Say that WWE had gone their original route (Hogan vs. Lesnar) or with Heyman's backup idea (Benoit vs. Lesnar). Given the circumstance of Brock's injury, do you think that WWE would've put so quick for a title change if it was either Hogan or Benoit who would've gotten the belt?
I was born in a manger, like that other guy. You know, he wore a hat?
Well, technically, if they'd went with one of those ideas, Big Show probably wouldn't have injured Lesnar at the house show. However, I'd say if it were Hogan, they might have let Hogan win back the strap in controversial fashion. They could keep Lesnar as a heel for a litle longer and set up a more monumentous face turn. If it were Benoit, I would hope not, because Benoit as champion would kill Smackdown ratings faster than if they brough in David Arquette.
The Benoit PPV shot against The Rock did a really good buyrate. Back in 2001 when they plugged in Benoit & Jericho for Taker & Kane the ratings and buyrates went up.
I'm not saying he'd be a big draw or a long term draw but I don't think he'd kill Smackdown's ratings, especially when he's one of the guys carrying the show. Witness the lack of heat for the tag match after Angle & Benoit were gone.
If it'd been Hogan, they probably would've done it. They could've setup Hogan/Lesnar III at the Rumble. If it'd been Benoit, maybe they wouldn't have. Vince generally won't push the "little" guys until he runs out of big guys to push. When ratings are down he usually turns to the big guys. However, for Benoit to have gotten a title shot in the first place, he would have to have had some sort of push. I just don't think Benoit will get the belt if/until Vince thinks he has no other choice. I hope I'm wrong, though.
This was Don West's best show by far, in my opinion. His best line ever was when he mentioned some stat about the SATs or somebody and Tenay said, 'That's very observant. I'm impressed.' And West says in this sly voice: