A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Shelton Delivers The Upset Special
NEW JERSEY—Shelton Benjamin, welcome to Upset City. Population: a select few. I suppose that I should start from the beginning. It starts with the current crown jewel of World Wrestling Entertainment, who goes by the name of Triple H. March 29, 2004 was supposed to be his night to return to Raw after being traded to Smackdown just one week before. This was to be the night that “The Game” re-established his dominance in the squared circle. A brash kid from the University of Minnesota came in and took it all away. In a single moment, the landscape of African-Americans in professional wrestling just may have changed for the better. Orlando Jordan, are you listening?
A week and a half after the firing of Ron Simmons, a new hope has emerged in sports entertainment. Yes, Benjamin pulled the upset over the highly decorated Triple H on Raw to pull himself into the spotlight. Kid, welcome to prime time.
Now, there are quite a few things to say. First, I will say that in the past, I have publicly questioned Vince McMahon for his very questionable methods concerning racial sensitivities towards his athletes, and the wrestling public. However, for this one time, I should at least give some credit to Triple H for doing the job to Benjamin. Then, I should at least credit McMahon for putting the final stamp on letting it happen. Maybe the doors that The Rock have opened are finally attracting a couple of entrants. Benjamin is a big time player. He comes from the Kurt Angle school of mat wrestling, which is the perfect formula for any success he will have. Just look at Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and even Bret “The Hitman” Hart as examples.
He’s already been a tag team champion, with a few more title belts to come. I can only hope that the WWE will allow him to grow into a champion. That may be asking for too much, given Vince’s history with African-American talent. Then again, if the streets are paved with gold, then it’s no accident that the 27-year old Shelton Benjamin made it to Upset City.