WWE Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Program
The program starts off where it all began, in Edmonton. Chris comes back to old junior high school as his family and friends talk about Chris as a child and his love of wrestling. Not surprisingly, they mention how Chris was influenced by Dynamite Kid. Teachers also talk about his early years in school and how he played football and Chris’ fledling interest in weight-lifting. Chris also talks about his beginnings in wrestling and meeting Dynamite Kid and then working with the Harts and training under Stu. Chris gets a bit choked up talking about Stu in the “dungeon” and how he owes his career to him.
That segues into Chris’ first match that came out of nowhere and loving to travel from place to place. Chris goes back to the very location of his first match and his mother and sister talk about being there. They jump ahead to Chris going to Japan, who offered to take him to Japan. Chris’ response, Hell Yeah! Chris knew it was going to be tough and he hated it for the first four months he was there because of the culture shock and how he was the low man on the totem pole and didn’t even get into the ring. He went home for Christmas and other workers told him what a great opportunity it was and went back with a new look on it and trained his ass off and became the Pegasus Kid, complete with a mask.
He talks about winning the IWGP belt from Jushin Liger and they show clips of that match. He went from Pegasus Kid (w/mask) to Wild Pegasus (w/o mask) and he actually didn’t want to take off the mask since he got accostumed to it. Eddie Guerrero wrestled Benoit, and Guerrero was in a mask himself and their friendship formed over there. They mention Dean Malenko too, as part of that bond, which is funny since they were three of the four people who came over as the Radicalz. Jericho was another wrestler over there who became friends with Benoit. What a group of workers they were. They shows clips of the 1994 Super J tournement (which is one of my favorite wrestling tapes and one I actually kept when I dumped them all), and Chris beating Guerrero and then the Great Sasuke.
From there, Chris went to the up and coming Extreme Championship Wrestling. His first feud was with Too Cold Scorpio and they show clips of their matches. They then show him in ECW and breaking Sabu’s neck in 1994, which is actually on the Extreme Warfare tapes they put out a LONG time ago. That is still a sick bump to watch. Chris got worried about that and you can see the worry in his face from looking at the footage they have. Sabu didn’t say anything to Chris as he was rushed to the hospital and Chris was very upset about it. Chris kept asking him about Sabu’s neck and Paul E came up with the great idea of calling Chris the Crippler, which stuck and Chris tells a funny story of trying to ask about Sabu and Paul E kept talking about calling him the Crippler. Sabu would of course be able to wrestle again. A vintage Benoit promo is shown and Chris says how it took hours to film. Benoit and Malenko would go on to feud with Sabu and Tazmaniac for the Tag Titles. Chris talks about ending up with Eddie and Dean in ECW again which was pretty eerie.
Dean and Malenko would win the tag title at the Revenge of the Funker in 1995. Chris says he loved working for ECW but he had no work visa and Paul couldn’t get one for him. The customs people told him that they know what he’s doing and one day they wouldn’t let him through. That was his last match with ECW. Chris had three trial matches in the WWF (with Adam Bomb, Hardcore Holly and Owen Hart). It was still the big-man era in the US and so Chris went back to Japan. That just happened to coincide with WCW trading talent with New Japan. Benoit eventually became exclusively WCW. Chris would show up as two guys named Malenko and Guerrero joined WCW and the trio was reunited again.
Chris would eventually wind up in the Four Horseman (and I can’t wait for THAT DVD to see the light of day). Since it is WCW, and the Four Horseman were seriously over, the idea was dropped. Chris starts talking about Kevin Sullivan and we all know what happened there. If not, I’ll explain. Kevin Sullivan was the booker of WCW and decided it’d be a good idea to introduce his wife (known as Woman in ECW or Nancy) into an angle. The angle would be that Benoit would steal Sullivan’s wife and a feud would be started. To really hammer the angle home, Sullivan told his wife to actually travel with Benoit. In a case of life imitating art, Nancy actually fell in love with Benoit, divorced Sullivan, and ended up marrying Chris. This didn’t sit too well with Sullivan of course. They still continued their feud and Benoit says that he was taken advantage of storyline wise. Chris makes vague references to what happened, but says he wants to tell his kids the whole story first. I like that, most hardcore Benoit fans would already know what happened and those that don’t, well, sorry.
After that, they go into the best of 7 series that Chris had with Benoit. Booker and Chris both talk about trying to keep the fans interested for 7 matches. Booker even says it puts the stamp on his career as a singles wrestler, and Benoit says that was one of the few times he enjoyed himself in WCW. From there, we get clips of Over The Edge 1999 when Owen unfortunately died, and this might be the first they’ve shown that footage since the event. Chris was in Knoxville, KY and at first thought it was an angle, but the news started filtering in that it was real. Benoit gets broken up over his close friend. Bret approached Chris about putting on tribute match for Owen and Benoit was like stunned. They went out and did the match at the Kemp Arena and Chris is very proud of that match. Chris talks about how great Owen was a person and everything and that he misses him.
The next big thing that happened to Benoit was his match with Sid at Souled Out in 2000. He had already told WCW he wanted to leave because WCW had everything all messed up. He says by the end of his WCW tenure, he disliked going to work. WCW tried to appease him by giving him the title but Chris said he didn’t want to go ahead with it. Chris calls it a stale accomplishment since it was a political reason he won. He just wanted to be happy and WCW wasn’t making him happy. Chris knew it wasn’t right and he knew that what he wanted to achieve in the industry, he couldn’t achieve in WCW. Sullivan got back in control of booking at that time too and Benoit even thought of going back to Japan. Instead, he, Malenko, Guerreo and Perry Saturn bailed to the WWF and made their debut on Raw with Foley introducing them. He was nervous at first, would it be the same atmosphere as WCW? He was somewhat hesitant about going in.
That first year in the WWF, he made his Wrestlemania debut wrestling against Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho for the European and IC titles, which Angle had both. Benoit won the IC title and Jericho won the European title. He says winning the title was a great accomplishment because it was about opportunities than the politics where in WCW it was the other way around. Later that year, at Fully Loaded, Benoit had his first main event feud with the Rock. Chris said it took him a couple of months there to realize it’s the WWE family and not like WCW. Chris says he and the Rock just clicked.
They cut ahead a year to Wrestlemania X-7, the best WWE PPV ever. Chris wrestled Kurt Angle in a classic match with some awesome wrestling. Chris talks about how Kurt was a great chain wrestler and how he loved wrestling him. They would wrestle a few months later in a steel cage match where Angle missed the moonsault from the top and Benoit missed the head butt from the top. Chris said he already knew at that time that his neck was hurting pretty bad. He remembers being at the top of the cage and wondering if he should jump from the cage. He did and the neck just got worse to where he had no strength in his right side. He wrestled the main even of King of the Ring and that was it. He had to have surgery. He didn’t know if he wanted to go through with it until talking to Orndorff who had a similar problem and a side of his body just atrophied.
The time off wasn’t bad at first, but after 6 months he started getting itchy feet. About 9 months in, he was drafted #3 in the Raw/Smackdown drafts and his first day back was on May 27th, 2002 in Edmonton. He always wondered if he could come back at the same level he was before. The next real big feud was again Benoit/Angle and they fought at Royal Rumble 2003 for the WWE Title and Chris says how every match he wrestles against Kurt is a favorite. He wouldn’t win the title this time, as he tapped out, but when he got up, everyone in the crowd was cheering and its one of the few times he was close to tears. Just one year later at the Royal Rumble, Chris would win the Royal Rumble despite being being number entrant number 1. He eliminated Big Show to become the number one contender to the WWE title, but which one? He went to Raw and at Wrestlemania he went on to face HHH and Shawn Michaels (who finagled his way into the main event) in a true ***** match to win his first ever WWE Title. In a truly touching moment, he celebrated with new Smackdown Champion Eddie Guerrero with confetti streaming down. His wife, father and children came into the ring, too, and Chris thanked Dean Malenko backstage. Chris’ hard work payed off. He did it. The program ends with a music video of Benoit’s career to Finger Eleven’s “One Thing.”
Main Program Review
The main program is actually a little under a hour and a half long, and it’s all good. It’s one of my favorite wrestlers ever, and it goes pretty in depth in pretty much all of his major angles. As a stand-alone program, it has tons of great clips and hearing Benoit talk about his career was just awesome. It wasn’t like the Hogan DVD where he just shoots out absolute crap about his career, or any other disc with typical WWE revisionist history (Monday Night Wars, I’m looking at you). It is Benoit talking honestly about his life in wrestling and was immensely interesting to watch. This was one of the best programs the WWE has ever put on disc.
Just a note on Disc one, numbers 1, 3 and 4 include alternate commentary done by either Michael Cole and Tazz or Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Todd Grisham. I listened to the Cole/Tazz whilst I reviewed it, and the Benoit/Malenko/Grisham commentary later on. By the way, Grisham is a total tool, a horrible announcer and was supposedly so bad he won’t be on the Guerrero DVD. True story. Benoit and Malenko were awesome though.
1) Pegasus Kid vs. Jushin Liger
This is for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title from Tokyo, Japan 08/19/90.
If you didn’t know Pegasus Kid is Chris Benoit. They circle to start and lock up, only to break. They circle again and lock up and Benoit goes behind, which is reversed and they do some chain wrestling where Liger gets a pair of arm-drags and dropkicks Benoit to the outside. Benoit regroups and comes back in. They lock up and Benoit works a wristlock which Liger flips out of and turns into one of his own. Benoit flips out of that and fireman slams Liger. They lock up and Benoit takes him down, but Liger is back up and trips Benoit up into a weird submission, then a camel clutch. Liger reverses that to a cross arm-breaker and Benoit escapes. He sends Liger to the ropes and elbows him down. He gets a backbreaker for one. Benoit takes Liger down and wraps his legs around him, but Liger breaks and changes it into a surfboard, then into a pin for two. Liger snapmares him then puts him another submission where he stretches his arms from behind on the mat. Benoit escapes and starts working on the leg of Liger. Benoit picks him up and starts punching then picks him up and tosses him over the top rope and follows with a plancha. He sends Liger to the steel guardrails. Benoit comes back inside and waits for Liger on the apron. He catches him and punches him but Liger grabs the arm then runs to the top and back in for an armdrag. He dropkicks him but a second one if avoided. Liger gets sent to the ropes but counters a clothesline by trying for a crucifix pin but Benoit just drops down for a Samoan Slam. Benoit takes control with a single leg Boston crab then a crosses the legs and bends backwards in a bridge and pull Liger’s head up. He follows with a bow and arrow where the knees are driven in to Liger’s back. Benoit picks him up and headbutts him then a belly to back suplex for two. He snapmares him over into a headscissors. Benoit breaks and bodyslams him. He goes up high but Liger catches him and tosses him down a la Flair. Liger grabs a sideheadlock but Benoit sends him to the ropes. Liger goes slides between the legs but misses an enzuigiri. Benoit goes off the ropes only to get backdropped. Benoit is up quickly and military presses Liger down near the ropes. He charges Liger but gets flipped over the top. Liger comes running back with a tope con hilo. Benoit makes it to the apron and gets a sunset flip from the top for two and they go into a pinfall sequence. Benoit tries to slam Liger but he rolls out and pins Benoit for two. Benoit comes back with a German suplex for two. Benoit sets Liger up on the top rope and gets a superplex. Benoit goes up to the top but misses the flying head butt. Liger is up first and gets a nice spinning heel kick for two. Liger tries sending him to the ropes but its reversed by Benoit and Benoit puts his head down only to get powerbombed for two. Benoit gets slammed down and Liger drops a wicked senton that lands right on Benoit’s sternum. Liger tries to powerslam Benoit again but Benoit rolls through for a two count. He sends Liger to the ropes but Liger flips through a tilt a whirl only to get clotheslined down. Benoit tombstones him then hits a flying leg drop from the top rope for the pin and the title at: 15:02. Technically sound match that would never catch on in the US as it was mostly submissions and almost no punches were thrown in the whole match. It was a really good match, but this is the Benoit DVD we’re talking about. ***1/2.
2) Chris Benoit vs. Too Cold Scorpio
This is from WCW Superbrawl 04/21/93. They lock up to start and Benoit pushes Scorpio to the ropes to break. They lock up again and this time its Benoit pushed to the ropes. Benoit elbows him and sends him off the ropes and elbows him down. This must be the Ventura/Schiavone days since Ventura is edited out completely and Tony is spliced in when not talking to Jesse and so it means not too often. Benoit snap suplexes him over than chops him. He sends him to the corner but Scorpio jumps onto the top turnbuckle and crossbodies onto Benoit for two. He dropkicks him and Benoit bails to the outside to gather himself. He returns and they lock up, with Benoit grabbing a wristlock, which Scorpio flips out of into one of his own. Benoit, not to be shown up, does the same. Scorpio tries reversing but he gets hiplocked down. He makes it back up and flips out of the wristlock and suplexes Benoit over while still holding the arm and they land on the mat with Scorpio working an armbar. He gets a hammerlock that he does with his feet standing up, then drops down to stretch the arm out even more. He does it again but Benoit makes it to a lateral base and reverses to a hammerlock of his own. Scorpio reverses out and sends Benoit to the ropes for a roll up but Benoit hangs on and Scorpio is sent off. Benoit charges and gets flipped over and he bails. Benoit calls for a test of strength and Scorpio gets Benoit down, though he gets back up, and sends Scorpio down in a bridgr. He gets on top of Scorpio, who still bridges. He tries to hop on him again but Scorpio puts his feet up and flips Benoit over, and Scorpio uses the momentum to follow him up (while their hands locked together) and flip him over again, then roll through and Benoit then flips him over. Scorpio comes back with an armdrag and a dropkick and puts on an armbar. He drops a leg on the arm and goes back to that armbar. Benoit breaks and headbutts Scorpio. He sends him to the ropes but Scorpio reverses. Benoit slides beneath Scorpio and pulls Scorpio by the legs. Scorpio just kicks out and goes for a dropkick but misses. Benoit goes for an elbowdrop but that misses too. Scorpio is back up and armdrags him and continues working on the arm. Scorpio rolls him over for two and works on the arm again. Benoit manages to break out of the hold and send Scorpio head first into the turnbuckle. Benoit sends him to the ropes, then leapfrogs, then Scorpio handstands out of his way and goes for a spin kick. Benoit avoids that and clotheslines him down. He follows with a whip to the ropes and elbow to the chest. He sets up a backbreaker and leaves Scorpio draped over his knee and pushing down. Scorpio break out of the that but Benoit is right back on him. He snapmares him over into a rear chinlock. He gets him back up and slingshots him over the top rope, gut first. He kicks away at Scorpio until Scorpio rolls out of the ring. Scorpio makes it to the apron where Benoit catches him and tries sending him to the turnbuckle. Scorpio reverses and shoulders Benoit down. He goes to the top as Benoit gets up but misses a missile dropkick and Benoit covers for two. Benoit takes Scorpio down and works a side headlock. Scorpio makes it to his feet and elbows out and goes to the ropes only to get spinebustered down. Benoit grabs a Boston crab which looks a lot like the Walls of Jericho, but Benoit just releases it and snapmares him over into a rear chinlock. Benoit breaks the hold to chop at Scorpio and sets him up on the top rope. Benoit follows and hits a belly to back suplex from the top rope leading to a double KO. Benoit maks it to his feet first and covers Scorpio for two. Benoit takes Scorpio down with a side Russian legsweep for two and tries for another belly to back but Scorpio twists around and falls on top of Benoit for two. Scorpio sends him to the ropes and ducks down but Benoit catches him and powerbombs him for two. Benoit tries for a gutwrench suplex but Scorpio breaks out (in what was supposed to be a sunset flip). Benoit sends Scorpio to the corner and charges but hits Scorpio’s boot. Scorpio kicks him but Benoit holds on so Scorpio enzuigiris him. He sends Benoit to the ropes and Benoit ducks a pair of jump kicks only to get clotheslined down. He works on Benoit in the corner and sends him to the opposite corner and follows with a 360 splash. He goes to the top and hits a twisty-turny splash for two. He sends Benoit to the ropes but Benoit reverses. Scorpio hops on his shoulders to try a roll up bu Benoit just dumps him. Benoit slams Scorpio and hits a dropkick off the second rope for two. Benoit goes for the dragon suplex but Scorpio reverses to a small package but Benoit kicks out. Benoit takes a swing at Scorpio but he rolls Benoit up and Patrick counts the fall as time expires, but it turns out Scorpio got the three count a second before the match ended. So the match with a 20 minute time limit lasted 19:59, though the DVD only had about 18:30. Oh well. Match was going really well until the Scorpio blown spot and the contrived ending which looked like it was blown by referee Nick Patrick. ***1/4.
3) Wild Pegasus Chris Benoit vs. Black Tiger
This is from the Super J Cup Tournement from Tokyo Japan 04/16/94 and are the semi-finals. The Black Tiger is better known as Eddie Guerrero. They circle to start before locking up with Guerrero working on the arm. Benoit flips out of a wristlock and takes down Guerrero and works on his leg. Guerrero reachers over and pulls the leg of Benoit to take him down and he starts working on the leg. Guerrero breaks and steps on the face of Benoit, then bodyslams him. He does the springboard senton from the apron which he still does then a nice belly to back suplex for two. Guerrero clasps Benoit into the headscissors but has to break when Benoit makes the ropes. Guerrero kicks him in the gut and sends him to the ropes, then trips him. Guerrero goes for a suplex but Benoit reverses to an inverted vertical suplex. Benoit kicks at Guerrero but gets sent to the ropes. Guerrero tries for a tilt a whirl but Benoit lands on his feet and knocks him down. Benoit ends on the apron and tries to suplex Guerrero to the outside but Guerrero brings him back in. Guerrero charges but gets lifted up and dropped down. Benoit sends him to the ropes and connects with a running knee to the midsection. Benoit chops at Guerrero then slingshots him onto the top rope, gut first. Benoit follows that with a German suplex for two, then a powerbomb with a cover for two. Benoit gets his snap suplex and covers but Guerrero’s foot makes the ropes. Benoit snapmares Guerrero over and grabs him in a headscissor. Guerrero makes the ropes and Benoit has to break. Benoit sends Guerrero to the ropes and tries for the knee but Guerrero rolls through for two. Guerrero comes of the ropes and Benoit tries to flapjack him, only to get hurricanrana’d down. Guerrero follows with a German suplex for two. He gets Benoit in a camel clutch which Guerrero releases. Guerrero gets a table top suplex and goes to the top but Benoit side steps a missile dropkick attempt. Benoit gets a belly to back suplex for two. He holds Guerrero down for two but Guerrero bridges out and rolls through to reverse the grip Benoit had on him. Guerrero holds onto the arm and goes to the ropes and then headscissors Benoit down and covers for two. He sets Benoit up on the top and gets a hurricanrana from the second rope for two (called a suplerplex by Cole). Guerrero gets a brainbuster and tries for a tornado DDT from the second rope but Benoit just shoves him off. Benoit sets Guerrero up on the top and follows but Guerrero knocks him off. He tries for a crossbody but Benoit grabs him and armdrags him down and covers for the pin and the win at: 10:32 to advance to the finals. Really awesome match that just built to a great finish. ****.
4) Wild Pegasus Chris Benoit vs. Great Sasuke
This is finals of the 1994 Super J tournement. Cole makes my day as saying the announcer looks like someone out of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. If you don’t get that reference, do your homework. They circle to start and Benoit goes behind, only to be reversed. They do a series of reversals leading to Benoit grabbing the wrist, only to have Sasuke reverse that, which is reversed to a front headlock for Benoit. Benoit tries a snapmare but Sasuke lands on his feet. He goes for a kick but Benoit flips him over, then again and they stand off. They try a test of strength but Benoit takes Sasuke down and into the armbar. He puts him in the corner and chops away. A whip to the corner is reversed and Sasuke runs up and over him. Sasuke gets taken down via his legs but he spins Benoit out and kicks a nice turnaround jump kick to Benoit’s kick, and he rolls to the outside. Sasuke goes charging but Benoit moves out of the way and Sasuke stops. Benoit comes back and Benoit goes to work. He takes Sasuke down into a headscissors. Sasuke turns that around, crossing his legs and pulling his arms back. A bow and arrow follows but Benoit rolls ouf of that. Sasuke comes back with a kick to the back and snapmares him over and stretches his arms apart with a knee to the back. Benoit makes it to his knees and breaks out but goes for a clothesline and gets armdragged down. They stand off again and circle. Benoit kicks him in the gut and tosses hiptosses him. Sasuke goes off the ropes, Benoit leapfrogs then goes down to monkey flip him but Sasuke flips over Benoit, so Benoit comes running over and clotheslines him down. Benoit gets a German suplex for two and sends Sasuke to the ropes. Sasuke ducks a clothesline and Sasuke comes back with a spinning heel kick and then follows with another heel kick. He bodyslams him then legdrops him for two. He holds the arms down and tries to pin him but can’t. Sasuke applies a cross armbreaker but Benoit breaks free as the camera man shows the people around the ring. Benoit goes for a powerbomb but Sasuke reverses to an armdrag, but Benoit comes back with a big clothesline then a gutbuster over the top rope. He works over Sasuke on the apron and hits a springboard splash off the corner second rope to the outside. Benoit comes back inside as the referee starts counting out Sasuke. Benoit breaks the count and brings him in then hits the dragon suplex for two. Benoit bodyslams him then goes to the top. He connects with the flying headbutt and covers for two. Benoit follows that with a powerbomb and holds on for two. Benoit has hit all his finishers already as Cole says this is like a Smackdown match. Benoit takes Sasuke down and puts on the sharpshooter. Benoit eventually just breaks the hold and forearms away. He sends Sasuke to the ropes and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Benoit sends him to the ropes again and tries for a dropkick but Sasuke holds on the ropes and Benoit misses. He sends Benoit to the ropes and tries for a tilt-a-whirl but Benoit lands on his feet. Sasuke leapfrogs him then follows with a clothesline. Benoit comes right back and ducks a punch and turns it into a German suplex for two. He tries for another dragon suplex but Sasuke rolls under him and tries to roll him up but Benoit lands on top of him and covers for two. Benoit sends Sauske to the corner but Sasuke jumps off the ropes into a crossbody but Benoit just rolls out. He kicks Benoit out to the outside and Space Flying Tiger Drop connects, to the delight of the fans in attendence. Sasuke makes it to the ring first as Benoit rolls back in shortly after. Sasuke kicks Benoit down and gets German suplex of his own for two. Sasuke gets the fisherman suplex for two and heads to the top. Sasuke misses a missile dropkick and he rolls to the apron. Benoit catches him and tries suplexing him back in. Sasuke reverses that and both men go crashing to the mat. Sasuke makes it back in and Benoit is in there too. Sasuke with a standing dropkick which sends Benoit to the outside. Sasuke goes to the top and hits missile dropkick from the top to the outside and both men are out. Benoit and Sasuke are back in and Sasuke kicks Benoit down. He bodyslams Benoit and goes to the top. He hits a corkscrew for two and both men again are out. Sasuke goes to the top again but Benoit catches him and tries for something but Sasuke elbows him down. He goes to the top but Benoit catches him again and hits a gutwrench suplex from the top rope for the pin and the Super J cup at: 18:45. Just a breathtaking match. ****1/2.
5) Chris Benoit vs. Sabu
This is from ECW November 2 Remember 11/05/94. This is a rather famous match that was talked about a lot in the main program. The match starts inoccuosly enough, Benoit just destroying Sabu. He goes to toss Sabu and Sabu was supposed to land on his neck, but decided midway in the air to land on his back, and falls right on his head, seriously fucking up his neck. The whole thing was about 2 and a half minutes all told.
6) Chris Benoit vs. Al Snow
This is from ECW Double Tables 02/04/95 and boy does Al Snow, the Snowman, look different. Before Head or any of that, he was just your average wrestler. They lock up to start and Benoit immediately goes to the wristlock. Snow reverses that one nicely though. Benoit flips out of it into a wristlock of his own. Snow flips out of that himself, only to have Benoit fireman carry Snow down. They standoff and circle again. Benoit wants the test of strength and Snow obliges. Benoit pushes Snow down into a bridge. Snow powers back and forces Benoit down into a bridge position. Benoit powers out and flips over Snow for two which Snow reverses to two which Benoit reverses for two. Snow goes to kick Benoit but Benoit holds on and legdrags him. They stare each other down and Snow pushes Benoit which leads to Benoit pounding away on Snow. He sends Snow to the ropes and leapfrogs, then ducks under then sets up to monkey flip him but Snow cartwheels out of the way and kicks Benoit with a superkick when he stands up. Benoit retreats the the corner as Snow waits for him in the center of the ring. They lock up and Snow grabs a hammerlock which is reversed, then reversed again. All this leads to Benoit elbowing out then thundering Snow with some chops in the corner. He sends Snow to the corner and he flops to the apron, then gets clotheslined down and out. Benoit follows with a baseball slide and a celebration. He doesn’t see Snow get up and he hits a springboard dropkick into Benoit’s back, sending him to the outside. Benoit comes back in absolutely livid and tries for a clothesline but Snow kicks him twice then follows with a spinning heel kick, sending Benoit to the outside. Benoit regroups on the outside as the ECW fans give Snow a hand. Benoit comes back in and kicks Snow in the gut. He tries sending him to the ropes but it gets reversed. Benoit ducks a clothesline then does his suplex/slingshot onto the top rope. Benoit goes to take the advantage and send Snow into the turnbuckle but Snow blocks and hits Benoit into the turnbuckle then quickly heads to the top, only to miss a missile dropkick. The Crippler follows with a German suplex for two. He sends Snow to the ropes and kills him with a clothesline. He follows with a bodyslam and whips Snow to the the ropes, and elbows Snow down. Snow tries fighting back but to no avail. He elbows Snow in the corner and sends him hard to the opposite corner. Benoit follows with a belly to back suplex for two. Benoit tries for another but Snow turns around and lands on top for one. Benoit asks if this is the best the US has to offer as Snow is crouched over in the corner. Benoit slams him again and goes to the top rope. He hits the flying headbutt and covers for two. Benoit forearms away and powerbombs Snow for two. Benoit is right back on him with chops and a snap suplex, then a German suplex for two. Benoit tries for a dragon suplex but Snow breaks free and hits the Snowplex, but is so beaten up he can’t capitalize. Benoit tries for a German suplex but Snow flips out and hits a release German suplex of his own. Benoit is up first again and he charges at Snow with a clothesline, but Snow ducks and hits Benoit with one of his own. Snow is a man on fire and just stomps away at Benoit in the corner. He sends Benoit to the ropes and back drops then superkicks him for two. Snow hits a weird variation of the fisherman’s suplex for two and tries for a German suplex, Benoit reverses into one of his own though and both men are down. Snow tries sending Benoit to the ropes but Benoit holds on and gets the dragon suplex of out nowhere for the pin and the win at: 14:35. Benoit is not done and he powerbombs Snow once more for good measure. Really tight match that saw Benoit just kill the poor Snow for most of it. ****.
1) Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero
This is from WCW Monday Nitro 10/16/95. They lock up to start and break clean. They lock up again and Benoit armdrags Guerrero. Another lockup and Guerrero grabs a side headlock. Benoit breaks by sending to the ropes only to get shoulderblocked down. Guerrero is sent to the ropes and Benoit leapfrogs then goes to monkey flip him and Guerrero flies over him. Benoit kicks Guerrero then tries for a powerbomb but Guerrero takes him down via wristlock into a pinning combination. Benoit comes back with a headscissors takedown, but Benoit gets taken out with a hurricanrana, sending Benoit to the outside. Eddie charges but stops between the ropes when Benoit moves. He goes to the top anyway and hits a big crossbody on Benoit, who was still on the outside. Guerrero goes back to the ring and waits for Benoit to join him. Guerrero catches him on the apron and tries to suplex him in but Benoit goes up and over. They do a series of reversals leading to Benoit hitting a belly to back suplex leading both men to fall outside. Guerrero sets up Benoit near the ring post but misses a forearm and hits the post. They head back inside and Benoit is on Guerrero’s injured forearm like flies on shit. He drops a side suplex onto the forearm then sends him to the corner chestfirst, and then dropkicks him on the way out. Benoit hits a hammerlock German suplex and boots him in the head. Benoit follows with his trademark snap suplex and sends Guerrero to the ropes, and elbows him down hard. Benoit sends him to the ropes again but a tilt a whirl is reversed into an armdrag and Guerrero comes off the second rope and catches Benoit in a tornado DDT. He covers but Benoit’s foot makes the ropes. Guerrero tries sending Benoit to the ropes but Benoit holds on for a short-arm clothesline. Benoit goes for his hammerlock German suplex but Guerrero falls on top of him for a quick one count. Benoit is up first and stomps away on Guerrero. Benoit picks him up and starts chopping away. Benoit bodyslams Guerrero then hiptosses him over and holds onto the arm. He starts working the arm over until Guerrero makes it to his feet. They lock up and Guerrero tries to flip Benoit over but he holds on and pulls Guerrero up who jumps off the top rope and catches Guerrero in a headscissors takedown for two. Guerrero follows that up with a rather nice side suplex and then a brainbuster. Guerrero goes to the top and the frog splash hits Benoit’s knees. Benoit kills Guerrero with a powerbomb and he actually kicks out at two. Damn, that was sick. Benoit tries for another one but Guerrero rolls through, only to have Benoit push him out. Guerrero comes back with a big right, though the effects hurt Guerrero more since it was his injured hand and Benoit gets a dragon suplex for the pin and the win at: 8:33. This was shorter than the Super J match but a lot better. The ending spot looked a little blown, but the psychology more than made up for that. ****1/4.
2) Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan
This is from WCW Great American Bash 06/16/96 and is a Falls Count Anywhere match. Benoit goes after Sullivan immediately and let the brawling begin. They exchange chops at the guardrail and Sullivan tosses Benoit over the guardrail and they’re brawling in the crowd! They fight over a chair and exchange more punches. Sullivan gouges Benoit in the eye until Benoit comes back with big headbutts. Sullivan nonchalantly decks him with a big right and they start marching up the stairs. Sullivan sends him into the hallway and they start fighting in the bathroom. They make it to the stalls and Sullivan bashes the door into his head. The fans start crowding around to watch it and the security has their hands full keeping them at bay. Sullivan again bashes the door shut on Benoit’s head in a sick spot. Benoit starts fighting back near the urenils but Sullivan fights back and tries to put Benoit headfirst into the commode. Benoit and Sullivan continue to brawl as Dusty yells at there being a woman in the men’s bathroom. Sullivan whacks Benoit with a load of industrial toilet paper and then hits him in the back with a garbage can. Benoit fights back and sends Sullivan into the concrete wall and hits him with the garbage can. The pair unload on each other with some stiff punches and the two are on their way back to the arena. Sullivan knocks Benoit down the stairs and he falls down about a dozen of them. Sullivan picks him up and tosses him down even more steps, then stomps him in the groin. They exchange punches at the lowest level and get over to the railing. Sullivan crotches Benoit on the railing then clotheslines him over. Sullivan follows and sends Benoit’s skull crashing to the steel steps then tosses a chair at him. Benoit comes right back and crotches him on the steel barricade, then clotheslines him over. He tries to get a table but can’t quite get it. He sends Sullivan chestfirst into the ringpost then tosses him over again. Benoit finally gets his table and throws it in his face. Benoit brings the table into the ring and props it up in the corner. Benoit tries sending him to the table but Sullivan reverses and Benoit hits the table. Sullivan charges but Benoit ducks out of the way and Sullivan hits the table knee first. Benoit sets the table up on the top rope between the turnbuckles and charges but Sullivan backdrops him onto the table. Sullivan goes to the top and lays into Benoit. Benoit fights back and hits a superplex from the table and covers for the pin and the win at: 10:17. Completely mind-blowing brawl that set the standard for all brawls to follow. *****. Arn Anderson comes down after the ring as Benoit assaults Sullivan and he pulls Benoit off. Arn stuns everyone by attacking Sullivan and the crowd goes bezerk. The Dungeon of Doom and Benoit and Arn bail.
3) Chris Benoit vs. Booker T
This is from WCW Great American Bash 06/14/98 and is the final match of the best of seven series. This is actually the 8th match of the series, but I didn’t watch WCW at the time so I don’t know what happened the other 7 matches, except that they were tied at 3 a piece going into this match. The winner would face Fit Finley later on in this show for the US title to boot. The two men circle to startand lock up, with Benoit armdragging Booker down. They circle and lock up again and this time it’s Booker with the armdrag. They lock up again and Booker grabs a side headlock. Benoit sends Booker to the ropes to break and goes down allowing Booker to run over him, then drop toe holds Booker down. Booker sells the previously injured knee and bails to the outside. He regroups and comes back inside and they lock up with Benoit grabbing a wristlock then a hammerlock. Booker quickly reverses and takes Benoit down to the mat. Booker hooks him over for a pinning combination for two. They circle again and lock up and Benoit grabs a hammerlock, which Booker elbows out of. Booker sends him to the ropes and elbows him down, then covers for two. Booker bodyslams Benoit then tosses him to the corner. He works him over in the corner with forearms. He tries to whip him to the corner but Benoit reverses. Benoit charges but hits Bookers boot. Booker goes to kick Benoit but he holds on and leg screws his leg, which Booker sells again. Benoit takes control of things and chops Booker in the corner. Benoit sends him to the ropes and elbows him down for two. Benoit follows with a side suplex and that also gets a two. Benoit hooks Booker into a rear chinlock on with Booker sitting on the mat. Booker makes it to a lateral base and elbows out. He sends Benoit to the ropes, ducks down, then leapfrogs him but Benoit pulls up and chops Booker down when he turns around and covers for two. A Benoit snap suplex also gets two. He kicks Booker in the gut then tosses him hard to the turnbuckles. Benoit tries for another side suplex but Booker shifts his weight mid-air to land on Benoit for two. Benoit is up quickly and kicks away at Booker. He snapmares him over into a rear chinlock, then drops down to a lying down position. Booker starts making his way to the feet and he elbows off, then comes off the rope only to collide with a Benoit running knee to the gut. Benoit hangs him up over the rope via front suplex and knocks Booker off the apron to the ring floor. Booker makes it back in and Benoit sends him to the ropes and lariats him down. He covers for two, then covers again. Benoit picks up Booker up and promptly chops him down and hooks on another rear chinlock. He stops that to stretch his arms back while lying back and digging his knees into Booker’s back. He then uses his head to drive into his back and Booker starts powering out. He turns Benoit around only to get kicked in the gut. Benoit whips him to the ropes but it’s reversed by Booker and he follows with a powerslam. Booker slowly climbs to the ropes and tries for a crossbody splash but Benoit moves out of the way. Benoit tries for the crossface but Booker T runs to the ropes to break. He snapmares Booker over into yet another rear chinlock, the move du jour for the match, I guess. Booker mounts another comeback and elbows out. He goes off the ropes and Benoit tries for a kick to the gut, but Booker holds on and turns him around. He tries for a kick to the gut but Benoit holds on, only to get enzuigiri’d down. He sends Benoit to the ropes and connects with a big spinebuster (called a sidewalk slam by Schiavone). Booker sends him to the ropes again and flapjacks him. Booker spinaroonies out and goes to the top. Benoit catches him and follows him up and superplexes him down. Both men are down and out and the ref starts the count. Benoit inches over and makes the cover for two. Benoit stalks Booker and hits the rolling Germans. He hits two but Booker elbows out and goes behind Benoit. Benoit elbows out and goes to the ropes then hits the dragon suplex out of nowhere for two. He sets up Booker in the corner and chops away, then sends him to the other corner with another chop. A short-arm clothesline follows and Benoit goes to the top. He hits the flying headbutt but can’t make the immediate cover. Benoit comes over and covers but Booker kicks out at two. Benoit tries for a suplex but Booker small packages him for two. Booker comes back and sends Benoit to the corner and hits the harlem sidekick to the back, then another to the front and hits the missile dropkick from the top rope for the pin and the win at: 16:08. Decent match between the two, though it seemed a bit repetitive. The ending was pretty awesome though. I should note that Benoit controlled almost the entire match. ***3/4.
4) Chris Benoit vs. Bret Hart
This is the Owen Hart tribute match from WCW Monday Nitro 10/04/99. Harley Race is the special guest ring announcer and he gives a nice little speech before the match. Benoit comes out with the TV title, wearing an Owen Hart shirt and looking very emotional. Bret comes out looking very emotional too, and the reasons are obvious. Bret and Chris embrace pre-match. Bret and Chris circle to start then lock up. Benoit grabs a side headlock and Bret turns him over into a one count. Bret makes it to his feet and reverses to a standing wristlock and pushes Benoit to his knees, and Benoit reverses that to a hammerlock, which is again reversed by Bret to a hammerlock, which Bret turns into a side headlock. Benoit sends him to the ropes, then gets shoulderblocked down. Bret comes off the ropes and Benoit leapfrogs and gets down to monkey flip him but Bret holds on to the ropes and Benoit kips up. They standoff then engage in a test of strength and Bret pushes him down in a bridge. Benoit turns him around and pushes him to the mat with his arms crossed over his face and Benoit pulling back. Benoit turns that into a hammerlock and pushes Bret to the mat as the fans chant O-WEN. He stretches Bret’s arm aparts using his head as leverage and Bret makes it to his feet and reverses the hold. He stretches Benoit’s arms out but Benoit backs him to the corner and jumps backwards with a dropkick to the gut. He snapmars him over into an armbar but Bret is quickly up and reverses into a side russian legsweep. Bret snapmares Benoit over into a reverse chinlock and Benoit makes it to his feet and elbows out. Benoit comes off the ropes but gets plastered with a knee to the gut. Bret drops a leg and sets Benoit up in the corner. He pounds away at Benoit in the corner. Benoit comes back with a kick to the gut and a big chop. Bret DDT’s Benoit and goes to the second rope and hits the elbow for two. Benoit rolls to the ropes and Bret walks away. Bret sends Benoit to the ropes and tries for the knee again but Benoit rolls through for two, then a high Boston Crab (like the Walls of Jericho) but Bret makes the ropes and the hold is broken. Benoit sends Bret to the ropes and back drops him and covers for one. Benoit follows with a backbreaker for two. We take a quick break as Benoit knocks Bret to the outside. We come back with them back in the ring and Benoit drops an elbow for two. He goes off the ropes and tries for another elbow but Benoit misses. Bret spreads the legs of Benoit and drops his head into his lower abdomen and suplexes him for two. Bret grabs a reverse chinlock on the mat but picks him up and hits a backbreaker of his own. He kicks Benoit in the small of the back, kick him all the way to the outside. Bret picks him up and pushes him backfirst into the ring apron. Bret rolls Benoit back in and kicks him in the gut. Bret pounds away near the ropes and sends him to the ropes and tries for a tilt a whirl but Benoit rolls through and tombstones Bret for two. Both men are up slowly and Benoit hits a northern lights suplex for two. Benoit is back up and he works over Bret a bit. Benoit sends Bret to the ropes and he hits the running knee in the gut for two. Benoit sends Bret headfirst to the turnbuckle then follows with thunderous chops. Benoit sends Bret to the ropes and tries for a dropkick but Bret holds on to the ropes and Benoit falls on his back. Bret comes up with two elbowdrops and a belly to back suplex for two. Bret works over Benoit on the middle of the ropes then charges only to have Bret miss and get caught up in the ropes and fall outside. Benoit follows up with a suicide dive through the ropes that connects head on with Bret. We take a brief break and return with Bret working on Benoit as he’s on the apron, then tries suplexing him inside. Benoit falls behind and rolls him up for two, which is reversed by Bret for two. Bret chokes Benoit in the corner by stomping on his throat. In the middle of the ring, Bret swings a right hand which Benoit ducks and turns into a backslide for two. Bret is back up and works Benoit over and picks him up to suplex him, but Benoit turns that into a small package. Bret is up quickly and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Bret sends Benoit to the corner and follows with an inverted atomic drop, then sets Benoit up on the top. Benoit headbutts Bret off the top and goes up high, but Bret catches him with an uppercut and climbs to the top and hits a superplex and both men are out. Bret makes it up first and tries for the sharpshooter but Benoit pulls Bret down into the crossface. Bret tries making the ropes and barely gets his fingers on the ropes. Benoit snap suplexes Bret down and holds on for a second one, then finishes the hat trick and heads up high. Benoit hits the flying headbutt and covers for two. Benoit picks Bret up and hits a belly to back suplex then drops an elbow. The fans start chanting Let’s Go Bret as Benoit looks around at the crowd. Benoit tries sending Bret to the ropes but Bret holds on and elbows him. Bret follows with a piledriver and covers but Benoit’s foot makes the ropes. Bret literally hauls Benoit up and sends him chestfirst to the corner, and he tries for a belly to back but Benoit flips over and chops Bret into the corner. He sends Bret to the corner and charges but hits Benoit’s foot. Bret charges and Benoit goes for the dragon suplex but changes him mind and gets two German suplexes before Bret blocks the third. They scuffle and Benoit tries for a German again but Bret gets out and tries for a suplex. Benoit comes back trying for the crossface but Bret pushes him down and tries for the sharpshooter and gets Benoit over. Benoit is in the middle the ring and has no choice but to submit at: 23:01. There were two commercial breaks too, so the actual match was probably somewhere in the region of 27 minutes or so. Bret and Benoit embrace in the ring afterwards and are both visibly shaken up by the impact this match had on them. Truly a moment when wrestling took a backseat to the raw unbridled human emotion that resulted in this match. It transcends the sport of wrestling, one of the few times that has happened and as a match it was unbelievable too. *****.
5) Chris Benoit vs. Sid Vicious
This is for the WCW title from WCW Souled Out 01/16/00 and oddly enough, there are no introductions shown on the DVD. Sid was champion and Chris was dangerously close to leaving, so the WCW gave him the belt in hopes he wouldn’t. By the end of January, Chris was in the WWF. Arn Anderson is the referee too. They lock up and Sid powers Benoit to the corner, and breaks clean. They do it again and this time Benoit goes behind, which Sid just elbows out of. Sid pulls him off and they circle again as Perry Saturn and David Flair come out. Saturn is another one who would end up in WWF by month’s end. They lock up again and Benoit grabs a side headlock which Sid breaks by sending him to the ropes and shoulderblocking him down. Sid comes over and just tosses Benoit out and now the locker has emptied to watch the match. That’s what Tenay says, and there’s only about 10 guys out there. Sid and Benoit jaw at each other and Sid military press slams Benoit onto the mat. Sid picks up Benoit again and picks Benoit up to suplex him but then just tosses him face first across the ring. Sid again picks up Benoit like a rag doll and tosses him to the ropes. Benoit ducks a clothesline then dropkicks his leg a pair of times. He starts working the leg over and cannonballing down on the leg. He brings him outside, but pulling his leg, then sets up the leg between the steps and the ringpost, then dropkicking the stairs. So that’s why Sid’s leg broke so easily that time. He dropkicks the stairs into the leg again and starts kicking away. Sid tries fighting back to no avail, so Benoit chops him and works him over near the barricade. Benoit rolls him back in and covers for two. Benoit hooks the figure four on Sid but Sid won’t quit. Sid tries turning Benoit over and eventually does and Benoit quickly makes the ropes. Benoit is up first and starts working the leg over again and chops Sid while he’s on his knees, then dropkicks him in the head. He sends Sid to the corner and works his leg over with some kicks. He pulls him out and dragon screws him down and covers for two. Benoit sends him to the corner again and starts chopping away. Benoit follows with a snap suplex and an elbow drop and covers for one. Sid and Benoit exchange blows until Benoit kicks Sid in the leg again. He gets an Indian deathlock with a rear chinlock but Sid won’t tap out. He starts working the knee again and dropkicks his knee, sending Sid outside. Sid rolls back to the ring and starts no-selling Benoit’s punches. Sid slaps Benoit in the face and punches him down, then sends him to the ropes. Benoit ducks a clothesline and then dropkicks him in the knee to turn the tide in Benoit’s favor again. Benoit kicks Sid in the head a few times and tries another kick but Sid holds on and tries kicking at Benoit. Benoit hits a German suplex and tries for another one but Sid elbows out and sends Benoit to the ropes. He powerslams him and covers for two. Sid picks Benoit up only to get dropkicked in the knee, knocking Sid down again and hooks on the ankle lock. Sid starts getting crazy strong and grabs the ropes to break. Benoit gets a German suplex for good measure and goes upstairs. Benoit hits the flying headbutt and covers but Sid just tosses Benoit off. Sid is up quickly and chokeslams Benoit down. He covers but Benoit’s foot is UNDER the ropes, which is as good as a rope break. Sid gets up and Benoit immediately hooks the Crossface on Sid and he taps out very quickly (though HIS feet were in fact under the ropes) to give Chris Benoit his first (and only) ever WCW title reign at: 14:50. Sid maybe got 3 minutes of offense the whole match and no one mentioned Sid’s feet were under the ropes at all. Still Benoit won the title and he tried his best to carry Sid to a decent match, though it was a bit slow and plodding at times. **1/2.
6) Chris Benoit vs. William Regal
This is from the Brian Pillman Tribute Show from 05/26/00 and I actually used to have that tape buried deep in my collection before selling most of my tapes. Anyway, Regal had been out with drug problems for a while, and if I remember, this was his return match. Cole and Dr. Tom Pritchard do commentary, which was recorded at a later date. The VQ on this match is very fan-cammy and the worst you’ll probably find on a WWE DVD. Anyway, Regal and Benoit circle and fight off a lock up before finally locking up. Benoit pushes Regal to the corner and they push and shove in the corner before breaking. They lock up again and Benoit grabs the arm,. Regal tries flipping out but Benoit still holds on. Benoit knocks him down to the mat and grabs an arm-bar. Regal kips up but Benoit still won’t let go. Regal tries armdragging him off but that’s a no-go. Benoit holds on in a hammerlock on the mat. Regal gets up and finally reverses into a wristlock with Benoit on the mat. Benoit makes it to his feet and Regal armdrags him over and tries pushing his shoulders down to pin until Benoit bridges up. Regal drops a knee on the exposed abdomen and gets a two count. Benoit kips up and we have a test of strength. Benoit now pushes Regal down until he kips up. Regal monkey flips Benoit and then rolls up on top of him only to have Benoit kick them both to their feet. Awesome. Benoit says enough is enough and starts headbutting Regal while still in the test of strength, and Regal actually gets busted open because of that. He kicks Regal to break and a second kick is held onto so Benoit enzuigiris him, then knocks him out of the ring. Benoit tries a baseball slide but Regal moves out of the way and Benoit slides to the outside. They both make it to the apron and Benoit just jumps down holding Regal’s head and smashing it into the apron. Benoit sends Regal backfirst into the steps at ringside and go back inside where Benoit covers for two. Benoit follows with a belly to back suplex for two. Benoit comes back with a kick to Regal’s head and walks toward him, only to have Regal drop toe him into a type of chinlock where he’s lying on Benoit’s back, and holds on until Benoit makes the ropes. Regal kicks away at him and then hits a pretty nice standing dropkick. Regal trips Benoit down then puts him in variation of the indian deathlock with a dragon sleeper hold. Benoit elbows out and ducks a Regal punch and hits him with a German suplex. Benoit chops away at Regal until Regal headbutts out and just wails on Benoit with some kicks. Regal and Benoit exchange blows until Benoit hits the rolling Germans and gets to two before Regal elbows out. Regal tries for a double arm suplex but Benoit drops to his knees to block and then turns him around to finish the hat trick of Germans. He goes to the top but Regal catches him on the top rope and hits a double arm suplex! Regal covers but that only gets a two. He covers again for two, then again, then again. Regal tries whipping him to the corner but Benoit reverses. Regal puts the foot up to block running into the turnbuckle and turns around to charge and Benoit’s and Regal’s heads collide. They both get knocked out and Benoit is up first and covers for two. Benoit sets Regal up but Regal gets schoolboy for two, then catches a charging Benoit in a backslide for two. Regal follows with a belly to back suplex where he slams Benoit down then covers for two. Benoit blocks a kick but doesn’t block the big left hands. Regal sets Benoit up in a tombstone but Benoit flips through it and catches Regal in a tombstone of his own. Benoit goes up to the top but misses the flying headbutt. Regal is back up and forearms him in the corner. Benoit comes right back with a release dragon suplex then promptly puts on the crossface and Regal taps at: 12:43. The only problem with this match is it was too short. 20 minutes would’ve done just fine, thank you very much. As it stands, it was a near perfect 13 minute match. ****1/2.
7) Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
This is from Monday Night Raw 06/11/01 and is in a steel cage match. Kurt still had hair at this point and Benoit was co-tag champs with Jericho. This is escape, pinfall or submission rules and this match was mentioned on the Bloodbath DVD, though the full match wasn’t shown. Angle charges Benoit as soon as he gets in the ring and then gets a overhead release suplex, and then another one. Angle tries sending him to the corner but Benoit holds on and goes for the crossface. He tries taking Angle into the crossface but Angle fights back and sends Benoit face first into the cage. He does it again then kicks away at him. He sends him to the corner and works him over with a series of kicks and punches, until Benoit reverses places with Angle and chops away. Benoit tries sending him to the corner but Angle reverses. Angle charges but hits Benoit’s boot. They battle more and Benoit sends Angle to the corner and charges only to get flapjacked into the cage. He picks Benoit up and runs charging with Benoit backfirst into the cage. Angle sends him into the cage some more times until Benoit starts fighting back and hits the snap suplex, holds on for a second and tries for a third, but Angle knees out of it. He hits a gutwrench suplex and then follows with another one, and then another. Angle tries escaping the cage and Angle tries kicking him off but Benoit follows to the middle of the top rope and Benoit tries for a German suplex but Angle holds onto the cage. Benoit finally gets him free and connects with that German suplex. Angle is down and Benoit now tries to escape. He gets to the top and Angle pops up and pushes him down, then drops an elbow from the top. The two exhange blows until Angle rakes Benoit’s eyes. Angle tries sending Benoit to the ropes but Benoit reverses and sends Angle into the cage a few times for good measure. Benoit makes the climb to the top until Angle catches up and lowblows him and Benoit comes crashing down. Angle hits the Angle Slam and sets up Benoit near the ropes. He starts climbing all the way to the TOP of the cage then MISSES the moonsault as Benoit rolled out of the way eliciting Holy Shits from the crowd. Benoit makes it back to his feet and sends Angle to the ropes and knees him down. He sends him to the ropes and knees him down again. Benoit tries sending him to the ropes again but Angle reverses and sends Benoit into the cage. He lifts him up on his shoulder and rams him headfirst into the cage. He lifts him on his shoulders again and charges but Benoit slips off and sends Angle to the ropes and catches him in a trio of German suplexes before Angle fights out of it. Angle swings at Benoit then gets caught in another hat trick of Germans. Benoit makes his way to the door but sidesteps when he hear Angles charging. Angle jumps into the cage and falls right back down into another trifecta of Germans. Benoit climbs up to the top of the cage which draws Austin, who was at the announce table, get up and swing his chair in the general direction of Benoit. Benoit looks at his choices, Austin or Angle, then tries to hit the flying headbutt from the top onto Angle and hits it! That didn’t help his neck injury, he would be out two weeks later for the rest of the year. Both Angle and Benoit are out as a result of this and Austin tosses down referee Teddy Long and prevents Benoit from leaving. Benoit dropkicks the door and ends Austin to the mat. Benoit tries crawling out of the ring so Angle comes over and puts the ankle lock onto Benoit. Benoit makes it to his feet and enzuigiri’s Angle down. Benoit crawls towards the cage again and puts hits head out, which allows Austin to snap the door into his head. Angle, seeing the opportunity, starts climbing up and over and makes it to the outside of the cage at: 14:29 to end the match, making it one of the only times I can remember a heel has escaped over the cage. After the match, Austin brutalizes Benoit with a chair. Really good cage match that would’ve been made much better with a clean finish. ****.
8) Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
This is from the 2003 Royal Rumble (01/19/03) and is for the WWE Title. Angle has Team Angle with him and this would be Kurt’s first title defense. Just think, one year later and Benoit won the Royal Rumble. Team Angle pushes Benoit away as he tries charging Angle so the referees come out to toss Haas and Benjamin from ringside. Benoit and Angle lock up and Benoit grabs a side headlock early on. Benoit gets sent to the ropes but then shoulderblocks Angle down, then pulls his legs up and tries for the sharpshooter and Angle quickly bails to the outside. They circle again and lock up and Benoit again grabs the side headlock. Angle sends him to the ropes and tries to hiptoss him but Benoit comes back with a dropkick to the gut. Angle is up quickly and sends Benoit to the ropes and grabs a sleeper, but Angle rolls through. Benoit comes back with a leg screw and tries for the Sharpshooter again then works the leg. Angle breaks free and then comes back with a kick to the gut and sends Benoit shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Angle kicks away at Benoit in the corner then suplexes him over for two. Angle sends Benoit to the corner and forearms him. Benoit comes back and chops his way out of the corner and then chops Angle in the corner. Benoit tries sending Angle to the corner but Angle reverses. He charges but hits Benoit’s boots and Benoit comes back with a clothesline to the back then sends Angle to the ropes and knees him in the gut for two. Benoit chops at Angle in the corner then sends Angle chestfirst to the opposite corner and knees him in the gut. He tries sending Angle to the ropes but Angle holds on then suplexes Benoit onto the middle of the top rope. He goes over to Benoit and he drops down, causing Angle to drop throat first onto the rope. They battle on the apron and Benoit DDT’s Angle on the apron and they fall to the outside, with Angle bleeding from the nose. Benoit rolls him inside and covers for two. Benoit goes to the top but misses the flying headbutt. Angle waits for Benoit to get up and tries for the Angle Slam but Benoit hops out of it, and takes Angle down into a Sharpshooter. Angle somehow manages to make it to the ropes and Benoit comes back with a belly to back suplex for two. Angle reverses an Irish Whip and Angle comes up with a big overhead belly to belly release suplex. He sends Benoit through the middle rope to the outside and takes a breater in the ring. Angle follows shortly after and drops Benoit headfirst onto the barricade. Angle stomps away at Benoit on the floor then rolls him back in. He hits a shortarm clothesline for two then snapmares Benoit over into a rear chinlock with a grapevine of the body. Benoit breaks out but Angle resets himself into a rear chinlock. Benoit manages to armdrag out of it. Benoit comes off the rope and Angle catches him in another belly to belly overhead suplex throw. Angle comes back with a belly to back suplex for two then another reverse chinlock with a grapevine. Benoit makes it to his knees then to his feet and elbows out of the side headlock. Angle comes back with some big rights then sends Benoit to the ropes. Benoit ducks a clothesline and Angle comes back off the ropes and they clothesline each other, knocking both out. They both manage to get up to 9 and exchange blows which Benoit wins. He sends Angle to the ropes then elbows him down, then knocks him down again. He sends Angle to the ropes and back drops him then tries for the hat trick of Germans but gets up to two before Angle reverses to a German of his own. Angle holds on and tries for a second German but Benoit reverses that to one more of his own. Benoit calls for the end and even blows snot bombs onto Angle. He goes to the top but Angle does the pop up suplex from the top and covers for two. Angles tries for an Angle Slam but Benoit flips out of it and clasps the Crossface onto Angle. Angle manages to make the ropes but Benoit pulls him off by his foot and puts the Ankle lock on him. Angle rolls through it and counters it with an ankle lock of his own. Benoit counters that by rolling through and grabbing the crossface. Benoit breaks and rolls him over for two. Angle charges and again gets put in the crossface. Angle rolls through but Benoit doesn’t release the hold. Angle stands up with Benoit on him and Angle Slams him. He covers but that gets a two count. Angle takes down the straps then puts on the ankle lock. Benoit rolls through, sending Angle to the second turnbuckle. Angle charges and Benoit rolls him up for two. He charges again but Benoit gets a German suplex and holds on. Angle reverses that with one of his own and then Benoit reverses that with a release German suplex of him that flips Angle all the way around. Benoit goes to the top again and hits the flying headbutt from literally three-quarters of the mat away. He covers but somehow Angle kicks out at two. Benoit follows that with a crossface but Angle rolls through to break. He picks Benoit up in a powerbomb position then drops him backwards into the top turnbuckle, then follows with an Angle Slam for two. Angle tries lifting Benoit up but he grabs the arm and hooks on the crossface. The crowd is feeling this one too. Somehow, Angle reverses that to an ankle lock by pulling the leg out. Benoit tries reversing but Angle would not let go. Benoit manages to turn around and kick him off but Angle comes right back. Benoit tries kicking him off again but Angle just holds on, then drops down to the mat to really put the hold on. Benoit has no choice but to tap out at: 19:43. Really awesome match with a hot ending sequence with all those reversals that made sense in the long run. Just about near-perfect. ****3/4.
9) Chris Benoit vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels
This is the triple threat match from Wrestlemania XX 03/14/04 and is for HHH’s WWE Title. The crowd starts chanting for Benoit before the match starts and all three battle in the corner, with Shawn and Benoit tossing each other to batter HHH in the corner. Benoit grabs Shawn and tries for an early crossface but Shawn escapes and they exchange chops, which Benoit wins. He sends Shawn off the ropes and Shawn collides with HHH, who was bumbling out of the corner and HHH is knocked to the outside. Benoit tries to bodyslam HBK but HBK rolls out of it and takes Benoit down. Shawn tries for a roll up but Benoit bridges out. Benoit tries for the crossface but Shawn rolls him over for two. Benoit comes back with a northern lights suplex for two. Shawn is up quickly and clotheslines Benoit down. HHH comes back in and clotheslines Shawn down. HHH kicks at Benoit then goes to HBK and tries to toss him over the rope but HBK skins the cat. HHH goes back to Benoit and sends him to the ropes near Shawn so Shawn takes him and tosses him over the top. Shawn and HHH fight and Shawn sends HHH to the ropes and backdrops him. He follows to the corner then tries for a whip again. HHH reverses but Shawn ducks a clothesline only to have HHH hit him with a high knee for two. Benoit makes it to the apron so HHH goes over and gets shouldererd in the gut. HHH fights back and sends Benoit off the apron the outside. HHH picks him up and sends him into the apron backfirst a few times until Shawn hits a baseball slide on Benoit who collides with HHH and they’re both down. Shawn goes to the top and hits a moonsault off the top onto both men, and all three men are out. Shawn is the first up and rolls HHH into the ring and covers for two. Shawn starts chopping away at HHH then tries for a backdrop off the ropes only to hit the HHH facebuster. He goes for the Pedigree but Benoit comes in and clotheslines him. He tries to German suplex Shawn but he blocks and gets killed with some knees. Benoit sends him shoulderfirst into the ringpost then goes to HHH. He hits a snap suplex then chops him in the corner. He tries sending HHH to the corner but HHH reverses and Benoit goes in chestfirst. HHH lifts him up and puts Benoit on the ropes with his back facing the ring, then hangs him in the tree of woe. He goes back to the Shawn then tosses him into Benoit then covers Shawn for two. HHH tries sending Shawn to into Benoit again but Shawn reverses and somehow Benoit puts up a boot to HHH’s face. Shawn follows with a roll-up for two. Shawn tries sending HHH to the ropes but HHH reverses only to get hit with the flying forearm. He kips up and Benoit charges and lariats him over the top rope onto the outside. He catches HHH on the way up and hits one German, but HHH blocks the second one, so Benoit elbows him in the back and hits the other two Germans. Benoit calls for the end and he heads out to the top rope. Shawn comes back into the ring and crotches Benoit. HHH gets up and Shawn tries hitting him with the Sweet Chin Music but HHH ducks it and DDT’s Shawn, who rolls to the outside. HHH heads over to Benoit, who is still on the top and HHH goes up to the top with him. He hammers Benoit but Benoit fights back and knocks him off. HHH comes right back up and hits a suplex off the second rope and covers for two, then another cover for two, then a third, one for each H, says Jim Ross. HHH picks Benoit up and they exchange blows which Benoit wins. He sends HHH to the ropes and ducks down so he grabs Benoit and tries for the pedigree. Benoit reverses that into the crossface which HHH fights off but Benoit locks it in, only to have Michaels come in for the save. Shanw comes in and hits a German Suplex on Benoit and rolls through, which the crowd boos, so Benoit counters into three of his own. He goes to the top and hits the flying headbutt on Shawn and covers for two. Benoit covers again but again Shawn kicks out. Benoit and Shawn brawl and Benoit sends him to the ropes, only to have Shawn hit him with the flying forearm, sending Benoit to the outside. Shawn kips up and clotheslines down HHH a pair of times, then bodyslams him. He goes to the top and hits the elbow drop. He starts tuning up the band and the MSG crowd even boos that. He connects on HHH and cover but Benoit pulls out HHH as the ref counted to two. The crowd chants for Benoit as Shawn comes out to bring Benoit back to the ring. He chops Benoit in the corner then tries sending him to the corner but Benoit reverses sending Shawn up and over. Benoit tries for the Sharpshooter but Shawn fights out. Benoit slingshots him into the corner and Shawn hits the ringpost and gets busted open. Benoit puts the crossface on Shawn and is about to tap when HHH grabs his hand before it hit the mat in a nice touch. HHH comes in and breaks the hold and pulls Benoit outside. He tries sending Benoit to the steel steps but Benoit blocks and its HHH who hits the stairs. Benoit chops away on the outside until HHH sends him into the steps. HHH starts setting up the Smackdown announce table, and Tazz and Cole are still there for some reason. Benoit gets up and sends HHH to the SPANISH annonce table and goes behind him. HHH elbows out and starts hammering Benoit’s back. He sets up a pedigree but Benoit fights back, only to have Shawn interfere. Shawn and HHH pick up Benoit to suplex him and just toss him through the Smackdown table. Shawn goes back into the ring and calls for HHH. HHH comes in and they start pounding away. Shawn fights him in the corner, then HHH fights him in the corner, then Shawn reverses that and fights him in the corner. Shawn tries sending HHH to the corner then holds on and sends him to the corner they were in, sending HHH up and over and into the cameraman. Shawn sends him into the stairs/ringpost and now HHH is busted open. Shawn rolls him into the ring and hits some big rights. He tries for a fourth but HHH kicks him and connects with the pedigree. HHH slowly crawls over and covers but Benoit makes the save and breaks the pinfall. All three men are lying in the ring and HHH is the first one up. He picks up Benoit but Benoit chops away. HHH counters and looks for the pedigree but Benoit grabs his legs out and puts on the sharpshooter to a huge pop. HHH tries crawling to the ropes but Benoit pulls him back to the center of the ring. Shawn comes in and just connects with sweet chin music on Benoit to break the hold. Shawn crawls over and pins Benoit for two. The crowd is feeling it for Benoit now as Shawn tunes up the band. He goes for it on Benoit but Benoit ducks and sends Shawn to the outside. HHH attacks Benoit as he turns around and tries for the pedigree but Benoit counters that to the crossface. HHH tries for the ropes but can’t make it. HHH tries rolling through it but Benoit just keeps it on and HHH has no choice but to tap out at: 24:21 to give Chris Benoit his first WWE title. What a match, the best three-way ever. *****. Eddie comes into the ring after the match and celebrate together as confetti comes out from the rafters.
10) The Neck Injury
This is from Raw 07/02/01 and is a minute and a half long. It’s basically Dr. Youngblood, WWE surgeon talking about the injury and is a minute and a half all told.
11) Crossface Collection
This is a WWE Confidential feature from 01/24/04. It’s a bit over 3 minutes long and is Benoit talking about his crossface. It’s pretty coold too.
12) Raw Magazine Cover Shoot
This is a WWE Confidential feature from 04/03/04. It’s about 2 minutes long and Benoit joking about freezing in a meat locker.
The older material is in just pristine condition due to the WWE owning all the source material. The sound is as good as it’s gonna get, just like a regular TV sound, but the quality is amazing, especially on the older material.
C) Liner Notes
There is a one page DVD information sheet with the chapter listing and extras (w/match information) from disc one and the extras from disc two. There’s a 4-page insert on the WWE DVD’s currently available, and a contest for a Sony Dream System and a WWE DVD collection.
D) Easter Eggs
On disc 2, go to the second page of extras, highlight back and hit right three times to hightlight the tooth. Hit enter and get the story of how Benoit lost his tooth as told by his father.
As usual, the DVD starts off with the WWE commercials, this time for the Hall of Fame 2004 DVD, the Backlash 2004 DVD and the don’t try this at home ad. As for the DVD, no review is necessary. The program was excellent, one of the best they’ve done, and the matches are icing on the cake. There was only one match by my count under three stars, 10 matches were four stars or better and there were THREE five-star matches, with one dangerously close to that mark. The WWE keeps pumping these great DVD’s out and just won’t stop. My only complaint, it’s only two discs. I would’ve loved a third one but that’s just picking nits. Highly recommended and is probably the second best wrestling DVD ever behind the Ric Flair one.