Shelton Benjamin claims to be the “Gold Standard” of professional wrestling. By looking at his in-ring exploits and championship résumé, it’s hard to argue against that claim. After refusing to fall into the dangerous drug scene of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Benjamin attended the University of Minnesota, where he became a national amateur wrestling powerhouse. Following a graduation, he parlayed his college success into a WWE contract, thus fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.
Alongside partner Charlie Haas, Benjamin debuted in December 2002 as a part of the powerful Team Angle faction. In less than two months, Benjamin and Haas proved their dominance, defeating Los Guerreros for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Dubbing themselves as “The World’s Greatest Tag Team,” they would go on to capture the titles one more time before the WWE Draft sent Benjamin to the Raw brand, which forced the athletic tandem to split.
With a shocking victory over Triple H in his debut match, Benjamin’s Raw career had an electric start. The victory put the newcomer on the map as one of the brand’s top singles stars. It also opened the eyes of many WWE fans, who voted Benjamin into the Intercontinental Championship Match at Taboo Tuesday. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Benjamin defeated Chris Jericho to capture his first singles title in WWE.
In November 2007, following an impressive career on the Raw brand, Benjamin jumped to ECW. Benjamin used his time in ECW to cement his status as one of history’s most athletic competitors. His breathtaking efforts in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania XXIV will live on highlight reels for generations to come.
Just when it seemed Benjamin was hitting his stride in ECW, the 2008 WWE Draft once again sent the Superstar packing. In typical Shelton Benjamin fashion, however, he refused to be deterred by the move. Within one month of his debut, Benjamin defeated Matt Hardy to claim the United States Championhip.
Over the years, Benjamin developed a swagger. He combined unparalleled athleticism, ring technique, and a penchant for making powerful first impressions. Benjamin also became a favorite of spectators during the Money in the Bank contests as he took the concept of in-ring flight to new levels.
Former WWE Superstar Shelton Benjamin has been making some noise recently. The three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion mentioned publicly he did not come to terms with TNA on a contract that would have seen him jump to IMPACT WRESTLING on Destination America, and instead opted to sign on with Global Force Wrestling.
And now, Benjamin has issued a public apology to a WWE Superstar who he reportedly offended several years ago.
During Sheamus’ appearance on Talk Is Jericho in May, “The Celtic Warrior” mentioned that Benjamin would refer to him as a “rookie” during their brief feud in ECW.
“I’ve got no problem with Shelton, he’s an amazing athlete. But every time we were sitting down he was calling me rookie. I don’t know what it was. I’d never been anything but nice to him and I just wanted to make the feud good.”
Fortunately for Sheamus, he would soon be moved out of ECW and onto the big time on Raw. He quickly ignited a feud with John Cena, and eventually won the WWE Championship. He became one of the quickest Superstars in WWE history to win the title following his debut on the main roster, accomplishing the feat within a year. He noted on the podcast this provided him with a sense of vindication.
Benjamin recently took to Twitter to offer his apologies to Sheamus for the comments, though did not recall making them.
He wrote, “if in fact I offended u by repeatedly calling rookie, please accept my sincerest apology. But I personally don’t recall 1x.”
For now, it appears the hatchet has been been buried between the two wrestlers, though Sheamus has yet to respond to the apology publicly.