Shelton Benjamin on meeting Brock Lesnar for the first time, Chad Gable, mamma storyline, more

Aug 19, 2023 - by Steve Gerweck

On meeting Brock Lesnar for the first time:

“Yes, I do [remember] actually. And you know, it almost annoys me to tell the story. Because we were at a wrestling tournament in I want to say it was Fargo at you know, their university and Brock was still in junior college. And of course, we’re gonna say, you know, he’s hungry. And long story short, he won the tournament because I lost a match and we would have wrestled, but he won the tournament. And he was a junior college kid and I just remember everyone who saw him was like you see that? There’s never been a scrawny version of Brock that I saw. From the time we saw him he was rocking it, our coach was salivating to the point where after just because he was in junior college they started they immediately started recruiting him. So I’m kind of over in the corner like you know, I’m your heavyweight and you are recruiting another heavy right in front of me. But I mean you see the guy how would you not?”

On the backstage reaction to the finish of that Shawn Michaels match:

“So standing ovation. When I went back to the curtain Vince and everyone’s like, clapping and like even Michael Hayes is like, you did something special tonight. And I was like, really? Again, I didn’t realize how special it was, you know, until I watched it back. Like this match is great. It’s really good. And but again, I’m so like, is it really that good? I didn’t think of it until like, I kept getting it the very next week. You know, the kick is in the opening promos. I am like Okay, now, I’m starting to get it now. I’m starting to really get it.”

On Chad Gable:

“Gable, holy cow. That guy is a workhorse he is such a badass. I don’t think he realized how much respect I have for him. That guy’s badass. So and to see him, say he’s turned on his comical chops. Like, it’s like, he’s constantly surprising me and he’s a guy. I’m like, this would be a breakout star. We’re constantly trying to develop new talent, but I’m like man, this guy’s got it all. He’s like he’s my favorite worker. Like because you can put him in the ring with anyone, he can make him look good. He can toss anybody around you know? Like, when he tossed Braun Strowman it’s like you’re not supposed to be able to do that. But man, I’m so impressed by his work. So impressed.”

On the storyline where he was accompanied by his mamma:

“I had a meeting with Vince and I was just like, okay right now I’m not doing anything, I want to contribute. And I had an idea and like first, and I don’t know where he came up with the momma thing. So when he first approached me about it, he basically said, How would you feel about having your real momma on the road? And I said, Absolutely not. There’s no way I’m going to expose my mother to this locker room. Because as nice as a guy I am. I love everybody on the roster. But if one person were to say something frost to my real mom, I would have had a really short career. So yeah, and so we, like I said when he said it I was just kind of like huh, because the only reference I had to that was Buff Bagwell and his mom. I guess Jim Cornette used to always reference his mom way back in the day, but I don’t remember her ever making a television appearance, but I definitely remember the Buff stuff. So when things started with that, and I’ve said this before, I feel like that whole storyline gets a bad rap. Because my mom, Thea Vidale, who’s you know, she’s a comedian. And you know, she’s been on TV shows like I said, Me and Brandy have a mother in common. Me and the singer Brandy have a mother [in common]. When they brought her in they narrowed it down to just her and one other woman. And, yeah, it was like soon as she walked in, I knew exactly who she was. [Were you at the casting?] Yes, it was me one of our producers and Vince. Ultimately they left it down to me and but everyone agreed Thea like she blew it out of the water and the day she did that audition in front of us was the day she made her debut on television, we made a decision that day. And she was a lot of fun to work with on camera because she is obviously way more animated than me. But you know, it was easy to slip into that whole momma’s boy role because like she had a very domineering personality, to say the least. And I was having a lot of fun with it. Like some of the skits, particularly when you know I walked in with her and you know and Mr. McMahon with his pants down, I was having so much fun with that. But unfortunately, she had some medical problems and you know some other things that you know, I guess management wasn’t happy with. Basically, she got let go before the story could be completed, you know, that’s kind of a buzzword these days. Yeah, we didn’t finish the story because, as I said, I was supposed to be a momma’s boy, you know, and it’s successful, but at some point, I had to grow up and stand on my own without my mom.”

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