Shelton Benjamin Opens Up About His Initial WWE Release, His Reaction To Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW


WWE Superstar Shelton Benjamin recently joined former WWE Tag Team Champs Edge and Christian’s podcast, E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness, to talk about his return to the company. You can check out the highlights below:

His initial WWE release: “When the release came, honestly, I felt like I needed it. I had been there for 10 years and I said, ‘I had a lot of great moments, but I’ve never really accomplished what I wanted to, obviously, being WWE champ and there’s a whole list of things that every Superstar should aspire to be being the champ, being the WWE Champion is one of them. If you’re not there to be champ, then quit the [pro wrestling] business.”

“I had a lot of wonderful experiences, but I had a lot of frustrating experiences too, so by the time my release came, it was almost mutual, like I felt I had been spinning my tires, like, wow. I admit, I was getting complacent.”

Not knowing much about New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) while with WWE: “When you’re in WWE, you really don’t focus on the other somewhat large promotions because, ‘hey, I’m already with the king of the mountain. Why do I need to pay attention to those?'” Benjamin said, “a lot of people working there [in NJPW], I just didn’t know. I didn’t really pay attention. I mean, we’d see the magazines that would pop up in the locker rooms here and there, but I just didn’t know anybody.”

His ‘rejuvenating’ time working in Japan: “Japan, the best way to put it is rejuvenating. Going there, I never felt more appreciated, first of all, by management because, I mean, Jado and Gedo, New Japan, like, they really treated me well over there. And, again, I didn’t expect to be there. It was one of those things. MVP was over there and he brought me in on an angle where he needed a friend, and, obviously, he doesn’t have any Japanese friends.”

Shinsuke Nakamura: “[Working for NJPW]’s when I first met Shinsuke [Nakamura]. And again, I had no idea who he was. I just thought he was a Japanese guy who does a lot of Michael Jackson stuff. Like, ‘what’s going on with this guy?’ I couldn’t figure him out. And then, you see him perform and you figure out real fast who the top guys are because of the fan reaction. But, at the same time, in the locker room, I couldn’t tell. Do you know what I mean?

“The way that they treat each other was so much different in the locker room, as far as if you walk into a WWE locker room, you can kind of feel where people are on the card, just kind of based on how people around them are reacting. Do you know what I mean? Not that there [are], like, guys stepping on each other and things like that, but you can kind of get a feel for, ‘okay, he’s a locker room leader,’ ‘he’s a locker room leader,’ and things like that. It took me a while because everybody treated everybody well. Do you know what I mean? At least I couldn’t pick up on any egos or any hierarchy.”

You can listen to Benjamin’s interview on E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness by clicking here.

H/T Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions

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