Former WWE Star Shelton Benjamin Lists The Wrestlers Who Inspired Him

Growing up in the city of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Shelton Benjamin became a loyal viewer of the television shows that fell under the banner of Jim Crockett Promotions. As such, it is no surprise to learn that several of his early influences emanated from those respective shows. During a recent Q&A session at the 2024 For The Love of Wrestling event, Benjamin revealed which performers particularly resonated with him.

"I grew up in the American South, so I saw a lot of [Jim] Crockett stuff. I didn't see a lot of WWE, so for me, Hulk Hogan was the other guy. Ric Flair was the man," Benjamin said. "In my world, Ric Flair is and was the greatest world champ ever. So I grew up watching a lot of Ric Flair, obviously The [Four] Horsemen. The Rock 'n Roll Express, that duo made me fall in love with wrestling. I was tuning in to see the Rock 'n Roll Express and from there, guys like Magnum TA, Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, later the Samoan SWAT team, the Steiners, the Skyscrapers, Barry Windham – all of those Crockett area guys."

According to Benjamin, his biggest inspiration originates from "The Icon" Sting, who spent many years with the National Wrestling Alliance and WCW. Drawing from Sting's offensive moveset, Benjamin even incorporated Sting-like splashes, chops, and kicks into his own repertoire early on. Sting, of course, recently wrapped up his wrestling career at AEW Revolution as he and Darby Allin successfully defended the AEW Tag Team Championships against The Young Bucks.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit For The Love of Wrestling with a h/t to Rllegends for the transcription.