Bruce resigned as manager of Sheffield Wednesday - who are now considering their legal options - and took charge at Newcastle this week, penning a three-year deal.
The departure of the hugely popular Benitez, a Champions League winner with Liverpool, to Chinese club Dalian Yifang, has prompted swathes of Newcastle fans to call for a boycott of the first game of the season against Arsenal at St James' Park in protest at Mike Ashley's continued ownership.
A reported 12,000 season tickets have been left unsold and the appointment of Bruce as Benitez's successor was met with derision by many.
Despite the controversy, former Sunderland and Aston Villa boss Bruce was thrilled to be offered the chance to manage the club he grew up supporting, having rejected the job earlier in his career, and promised to do his best to fill the void left by Benitez.
He told NUFC TV: "To be given the opportunity now, I'm like every other Geordie now, I've lived the dream, if you can't play for them then of course if you're a Geordie what better thing than to take the number one seat?
"I'm delighted to be given the opportunity, I'll do my best, I know in some people's eyes I'm not Rafa and I understand there's big shoes to fill but believe me I'll give it everything I possibly can and hopefully prove the doubters wrong.
"The easy thing for me would have been to say no, but at my stage in my career now - back a few years ago I regretted it - that regret lingered around me for years when Sir Bobby [Robson] left so to be given the opportunity again is something simply I had to take it.
"I had to grasp it, I knew it was going to be difficult. I just hope that people show the respect which obviously you only gain by getting a few results and doing the job but hopefully that'll go hand in hand."
Bruce confirmed Newcastle are working on bringing a striker in having seen last year's loan star Salomon Rondon reportedly agree to join Benitez in China and Ayoze Perez make a £30million move to Leicester City.
"Of course we're aware we've lost Rondon and Ayoze so we're short in that little area so we're working on that but the squad is littered with some very, very good players and that's why it's been able to stay in the Premier League," Bruce added.
"It's my job now to move us forward if we possibly can, I'll try my utmost to try and achieve that."
Newcastle is reportedly in talks to sign Brazilian forward Joelinton from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.