– During a recent edition of The Edge and Christian podcast, Edge and Christian interviewed the recently returned WWE Superstar Shelton Benjamin. Below are some highlights (transcript via WrestlingInc.com).
Benjamin on how he felt when he was released by WWE: “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.”
Shelton Benjamin on not paying much attention to NJPW while in 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?’ 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.”
Shelton Benjamin on being the foreign guy in the locker room in NJPW and meeting Shinsuke Nakamura: It’s weird to be the foreign guy in the locker room. 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.”