The one-year wait for Shelton Benjamin's return to the WWE ring is almost over, and as SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan confirmed on this week's episode, it will be in a tag match, as he and Chad Gable will be making their debut as a team next Tuesday. What's next for the returning Gold Standard and the former one-half of American Alpha?
Since splitting with American Alpha buddy Jason Jordan, who has moved on to Raw as GM Kurt Angle's storyline son, Chad Gable hasn't done much of consequence, except count the lights and look fantastic in the ring despite always losing. As mentioned above, that will be changing as Gable prepares to team with the returning Shelton Benjamin, and in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer weighed in with his thoughts on the new partnership.
PREVIOUSLY: SHELTON BENJAMIN RETURNS TO SMACKDOWN LIVE
According to Meltzer, there’s a good chance the ongoing Benjamin/Gable storyline may end up with the veteran turning on the youngster, ultimately triggering a feud between the two legitimate college wrestlers-turned WWE Superstars. On Tuesday’s SmackDown Live, Minnesota native Gable looked thrilled to be finally meeting Benjamin, who competed for the University of Minnesota in the late ‘90s. But Benjamin looked less than thrilled, giving the younger man a “cocky look," as the angle drew to a close.
Benjamin teaming up with Gable continues the trend of WWE teaming Shelton up with legitimate amateur wrestling talents. During his first WWE run, Benjamin and Charlie Haas debuted as Team Angle, and were later known as The World's Greatest Tag Team, before they each got singles pushes, with Benjamin getting the better end of the deal as a solid mid-card talent, and Haas mostly remembered for his entertaining, yet unsuccessful run as an impersonator. Benjamin and Haas also had a successful run in ROH, where they became two-time World Tag Team Champions.
Meltzer's theory seems entirely plausible. While Chad Gable looked pleased as punch when told he’d be teaming with a wrestler he grew up idolizing, that wasn’t the case for Shelton Benjamin, who looked as if he wanted to tell Daniel Bryan something like, “this wasn’t part of the deal.” If that doesn't suggest "future heel turn," I don't know what does.
Then again, it's too early to make any conclusions, as we’ve yet to see the new Gable/Benjamin tag team in action, presumably squashing The Ascension or a pair of local jobbers on next week’s SmackDown. But Meltzer seems to be on to something — Benjamin’s apparent reluctance to team with a young kid like Gable might lead to a future heel turn for the Gold Standard and a presumable role as a veteran jobber to the stars going forward, if the recent examples of The Dudley Boyz and Mickie James are any indicator.