Monday, August 8, 2016

Shelton Benjamin is no longer WWE bound

Image credit; Benjamin on Twitter.
One of the most anticipated comebacks, hyped by video packages over the last two weeks, won't happen on Smackdown. Shelton Benjamin failed his pre-hire wellness checks, which have exposed a bad shoulder Benjamin has been working with for months. The injury will have to be treated before he signs with WWE. This could mean he will be back with WWE somewhere midway through next year or it could mean he will never make his return to the promotion that trained him to professionally wrestle.

A product of the OVW school, Shelton signed with WWE alongside his fellow University of Minnesota amateur wrestler Brock Lesnar. The two even teamed for months as the Minnesota Stretching Crew. But after Lesnar was called up first, he formed a team with Charlie Haas. They joined the main roster as Team Angle, briefly changed their name to The Best Damn Tag Team Period, but became best known as The World's Greatest Tag Team.

After two tag title reigns, he would become a solo star, famously beating Triple H. Though he would win the United States title once and the Intercontinental title three times, Benjamin repeatedly hit the McMahon glass ceiling, a complaint Benjamin has made in past shoot interviews. Unable to ascend to main event status, he was forced to constantly try to maintain an upper midcard presence, even switching gimmicks to become "The Gold Standard", complete with a blond dye job.

After his release in 2010, he moved to Ring of Honor alongside Charlie Haas, where abominable booking eventually drained most of the fans' appreciation for the duo. After two uneventful title runs, Haas moved into semi-retirement and Benjamin followed MVP into New Japan.

He quickly turned his back on MVP there, and joined Suzuki-gun, a.k.a. the heel stable that wasn't Bullet Club. He jumped with the rest of his stable to NJPW's sister company Pro Wrestling NOAH, where he wrestled for the last 18 months. His last major appearance for the company was in June as he unsuccessfully challenged for the GHC Heavyweight title, losing to Go Shiozaki.

His time in Japan showed he still had the talent to go and to go hard. Hopefully time healing will allow him to continue his career in a final WWE run. And hey, maybe we will see the rematch of this G1 Climax match.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin (NJPW) by JAHMAL1111

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