Despite being a very underrated, hard-working young talent,it seems that Shelton Benjamin is always just on the cusp of singles wrestling fame. For whatever reason, be it that he’s viewed as unmotivated, not charismatic, or just unlucky, he’s never managed to be a “tippy top guy”. Personally, I credit it mostly because his name isn’t Triple H, Shawn Michaels or John Cena, who ironically made “being black” more successful as a career than Shelton.
Folllowing decent runs as one half of the WWE tag champions with Charlie Haas and an InterContinental title reign, it appeared once again that Benjamin was ready to make the jump up the card. But the WWE brain trust still felt he needed something more.
A manager who could speak for him, you ask? No, silly! What Benjamin really needed was Mama.
No, not THAT Mama, unfortunately. (Note from RD: Having seen that show, I see nothing unfortunate about this.) Scoff if you will, but given how behind Vince McMahon is on pop culture events, expect Vicki Lawrence to be announced as a RAW guest host in the near future.
And is it just me or does she look like the stunt granny on the front cover of Blade’s 80s football porno?
I have NO idea why or how I remembered that one. Or why.
And thus, Benjamin soon had his domineering mama accompany him to the ring during matches to give him words of encouragement and also to embarrass him in front of his wrestler friends.
Because that’s what moms do.
I figured this would make a great induction for Mother’s Day but I couldn’t wait that long. I do have a feeling this will be frequently reposted for Mother’s Day every year as penance for every argument I’ve ever had with my own mother. Sorry, ma – I really do love you.
Now before I get a ton of emails about it, let me state for the record that Shelton’s Mama wasn’t really his mama at all, but a role played by African American comedienne Thea Vidale.
You might’ve seen Thea’s standup act on Comedy Central or B.E.T. She’s also had guest-starring roles in sitcoms such as Ellen, The Wayans Brothers and The Drew Carey Show (Note from RD: I picture you saying that in a Troy McClure voice for some reason.) In addition, she had her own short-lived but critically acclaimed sitcom called Thea.
And then…she wound up on Raw. How weird is that?
Nowadays in the WWE, they seem to shy away from using actual family members in angles because they figure they need to hire “real actors” to make the angle believable, like when they hired that Playboy centerfold to play Randy Orton’s wife last year. I guess if you can stay awake anytime Randy opens his mouth, you’re at least as good an actor as that chick from Jennifer’s Body.
“Tonight the part of Diana Hart Smith will be played by Jessica Hahn”.
If you’ve never actually seen Mama Benjamin (which means you somehow lost your eyesight at the top of the page and regained it here, I reckon), you can guess what she looked like.
Oh, and dressed in one of Homer Simpson’s weight gain mumus. Almost forgot that one.
Basically, her character was that of every stereotypical black mama from the usual Spike Lee Joint or one of Tyler Perry’s “Madea” films.
(Note from RD: Don’t forget the Klumps! How could you forget THE KLUMPS?!)
Highlights from Mama’s all-too-short tenure in WWE?
Well, she got a creepy shoulder rub from Goldust.
And she was hit on by Big Vis.
(Note from RD: How has Big Vis never been inducted? His romance with Lillian Garcia writes itself, girl!)
Btw, I like how Mama bends down for about 5 minutes so the disembodied voice from the great beyond can intro Visera with his mood lighting while Mama seems to be frozen in stasis.
What was she picking up? Collared greens?
(And hey, don’t blame me – I didn’t write her blatantly racist dialogue!)
Viscera’s Fox sitcom-caliber pick-up lines leave no impression as Mama berates him. “Do you know who I am? I’m Shelton Benjamin’s Mama!” Yep, she matters so much as a character that the CREATIVE BRAINS couldn’t even give her a first name like, say, “Weezy”. She could’ve come out to the ring to the Jefferson’s theme.
And I would’ve loved it EVERY time. 🙂
At ringside, Mama did little more than threaten her son with butt-whoopings if he lost, shout words of encouragement to help Shelton find the motivation to fight on, and celebrate with him in the ring when he wins a match by count out.
With all that said, I will say she’s by far the healthiest-looking valet in quite a long time.
By the way, how the heck can you wipe with those nails??
The beginning of the end for Mama’s three month stay came during a Shelton vs. Big Show match when Mama interfered, only to have The Big Show yell in her face.
While we couldn’t hear what was said, I can just imagine it.
“THE WATERBOY WAS A GOOD MOVIE, DAMMIT!”
The verbal fracas resulted in Mama clutching her chest and collapsing from a heart attack. You’re right – this looks all wrong.
WCW really was the place for fake heart attack angles.
WWE is more the place for fake miscarriages.
The character of Mama Benjamin was soon done away with for good and never mentioned again. In real life, Ms. Vidale was having health problems so Mama’s heart attack was staged to explain her absence from Shelton’s corner. The same company that suddenly made Mickie James STOP being a psycho lesbian with no explanation felt the need to explain Shelton’s fake Mama’s absence.
But one thing is certain:
At Wrestlecrap, we’ll always remember Mama.