Shelton Benjamin has had an interesting run in WWE. A former United States and Intercontinental Champion. A former WWE Tag Team Champion. A frequent show-stealer in the Money in the Bank ladder matches. However, despite Benjamin’s accolades in the company, he’s never been able to grab the brass ring. It’s an odd situation as Jim Ross actually revealed that Vince McMahon saw top star potential in Shelton Benjamin. In fact, one of the key reasons that Charlie Haas and Benjamin broke up is the fact that he was reportedly in line for a big push. Whether that push would’ve resulted in a World title reign is unknown; however, Benjamin had gotten big wins over Chris Jericho, Triple H, and Randy Orton. Plus, he was made to look like a huge star in the first Money in the Bank ladder match, so there’s some evidence that he was set for something greater than a low/mid-card act.
Benjamin immediately made a strong impression as part of Team Angle. While the former WWE Intercontinental Champion was never strong on the mic, his athleticism was always head and shoulders above everyone else on the main roster. It could be easily argued that Benjamin just doesn’t have the charisma to carry himself as a main event star. Jeff Hardy is another talent that’s terrible on the microphone, but he just screams star anytime he’s inside of the ring. It wasn’t just the fact that Jeff did crazy, high-flying things, but his personality was magnetic. It wasn’t hard for Benjamin to get people to pay attention to him once the bell rang. Benjamin was a tremendous talent who could wrestle circles around most of the roster, but his character was never engaging. WWE’s insistence on using scripted promos showcased that not everyone can truly shine when their lines are being written by them. However, that’s not the biggest problem as there’s just no charisma pouring from Shelton’s body. Guys like The Rock, John Cena, or Stone Cold are still able to display charisma even when spouting nonsense. WWE is a character and promo-driven world, and in order to truly get over with the audience, you need to display some high level of charisma.
Benjamin desperately needed a manager. And no, not the momma gimmick that they gave him. Someone who could really put him over as a character. No offense to the WWE star, but his Golden Standard run as the United States Champion was bland. The gimmick had all the tools to being great as it’s the classic arrogant “I’m better than you” heel gimmick, but Benjamin just couldn’t pull it off. Maybe it was the WWE script that was holding him back. Whatever the case may be, then his weaknesses should’ve been addressed quickly. Perhaps tell Benjamin to take promo classes if the company refuses to give him a manager. Make the script looser that fits in with his normal speech patterns. It’s not enough to be a great wrestler anymore. There needs to be something special that makes the fans care about you. The crazy thing is that Benjamin was coming close to being something during his time in The Hurt Business.
WWE was actually doing a tremendous job booking the faction. The Hurt Business came across as something cool and they were actually winners. Both Cedric Alexander and Benjamin felt fresh and exciting again; however, once Bobby Lashley won the WWE title, it all went downhill from there. First, Benjamin and Alexander did nothing as tag team champions. It was clear that the important part of the faction was Lashley and MVP only. Benjamin and Alexander weren’t given much of a chance to shine by themselves to really make their characters standout. It’s still a mystery why the group broke up in the first place. There was no build to the moment as it felt as if Vince McMahon woke up one morning and thought it was a great idea to break-up The Hurt Business. Once Benjamin made his return to the company in 2017, it was clear he was there for reasons. I can’t even say to put the younger generation over because Benjamin has to be treated in a way where getting a win over him would actually mean something. However, Vince doesn’t see him in the way of Randy Orton or John Cena. Shelton Benjamin is one hell of a wrestler who can be counted to give a great performance, but he’s just never been able to push himself into the next level. The Hurt Business could’ve resulted in something meaningful, but it just confirmed that Vince McMahon doesn’t see him as a star.