His name is now rightfully banned in WWE after the tragic and sinister incident in which he killed his wife and son before taking his own life, but there was no denying that Chris Benoit was one of the best performers to step in the company’s rings.
Born in Montreal, Canada, he debuted in pro wrestling in 1985 with a promoter in his country, Stampede Wrestling by Stu Hart, patriarch of the Hart family. This was followed by stints at New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1986 to 1994), WCW (1992 and 1993), ECW (1994 and 1995) and again WCW (1995 to 2000) before joining the then-called WWF in 2000, the company which would act until his death in June 2007.
In the McMahon family’s promoter, he stood out above all for the sagas of fantastic matches against Kurt Angle between 2001 and 2003 and for winning the world title at WrestleMania XX, in 2004, a few months after having made history at the Royal Rumble, when he emerged victorious after entering in the first position. In parallel, he was a four-time tag team champion, three-time United States champion, and four-time Intercontinental champion. So it’s worth checking out our list of the ten best Chris Benoit matches in WWE, in chronological order.
Fully Loaded 2000
WWF Championship: The Rock (c) vs. Chris Benoit
(If disqualified, The Rock would lose the title)
At King Of The Ring 2000, The Rock won the WWF Championship, which belonged to Triple H, in a six-man tag team match in which The Great One and the Brothers Of Destruction ( The Undertaker and Kane) won the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. ( Triple H, Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon). In that match, The Rock made the victorious settlement on Vince McMahon – if it was another teammate, that fighter would win the title.
On the July 3 episode of Raw is War, WWF Commissioner Mick Foley announced that The Rock would defend the title against Shane McMahon that night. However, the match was interrupted by Benoit, who attacked the champion. A week later, The Rock and Benoit squared off. Initially, the victory was awarded to the Canadian, but referee Earl Hebner disqualified Benoit due to interference from Shane McMahon.
Already on the July 13 episode of SmackDown! , Foley forced Benoit to face Eddie Guerrero and Chyna in a handicap match, in which Rabid Wolverine was again disqualified, then attacked Hebner. After the match, The Rock offered Benoit a shot at the WWF Championship at Fully Loaded.
Royal Rumble 2001
Ladder match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Chris Benoit (c) vs. Chris Jericho
The rivalry between the two began on the way to WrestleMania 2000, when Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho challenged Kurt Angle for the two titles he held, the intercontinental and the European, in a two falls match. Benoit defeated Jericho for the intercontinental title and Jericho returned the favour to win the European belt. Thereafter, Chris Benoit recorded three consecutive pay-per-views wins over Y2J, including one in a best-of-three match at SummerSlam .
On the January 4 edition of SmackDown! , Benoit defended the intercontinental title against Jericho, but interference from Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko, members of The Radicalz group, gave Y2J the disqualification victory . Four days later on Raw Is War, Jericho joined forces with The Hardy Boyz to defeat The Radicalz, as he secured the victorious settlement in Benoit. Buoyed by this victory, Jericho demanded a title match at the Royal Rumble, with Benoit accepting and allowing Jericho to choose the stipulation, with Y2J opting for a ladder match.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
On the March 19, 2001, episode of Raw is War, before a handicap match between Benoit, Angle and William Regal’s team against Chris Jericho and The Rock, the Olympic champion asked his teammate to use the Crippler Crossface before he performed the Ankle Lock on The Rock, but the Canadian was offended. What is certain is that the plan worked and the team of Angle, Benoit and Regal emerged victorious.
Three days later, on SmackDown!, the two met backstage again, with Angle describing the moment they both had on Raw as “magical” and suggesting they both break their opponent that night in yet another handicap match, The Rock. However, during the match, Benoit came close to making The Rock give up through Crossface, but surprisingly Angle put The Rock’s foot on the bottom rope. Shortly after, The Rock achieved victory after a Rock Bottom on Angle. After the feud ended, Benoit and The Rock continued to fight, with The Rock trapping Benoit in a Sharpshooter. And as Benoit screamed in pain, Angle decided to leave the ring instead of helping his partner, watching with a smile on his face.
On the ensuing Raw is War, Kurt Angle took to the ring and stated that it was “shocking” to still not have an opponent for WrestleMania, describing himself as the best wrestler in the WWF. A little later, Benoit appears, says he doesn’t have an opponent either, and after a bitter exchange of words, they begin to fight. That same night, Benoit and the Hardy Boyz defeated Angle, Edge and Christian in a six-man tag team match.
SmackDown! (May 31, 2001)
WWF Championship: Steve Austin (c) vs. Chris Benoit
After losing his tag team champion status and his teammate Triple H being injured, Steve Austin devoted himself to defending the WWF Championship and feuding with new tag team champions Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. At the start of SmackDown! On May 31, in Canada, Benoit and Jericho suggested to Vince McMahon that Austin find a partner to get a rematch to fight for the titles he lost, but what ended up being scored, despite the company president’s resistance, was a WWF Championship match between Austin and Benoit.
Raw Is War (June 11, 2001)
Steel Cage Match: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
After Kurt Angle lost the WWF Championship to The Rock at the No Way Out pay-per-view, he collided with Chris Benoit, which culminated in a duel between the two at WrestleMania X-Seven, with Angle getting the better of win through a quick roll-up . Four weeks later at Backlash, Benoit avenged his previous PPV loss and beat Angle 4–3, after extra time, in a 30-minute Ultimate Submission match.
Meanwhile, Benoit stole Kurt Angle’s medals and announced that he was going to keep them in a safe, warm place, which turned out to be inside his pants, near his groin.
On SmackDown! that followed, Angle faced Benoit and halfway through the match he regained his medals, but when he went to kiss them he smelled Benoit’s groin, who in turn used a Crippler Crossface that made Angle give up.
On the following episode of Raw Is War, Angle challenged Benoit to a best-of-three match for Judgment Day in which the first fall could only end by pinfall, the second by submission, and the third would be played in a ladder match format. Benoit won the first fall after landing an Angle Slam, but Angle won the second by making his opponent fold through an Ankle Lock and ended up winning the third fall after interference from Edge and Christian, capturing his Olympic gold medal to win. the combat.
And to definitively end the feud between the two, Raw Commissioner William Regal scheduled a Steel Cage match between Benoit and Angle on the June 11 episode of Raw Is War .
Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
At a time when the brand split had just taken place, Stephanie McMahon announced SmackDown! A series of elimination matches to determine the top contender for the WWE Undisputed Championship, held by Brock Lesnar on August 29 . Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were supposed to face each other in the decisive match, but before that Stephanie added the new signing of SmackDown! , The Undertaker, who even came out on top after settling in Benoit.
The following week, Angle mocked Benoit for being pinfall but was confronted by the Canadian. That same night, they teamed up, along with Eddie Guerrero, to face Edge, Rikishi, and Undertaker, but midway through the match, Angle and Benoit began to fight each other. On the September 12 episode of SmackDown! , Angle interfered and cost Chris Benoit the loss in a match against Rikishi. After this incident, Benoit went to Stephanie McMahon and asked to face Angle at Unforgiven.
Royal Rumble 2003
WWE Championship : Kurt Angle (c) vs. Chris Benoit
At Armageddon 2002, Kurt Angle enlisted the help of Brock Lesnar to defeat Big Show and win the WWE Championship for the third time. Before the PPV, Angle had promised to lift Lesnar’s suspension and give him his first title shot, which turned out not to be, after it all turned out to be a ploy by Angle and Paul Heyman to frame Lesnar . On the December 19 edition of SmackDown, Benoit came close to making Angle give up in a title match, but Big Show interfered to attack Benoit, with Lesnar appearing on the scene to make the save, only to be attacked by Angle and Big Show.
A title match between Angle and Big Show was scheduled for the following week, but SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon declared that the champion was unable to compete after being attacked by Lesnar after the show went off the air last week. Then, the GM scheduled a duel between Big Show and Chris Benoit to determine the main contender for the Royal Rumble title match, with Benoit winning but later being decimated by Big Show, Angle, and Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton). Benjamin).
SmackDown! (December 4, 2003)
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Chris Benoit
At Survivor Series 2003, Chris Benoit helped Team Angle get the better of Team Lesnar by eliminating WWE Champion Brock Lesnar via submission via a Crippler Crossface.
Four days later, on Smackdown!, Lesnar interfered in the match between Benoit and Nathan Jones and attacked Rabid Wolverine after the duel.
The following week, General Manager Paulo Heyman announced a 20-man Battle Royal to determine the new main candidate. However, Benoit had to beat Matt Morgan in a qualifying match to participate in the Battle Royal, which ended with Benoit and John Cena hitting the ground at the same time. That said, Heyman announced that the two would face each other on SmackDown! the following week to determine the new lead candidate.
And on the December 4 episode, Benoit beat Cena via submission, via the Crippler Crossface, and earned the right to face Lesnar that same night with the WWE Championship on the line.
WrestleMania XX: World Heavyweight Championship:
Triple H (c) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels
On the December 29, 2003, edition of Monday Night Raw, Triple H defended the title against Shawn Michaels, in a match that ended in a double pinfall tie, after hinting that the Heartbreak Kid had won.
The two faced each other again at the Royal Rumble in a Last Man Standing, but the duel again ended in a draw, with The Game once again retaining the belt. In the same event, Chris Benoit, who was a SmackDown star at the time, won the Royal Rumble match by eliminating The Big Show in last place. The following night on Raw, Michaels and Triple H clashed in the ring, but General Manager Steve Austin announced that Chris Benoit would challenge the world champion at WrestleMania XX.
However, during the signing of the match’s contract, already after Triple H had signed, Michaels sought to convince Benoit to stay on SmackDown so that he and The Game could end a conflict that had been going on for a decade. Benoit did not agree and Michaels gave him a Sweet Chin Music before signing the contract himself. The following week, Benoit and Michaels faced each other in a match that ended with interference from Triple H, prompting Steve Austin to decide to turn the match at WrestleMania XX into a triple threat match.
Backlash 2004: World Heavyweight Championship:
Chris Benoit (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H
At WrestleMania XX, Chris Benoit became world champion by defeating then-champion Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match by making The Game fold via a Crippler Crossface. On the March 15 episode of Raw, Benoit and Shawn Michaels defeated Evolution ( Randy Orton, Ric Flair, and Batista) in a handicap match, with the new world champion forcing Batista to fold via a Sharpshooter.
The following week, Triple H drafted to SmackDown, prompting Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff to announce that Chris Benoit would defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels at Backlash. However, three days later, SmackDown General Manager Kurt Angle announced that Triple H was returned to Raw in exchange for The Dudley Boyz and Booker T.
Accordingly, on the March 29 episode of Raw, Eric Bischoff added Triple H to the title match at Backlash, making it a triple threat match, that is, a rerun of the WrestleMania XX main event.