Speaking with Inside The Ropes, Charlie Haas has described former tag team partner Shelton Benjamin as an angel sent to him by his late brother Russ following his tragic passing in 2001.
Speaking with Liam Alexander-Stewart of Inside The Ropes, the former WWE Tag Team Champion would recall the formation of Team Angle revealing that WWE were hesitant to continue with the group following the tragic passing of his brother, Russ Haas, in 2001.
Speaking with Inside The Ropes, Charlie Haas would recall his transition from HWA [Heartland Wrestling Association] to OVW following the companies decision to terminate its relationship with the Ohio based developmental territory in 2002.
“Well, Team Angle was supposed to be four people and it was supposed to be Russ and I, my brother and I, plus Shelton and Kurt. So it was always going to be four and when Russ passed away they put it on hold for about a year because I blew my ACL out as well during that time. So they gave me time to heal, then they folded HWA, they sent me down to OVW.”
Haas would continue, revealing that it was none other that, WWE legend, Jim Ross that pushed for Team Angle to continue as a three man faction following Haas’ recovery from a serious ACL injury.
“Jim Ross was down there watching the match he had with Redd Dog, and I had a match with Chris Nowinski, and he was like, ‘Man, why don’t we continue with the Team Angle?’ He knew about Russ passing away, so he goes, ‘No, how come we’re not doing it with you three?’ Me and Shelton are like, ‘I don’t know.’ So Jim Ross went ahead and talked to them and he asked Shelton, he goes, Would you tag with Charlie and he goes ‘Absolutely, definitely.'”
The former ROH Tag Team Champion would reveal that, despite WWE’s hesitations to put him in another tag team so close to his brothers death, he views Shelton Benjamin as an angel sent from his late brother Russ, going as far as to say that the former United States Champion helped him move on.
“Because I think they were like hesitant or thinking well you that your brother just died, do we really want to put you in another tag team. How’s he going to be? But dude, I accepted it, I mean, I just wanted to finish what my brother and I started. Shelton became my brother, he was like an angel. Like Russ sent him to help me move on. But I tell you what, man, it was it was a great experience. I couldn’t be happier.”
Haas and Benjamin would go on to become widely regarded as one of the best modern tag teams in wrestling, winning gold both as Team Angle and The World’s Greatest Tag Team. Following their WWE release, both men would go on to incredible success in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, winning tag team titles around the world and becoming icons of the wrestling industry.
Benjamin is currently still with the WWE where he would become a three time RAW Tag Team Champion in 2020, after defeating The New Day for the prestigious belts alongside then Hurt Business partner Cedric Alexander.
Many thanks to Charlie for taking the time out to speak with us, you can support him by following his social media and also checking out his upcoming wrestling promotion SWE360 which features booking from Kevin Sullivan and hands on assistance from, former Women’s Champion, Candice Michelle.
If you use any quotes from this interview please provide a h/t and link back to Liam Alexander-Stewart of Inside The Ropes.