Shelton Benjamin recalls the classic match with Shawn Michaels from May 2nd, 2005.
The match was part of the Gold Rush Tournament in which the winner of the tournament would then be the number one contender and would face Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship on the May 23rd, 2005 edition of Raw. Edge won the tournament and challenged Batista but came up short in the end. Benjamin talked to Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp about the classic match.
Shelton Benjamin had previously been in a tag-team match with Shawn Michaels. However, this would be his first time going against the WWE Hall of Fame member in singles action. Benjamin would explain how he was excited about the challenge.
"Going into the match, when I was told I was working with Shawn, of course, I was excited. Shawn is a legend. He's Mr. WrestleMania. He's every bit as good as people say he is. So I was super excited to work with him. At the time, I'm thinking, 'This can do wonders for me.' Because now I get to go in there with, arguably, one of the best of all time. Now I get to go show what I can do with him. Again, for me, I wasn't nervous. You would think I would be nervous. But I was confident."
You know that clip of Shawn Michaels superkicking Shelton Benjamin that you've seen a thousand times online? Here's what the man himself said about it...#WWE #Raw #Superkick @WWEonCB @Comicbookhttps://t.co/BVeHeDKSJa pic.twitter.com/bzEhi4QRxx— Connor Casey (@ConnorCaseyCB) March 24, 2019
The former WWE Intercontinental and Tag-Team Champion felt ready for the match-up because of past performances and what he learned from being in the ring with other veterans.
"I was excited because this is the kind of stuff I was waiting on. This is the kind of match that I live for, that I want, and I want more of these. So I'm like, 'We're going to knock this out of the park. Easily.' There is nothing they can throw at me that I can't handle from a performance standpoint. At the time, I always felt I was the 'rise to the occasion' type of athlete. So if you put me in there with a headliner, we're going to make headlines. So everything about that match from start to finish, Shawn is a master storyteller. For me, it was super easy. Because one—I was following his lead. He was leading the match. Thanks to working with guys before him like Jericho and Eddie Guerrero, that was super easy. Eddie taught me so much in the ring on the fly. So working with Shawn, everything would come together perfectly. The finish was bonkers."
When asked about the finish of the match, Benjamin just needed to know where he needed to be. He was not expecting the reaction that it received.
"I believe it was Michael Hayes who, again, just asked me, 'Hey, Shelton, do you think…?' 'Yeah.' But to me, it wasn't even crazy. It was just something. When he asked me could I do it and I literally said, 'Look, tell me where you need me to be, and I'll be there. If you need me to be halfway across the ring or the middle of the ring—if he can get his foot up, I can get to it.' Like I said, when he pitched it in my head, again, I didn't realize what it was going to be when it finally happened. I knew it would get a good reaction but was not prepared for the reaction that it got."
At least once a month I think about how good Shelton Benjamin vs Shawn Michaels from RAW in 2005 was— YUTA (@WheelerYuta) October 16, 2020
Benjamin talked about the backstage reaction and the match's praise and what Shawn Michaels said to him after the match.
"When we got to the back, yes. We're talking standing ovation. Vince (McMahon) is happy. They're pulling me aside, 'Oh, my God, you killed it out there.' Michaels is like, 'You know you just did something special, right? Everything about that match was 100% perfect. Magic. That's the perfect way to put it."
Shelton Benjamin currently wrestles on WWE's Raw brand. Fightful provides live coverage and results of WWE Raw every Monday night.