thanks to BlackVoices.comBlackVoices.com recently caught up with Shelton Benjamin and he talked about the state of Black superstars in wrestling; having comedienne Thea Vidale play his mother in WWE; whether he would return to WWE; and what he thought about Jennifer Hudson's fiancé, David Otunga. Here are some of the highlights:
Why did WWE let you go?
Honestly, I'm still wondering that myself. What I think it boils down to is that I'd been there for so long and they had such high hopes for me. For me to continue in the position that I was in I would have gotten to the point where family would have lost faith in me. I think while I'm still young every now and then you need to completely disassociate yourself from the company to freshen yourself up. It would be one thing for me to say I am gonna leave and take three months off and when I come back I'll be fresh and new, but it's a total other thing to disassociate yourself from the company completely. The point that they didn't resign me doesn't really bother me because I felt like I needed to go and near the end of my career work for me wasn't fun. I remember when I first started I could not wait to get to work. Near the end, I couldn't stand when I had to wake up and go to the airport. It was one of those things where we were both in agreement that I needed to step away. Do I believe that's a permanent departure? No. If you have watched the history of the WWE or if you have ever worked there and you were ever any good; you don't have just one run with the WWE. The door is open for me to come back. We parted ways on good terms, but as far as a lot of the decisions they made with my career, I'm still dumbfounded.
If you had to make one of the Black superstars on the WWE roster now the World Champion, who deserves it?
The first person that comes to my mind is MVP. 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. 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. 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.
Jennifer Hudson's fiancé David Otunga is a WWE superstar now. Some people feel as though he's getting a push because he's Jennifer's man. What are your thoughts on him?
No, I don't think he's very good. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
According to a backstage source, Kurt Angle has been pushing TNA Wrestling officials to sign his former cohorts in World Wrestling Entertainment, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, but it appears unlikely at this point that his wish will come to fruition.
Many within the organization feel that it will be difficult for those released by WWE to be hired unless they are a "star," such as Mickie James or Matt Hardy.
No word yet on if TNA has had discussions with those released last week by WWE, but it's unlikely that any of them will be brought in any time soon, let alone when their non-compete clauses expire.