Originally published at Shelton Benjamin explains why he was not happy about being put in tag team for 2017 WWE return
When Benjamin came back, he was not pleased about being put in a tag team.
After Shelton Benjamin’s first run with WWE came to an end, he would return to the company seven years later. He was supposed to come back in 2016 but due to an injury that required surgery, his return was delayed.
When Benjamin formally returned, he was paired with Chad Gable and this was following Gable’s pairing with Jason Jordan coming to an end. Shelton guest appeared on The Kurt Angle Show and shared that he was not happy about being thrown into a team.
He felt WWE was trying to get him to fill Jason’s spot. He feels there was a never a concrete plan for him and Gable and although he thinks very highly of Gable, Shelton feels he was not the right partner for the former NXT Tag Team Champion.
It (WWE return in 2017) was a bit of an adjustment period but, they put me with (Chad) Gable first in a tag team. I’ll be honest, I was not happy about that. I just felt like they are just trying to replace (Jason) Jordan. They were trying to replace Jordan with someone similar and I didn’t like that. I also felt like I had enough name value that I didn’t need a partner… I just don’t feel like they really had any plans. I think it was more of a, okay, we need to give Chad a partner. Oh, so let’s stick him with — Shelton’s coming back, they’re both amateur wrestlers, they’re both from Minnesota and like you said, I think it was an attempt but, I don’t think it worked and not to say we didn’t try because Gable’s phenomenal. Jesus Christ, he’s phenomenal. I really wish they would do more with him. The knock is always gonna be his size but I’m like, who cares? Who cares? That kid is phenomenal. I don’t think I was the right partner for him. But, at the same time, I think he’s phenomenal, I think he’s underutilized, underappreciated. So he has a lot in common with me (he laughed).
Looking back at Benjamin’s history in tag teams, he spoke about his time as a part of the Worlds Greatest Tag Team with Charlie Haas.
Shelton feels that when they split away from one another in WWE, he was not ready to be a singles talent. Benjamin believes he was talented but lazy until he crossed paths with Charlie.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think I was ready (for a singles run when Worlds Greatest Tag Team split up)… So, I was a much better wrestler tagging with Charlie (Haas) because I was so gifted, as far as athleticism. I could do anything. So me and Charlie, we’d sit and talk and we talked about how we wanted to hide our weaknesses and showcase our strengths in each other. Charlie was a much better technician than me. I was a high-flier guy so… I never threw German suplexes until I was a singles guy because I was the flying guy. Kurt’s doing it, Charlie’s doing it. I’m not gonna do that because… we don’t need to be carbon copies of each other and two, the best way to help feature Charlie is to feature Charlie. If we’re doing the exact same thing — there are things I can do that he absolutely can’t do. So, instead of trying to have the exact same move-sets, okay, I’m the Air Force, you’re the Marines and basically that was our approach to all of our matches and that’s why we gelled so well. We looked out for each other. If a match was being put together, we already made pacts like, ‘Okay, we’re not doing this, this and this.’ So if someone made suggestions that went against what we felt as a team or individuals, we spoke up for each other. You couldn’t volunteer Charlie for a spot if I wasn’t there, if I knew he was gonna take issue with that and vice versa. So between that relationship and the fact that Charlie, again, because he wasn’t the athlete that I was, he had to work really hard and because of that, I had to work really hard. I was his partner. So Charlie boosted my work ethic tremendously. So between Charlie and Arn Anderson putting us through the paces before every show, I went from being — ‘God-gifted’ is another way of saying talented but lazy. I was talented but lazy until I got with Charlie and because Charlie had to work hard and I was his partner, I had to work hard too so he boosted my work ethic. So when we split up, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know the reasoning behind it but again, I didn’t ask questions. I just did what was asked of me. But no, we definitely didn’t want to split up at the time. We felt like we had another year or two. But, things happen.
Benjamin’s second go-around with WWE came to an end in September 2023. He expressed that he feels he should still be with the company and to read his comments, head over to this link.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Kurt Angle Show with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.