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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Is Shelton Benjamin The Next WWE Champion"
May 16, 2006 by Michael Brown


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I was reading the May edition of RAW magazine and it had a unique article about Shelton Benjamin's new attitude and direction. They mention a lot about what Benjamin has done in his career so far and they compare these accomplishments with many other top superstars and legends in the business. Few facts like what he has done in high school and at the University of Minnesota are impressive, like compiling a 122-10 record and being state champion in the heavyweight division two years in a row. His first single's title was the Intercontinental Championship when he defeated Chris Jericho at Taboo Tuesday in 2004 and he went on to retain the gold for eight long months. This was the longest reign anyone has had with this title since The Rock when he held the belt back in 1998. Now even though his reign as champion was so long, many thought that it was a fluke since after losing it to Carlito at Vengeance in 2005, Benjamin went through a terrible losing streak which lasted for months.

Match after match on RAW and Sunday Night Heat, Shelton just couldn't get back where he was or even better. However, he was able to bounce back coming off as a heel and going against the likes of top faces such as Shawn Michaels, John Cena, and others. He was even able to regain the Intercontinental Championship from Ric Flair on RAW in February of 2006. Shelton Benjamin was finally back on top.

Now I was reading this and thinking probably much like you all that yes I already know this and Shelton is a great athlete but then I saw something that made me think. There was a list that was called "Stepping Stone To Greatness" which pretty much listed past great superstar who first won the Intercontinental Championship and then made it all the way to the big one, the WWE Championship. Seeing most of these names kind of makes you think that maybe it's going to happen a lot sooner than people think when it comes to Shelton becoming either WWE or World Heavyweight Champion. The names on the list included Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Bret "Hitman" Hart, Shawn Michaels, Diesel a.k.a. Kevin Nash, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Randy Orton, and more recently Edge. Shelton has already had the key victories that one needs to get "over" with the fans like when he first debuted into WWE with then partner Charlie Haas, we got to see what he can do in the ring before we had to believe that he was a player. He even showed that he could win gold being a two time Tag Team Champion as apart of the "World's Greatest Tag Team" on SmackDown. He then had to impress everyone after he scored that RAW debut win over Triple H after the draft lottery in 2004. This not only showed that he was going to be something big in wrestling but other wrestlers and the company believed so too.

Even though many might feel that maybe Benjamin doesn't have that charisma or enough character to be at such a high level, you have to remember how quick other stars were able to come up and be champion without us ever hardly hearing them speak. Guys like Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, or Big Show became World Champions and then worked on everything else after the fact. He seems a lot more comfortable as a heel on television and is talking a little bit more which will help a lot down the road. He also knows how to show off style and his own look as he now carries sunglasses and a rather fashionable jacket. Reminds me of the old Nation Of Domination Rock from the late 90's. His talent is through the roof and he seems to be getting better and better by the match as he proved with the FIVE STAR MATCH he had at Backlash with Rob Van Dam. His past performances with guys like Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho really helped me see that if this guy gets bumped back to lower card level or doesn't get to main event level status quick, then it might just be WWE fault and no one else's. I for one believe that if anyone truely deserves to be the best in WWE, Shelton Benjamin, along with a few other names deserves the spot more than other wrestlers at that level right now. What do you all think" (By the way, this is my first column and if you guys like it there will be more to come!)

by Michael Brown ..


Will Cherrell wrote:
Short Answer, No. Is Shelton Benjamin a possible future WWE Champion" Possibly.

As compelling as your argument "Stepping Stone to Greatness" is, also on the list of past Intercontinental Champions are wrestlers who have not gone on to be WWE Champions, rather faded into obscurity. Wrestlers like Test, Albert, Lance Storm, William Regal, Val Venis, Rikishi, Billy Gunn. All talented wrestlers and performers yet not big enough draws to become champion.
Chichi Cardiel wrote:
Michael Brown great first article!, I like many believe and hope that Shelton is WWE title bound in the near future..unless Vince's goons screw up again and give it to someone in the likes of: Carlito, Chris masters, anybody in the Spirit Squad, when theres people like, Rob Van Dam, Kane, Triple H, and Shelton around. Great first article.
PtrcTe wrote:
Only few African Americans held titles that are high in value (for ex: Ron Simmons, Booker T, Ron Killings and Dwayne Johnson).We need another African American as champion and I think Shelton is that guy.But if it is not Shelton than it should be Lashley or Mark Henry, I give Orlando Jordan a few years.But Shelton is on top of the list for the next African American WWE Champion.
Noel (Australia) wrote:
I think that shelton Bejamin would make a great WWE champion. The champions now days cant do a lot of these things that Shelton has done in his past hold an AMAZING 122-10 record. WWE needs to step up and give the younger wreslters their 15 minutes of fame, people are being bored of seeing Jon Cena retain the WWE title time and time again. The WWE shouldnt let him keep wining the IC title, he deserves more than that, he should be the next WWE champ!
Heather Gregg wrote:
Your article makes a lot of good points but I still see a lot of question marks with Shelton Benjamin, in the area that you have already touched on, charisma and skills on the mic. You cited a few examples that are worth a deeper comparison to Shelton. Goldberg didn't speak a lot, this is true, but lets also remember how terrible of a wrestler Goldberg was and how he simply had a personna of just absolutely crushing people every match every time. I, personally, viewed Goldberg's push as a mistake, but that's just me. Big Show also had something else going for him in his size and how that played into his gimmick. When people look at Big Show when he started out, they didn't look at him and want to hear him talk about destroying somebody, they just wanted to look and see how huge the man is and how he can throw around other WWE superstars like they are nothing. And it is awesome that Shelton has followed in the same path as many of those WWE greats you have mentioned in holding the Intercontinental Championship. However, I believe that Shelton still to this day is missing that "X" factor of personality that really will drive him into the the main event spotlight again. I heard him call commentary during a match which I believe was an RVD match on RAW recently. His commentary was terrible. Granted, Shelton wasn't brough into the WWE to comment on matches, but a WWE superstar has to have the ability to speak in character all the time especially since he had such a huge match coming up for him at Backlash. If Shelton can find that "X" factor, with his stellar in-ring talent, I think he will be on of the best wrestlers in the WWE. I have faith in him though, his future still looks bright, if he can get past his problems on the mic.
Kirsten F wrote:
Personally, I believe Shelton Benjamin would make an amazing champion. Although he is great as the Intercontinental Champion it is definitely time for him to go up to bigger and better things, such as the WWE title. He does deserve it, after all he has shown in his years as a WWE Superstar that he has what it takes to be the best on the roster.
Brandon Vedder wrote:
Shelton Benjamin is without a question one of the most athletic and talented wrestlers in the world today, and it would be great to see him make it to the top. But I think his case will be the same as Rey Myserio's. Seeing him as the champion is what we think we want to see until it actually happens. Rey has been buried ever since he won the title, but more importantly, Rey has been getting boo's from the crowd for the first time in his entire career after winning the belt. Going into Wrestlemania, everyone was excited about Rey becoming the smallest champion in history, but now that he is, how many people are actually still excited about it. I'm sorry to say it, but if Shelton Benjamin wins the belt, there will be a huge pop for the title change, and the next week people will boo the fact that this guy( who lacks the charisma and look of a champion) is supposed to be the best of the best.
Matt Carson wrote:
As happy as it would make me to see someone with real wrestling talent hold the WWE World title, it simply will not happen with Shelton. Simply because his size and charisma are not where the WWE's retarded standards are. Some may argue SmackDown's Rey as being champion, and him being one of the smallest on the roster. But it is easy to tell that he will be the biggest transitional champion ever, and riding a wave of lucky opportunity created by another wrestlers death. I hate to sound like a dick, but before Eddie died nobody was sitting around a table going "I can't wait to put the Title on Rey.... It's totally gonna be great!" Anyway back on topic.... If Shelton will ever have a chance he will have to bulk up, probably losing all of his quickness and agility (E.G. Helmsley) and get a firm grip on the fans attention in some way by upping his charisma. Also thinking about getting a more unique finisher. I am happy to say that Shelton shows great potential... but I dont think he's quite there yet.
Aaron Tolles wrote:
I am a fan of Shelton Benjamin's,although I will say that I think his skills as of late need a little tuning.Unless he has a drastic makeover,I don't believe that any time soon that he will be WWE champion.First thing holding him back is his lack of mic skills,as he has constantly blown air time recently.Next thing is his ability to have consistant good matches.He has been an on and off performer as of late.If at any time WWE does put the title on him I feel that he would have a be a face,because I do not find him as an effective heel.Also I think it would be a very short reign,because I am not so sure of his ability to draw a crowd.I do see potential in him,and again I'm a fan,but without some work and a great storyline I couldn't buy into Shelton Benjamin WWE champion.
Michael Minchington wrote:
Personally I don't feel that Shelton would be a very good champion.His performance in the first Money in the Bank ladder match was superb, However I just don't think he has the all-round charisma/personality to pull off being a convincing champion. Also you might say that the Intercontinental Championship is the 'Make or Break' point in a lot of wrestlers career's, e.g.they will either go on to become World Champions or they will hit a Glass Ceiling of sorts, and not really get much further.
Dirk Mason wrote:
Good article. I want to start off by saying that these days the WWE just about will put the Intercontinental title on anyone, that title means a lot less today than say 10 or more years ago. I do agree that someday Benjamin will win a WWE championship but most likely not for at least 2-3 years, he needs a lot of time and more experience. The one thing I can say about him is he does have the in ring thing down but is lacking the "it" factor.
Jacqueline Ellis wrote:
The article was great. First there has not been alot of african american world champions( the rock doesnt count he's hawian) But I wouldnt mind seeing shelton as the next one though his mic skills arent all that but niether was Brock Lesnar and he got the belt 3 times. Do isee him getting the belt before wm23 nah but he should have it by wm 24
Don wrote:
Like one of the first responses, in short.. No! Benjamin just doesn't have the charisma needed to be a long reigning champion. Hogan couldn't wrestle worth a snot, but it was his charisma that made him such a champion. The most ignorant thing to do is to start blaming it on his color. It's his acting! Yes his out of ring performance is just as important than his in ring abilities, because lets face it people, before the match begins they already know who's won! The only reason the "horrible" mike skilled wrestlers like, Scott Steiner, Bill Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar even flourished was their enormous bodies and tremendously aggressive attitudes! I will say though since WWE made one crappy mistake like giving Mysterio the belt, the chances of Benjamin becoming a heavyweight champ is likely!
Richard wrote:
Is Shelton Benjamin the next WWE Champion" If Cena could have two title reigns, why not Shelton" I think he would make a good future WWE Champion. If I was Shelton, I would develop my mic skills, employ some Kurt Angle style aggression and develop a good submission move. That should definitely put him over the top and make him champion................
Simeon Hubbard wrote:
Shelton Benjamin is one of my favorite TRUE athletes like his mentor Kurt Angle, his buddy Charlie Haas, and even Bobby Lashley.

Shelton Benjamin was in OVW and has teamed up w/Rodney Mack and future 3x WWE Heavyweight Champion and fellow wrestler from the University of Minnesota Brock Lesnar, in fact Shelton and Brock became the 4x OVW Southern Tag Team Champions, and when he and Charlie debut on SD! they beat Eddie & Chavo Guerrero and became the SD! WWE Tag Team Champions.

Shelton became a 2x WWE Tag Team Champion on SD! and has had so many battles w/The Guerreros and even w/Chris Benoit.

When Shelton went to RAW he became larger than life, when Triple H cheap shotted him, Shelton asked for a match against Triple H, Stone Cold gave him some motivation, and then Chris Benoit (The WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION @ the time) gave him some motivation as well, he told Shelton to go out and show Triple H that he was the man and not Triple H, even Mick Foley and The Hurricane Gregory Helms motivated him as well and on that night, April 29, 2004 Shelton Benjamin shocked the world of Pro Wrestling and pinned Triple H in the middle of the ring, and on that night I said to myself and I even told some of my friends: I'm making a prediction that that man is going to be the next World Heavyweight Champion.

Shelton has def. Triple H so many times, 3x in singles competition, he def. him in an 8 Man Tag Team Match, and even in 6 Man Competition.

He's even def. Ric Flair, Randy Orton, future NWA World Heavyweight Champion Christian Cage, Snitsky, future WWE Champion Edge, Viscera, and so many others, he's even had some great matches against Batista, Chris Benoit and on May 2, 2005 he had an awesome match against HBK Shawn Michaels in the 1st round of the 1st ever Gold Rush Tournament, and that was an AWESOME match.

@ the very 1st Taboo Tuesday Shelton Benjamin became the Intercontinantal Heavyweight Champion def. 7x I-C Champ Chris Jericho and def. Jericho again @ BACKLASH 2005, and suddenly Shelton became the 3x I-C Heavyweight Champion, and he said in an exclusive interview on the 2004 Taboo Tuesday DVD that he was going to work his tail off and he's going to become a fighting Champion until he gets to the ultimate prize which is the World Heavyweight Championship.

But ever since Carlito came to RAW Shelton has been losing some singles matches b/c those WWE Bookers were punishing him for some backstage incident which was STUPID BTW, and Shelton even had a victory against Chavo @ UNFORGIVEN 2005, and last summer he teamed w/The Big Show and def. Snitsky and The Masterpiece in what it was an AWESOME Classic Tag Team Match.

But this whole thing w/Shelton being a Mama's Boy was just SO STUPID, I hope that they did drop that storyline and when Shelton lost his I-C to that jerk Johnny Nitro he wrestled on Heat.

Well the answer to that is no, I would rather for Shelton to go back to SD! and become something better and that is the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

Why" b/c I would rather for Shelton to hold the traditional World Heavyweight Championship the one that Triple H, Randy Orton, HBK, Chris Benoit, Batista, and GOLDBERG, and Rey Mysterio held than some STUPID Bling Bling Spinner Belt, I mean when Edge and RVD won the WWE Championship why didn't they ditch the spinner belt and brought back the traditional WWE Championship Belt the one that Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Brock Lesnar, and Eddie Guerrero has held"

So there's my answer Shelton Benjamin isn't the next WWE Champion he is the next WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, and if he goes to SD! and win it, then it would be a dream come true, plus I would LOVE to see Shelton Benjamin feud w/Batista, Booker T., and even Bobby Lashley.
wrote:

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