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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Chris Benoit Deserves a Second World Title Reign
November 2, 2006 by David Long


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This is a column that I feel compelled to write after watching Chris Benoit's DVD, Hard Knocks. I had bought the DVD when it first came out in 2004 and thought it was good but it is only now that I fully appreciate HOW good a DVD it was. It had a fantastic story from Chris in the Dungeon to his journey to Japan, ECW and WCW before making it in the WWE. The thing that struck me most about the DVD is that Chris was a genuine guy who had an intense almost rabid passion for professional wrestling and put his body on the line every night to entertain the fans. This is in stark contrast to some of the current members of the WWE roster who I shouldn't even have to name for you all to figure out.

Looking back at Chris Benoit's world heavyweight title reign in 2004, I was overly harsh. Now with the benefit of hindsight I can look back on Benoit's title reign and declare that it was filled with tremendous wrestling. The triple threat match at Wrestlemania 20 was a pleasure to watch and credit must be given to the current DX stable of HHH and HBK for making it work. The chemistry between the three was electrifying in my view and at the time we all hated HHH so it was great to see him tap out on the grandest stage of them all.

The rematch at Backlash 2004 was also a great match because we had the added drama of referee Earl Hebner coming out and we thought that Survivor Series 97 might happen all over again when HBK had Benoit in the Sharpshooter. The fans in Edmonton that night were superb and it really added an extra dimension to the match. I think Benoit's entrance theme is also very powerful on occasions such as these and shouldn't be underestimated in adding to the emotion of the moment.


Vengeance 2004 was the next PPV on the horizon for Benoit and he would finally get his first one on one match with HHH. This main event was a forty minute classic for pure wrestling fans as HHH showed that he had the artillery to match Benoit in the ring. I always remember their first encounter at No Mercy 2000 which was excellent (anyone who hasn't seen it, needs to!) The added dimension to this main event was Eugene who was torn between his friend Chris Benoit and his idol HHH, in the end after a lot of hesitation he accidentally cracked HHH on the head with the steel chair and Benoit retained. Benoit had held the belt for four months at this point which was a lengthy title reign by today’s standards. So it did prove that the WWE was serious on Benoits run as World Champion. Benoit may have lost to Randy Orton at Summerslam but the WAY he lost added credibility to Benoit's character; he made Orton shake his hand and feel the responsibility of handing over the title and made it a big deal that Orton had beaten the Rabid Wolverine for the World title.

Looking at the current Smackdown roster and presuming WWE doesn't give Batista a second title reign, I would like to see Chris Benoit get the move up to face King Booker at Armageddon. Even if Benoit wasn't to win it, it would help get him more over and improve the credibility of the King Booker title reign. These two had great matches in WCW which can be seen on Benoit's DVD and their best of 7 series earlier this year for the US title was hampered by Booker's injury which saw Randy Orton step in. I really believe that the fans would get fully behind Benoit and it would be another memorable moment if he was to capture the World Heavyweight Championship. One title reign always leaves Benoit haters to say he was just a one hit wonder. A second title reign would shut them up and would show that WWE appreciates all the hard work Benoit has done over the years. Matches include the Royal Rumble 2003 v Angle, the cage match v Angle on RAW in 2001, the ladder match with Chris Jericho at Rumble 2001 and v Austin on Smackdown in 2001 (when he hit the famous 10 German suplexes in a row) to name just a few.

I hope the WWE sees the logic in giving Benoit another title run and runs with it. If Benoit needs to go heel to achieve his second title reign, I am fully behind that because I thought he was a great heel in 2000 with his feuds with Jericho, The Rock and HHH.

What do you think about Benoit being a two-time champion? Are you for or against it?

By David Long


Craig Ferguson wrote:
Chris Benoit is easily one of the best pure wrestlers in the industry today. But unfortuantly he doesnt have the maket value of someone like batista who can NOT wrestle but is very entertaining and will enavitbly get the title back after the champion of champions match most likely at armageddon. Chris Benoit will have a lengthly fued with chavo geurrero possibly putting him over as i suspect they want chavo to become a bigger star in the company and even taking Chris's US title away form him. After this fued and if he did loose the title to Chavo then this leaves him wide open for a World Heavywieght champion run, but if batista is champion thier is no way that is going to happen so thier is only one explanation.....The rabid wolverine Chris Benoit is going the Hardcore regions of ECW. I really hope wwe realises that if beniot did go to ECW he could garnier a whole new level of popularity and think of the fueds he could have with RVD, Big Show, and the rising stars like CM punk putting them over and even getting a ECW title run along the way. ECW is most definatly the place for Chris Benoit.
Keith G. wrote:
YES YES AND YES AGAIN! Of course he should be champ but will he? He has a better shot if he stays on Smackdown or goes to ECW where his character will be given credit. RAW is CRAP as long as they keep the belt on Cena because it shows that WWE is more interested in “entertainment of a sports like nature” than what most of us call Wrestling. A feud with Booker would be great... Booker would totally work his butt off for Benoit and vice versa because he wouldn't be having to carry a rusty sandbag like Big Dave. I like Batista but he needs to feud with Finlay so he can go through the same secret/not so secret training that we were all privileged to watch Lashley go through. You know, where Fit actually taught the rookie psychology and we all thought those were matches! Booker vs. Benoit in a cage match to end it all. OR What if Chris went over to ECW and put The Big Show in his place? He’d thrive there as well. And he’d be able to have matches with CM Punk and Sabu "reviving the wars they’ve had not to mention Sabu being able to finally gain revenge for nearly being crippled for life by Benoit. Bottom line though is Benoit should be getting his shots again.
Aaron Stone wrote:
"This is in stark contrast to some of the current members of the WWE roster who I shouldn't even have to name for you all to figure out."

Sorry but I don't know which wrestlers are you actually reffering too. In case you are referring to MVP, that is a just gimmick. I think a major criteria to be a wrestler is to put your body on the line which all of the WWE stars do (and all wrestlers for that matter).

"I think Benoit's entrance theme is also very powerful on occasions such as these and shouldn't be underestimated in adding to the emotion of the moment."

Subjective...but his entrance never really did anything for me. He kind of just walks out and maybe slaps some of the fans' hands. An exciting entrance would be that of the Rock's, HBK, Undertaker, and Stone Cold. What do you mean by powerful? I'd like to be a little bit more clear before I respond any further on this.

"Looking back at Chris Benoit's world heavyweight title reign in 2004, I was overly harsh. Now with the benefit of hindsight I can look back on Benoit's title reign and declare that it was filled with tremendous wrestling."

But his career has always been filled with this. The reason many people are angry about his title reign is becuase it wasn't long. You say four months is a good time for a title reign which is really sad (even though it unfortunatly is...I miss the days where the champion's reigns lasted like 7 months). Considering what Beniot has done for the business, many fans think he deserves much more.

Benoit Champion for a 2nd time

I'd have to go no for this but not because of his speaking skills. All three champions have no mike skills (Cena probably being the worse...its like verbal diarreah), so I'd have to disagree with you that Vince takes mike skills into deciding who's the champion will be (Rey didn't have exceptional speaking skills either). Generally though, it is a very valuable thing if your top star can talk the talk as well as walk the walk (that's why the Attitude Era did so well...because WCW was lacking this) Making Benoit champion would be like making the Undertaker champion. They had their day and now its their job to push the up and comming stars (Orton, Kennedy).

On another note...what is up with the Shelton columns this week???
Jason "Xtremefalls" Simmons wrote:
First off after WWE Backlash they went to WWE Bad Blood where he wrestled Kane. Second Benoit's title run was a complete flop whether or not that's his fault the WWE hasn't forgot. I personally think Triple H completely squashed the title run of Benoit and hindered any chance of Benoit being a huge deal in his title run. However I think on Smackdown he might be able to get another run but if he does it will be as a heel.
Brent Matthew Denny wrote:
Am I for or against Chris Benoit having a second title reign and being a 2 time WWE Champion. You better believe I am 100% for The Rabid Wolverine/The Crippler Chris Benoit having a second title reign. An I agree with almost everything you said about him but before I get to the one point I don’t agree with allow me to give you my opinion on Chris Benoit.

Let me start off by saying I never watched Benoit when he was in WCW basically because I am a WWE fan always have been from the age of god knows how old to the day I die. An I didn’t watch him when ECW was an independent company (independent of Vince McMahon I mean) because I don’t think we got ECW over here in the UK.

However from the moment Chris Benoit first appeared in the WWE which was in January 2000 along with Dean Malenko Perry Saturn and the late Eddie Guerrero. From the moment he appeared I liked him and the funny thing is I didn’t know why I liked him, because I’d never seen him wrestle and usually I judge a wrestler on their wrestling ability, sometimes it’s on gimmick or appearance, but generally it’s on what I think of their wrestling ability. This time however I liked a wrestler/Benoit and I didn’t even know why. However I think I do now the reason that I liked Benoit right from the get go was because for the first and maybe the only time in my life I saw what many people in wrestling call the "it" factor. An I saw "it" in Chris Benoit and I think the first time I saw him wrestle proved to me that he had "it" It wasn’t just his abilities in the ring it was the way he walked to the ring the way he looked it was the whole package. I felt I believed and I saw the passion the Benoit had and still does have I saw the potential I saw the drive I saw what made Chris Benoit The Crippler The Rabid Wolverine and I liked it. An I liked him.

An I liked it when he won the Intercontinental Championship from Kurt Angle ironically by beating Chris Jericho via pinfall at Wrestlemania 2000 in a triple threat match.

I loved it when Chris Benoit defeated the Rock at Fully Loaded a few months later and became WWF Champion. An I hated it when Commissioner Mick Foley reversed the decision and showed favouritism to his friend the Rock.

I loved it when on January 5th 2004 after 62 minutes of wrestling 29 men Chris Benoit finally won "the big one" the Royal Rumble and became "technically" the No.1 Contender and was guaranteed a shot at a WWE Championship at The Royal Rumble.

Now I personally would have preferred it had Benoit faced Lesnar at Wrestlemania 20 simply because of the build up the WWE had done between them with Benoit making Lesnar tap Heyman protecting Brock by making Chris Benoit No.1 in the Rumble etc. However for some reason the WWE decided to shift him from SD! To RAW and fight Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship which would have also been a good one on one match but partly I think because it was Wrestlemania 20. The WWE decided to throw in a little extra dimension to the match and had HBK be apart of the match making it the first ever Wrestlemania World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match.

(An here is where I disagree with you) Yes Wrestlemania 20 was a pleasure to watch and yes Hunter and Shawn deserve to be given credit for what they did in that much but I don’t agree with what you said about them making the match because in my personal opinion all three of those guys made the match equally. An that is why at Backlash there was a re-match and I personally think that had there been a "3rd" Screwjob (first being Bret second being Hogan) the fans that night would have probably caused a riot.

I also feel that despite how good of a champion Chris Benoit was a part of me feels like the WWE only gave him the belt to hold until they where ready to put it on Randy Orton. That’s just my personal opinion because had I been in charge I would of allowed Benoit to hold on to it longer.

Anyway moving on. I too have watched the Chris Benoit DVD Hard Knocks and your right in what you say about the man. Chris is a genuine guy unfortunately I’ve never personally met him (would love too though) and he isn’t an egomaniac or anything like that. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from or the people who helped him become who he is for example Stue Hart etc. An he really does love the business he really does love wrestling.

An I agree with you that the next No.1 contender after Batista or maybe after Batista wins the title from Booker T. Either way at some point either before 2007 or in 2007 I would like to see Chris Benoit compete with the WWE Champion and win it because in my humble opinion. Chris Benoit is what Bret Hart calls/called himself he is "The Best There Is, The Best There Was And The Best That There Ever Will Be" as far as technical wrestling is concerned. An he is "The Excellence Of Execution" as well and I say technical wrestling. However I am willing and I will go out on a limb here and say that Chris Benoit is the greatest wrestler of this generation. If not of all time.

An to end this response I'd just like to say to anybody reading this something the man in question used to say. -------- Prove me wrong.
Kevin L. wrote:
I'm not the first to say this but in my opinion Benoit wasn't given the chance to be the main headliner even though he was the champ. He did make HHH & HBK tap out as well as defeating Kane so was made to look strong but I never felt that he was made to look like 'the man' on RAW. For example the HHH/HBK HIAC was more hyped than his world title match against Kane at Bad Blood. He also had to take a back seat at times during RAW. I'm totally for Benoit getting a title feud win or loose (preferably win) because any time Benoit is involved it always feels important and real whether it's for the US title, World title, pride or even sticking up for Eugene. I'd rather see him as a face but I could handle him turning heel if that got him back to the top. I hate to say it but I think Batista is next in line for a title shot after this champion of champions crap blows over and Benoit may just be used to drag out the stupid Chavo/Rey feud when Rey gets knee surgery or whatever. Best case scenario, Benoit drops the US title eventually to Chavo and gets his shot for the world title in the first half of next year. Good column.
Anto G. wrote:
There is almost no chance that Chris Benoit will become a two-time WWE Champion because of his rubbish verbal skills, lack of personality and being overshadowed mostly by HHH and Co. It's a shame really because he really is one of the best wrestlers in our generation if not of all time but people like Kurt Angle will always be better in terms of the total package. Granted he had some great matches in his time as champion but in reality, ratings were dropping dramaticly under his reign and he wasn't the "exciting" choice or he wasn't "larger then life" . A heel run is his only salvation for him.
James Mason wrote:
I'm definitely up for Chris Benoit becoming World Champion in the WWE one more time. Unfotunately the WWE won't slap the strap on someone unless they can sell-out T-Shirts or have the entire auidence screaming "You Suck!" at the top of their lungs. Benoit is well over due for a second World Heavyweight Championship reign, and a third championship reign for that matter. But the WWE doesn't see things the way we see it. While Vince McMahon himself "claims" to be a fan of experienced technical wrestlers like Benoit, the fact of the matter is, if the WWE doesn't think he's over or he's gonna sell a crap load of T-Shirts, the WWE isn't going to give Benoit his due. He may get one more short title reign before he retires, but he desreves much more!
David Hanthorn wrote:
I fully agree that Chris Benoit deserves another title reign. However, first of all, there's really no way to go back and capture the magic of the lead-up to his first reign. If people thought his first reign was a flop, then those same people would crap all over the second one, without having that tremendous backstory to it. Second, Benoit doesn't need a title belt in order to get over. Third, he doesn't have the style or personality to really thrive in the WWE main event scene, which is what WWE wants as their champion. I mean, yes, Benoit is the greatest wrestler in the WWE. He can lay legitimate claim to being the best in the world. But when's the last time "wrestling" was a prerequisite for being World Champion or WWE Champion? Benoit is an incredibly rare talent, in that you can put him in any match on any card and he will stand out. You can put him on the main event of Velocity, and he will give you the same effort as when you put him as the main event of Wrestlemania. He is amazing to watch in the ring, against any style of opponent. That, in my mind, makes a great candidate for a champion. But the WWE is personality driven rather than talent driven, and the basic fact of the matter is that there are people the WWE are more willing to put the strap on. Chris Benoit is an artist in the ring, and certainly deserves another title reign, and a lengthy one at that. However his "style" is not what the WWE wants. They want people who can sell merchandise, crossover into film and TV, et cetera, and there are people who are better at that. Therefore, at this point WWE will not put the title on Benoit unless there are no other viable options.
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