Even though he's over 15 years into a pro wrestling career that included years of amateur wrestling before that, Shelton Benjamin admits a couple of times he's been starstruck with nerves.
When appearing on Sean Waltman's X-Pac 12360 podcast recently, the former Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Champion had a conversation with Waltman about what caused him to get nervous in the ring. In Benjamin's case, it was a couple of wrestling legends that did the trick.
SB: The first time I wrestled Flair at a Pay Per View. Because, you know I come out first and for the first time ever Ric Flair. This is the man, who in my opinion, has always been the man. Ric Flair has always been my world champion. So, when I finally see him coming down the ring for the first time, there's a moment where I am just like... a kid is standing in the ring.
SW: I'm wrestling Nature Boy Ric Flair! I've been there. I know what's up.
SB: Exactly. So when he's coming down, you're watching the whole thing and then you snap out of it and you have the match. The second time that ever happened, was years later it was the first time I had a singles match with Taker... that was a huge shot of adrenaline. I go to the ring and I hear gong! I would always sneak into the arena for Taker's entrance's, you know if I was on the show I was going to be in the arena for Taker's entrance and go back. But this time, I'm in the ring waiting for Taker to come and yeah...
SW: And the Taker that comes through the curtain, is a different Taker than we're sitting there talking to in the dressing room man.
SB: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Definitely.When that gong hit, that little kid was in the ring watching and it wasn't until Taker had come to the ring, stepped in and just when he takes his hat off and the lights go up. That's when I kind of snapped out it and I was like okay you got to wrestle him now.
Benjamin would go on to have multiple matches with both men across Raw and Smackdown.
You can hear the full podcast at this link.