always going to hold him back, as we've seen the WWE wants someone with a lot of charisma. Lance Storm suggested that they pair him up with a manager. While that might work, I think Benjamin might also want to find a new finisher. As much as I like his T-Bone, it's not something the WWE can franchise off of. Usually he pulls the move out of nowhere and quickly executes it, which is why fans us would like it, but the WWE would'nt be able to market it to children. I'm with you all the way in terms of Shelton Benjamin needing to be saved, but he still has a few areas to work on before becoming WWE Champion.
"Primetime" Damon Porter wrote:
I know this may sound like a long shot, but it may save Shelton's career as well as several other WWE Superstars. You have two of the greatest Tag teams in recent years reunite. Move Matt Hardy back to Raw, and reunite the Hardy Boyz and The World's Greatest Tag Team. Have these two teams fued while brining up new tag teams as well. This could revive the WWE's tag team division, save a couple of careers that seem to be wandering aimlessly, and give these guys that lack mic skills time to build it up and TV time.
Shane Porteous wrote:
One thing that really bugs me is mentioning of race in wrestling and how black wrestlers always have to tell everybody their black. Wrestling is performed all over the world by people of all races, colours and creeds so mentioning race in wrestling is just plain stupid and never works anyway. That was the thing when I first saw shelton benjamin, I never liked him quite frankly I am I die hard old school deathmatch and hardcore fan but the one thing i respected him for was the fact he didn't mention his skin color ever. I thought that was cool, I even started to like the guy but then as always it came back to the fact he was black that he never got anywhere in the industry (Yawn). Whether he wanted to do it or Vince McMahon wanted him to is irrelevant. That is the reason why he will never get anywhere in the industry NOT becuase he is black but the fact he now has to mention it everytime he is on tv. Look all that does it put up racial borders and makes fans of different skin color not want to see you on tv.
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