Shelton Benjamin Returns To Smack Down
WWE on Twitter:
Ain’t no stoppin’ him! Shelton Benjamin is COMING SOON to @WWE SmackDown Live! @Sheltyb803 #SDLive
Shelton Benjamin on Twitter:
I’m Comin’ Home!!! #SmackdownLive @wwe
After six years away from WWE rings, Shelton Benjamin is returning to the company.
Shelton was first hired by WWE in 2000 and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE’s Developmental league where he teamed with Brock Lesnar as the Minnesota Stretching Crew.
It took three years before he was called up to the main roster where he immediately joined Smack Down along with Charlie Haas, forming an on screen alliance with Kurt Angle. They immediately had great matches with teams like Eddie and Chavo Guerrero and Edge and Chris Benoit for the blue brand when talent was exclusive to either Raw or Smack Down.
After being fired by Kurt Angle for losing the Tag Titles, they starting referring to themselves as “The World’s Greatest Tag Team” and they soon won the Tag Titles back, only relinquishing them when Shelton suffered a legit knee injury and needed to take some time off.
In 2004, Shelton Benjamin was drafted to the Raw brand and immediately scored a fluke win over HHH in what seemed like it would be the start of a huge push for him. He beat HHH by pinfall one week, count out the next and DQ the following week. He beat HHH’s Evolution team-mate Ric Flair at Backlash but lost to Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton at Bad Blood.
After returning from a broken hand he returned to defeat Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship after fan voting on the night making him the challenger in the match. He eventually would lose the Championship to Carlito in his debut match on Raw.
At this point things seemed to fall apart for Shelton. The WWE writing team decided to have Shelton go on a losing streak until he made the decision to bring his “Momma” to ringside for matches and with him for unfunny backstage comedy segments. WWE hired an obese woman with a set of lungs on her who would yell and moan at Shelton when he lost matches for comedy purposes – only it wasn’t actually funny to anyone other than WWE’s writing team – it was uncomfortable tot watch and demeaning to Shelton Benjamin. WWE seemed intent to undo any good they had ever done for Shelton with his Momma. Shelton won the Intercontinental Title from Ric Flair after his old obese Momma – who was a horrible actress by the way – faked a heart attack at ringside….
Eventually the fat Momma character was abandoned and Shelton traded the Intercontinental Championship with Rob Van Dam under a new heel persona which saw him wearing black shades and jewellery on his way to the ring. He lost the Intercontinental Championship to Johnny Nitro at Vengeance in a Triple Threat with Carlito also involved.
In December 2006 Shelton reformed his team with Charlie Haas but they never received the push they had received previously and most of their matches took place on WWE Heat.
Shelton was drafted to WWE’s new ECW brand and dyed his hair blonde. WWE seemed to keep him in the company just so they had someone to impress fans during their yearly MITB Ladder matches at WrestleMania.
In July 2008 Shelton was drafted back to Smack Down and won the United States Championship from Matt Hardy and lost it to MVP after holding on to it for 240 days.
In 2009 Shelton was drafted back to ECW but apart from the WrestleMania Money In The Bank match, the company wasn’t doing much with Shelton Benjamin.
On April 22, 2010, Benjamin was released from his WWE contract, along with Jimmy Wang Yang, Kung Fu Naki, Slam Master J, Mickie James and Katie Lea Burchill
Shelton Benjamin worked for Ring Of Honor between 2010 and 2013 when he asked for his release. While in ROH he wrestled many singles matches as well as teaming with Charlie Haas for great matches with The Kings Of Wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli / Cesaro and Chris Hero) and The Briscoe Brothers. They captured the ROH Tag Team Championships two times before they left the company.
Since 2013, Shelton has been working for NJPW and NOAH in Japan.
This week on WWE Smack Down, the first week since the brand split, it was announced that Shelton Benjamin would be returning.
For many fans, the return has been long overdue and that he isn’t someone that the company should have released as he always worked hard and had good matches – it was WWE’s writing team that failed Shelton and they should have been the ones released.
Shelton Benjamin was a guest on Chris Jericho’s guest on Talk Is Jericho last year and he discussed a number of subjects. According to Benjamin, the last time he worked for WWE was in 2011, as he worked a dark match in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Initially, Benjamin only went to the event to visit his friend, the Big Show.
“Honestly, me and Big Show are really good friends and he basically kept hounding me like, ‘come on! Come down [and] say hello to your boy. I was just about to leave and someone said, ‘hey Shelton, Johnny Ace [former WWE Senior Vice President of Talent Operations, John Laurinaitis] is looking for you.’ I was like, ‘okay,’ and [Laurinaitis] was like, ‘hey, do you feel like doing the dark match?’. I’m like, ‘sure, but I’ve got to go home and get my stuff'”.
Benjamin worked a dark match against Brian Myers, Curt Hawkins in WWE, because Laurinaitis said that there was some interest in bringing Benjamin back to the company at the time. Benjamin stated that he had to drive home to North Houston during rush hour to get his wrestling gear and returned to the arena just as his entrance music hit.
Benjamin met Lesnar at an amateur wrestling tournament in 1997 and Lesnar was brought in to replace Benjamin on the wrestling squad after Benjamin left the University of Minnesota. Benjamin became one of Lesnar’s wrestling coaches.
“I like to say ‘coaching,’ but I coached him for about two or three months. After that, I was just straight wrestling him because he was such a sponge. Brock’s a modern day gladiator. He likes hard work. He likes early [mornings]. He’s a farm boy. He loves working hard and he was so strong even then, like, I was an All-American wrestler and I’m thinking, ‘okay, he’s big. I’ve wrestled guys like that before.’ The first time I shot him, Brock, all he did was thrust his hips and I went flying backwards.”
Benjamin told Jericho that debuting with Charlie Haas as Team Angle was the best time of his life.
“Honestly, that was the time of my life. I couldn’t wait to get to work during that time and I tell everyone ‘while they brought Brock in as the monster who was destroying everybody, me and Charlie [Haas] were the first people to make the monster sell. That was an exciting time. We were riding in a big crew. We’d get two [Chevrolet] Suburbans and it would be me, Charlie, Nidia, Rey Mysterio, Rikishi, Chuck Palumbo, Dawn Marie, and, I mean, we caravanned everywhere! So for me, again, that was the best, most fun time. Everything was new.”
When asked who would win in a shoot fight between Lesnar and Angle. In Benjamin’s opinion, Angle would win easily.
“Kurt [would win] hands down. Hands down. When I had watched them go, because they’ve gone a few times at house shows, I’m very familiar with Brock [and] I’ve never, ever, ever seen anyone move Brock the way Kurt did. There’s a huge difference between [being an] Olympic champion and [a] collegiate champion. I mean, it’s almost the difference between a collegiate champion and a high school champion.”
Although that dark match in 2011 didn’t lead to anything – finally, Shelton Benjamin returns “home” to Smack Down. It remains to be seen if he will receive a good push or if he’s being brought in as an experienced hand to help some of the younger talent become stars, but either way you can be sure that when you see Shelton Benjamin in the ring he’s going to work hard and have great matches and that’s all we can really ask for from Shelton.
I’m extremely pleased to see him return. I can see him working as an agent or working with the young talent in NXT when his days in the ring are over and I hope WWE keep him around for a long time as talent like Shelton doesn’t come around too often.
Maybe he could take the excellent Jason Jordan and Chad Gable under his wing as “Team Benjamin”……
Please check out a full report of Smack Down by Talha here: