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Wrestling / Shelton Benjamin

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The Gold Standard
"Ain't no stoppin'!"

Shelton James Benjamin (born July 9, 1975) is an American professional wrestler who has wrestled for WWE, Ring of Honor (ROH) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW); the latter under the name Shelton X Benjamin. Prior to becoming a professional wrestler, he was a two-sport athlete in college. Benjamin won an NJCAA championship in both track and field and collegiate wrestling.

Benjamin started his professional wrestling career in WWE's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he held the Southern Tag Team Championship four times with Brock Lesnar three times and Rodney Mack one time. WWE then moved him to the main roster in 2002 where he formed an alliance with Kurt Angle and Charlie Haas, first known as Team Angle and later The World's Greatest Tag Team with just Haas. During his tenure with the company, he won the Intercontinental Championship three times, the United States Championship once, and the WWE Tag Team Championship twice with Haas. He left WWE in 2010 for the independent circuit, before returning in 2017. Shortly after WWE's merger with UFC took full effect in September 2023, WWE released Benjamin.

"Gold Standard Tropes":

  • Badass Boast: After Shelton had started picking up wins over Triple H, he coolly told "The Game" that he could call him "Mr. Benjamin."
  • Bald of Evil: Shelton as a heel, as he always had a close cut, at least until his move to Raw when he grew it out a bit.
  • Bash Brothers: With Charlie Haas, and with MVP in New Japan.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Shelton was frankly in disbelief that Christian, ECW Champion, would challenge him to a title match. (It's usually supposed to go the other way.) Christian said that he wanted to "steal the show", tired of WWE always overlooking its ECW brand. Shelton agreed the show would be stolen, but that Christian wouldn't be ECW Champion afterwards. However, Christian retained.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Shelton became quite the trash-talker after his second face turn in ECW.
  • The Bully: When Haas developed a bully gimmick in ROH, Shelton soon followed him suit, and wasn't content to leave Cheeseburger (who Haas used to pick) alone even after Charlie was gone. Mike Bennett stood up to Shelton and sent him out of ROH with a loss at Supercard of Honor VII.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Regarding Benjamin's relationship with Brock Lesnar. Aside from being Brock's roommate and wrestling coach at the University of Minnesota, Benjamin and Lesnar formed a tag team called the Minnesota Stretching Crew in OVW, so when Kurt Angle debuted Team Angle, he claimed he'd drafted Benjamin to make it personal. Only, since the casual fans didn't follow OVW, Angle only mentioned the roommate thing. After only a couple weeks the roommate thing was dropped, in favor of later acknowledging the former tag team.
  • Co-Dragons: As Team Angle, he and Haas were this for Kurt Angle, mainly during his feud with Brock Lesnar. After Lesnar put Angle on the shelf they continued to act in his steed but then turned on Angle when he came back and made less use of them.
  • Combination Attack: As Team Angle when they are ganging up on one target; Haas performs Manhattan Drop on their opponent, then Benjamin strikes the opponent's chest with a Super Kick, and as the opponent falls down, Haas immediately chains with a bridging pin, which is hard to kick out from.
  • Cool Shades: Benjamin would occasionally don a pair after his heel turn on Raw, which carried over when the World's Greatest Tag Team reunited. He ditched them upon going solo again and becoming "the Gold Standard."
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Benjamin's main run as a singles performer in WWE began when he managed to pin Triple H twice in 2004, back in the middle of the "Reign of Terror" when Hunter was still Raw's nigh-unbeatable top Heel.
  • Dumb Jock: He got called this by Sheamus in one promo, calling him "One of the most amazing athletes" he had ever seen but then asking "but what's he done with it?" Shelton responded that Sheamus had yet to do anything to impress anybody.
  • Expy: Shelton's "Gold Standard" gimmick brings to mind Derrick King, another African-American wrestler with dyed blond hair, whom he feuded with in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
  • Finishing Move: An exploder suplex lifted and dropped into a modified scoop powerslam called the T-Bone Suplex and a jumping reverse STO he calls Paydirt. He could also bust out the ankle lock on occasion.
  • In a Single Bound: At Wrestle Kingdom VI Shelton not only bounded clear over the top rope but cleared the fan barricade and then did a flip to land on his feet!
  • In the Hood: When wearing his jacket to the ring in New Japan.
  • Jack of All Stats: Shelton does about everything except for not being particular deep in submission holds (he highly excels at the mat, high flying and striking), for which Charlie covered him as a tag team, as he is more known for submission holds and has a submission finisher. Shelton does sometimes used a grapevine ankle lock as a finishing move though.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Benjamin was drafted to Raw, he found himself on the bad side of Triple H. Most expected Shelton to become C-List Fodder for the Game. As it turns out, Shelton beats his ass! TWICE!
  • Momma's Boy: Initially, Shelton's mother was shown to be about as nice a parent as you could ask for in the video vintages that played on Raw during Shelton's face turn. But then Shelton's winning streak ended, then his losing streak began, and then he turned on the fans and did all sorts of cocky and totally radical things that failed to get fans to truly turn on him. Rather than give up, the WWE decided to reintroduce Shelton's mother, who seemed to have let herself go and was anything but a kind parent and made Shelton totally incapable of arguing with her.
    Shelton's mother: Quiet Shelton! Grown people are talking!
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: He's a member of the famous OVW Class of 2002, which, including him, comprised of Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Batista, and Randy Orton. While Shelton has had a relatively successful career, it absolutely pales in comparison to his classmates, who all became world-famous megastars.
  • Perky Female Minion: Black Rose was his and Booker T's in WWC during 2011. She later met Shelton again in Japan. Even though Rose did it of her own volition Benjamin still sent her his approval for slapping Mia Yim.
  • Power Stable: Besides the original Team Angle (he and Haas plus Kurt Angle), Shelton was part of the Nightmares in OVW under "Nightmare" Danny Davis and Suzuki-gun in New Japan under Minoru Suzuki and the Hurt Business during his run with WWE in the late 2010's-early 2020's.
  • Red Baron: WWE occasionally flirted with "The World's Greatest Athlete" (an obvious spinoff of The World's Greatest Tag Team) due to his incredible feats of agility, before ultimately giving him a more defined gimmick as "The Gold Standard." "The World's Greatest Athlete" caught on more in the indies, while in NJPW Shelton was known as "Rodan" (during his Black Dynamite teamup with "Black Godzilla" MVP) and "Invader X" (due to Suzuki-gun occasionally featuring a masked man called X before Shelton was revealed to have joined them).
  • Ricky Morton: Shelton's role in the Minnesota Stretching Crew was to do the real work, which included the bumps. Brock Lesnar would then come in for the flashy finish.
  • Spirited Competitor: Shelton, after his face turn on WWE's ECW brand.
  • Tag Team: Besides the World's Greatest Tag Team with Charlie Haas, Shelton was one half of the Dogg Pound with Rodney Mack, the Minnesota Stretching Crew with Brock Lesnar and Black Dynamite (AKA World Greatest Tag) with MVP.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Paydirt was delivered in a much more violent fashion after Shelton's face turn, as opposed to the way MVP, R-Truth or Shelton himself used to execute the move.
  • Underwear of Power: Shelton shed his singlet after a few weeks on Raw, though he later settled on shorts.
  • Unknown Rival: After some tabloid referred to Michael Phelps as the "Gold Standard" during the 2008 Olympics, Shelton was not pleased.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Charlie Haas temporarily had to find a new partner in ROH after Benjamin was suspended for attacking people in a melee with foreign objects.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Mia Yim, as almost all of their interactions consist of nothing but endless trash talk directed towards each other.
  • The Worf Effect: What Shelton was largely used for on Raw. He beat Triple H twice and pinned Ric Flair, but then lost a lot. Got to win some, then lost, and so on, such as when he passed out in Chris Masters's full nelson or lost the Intercontinental Championship to a Raw-debuting Carlito. On ECW he put over Yoshi Tatsu in a Squash Match after being pinned with just one kick. Then he was used to put over Kofi Kingston, to the point people substitute "I hear them shouting" with "I beat Shelton!" but this finally cut out after he was allowed to beat Kofi...until it was time for Sheamus to debut on Raw. Sheamus (whom Shelton was able to handle up until then) called Shelton's whole career a waste and said that he was wasting time in WWE, then beat him with no payoff.
  • Wrestling Psychology: For his noted lack of charisma on the mic, Shelton could tell you a whole lot just from a look and some raised shoulders while wrestling in the ring.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: His NJPW name of Shelton X Benjamin.


Video Example(s):


This Is Scandalous!

Vince McMahon makes a skit parodying and mocking a controversial ad for having a white woman seducing a black man.

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