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18.4.14 0047
The W - Guest Columns - Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

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ďThis is my lifeÖ I have battled and lost, struggled and wonÖ I have had victory and defeat, and defeat in victoryÖ I will never be overmatched or unpreparedÖ This is who I am and who I will always beÖ I am Chris Benoit!Ē

So yeah, I got a copy of Benoitís DVD recently. And checking out the extra features, I couldnít wait to pop it into my DVD drive and get to recapping this bad boy so that you too could feel the awesomeness of the power that is Benoit!

We start out in Edmonton as various friends and family give us the usual fluff about wrestling being his all. Chrisí earliest memory of wrestling was watching the Dynamite Kid, and one night after seeing him perform Benoit decided he wanted to be just like him. This included shaving his head, however he wound up sunburned on his head. To get his hair back, heíd heard that rice was the way to go, and ate pot after pot of rice to grow it back in.

Chris started weightlifting in 1979, and was always doing it. He wouldnít hang out with his friends much, because he was too concentrated on developing muscle.

Heíd started going out to Calgary to see wrestling shows regularly, and it got to the point that he began getting invited to set up the ring. Occasionally heíd get the go-ahead to enter the ring, and he played around a little. Often wrestlers would say hello, but the one that never spoke to him was Dynamite Kid, so Benoit resorted to pounding on his door and introducing himself, telling DK ďI want to be just like you!Ē

Bruce Hart invited Chris to Calgary for a weekend, so he hopped on a bus and took off to the Dungeon. Every weekend from there on out heíd be in the Dungeon working out. His father was aware, but his mother had no idea for the first year because they knew she didnít want him doing it. Benoit gets teary eyed when talking about Stu giving him the opportunity to become a wrestler.

Most of his early matches were away from Calgary. He actually was quite excited to travel, even if most of the wrestlers were complaining about the long trips. Chris loved going to cities he hadnít seen before. He traveled so much at the start that by the time he came back to Edmonton, heíd already won a belt.

Bad News Allen offered Chris the chance to go to Japan, but it meant living there for a year. Benoit of course jumped all over the opportunity. He wound up hating it. He hated the food, couldnít communicate, and for the first 6 months they wouldnít let him in the ring. When going home for Christmas, he spoke to some of the guys in Calgary, and they opened his eyes to what he was missing out on.

Upon return to Japan, Chris was now ready to learn and open to these guys molding him. The Pegasus Kid was born. When he won the Junior Heavyweight Title from Jushin Liger, it was the biggest highlight of his career to that point.

After initially hating the mask, he began feeling like it was a part of him Ė and wound up being very reluctant to take it off when they asked him to. However, it was insisted that the fans get to know him on a more personal level, so he lost a mask match to Liger, and became Wild Pegasus.

Eddie Guerrero met Benoit on a Japan trip, and during their first match Chris managed to knock him out with an enzuigiri. Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho were also part of their group, and they all became a tight family unit. Eddie put him over in the semi-finals of the Super J Cup, en route to Benoit winning the whole thing.

We jump right in to ECW, and Benoit mentions that Paul Heyman knew him from Japan and wanted him as part of the family. His first feud was with 2 Cold Scorpio, and Benoit has nothing but praise for him.

We show the highlights of Chris breaking Sabuís neck, and get the cursing fit Sabu went into outside the ring. Benoit says heíd rather get hurt than hurt someone else, and was very fearful for his actions. Sabu never spoke to Chris about it, so Benoit just cried in the back. Paul was insistent that they make him ďThe CripplerĒ while Chris was looking for news about Sabuís neck.

Chríis BenĒoiít-.n

(Serious Cripplous)

An aggressive competitor whose severe conditioning and merciless style is feared by the wrestling communityÖand rightfully so

We get clips of Chris ďcripplingĒ various wrestlers, and cutting promos about his intensity. The promos were new to Benoit, but he feels he did fairly well.

Benoit, Eddie, and Malenko all wound up together in ECW. They hadnít planned on it, their careers just kind of mirrored each otherís. Clips are shown of Malenko and Benoit winning the tag-team titles.

He was having trouble getting his work visa for the US, and Paul kept telling him he was working on it. However, as is most things with Paul, he never delivered. Chris was stopped at the border by customs one night, and they informed him they knew what he was doing, and that if he didnít get a work visa heíd be in serious trouble. That was the last time he worked for ECW. Paul begged with him to stay, but Benoit refused to take the chance unless he had a visa.

Vince McMahon gave Benoit an opportunity, by allowing him 3 try-out matches in 1995. The first was with Adam Bomb, the second with Bob Holly, and the third with Owen Hart. Chris approached Vince and asked if he signed with the WWF could he still wrestle in Japan? His reasoning was that he didnít feel the US was prepared for a smaller wrestler, and that it was still the big manís world Ė so he needed a place that would respect him. Vince told him no, he must be exclusive. WCW was okay with Benoit working Japan since they had a talent exchange anyway, so he opted to sign with them.

As time went on, his Japan time got cut down and Chris wound up a WCW exclusive. He traveled with Dean and Eddie on a regular basis, and were tight friends. He knew they were guys he could count on talking to if he needed to.

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson approached Benoit to be the Fourth Horseman, and jumped all over it. He doesnít feel that WCW ever gave them a proper opportunity to run as a unit, but he had a great time as a Horseman regardless.

Chris goes face to face with Kevin Sullivan! He didnít agree with anything Sullivan did as a booker, and was very dismayed with his direction. They had a number of matches, and he worked stiff because this was him standing up for himself. WCW put him in a number of uncomfortable situations, but he took it with a smile on his face. In the ring, Sullivan was very professional and never took advantage of him Ė but outside of the ring he felt the opposite. He adds that there is an awful lot heís not telling us, but he does have kids from a previous marriage that he wants to talk to about what happened before telling the world all about it. For those who arenít in the know, basically Sullivan booked an angle that saw Benoit steal Sullivanís wife Nancy (Woman) Ė and due to the amount of time they spent together, angles became reality.

About a year is skipped here, and we move over to the Benoit/Booker T best of 7. He was concerned, because he loves doing different things every night, and wasnít sure how heíd be able to go for seven matches. They both managed to squeeze out a lot of creativity though, and both guys (Booker and Benoit) look back on that series fondly.

Another year is glossed over, and weíre now in May 1999. Over The Edge clips are shown of Jim Ross announcing that Owen Hart is dead. Initially, Benoit thought it was a tasteless angle Ė but as the news rolled in he knew it was real. Brian Hildebrand had to break the news to him. At this point, Chris turns away from the camera.

Bret approached Benoit about having a tribute match for Owen. Chris says it wasnít about a good match, it was just about paying tribute to a good friend. Theyíre both really proud of what they did, and hope that everyone who watched it took some time to reflect on Owen Hart. Chris starts to cry as he tells us he misses Owen.

Souled Out 2000 rolls around, and he says long before he was even given a title shot against Sid heíd made it clear with the folks in WCW he was disgusted with them. Being a part of WCW, he disliked wrestling. He didnít want the opportunities to fight for the WCW title, because he was so unhappy. They went ahead with the decision to put the World Title on Benoit, and it felt like a stale accomplishment because of the politics behind it. Everything boiled over when folks were patting him on the back and telling him what a leader and great guy he was, the same lines heíd heard them tell other people before turning around and sticking a knife in their back. He knew what he wanted to accomplish in his life, it wasnít in WCW.

15 days after winning the WCW World Title, Benoit was in the WWF with Guerrero, Malenko, and Saturn. Chris was a little hesitant though, since the WWF is where all the big stars were, but opted to give it a go.

Wrestlemania 2000 was his first Wrestlemania experience. He says it was a fantastic feeling to know that after watching all the previous ones that he was now part of it. Winning the IC title is what he felt the business was all about. Opportunities, not politics.

Flash forward to the Fully Loaded 2000 feud with the Rock. Highlights are shown of the build up, and the ďRock loses the title on a disqualificationĒ rule is mentioned. Benoit won the belt, and had it reversed minutes later. He says he had like 15 messages from friends on his phone with them congratulating him, and then calling back saying ďoops, sorry, forget thatĒ. Benoit mentions that he clicks well with The Rock in the ring.

Wrestlemania X-7 brought him a singles match with Kurt Angle. He feels heís at his best when heís in a one on one environment, and facing someone who knew how to chain wrestle was very rare. Doing something so different with Kurt made him feel proud.

In June of that year, he faced Angle again in a cage match this time. Chris mentions that his neck was really hurting him, but he went ahead with everything anyway, including the dive off the cage. He had chronic pain, and didnít have strength in his right side. Shots are shown of his match with Jericho and Austin at KOTR 2001, which was his last match before deciding to do the surgery. Paul Orndorff talked him into it, because Mr. Wonderful DIDNíT help himself out when he had neck problems, and still deals with the pain to this day.

His first day back was in Edmonton on RAW. The whole crowd helped him feel energized and charged Ė and gave him a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Highlights build up the match towards Rumble 2003, where Benoit faced Angle for the WWE Title. Just about every match heís had with Kurt has been a ďfavoriteĒ, and loves that Kurt is able to bring that kind of match out of him. The reception he got following the match was incredibly emotional, and he was near tears with the whole arena on their feet giving him an ovation.

Another year is skipped, and weíve got the build up to Royal Rumble 2004 now. Paul Heyman forced Benoit as #1 into the Rumble, but despite that he outlasted everyone Ė finishing with an exclamation point by dumping Big Show. Following the match, he had such ďcotton mouthĒ that when Austin gave him a beer, he actually drank the whole thing, a first in his career.

Now weíve got the build up to the World Title match at Wrestlemania, where Benoit opted to jump to RAW and take their brandís version of the title. Chris says that Wrestlemania was a great cap on his career, where he was put in the ring with both Triple H and Shawn Michaels, two legends, and had the title put around his waist. All he could do was burst into tears, having accomplished everything he ever wanted to accomplish, with his friend Eddie Guerrero in the ring with him.

The story portion wraps up with a music video showing highlights from throughout his career.

Alright, so that was a nice look at Benoitís career, but didnít tell us anything we didnít already know. But seriously, who buys these DVDs for the story pieces anyway? Not when weíve gotÖ

THE EXTRAS

PEGASUS KID vs. JUSHIN LIGER (for the IWGP junior heavyweight title)

The referee does a check to ensure that both guys arenít hiding anything in their tights, orders a handshake which Benoit blows off by smacking Ligerís hand away Ė and weíre off! They lock up, and Benoit quickly opts for a break. They start with the hiptosses, and Liger dropkicks Benoit in a flash, sending Benoit outside. After a breather, he heads in but gets trapped in an armwringer which he breaks with a firemanís carry throw. Liger takes Benoit down with a drop toe hold, and applies a surfboard. He releases and immediately applies a camel clutch Ė before rolling into a cross armbreaker. Benoit rolls to his stomach to break, and headbutts Liger. Forearm smash is followed by a backbreaker, but it only gets a 1 count. Liger comes back with a table top submission hold, and nearly ties him into the tree of woe in midair! Liger releases by bridging back, getting a 2 when Benoit lands on his shoulders. Before Benoit can get a breath, Ligerís got a grounded version of the abdominal stretch, and rolls back to try a pinfall. Benoit rolls aside, holding Ligerís leg and stomps on it. Spinning legdrop connects on the leg, and Benoit tosses Liger over the top to the outside. The referee throws a fit, but Benoit ignores him, diving over the top with a tope Ė and following that with a whip to the guardrail! They both head back in and Liger gets a top rope armdrag, hits a dropkick Ė but gets greedy trying a second one, and Benoit swats him away. Liger stands and gets PLANTED with a crucifix backdrop. A figure four sleeper is worked by Benoit, but he opts to release it to go back to the legs. A half crab is only held for a second before he chooses to use a bow and arrow. Liger is tossed aside, Benoit delivers a headbutt, and hits a belly to back suplex for 2. To keep Liger grounded, he goes back to the figure four sleeper which serves to wear him down. He slams Liger, heads up Ė but Liger isnít worn down enough, and press slams Benoit from the top. An enzuigiri misses, and Benoit takes advantage of the mistake with a bodyslam. He charges Liger, but Liger uses his legs to propel Benoit over the top with his momentum, and follows with a tope con hilo! Benoit manages to recover from the move, fights off Liger on the apron, and comes off the top with a sunset flip for 2! Liger turns that over, gets a 2, which Benoit reverses for another 2 of his own! Benoit tries a scoop slam, but Liger flies over Benoitís head and flips him over for a 2. Benoit, annoyed, hits a German with a bridge for 2. Ligerís placed on the top rope, Benoit heads up, and hits a superplex! Even in 1990, Benoit goes for the flying headbutt, but it misses and Ligerís back in the driverís seat. Liger connects with a spinning heel kick for 2, and follows with a picture perfect powerbomb for another 2! Scoop slam, Liger heads upÖand hits a senton DEAD CENTRE on Benoit Ė but it ONLY gets 2! Liger tries another powerbomb, but Benoit delivers a rana mid-move, hooking the legs, and rolling through for a 2 count. A tilt-a-whirl from Benoit is blocked, but a clothesline and tombstone piledriver are NOT! Ligerís pretty much dead, so Benoit heads up for a guillotine legdrop Ė and finally scores the win and the title belt at 15:03!!! ****1/4 We get a hesitant handshake from both guys thatís blown off as quickly as it happens. Unbelievable match, and just so vastly different from the wrestling weíve become accustomed to since the Attitude era of wrestling kicked in!

CHRIS BENOIT vs. TOO COLD SCORPIO

No ring intros here. They lock up, and Benoit overpowers Scorpio, getting to the ropes for a break. A second lock up sees the complete opposite, but Benoit boots Scorpio in the gut and levels him with an elbow. Tony starts discussing Benoitís attitude problem while Benoit gives Scorpio a snap suplex and chop. Scorpio comes back with a flying bodypress and dropkick combo, before giving Benoit a spinkick that sends him to the floor. After a brief stall session Benoit heads in and works a wristlock. They flip around a little, ending with Scorpio caught in an armbar. He escapes and delivers a backdrop to Benoit, before working an armbar of his own. Thatís moved into a hammerlock, and Scorpio holds it with his FEET to show off to the crowd, and falls back barring the arm further. Benoit finally reverses the move, only to see Scorpio escape immediately and hiptoss him to the outside. Benoit sells the arm while killing a little time. They fight with a test of strength, and Benoit wins, getting Scorpio bridged back, but canít get the shoulders down. Benoit jumps on him to force the shoulders down, but they wonít Ė and Scorpio uses Benoitís hopping to flip him off with the momentum, and get back in control with a dropkick and hiptoss. Scorpio drops a leg on the arm, and goes back to the armbar. Benoit comes back with some headbutts, tries a double leg pickup, but takes a rana and superkick. An armdrag is hit, and weíre back to Scorpioís bloody armbar again. He shakes things up with a ground abdominal stretch, and a crucifix rollup gets a 2 count for the man of 1000 inches (read Foleyís book). Benoit manages to sneak in a face smash to the turnbuckle, and clotheslines Scorpio hard. He uses another clothesline to maintain his control of the match, and follows with a backbreaker Ė holding it in a submission position, pushing down on the chin. Scorpio spins in the hold with a kick to the face, but Benoit remains in control with a snapmare and rear chinlock. He releases, gives Scorpio a hotshot, and stomps away sending Scorpio to the outside. Scorpio gets to the apron, Benoit tries to attack, but Scorpio manages to block and slams Benoitís head to the buckle before headbutting him in the midsection. Scorpio heads up, however his dropkick attempt is swatted away and Benoit steals a 2! Benoit goes back to the rear chinlock, but Scorpio powers out Ė so he puts him right back on the mat with a spinebuster, and tries for the submission with a Boston crab. Scorpio hangs on, and Benoit releases. They head to the top, and Benoit hits a belly to back superplex!!! The referee starts his counting, and Benoit gets up first, getting only a 2. Frustration sinks in, and Benoit hits a vicious Russian legsweep Ė but sees his follow up belly to back attempt reversed in midair, Scorpio landing on top for 2! Benoit, furious, powerbombs Scorpio and hooks the legs for 2! A second powerbomb attempt fails, as Scorpio rolls off the back. Benoit charges, blocks a kick from Scorpio, but doesnít block the enzuigiri that follows! A clothesline from Scorpio hits the mark, and Benoit begs off. LAME 360 splash from Scorpio hits Benoit in the corner, and he heads up with 1 minute remaining. The moonsault is goodÖand Benoit kicks out anyway! Scorpio leaps on Benoitís shoulders to try a roll through, but Benoit pancakes him, hits a scoop slam, delivers the guillotine legdrop which beat LigerÖbut itís only 2. Scorpio rolls Benoit up as the time counts down, and gets the 3 BARELY as the ring announcer calls for the time limit! However, they decide Scorpio had it in time, and is declared the winner at 18:21. *** Scorpioís an overrated clod who flips around a lot but has little else to offer us. Not sure why this was included.

WILD PEGASUS vs. BLACK TIGER (in the Super J cup semi-finals)

Guerrero starts shoving Benoit from the moment he enters the ring, long before the traditional pat down. Benoit responds by taking Eddie down as soon as the bell rings, but Guerrero reverses and applies a legbar. Eddie stands, and drops right back down in the hold again. Itís leg go, and Eddie stomps the face before delivering a scoop slam and slingshot senton! Guerrero does the DOUBLE LEG STOMP that when performed by Kevin Sullivan results in immediate death, but in this case he lives. A belly to back from Guerrero gets a 2. Eddie works a figure four sleeper, and rolls back and forth applying pressure. The hold is broken, and a brainbuster is attempted Ė but Benoit reverses in mid-air, nailing an inverted vertical suplex!!! Stiff clothesline is on the mark Ė and Chris tries a suplex from the apron. Eddie blocks, so Benoit re-enters and pancakes Guerrero. Knee to the midsection takes Eddie down, and a hotshot takes the wind completely out of him. German suplex with a bridge gets 2, and a powerbomb yields the same results! Tazz and Cole take shots at the referee for being a slow counter, but heís no worse than Teddy Long or Earl Hebner. Benoit takes his turn with the figure four sleeper, but it doesnít work when Eddie rolls out of it. Guerrero gets a school boy for 2, and follows with a rana. Eddie now hits the German suplex with a bridge, scoring 2. They move into a camel clutch, which Eddie releases and hits a fallaway slam. Missile dropkick sets up topÖbut Benoit stands and swats Eddie out of the way! Belly to back suplex gets a 2 count for Benoit before Eddie bridges to his feet, and delivers a number of knees to the gut. Guerrero grabs the arm, springs off the top, and hits the rana for 2. Not enough, Eddie sets Benoit on the top rope Ė and hits a rana from there, getting another 2!!! Eddie picks up Benoit calmly, and hits the brainbuster! One more move should finish it, but Benoit knows it and throws Eddie off while heís trying the tornado DDT! Benoit sets Eddie on the top, but Eddie shoves him asideÖ Eddie leaps, Benoit armdrags him in midair and follows through with a cover and gets a pinfall at 10:22!!! ***1/4 Certainly not the best outing between these two, but decent stuff. The fans give the two a standing ovation.

WILD PEGASUS vs. THE GREAT SASUKE (in the Super J cup finals)

This is the tournament finals from the same card that featured the previous match. Benoit actually competed in another J cup tournament, but weíre thankfully spared his humiliation of jobbing to Gedo. We get some lengthy intros, but eventually get underway. Benoit goes for an early dragon suplex, but thatís NOT happening 10 seconds in, and they wind up trading holds. Sasuke takes Benoit down with a kick, but both guys are back up in short order. Benoit chops away, but Sasuke escapes, puts Benoit in the corner and runs up his body. He delivers a series of kicks, and sends Benoit out. Before being able to do anything fancy, Benoit moves, and Sasuke has to stay put. Benoit re-enters the ring, and manages to get a figure four sleeper applied. Sasuke rolls over and holds Benoitís legs in place for a surfboard. Sasuke changes that into a bow and arrow, but Benoit wriggles free. Sasuke delivers an armdrag, and continues to hold his ground. Sasuke ducks and runs from a series of moves, but Benoit catches him with a clothesline, and follows with a German suplex with a bridge for 2. Sasuke connects on a spinning heel kick, and likes it so much that he opts to hit another one! Scoop slam, leg drop, and Sasuke gets 2! Sasuke applies a cross armbreaker, but Benoit rolls over to escape and tries a powerbomb. The bomb is reversed into an armdrag, but Benoitís sick of these games and clotheslines him hard. Sasuke takes a hot shot, and winds up on the apron. Benoit punches and chops at the dazed Sasuke Ė and heads to the ropes. Benoit springboards, and hits a crossbody OVER the top rope onto Sasuke whoís standing on the apron and both guys go crashing to the floor!!! Slowly, Sasuke manages to get in, and Benoit immediately nails him with a dragon suplex!!!!!! Unbelievably, it ONLY gets 2! Scoop slam, and Benoit heads up! The flying headbutt meets its mark Ė but again Sasuke finds the will to kick out! Having no idea where he is, Sasuke winds up getting powerbombed and knocked silly. Somehow, he again kicks out at 2. Cole: ďThis is like a Smackdown! match.Ē YOU WISH! Benoit quickly moves to the Sharpshooter, but releases after a minute when Sasuke wonít tap. Benoit hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and AGAIN Sasuke kicks out at 2. Benoit tries a dropkick, but Sasuke has hooked the top rope and Benoit hits canvas. Sasuke uses this to gain steam, and clotheslines Benoit. That wonít last, because heís hit with a German suplex for 2. Benoitís openly showing his frustration with being unable to put Sasuke away, and nearly makes a huge mistake by applying a dragon suplex too sloppy, and Sasuke slips away. Benoit drops down on Sasuke whoís on the mat, hooking the legs, and getting 2. Benoit whips Sasuke to the corner, who leaps to the second rope and hits a crossbody. Benoit is dumped Ė and everyone in attendance is on their feet now in anticipation for the Space Flying Tiger Drop!!!!! The move hits perfectly Ė and both guys are out! The fans chant for Sasuke, who manages to slowly climb into the ring. Benoit crawls behind him, and takes a spin kick from Sasuke immediately. Sasuke hits a German suplex with a bridge of his own Ė getting 2. He tries a fishermanís suplex instead, and itís another 2. Sasuke goes for a missile dropkick, but like everyone else earlier, Benoit swats him away like a fly Ė and Sasuke crashes down. Sasuke crawls to the apron, so Benoit tries to suplex him back in. Sasuke blocks, and hits a suplex of his own Ė sending both guys flying to the outside!!! The fans are being whipped into a frenzy by all the action. Both guys slowly get back in again, and Sasuke dropkicks Benoit back out. With Benoit on the floor, Sasuke heads up and hits a missile dropkick from the top rope all the way to the floor!!!! All the Japanese wrestlers at ringside try to will Sasuke back into the ring, which he does Ė but Benoit beats the count as well. Sasuke kicks Benoit in the back of the head, and scoop slams him. Sasuke hits a corkscrew moonsault, and EVERYONE knows thatís itÖexcept Benoit who kicks out at 2! Sasuke goes back up again, looking for ANYTHING Ė but Benoit follows. Sasuke elbows him off, however itís not keeping Benoit down whoís back on him, and delivers a gutwrench superplex!!!! And THAT is finally enough to get the pinfall and win the tournament at 18:46!!!!!!!! ****3/4 The fans temporarily deflate before giving Benoit an ovation for his accomplishment, and he sucks it all in. It does NOT get much better than that, with an incredible number of nearfalls and non-stop action. This is must viewing for workrate freaks.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. SABU (with Paul E. Dangerously and 911)

This is certainly a change of pace from the Japanese stuff earlier, but thatís not why this is on the DVD. Joey Styles pimps Benoit as the best wrestler alive today during the ring intros. Benoit sweeps Sabuís leg, and knees him in the midsection. A hot shot knocks the wind out of Sabu Ė and a backdrop sees Sabu fall RIGHT on his head! You can forget about seeing anything else, a broken neck in any match NOT featuring Steve Austin is a good bet to finish in a no contest in 0:33. Everyone stands around looking mighty concerned, as well they should be for one of the sickest bumps ever taken in wrestling history.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. AL SNOW

Hereís a very underrated classic that most folks have probably never even heard of, let alone seen it! This was during the WWEís talent exchange with ECW, and since Al wasnít doing much aside from bumble around with Marty Jannetty as a new Rocker, he was expendable. The two circle the ring before hooking up, and Benoit applies a wristlock. They reverse the hold back and forth for awhile before Benoit backdrops Al. They lock up again, and weíve got a test of strength! Benoit fights Al right back to the mat, but Al manages to fight his way back up and over. Benoit does the same, and suddenly both guys are rolling around trading nearfalls! Al stands, Benoit legwhips him Ė and points to his head. Al doesnít much care of that, shoves and words are exchanged Ė and next thing you know fisticuffs are being thrown! Al delivers a superkick to win THAT portion of the match, and Benoit sells it like death. They trade hammerlocks until Benoit simply elbows Al, and delivers some HARD chops! Benoit whips Al to the corner, and sends him outside. Once there, Benoit hits a baseball slide dropkick and poses! He doesnít count on Snow basically hulking up, and winding up back in the ring right behind him. Benoit is dropkicked outside, but Alís attempt of a baseball slide misses. Both guys are back in, but that doesnít last when Al hits a spinning heel kick sending Chris back out! After a stall session, Benoit slowly re-enters the ring, and slams Al on the top rope with a hot shot. Al fights back, goes to the top ropeÖand has his dropkick swatted away. Benoit follows immediately with a German suplex for 2. A clothesline leaves Al grounded, and just to make sure heíll stay that way he hits a scoop slam and an elbow smash. Al is whipped hard to the corner, and is nailed with a belly to back suplex getting 2. Benoit tries a second one, but Al changes direction in midair, landing on top for a quick 2, which just serves to piss Benoit right off. He calls for the end of the match, hits a flying headbuttÖand somehow, Al kicks out! No problem, Benoit has a powerbomb waiting in the wingsÖbut Al kicks out again! Al looks like he might be getting momentum through kicking out, so Chris gives him a snap suplex, and poses for the fans. A German suplex with a bridge gets another close 3, but you can see the frustration on Benoitís face mounting with every failed finisher. Thumb to the throat, ďitís overĒ, but Al escapes a suplex attempt, reverses it, and hits the Snowplex!!! Benoit, shaken, again tries a suplex, but Al reverses again and hits a release German! Al clotheslines Benoit, and you can feel the tide completely turningÖ Al stomps at Benoit in the corner like a madman, backdrops him, superkicks him, and get a 2 count! Al hits a very strange variation of the fishermanís suplex, hangs on, and gets a 2 count. Having exerted most of his energy through that flurry, Benoit is able to take advantage of a weakened Snow, and reverses a suplex attempt into a release German. Surprisingly, Al is the first one to his feet, but stumbles into a dragon suplex from Benoit which is finally enough for the win at 14:35! ***3/4 Benoit parades around the ring to a standing ovation, before powerbombing Al again for fun. Al clutches the back of his neck while PARAMEDICS hit the ring to check on him.

Thatís the end of just the FIRST disc, which would normally be enough to sell itself Ė but these days the WWE isnít being cheap with any of their releases. On to disc 2!

CHRIS BENOIT vs. EDDIE GUERRERO

Hey, a freebie in my recapping! I actually did this one about a year ago when I was recapping a whole series of early Monday Nitro episodes Ė and the full show recap can be found here Yes, Meng and Jim Duggan fought on that show. Iím as shocked as youÖ In the meantime, my recap from that show.

They lockup and quickly break. Hiptoss from Benoit, but Guerrero comes right back and runs him over with a shoulderblock. Reverse hammerlock slam gets 2 for Eddie. Benoit comes back with a rana - so Eddie, not to get shown up hits his own! Benoit goes outside, and Eddie follows himÖby coming off the top rope with a plancha. Back in, they simply dump eachother back out again. Eddie throws Benoit face first into the post and is RIGHT there with a clothesline to the back of Benoit head, but simultaneously hits the post and knocks himself down. They head back in where Benoit hits a backdrop suplex and a dropkick to ground Eddie. Benoit starts in with overhead hammerlock suplexes! Back elbow to the face drops Eddie once again - but can't follow through with a backbreaker, winding up armdragged and hit with a tornado DDT! It gets 2 before Benoit drapes a foot over the bottom rope. Clothesline from Benoit drops Eddie - but another hammerlock suplex fails with Guerrero turning in midair and falls onto Benoit for 2. Benoit stands and chops away! Big headbutt and a scoop slam are spot on. Hiptoss is held, and a Benoit works a wristlock on the mat. Eddie fights to his feet - bounces to the top with Benoit still holding on and comes off with a rana for 2! Backdrop suplex plants Benoit headfirst and it's followed with a brainbuster! Mongo: "If you're not a WCW fan after this you're dumber than dirt." Guerrero goes up, tries a Froggie Splash - but it's BLOCKED by Benoit's knees at the last second! JESUS that's a NASTY powerbomb! Benoit folds him up like an accordion, covers, 1, 2, GUERRERO KICKS OUT! Benoit tries another one of his sweet ass powerbombs (why the FUCK isn't he using those today???) - but Guerrero rolls off the back, so Benoit hits a dragon suplex for the pinfall instead, getting the win at 8:38. **** Next time give them another 10 minutes! Those guys could *go* back in the day!

CHRIS BENOIT vs. KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) (in a falls count anywhere match)

Hereís another one that I recapped once upon a time about 4 years ago Ė but Iím not fond of my old stuff, so Iím redoing this bad boy. Plus, itís awesome and never hurts to watch again and again and again. This comes from my favorite WCW pay-per-view ever, Great American Bash 1996 Ė one of the shows that aided in putting the old WWF into the ground, and forcing the change in American wrestling forever. Ahhh, one of my WWE pet-peeves surfaces early on as they redub not just Benoitís music to his current stuff, but they find some generic tune for Sullivan rather than the Dungeon Of Doom. Why canít they just leave that alone? Iím sure theyíve got a fantastic reason, but since I donít know what that is Iíll sulk. Benoit clotheslines Sullivan in the aisle and the two start pounding the shit out of each other. Oh, for those who need a storyline to go with the match: these 2 guys absolutely hate each other. Sullivan no-sells Benoitís chops, but then Benoit does the same to him. Sullivan dumps Benoit over the guardrail and they start fighting through the crowd. They fight over a steel chair in the crowd, but neither guy gets it since theyíre too busy pounding one another. Sullivan goes to the eyes, so Benoit headbutts and punches at Sullivan. Sullivan pounds back, and they keep fighting through the crowd right into the concessions! Into the menís room they go, and Sullivan slams a stall door on Benoitís head twice! Dusty: ďThatíll teach you to go to the bathroom during this thing!Ē Sullivan throws Benoit into the stall, while a ton of fans gather around. Again they put Benoitís head in the stall door, and itís slammed again. STOMP TO THE STOMACH! Wipe Benoit off the ground, heís finished. Nobody survives the STOMP OF DOOM! Benoit stands and fights back with a flurry of punches, and both guys try to throw each otherís heads into the urinals. Benoit extracts revenge for the earlier head slamming by giving one to Sullivan, and Dusty suddenly loses his mind! ďTHEREíS A LADY! THEREíS A LADY IN THE MENíS BATHROOM! THEREíS A LADY IN THE MENíS JOHN HERE IN BALTIMORE! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? SHE JUST STOPPED OFF, SHE HAS GOT TO GET SOME RELIEF HERE BABY!Ē Classic. Sullivan throws Benoit into the corner of the bathroom, opens the cabinet Ė and finds a bag of toilet paper! Benoit has the toilet paper thrown at him, but more seriously gets decked with a full garbage can. Benoit retaliates with a shot of his own with the can, and they fight out of the bathroom. ďGO ACROSS THE HALL, LETíS SEE WHAT THE WOMENíS BATHROOM LOOKS LIKE!Ē I have this weird love/hate relationship with Dusty, but he is ON his game right now. They continue to throw the punches back and forth with energy and fight back into the arena. Sullivan decides to THROW BENOIT DOWN THE STAIRS Ė which cannot be the most comfortable way of getting back to the ring. Tony points out that Jimmy Hart has done the smartest thing he can, which is stay in the ring, the only place these guys havenít been fighting. Sullivan crotches Benoit on the guard rail, and throws a chair in his face. Benoit is not letting Sullivan get the best of him though, and crotches him on the guard rail. Sullivan comes back, so Benoit dumps him into the front row Ė and heads under the ring to grab a table. Not a flimsy sawed off table youíll see the Dudleys use, but a full fledged heavy wood table! Thatís thrown in Sullivanís face Ė and Benoit sets it up in the ring. Sullivan whips Benoit onto the table, but misses a splash. Benoit sets the table fully up on the corner of the ring, but winds up backdropped on it by Sullivan. Sullivan heads upÖbut Benoit fights back, and both guys are standing on it! Benoit superplexes Sullivan, and scores the win to a MASSIVE pop at 10:00! ****1/2 That is as perfect a brawl you could ever book. ARN ANDERSON is directed to the ring by Hart, because at the time according to the storylines, Andersonís allegiance to the Horsemen was fading Ė and he was being suckered into the Dungeon Of Doom. He yanks Benoit off Sullivan while Hart bounces around laughingÖturns, and KICKS Sullivan in the stomach to an even LOUDER pop! The Horsemen stomp away at the Dungeon leader Ė and get in a ton of shots before THE DUNGEON OF DOOM hit the ring to chase them off. Arn puts his arm around Chris as the two walk to the back to the cheers. Of course that great reception would last all of a half hour before they got the fans to turn against them again, but such is the greatness of the Horsemen.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. BOOKER T (winner of series gets a WCW television title shot at Great American Bash, match 8 of best of 7, series tied 3-3-1)

Thereís nothing I can say about this series that you donít know already, so I wonít bother. Like the last match, they overdub the ring entrance music, including Booker Tís whose music they own the rights to! Whatever. Benoit hiptosses Booker hard, which throws him off a little. A second lock up sees Booker get the rough hiptoss Ė so once again weíre even. Booker works a side headlock, but Benoit escapes and delivers a drop toe hold. Bookerís nursing a sore knee, so he heads outside to get a breather. Once back in, they trade hammerlocks with Booker winning out there, and works Benoit on the mat. Benoit slithers away, but eats a couple elbows Ė giving Booker 2. Booker slams Benoit, throws him to the corner, and fires away with the punches. A side kick is blocked Ė and Booker gets his leg dragged. Now Benoit takes over with chops, and gets a 2 count from a forearm. Benoit hits a backdrop suplex, and goes to the chinlock. A snap suplex gets 2. Booker gets whipped to the corner, and hits his back hard. Benoit tries a suplex, but Booker turns in midair, landing on Benoit for 2! Benoit takes Booker back down quickly, and moves back to the headlock. The fans will Booker back to his feet Ė but heís immediately taken back down with a knee to the midsection. Hotshot drapes Booker over the top, and Benoit knocks him outside. Slowly, he crawls back in at the 7 count Ė and winds up clotheslined out of his boots for a couple of 2ís. Benoit again goes back to the chinlock, before opting to stretch Booker instead with a surfboard. Booker fights with everything heís got, and winds up vertical Ė and manages to slam Benoit! Slowly he climbs up to the tope Ė but blindly leaps COMPLETELY missing the flying crossbody. Benoit attacks with the Crossface, but Booker crawls to the ropes before it can be applied. Benoit tries the chinlock once again, but Booker wills himself back to life, gets to his feet Ė and delivers an enzuigiri! SPINEBUSTER! (Or sidewalk slam if youíre TonyÖ) Booker is alive, and pancakes Benoit! Booker spins to his feet, and heads up top for the Missile DropkickÖbut Benoit cuts him off, and NAILS a superplex!!! The referee hits 8 before Benoit stirs, and drapes his body over BookerísÖgetting a close 2. Benoit sneaks up behind Booker who slowly stands, and here comes the German trifecta! Benoit hits 2, Booker escapes and opts for a German of his own Ė but Benoit slips away and hits a DRAGON SUPLEX for 2!!!! Oh so close! Benoit works in a number of chops from end to end of the ring, and clotheslines Booker. Thumb to the throat draws a loud pop, and Benoit heads up!!!! Diving headbutt is on target!!! Unbelievably, itís only a 2! They both stand, and Booker sneaks in an inside cradle getting 2. Booker whips Benoit to the corner, hits the Harlem sidekick to the back of the head while he bounces off, and then nails a second one to the other side of him Ė knocking him down that time. Booker signals to the crowd heís going up, and does so! MISSILE DROPKICK connects, and that wins the match and series at 16:19!!! ****1/2 Absolutely wild back and forth match with a ton of nearfalls in the last couple of minutes. Itíll blow your mind. Booker went on to defeat Fit Finlay and claim the TV title back.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. BRET HART (in a non-title match)

This is the Owen Hart tribute match which took place on WCWís first trip to Kansas City following Owenís passing. HARLEY RACE is the special ring announcer for this one. Both guys get standing ovations from the fans in a classy display of respect. The two lock up, and Benoit works Hart to the mat in a headlock. Bret escapes and they trade holds. Benoit is taken down with a shoulderblock, and the two square off to applause. They shake hands, and lock up with the test of strength. Benoit manages to use Bretís arms to choke himself, and squeezes from behind. Again they start trading holds back and forth before Benoit escapes a surfboard with a reverse dropkick. Bret comes back with a Russian legsweep and snapmare combo Ė and starts working a headlock. Benoit escapes, but takes a knee to the midsection, which Hart follows with a legdrop. A DDT plants Benoit, allowing Hart to leap off the middle rope with a double axehandle for 2. Benoit sneaks in a rollup, and turns it into a Boston crab. Bret makes the ropes, so Benoit breaks the hold and hits a backbreaker for 2. And we take a commercial break.

We return to Benoit hitting an elbowdrop for 2. A second elbowdrop misses, and Bret delivers a headbutt to the midsection. Bret nails a vertical suplex, giving him 2. Back to the chinlock. Bret lets go, and hits Benoit with a backbreaker Ė kicking him to the outside of the ring. Hart follows, and drives Benoit into the ring back first before rolling him back in. Another backbreaker is blocked, and Benoit unleashes a nasty tombstone getting 2!! A snap suplex with a bridge gets 2. Benoit drives his knee to Bretís midsection when coming off the ropes, dropping him and getting another 2. Series of headbutts are good, but a dropkick misses Ė and Bret follows by dropping an elbow on Benoit. Belly to back nearly drops Benoit on his head, and gets 2. Bret works Benoit on the ropes, charges Ė however Benoit slips aside, and Bret crashes hard, bouncing off. He rolls outside to grab his bearings, completely missing Benoitís picture perfect tope! And now we take another break.

Upon our return, Tony announces that Bretís gotten quite aggressive since the break as they trade rollups. Bret headbutts Benoit, but misses an uppercut, taking a backslide which gets 2 for Benoit. Benoit sneaks in a rollup for another 2. Bret hits a neckbreaker for 2 of his own. An atomic drop from Bret is good Ė and they fight up on the top. Benoit wins it, shoving Bret away, but he canít hit anything before Bret crotches him. Bret climbs back up a second time, superplexing Benoit, and both guys are out! Bret stands first at 8, and goes for the Sharpshooter! Benoit hooks something in mid-move, and puts on the CrossfaceÖa short distance from the ropes. Bret reaches out and hooks the rope to cause a break, but heís hurt. Benoit nails a rolling trifecta of snap suplexes, and gives the thumb to the throat! A flying headbutt hits the targetÖand only gets 2!!!! He goes for a belly to back suplex, hits it, and follows with an elbowdrop. The fans chant for Bret, and Bret responds by hitting an elbowsmash which sets up a spike piledriver!! Benoit only gets away by draping his foot on the ropes at 2. Benoit comes back with chop after chop to Bretís midsection and kicks Bret in the face. Benoit hits two rolling Germans, Bret blocks a third and hammers on Benoitís back until he falls. Benoit starts stretching Bretís arm, while Bret stretches Benoitís legÖuntil Bret winds up on his feet Ė and Benoit caught middle of the ring in the Sharpshooter Ė causing a submission at 23:02! ***1/2 Typical Bret matchÖreally good, but boring as sin. Politics actually played a hand in the finish, where Bret wanted to put Benoit over Ė but the office decided that would only hurt Bretís in ring credibility and refused. I wish I was making a story like that up. Benoit and Bret hug in the middle of the ring to a very, very loud ovation and head to the back together.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. SID VICIOUS (for the WCW world heavyweight title)

Oh what a messy mess THIS was. For starters, this wasnít even remotely close to what the Souled Out main event had been booked as. At Starrcade, Bret Hart and Goldberg went at it. Roddy Piper was paid off by the Powers That Be (AKA Vince Russoís hand) to screw over Goldberg in Hartís favor. Bret denied knowing anything about it, but the following night in a rematch the nWo reformed helping Hart retain the belt again. So we were set for Goldberg vs. Hart in their fourth singles match in 3 months at Souled Out. Only, one night when chasing the nWo around the building Goldberg got legitimately pissed off with Scott Hallís antics and took out his frustrations on a limousine window. The result of this left Goldberg on the shelf with torn tendons in his arm.

Next, Terry Funk was named the new commissioner of WCW for God Knows What Reason and he appointed Arn Anderson the referee in the main event of the show to prove that WCW still held control over the nWo. Oh, and Sid Vicious was now the #1 contender. Thatís fine and dandyÖexcept Bret Hart was actually nursing a nasty concussion thanks to a Goldberg kick gone wrong at Starrcade and was trying to wrestle through it. A hardcore match with Terry Funk on Thunder didnít do himself any favors, and next thing you know his doctor is telling him heís not allowed to wrestle anymore.

Enter Jeff Jarrett as the new replacement. Jarrett had been feuding with Benoit over the United States title, and had been booked in a Triple Threat Theatre which was to feature a ďDungeon MatchĒ, a ďBunkhouse BrawlĒ, and a ďCaged HeatĒ match. Only Jeff wasnít in the worldís greatest shape after Jimmy Snuka came flying off a cage on Nitro and knocked him silly Ė also giving him a concussion!

With our main event now changed from Hart/Goldberg to Hart/Sid to Jarrett/Sid and now having to change again, Vince Russoís head nearly exploded. Having the brain fart to end all brain farts, he told the booking committee the new plan was to hold a battle royal for the vacant belt that would see Tank Abbott of all people walk out with the title! That was the proverbial straw that broke the camelís back, and Russo was sent home leaving Kevin Sullivan back in charge.

With Chris Benoit without his opponent since Jarrett had been shuffled around, Sullivan extended Benoit an olive branch and offered to give him the title against Sid. Benoit declined, but they went ahead anyway. And here we come to this match.

The two lock up, and Sid powers Benoit back to the corner. Benoit scoots behind Sid and tries a German, but Sid casually elbows him away. SATURN and DAVID FLAIR are on the entrance ramp for no real reason. Of course, the crowd turns their attention to those two while Sid dumps Benoit over the top. Another shot of the entrance ramp now has THE MAMALUKES, DISCO INFERNO, CHARLES ROBINSON, SHANE HELMS, MICKIE JAY, and DEVON STORM looking on. Tenay sells it as a great deal of respect from the wrestlers while the fans chant for Sid. HAH! FIT FINLAY and BRIAN KNOBBS join the gang on stage while Sid gives Benoit a gorilla press. The fans are popping huge for Sidís power moves and he complies with another oneÖa front suplex. Benoit dropkicks Sidís knees a couple of times to get him on the mat, and cannonballs down on it. MENG has hit the stage. The guys go outside where Benoit dropkicks the stairs into Sidís knee! He does this three times while Arn keeps checking on Sid to make sure heís okay, apparently forgetting his job is to count these guys out. Sid is rolled back in, and Benoit gets a 2 count. He grabs the weakened leg of Sid and applies a figure four while Sid howls in pain. Heís far too big for Benoit to maintain a leverage advantage though, and Sid turns it over, causing Benoit to crawl to the ropes for a break. Benoit remains in control though, kicking the crap out of Sidís legs in the corner. He delivers a leg whip getting another 2 count. Benoit positions Sid in the corner and chops away before hitting a snap suplex and elbow drop for 1. DAFFNEY and THE WALL have joined the fun, and I WISH these guys would start fighting amongst themselves or something. Benoit works an Indian deathlock and chinlock combo, releases, and pounds Sidís knee into the mat. Benoit dropkicks Sid out of the ring Ė but Sid gets back in and hulks up. He counters Benoitís punches with a bitch slap, so Benoit just dropkicks his knees out again. Sid blocks another kick attempt, and appears to be ready to mount a comeback, so Benoit delivers a German suplex. But Sidís feeling it now and comes right back up with a powerslam for 2. I spy MIDNIGHT and ASYA on the stage Ė while Benoit goes back to working over the knees, barring the leg and applying an anklelock. Sid calls to the crowd to help him up, and he rises up from the dead to grab the ropes. He stands, and takes a German suplex and now Benoit runs the thumb to the throat!!!! SWANDIVE HEADBUTTÖand Sid powers RIGHT out at 2! He literally launches Benoit across the ring, stands, and delivers a nasty chokeslam! Tony: ďHeís gonna win this damn thing!Ē It only gets 2 though because Benoitís leg is underneath the ropes! Sid argues, and Benoit latches on the Crossface! Sidís leg is under the ropes, but he taps and Arn calls for the bell at 14:49! **3/4 All the wrestlers on stage stand and applaud the squash Benoit dealt Sid while Benoit cries with the belt in his handsÖwhich would last all of 24 hours before he dumped it into the nearest trash can and left town.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. STEVE REGAL

I think the most interesting thing about this early on is the fact 2 WWF guys are facing off while SCOTT DICKINSON of WCW fame is refereeing. Well, thatís actually not all that interesting to anyone except ME Ė but whatever. Benoit and Regal trade some holds for the first couple of minutes before Benoit gets the advantage with a wristlock on the mat. Regal nips up, but winds up taken right back down again. Regal comes back and works over Benoitís wrist, and tries to use his leverage to get an early pinfall. They continue in the knucklelock position, where Benoit headbutts Regal drawing blood. Regal heads out, and Benoit tries the baseball slide Ė but Regal sidesteps. They fight on the apron, but Regal knocks him off. Benoit simply responds by casually whipping Regal to the ringsteps, rolls him in, and gets a 2 count. A belly to back draws another 2. Regal retaliates with a drop toe hold, and jumps on Benoit tearing at the neck. Benoit gets to the ropes, but upon standing he takes a dropkick from Regal. Regal applies an Indian deathlock with dragon sleeper combo Ė but Benoit elbows out and delivers a German! Benoit throws chops, but Regal comes right back with a headbutt and kicks to the midsection. Benoit fights right back to his feet, and starts in with the rolling Germans, hitting 2 before the third is blocked. Regal goes for a butterfly suplex, but Benoit fights out and hits the third German and heads to the top! Regal catches him and gives Benoit a belly to belly superplex, and goes for a bunch of pinfalls getting 2 every time. Regal attempts a whip which is reversed by Benoit Ė and coming off they bump heads. Benoit wakes up first, and gets 2. Regal schoolboys Benoit out of nowhere, and when that doesnít get the pin, a backslide gets another 2. Regal hits an interesting belly to back powerbomb that Iíve never seen before, and that gets 2. Regal opts to finish with a piledriver, but Benoit leans right back and winds up on top of the piledriver position Ė and hits the tombstone!!! Benoit heads up, MISSES the Swandive headbutt, and both guys are out! Regal gets up at 8, but gets caught with a dragon suplex Ė and the Crossface quickly ends the match at 12:44! ****1/4 Simply amazing. It was a basic mat match, but in no means boring Ė with each guy knowing exactly how to keep the crowd completely involved. You probably wonít be seeing anything else like this any time soon.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. KURT ANGLE (in a cage match)

I donít actually remember being all that impressed with this one the first time around, though mind you it came during a stretch where the WWF was throwing out awesome matches on a regular basis just for the hell of it. STEVE AUSTINís on commentary here, during his awesome heel run. Angle spears Benoit right out of the gate, and clamps on an overhead belly to belly. He hits a second one while Austin rags on Benoit. Benoit tries to apply the Crossface numerous times, all blocked Ė and gets thrown face first into the cage. Angle pounds away in the corner, but Benoit gets pissed and throws back a bunch of chops. Austin: ďI hate those knife edge chops!Ē Kurt catapults Benoitís face into the cage, but itís okay because Austin says he deserved it. ďI think Benoit crying! Heís whimpering like a little baby, it makes me sick.Ē Heyman calls Austin a remarkable man while JR grumbles. Benoit starts the rolling snap suplexes. Austin: ďI hate it when he does this. I hate both these guys.Ē Angle retaliates with 3 gutwrench suplexes, and tries to escape over the top. Benoit follows, and they fight on the side of the cage. Benoit humps Kurt from behind, and hits a German suplex that makes me cringe knowing the neck conditions of both guys today. Austin: ďI hope they both stay down, this is making me sick.Ē Benoit now tries to escape, but Angle shoves him off about half way up, and drops an elbow on the falling Benoit. Austin: ďPin him, pin him, pin him!Ē Angle whips Benoit (Austin: ďI like it!) but Benoit reverses and Angle hits the cageÖ Austin: ďNow I donít like it.Ē Benoit starts the climb, but Angleís back up with a lowblow and Benoit falls back in hard. Kurt hits the Olympic Slam, and starts the climb. Austin: ďAngleís an idiot! Why didnít he pin him? Olympic Slam, come on Kurt!Ē Angle makes it to the top of the cage, and like a FOOL he goes for a top rope moonsault and COMPLETELY misses the mark!!!!!!!!!! A ďholy shitĒ chant is absolutely academic! Angle manages to actually recover enough to shoot Benoit into the cage battering ram style, while the fans chant ďANGLE SUCKSĒ. A second battering ram attempt is blocked, and Benoit starts in with the rolling Germans, hitting SIX of them in a row!!! Benoit heads to the door, Angle charges, but Benoit sidesteps and starts in with the Germans again hitting THREE more, for a total of nine now!!!! With Kurt pretty much dead, Benoit starts over the top Ė so Austin grabs a chair and stands at the bottom of the cage swinging at Chris. Benoitís got nowhere to go, except back inÖand through the most dramatic way possible, Benoit does the Swandive BACK into the cage, headbutting Kurt in the heart!!! Benoit slowly stands, heads to the door Ė but Austinís on it, holding it shut with all his might. Benoit does the baseball slide into the door which fires Austin into the security wall and down, however Kurtís alive again and tries to clamp on the anklelock. Benoit fights him off with an enzuigiri and crawls to the door! Right before escaping, Austin slams the door on Benoitís face Ė and Angle starts the climb over the top. Benoitís out from the shot with the door, and canít do anything, letting Kurt win the match at 14:29. ****1/2 I must have been spoiled at the time not to have been impressed with THAT Ė because the cutting down of highspots have allowed this bad boy to shine. Post-match, Austin enters the ring and beats the holy hell out of Benoit with his chair. At least 20 shots hit the mark before Austin grabs his belt and takes off.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. KURT ANGLE (with Team Angle) (for the WWE title)

This is the infamous Royal Rumble match that won pretty much all the Match Of The Year awards last year. I was pretty deflated having had high hopes for Steiner one match earlier and seeing him get booed out of the building (much like Wrestlemania with Brock vs. Goldberg this year) so I wasnít as in to this as I should have been Ė though future viewings have been very pleasant. Haas and Benjamin keep Benoit away from their fearless leader before A BUNCH OF REFEREES throw them out of the building. Benoit takes down Kurt with a shoulder block to start, and Kurt scurries out of the ring. He gets back in and gets a sleeper applied Ė but Chris fights out of it, and goes for the Sharpshooter. Angle squirms to the ropes, has the hold broken Ė and throws Benoit shoulder first to the ring post. Benoit chops his way back into the fight, and clotheslines Angle from behind for 2. Angle comes back with a hotshot draping Benoit over the top Ė but canít capitalize and takes a jawbreaker. They fight on the apron, and Benoit DDTs Kurt on the apron Ė busting his nose and mouth wide open immediately!!! Thatís beyond cool. It gets 2. Benoit heads up to finish the match Ė but Angle rolls away from the flying headbutt. Angle goes for an Olympic slam, but itís reversed in mid-air and Benoit applies the Sharpshooter! Angle escapes, but Benoit follows with a belly to back immediately. Kurt comes back with an overhead belly to belly suplex, and tosses Benoit to the floor. They fight back in, and a short arm clothesline gets 2 for Kurt. Thatís followed with a rear naked choke Ė and Benoitís got nowhere to go. Angle lets go Ė allowing Benoit to his feet and walk right into a belly to belly. Thatís followed by a belly to back suplex, and Kurt gets 2. Back to the rear naked choke, where Benoit calls for support from the fans. They give it, and he gets to his feet. Off the ropes Benoit goes Ė and they hit dual clotheslines! They both get up at 9. Benoit lays in the punches, and takes down Kurt. Benoit hits 2 rolling Germans Ė but the third is blocked, and Kurt hits one! Benoit reverses his attempt at a rolling German, and hits his third. Thumb to the throat, spit on Kurt, and Chris heads up! Kurtís playing possum though, and catches Benoit on the top, hiptossing him back in for 2. The Olympic slam is blocked and turned into the Crossface in mid-air!!! Kurt slowly crawls to the ropesÖand makes it! Benoit pulls Kurt back to the center of the ring, and puts on the anklelock! Kurt reverses that, and turns it into his version of the anklelock! Benoit reaches up with his leg, and pulls Kurt down to the mat Ė applying the Crossface again! Kurt escapes that by leaning back and schoolboying Benoit for 2! Benoit goes right back to the Crossface Ė however Angle powers to his feet and hits the Olympic slamÖONLY for 2!!!! Angle drops the straps Ė and here comes the anklelock again! Benoit rolls through the hold, goes for a German which is blocked Ė and Angle tries one. Benoit spins in midair, rolls Angle up and gets 2! Benoit hits a German this time, but a switch allows Angle to hit one off the roll! They stand, and Benoit does another switch hitting the German, dropping Angle on his head! Benoit goes upÖand HITS the diving headbutt RIGHT across the ring!!!! He coversÖfor 2!!! Benoit tries the Crossface once again, but again reversed Ė and Angle hits an overhead alleyoop RIGHT to the corner turnbuckle, and follows with an Olympic slam!!!!!! The crowd counts alongÖagain ONLY for 2!!!! The fans are already giving them a standing ovation as Benoit applies the Crossface DEAD CENTRE of the ring! Angle SOMEHOW manages to power out, roll through, and apply the anklelock! Benoit tries to reverse Ė but canít get Kurt to break it this time despite 4 or 5 REALLY close breaksÖand HAS to tap at 19:48!!!! ***** There was probably a dozen false finishes in the last couple of minutes alone Ė and the hot crowd counting along with every fall completely seals it.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. SHAWN MICHAELS vs. TRIPLE H (for the world heavyweight title)

And now the main event to end all main events, we culminate at Wrestlemania XX. Unfortunately the crowd is a little drained from FIVE HOURS of action leading up to this Ė and we can only hope the WWE learned that once in awhile Less Is More. Triple Hís entrance gives me goosebumps here. Everyone shoves each other around to start, with the basic fight being between Shawn and Benoit for the right to beat up on Hunter. Benoit tries a Crossface, but itís WAY too early and they wind up chopping each other. Triple H gets dumped in the mess, while Benoit and Shawn chain wrestle. Chris bridges out of a pinfall attempt, but gets cradled for 2. Benoit comes back with a bridge suplex for 2. Hunter gets involved with Benoit down and clotheslines Shawn to take control of the ring. He tries to dump Shawn, but Michaels skins the cat and dumps Benoit. Triple H and Shawn start their fighting, and Michaels chops away. Hunter gets a running kneelift for 2. Benoit tries to re-enter the fray, but gets dumped back out and powered back first to the apron by Triple H. Shawn gives them both a baseball slide dropkick for ignoring him. Up he goesÖand hits a moonsault on both guys! Shawn opts to roll Hunter into the ring, and gets 2. Triple H hits a facebuster, goes for a PedigreeÖbut itís stopped by Benoit via a clothesline Ė and Shawn gets posted. Chris delivers a snap suplex to Triple H, and chops away in the corner while JR makes it clear to those at home that Benoitís really from Atlanta and certainly not Canada. Hunter hangs Benoit in the tree of woe and whips Shawn into him, taking them both out. Now thatís using your head! A cover on Shawn gets 2. Michaels reverses a second whip Ė and Benoit kicks Hunter in the head giving Shawn a 2 count. Michaels delivers the flying Jalapeno to Triple H Ė nips up, and gets clotheslined outside by Benoit! Triple H stands, and meets the trifecta of Germans from Benoit! Chris calls for the end, and heads to the top. Michaels flies back in to the ring to crotch Benoit on top Ė and Hunter DDTs Shawn sending him back outside. Benoit and Triple H fight on the top rope, and Hunter wins this exchange via superplex! Three successive covers get three successive 2 counts. Chris fights back, and applies the Crossface! It doesnít last, because Shawnís back in and breaks it up. Shawn now hits a German on Benoit to BOOS Ė and when Benoit reverses, the place goes nuts! Three in a row for Shawn, and itís the thumb to the throat! The flying headbutt CONNECTS, Benoit coversÖand gets a close 2! Benoit tries another cover to similar results. Michaels comes back with a flying Jalapeno for Benoit, sending him outside. Shawn nips up again, slams the recovering Hunter, and heads up. The flying elbow is good Ė and Michaels dances around the ring to a LOT of boos now. The band is warmed upÖand nails the mark!!! Shawn covers, and Benoit yanks Hunter right out of the ring to save him. The fans start chanting for Benoit as Shawn lays in the chops. Chris tries a Sharpshooter, but Shawnís too wiggley, so Benoit catapults him into the corner which busts him right open. Shawn likes tapping those arteries methinks. Benoit applies the Crossface, and Michaels goes to quitÖbut Hunter grabs Shawnís arm and wonít let him tap!!! Triple H breaks the hold and forces Benoit out to the floor. Benoitís violence isnít done though, and he beats the piss out of Hunter on the floor, slamming him face first into the steps. Triple H returns the favor seconds later. With Benoit down, Triple H rips apart the Smackdown! announce table to a loud pop. Benoit recovers, and they rip apart the Spanish announce table. While on it, Chris tries to give Hunter a German onto the RAW table Ė but Triple H blocks and Shawn joins the mess! Speaking of messes, the blood is all over Shawnís body now. Shawn and Triple H eye each otherÖand team up to throw Benoit through the Smackdown! table. Shawn points to Hunter through a legit crimson mask Ė and calls him out! Triple H gets into the ring, and the fist flying begins! Shawn wins the exchange, and dumps Hunter over the top on top of a nearby camera man! Michaels follows and throws Triple H into the ringstepsÖdrawing bloody from him! They fight back inÖand out of nowhere, Triple H hits the Pedigree, drawing the ire of some 20,000 folks! He goes for the coverÖand Benoit comes FLYING back in to break it up!!! Hunter, losing blood now, slowly gets to his feet Ė and tries to Pedigree Benoit! However, in mid-move, Benoit counters and applies the Sharpshooter!!!!!!!! Triple H SCREAMS for dear life while trapped in the hold and the fans are going ape shit! Hunter crawls and claws his way to the ropesÖand Benoit drags him right back in to the middle of the ring! Michaels scoots back in and out of the picture, he hits Benoit with the Sweet Chin Music!!!!! Michaels coversÖbut itís only a 2 count!!!! Shawn warms up the band again, but Benoit sidesteps and dumps Shawn!!! Triple H stands up, behind Benoit, and tries to sneak in a Pedigree! However, Benoit counters it in mid-move and puts on the Crossface!!!!!!! The place is going insane, because they can feel it now!!! Hunter hangs on for dear life, but heís caught and caught hard! Benoit rolls when Hunter gets close to the ropes, and yanks him back to the middle of the ring!!! Hunter hangs on, hangs onÖ.AND TAPS AT 24:46!!!!!!!! ***** ďLadies and gentlemenÖthe winner of this matchÖand NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLDÖ. CHRIS BENOIT!Ē The belt is presented to Benoit who takes one look at it and bursts into tears. As he celebrates, he turns and sees EDDIE GUERRERO standing behind him. The two just fall in to eachotherís arms, and burst into tears as confetti falls throughout the arena over the two longtime friends and the fans give them a non-stop standing ovation.

MORE EXTRA STUFF: THE NECK INJURY is a 90-second piece that aired on RAW in June 2001 about Benoitís upcoming surgery. THE CROSSFACE COLLECTION quickly details how the Crippler Crossface is applied. And finally RAW MAGAZINE COVER SHOOT is a cute piece about Benoit fighting in a meat locker for the cover of RAW magazine, instead of lying around on a beach in Cancun like a diva.

All in all, the DVD is fantastic Ė and the WWE continues its amazing use of the large video library at their finger tips. If you havenít bought it already (and thereís no reason to suspect that you HAVENíT), get it, and get it now.

Next: WWE Jukebox returns for September 2004 Ė and itís The Best Of Smackdown! Heaven help us allÖ




EDIT: For redundancy...

(edited by cfgb on 14.9.04 0659)


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Since: 9.12.01
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.07
DISCLAIMER: I didn't really read all of this...I just wanted to see if you'd found me in the crowd or not. But since I'm here...
    Originally posted by cfgb
    CHRIS BENOIT vs. AL SNOW

    Hereís a very underrated classic that most folks have probably never even heard of, let alone seen it! This was during the WWEís talent exchange with ECW, and since Al wasnít doing much aside from bumble around with Marty Jannetty as a new Rocker, he was expendable.
This isn't right - the "loan" thing came for Snow's SECOND run (when he picked up Head). He wasn't a WWF employee at this time; back in early '95 Snow was dividing his time between SMW and ECW.

    Next: WWE Jukebox returns for September 2004 Ė and heaven help us all, itís The Best Of Smackdown! Heaven help us allÖ

This redundancy seems a little redundant. ;-)



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Since: 2.1.02
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.87
I just wanted to see if you'd found me in the crowd or not.

I did, I just didn't point it out in the recap... I saw you clapping away for the big moves with the rest of 'em though! Yellow Kings jersey, a little to the left of the centre.

This isn't right - the "loan" thing came for Snow's SECOND run (when he picked up Head). He wasn't a WWF employee at this time; back in early '95 Snow was dividing his time between SMW and ECW.

I stand corrected!

This redundancy seems a little redundant. ;-)

Yes...it does. I need a good set of eyes...or an editor.



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Almost caught up now as I welcome you to this edition of the Lines for Thursday March 11, 2004 SmackDown. SmackDown Lines: March 11, 2004 And for the explanations, I should not have to tell you, but why not?
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