Considered one of the best athletes in sports entertainment history during his stint in World Wrestling Entertainment earlier this decade, Shelton Benjamin really had a successful tenure in the promotion.
Now performing mostly on the independent professional wrestling scene following his WWE release, with big matches scheduled for Ring Of Honor, Benjamin was recently asked about African American competitors in the industry during a recent online interview.
However, it appears as if he isn’t too fond of one’s ability in particular. That man is The Nexus member, David Otunga.
“No, I don’t think he’s very good,” Shelton Benjamin told Jawn Murray, of BV Buzz. “My guess would be probably, but at the same time whether he’s any good or not this is a show. Just by him being in the WWE makes news.”
“The Gold Standard” also spoke on his push being related to Otunga’s relationship with pop singer, Jennifer Hudson.
“People are gonna tune in just to see David Otunga just to see if he’s good or bad. Jennifer Hudson‘s husband is a pro wrestler,” Shelton added. "That’s gonna draw and it will be foolish on the part of WWE not to take advantage of that. Do I think him being married to Jennifer Hudson helps? Without a doubt."
However, Benjamin doesn’t disagree with “The Worldwide Leader In Sports Entertainment’s” decision to make him a superstar for the company moving forward.
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“He still has to go in there and perform. Just because he has the job and they’re using him doesn’t mean that it’s gonna stay that way. No disrespect to David because he’s a great guy and I’ve worked with him,” Benjamin added. “I expect him to improve, but if I was running a wrestling company and David Otunga was signed on my company, you’re dammed right I’m gonna put him in everyone’s face. That’s the proof for me.”
Shelton did however put over several other African American performers for Vince McMahon‘s promotion, including one he feels might be WWE Championship material.
“The first person that comes to my mind is MVP [Montel Vontavious Porter],” Benjamin said about him putting the top belt on an African American competitor. “If you look at his career, at one point it looked like it was going that route. For whatever reason, it just stopped. I felt like fans were accepting him so he would be the first on my list.”
Benjamin also feels another long-time veteran, and another rising young superstar on the Friday Night SmackDown roster, belongs in the conversation as well.
“I believe Kofi Kingston is on the cusp. I won’t say he’s quite ready yet but people put the title on guys who aren’t ready all the time,” Benjamin said. “Those two would be first on my list. Most of the other black guys are just inexperienced right now and none of them have shown me anything that would validate putting the world title on them and that’s not to say they won’t be later. I forgot about Mark Henry and I don’t want to leave him out of there.”
Many to this day still question that if utilized correctly during the later part of his stay in WWE, Benjamin would too be in the conversation of being a future WWE or World Heavyweight Champion.
Contributing author Christopher Dunfee is a feature writer for Force Of Wrestling and covers professional wrestling organizations World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. To contact Christopher for radio appearances or any other media inquiries, be sure to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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