Brian Damage, Jamie Lithgow and Craig Wilson
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Shelton Benjamin.
Brian: Wait a minute! Shelton Benjamin is still on the Smackdown roster?!? The answer to that is yes indeed he is, but you wouldn’t really know it by the simple fact that he is hardly ever used. Barring any injuries, I think it is an absolute sin that they aren’t using Benjamin each week. He is one of the most gifted in-ring athletes WWE has on their entire roster. So what’s the deal with not using him more? Should we book or cook Shelton Benjamin?
Jamie: For me, Shelton Benjamin is one of the many casualties of WWE shitting the bed when they split the roster a couple of years ago. They brought loads of guys back to the company and called up seemingly everybody they could from NXT, only to realise that they didn’t really need them all. Logic would dictate that by splitting the roster, more wrestlers would receive opportunities with fewer performers doing nothing. Yes, more wrestlers have received opportunities, but due to the volume of reinforcements brought in our Book or Cook series has remained in business!
On one hand, it does baffle me that Benjamin is not in a more featured spot. He was Chad Gable’s partner for a while, but that’s all I can recall him doing. As Brian said, Shelton Benjamin is a supremely talented athlete and one hell of a wrestler, so why not feature him more? Well, we could have asked that exact question ten years ago. He had some success with the Intercontinental Title, albeit when that championship meant relatively little. This guy has just never fulfilled his potential in WWE, and from the outside looking in it seems to be from no fault of his own. This does not seem to have changed in 2018. There is no evidence to suggest WWE will use Benjamin as he could and perhaps should be used so I say let him go. There’s an obvious out for Benjamin too; New Japan. He was a member of Suzuki Gun when they were ‘exiled’ to Pro Wrestling NOAH so having him rejoin now that they are back in New Japan makes sense for all concerned. I say we ‘cook’ Shelton Benjamin.
Craig: I was quite interested when the WWE re-signed him. I thought he would bring a bit of experience to roster and would be used to try and establish some up and coming athletes. If that was the case, the only real attempt made was tagging him with Chad Gable which only really resulted in everyone asking again what the point was in breaking up American Alpha in the first place…
Benjamin, though, is still a talented performer and is definitely underutilised. I don’t at all disagree with Jamie. The roster is bloated and packed full of lots of guys, and gals, who could justifiably be on the receiving end of the book or cook treatment. Whilst, for many, the outcome would quite reasonably be getting in the bin, I do think that, for Benjamin, that isn’t the case.
I can see, from Jamie’s perspective, why he’d like to see Benjamin head east. I, however, would rather the WWE gave him something meaningful to do first. Even if it is just to eliminate “what if?” questions. It’s a book for me.
Brian: Normally, I would be in agreement with letting Shelton Benjamin go elsewhere. It seems obvious that WWE has no real plans for him at this time. A place like New Japan does make sense considering he has been there before. The thing is, Benjamin is now 43 years old. While still young, he is considered old in wrestling years. Does Shelton really want to venture out to Japan again at his age or just be satisfied collecting checks doing practically nothing? I say BOOK Shelton Benjamin and give him one last good run in WWE.
What do you think? Leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.