Weight: 224 lbs
Real Name: Chris Benoit
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Other Names: Pegasus Kid (New Japan, WWF), White Pegasus, Wild Pegasus (NJ), "The Crippler" (ECW, WCW)
Wrestler Since: 1986
Finishing Maneuvers: Crippler Crossface, Swandive Off The Top Rope
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #29(2006), #13(2005), #1(2004), #13(2003), #3(2001), #3(2000), #20(1999), #19(1998), #10(1997), #18(1996), #46(1995), #43(1994), #44(1993), #99(1992), #107(1991)
Other Related Websites:
History: (Last Updated 6/26/2007)
The Four Horsemen - Rollercoaster Bio
Chris Benoit - Online World of Wrestling Bio
Chris Benoit - Wikipedia Bio
Weight: 224 lbs
Real Name: Chris Benoit
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Other Names: Pegasus Kid (New Japan, WWF), White Pegasus, Wild Pegasus (NJ), "The Crippler" (ECW, WCW)
Wrestler Since: 1986
Finishing Maneuvers: Crippler Crossface, Swandive Off The Top Rope
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #29(2006), #13(2005), #1(2004), #13(2003), #3(2001), #3(2000), #20(1999), #19(1998), #10(1997), #18(1996), #46(1995), #43(1994), #44(1993), #99(1992), #107(1991)
Other Related Websites:
History: (Last Updated 6/26/2007)
"The Crippler" Chris Benoit had a tremendous career in the wrestling industry. He was a former World Champion in multiple organizations, and quite possibly had several more reigns laid out in front of him. Tragically, though, it's what he did in his days, away from the squared circle, that the Rabid Wolverine will be remembered for.
Chris Benoit's wrestling life was shaped very early on, as he grew up practicing with Stu Hart and his family in Canada. Growing up with the likes of Bret and Owen Hart, The Dynamite Kid, the British Bulldog, and others helped Benoit become very skilled in his future craft. He began his career in the Stampede Federation, where he eventually won the Calgary Stampede Tag-Team titles with Ben Bassarab in March 1986 over Wayne Farris and Ron Starr. The two lost the belts less than a month later. Two months later, Benoit came back with Keith Hart to reclaim the Tag-Team titles from Farris and the Cuban Assassin. Again, however, Benoit was the Tag-Team champion for less than a month. In 1987, Benoit ventured to New Japan Pro Wrestling, training there for most of the year before returning to Stampede to try his luck at the singles brackets.
In March '88, Benoit defeated Gama Singh to become the Stampede British-Commonwealth Middle Heavyweight Champion. This belt Benoit managed to hold onto for 2 months before losing to Johnny Smith. A week later, Benoit beat Smith in the rematch to reclaim his belt. A week after that, Smith won the deciding rematch, and Benoit opted to head back to tag-team wrestling. Pairing up with Lance Idol, Benoit won the Stampede Tag-Team titles for the third time, beating the Cuban Assasin and Jerry Morrow in October '88. The two lost the titles in less than a month to the Cuban Commandoes. Soon after, Benoit and Idol broke up, and Benoit headed back into the singles bracket, defeating Johnny Smith again to win the Stampede Mid-Heavyweight Title for the third time. In April, he also won the Tag-Team titles again, this time with Biff Wellington. He lost both titles in June '89, but quickly regained the Mid-Heavyweight Title, which he held for another month before losing to Gama Singh. Soon after, Benoit left for overseas, becoming the masked Pegasus Kid.
Benoit did not take long to show his skills, winning the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title from Justin "Thunder" Liger in August 1990. Liger took the title back in November, causing Benoit to continent-hop again, appearing in the UWF in Mexico. Benoit won the WWF Light-Heavyweight Title in March '91 from Villano III and held the title for over 6 months before Villano III was able to reclaim it. Benoit next went to Germany, where he and David Taylor won the CWA World Tag-Team Titles from Miles Zrno and Franz Schumann. The two held the belts for more than 6 months before Taylor was injured. Benoit then began to split his time in New Japan and, for the first time, WCW, appearing there during the summer of '92 with Beef Wellington in the NWA World Tag-Team Title Tournament, from which they were promptly eliminated. Benoit would stay in WCW for the next year, but rarely got any major victories before leaving to go back to Japan full-time.
Benoit started making waves in 1993, when he came out victorious (as Pegasus Kid) in the Top of the '93 Super Junior Tournament, a very prestigous event in Japan. Soon after, though, Pegasus Kid lost a "Mask vs. Mask" match with Jushin Thunder Liger. His identity revealed, Benoit began calling himself "Wild Pegasus". Benoit's next major victory came in the Super J Cup '94, where he defeated Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero), Gedo, and the Great Sasuki to claim the crown of Best Lightweight Champion. "Wild Pegasus" would also later win the Jr. Heavyweight Super Grade Tag League '94 with Shinjiro Ohtani. With multiple victories under his belt in Japan, Benoit decided to once again venture back to the US, getting a deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling.
In ECW, Benoit truly began to build his wrestling image, wrestling in a massive feud with Sabu. During one brawl, Benoit badly injured Sabu's back, putting him on the shelf for a while. This earned Benoit the nickname "The Crippler", a name that has stayed with him throughout his career. Benoit later began teaming with Dean Malenko, which became another long-lasting alliance. Benoit & Malenko defeated Sabu and the Tazzmaniac in February '95 to win the ECW Tag-Team Titles. The two wrestlers were later joined by Shane Douglas, forming the infamous Triple Threat. Benoit & Malenko lost the belts to the Public Enemy in April, and Benoit soon departed from ECW to go back to Japan. Benoit, renewing "Wild Pegasus", made his mark once more, winning the '95 Best of the Super Juniors by defeating his former partner, Shinjiro Ohtani. With another tournament victory under his belt, Benoit became a hot item, and soon signed with WCW for the second time.
Benoit became a popular singles wrestler soon after his arrival in WCW, attracting the attention of many of his peers. He teamed some with Malenko, who had joined WCW with him, while also building a reputation as a solid technical wrestler. In 1996, Benoit joined the IV Horsemen, along with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and the late Brian Pillman. This led to a long feud with Kevin Sullivan of the Dungeon of Doom, where the two met in some very brutal matches over the next year. It later involved Woman, the manager of the Horsemen (and Sullivan's wife at the time), whom Benoit had convinced to leave Sullivan, and Miss Jacqueline, who came in managing Sullivan. During this time, Benoit also had short feuds with Malenko, Chris Jericho, Jeff Jarrett, and Meng.
But no matter who came along, Benoit always returned to Sullivan. The wrestlers battled in various matches, from Falls Count Anywhere to a San Francisco Death match. Usually, Benoit came out on top. The two men faced off a final time at Bash at the Beach '97, where Benoit won a "Retirement" match, sending Sullivan out of WCW and ending the great feud between them. In the meantime, Benoit and the Horsemen were also battling against the new scourge of the nWo. The Horsemen battled the nWo repeatedly over the middle months of '97, and eventually signed to fight in a War Games match at Fall Brawl '97. During this time, Arn Anderson retired, giving his slot in the Horsemen to Curt Hennig. This proved to be disasterous, as Hennig betrayed the Horsemen to the nWo, helping them to win the War Games match. Soon after, the Horsemen were disbanded by Ric Flair, leaving Benoit without a stable.
Benoit moved on, though, soon finding a new adversary to battle against in Raven and his Flock. Benoit had many classic matches against Raven's minions, especially Perry Saturn, who he faced at Starrcade '97. Finally, Benoit got his fight against Raven, defeating the Flock leader in a No DQ match at Souled Out '98. This earned Benoit some respect from Diamond Dallas Page, who was the US Champion at the time. DDP offered Benoit a shot at the title, which Benoit accepted. But interference from the Flock kept the men from fighting as they wished. The two battled side-by-side against the Flock, then finally got the match they wished, meeting against each other for the US belt at Superbrawl VIII. DDP managed to come out on top in the match, which was again marred by the Flock. This eventually led to a Three-Way Dance for the gold between Benoit, DDP, and Raven, where Page again emerged victorious, ending the feud.
Benoit's next feud was with the Television Champion, Booker T. The two great wrestlers had some very scientific battles in March and April '98, most of which ended in draws. They fought at Spring Stampede '98, with Booker T winning in the end to keep his title. But this was nowhere near the end of the feud. At the end of April '98, Benoit finally tasted gold in WCW, defeating Booker T at a house show to take the TV Title. The reign lasted approximately one day before Booker T regained the belt at the next show. The day after that, Benoit once again won the Television Championship, at another house show. Then, for the fourth show in a row, the TV Title changed hands, with Booker T getting it back. In one week, Benoit won and lost the TV Title twice.
Benoit heated up the feud by helping Dave "Fit" Finlay defeat Booker T at a Nitro, creating a new champion. Benoit then faced Finlay for the title at Slamboree. But a distraction from Booker T proved Benoit's undoing, allowing Finlay to get the win and stay the champion. This started one of the greatest times in Benoit's career, as he fought Booker T in a Best-of-7 series to determine who would face Finlay at the next Pay-Per-View. Benoit and Booker T fought 6 matches in a row, on every show WCW had to offer, and were tied at 3-3 when the crucial 7th match took place on a Nitro. The match was marred, though, by an appearence from Bret Hart, who was trying to recruit his fellow Canadian into the nWo. Hart hit Booker T with a chair to help Benoit win, but Benoit wouldn't make the pin, instead telling the referee what had happened and getting himself DQ'ed. Booker T later arranged for there to be a final match between the two at Bash at the Beach '97, making the final decision on the #1 Contender. In a great match, Booker T came out victorious, and Benoit moved on.
In 1998, Benoit, along with Malenko and Steve "Mongo" McMichael, began an effort to reform the Horsemen, pleading with the retired Arn Anderson to bring them back together. During this time, Benoit injured his arm, staying out of action for the next few months and only appearing to try and change Anderson's mind. In September '98, it all paid off, as Benoit, Malenko, and McMichael were joined by a returning Ric Flair, renewing the IV Horsemen. Benoit would return to action the next month, but the elbow still bothered him, keeping him from any long-term feuds. He did battle against Bret Hart, Raven, Kanyon, and a few others during the rest of '98, but mainly stayed with the Horsemen against the nWo.
In February '99, Benoit & Malenko entered the WCW Tag-Team Title Double Elimination Tournament, winning various matches over tough opposition to move up in the rankings. They did take a loss to Curt Hennig & Barry Windham, though, hurting their chances. The two Horsemen continued fighting, though, moving to the Finals at Superbrawl IX after defeating Bryan Adams & Horace Hogan in a Steel Cage match. During the fight, Benoit hit an amazing Flying Headbutt from the top of the cage. This allowed Malenko to make the pin. In the finals, Benoit & Malenko got a win over Hennig & Windham, but then lost the second fight, which won the titles for their opponents.
Benoit and Malenko continued taking the fight to Hennig and Windham, however, and, with help from Arn Anderson, won the Tag-Team Titles from the two at Uncensored '99 in a Lumberjack with Straps match. By this time, the IV Horsemen had begun their transformation back into a heel organization. Benoit and Malenko became more violent, attacking other wrestlers. At the end of March '99, the two began a feud with Raven & Saturn, which cost them the tag-team titles when Raven used his Evenflow DDT on Malenko, allowing Rey Mysterio Jr and Kidman to claim the titles. Benoit & Malenko met Raven & Saturn at Spring Stampede '99 where, after help from Anderson once again, they came out with the victory. They then declared war on both Raven/Saturn and Mysterio/Kidman, wrestling them for the next few weeks. In a 3-Way Tag Team Title Match at Slamboree '99, the three teams faced off. Due to Kanyon's interference, however, Raven and Saturn came out on top with the belts.
A few weeks into June '99, Benoit and Dean Malenko surprised many, leaving the Horsemen and Ric Flair and teaming instead with the Youth Movement. Benoit began wrestling Flair and his allies, fighting against the toughest opponents around. Since Diamond Dallas Page and Bam-Bam Bigelow were with Flair, Benoit teamed with Saturn to win the tag-team titles. Unfortunately, they only held the belts for a few days before losing them to DDP and Kanyon at The Great American Bash '99. Saturn and Benoit stayed unified as a tag-team, though, continuing to fight the Triad as well as Flair and his friends.
At Bash at the Beach '99, Saturn and Benoit challenged the Triad (DDP, Bigelow, and Kanyon) for the tag belts. But the three-on-two advantage was too great, as Saturn was hit by a Diamond Cutter-Ashbury Park combination and pinned. This did not deter the two wrestlers, however, as they joined with Dean Malenko and Shane Douglas to form the Revolution. In August '99, Benoit began a minor feud with his former nemesis/ally, Diamond Dallas Page. They became scheduled to face each other at the next PPV. However, before that occured, Benoit was given his biggest shot yet. When Dusty Rhodes took over the Committee job, he signed David Flair to defend the US Title against Benoit at a Nitro. Benoit took advantage of the match, seriously beating down Flair and bringing the glory back to the United States Title, Benoit's biggest belt so far in WCW.
Going into Road Wild '99, Benoit and DDP's match took on new meaning with the US Title belt involved. After a furious match that later included the other members of the Triad, Benoit retained the US belt with the Diving Headbutt. Benoit and the Revolution then began a major feud with Sid Vicious and Rick Steiner. This was not Benoit's only concern, though, as at an August Nitro, he competed in a Battle Royal to decide a Heavyweight contender. Benoit and Malenko were the last in the ring, but it was broken up by Vicious, who was scheduled to face Benoit that Sunday at Fall Brawl '99.
During the Fall Brawl match, Benoit used the Crippler Crossface, but somehow Sid escaped it, then was able to win over Benoit to take the US Title. Benoit claimed at the next Nitro that Sid tapped out, but this did not change the outcome of the match. Benoit then faced Malenko in a rematch, and defeated him, with the rest of the Revolution standing guard. Benoit was supposed to get a title shot that night, but instead fought Rick Steiner for the Television belt. Benoit took it in stride, defeating Steiner and getting another title right after losing the US belt.
On October 4th, at a Monday Nitro, Benoit had a historic match with Bret "Hitman" Hart. The two men dedicated their bout to Owen Hart, Bret's brother, who had been killed in a tragic wrestling accident earlier in the year. Benoit and Hart both put on their best moves, with the fans behind both stars. In the end, Hart won the match, but both men were winners that night, as they shook each other's hand afterwards. The emotion in both wrestlers was very obvious to see. It was a very moving time.
After the tribute, though, Benoit began having problems with the Revolution, as they questioned his heart. Benoit had started teaming with Hart against Rick Steiner and Lex Luger. In a confrontation between Benoit at the rest of the Revolution members, Benoit announced that the Hart family had made him, not the Revolution. He then took off his Revolution shirt and left the ring. Benoit continued his feud with Rick Steiner, and the two again clashed for the Television Title, this time at Halloween Havoc '99. In the end, Steiner got an unclean victory and left with the belt, after Dean Malenko interfered, attacking Benoit. This started a personal feud between Benoit and the Revolution, which would go on and off for the next few months.
In November '99, it was announced that, since Sting had struck an official, the World Heavyweight Title was vacant. A WCW World Title Tournament was held throughout the end of October and into November, leading to the PPV WCW Mayhem. Benoit acquited himself well, throwing himself into the main event picture. In the tournament, Benoit defeated Dean Malenko, Madusa, and Scott Hall before going to the semi-finals at Mayhem. In the match, Benoit and Jeff Jarrett fought a great match, with Benoit coming out on top after knocking out Jarrett with his own guitar. This sent Benoit to the finals against fellow Canadian Bret "Hitman" Hart. The two men had another great match, with some interference from Dean Malenko and the Outsiders. Benoit managed the Crippler Crossface at one point, but Hart was able to reverse it into the Sharpshooter. Hart got the victory and the World Title, leaving Benoit close, but no cigar.
In December, Benoit fought with the Outsiders, Hall & Nash, & Jeff Jarrett, the man he had beaten in the semi-finals of the tournament. Benoit teamed with Bret Hart for most of the month against the trio, as well as against Sid Vicious & Bill Goldberg. Benoit had a short feud with the US Champion, Scott Hall, with the two being scheduled to fight in a Ladder match at Starrcade '99. However, Hall was forced to forfeit due to injury, and the belt was given to Benoit. Benoit refused to win that way, though, and instead fought Jarrett for the vacated title at the PPV. It was another great match, with Benoit climbing the ladder and getting the US strap for the second time. The joy was short-lived. The next Nitro, Jarrett and Benoit had a return match. This time Jarrett's henchmen were ready, rigging one of the ladders to break apart when Benoit climbed it. This allowed Jarrett to recover and take out Benoit, climbing a different ladder to get the gold.
Benoit, with Sid Vicious, feuded with Jarrett and the rest of the nWo for the next few weeks. Benoit was supposed to face Jarrett for the US Title at Souled Out, but better things were scheduled for Benoit. It was announced that Bret Hart, due to injury, would be vacating the World Title. This time, Benoit did not waste his chance. He defeated his old friend/foe Sid Vicious at Souled Out '00, winning his first WCW World Championship. Even with being given the top belt in the field, though, Benoit wasn't satisfied. He left WCW the next day, and headed for the WWF. The decision at Souled Out was reversed, making Benoit a one-day WCW World Champion.
Benoit entered the WWF with former WCW wrestlers Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Eddy Guerrero at the end of January '00. The group became known as the Radicalz. After forcing their way onto the show, apparently without contracts, they earned their way into the WWF, with the help of Cactus Jack (Mick Foley). Unfortunately, after they got their contracts from Hunter Hearst Helmsley, they turned on Cactus, becoming a heel group partially aligned with Degeneration-X. This led to a feud with Rikishi Phatu and the tag-team Too Cool. Benoit, Saturn, and Malenko met Rikishi and Too Cool at No Way Out '00 (Guerrero was injured), with the Too Cool team getting the win. Not long afterwards, Benoit and the Radicalz began to drift apart, as Benoit moved into the singles brackets.
As the rest of the Radicals worked to settle their differences in the ring and outside of it, Benoit went on his own, showcasing the skills that made him a star in WCW. Benoit soon became a mega heel in the face of the fans, as he battled against Chris Jericho and other wrestlers in the WWF. Benoit also had a few main event matches, including a Cage match against the Rock. Benoit started concentrating on Jericho and the Intercontinental and European Champion, Kurt Angle. The three wrestlers met in a Two Falls match for both belts at Wrestlemania 2000. Benoit surprised many by making the first pinfall, covering Jericho and walking out with the Intercontinental strap, his first WWF gold. Jericho, however, won the second fall, taking out Benoit to earn the European Title.
Jericho and Benoit continued to fight it out all across America, usually to the thrill of the fans. Benoit also teamed some with his former allies with the Radicalz, apparently keeping some ties with them. Benoit & Jericho met up at Backlash '00 in a great match, with both men using their submission finishers. In the end, Benoit tried the Swandive, but Jericho put the IC Title up as Benoit fell, causing Benoit to land on it. This caused the DQ win for Benoit. A few days later, Benoit fought a rematch with Jericho. During the match, Benoit became angry with the referee, whom he thought wasn't doing a quick enough count. He shoved the ref out of the ring. This gave Jericho an opening, and he used it, knocking out Benoit with the gold. Jericho then got a Moonsault and made the pin, defeating Benoit and leaving with the Intercontinental Title. A few days later, Benoit & Jericho clashed again, this time with Hunter Hearst Helmsley as the special guest referee. With HHH's help, Benoit got the victory and the IC Title back.
A few days before Benoit and Jericho were scheduled to face off at the PPV, Benoit was viciously attacked by Hardcore Holly, injuring his knee. Benoit wore a knee brace for the next few weeks. Benoit still met Jericho at Judgment Day '00 in an I Quit Match for the Intercontinental Title. Benoit came out on top after putting on the Crippler Crossface for the third time, making Jericho pass out. Benoit had a short feud with Hardcore Holly for the next month, as well as continuing problems with Jericho, leading up to King of the Ring '00. Benoit defeated X-Pac in the Qualifying round to get to the PPV tournament. The Smackdown before the King of the Ring, Benoit took on Rikishi, the wrestler he would face in the Quarterfinals. Surprisingly, Rikishi got his Banzai Drop and won both the match and the Intercontinental Title.
At The King of the Ring '00, an infuriated Benoit faced off against Rikishi again. At one point, Benoit got on the Crippler Crossface, but Rikishi was able to escape. The Crippler then lost control, attacking Rikishi with a steel chair. Benoit was DQ'ed and out of the tournament, but he didn't seem to care, using everything he had to injure the big wrestler. Benoit and Rikishi would feud for a few weeks, with no real deciding factor between them. Benoit then moved onto bigger game, joining with Shane McMahon and Edge & Christian against the Rock, Eddie Guerrero, Chyna, and others.
Soon, Benoit began challenging the Rock for his WWF World Title, and after repeated altercations, the match was granted. In the weeks leading up to the PPV, both wrestlers got in good attacks. Benoit used the Crippler Crossface on the Rock, while the Rock later hit the Rock Bottom on Benoit on a limo. At Fully Loaded '00, Benoit got his first WWF World Title shot. He gave the Rock all he could handle in the bout. At one point, the ref was knocked out by Shane McMahon. But the ref, believing that the Rock had hit him, declared Benoit the winner when he recovered. Benoit and McMahon rejoiced, since the belt could change hands on a DQ that night. But Commissioner Mick Foley came out and restarted the match, and the Rock eventually won out with the Rock Bottom, keeping the World belt.
The feud between the Crippler and the Rock continued for a few more weeks. On a Raw is War, Benoit and the Rock met up in a No DQ match for the World Title, with Shane McMahon helping Benoit constantly. Near the end, Benoit got the Rock in the Crippler Crossface, but was then attacked by Chris Jericho, who Powerbombed him on a chair. The Rock was then able to recover and get the Rock Bottom for the win. This reawakened the feud between Jericho and Benoit, with the two clashing on numerous occasions, usually denying the other a title victory. At Summerslam '00, they fought in a 2-out-of-3-Falls Match. Benoit forced Jericho to tap out to the Crippler Crossface for the first fall. The second one was won by the Walls of Jericho, tying the series. The match finally was concluded when Benoit rolled Jericho over and held onto the ropes, getting the third pin.
After defeating Jericho again, Benoit returned his sights to the top of the WWF, going after the Rock. This soon involved the Undertaker and Kane, both of whom thought they deserved to be the #1 Contender. The four men would feud for the next month, facing off against each other, leading up to Unforgiven '00, where they were booked in a Fatal Fourway World Title match. During the bout, Benoit managed a 3-count pin on the Undertaker, apparently winning the World Title. But just like before, the win was thrown out by Mick Foley, who claimed that the Undertaker's feet were in the ropes. This started the battle again, with Benoit first feeling the Undertaker's chokeslam, followed by the Rock Bottom, which got the Rock the victory. The Rock kept the title, while Benoit was once again denied.
At the next Raw, Benoit came and demanded a rematch against the Rock, since he had the win stolen from him. It was later signed for the main event. During the fight, Shane McMahon was accidentally knocked out by Benoit. Shane's sister, Stephanie, came down to the ring with Hunter Hearse Helmsley to check on him. After Benoit was shoved into HHH by the Rock, Helmsley attacked him, leaving him open for the Rock Bottom. This started a month-long feud between Benoit and Helmsley. Benoit also started going after Stephanie, Helmsley's wife. The two men fought at No Mercy '00, where a distraction from Stephanie allowed Triple H to get a low blow, followed by the Pedigree, sending Benoit down to defeat. Benoit and HHH's feud soon tapered off, when Benoit reunited with the Radicalz, Malenko, Saturn, and Guerrero, and instead turned his attention towards the reformed Degeneration-X.
At The Survivor Series '00, the Radicalz battled against Degeneration-X, consisting of Billy Gunn, Chyna, K-Kwik, and the Road Dogg. Saturn scored the first pinfall, eliminating Chyna. Degeneration-X tied it up a few minutes later, with Gunn defeating Guerrero. A minute later, though, Benoit was able to take care of K-Kwik, then Saturn scored another pin, getting rid of the Road Dogg. Although Gunn was able to eliminate Malenko, Benoit got the final laugh, pinning Gunn and 'surviving' along with Saturn. Benoit's feud with Gunn was not settled, though, and after a few weeks of skirmishes, they were signed to fight at Armageddon '00, with Gunn's Intercontinental Title on the line. Benoit managed to handle things without interference, getting the Crippler Crossface and walking out with the WWF IC strap for the third time.
After a minor feud between the Radicalz and the Hardy Boys, Benoit again began fighting with Chris Jericho, his long-time WWF nemesis. The feud heated up when Benoit began bringing a ladder to the ring, saying that he wanted to end the feud with Jericho in a Ladder match. At The '01 Royal Rumble, the match took place between the two wrestlers. Benoit did get the Crippler Crossface on Jericho, but a submission doesn't count in a ladder match. After a long fight, Jericho managed to get up the ladder and get the gold, winning the match. After the PPV, Benoit entered a short feud with the Big Show, then went back after "his" Intercontinental Title.
A massive feud developed between Benoit, Jericho, Eddie Guerrero (who had had various problems with Benoit), and X-Pac. The four met for the Intercontinental Title at No Way Out '01. At first, Benoit & Guerrero worked as a team against Jericho and X-Pac. The unity soon broke down, though, with all four men fighting hard for the belt. Benoit nearly got the win at one point, after X-Pac's ally Justin Credible interfered, hitting Jericho. In the end, Benoit was knocked down by X-Pac's Spinning Heel Kick. While X-Pac celebrated, Jericho rolled him up for the victory, retaining the title.
Benoit's next major feud was with Kurt Angle, a man he had faced before. Benoit and Angle began calling each other out, and at one point, Benoit made Angle submit to the Crippler Crossface, the first time Angle had ever submitted. Angle later continued to claim to his friends that he hadn't submitted, almost desperate for it to be the truth. Angle later got revenge with his Ankle submission hold, forcing Benoit to tap the mat. At Wrestlemania XVII, the two fought it out, in a very scientific match that featured numerous submission holds. Benoit tried to win with the Swandive Headbutt, but only got a 2 count. In the end, Angle got a low blow, then rolled Benoit up to get the victory, clutching at the tights.
The next night on Raw, Jericho was getting double-teamed by Angle & Steven Regal. Benoit surprisingly came out, clearing the ring, saving his old arch-rival. Benoit & Jericho then stared at each other for a long period, before Jericho left the ring. The next Smackdown, Benoit was forced to fight both Regal & Ankle, and despite some great maneuvers, was finally overwhelmed and put in both the Regal Stretch and the Ankle Lock. With two submission holds applied, Benoit was forced to submit. After the match, Angle refused to release his hold, until Jericho came to Benoit's aid. Once again, Benoit & Jericho had a staredown. The aid the two men were showing each other caused concern in Commissioner Regal, who decided to make the two men fight each other at the next Raw. Regal also came out as the special referee, to prolong the match as long as possible. It backfired on the Commissioner, though, when both Benoit & Jericho snapped, pounding on him and locking on the Crippler Crossface and the Walls of Jericho at the same time.
At the next Smackdown, Regal made them pay, putting them in a four-on-two match against himself, Angle, & the tag-team champions, Edge & Christian. Benoit & Jericho worked great as a team against the odds, and both used their finishers at least twice during the match. But the numbers were too much, as Angle got the Olympic slam on Jericho, ending the match. Benoit & Jericho weren't done, though, locking Regal & Angle in their respective submission holds. Regal & Angle continued to work on breaking down Benoit & Jericho, though, getting them into a Tables match with the Dudley Boyz. Thanks to Angle's interference, Benoit went through the table, costing Benoit a tooth. At the next Smackdown, it was announced that Benoit and Angle would be facing off once again at Backlash '01, in a 30-minute Submissions Match, where the winner would be the one with the most submission falls. Angle tried to put on a Submission Expedition that night, with some unknown wrestlers, but Benoit broke it up and again got the Crossface on him, forcing Angle to tap out.
At Backlash '01, Benoit & Angle faced off in a "30 Minute Ultimate Submission" match to try and settle things between them. The winner of the match would be the ones with the most submissions after 30 minutes, with a 30-second rest period between them. The first fall was had by Angle, putting on a leglock and forcing Benoit to tap. But Benoit came right back, getting a cross-arm breaker, and evening the series. Angle later used a steel chair, knocking Benoit out long enough to get on his Ankle lock. Angle then continued to attack, ignoring the 30-second rule, then got the Crippler Crossface on Benoit to make it 3-1. Angle continued to dominate for the next few minutes, but Benoit fought back, getting a half-crab to force another submission. After more furious fighting, Benoit answered Angle's earlier insult, using the Ankle Lock to score the tying submission, bringing it to 3-3. With time running out, Angle twisted Benoit around and got him in the Ankle Lock, but Benoit held on until time expired, only tapping after the bell rang. This meant that the submission didn't count. The ref then declared that the match went into Sudden Death. Angle tried to keep the advantage, but Benoit managed to reverse a mat submission hold into the Crippler Crossface, getting the seventh and deciding submission to gain the victory.
At the next Raw, Angle came out, complaining about the match and calling Benoit a cheater. He claimed that, under Olympic rules, Sudden Death begins right after the time runs out, and since Benoit tapped, he should have won. He also said that Benoit will never know the sensation of being a gold medalist, of receiving the gold on the podium after winning. Benoit then made his way out, and agreed with Angle on part of what he had said. He said that Angle had become a legend for winning the gold, but despite all of his accomplishments, Benoit beat him, and there was nothing that would change that. Angle then attacked Benoit, but Benoit came back, tossing Angle headfirst over the ropes. With Angle trying to recover on the outside, Benoit picked up his gold medals and left. For the next few weeks, Benoit showed off the medals to Angle. He tried to use them for food at WWF New York, asking if the waiter took 'gold'. He also kept the medals in his pants, tarnishing them. Benoit & Angle met once again at WWF Insurrextion '01, the England PPV in May, with Benoit winning a 3 Falls match and keeping the medals.
As time progressed, Angle enlisted Edge & Christian to help him get his medals back. E & C then cornered Benoit at a show, saying that they needed the gold back to stop Angle from whining. They double-teamed the Crippler, but Chris Jericho came to his aid, allowing Benoit & Jericho to win out in the brawl. Eventually, another 3 Falls match was signed between Benoit & Angle, with the gold medals on the line. The two wrestlers faced off at Judgment Day '01, with three different rules for each fall. The first one was regular pinfall, and saw Angle using Benoit's own moves against him, hitting muliple German suplexes. But Angle messed up the Headbutt, missing when Benoit rolled out of the way. Benoit then got the Angle Slam on the Olympic Hero, allowing him to get the pin and the first fall. The next round was an I Quit match, and Benoit quickly locked on the Crossface, only to have Angle reach the ropes. After repeated attempts by both wrestlers, Angle eventually got the Ankle Lock on Benoit, forcing him to give up and making it even at one fall apiece.
The final fall was listed as a Ladder Match, with the gold medals dangling from the ceiling. Angle had the early advantage, with Benoit still down, but the ladder he chose was too small to reach the medals. Benoit then recovered and attacked, knocking him off the ladder. Both wrestlers used the ladder to their advantage as the match went on, landing some devestating shots with the weapon. In the end, Benoit seemed to have it won, when he got Angle in the Crippler Crossface, weakening him. But Edge & Christian came out and pulled Benoit out of the ring, double-teaming him. Although Benoit was able to fight off the double-team, Angle recovered and climbed the ladder, grabbing the medals and winning the match. Benoit finished off Edge & Christian, then entered the ring, grabbing the ladder, which Angle was still on, and shoving it over, sending Angle onto the top rope. Still, Angle won the night, reclaiming his gold and leaving Benoit, medal-less, in the ring.
Later that night, Jericho was scheduled to compete in the Tag-Team Turmoil match, which would determine the #1 Contender for the WWF Tag-Team Titles. Jericho's partner was unknown, with Jericho claiming that he would be a real party 'animal'. After multiple teams had been eliminated, X-Factor (Justin Credible & X-Pac) waited in the ring for Jericho and his partner, who was quickly revealed as Benoit. The two partners quickly dominated the X-Factor, even after Albert tried to interfere on behalf of his stable. Benoit & Jericho double-suplexed Albert, then put their respective submission holds on Credible & X-Pac to force the submission and move on to the final match of the Tag-Team Turmoil battle, against Edge & Christian. The two tag-teams battled back and forth, with neither team keeping the advantage for long. Chairs later came into play, as Edge & Christian went for their Con-Chair-To on Benoit. But Jericho stopped it, which allowed Benoit to get Christian in the Crippler Crossface for the submission victory, earning Benoit & Jericho a tag-team title shot the next night on Raw against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin & Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
During the night, Benoit & Jericho were pictured talking together, with Benoit reminding his partner of all they've been through in their careers together. He mentioned Stu Hart's Dungeon, Japan, Mexico, and even "down south", a thinly veiled reference to WCW. They then came out to take their shot at the tag-team champions. The match flowed back and forth, with the heels using any tactics to survive. Early on, Benoit got the Crossface on Austin, but had it broken up after a chair shot from Helmsley. The heels then dominated Benoit for a time, but he finally made the hot tag to Jericho, who managed to take down Austin and get the Walls of Jericho. The hold was again broken up by Triple H. Chaos took over, with Jericho putting HHH in the Walls of Jericho on the announce table, while Benoit hit the Headbutt in the ring on Austin. In the end, after Triple H accidentally hit Austin with his sledgehammer, Benoit took care of HHH, while Jericho hit the Lion Sault and made the cover, winning the tag-team titles for the faces.
At the next Smackdown, in retribution for the loss, Vince McMahon arranged for Benoit & Jericho to defend the tag-team belts against the Hardy Boyz, the Dudleyz, and Edge & Christian in the third installment of the Tables-Ladders-Chairs matches. It was a spotfest, featuring all sorts of painful maneuvers, mainly featuring the ladders that were set up in the ring. At one point, Benoit tried to dive off the turnbuckle with his headbutt into Matt Hardy. Hardy moved, however, and Benoit took the full brunt of the shot into the table, knocking himself out. One of the announcers, Tazz, left the broadcast location and checked on him, then called for help, and Benoit was stretchered out, leaving Jericho to fight on alone. After more spectacular maneuvers left the other seven wrestlers in various conditions in and out of the ring, Benoit returned, grimacing from the pain in his ribs. He went for the gold (hanging from a ladder), but was stopped by Edge, who, with his partner Christian, delivered a ConChairTo to Benoit's ribs, injuring him more. Benoit then stayed down as the rest battled furiously for the gold. After Edge speared Jericho from the ladders, though, Benoit returned once more, pulling himself painfully up the ladder and grabbing the gold before anyone could muster enough energy to stop him. This allowed Benoit & Jericho to retain the titles, keeping them the dominant tag-team in the WWF.
At the next Raw, both Benoit and Jericho came out and demanded a shot against the World Champion, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Vince McMahon, however, had other plans, putting Benoit in a match against Rhyno, while Jericho took on the Hardcore Champion, the Big Show. McMahon then said that he would decide, due to the matches, which wrestler would get a shot. Benoit handily defeated Rhyno with the Crippler Crossface, despite his taped-up ribs, and although Jericho did beat the Big Show and (briefly) become the Hardcore Champ, McMahon gave the title shot to Benoit. During the match-up, McMahon constantly interfered, trying to help his man win. Benoit got the Crippler Crossface on Austin, but McMahon pulled out the referee, Earl Hebner, who then shoved McMahon back and re-entered the ring. Benoit also got lots of cheers when he applied the Sharpshooter, with the Calgary fans in attendance recognizing the significance. Unfortunately for Benoit, McMahon saw it as well, and when Austin applied a version of the Crippler Crossface, McMahon immediately told them to ring the bell, giving Austin the win via submission. Afterwards, Austin gave the Stunner to the referee, but then he and McMahon were attacked by both Benoit and Jericho. Both put on their subsequent submission holds as the show ended, showing that they're still in the World Title hunt.
At the next Smackdown, Benoit gained another World Title shot against Austin, who basically demanded the chance for the rematch. The two had another epic war, with Benoit shocking nearly everyone by landing TEN german suplexes in a row on Austin, an unbelievable amount of punishment. Once again, though, Vince McMahon interfered just enough to allow Austin to recover, rolling up Benoit for the cheap victory. Once again, Benoit was denied the belt. The next Raw, as punishment for the beatings he put on both Austin & McMahon, Benoit had to battle the 7-foot-plus Big Show. Despite being caught by the throat while trying the flying headbutt, Benoit was able to get the Crippler Crossface on the 'giant', making him submit.
Benoit & Jericho next had to defend the Tag-Team Titles against Austin & McMahon at Smackdown. However, they had the odds against them, since they first had a non-title match with the APA. The champs managed to get by, though, after Jericho got his Lionsault on Farooq. "Commissioner" Regal continued to make things hard for Benoit & Jericho, though, putting them in another "warm-up" match against the Big Show & Rhyno. Benoit & Jericho again got past, this time winning via DQ after Rhyno used a chair on the wrestlers. With both men hurt, Regal immediately had the 'main event' start, bringing down Austin & McMahon, who dominated a good portion of the match. Austin even got stunners on both wrestlers. But in the end, a distracted Austin was rolled up by Benoit, who got the pinfall, allowing them to retain the belts.
The next week brought with it a big announcement, as, due to manipulations from CEO Linda McMahon and "Mankind" Mick Foley, the main event of the King of the Ring '01 PPV was made. It would be a Triple Threat match, between Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, & Steve Austin for the World Title! Benoit had other things to worry about that night, though, as he had been put into the main event match against Kurt Angle in a Steel Cage. The two wrestlers earned the ratings with their battle, with many impressive maneuvers, showing how well they knew each other. Angle, at one point, tried a moonsault off the top of the cage, luckily missing when Benoit got out of the way. Benoit later climbed to the top and seemed to be about to escape, when Austin, who was sitting at the announcing table, got up and grabbed a steel chair, waiting for him. Benoit then changed his direction, looking back at the downed Angle and leaping off with the Flying Swandive, smashing his head into Angle's chest from a great height! But Benoit was later ko'ed by Austin while trying to escape through the cage door, allowing Angle to climb up the other side and get out, winning the match. Benoit was then savagely beaten by Austin with a chair.
The wars between the Chris Canadian Connection and Austin continued in the next week, as Benoit & Jericho saved Molly Holly, Spike Dudley's girlfriend, from an Austin beatdown after Austin had defeated Spike in a Smackdown match. The next week, Benoit, Jericho, & Spike took on Austin & the Dudley Boyz in a 6-man tag, a brutal affair that ended with Austin getting put in both the Crippler Crossface and the Walls of Jericho! The referee, Earl Hebner, kept Austin in pain, tapping, for some time before calling for the bell, giving the win to the faces. On the next Smackdown, though, Austin claimed revenge during the Benoit/Jericho Tag-Team Title match against the Dudley Boyz. Benoit had the Crippler Crossface on Buh Buh, but since the ref was down, Austin was able to come in and knock out Benoit with the World Title, allowing the Dudleyz to win and take away the Tag-Team Titles. This added more fuel to the fire, leading up to King of the Ring '01.
At the PPV, the odds seemed to be in the corner of Benoit & Jericho. A rumor was announced that if Benoit or Jericho won, the World Title would be taken to the WCW camp. Both Benoit & Jericho neither confirmed or denied the rumor. The Triple Threat World Title match-up began with the two men double-teaming Austin, who was distracted since Vince McMahon wasn't there. But when Jericho accidentally hit Benoit, the alliance broke down, making it every man for himself. During the match, Benoit & Jericho realigned to put their double submission combo on Austin, making him tap. But the ref declared that only one man could win, keeping the match going. The WCW World Champion, Booker T, interfered, hitting the Bookend on Austin. Benoit and Jericho then went at it, exchanging multiple 2 counts. Jericho then superplexed Benoit off the turnbuckle, which allowed Austin to slip back in and pin Benoit, winning the match and retaining the World Title. It was later announced that Benoit was injured during the match, and was out of action. However, this was planned, as Benoit went under the knife with neck surgery in June '01.
WWE Raw: 2002
In March '02, a Brand Extension of WWE (as it was now named) was announced, with Ric Flair in charge of Raw, while Vince McMahon took over Smackdown. A draft of the wrestling superstars was put together, with both Flair and McMahon choosing the wrestlers they wanted on their shows. Surprisingly, McMahon used one of his picks on Benoit, who hadn't been seen in almost a year. This wouldn't change for a few more months, as Benoit was still healing and regaining strength in his neck. Still, it proved that McMahon and the rest of WWE were still ready to bring back the Rabid Wolverine.
On the May 27th Raw, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Benoit walked out at the beginning of the show, to the cheers of his hometown fans. Benoit said that, although he was drafted for Smackdown, he wasn't going to miss a chance to be in front of the fans, even if he still had a few weeks to go before coming back to the ring. Benoit was interrupted, though, by Eddie Guerrero, his former Radicalz teammate. Guerrero bragged about how he was the only talented member from their stable, and that he had the IC Title to prove it. Benoit shot back that he thought Rob Van Dam would take the title from Guerrero later in the night. Benoit & Guerrero got in each other's face, but were broken up by Ric Flair, the Raw General Manager, who ordered Benoit, a Smackdown star, to be taken out of the building. In the Ladder Match later that night, Guerrero lost the IC Title to Van Dam, just as Benoit predicted. Furious, Guerrero assaulted Van Dam, only to have Steve Austin run out to make the save. Flair & Arn Anderson ran out after him, but were surprisingly followed by Benoit, who looked to help Austin out. Instead, Benoit attacked Austin from behind, turning on the fans. Benoit & Guerrero then hugged as the night ended.
Benoit appeared with Guerrero & Flair in the ring the next week, talking about how he hated Austin, since Austin was the one who injured him a year before, putting him out of action. Austin then appeared on the big screen, attacking Arn Anderson. Since Benoit wasn't cleared to wrestle, and since Guerrero was already involved in a match, Austin demanded a fight against Flair, with his "Benched" status on the line. Stipulations were later added, with the winner getting the loser as his servant, as well as punches being declared illegal. Benoit tried to help Flair win, distracting the referee while Guerrero attacked Austin. But Austin came back to win with a Stone Cold Stunner, ending the match. Benoit seemed set to feud with Austin upon his return, but this didn't go down, as Austin walked away from the federation before the next Raw.
Another big change occured shortly thereafter, as Flair lost an "Ownership" Match to Vince McMahon, who gained control of both shows. Flair came out the next week and talked about how he had signed himself as a Raw wrestler right before he lost power, but he was interrupted by Guerrero, who complained about Flair "letting" Austin leave before Guerrero could fight him. Benoit came out after Guerrero and took Flair's side, flashing the 4 Horsemen signal. However, Benoit then turned on Flair as well, saying that now he won't have his chance to get revenge on Austin for the neck injury. Benoit & Guerrero teamed up on beating down Flair, before leaving together as a team. Guerrero would face Flair at King of the Ring '02, and Benoit tried hard to help him to victory, putting Flair in the Crippler Crossface at one point. But while the referee ordered Benoit to the back, Bubba Ray Dudley ran to the ring and took out Guerrero, allowing Flair to make the pin and get the victory.
On July 1, 2002, Benoit finally returned to the wrestling ring, teaming up with Guerrero against Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley. The Dudleys won the match when Bubba Ray hit the Bubba Bomb on Guerrero, but after the match, Benoit got some revenge, throwing Spike over the top rope and through a table. Benoit then applied the Crippler Crossface to Bubba Ray, even as Guerrero dropped the Frog Splash on Bubba Ray's back. The next week, Benoit helped Guerrero beat down on Booker T & Goldust after a match. Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley ran out for the save, though, nailing Benoit with a chair. Benoit faced Bubba Ray later that night, and with some help from Guerrero, forced him to tap out to the Crossface. The animosity in the building arranged for a major 10-man tag-team match to take place at the end of the night, with Benoit, Guerrero, Kevin Nash, X-Pac & the Big Show facing off against Booker T, Goldust, Bubba Ray, Spike & Rob Van Dam. Despite Nash injuring his knee during the match (he would need surgery), Benoit's team won, when Shawn Michaels entered and hit some Sweet Chin Music on Booker T, which was quickly followed by the Big Show's chokeslam for the win.
On the next Raw, Benoit & Guerrero teamed up with William Regal in an "Elimination" Match against Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley. Spike went first, being rolled up by Guerrero. Later on, when Regal went to hit Hardy with the European Title, Bubba Ray intercepted him, taking the title and hitting Regal instead. Unfortunately for him, the referee saw it, DQ'ing Bubba and leaving Hardy in a 3-on-1 situation. Hardy quickly eliminated the unconscious Regal with the Swanton Bomb, though, and later rolled up Guerrero, fighting to survive. But after Regal clocked Hardy with brass knuckles, Benoit put on the Crippler Crossface, winning the match when Hardy, unconscious, didn't respond. Benoit & Guerrero tried to put Hardy through a table after the match, but Spike & Bubba Ray made the save.
At Vengeance '02, Benoit & Guerrero were put in a "Tables Elimination" Match against Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley. There were a lot of good spots, including Bubba Ray tackling Spike to keep him from being thrown into a table. At one point, Benoit got the Crippler Crossface on Spike, but he couldn't be eliminated that way. The first one eliminated was Guerrero, with Spike putting him through a table on the outside with the Dudley Dog. This put the odds against Benoit, but he evened things up by tossing Spike over the top rope and through a table. Benoit then brawled with Bubba Ray, but he couldn't finish him off, as Bubba Ray reversed a German suplex into a Bubba Bomb through a table for the victory.
A day later, Benoit was put in a "#1 Contenders" Match for the Intercontinental Title against Booker T. An excellent match took place, with Benoit winning via the Crossface, setting him up to face Rob Van Dam the next week. Their match on Raw was another thriller, with Van Dam getting out of the Crossface not once but twice. But Benoit later used the ropes, getting a roll-up pinfall for the victory, winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. With the win, Benoit seemed happy on Raw. But Benoit & Guerrero turned their backs on Eric Bischoff at the beginning of August '02, when they surprisingly appeared on Stephanie McMahon's Smackdown to wrestle against Edge & the Rock (with an irate Bischoff escorted from the building by security). Thanks to Brock Lesnar distracting the Rock, Benoit got on the Crippler Crossface, actually forcing the Rock to tap and continuing his major winning streak.
WWE Smackdown: 2002
On the next Smackdown, during a match between Kurt Angle and John Cena, Benoit ran to the ring, putting the Crossface on Cena and causing the DQ. Rey Mysterio came out to make the save, only to be attacked himself by Eddie Guerrero. Edge then ran out to even things up, sending the heels from the ring. The six men fought in a tag match later in the show, which saw most of their finishing maneuvers, including a few German suplexes from Benoit on Edge. But the match was decided when Mysterio caught Angle with the 619 and the West Coast Pop, winning the match for his team. Benoit then started moving away from Guerrero, as he faced off against the World Champion, the Rock, the next week. Despite getting on the Crossface (thanks again to a Brock Lesnar distraction), Benoit fell to the Rock Bottom, losing the match.
At Summerslam '02, Benoit was put into a match against Raw star Rob Van Dam, in a long-awaited rematch for the Intercontinental Title. After an early flurry from Van Dam, Benoit began to dominate, using many different holds to wear down his opponent. Van Dam seemed ready to come back after Benoit missed his flying headbutt, but Benoit dodged the Five-Star Frog Splash and locked on the Crippler Crossface. Benoit would lock on the Crossface twice more during the match, but Van Dam continually got free from it, then reversed a superplex into a slam. Van Dam then climbed the turnbuckle and came off with his frog splash, winning the match and taking away the Intercontinental Title, with Benoit having no chance to regain it, due to them competing on separate shows.
Although Stephanie McMahon was angry at Benoit for losing the IC Title to Raw, she still placed him in the special #1 Contender's tournament series for the WWE Smackdown World Title. After Guerrero lost to Rikishi, Benoit ran in and helped Guerrero double-team him, with Edge making the save. Benoit later fought Rikishi in the tournament series, eliminating him with the Crippler Crossface. Benoit was then scheduled to face Kurt Angle in the finals of the tournament, but McMahon had other ideas, adding a stolen superstar from Raw to the mix: the Undertaker. Although Benoit worked hard in the match, having already wrestled before, the odds were against him, and he felt the Undertaker's Last Ride before being pinned, losing his shot at Brock Lesnar's title.
This caused more problems between Benoit and Angle, and matters weren't helped on the next show, when Angle was caught making fun of Benoit's Wolverine nickname. Benoit & Angle later teamed up with Guerrero against Rikishi, Edge & the Undertaker. During the match, Angle was given a Stinkface from Rikishi, which Benoit thought was hilarious. A furious Angle then attacked Benoit, and the two brawled to the back, unfortunately leaving Guerrero alone against 3 men. Not surprisingly, Guerrero was destroyed and pinned in short order. Benoit faced off with Rikishi in a match the next week, but Angle came down and interfered, causing the DQ, before holding Benoit's arms to get him a Stinkface as well. A laughing Angle left the arena, as Benoit angrily glared at him. Benoit would later demand a match against Angle at the next pay-per-view, which Stephanie McMahon granted him.
At Unforgiven '02, Benoit and Angle had another scientific masterpiece, as to be expected from the two great technical wrestlers. At one point, Angle applied the Ankle Lock submission hold, but Benoit was able to free himself. In a surprising ending, Benoit rolled Angle up, then used the ropes to get the leverage for the 1-2-3. On the next Smackdown, Angle demanded a rematch against Benoit, but instead McMahon made a match between Benoit, Angle & the hometown star of the show, Rey Mysterio. During the match, Angle landed the Olympic Slam on Benoit, only to be taken out by Mysterio. Mysterio then tried the pin on Benoit, but only got a 2 count. Mysterio later landed a double 619 on both competitors, showing his speed. Benoit did manage to get the Crippler Crossface on Angle, only to be taken out by Mysterio, who later got Benoit with the West Coast Pop for the victory.
The feud between Benoit and Angle continued the next week, as Benoit caused Angle to lose to Edge, while Angle cost Benoit his rematch with Rey Mysterio. A frustrated Stephanie McMahon then put them in the new Smackdown Tag-Team Title Tournament together, with the threat that, if they didn't work together, they'd both be suspended for a year. Although Benoit & Angle had some problems, they did manage to work together, beating John Cena & Billy Kidman in the first round. However, problems arose when Benoit's former friend, Eddie Guerrero (along with Chavo) told Benoit that Angle was looking to betray him. Later in the night, Chavo told Benoit that Angle was attacking Eddie. When Benoit ran into a room to make the save, though, Chavo locked the door behind him, as loud noises could be heard. Eddie Guerrero then appeared from the room, carrying a bent steel chair.
On the next Smackdown, Los Guerreros were scheduled to face Benoit & Angle in the semi-finals of the tournament. Eddie continued to blame Angle for the assault on Benoit the last week, while Angle accused the Guerreros. While there was obvious tension between Benoit & Angle during the match, Benoit knew the truth, and later nailed both Guerreros with steel chair shots while the referee was down, allowing Angle to catch Eddie with the Olympic Slam for the victory. This put Benoit & Angle in the finals of the tag tournament at No Mercy '03, against Rey Mysterio & Edge. The match was amazing, mostly thanks to the high-flying antics of Mysterio. In the end, though, Benoit & Angle shocked all the odds-makers once more, as Angle forced Edge to tap out to the Ankle Lock, winning them the first Smackdown Tag-Team Titles.
Also at the pay-per-view, Benoit & Angle got some revenge on Los Guerreros. Benoit told Eddie that Angle was attacking Chavo in a back room. Eddie, assuming that Benoit was tricking him, didn't fall for it. Unfortunately for Chavo, he WAS being taken out by Angle, without Eddie coming to his aid. Benoit & Angle's good humor only lasted a few days, though, as Stephanie McMahon presented them a trophy for winning the tournament on the next Smackdown. Both wrestlers wanted the trophy, and went to blows over it, accidentally knocking over Stephanie in the process. Stephanie immediately slapped the taste out of both men's mouths, then said that the two would wrestle later that night to see who gets the trophy. Surprisingly, Los Guerreros came out during the match, with Chavo hitting Angle with one of the tag titles to help Benoit win. Benoit appeared shocked at the Guerreros helping him, but before he could do anything, Angle attacked him, then destroyed the trophy, ensuring that neither man got it.
On the Halloween edition of Smackdown, Benoit faced off against Edge in the opening match. Benoit got the Crossface on Edge, only to be pulled out of the ring by Angle. Edge later came back to win the match with his spear, another big loss for Benoit. Benoit ran to the back to find Angle, but Angle hid under a Scream mask, allowing him to escape. Benoit did get revenge later on, however, hitting Angle with the title belt and making him lose to Eddie Guerrero. Angle ran to the back after Benoit, and attacked a man in a "Scream" outfit, but it turned out to be Brother Love. Benoit then appeared and went after Angle, with the two brawling all over the backstage area. It was becoming hard to believe that the two men were the tag-team champions.
A week later, Stephanie McMahon put Benoit & Angle in a tag-team title defense against Rey Mysterio & Edge, in a "Three Falls" Match. The first fall was decided by Edge, who got a Double Spear on both men, then helped Mysterio get his Bombs Away splash for the pinfall on Benoit. Angle took over for a while, as Benoit recuperated, but Benoit proved to be the major factor in the second fall, clocking Edge with one of the tag-team titles. Angle then got the Ankle Lock applied, forcing Edge to tap. The third and final fall went back and forth, but was nearly decided via controversy, as Mysterio rolled up Angle for a pinfall. Since Angle was grabbing the ropes, the match was restarted, giving Benoit & Angle another chance to win. But the team couldn't get it together, as Benoit accidentally hit Angle with the Flying Headbutt while trying to make the pinfall save. Edge then pinned Angle for the victory, taking away the tag-team titles.
Benoit and Angle each blamed the other for losing the tag titles the next week, and fought in the main event, with both Los Guerreros and Rey Mysterio & Edge watching, since the three teams would face off at the next pay-per-view, the Survivor Series. The match went back and forth as expected, and ended in a DQ, when the other teams rushed the ring. A massive brawl broke out, with Benoit & Angle working together to clear the ring. Angle then hugged Benoit, leaving a shocked Wolverine standing in the ring. The good will continued until the '02 Survivor Series, when Benoit & Angle tried to regain the tag-team titles. Unfortunately, the two men couldn't get along, making them the first team eliminated. Los Guerreros went on to win the tag-team titles from Mysterio & Edge.
Benoit and Angle each faced a Guerrero on the next Smackdown, with others banned from ringside. Benoit forced Chavo to tap to the Crossface, while Angle took out Eddie with the Olympic Slam. This led to Benoit & Angle getting another tag-team title shot against Los Guerreros during the Thanksgiving edition of Smackdown. Near the end, Angle hit his Olympic Slam on Eddie, which allowed Benoit to slap on the Crossface. However, Angle wanted to get the win, knocking Benoit away and going for the Ankle Lock. After a quick dispute, Benoit & Angle BOTH applied their finishing maneuvers, only to have Chavo break it up. The two lost the match when Chavo cheated, smacking Benoit with a title belt. Eddie then made the pin, keeping the gold away from Benoit & Angle.
On the first Smackdown of December '02, Benoit was placed into a #1 Contenders Match for the Smackdown World Title, against Angle, Eddie Guerrero and Edge. Edge's knee was taken out by Albert before the match (with a steel chair), but Edge competed anyway. After some fierce action, Benoit got the first elimination, forcing Guerrero to tap to the Crossface. However, Guerrero later got revenge, hitting Benoit with a title belt while the referee was down. This left Benoit easy pickings for Edge's spear, taking him out of the match. Benoit would continue to feud with the Guerreros for the next few weeks, teaming up once with Billy Kidman in a match against them.
Benoit faced off against Eddie in a singles match at Armageddon '02. The odds were against Benoit, as Chavo came to ringside with Eddie and constantly interfered. At one point, Eddie landed his Frog Splash, but Benoit surprisingly kicked out, frustrating the co-holder of the tag titles. Later on, while Eddie distracted the referee, Chavo hit Benoit with one of the belts. Still Benoit kicked out, causing Guerrero to blame the referee for a slow count. Guerrero's frustration later caught him, as Benoit reversed the Lasso from El Paso submission hold into his own Crippler Crossface, pulling Guerrero away from the ropes and forcing him to tap out, getting Benoit the victory.
On the next Smackdown, Benoit was given a non-title match against the new Smackdown Heavyweight Champ, Kurt Angle. Angle had turned heel during the night, joining Paul Heyman's clique. Benoit looked good in the match, landing 7 German suplexes in a row at one point. Benoit later got the flying headbutt, followed by the Crippler Crossface, but before Angle could tap, the Big Show rushed the ring, chokeslamming Benoit to end the match in a DQ. Brock Lesnar tried to make the save, but Angle & Show took him out as well as the night ended. On the next show, Benoit was placed in a #1 Contenders Match against the former champ, the Big Show. Benoit had many problems getting the giant down, as the Big Show continuously blocked the Crossface with his size. But Benoit had other tricks, landing the headbutt at one point, then later using an exposed turnbuckle to stun the Big Show. Benoit then got a roll-up pin and used the ropes, getting the victory and the title shot. After the match, Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) rushed to the ring and attacked him, getting in some early shots for Angle.
Benoit teamed with Edge on the first Smackdown of 2003, to face off against Team Angle. At the end, Benoit put Shelton Benjamin in the Crossface, while Edge speared Haas. However, Kurt Angle, crutches and all (his leg had apparently been injured by Lesnar) hit Benoit with the title belt, ending the match on a disqualification victory. After the match, though, Angle assaulted the referee, then forced them to announce that Team Angle were actually the winners. Benoit later would wrestle a singles match against Benjamin, but once again Angle attacked him, this time with a crutch, for Benoit's third DQ victory in four matches. A final DQ would occur before the pay-per-view, as Benoit & Edge took on Team Angle in a handicap match. When Benoit wouldn't release the Crippler Crossface on Angle (who wasn't the legal man), the referee called for the bell. After the match, Benoit beat on Angle with his own crutch, ensuring that Angle wouldn't be 100% at the Royal Rumble.
The '03 Royal Rumble match started off quickly, as Team Angle attacked Benoit before the bell. The referee didn't waste any time ejecting Benjamin & Haas from ringside, leaving Angle along against Benoit. The two veterans, having faced each other so many times as of late, countered many of the other's moves, forcing new maneuvers to be put together. Early on, Benoit nearly got the win by reversing the Angle Slam into a Sharpshooter submission hold. Angle, meanwhile blocked the flying headbutt by running up the ropes and getting an overhead suplex, getting a very long 2 count. Later on, Benoit and Angle reversed into different submission holds, with Angle shockingly picking up Benoit while in the Crossface and hitting the Angle Slam, with another close count. Finally, after almost 20 minutes of action, Angle forced Benoit to tap out to the Ankle Lock, ending a tremendous match. Afterwards, as Team Angle helped the champion to the back, Benoit rose painfully to his feet, with a huge ovation from the fans in attendance. He saluted them, then left to a massive chant.
On the next Smackdown, Benoit faced off against one member of Team Angle, Charlie Haas. Benoit's wrist was injured by Haas early in the match, preventing him from using the Crossface. However, Benoit used another trick, a roll-up, to still gain the victory. Later that night, Benoit joined Edge & Ray Mysterio in a triple-team on Angle, continuing the feud. Benoit teamed with Edge in a #1 Contenders Match for the tag titles against Team Angle, but Kurt Angle's interference cost the team their shot, as Angle laid out Benoit with the gold. A week later, Benoit and Angle went at it again, with Angle winning via the Olympic Slam. After the match, Angle offered to shake hands with Benoit, only to have Team Angle jump him. Edge & Brock Lesnar made the save, taking care of Team Angle. It was later announced by Stephanie McMahon that a six-man tag-team match would take place at the next pay-per-view, between Team Angle and Benoit/Edge/Lesnar.
Things started badly for Benoit's team at No Way Out '03. Early on in the night, Edge was attacked in the back and laid out, taking him out of the match. While it was unknown who took him out, it didn't take Benoit & Lesnar long to blame Team Angle. Rather than replace him, Benoit & Brock Lesnar fought Angle, Benjamin & Haas in a "Handicap" Match. Although the odds were against the duo, they persevered, with Benoit getting Angle in the Crippler Crossface at one point. Benjamin made the save, only to be taken out by Lesnar. While Lesnar got the F-5 on Angle, Benoit put the Crossface on Haas, forcing the man to tap out and give Benoit's team the victory.
On the next Smackdown, Benoit had a secret partner going into a tag-team match against Matt Hardy & Shannon Moore. The partner turned out to be the returning Rhyno, who got the victory when he Gored Hardy. Benoit continued to tag effectively with Rhyno over the next few weeks, getting themselves put into a #1 Contenders match against Los Guerreros, for the shot at the pay-per-view against Team Angle. The match was foiled, though, when Team Angle opted to come down and attack both teams. This, of course, led to Stephanie McMahon booking a Triple Threat Tag-Team Match at WrestleMania XIX, between Benoit & Rhyno, Los Guerreros and Team Angle. Unfortunately for Benoit, his team couldn't come out the victors, as Shelton Benjamin took advantage of a Gore from Rhyno on Chavo to sneak in and make the pin, keeping Team Angle the champions.
It was later announced that a #1 Contenders Tournament for the Smackdown Heavyweight Title had been set up, and the first semi-final match was scheduled between Benoit and Rhyno. The two had their problems before the match, each wanting the title shot. In the match, neither man could land their finishers, since they knew each other so well. Benoit decided things with a backslide pinfall, moving on in the tournament. The next week, Benoit faced darkhorse John Cena in the finals, in a great, technical match. At one point, Benoit locked on the Crossface, only to have Cena make it to the ropes. In the end, Cena rolled up Benoit, getting the 3 count and the title shot, leaving Benoit with nothing to show for being "second".
Benoit later fought against Nunzio of the Full-Blooded Italians, who lost money betting on him to win the tournament. The problems continued to grow between Benoit/Rhyno and the FBI, while, at the same time, Brian "Spanky" Kendrick started a verbal 'rap' war with John Cena. The two groups were signed to face off in a 6-Man Tag-Team match-up at Judgment Day '03. The match between Benoit/Rhyno/Spanky and Cena/Chuck Palumbo/Johnny Stamboli was the first on the card, and exhibited some wild, high-flying falls from Spanky. In the end, the ring fell to chaos, as Benoit got Cena in the Crippler Crossface. Unfortunately, Cena wasn't the legal man, and neither was Benoit. Instead, Spanky, as the legal man, was pinned, giving Benoit's team the loss.
Benoit faced off against Matt Hardy on the next Smackdown, and almost fell to the numbers of Hardy's allies, Shannon Moore & Crash Holly. But when Rey Mysterio took care of Hardy's MF'ers, Benoit took out Hardy with the Crossface, getting a much needed win. Benoit next fought Sean O'Haire, but was distracted by outside interference from "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Benoit solved that by putting Piper in the Crossface, but this left Benoit wide open for a kick to the back of the head by O'Haire, who then rolled up Benoit and pinned him with a handful of tights. Benoit later lost a singles match to John Cena, due to Cena's cheating ways, then Benoit & Rhyno lost a tag-team bout to the new team on the block, the Basham Brothers. Problems were starting to brew between Benoit & Rhyno.
Things weren't helped when a United States Heavyweight Title Tournament was set up, to allow the belt to be returned to action. Benoit once again had to face Rhyno in a tournament match. Once again, Benoit proved to be the better partner, winning the match and advancing on to the semi-finals. Benoit & Rhyno patched things up enough to win a couple of tag-team matches, including getting revenge on the Bashams. Benoit then took on Matt Hardy in the next round of the tournament. Despite Shannon Moore's interference, Benoit managed to get the Crossface applied, which forced Hardy to tap out. This placed Benoit in the finals, going against Eddie Guerrero, who got past Billy Gunn in the semis.
Benoit and Guerrero, as old partners and even older enemies, had a tremendous match-up at Vengeance '03, in the finals of the US Title Tournament. Benoit used all of his technical prowess to keep Guerrero off-balance, while Guerrero, not surprisingly, tried to "lie, cheat & steal". At one point, Guerrero hit the referee with the title belt, then tossed the belt to a semi-conscious Benoit and played like he was hit as well. The referee didn't come to fast enough to see it and call for the disqualification, but it was all mute for Benoit, who was surprisingly Gored out of his shoes by Rhyno! With Benoit's partner turning on him, Guerrero was able to take advantage, hitting the Frog Splash to get the victory and win the US Title.
Benoit got revenge on Rhyno the next Smackdown, when he helped cost him the chance to win the US Title from Guerrero. A week later, Benoit came out wanting to wrestle Rhyno in a straight-out match, but Rhyno had other plans, putting Benoit against Doink the Clown (played by Nick Dinsmore). A furious Benoit destroyed Doink, easily winning the match. Benoit would later team up with Tajiri, who wanted a piece of his former tag partner, Guerrero. The two fought against Rhyno & Guerrero in a wild brawl, which led to a victory for Benoit. A match was soon signed for Summerslam '03 between Benoit, Tajiri, Rhyno and Eddie, with the US Title on the line. The match went all over the place, featuring most of the wrestlers' finishing maneuvers. At one point, Benoit tortured Rhyno with the Crossface, while Guerrero kept Tajiri in the Lasso From El Paso. Neither man tapped, so the match continued, until Guerrero picked up the victory after a Frog Splash on Rhyno.
Benoit began a feud with the A-Train over the next few weeks, after forcing the A-Train to tap out. The two faced off in a rematch the next week, with Rhyno interfering in the bout. Rhyno accidentally caught A-Train with the Gore, though, allowing Benoit to make the pin. A week later, Benoit wrestled against Rhyno in a singles match. A-Train came out and interfered, attacking Benoit, but the Rabid Wolverine still persevered, reversing a Gore into the Crippler Crossface and getting the victory. Later on, A-Train came down to announce during Benoit's match with Charlie Haas. When Benoit got the Crossface on Haas, A-Train ran into the ring, causing the DQ. A-Train then put Benoit in his own version of the Crossface, shouting that Benoit couldn't beat him. Benoit later teamed up with the APA to go against A-Train & the Basham Brothers. However, Faarooq was taken out early on by a Basham sneak-attack, and Benoit & Bradshaw couldn't win the handicap match, with A-Train beating Benoit with his finisher, the Train Wreck.
At No Mercy '03, Benoit and A-Train met up in a singles match to finish off their feud. A-Train, with his sheer size and power, dominated early on, keeping Benoit's technical skills at bay. At one point, the A-Train used his bicycle kick to knock Benoit down, but Benoit kicked out at 2. A-Train slowly grew frustrated, and, after being sent out of the ring by Benoit at one point, grabbed a steel chair. Benoit managed to block its use, though, avoiding the DQ. The chair turned into a major turning point in the match, as A-Train caught his foot in it while tripping into the steel turnbuckle post. With A-Train's leg hurting him, Benoit quickly went for a different type of submission hold, the Sharpshooter (possibly a tribute to Benoit's trainer, Stu Hart, who had recently passed away). The agonizing hold forced A-Train to tap out, getting Benoit a big victory.
On the next Smackdown, Benoit teamed up with Kurt Angle to go against A-Train & John Cena. During the match, everything broke down, with weapons coming into the ring. A-Train brought in a chair, only to have it taken away by Benoit. But Benoit's swing at A-Train missed, hitting Angle instead. After Benoit took care of A-Train, Angle came after Benoit, showing that there are still problems between the two superstars. Benoit put Angle in the Crossface, making him tap, but Angle later got the Ankle Lock, sending Benoit out of the ring. Not surprisingly, the match ended in a No-Contest, since the teammates were attacking each other. The two teams fought again the next week, this time with Benoit & Angle getting along together long enough for Benoit to knock out Cena with his flying headbutt for the victory. After the match, Benoit was met backstage by Angle, who was putting together a team for Survivor Series. Angle wanted Benoit on his team, saying that they were unstoppable together. Benoit reluctantly agreed, saying that he still hated Angle. Angle didn't care, though, not wanting a friend, only to win.
Benoit & Angle were later joined by Hardcore Holly, Faarooq & Bradshaw. When Faarooq was injured, though, John Cena surprisingly joined up instead. The team faced off against Brock Lesnar, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, A-Train & the Big Show at The Survivor Series '03. Just as the match started, the first elimination occurred, as Hardcore Holly attacked Brock Lesnar, shoving a referee out of the way and being DQ'ed. Bradshaw evened things up by eliminating A-Train with the Clothesline From Hell, but he was then taken down by the Big Show's Chokeslam. After a long series of wrestling, Benoit managed to tag in Angle, who was able to eliminate Matt Morgan with the Angle Slam, then forced Nathan Jones to tap to the Ankle Lock. Lesnar took advantage of Angle's distraction, though, and caught him with the F-5, eliminating the team captain. However, Benoit got his team back the advantage, blocking an F-5 and locking Lesnar in the Crossface! Lesnar was forced to tap out, giving Benoit the win over the current champion. The Big Show then came in and tried to take out Benoit, but Benoit was able to make the tag to Cena, who hit the Big Show with a steel chain, then hit the F-U for the victory, making Benoit & Cena the sole 'survivors'.
Benoit was placed in a match with Nathan Jones the following Smackdown, with Brock Lesnar watching from the outside. Despite Lesnar's presence, Benoit was able to knock him down, then get the Crossface on Jones, making him tap. Lesnar then attacked Benoit with the title belt, only to have Hardcore Holly make the save. A week later, it was announced by Paul Heyman that a Battle Royal would take place, with the winner getting a title shot against Lesnar. Benoit first had to compete in a "qualifying" match, where he defeated Matt Morgan. Benoit then fought as one of the favorites in the battle royal, with him & John Cena (who had to "qualify" against A-Train) being the last ones in the ring. The two tried to eliminate each other, and both succeeded, as the two fell out of the ring at the very same time.
It was later announced that Benoit and Cena would wrestle on the first December '03 Smackdown, with the winner facing Lesnar for the title later in the show. Early in the night, Lesnar insulted both wrestlers, saying that he would make one of them tap. Benoit put on a great match with Cena, and nearly took the loss, when Cena got the pin after an F-U. But the tape showed that Benoit's foot was on the ropes, and the match was restarted. Later on, the Big Show came down to interfere, only to be knocked off the apron by Cena. This, though, left Cena open to the Crossface, giving Benoit the title shot.
Benoit then was interviewed, and he told everyone he was the next champion. Wrestlers were then shown in the back, betting on whether Benoit could do it. The match favored Lesnar early on, since Lesnar was the fresh man. Benoit would fight back, however, and got the Crossface on Lesnar, who tapped! Unfortunately, Lesnar had already taken out the referee by this point, keeping Benoit from the title. When Benoit went to wake the ref, Lesnar recovered and hit the F-5, but Benoit kicked out. Lesnar then lost it, going and getting a chair. He struck Benoit with it, then put on the Brock Lock on the unconscious superstar. The ref had no choice but to end the match. Lesnar then put on a version of the Crossface on Benoit, grabbing Benoit's hand and making it look like he was tapping.
On the next Smackdown, Paul Heyman announced at the beginning of the show that Benoit would not receive another title shot as long as Heyman was the General Manager of Smackdown. Benoit was later interviewed, where he talked about how his dreams were shattered by his not getting the title. The next week, Benoit took on Chuck Palumbo of the Full-Blooded Italians, with the other members of the FBI being thrown from ringside. Benoit got all of his trademark moves, including winning with the Crossface. Afterwards, Johnny Stamboli & Nunzio came back to the ring, and although Benoit tried to fight them off, the 3 members eventually knocked him out and left him in the ring. Benoit finished out the year going to Iraq with a portion of the Smackdown superstars, where he wrestled for the troops, losing a close match to Eddie Guerrero.
On the first Smackdown of the new year, Paul Heyman bragged about what an honor it was to support the troops, even though he himself didn't go to Iraq. When John Cena took offense to that, getting into Heyman's face, the General Manager made a match, saying that Cena would have to pick a partner and fight in a "Handicap" Match against the FBI, with the winners getting into the Royal Rumble. Cena quickly made his choice, as Benoit came out to the ring with him! Benoit's efforts were soon rewarded, as he forced Johnny Stamboli to tap, winning both himself and Cena Rumble spots, which Paul Heyman would never have given Benoit. An annoyed Heyman later gave Benoit his spot, but officially made him the #1 entrant in the Rumble. Benoit responded by grabbing Heyman's finger and nearly ripping it off, while he told the General Manager that he would still win out.
Benoit next was forced to compete in a "mini" Royal Rumble the next week, as he took on all 3 members of the FBI. True to form, Benoit eliminated them all, showing his talent in the ring. This earned him a very reluctant applause from Heyman. A week later, Heyman put his 'mouth' on the line, as his man, Rhyno, had a "Loser Eats Soap" Match with John Cena. When Cena won the match, Heyman tried to make a run for it, but was caught by Benoit, who dragged him back to the ring and put the General Manager in the Sharpshooter! Cena then went and got the soap, bringing it back to the ring. Every time Cena said the word "Chris", Benoit lifted up on the Sharpshooter, increasing the pressure. After some taunting, Cena made Heyman eat the soap, as Benoit kept him in place. The two men then left, celebrating together, as Heyman was left in a heap in the ring.
On the Smackdown before the Royal Rumble, a furious Paul Heyman set up a special match: Benoit & Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, Matt Morgan, A-Train & the Big Show. The odds looked to be extremely against Benoit & Cena, but they were able to make things a little better for themselves, as they locked the Big Show inside his locker room by blocking it with a forklift. Still, it was 2-on-3, with Paul Heyman watching from ringside with a lifeguard chair. During the match, though, after Rhyno accidentally Gored Lesnar, the World Champ grabbed his belt and walked away, leaving the match (and also being attacked by Hardcore Holly on his way out), making it 2-on-2, giving Benoit & Cena a much-better chance. Rhyno still nearly got the victory, hitting the Gore on Benoit, but Cena made the hot tag, then took out Rhyno with with the FU for the victory. Benoit & Cena then went after Heyman, but got broadsided by the finally-freed Big Show, who destroyed them both as the show ended.
The odds looked terrible again for Benoit in the '04 Royal Rumble, as he came out as the #1 entrant, facing off against Randy Orton. Benoit, though, was determined, and hung in there for a long while, eliminating several wrestlers, including Mark Henry, Rhyno, Matt Morgan, and the A-Train, eventually getting the numbers back down to Benoit & Orton again! The two fought it out once more, with more wrestlers heading down to the ring (including an embarrassingly-quick entry by Ernest "The Cat" Miller). Orton finally got eliminated by Mick Foley, who made his return to WWE. Meanwhile, Benoit fought on, keeping himself alive by always grabbing the ropes. In the end, the final four came down to Benoit, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and the Big Show, who was dominant. It didn't take long for the Big Show to eliminate Jericho with a Chokeslam. The Big Show then reversed the Ankle Lock from Angle, tossing him over as well and making it the Big Show vs. Benoit. The Crippler managed to apply the Crossface, making the Big Show tap, but it didn't seem to help, since he had to get the giant over the top rope. But when the Big Show went for a press slam, Benoit got a headlock, then rolled the Big Show over the ropes, pulling like crazy to send him out. Benoit had done the impossible, lasting over an hour to win the Royal Rumble.
WWE Raw: 2004
Twenty-four hours later, on WWE Monday Night Raw, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, the Raw Heavyweight Champ, came out and bragged about still holding the title after his Rumble match with Shawn Michaels. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the 'sheriff' of Raw, then came out on his ATV, and told Triple H that his next challenger was set up, since he won the Rumble. Chris Benoit then made his first appearance on Raw in a long time, stating that the rules said the winner of the Royal Rumble challenged for the championship at Wrestlemania, but it didn't specify WHICH championship. This legal loophole allowed Benoit to jump to Raw to take on Helmsley. The next week, Benoit showed up on Chris Jericho's "Highlight Reel", talking about how Benoit's known for never winning "The Big One". Benoit responded by saying that the title would be his at Wrestlemania. The two were then interrupted by Ric Flair, speaking for Triple H. Benoit challenged Flair to a match, but didn't get his way, as Eric Bischoff (General Manager for Raw) put Benoit in his first match, against Mark Henry. Benoit quickly capitalized on his speed advantage, forcing Henry to tap to the Crippler Crossface. Later in the night, Benoit and Helmsley had a staredown, building up the tension for their eventual face-off in the squared circle.
A week later, Benoit defeated Helmsley's 'mentor', Ric Flair, in a great match. Later on, Benoit and Helmsley came out to do the contract signing for the match at Wrestlemania. However, before Benoit could sign the sheet, Shawn Michaels entered the ring and took him out with some Sweet Chin Music. Michaels then took the pen and signed his own name, apparently stealing the title shot! An outraged Benoit argued with Eric Bischoff on the next Raw, with Bischoff saying that he was trying to straighten things out, although Michaels' name was on the official contract. It was eventually announced that Benoit, Michaels, & Triple H would go at it in a "Triangle" Match for the Raw Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania XX.
For the next few weeks, Benoit had an on-again, off-again relationship with Michaels, as both were fan favorites. On one night, the two were signed to team up against Randy Orton & Batista in a tag-team match. But the wrestlers couldn't get along, eventually losing the match after fighting erupted between them. At Wrestlemania XX, the pattern continued, as Benoit and Michaels couldn't decide between themselves who would fight Helmsley first, leading to a melee. The three wrestlers put on one of the best matches of the year, going inside and outside the ring with lots of high spots. At one point, Benoit set up Triple H to suplex him into an announcers' table. But Michaels intervened, surprisingly joining with Helmsley to hit a double suplex on Benoit through the table instead!
Michaels and Helmsley then fought for a while, while Benoit recovered. When the Rabid Wolverine returned to the ring, Triple H attacked, going for the Pedigree. But Benoit managed to reverse it into the Sharpshooter, nearly getting the win. But Michaels made the save, using his superkick to knock Benoit down for a 2 count. When HBK set Benoit up again for Sweet Chin Music, though, Benoit dodged, tossing Michaels out of the ring. Benoit then reversed another Pedigree attempt into the Crippler Crossface, forcing Triple H to tap out and giving Benoit his dream: the WWE Raw World Heavyweight Title. Benoit celebrated with his friend, Smackdown Champion Eddie Guerrero, as the show ended.
Benoit continued to be challenged by Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the next month, as Benoit routinely teamed up with the other faces of Raw against Triple H's Evolution team. It was soon announced that the Wrestlemania match would have a repeat appearance, as Benoit would put the World Title on the line against both Triple H and Shawn Michaels again, this time at Backlash '04. Not only that, but the match would be held in Canada, Benoit's home turf. The battle between the three men had many similar characteristics from the first one, as two men would battle inside the ring while one recuperated on the outside. Early in the match, Benoit got Helmsley in the Crippler Crossface, only to have a still-fresh Michaels break it up.
Later on, Michaels accidentally took out the referee while trying to hit Benoit. Benoit then took out Michaels, then got the Sharpshooter on Helmsley. But with no referee, there was no chance at a tap-out. Earl Hebner (the referee who screwed Bret Hart) then came out, even as Michaels got the Sharpshooter on Benoit. Helmsley broke it up, though, preventing another "screwjob". Michaels later took himself out by missing a Flying Cross-Body and crashing through the Spanish Announcer's table. Helmsley nearly put Benoit away with the Pedigree, but HBK barely made the save. At the end, Michaels went for Sweet Chin Music on Benoit, but was caught and placed into the Sharpshooter. Before Helmsley could recover to make the save, HBK tapped out, allowing Benoit to keep the title.
On the next night, in surprising fashion, Chris Benoit teamed up Edge in a Tag-Team Title match against the champions, Ric Flair & Batista. Despite the Evolution team's attempt at cheating, Benoit & Edge succeeded, winning the Raw World Tag-Team Titles. This gave Benoit two belts to wear around his waist, a great honor. Benoit & Edge battled against various Evolution teams over the next month, as they tried to take the belts back. Ultimately, though, Benoit & Edge lost the belts to La Resistance at the end of May '04. During this time, two major events began to happen with Benoit. He began to feud with the monster heel of Raw, Kane. And he began to try to help out the mentally-retarded wrestling savant, Eugene Dinsmore, coming out as a surprise partner for Eugene to defeat Garrison Cade & the Coach.
At Bad Blood '04, Benoit was placed in two championship matches. First, Benoit & Edge took on La Resistance for a chance to regain the tag-team titles. Benoit seemed to have the match won when he placed Sylvan Grenier in the Crossface. But Kane then came down to the ring and attacked Benoit, causing the disqualification and costing Benoit & Edge the titles. Later in the night, Benoit had his chance for revenge, putting his title on the line against the Big Red Machine, Kane. The momentum went back and forth between the two stars, with Benoit trying multiple times for the Sharpshooter before locking it in, with Kane barely able to reach the ropes. Later on, Kane got the Chokeslam on Benoit, but only managed a 2 count on the pin, frustrating the big man. Kane then went for the Tombstone Piledriver, but Benoit escaped, only to be ko'ed by Kane's big boot. Kane then went to the top rope and came off for his flying clothesline, but Benoit caught his arm, twice attempting the Crossface and twice having Kane power out of it. However, an off-balance Kane was then vulnerable, and Benoit rolled him up, getting the pinfall to continue his championship run.
Benoit's battles continued with Evolution members going through June '04, as Helmsley tricked Eugene into being a part of Evolution for a time. Benoit tried to tell Eugene the truth, but only succeeded in making things worse, as he accidentally clocked Eugene with a chair during a match. Benoit also wasn't through with Kane, as a World Title rematch was set up for a Monday Night Raw. The two men had another fierce battle, but Benoit once more came out on top, forcing Kane to tap out to get the victory. Benoit then turned his full attention towards Triple H, who worked out a World Title shot for himself at the next pay-per-view, with Eugene apparently firmly on Evolution's side.
At Vengeance '04, Benoit and Helmsley met for the third Raw Pay-Per-View in the last four, once again duking it out for the World Heavyweight Title. The two men traded momentum back and forth during the beginning minutes of the match, but things turned for the worse for Benoit after he missed the Flying Headbutt, allowing Helmsley to dominate for a time. Benoit came back, though, and got a near-victory with the Sharpshooter. Helmsley then surprisingly called Eugene down to the ring, even as the referee was knocked down. Benoit got the Crossface, but Eugene wouldn't get the referee for him, forcing Benoit to knock Eugene down. Helmsley took advantage, though, with a low blow and a Pedigree. Eugene managed to get the ref into the ring, but Benoit kicked out at 2. Helmsley then called for a chair, which Eugene wouldn't give him. The two wrestlers knocked each other down, and Eugene came into the ring with the chair. When Benoit got up, he tried to take the chair from Eugene. During the scuffle, Eugene accidentally hit Helmsley with the chair, knocking him out. A crying Eugene then left the ring, as Benoit pinned Helmlsey for another Raw Heavyweight Title defense.
On the next Raw, a genuinely sorry Eugene apologized to Triple H & his uncle, Eric Bischoff. Surprisingly, Bischoff said everything was ok, and told Eugene that he was getting a title shot against Benoit that night. Unfortunately, before the match between the two could be decided, Evolution came out and attacked both Benoit and Eugene, letting out their frustrations. The next week, it was announced that Benoit and Helmlsey would face each other on the following Raw in a 60-minute Iron Man match. Before that happened, though, Benoit was roughed up by Batista in a tough match, which Batista lost by disqualification due to the fact that he was trying to soften Benoit up.
The much-anticipated Iron Man match took place near the end of July '04, with both wrestlers exchanging moves early on with no falls. Benoit finally grabbed the edge in the match by getting the Crossface on Helmsley, then rolling him over for the quick pin. Benoit stayed in control for a time, but when Helmlsey broke free of an Abdominal Stretch by throwing Benoit over the ropes and to the outside (hitting the apron on the way down), Benoit was in a bad way, bleeding from the mouth. Benoit fought back, though, trying all sorts of submission holds, from Indian death locks to the Figure Four. But Helmlsey came back to get the Pedigree on Benoit, tying up the match 1-1. Helmsley then pressed his advantage, tossing Benoit to the outside, then dropping him on the steel steps, leaving him to be counted out. This put Helmlsey ahead 2-1 with 30 minutes left.
Things got worse for Benoit as his ribs appeared to be injured due to some of Helmsley's shots. Triple H managed to get a massive spinebuster for another pin with 20 minutes left, putting the challenger up 3-1. However, when Helmsley went to finish Benoit off with a Pedigree, Benoit reversed it into the Sharpshooter, forcing Triple H to tap out and getting himself back into the match. Benoit continued to fight back, trying and finally locking on the Crossface to even the contest up at 3 all, with only 10 minutes remaining. Things looked bleak, though, as both Ric Flair & Batista came to the ring. When Helmsley tossed Benoit to the outside, Batista did some damage, bloodying Benoit's face by slamming him into the turnbuckle post. Benoit wouldn't give up, though, refusing to be pinned. Helmsley then accidentally took out the referee, which allowed Evolution to brutalize Benoit. Helmlsey took out the champ with a steel chair, as Bischoff sent another ref to the ring. Once again, though, Benoit kicked out, causing a frustrated Triple H to knock out another ref. This backfired, though, as Eugene rushed out of the crowd and took out all three Evolution members, as well as his uncle Eric. As Benoit crawled to cover the unconscious Helmsley, Eugene tossed a referee into the ring to make the count. Benoit won the Iron Man match at the last second, 4-3.
On the same show, Randy Orton, another Evolution member, won a Twenty Man Battle Royal, making him the #1 Contender to Benoit's World Title. The two faced off at Summerslam '04, with Orton wanting to win on his own. Benoit's experience helped him early on, but Orton showed his own talents by slipping on the Sharpshooter, with Benoit having to struggle to escape. The two stars traded blows and maneuvers, each looking for the move that would put the other away. Orton focused on a Benoit neck injury, trying to use it for his advantage, but very nearly lost himself from Benoit's version of the Sharpshooter. In the end, just as it seemed that Benoit was in complete control with multiple suplexes, Orton came out of nowhere with his RKO finisher, knocking Benoit out long enough to pin him and win away the World Title. After the match, Benoit offered his hand to Orton, and Orton reciprocated, each man showing their respect for the other.
On the next Raw, Benoit was given his contracted rematch with Orton for the gold. The match was another good one, with Benoit being in control near the end of the match. It seemed that Benoit had it wrapped up, as he got Orton in the Crippler Crossface. This time, though, Evolution came out, distracting Benoit and allowing Orton to again knock out Benoit with the RKO to get the victory. After the match, Evolution hoisted Orton up on their shoulders, apparently celebrating. But when Triple H gave the thumbs down, Evolution turned on Orton, brutally attacking him and leaving both Orton and Benoit laid out on the canvas.
Over the next few weeks, Benoit began teaming up with William Regal, with both men having reasons to hate Evolution, specifically Ric Flair & Batista. The two tag-teams faced off at Unforgiven '04 in a very competitive match. It almost wasn't a long match, however, as Benoit immediately went for the Crippler Crossface on Batista, who managed to escape to the outside. This trend continued for a while, as it seemed Benoit & Regal had all the momentum. Batista turned things around with a big knee to Regal while not the legal man, allowing Flair to get on the Figure Four, but Benoit made the save. The match finished with Batista on the outside, brawling with Regal. Inside, Flair went again for the Figure Four, but Benoit reversed it into the Crossface, causing Flair to tap out, getting Benoit & Regal a victory over Evolution.
A day later, Benoit faced off against Rob Conway of the Tag Champs, La Resistance. With Regal's help in getting rid of Sylvain Grenier, Benoit forced Conway to tap out to the Crossface. In the main event of Raw, Randy Orton was forced to face off in a "3-on-1 Handicap" Match against Evolution. The match ended in a DQ when Triple H, Flair, & Batista all entered the ring to beat down Orton. As they continued the assault, however, first Shelton Benjamin, then Benoit, came to the aid of Orton, eventually getting Batista alone in the ring. Each wrestler landed their respective finishers on the monster, showing their unity as fan favorites.
A week later, Benoit, Benjamin, & Orton fought in a "6-Man Tag" Match against Evolution. During the bout, Orton was seemingly knocked unconscious by a huge clothesline from Batista. Benjamin checked on his partner, helping to get him to the back, while Benoit continued fighting in the ring. With Orton gone, it became a 2-on-3 handicap match, putting the odds against Benjamin & Benoit. The two men continued to fight against the odds, but were losing ground, when Orton suddenly returned from the backstage area. He tagged himself in, cleared the ring, and took out Ric Flair with the RKO to get his team the victory.
At the end of September '04, Vince McMahon announced that Raw would be holding a pay-per-view, where the fans would decide on the matches. It was called Taboo Tuesday. One of the matches that could be voted on was the Raw World Heavyweight Title Match, with Benoit, Shawn Michaels, and Edge the possible contenders for the belt. Over the next few weeks, Benoit, Michaels, & Edge tried to push for their cause, with hostility quickly brewing between the three wrestlers. It was also announced that the 2 runner-ups for the voting would get a Tag-Team Title match against La Resistance. The three wrestlers faced off in a "Three-Way" Match on the Raw before the pay-per-view, with Edge getting the cheap win by rolling Benoit up and holding the tights.
At Taboo Tuesday, the 3 contenders were shown in the backstage area, telling their views on why they should get the shot. Benoit said that he's never lost to Triple H, so he has the best chance of winning. However, the voting said otherwise, going to Shawn Michaels. This left Benoit & Edge, two bitter rivals, going into the tag-team title match with La Resistance. The two let out their feelings on the champs, aggressively attacking to start things out. But Edge's annoyance with the fans led to him being distracted, even with Benoit telling him to keep his head in the game. This kept the team from working as well as they could be. Later on, after Benoit had been double-teamed for some time, he tried to make the tag to Edge. The ref didn't see it, and, thus, didn't allow it. This caused Edge to leave the apron and walk to the back, simply leaving the match! But Benoit didn't give up, blocking at attempt of the Au Revior and instead taking out Conway with several suplexes. He knocked Grenier out of the ring, then put the Crossface on Conway, forcing him to tap and winning the Raw Tag-Team Titles for him and his 'partner', Edge.
On the next Raw, Edge refused to show up, saying that the fans didn't deserve to see him in person. This was fine with Benoit, who joined with the faces for a united front against Evolution, going as far as to beat down Batista, Flair, then Helmsley after the main event along with Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Jericho, Maven, and other fan favorites. On the next Raw, Eric Bischoff announced that there would be an "Elimination" Match at Survivor Series '04, with Benoit, Orton, Jericho, & Maven going against Helmsley, Batista, Edge, & Gene Snitsky, with the winning team getting the power to run Raw for a month.
On the same night, Benoit & Edge had a Tag-Team Title defense against La Resistance. At first, Edge wasn't there, keeping it a Handicap Match for Benoit. Finally, Edge walked down to the ring, apparently willing to tag in. But when Benoit made a move for the tag, Edge dropped from the ring apron and instead went to talk with the announcers. Benoit tried to win on his own, getting in some good shots, but when Edge decided to distract the referee, La Resistance double-teamed Benoit and took him out, taking back the Raw Tag Titles. Afterwards, Edge entered the ring and used one of the belts on Benoit, bloodying him, then got both a Spear and a "Crossface" on the beaten wrestler.
Benoit and Edge faced off in the main event of the Raw before the Survivor Series, with Benoit vowing revenge for the beating that he had gotten. The two men beat on each other for a while. During the match, Triple H & Batista came out to ringside to watch Edge, while Orton, Jericho, & Maven came out for Benoit. Eventually, Benoit took charge, bloodying Edge and getting him in the Crossface. Triple H then started to come in, but Jericho stopped him, and a riot broke out between the two teams, causing the referee to call for the bell. During the brawl, Snitsky came down and attacked Benoit. At one point, the heels cleared the ring, but then got in each other's faces, showing no team unity. The fan favorites then reentered and attacked, getting rid of Triple H's team and standing as a unit.
The '04 Survivor Series match started out with a lot of back-and-forth action, with no quick eliminations this year. At one point, Benoit seemed to be in control, catching both Triple H & Edge with his flying headbutt. But Snitsky broke up the cover. As the ref was distracted by Snitsky, Benoit got the Crossface on Edge, only to have Triple H get the Pedigree, allowing Edge to eliminate Benoit with a weak cover. While this was a blow for Benoit's team, they managed to come back, thanks in part to the dissention brewing between Triple H's teammates. In the end, Orton eliminated Triple H with the RKO to become the 'sole survivor', giving Benoit and his teammates the right to control Raw.
On the next Raw, Maven was in charge for the week. As the General Manager, Maven made a match pitting Benoit & Shelton Benjamin against Edge & Christian, reuniting a tag-team that didn't want to be reunited. The arguing between Edge & Christian made things easier for Benoit & Benjamin, who worked well as a unit. Tyson Tomko was also at ringside, though, becoming a factor in the match. In the end, Edge went for the Spear on Benoit, but got Tomko instead, taking him out of action. Benoit then took Edge out, even as Benjamin beat down Christian. Benjamin got a splash on Christian, followed by a Benoit flying headbutt and the Crippler Crossface, forcing Christian to tap out. Later in the night, Benoit joined with Orton & Jericho to try and help Maven win his World Title match with Helmsley. But Gene Snitsky attacked at the end, taking out Maven to help Triple H keep the World Title.
A week later, Benoit got his turn as the General Manager of Raw. He kept things relatively simple, saying that if anyone wanted a match, they'd get it. He went as far as to post a piece of paper on his door for people to write matches on. He also booked himself a World Title match with Triple H in a Steel Cage. During the night, however, problems seemed to be brewing between Triple H and Batista, leading to Batista apparently seriously injuring Helmsley and keeping him from wrestling. Instead, Benoit booked himself against Edge in the cage, in part due to Edge's annoyance at not getting a World Title shot himself. The two had a bloody brawl that featured a lot of high spots. In the end, though, Benoit won in a very painful way, as Edge Speared him headfirst through the door of the cage. Since Benoit got out first, he was declared the winner. At the end of the night, Helmsley and Batista showed that their fight was a swerve, and that Benoit had basically been cheated out of his title shot.
Benoit was given another shot, though, the next week, as GM Randy Orton made a 20-man "#1 Contenders Battle Royal" match to lead off Raw. Benoit helped eliminate Viscera and tossed out Jonathan Coachman to make it to the final four along with Chris Jericho, Edge, and Batista. After Batista eliminated Jericho, he went after Benoit, trying to powerbomb him. Benoit tried to fight it off, then was 'saved' when Edge dropkicked Batista, sending both over the ropes. Benoit hung on, while Batista was eliminated. Benoit and Edge then fought hard along the ropes, with both going out at the same time! The ruling was made by Orton later on that the main event would be a Triple Threat Match between the champ, Triple H, Benoit, and Edge! The 3 men went at it hard, with Edge & Helmsley double-teamming Benoit at first. This soon faded, though, as Edge wanted the title as well. Benoit nearly won the match with the Crippler Crossface, only to have Batista & Ric Flair come to the ring and break it up, pulling Benoit out and attacking him. Orton sent Batista & Flair to the back, though, keeping the match even. In the end, Helmsley was taken out after he tried to use a chair, being clocked by it instead by Orton. Benoit then put Edge in the Crossface, only to have Edge roll Benoit backwards for a pin attempt. The 3 count came almost exactly with Edge tapping out, leaving the finish of the match a mystery until the next week.
It was later announced by Vince McMahon that the Raw World Title had been vacated. Bischoff followed this up in his return by stating that Benoit, Helmsley, Edge, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and Batista would fight it out for the World Title at the next PPV in an Elimination Chamber Match! To end the year, Bischoff set up a series of matches on Raw for the six combatants, stating that the person who won his match the quickest would gain the coveted final entry in the Chamber. Benoit was pitted against the massive Viscera, but persevered, and forced Viscera to tap to the Crossface at 5:43, setting a new high time. Batista eventually beat the time, though, and won the final spot in the match.
On the final Raw before the pay-per-view, Bischoff arranged three matches between the six combatants. Benoit was set against Batista in the first bout, and the two put on a great display of wrestling and brawling. In the end, Benoit seemed to have the win, having clamped on the Crippler Crossface. But Batista powered his way to his feet, then slammed Benoit's head into an exposed turnbuckle multiple times, knocking him silly. Batista then Batista Bombed Benoit and pinned him, taking away Benoit's momentum going into the title match. Later in the night, though, Benoit got some revenge, making sure that Batista couldn't interfere in the Helmsley/Orton match. Orton got the victory, which was a win of sorts for Benoit as well.
At New Year's Revolution, the Elimination Chamber took place, with the vacated gold on the line. Benoit and Jericho started out the match, with the rest locked in the chambers. The two fought hard on each other, doing a lot of damage, before Triple H came in third. Helmsley had the advantage at first, but Benoit & Jericho started working together against him, with all three men bleeding from various wounds. Edge came in next, and attacked everybody, including an Edgecution on Triple H that nearly eliminated him. Orton was next, and the five wrestlers brawled, still with no eliminations. Finally, during the melee, Edge accidentally Speared the ref, Shawn Michaels, who later came back with some Sweet Chin Music. Jericho then got the Lionsault on Edge and pinned him, taking him out of the match. Benoit & Jericho then got Triple H in two submission holds at once, but Batista was released and made the save. Batista went on to eliminate Benoit with the Spinebuster, and took out Jericho with the Batista Bomb. But a low blow from Orton weakened Batista enough for the RKO, sending him out of the match. Batista didn't leave quietly, though, taking out Orton with a massive clothesline that allowed Helmsley to get the Pedigree and win the match, regaining the Raw World Title.
Twenty-four hours later, Benoit & Jericho teamed together to take on Tyson Tomko & Christian. The four wrestlers put on another well-received match, with Benoit locking Christian in the Crippler Crossface, even as Jericho forced Tomko, the legal man, to tap out to the Walls of Jericho. It was announced that on the next Raw, Benoit and Jericho would face off in a match, in what would be deemed a 'friendly competition'. Before the match took place, Jericho held one of his Highlight Reel interview sessions with Muhammad Hassan & Daivari. When the two men attacked Jericho, Benoit made the save, chasing them away. Benoit and Jericho wrestled later that night, with Jericho getting the win via a Cradle. Although Benoit was upset by the way the match ended, he still ended up shaking Jericho's hand, keeping the friendship going. The two joined together with Shawn Michaels to beat Edge, Christian, & Tyson Tomko on the final Raw before the PPV.
At the '05 Royal Rumble, Benoit once again got a rough draw. For the second year in a row, he started the match, this time as #2 behind #1-entry Eddie Guerrero. Benoit and Guerrero, two former friends, went at it early, but joined up when the third man, Daniel Puder, came out, schooling the youngster alongside the fourth man, Hardcore Holly. After Holly tossed out Puder, though, Benoit & Guerrero double-teamed him from behind, throwing Holly out as well. The two fought for a bit, then teamed again to get rid of the Hurricane. The double-teaming finally ended after a time, as it became every man for himself. Later on, Benoit joined with the rest of the wrestlers in the ring to beat on & throw out Muhammad Hassan. Benoit would hang around longer than any other wrestler in the match, reaching the final six in the Rumble before a double-team from Ric Flair & Batista managed to get the exhausted wrestler out after 50 minutes in the ring. Batista went on to win the Rumble.
Benoit & Jericho teamed up on the next Raw to challenge for the Raw Tag-Team Titles, which were being held by La Resistance at the time. The four men brawled constantly, eventually causing the referee to surprisingly call for the Double Disqualification, costing Benoit & Jericho the belts. After the match, Benoit and Jericho unleashed some frustration on each other, telling each other that they wanted to see their best. This led to the two men signing to face in a "Submissions" Match on the first Raw ever broadcast from Japan. After an exhausting bout, Benoit won the match with the Crippler Crossface, with the two men shaking hands afterward.
Benoit next focused on a feud with one of the most hated men in the WWE at the time, Muhammad Hassan. Hassan came out with his manager, Daivari, on one Raw, complaining again about the way he had been treated as an Arab-American wrestler. Benoit then came down, interested in shutting up the whining. But Benoit couldn't manage to keep both men down, as Hassan managed to get his finisher, followed by keeping Benoit in the Camel Clutch. A week later, Benoit came for some revenge in a singles match against Hassan, with Daivari being a continual annoyance at ringside. Late in the match, the referee was accidentally knocked down, even as Benoit put Hassan on the mat. Daivari, without Benoit knowing it, shoved the ring bell to Hassan. Benoit, meanwhile, climbed the turnbuckle and came off with the Flying Headbutt. In a weird moment, Hassan failed to turn with the ringbell, although the announcers, at first, tried to sell it like Benoit hit it. As Daivari got rid of the ring bell, Hassan went for the pin, but Benoit, since he hadn't hit the foreign object, kicked out at 2. Benoit then started to come back, but Hassan ended the match via DQ, when he got a low blow on Benoit to end it.
On the next Raw, Benoit joined Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Jericho, and Christian in GM Bischoff's office, where Bischoff informed them that all 5, along with one other (later revealed as Kane), would be involved at Wrestlemania in a "Money In The Bank" Ladder Match. The winner of the match would receive a World Title shot, available to use anytime in the next year. Benoit wrestled against one of his opponents later that night, defeating Benjamin with the Crippler Crossface. A week later, Benoit was chosen by Batista (via the "Pick Your Poison" Stipulation from Bischoff) to face Triple H in a match. Although Benoit nearly won with the Sharpshooter, Ric Flair's interference allowed Triple H to get a low blow followed by the Pedigree, finally winning one over the Rabid Wolverine.
Nearing the end of March '05, the feuds between the 6 participants continued to heat up. First, Benoit came down after a tag-team match to make the save for Benjamin & Jericho, who were being beat down by Edge & Christian. Benoit, himself, though, was taken out by Tyson Tomko, Christian's "Problem Solver", taking a ladder to the ribs. Benoit came back later in the night for some retribution, forcing Tomko to tap out to the Crossface. A week later, Benoit joined Jericho & Benjamin on the Highlight Reel, with each talking about how hungry they were to get the World Title shot. They were interrupted by Christian, Tomko, and Edge, leading to a 6-Man Tag-Team Match. The bout was brutal, with Benoit bleeding badly from the forehead after headbutting Tomko. In the end, Benoit's team won after Jericho made Tomko tap to the Walls of Jericho. But Kane proved to be the one standing afterwards, as he came to the ring and took out everyone still standing.
At Wrestlemania 21, the massive 6-Man "Money In The Bank" Ladder Match took place, with all six men focused on grabbing the briefcase hanging above the squared circle. The match started with everyone ganging up on Kane, with mixed results, as the Big Red Machine fought back. It soon broke down into a brawl both in and out of the ring, as each man looked for a way to sneak in and grab the briefcase. Benoit used all of his weapons, at one point countering a Kane choke by coming off the ladder and locking on the Crossface. When Edge broke up the submission, Benoit simply transferred it to Edge. Unfortunately, this left Benoit vulnerable to Kane's fury, as the Big Red Machine smashed Benoit in the face with a ladder, then took Benoit's arm and crushed it repeatedly inside the ladder, badly injuring it. Benoit got some redemption later on, with a flying headbutt off the top of a ladder on Kane. In the end, Benoit seemed to have victory in his sight, as he climbed up the ladder. But Edge slammed a chair into Benoit's already-injured arm, sending him painfully to the ground. Edge then climbed up and got the briefcase, winning the match.
Benoit's injured arm didn't keep him from challenging Edge to a match at the next Raw, with Benoit winning with a roll-up. However, this just infuriated Edge, who beat down Benoit with a steel chair after the match. A week later, Benoit faced off against Christian, with Edge watching from the announce table. Late in the match, with Benoit holding Christian in the Crossface, both Tomko and Edge tried to intervene. Benoit took out both men, but was caught by Christian's Unprettier and pinned, taking a hard loss, thanks to Edge. The two wrestlers were given another match against each other the next week, but the rage the two felt for the other couldn't be contained, as they fought into the crowd and backstage, ending the match in a No-Contest. GM Bischoff, who showed up when they were finally being separated, declared that the two men would face off at the next PPV in a Last Man Standing Match.
Benoit and Edge got their chance to brawl at Backlash '05. The Last Man Standing Match started off inside the ring, with Benoit getting some great technical maneuvers on his former tag-team partner. After some exchanges of moves, weapons began coming into play, including the ringside railing, trash cans, and ladders. Benoit got some momentum by using the Sharpshooter on Edge, who eventually got to the ropes. But Benoit later made a tactical error by trying a suicide dive to the outside, where Edge was ready with a trash can lid, taking the advantage. Edge then superplexed Benoit onto a trash can, with Benoit barely beating the count by rising at 9. Benoit made a comeback later on by German Suplexing Edge off the top of a ladder, and nearly won with the Crossface, knocking Edge out for a 9 count. But Edge got a DDT onto his briefcase, then got multiple Spears. Benoit wouldn't stay down, though, causing a crazed Edge to pull a brick from his briefcase and smash Benoit in the back of the head with it, finally knocking the Crippler out cold long enough for Edge to get the victory.
Twenty-four hours later on Raw, GM Bischoff announced that there would be a Gold Rush Tournament set up to decide the next #1 Contender for Batista's Raw World Title. The competitors wouldn't know who they were facing until they came out. At the end of the night, Triple H (who had lost to Batista at Backlash) came out for his slot in the tournament, and found out he would be facing Benoit. Although the Rabid Wolverine came to fight, he was obviously still suffering from the brick shot he had taken, as a massive head from Triple H from behind caused a very dazed look to come across Benoit's face. Benoit continued to fight, though, and later on had things in control, but was interrupted by Ric Flair, who got on the apron. Benoit brought Flair into the ring, but as the referee tried to break them up, Triple H intervened, knocking Benoit into the ref. This allowed Triple H & Flair to double-team Benoit, but Batista appeared and evened things up, taking out Flair and giving Triple H a Spinebuster, before sliding out and rooting for Benoit. The Crippler managed to recover, locking on the Sharpshooter. With Batista looking on (and holding back the bottom rope), Triple H was forced to tap out, allowing Benoit to move on in the tournament.
Benoit faced Kane in the semi-finals of the tournament the next week, with Benoit apparently having recovered from the head injury. Benoit almost won the match on several occassions, but in the end, his heart betrayed him, as he went to check on Kane's wife, Lita, after she hurt her knee. Kane attacked Benoit from behind, and took him back into the ring. Although Benoit almost got the Crossface, Kane countered with a hard head shot, then Chokeslammed him, eliminating Benoit from the tournament. Edge, Benoit's PPV nemesis, went on to beat Kane in the tournament (thanks mainly to Lita turning on Kane).
On the next Raw, Benoit was seen in the back talking to Tajiri about their respective invitations to the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view. Both wrestlers agreed to have an ECW Rules Match that night (after Tajiri got 'permission' from William Regal). But just as the hardcore brawl was getting "Extreme", with Benoit putting Tajiri on a table and climbing a nearby ladder, Eric Bischoff stopped the match, saying that ECW was not allowed on Raw. However, a week later, Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board, announced that, since he was sponsoring the ECW event, the ECW Rules Match could take place. Benoit and Tajiri went at it again, with every weapon they could find, including Benoit taking a face-full of Tajiri's Green Mist. But Benoit was too strong for Tajiri, using a kendo stick to enhance the viciousness of the Crippler Crossface to force him to submit.
A week later, Bischoff used his power to put Benoit in a "Tables" Match against a Raw supporter, Edge. Benoit came close to winning deep into the match, as he tried to Superplex Edge through a table. But Lita, Edge's valet, interfered, pulling Edge off the table. Benoit tried to get Edge back on the table, but Bischoff pulled out his own tricks, sending Gene Snitsky, Tyson Tomko, & Maven to attack Benoit, leaving him easy pickings for Edge to powerbomb him through the table for the win. Benoit had a confrontation with William Regal a week later, who was trying to pursuade Tajiri to not participate in the PPV. Regal announced that he had joined the Raw squad against the event, much to Benoit & Tajiri's unhappiness. Later that night, Benoit fought in an "ECW Rules" Match against Snitsky, and was given some surprise help from the returning Dudley Boyz, who 3D'ed Snitsky through a table! Benoit then got the Flying Headbutt for the win.
WWE Smackdown: 2005
As June '05 was getting underway, a Draft Lottery was commencing between the WWE brands, regardless of the ECW build-up. Various wrestlers were switching shows each week. This caused a shocking event on the June 9th edition of Smackdown, as GM Teddy Long announced that Chris Benoit had come back home! Benoit immediately had a confrontation with John Bradshaw Layfield, who was the leading Anti-ECW wrestler on Smackdown. Long capitalized on their animosity by assigning them for a match in the main event. During the night, Benoit ran into Eddie Guerrero, who talked about their friendship. Benoit replied by remembering how Guerrero treated his friends (Guerrero had recently turned his back on Rey Mysterio). In the main event, Benoit took on JBL, with both ECW and Smackdown wrestlers at ringside. When Benoit got JBL in the Crossface, Kurt Angle stormed the ring, leading to a massive brawl. With the help of Tazz, the ECW contingent won out, clearing the ring.
At ECW One Night Stand, Benoit met his long-time friend/foe Guerrero in a great match. The two rivals went after each other with everything they had, earning the respect of the pro-ECW crowd. Near the end, Benoit was able to avoid the Guerrero Frog Splash, then got the Flying Headbutt to land. He then followed up with the Crippler Crossface, and after a short struggle, Guerrero tapped out, giving Benoit the victory. On the next Smackdown, Benoit continued his feud with JBL & his Cabinet, facing off against Doug Basham. Although Benoit got the win over the Basham Brother, he lost the battle afterwards, as the Cabinet beat him down. The Undertaker soon made the save. Later on, JBL and the Undertaker had a scheduled match, with JBL counting on Orlando Jordan to help him. But Benoit brawled with OJ before the match, taking him out of the equation (although JBL later had draftee Randy Orton help him win).
It was later announced by GM Teddy Long that, due to John Cena (the Smackdown World Champ) being drafted to Raw, a new champion would be crowned in a special 6-Man Elimination Match. Benoit was chosen to compete, along with JBL, the Undertaker, Booker T, Muhammad Hassan, & the Big Show. When the Big Show was drafted, however, Christian took his place in the match. The first two to go went quickly together, as the Undertaker, who was feuding with Hassan at the time, used a steel chair on him, causing the DQ. Hassan was eliminated also, as he ran from the Undertaker. Surprisingly, the next man to go was Benoit, as he was caught by a blind tag to JBL and pinned. JBL would later go on to win the match, but not the title, as he instead became #1 Contender to the final draft pick, the World Champion from Raw, Batista.
Going into July '05, Benoit focused his attention on an old friend: the United States Heavyweight Title. Benoit defeated Booker T to become the #1 Contender for the belt, which was held by Orlando Jordan. While this feud was set up, Benoit seemingly was coasting on the title shot, as he wrestled on Velocity the next week (albeit in a tremendous match with William Regal). Benoit then was the surprise opponent of Eddie Guerrero on the next Smackdown, challenging his old friend in a rough brawl that ended with Guerrero leaving the ring and getting counted out. Benoit then went on to face Jordan at the '05 Great American Bash, for Jordan's United States Title. Benoit came close several times, especially after the Flying Headbutt. But Jordan came back, later removing a turnbuckle pad, then getting Benoit to ram into the exposed steel to knock him out long enough for the pin, keeping the belt from Benoit.
On the next Smackdown, a double-grudge match took place, as Benoit teamed with Booker T against Jordan & Christian. Jordan, bandaged up after taking several chairshots from Batista the night before (in JBL's match), was an easy target by Benoit, who managed to catch him in the Crossface for the victory (as Christian refused to make the save). Benoit & Booker T continued to team together the next week, facing off against M-N-M. But, due to Booker T being diestracted by a catfight between his wife, Sharmell, and Melina, he was rolled up for the pin, costing them the match. Benoit came back the next week, though, to build some momentum for his rematch with Jordan, defeating Simon Dean. A week later, on the eve of the PPV, Benoit was placed in a match against old foe Randy Orton in the main event of Smackdown. Jordan confronted Benoit before the match, saying that Benoit should be focused on him, not Orton. But Benoit came back by letting OJ know that he was going to make him tap. In the match, Benoit had the edge on Orton, but Jordan interfered, helping Orton get the RKO for the victory.
Benoit got his revenge on Jordan in surprising fashion at Summerslam '05, when they met in a rematch for Jordan's United States Heavyweight Title. The match started with a lock-up, with Benoit pushing Jordan into the corner. OJ answered with a cheap shot to the face, but this seemed to fire Benoit up, as he got a German suplex, then immediately applied the Crossface!! Jordan tapped out only 26 seconds into the match, making Benoit the United States Heavyweight Champion! Benoit humiliated OJ some more over the next few Smackdowns, showing that he could make a cup of coffee and use a restroom in the same amount of time it took him to beat Jordan for the belt. Benoit then made things worse for Jordan, as he beat him even QUICKER in a US Title defense at the beginning of September '05, forcing him to submit in about 23.4 seconds. Benoit then beat his own record again on the first Friday Night Smackdown, forcing Jordan to tap in 22.5 seconds. Benoit was on a major roll.
An embarrassed Jordan tried to interrupt a Benoit/Christian match a week later, demanding another shot at Benoit. Benoit promptly made Jordan tap out again, with Christian attacking the champ. Booker T made the save, leading to an immediate tag-team bout between the four wrestlers. During the match, Booker T again became distracted due to his wife's welfare, which allowed Jordan to take him out. Christian & Jordan then were able to double-team Benoit, with Christian getting the pin. This led to yet another match between Benoit and Jordan, with Jordan actually lasting longer than 26 seconds this time. Unfortunately for Jordan, he celebrated beating the time, which allowed Benoit to grab him in the Crossface and make him tap out in about 46 seconds.
Meanwhile, problems were brewing between Benoit and Booker T, as Booker T's wife, Sharmell, was pushing for Booker T to get a US Title shot, claiming that his 'friend', Benoit, was ducking him. On the week before the PPV, a match was set up by GM Teddy Long to decide the #1 Contender for Benoit's belt, with Benoit making the choice. In a surprising ending, Jordan won the "Triple Threat" Match over Booker T and Christian, rolling Booker T up for the win. Benoit then came to the ring and announced that he was a fighting champion, so he would be facing all three men in a "Fatal Fourway" for the belt! In the meantime, Benoit joined Rey Mysterio & Batista for an announced 6-Man Match against JBL, Christian, & Eddie Guerrero at WWE Homecoming, which was celebrating Raw's return to the USA Network. However, Raw GM Eric Bischoff quickly shut down the match, turning off the lights so that the Smackdown wrestlers couldn't compete. The match instead took place on the following Smackdown, with Guerrero turning on his team to help Benoit's team get the victory (due to Guerrero being friends with Batista).
At No Mercy '05, Benoit put the US Title on the line against Orlando Jordan, Booker T, and Christian. It was a very competitive match, with Benoit coming out on top by making Christian tap out to the Sharpshooter. Afterwards, Sharmell was seen getting angry at Booker T, saying that Benoit had 'screwed' Booker T out of the belt. On the next Smackdown, Benoit faced Jordan one more time for the US Title, with Jordan saying that if he tapped to the Crossface, he would retire. Benoit, naturally, went for the Crossface several times, with Jordan managing to escape every time. In the end, Benoit got OJ to tap to the Sharpshooter instead, getting the win, but not ending Jordan's career. Meanwhile, Booker T won a "Four Way #1 Contenders" Match over Rey Mysterio, JBL, and Christian, thanks in part by Sharmell tripping up Mysterio to leave him open to the Axe Kick. After the match, Benoit confronted Booker T, who apparently had no clue what his wife had done, saying that the same thing had better not happen to him.
Yet, on the next Smackdown, it did, as, after a great match, Benoit got low blowed by Sharmell when his back was turned. A hurting Benoit was easy pickings for the Axe Kick, as Booker T won away the United States Heavyweight Title. When Benoit yelled at Booker T after the match about his wife's involvement, Booker T called him a 'sore loser', apparently having not seen the footage. A week later, Teddy Long called Booker T & Sharmell into his office and showed him taped evidence of Sharmell's cheating ways, prompting Booker T to bring Sharmell to the ring and call out Benoit. Booker T apologized, and offered Benoit a rematch, which was accepted. Booker T then pushed Sharmell to apologize, and Sharmell did, in a way, 'apologizing' for supporting her man, for helping him win matches, and for making him a champion. She slapped Booker T, then left the ring, before turning back and telling Benoit that she was also deeply sorry for "this". When Benoit turned back, Booker T smashed him with the US Title, knocking him out! Booker T had been fooling everyone the whole time, and was actually in on the plan with Sharmell! Booker T & Sharmell left, celebrating, as a furious Benoit pulled himself up.
On the next Smackdown, Booker T & Sharmell came to the ring and bragged about how they had fooled everyone, including GM Teddy Long. Long himself then came out and said that he had been fooled, because he had thought that Booker T was a decent man. Long then told Booker T that he would be facing Benoit in a rematch for the US Title, and the match would be next! With Sharmell trying to help from the outside, Booker T went at it again with his former friend, Benoit, battling over the belt. But when Benoit got the Crippler Crossface on Booker T, he managed to reach the nearby ropes, then decided that he had had enough, rolling out of the ring and heading to the back with Sharmell. Benoit had gotten the victory over Booker T, but it was a Countout, which meant that Benoit did not regain the US Title.
The feud between Benoit & Booker T continued a week later, when Booker T & Sharmell came out during Benoit's match with John Bradshaw Layfield. Booker T's distraction helped Benoit get nailed by JBL's Clothesline From Hell, losing the match. This also cost Benoit a spot on the Smackdown Survivor Series team against Raw, adding to the sting. Benoit was set to continue his feud against Booker T a week later, but, tragically, the feud had to be put on hold, as Benoit's long-time friend, Eddie Guerrero, passed away before the show was to be taped. Benoit joined the rest of the Raw/Smackdown wrestlers in a tribute for Eddie, which was broadcast on the two separate shows. Benoit gave a heart-wrenching interview on Raw, breaking down while trying to talk about the loss of his friend. On Smackdown, Benoit, obviously very emotionally affected, wrestled against Triple H, and got the victory after rolling over from the Crossface into a pin. After the match, a teary-eyed Benoit hugged Triple H, then was joined by another friend, Dean Malenko, with the two celebrating Guerrero's memory with the fans.
A week later, after emotions died down, Benoit again challenged Booker T for the United States Heavyweight Title. It was a long, drawn out match, with a lot of near-finishes. As the match continued, the referee was knocked out, but a second ref (possibly mindful of Sharmell's interference) quickly ran out to take his place. This turned out to be the deciding point of the match, though, as, after a Booker T superplex, both wrestlers grabbed the other, and both refs counted a pin. When the dust settled, neither referee could agree on who won, which caused GM Teddy Long to make his way out. Long quickly sized up the situation, even with Sharmell complaining that, in the event of a tie, the champion keeps the title. Long agreed that Benoit was not the champion, but also declared the US Title vacated from Booker T! Long then said that Benoit & Booker T would 'revisit history', having them compete in a "Best of 7" Series for the vacated belt!
The first match of the series took place at the '05 Survivor Series. The two wrestlers, not surprisingly, gave their all at the pay-per-view, but once again, Sharmell proved to be the deciding factor for Booker T, as she helped hold Benoit's legs during a roll-up to help Booker T get the victory. A special Tuesday Smackdown was shown the next week, as the two wrestlers met for Match 2 of the series. In another furious affair, Booker T was able to capitalize on a mistake on Benoit's part. At one point in the match, Benoit tried to German suplex Booker T off the ring apron. But Benoit was the only one to go down, landing with a horrible thud on the mat. Benoit never really recovered from the hit, with Booker T able to soon get the Axe Kick for the victory, going up 2-0.
A few days later, on the first December '05 Smackdown, Benoit took on a tough challenge from William Regal, as Booker T & Sharmell commentated from the announce table. Benoit was cut open during the match, but kept fighting, eventually forcing Regal to tap to the Crossface. Benoit then set his sights on Booker T, who was still talking to Michael Cole & Tazz about the series. Incredibly, Benoit dived over the table & attacked Booker T, eventually forcing him to tap to the Crossface! Sharmell helped make the save by going for a steel chair, only to be intercepted by Benoit, who chased her away. Match #3 took place a week later, with Booker T looking for some revenge for his beatdown of the week before. During the match an errant Booker T kick took out the referee, even as Benoit capitalized with the Crippler Crossface. Sharmell came into the ring with a chair, with Benoit seeing her coming. However, as Benoit went after her, Booker T got the chair and clocked Benoit, then used the Scissors Kick for the victory, leaving Benoit only one loss away from a clean sweep.
The two wrestlers met at Armageddon '05 in the 4th match of the series, with Booker T having the chance to win the US Title. It was an unbelievable match, with Benoit fighting against being eliminated in the Series, while Booker T was intent on ending things that night. Near the end, the ref went down, which allowed Sharmell to try to interfere with a broom. Benoit dodged, though, then went after Sharmell, only to be intercepted by Booker T. However, as Booker T went for the Bookend, Benoit countered and took Booker T down, locking him into the Crossface! A recovered ref watched as Booker T tapped, giving Benoit his first victory. Of course, the odds were still against Benoit being able to come back.
It was announced on the next Smackdown that Booker T had been injured over the weekend at a house show event, suffering a strained groin pull. The show opened with Booker T & Sharmell arguing with Benoit and GM Teddy Long about the series, since Booker T could not compete for 6-8 weeks. Booker T & Sharmell thought that, since Booker T was up 3-1 in the series, the US Title should be given to him. Long, though, seemed to be leaning towards giving Benoit a forfeit win over Booker T, even though Benoit didn't want to win that way. So Booker T came up with a new scenario: he would pick a replacement to wrestle for him in the series. Benoit and Long agreed, so Booker T was on his way to find a replacement. He was first approached by Orlando Jordan, who wanted the opportunity to fight Benoit. But Booker T & Sharmell both made fun of OJ's constant tapping to Benoit, refusing to choose him. Instead, Booker T talked to Randy Orton, giving him a pep talk about how he had to bounce back from his loss to the Undertaker at Armageddon. Orton took Booker T's challenge, facing off against Benoit in the 5th match of the Series. In a surprising turn of events, though, Benoit got Orton in the Crossface, which caused Sharmell to get up and charge the ring, hitting Benoit and causing the DQ, giving Benoit 2 victories in the series as the year came to a close.
On the first Smackdown of the new year, Benoit seemed to have some momentum, even though he was still one loss away from losing the title. He was helped greatly by dissent on Booker T's side of things, as Orlando Jordan was still around, again telling Booker T & Sharmell that he should be the one fighting for the belt. Booker T & Sharmell again made fun of OJ, with Booker T telling him that he had to EARN their respect. Jordan told Booker T to remember he had said that. Later that night, Benoit again took on Orton (Booker T's sub) in another great bout, with Booker T watching from the announce table. Meanwhile, Sharmell tried to help out from ringside, tripping up Benoit. Benoit pointed this out to the referee, who talked to Orton. Surprisingly, Orton agreed with Benoit, telling the ref to eject Sharmell from ringside! Benoit and Orton then really went after each other, with Orton seemingly in complete control near the end, as he prepared for an RKO. But, as Booker T celebrated, he missed Jordan coming from the crowd. OJ knocked down the injured Booker, then grabbed his crutch and entered the ring, surprisingly hitting Benoit in full view of the ref! The ref had no choice but to again DQ Orton, who was beside himself, even as Benoit celebrated having tied up the series at 3 wins a piece.
The final match of the series took place a week later, with Orton seemingly a little unfocused, as he wanted to compete for the vacated World Title that night in the Battle Royal (Batista, due to injury, had been forced to drop the belt). This seemed to give Benoit even more of an edge, even with Booker T & Sharmell hanging out at ringside, looking to interfere. Early on, though, Benoit pulled some dirty tricks of his own, shying away from Booker T (and his upraised crutch) and telling the ref that Booker T had swung at him! The ref ejected both Booker T & Sharmell from ringside, apparently making things a one-on-one contest. Later on, when the ref was down, Orton prepared for the RKO on Benoit, but had to take out a charging Orlando Jordan instead. This allowed Benoit to get Orton in the Crossface. Booker T, though, stumbled down to the ring with his crutch, to try and break up the hold. Benoit was able to take Booker T down, then got the Crossface back on Orton, but with the ref still down, Booker T came back in and clobbered Benoit in the back of the head with the US Title, allowing Orton to make the pin, costing Benoit the series and the strap.
Benoit got some revenge on the next Smackdown, as, after a match between Orlando Jordan and Orton, Benoit charged the ring, taking out both Orton and Booker T! This led to Benoit signing to face Orton in a "No Holds Barred, One Fall To A Finish" Match a week later. It was a great match, again showcasing what the two wrestlers could do in the ring. The match was helped by the fact that Orton had told Booker T not to interfere, thinking that he could beat Benoit on his own. This turned out not to be the case, as Benoit was able to force Orton to tap out to the Crossface, getting some serious momentum heading into the next PPV.
At the '06 Royal Rumble, Benoit entered as one of the favorites from the Smackdown side. He came into the Rumble at #12, immediately becoming a major factor against all comers. When Booker T came down next, Benoit immediately sought out the still-injured wrestler, beating on Booker T and tossing him out. Benoit later tossed out Eugene, then lasted for quite a while, before finally getting tossed by his other recent rival, Randy Orton. Rey Mysterio won the Rumble. A few days later, on Smackdown, Benoit was set for a rematch against Booker T for the US Title. However, Booker T again claimed that his groin injury had flared up after the Rumble, and Long again allowed a substitute, this time to defend the US Title for Booker T. Before the match, Ken Kennedy interviewed Benoit, mentioning all of his recent 'tough breaks'. Benoit put Kennedy in his place, though, telling him never to get that close to him again, and giving his arm a strong 'pat'. Benoit then went to the ring, where he found out he would be facing another old WCW foe: Fit Finlay! The two wrestlers had a strong match, with Benoit having to deal with Booker T & Sharmell hanging out at ringside. Late in the match, Benoit caught Finlay in the Crossface, but the ref was distracted by Booker T, while Sharmell entered with the crutch. The ref turned just in time to see her hit Benoit, causing the DQ. Afterwards, though, Benoit was beaten down by both men, and left laying in the ring.
Benoit competed in a "#1 Contenders" Match on the next Smackdown, against John Bradshaw Layfield, Matt Hardy, and Orlando Jordan. It was a wild match, with Benoit sometimes teaming up with Hardy, and other times fighting him. In the end, after Hardy caught Jordan with the Side Effect, Benoit locked Hardy into the Crossface, forcing him to tap and getting the victory, once again earning a chance against Booker T. Booker T & Sharmell later tried to get out of the match, since Booker claimed not to be 100 percent, but GM Teddy Long put him on the spot, saying that if he didn't wrestle, he would forfeit the title to Benoit. On the final Smackdown before the PPV, Benoit teamed with Bobby Lashley to take on JBL & Finlay. Thanks to Booker T interfering again, Benoit lost the match, giving him even more incentive to take the champion down.
At No Way Out '06, Benoit and Booker T again went at it, although it seemed doubtful at first. Booker T came out with his wife and declared that, since he wasn't 100 percent, he was going to forfeit his US Title to Benoit. Benoit declined, saying that Booker T was a coward, and that he didn't want the belt that way. He wanted to beat Booker T. Sharmell then got in Benoit's face, slapping him, as well as distracting him so that Booker T could attack him from behind, starting the match in control. It was a back-and-forth match between the two superstars, with Booker T looking for any means necessary to keep his title. But Benoit fought back in the end and used the Sharpshooter, followed by the Crossface, to force Booker T to tap out, giving Benoit back the United States Heavyweight Title after a long absence.
Benoit teamed with Rey Mysterio & Bobby Lashley on the next Smackdown, taking on Randy Orton, Finlay, & JBL. Benoit was strong in the match, even nearly getting JBL to tap out to the Crossface. But Benoit also knew when to tag, bringing in Mysterio to finish off JBL for the victory. Benoit celebrated with Mysterio & Lashley after the match as the night ended. It was later announced that JBL had to have surgery on his hand, due to Benoit having crushed it between the stairs & the steel post at one point. JBL vowed revenge, causing a match to be set up at the next PPV between Benoit and JBL for the United States Championship. A week later, Benoit faced off in a special "Champion vs. Champion" Match with the Cruiserweight Champ, Gregory Helms. Helms got in some good offense, but Benoit was strong, nearly taking him out with the Sharpshooter. Helms then tried to leave, but was thrown back in the ring by other Smackdown cruiserweights, allowing Benoit to German Suplex Helms and win with the Crossface.
A week later on Smackdown, Benoit had a match with Orlando Jordan, with JBL at ringside on commentary. Benoit had little trouble with Jordan, forcing him to tap out to the Sharpshooter in less than 4 minutes. Afterwards, though, JBL laid out Benoit with a beer cooler, leaving him in the ring. At Saturday Night's Main Event #32, JBL had a beer-drinking contest planned with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. JBL tried to cheat in the contest, letting beer run down his chest, but Austin caught him. JBL then gave Austin a cheap shot and tried to leave, but Benoit appeared, grabbing JBL and throwing him back into the ring, where he took a beer shower and a Stunner, with an amused Benoit watching from outside. JBL tried to get revenge on the next Smackdown, putting Benoit in a match against William Regal. But Benoit, despite JBL being at ringside (watching from his limo), managed to make Regal tap out, gaining even more momentum as the United States Champion.
Benoit took on the Road Warrior (Animal) on the final Smackdown before the PPV, with Animal looking to prove he deserved a spot. Benoit proved him wrong, dodging a brass knuckles swing and forcing the Road Warrior to tap out to the Crossface. Afterwards, in the back, Benoit was applauded by JBL, who brought up the fact that he beat the late Eddie Guerrero for his belt, and now he'll beat another great technical wrestler for some more gold. The two wrestlers fought at Wrestlemania 22, with Benoit's US Title on the line. It was a very competitive match, with Benoit nearly getting the win near the end by applying the Crossface. But JBL reversed the move into a pinnning maneuver, then grabbed the ropes, cheating his way to victory to take away Benoit's US Title.
Benoit, although furious, did take time on the next Smackdown to congratulate Gunnar Scott in his upset victory over Booker T. Benoit then quickly came out to attack his opponent for the night, Simon Dean, clotheslining him right off of his scooter! Benoit dominated the match, eventually forcing Dean to tap out to the Crossface. Afterwards, though, instead of Benoit's video playing, a 'tribute' played instead, announcing that JBL would be having a huge celebration the next week after winning the US Title. Benoit was understandably not pleased. A week later, though, the 'celebration' did not take place, as JBL instead had to defend the US Title against Benoit inside of a Steel Cage, per GM Teddy Long. It was a furious match, with Benoit coming close to victory at several points, including when Jillian Hall's interference backfired, as she hit JBL with the cage door. Benoit was able to lock on the Crossface, but as JBL tapped, Hall distracted the referee, keeping the match going. As Benoit argued, JBL then got a low blow, then easily escaped the cage with Hall's help, retaining the US Title.
Benoit teamed with Bobby Lashley the next week against Fit Finlay & Orlando Jordan, with three of the men (Benoit, Lashley, & Finlay) being part of the '06 King of the Ring Tournament taking place. Benoit & Lashley worked well together, with Lashley getting the win with the Dominator on Jordan. Benoit didn't wrestle at the next Smackdown (which was held in London), but he did make an appearance, running out to make the save for protoge Gunnar Scott, when Booker T & Finlay were beating him down after a match. Benoit particularly wanted a piece of Finlay, whom he would be facing in the '06 King of the Ring Tournament the next week.
The two men met in the tournament quarter-finals on the first Smackdown of May '06, in a very tough contest. Both men, known for their physicality in the ring, brutalized each other, in their pursuit to move on in the tournament. Near the end of the match, a bloody Benoit managed to dodge a Finlay swing with his shillelagh, backdropping him. Benoit then went to use the weapon himself, but the ref took it away. Unfortunately for Benoit, as the ref was distracted by putting away the foreign object, Finlay grabbed a chair and nailed Benoit in the throat, then got his finisher for the victory, eliminating Benoit from the tournament.
After taking a week off, Benoit returned to Smackdown to look for some revenge, teaming with his pupil, Gunnar Scott, to take on Finlay & Booker T. It was a hard-fought match, with Finlay, at one point, injuring Benoit's ribs by first throwing him into the ringsteps, then nailing Benoit with the shillelagh! But Benoit came back and managed to make the hot tag, then later took Finlay out of the action by suplexing BOTH men to the outside! Meanwhile, in the ring, thanks to Booker T being distracted by Bobby Lashley, Scott got the crucifix pin for the victory, getting Benoit the win as well. Later that night, it was announced that Benoit would be facing Finlay at the next PPV in a grudge match.
The two heavy hitters went at it at Judgment Day '06, with Benoit intent on some revenge on his old foe. The two men didn't waste time, locking up several times with neither giving an inch. Finally, Benoit took Finlay down, with Finlay later trying to tell the ref he had been poked in the eye. It was a ruse, as Finlay got a cheap shot in on Benoit to take control. The momentum in the match went back and forth with numerous submission holds applied by the technical brawlers. Late in the match, though, the only hold that mattered was the Crossface, as Benoit locked it in on the Irishman to get the submission victory.
On the next Smackdown, Benoit went one-on-one with "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry. It was a back-and-forth match, with Benoit's ring experience allowing him to keep going. Near the end, Benoit kept going for the Crossface, with Henry fighting him off. Just as it seemed that Benoit finally had it fully locked in, causing Henry pain, Henry was able to power out of it, throwing Benoit into the turnbuckle! Henry then took Benoit outside and began hitting Splash after Splash into the ringpost, badly injuring Benoit. It was severe enough that the referee called for the bell, disqualifying Henry. But Henry wasn't done with Benoit, putting him in a Camel Clutch submission in the ring and choking him with the ropes. He eventually left Benoit a bloody mess in the ring as he walked away. Benoit had to be helped to the back with a busted lip and injured ribs, and would be on the shelf for the next few months. In actuality, Benoit was caring for his wife, Nancy, who had gone through neck surgery, as well as resting up his own injuries.
At No Mercy '07 in October '06, William Regal was searching for Finlay to talk with him. In an infamous moment, after getting caught in the shower with Big Vito, Regal showed off his naked body to GM Teddy Long. Long was so disgusted that he ordered Regal to get into his gear and prepare for a match that night. When Regal came out, he, and everyone in attendance, got a huge surprise, as Chris Benoit returned! The two men had a hard-fought, bloody match, with both bleeding from headshots during the bout. But Benoit was too tough for Regal on this night, finishing him with the Crippler Crossface. On the next Raw, Shelton Benjamin issued an open challenge, only to find Benoit, the Smackdown wrestler, coming out to answer it! Benjamin wasn't exactly pleased with this appearance. He also wasn't pleased with the ending, as Benoit got another victory, continuing on his roll.
On the following Smackdown, the red-hot Benoit went against the WWE United States Heavyweight Champion, Mr. Kennedy. There was no stopping the Crippler, as he managed to get the young upstart to tap out, gaining Benoit his 5th United States Title reign! Ove the next few weeks, Benoit defended the US Title, showing that he was a true champion. At the same time, Benoit was getting involved in other business: the business of his late friend, Eddie Guerrero. At the time, Rey Mysterio, Eddie's good friend, had been feuding with Eddie's nephew, Chavo Guerrero, and Eddie's wife, Vickie Guerrero. When Chavo put Mysterio on the shelf with a bad knee injury, Benoit stepped in, wanting to know why they were doing it, and if they were doing something wrong with Eddie's estate. The Guerreros ignored Benoit at first, but then attacked Benoit after a "Non-Title" Match against Tatanka, beating Benoit down with a steel chair to convince him to stay out of their business. This just made Benoit that more determined.
On the Smackdown before the PPV, Benoit took on a tough foe in Finlay in a "Non-Title" Match. Thanks to Chavo's interference, Finlay was able to get the win, giving both pain and embarrassment to the Rabid Wolverine. At the '06 Survivor Series, Benoit and Chavo went at it, with Vickie in Chavo's corner, rooting him on. She also got involved in a big way, at one point grabbing Benoit's leg before he could perform the Flying Headbutt, stalling him long enough to make him miss. Chavo then got a suplex and the Frog Splash, but Benoit kicked out, keeping the match going. Benoit came back to try for a Sharpshooter, with Chavo kicking him off into Vickie, who had been on the apron. Vickie fell, with Chavo nearly rolling Benoit up for the win. But Benoit managed to come back with the Crippler Crossface, forcing Guerrero to tap out and allow Benoit to stay the champion.
Vickie Guerrero showed up to the next Smackdown in a neck brace, and, along with Chavo, called Benoit a woman beater, even though it was clear that Chavo had caused the incident. Benoit wasn't happy about Vickie being injured, as he was distracted in his match later that night against Chavo. Thanks to Vickie's interference, Chavo managed to get a non-title win, continuing the feud. A furious Benoit took out his rage the next week on Sylvan Grenier, beating him in less than a minute with the Crossface. This was one unhappy Wolverine. The feud between Benoit and the Guerreros continued going into Armageddon '06, with Benoit and Chavo again meeting, with the US Title up for grabs. Early on, Benoit sent Chavo to the outside with a Slingshot, with Chavo landing near Vickie. JBL, one of the announcers, immediately began talking about how Benoit had done it on purpose. The fight continued to go back and forth until the end, when Benoit caught Guerrero with 8 straight German Suplexes! He followed it up with an attempt at the Sharpshooter, which caused Vickie to come into the ring with the US Title. Benoit warned Vickie not to do it, causing Vickie to scream and back away. Benoit caught her legs, though, apparently prepared to go for the Sharpshooter on her! Chavo interceded, grabbing Benoit from behind and going for the roll-up. But Benoit reversed it into the Sharpshooter, forcing Chavo to tap out and causing Benoit to once again leave with the gold still in his possession.
Benoit and Chavo would face off one more time for the gold in '06, facing off on the final Smackdown. It was another back-and-forth affair, and once again, Vickie got involved. This time, though, Vickie's interference backfired, as the ref caught her and called for the DQ, giving Chavo the loss. After the match, Chavo yelled at Vickie, turning on her, with Benoit coming back to make the save. Chavo wouldn't have any of it, though, as he assaulted Benoit instead! The feud between Benoit and the nephew of one of his best friends continued to stay hot going into the new year.
WWE Smackdown: 2007
For the first few weeks of '07, Benoit met up several times with Mr. Kennedy, with Chavo becoming involved and helping to cause Benoit to lose a non-title match to him. This led to the final stage of the feud, as Benoit and Chavo met up in a "No Disqualification" Match on Smackdown. It was a brutal affair, with neither man worried about inflicting too much damage. Chairs, exposed turnbuckles, and other weapons played major parts in the destruction. At one point, Chavo gave Benoit the Three Amigos suplexes, including one on top of the US Title and one onto a chair! In the end, though, Benoit managed to lock on the Sharpshooter once again, and although Chavo was able to reach a chair, he was too spent to use it, and finally tapped out. Benoit won again, basically ending the feud.
At the '07 Royal Rumble, Benoit was once again interested in going the distance, as he had earlier in his career. For Benoit, it was a good draw, as he entered the Rumble at #17 and immediately began to deliver the chops to his opponents. Benoit would hang around for a while, joining with everyone else in the ring to toss out the massive Viscera. Benoit next took out Johnny Nitro and Kevin Thorn, having a major impact on the event. Unfortunately, even Benoit couldn't match up with the power of the Great Khali, who took Benoit up and over the ropes, ending his night. The Undertaker would go on to win the Rumble and earn a spot towards Wrestlemania, while Benoit had to be content with still being the United States Champion.
Going into February '07, Benoit found himself with a new challenge to his championship run: Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP. Porter believed that he deserved to be the champion, if only because of his value to the company. The two began feuding early on, with Benoit teaming up with the Hardy Boyz at No Way Out '07 to take on MVP & M-N-M. Benoit soon showed himself to be the most respected in the match, as he delivered some serious chops to MVP. When MVP tried to tag out afterwards, both members of M-N-M ran away to avoid getting in the ring with the Rabid Wolverine. This ferocity was more evident near the end of the match, as Benoit got the hot tag from Matt and came in, devestating all three heels. At one point, MVP tried to use the US Title to slow Benoit down, but Benoit dodged it, locking MVP into the Crossface instead! Johnny Nitro broke up the submission hold, with M-N-M then trying to set up Benoit for the Snapshot. But Matt managed to take out Nitro, leaving Benoit able to lock Joey Mercury's injured face into the Crossface! Mercury immediately tapped out, giving Benoit's team the win.
Benoit and MVP continued to feud going into the next month, with things only heating up after neither man earned a spot in the Money In The Bank Ladder Match (Finlay got it instead). MVP soon challenged Benoit to a match at Wrestlemania, with Benoit accepting, as well as showing MVP what he was in for. At Wrestlemania 23, Benoit and MVP went to war, with the United States Title on the line. Benoit went for the finish early, but MVP proved he was a student of the game, managing to avoid and/or reverse the attempted submission holds. MVP also went after Benoit's arm, softening it up and keeping Benoit from being effective with the Crossface. However, Benoit had other weapons at his disposal, and he broke one of them out, landing the Flying Headbutt on MVP (after several German Suplexes) and surprisingly getting the pinfall, retaining the title! Benoit got another triumph at Wrestlemania, showing his young foe what experience counts for.
The feud didn't stop there, though, as MVP helped give Benoit one of his most embarrassing losses on the next Smackdown, pulling the Miz out of the way of a Benoit Flying Headbutt, then pushing the Miz to make the pinfall, winning the match. An angry Benoit got a Non-Title Match scheduled against MVP a week later, but MVP showed that he had learned from his mistakes, as he managed to avoid the Flying Headbutt during the match. Near the end, MVP went to suplex Benoit out of the ring, a scary attempt. Benoit countered into a roll-up, but MVP blocked it, then grabbed the nearby ropes, scoring the non-title pinfall victory on the champion! The two continued to battle for the next few weeks, with Benoit getting a win over MVP at one point when MVP simply walked away, getting counted out. The two met again at Backlash '07, with the gold again on the line. It was another hard-fought contest, and it was clear that MVP was getting smarter and smarter about how to deal with the Rabid Wolverine. However, Benoit's experience edge still counted for something, as a counter to the Crossface turned into a small-package roll-up by Benoit, getting him yet another victory over MVP.
Benoit and MVP didn't give up their feud, as they continued to fight over the next few weeks. MVP also had an ally in Finlay, with MVP ending a match between Benoit and Finlay in a DQ by attacking Benoit. The two met one more time at Judgment Day '07, in another fierce battle. This time, nothing was left to chance, as the match was made a "Three Falls" Match. Not only would the wrestlers have to take out their opponent, they'd have to do it twice! MVP quickly showed off his gameplan, focusing on Benoit's knee. He worked it over, and it soon paid off, as Benoit's leg gave out during an attempted maneuver, allowing MVP to land the Playmaker for the first pinfall. MVP continued to focus on Benoit's leg after the first fall, trying to get the quick submission, but Benoit stayed alive, eventually going for the Crossface! But MVP had one more maneuver up his sleeve, reversing the Crossface into a roll-up for the second fall, winning away Benoit's title!
On the next Smackdown, MVP threw a victory party, celebrating finally winning gold for himself. Predictably, the Rabid Wolverine showed up as well, breaking up the party. Going into June '07, Benoit continued to go after MVP, both in singles and tag-team matches. Benoit also took time out to appear at the first OVW Summer Sizzler Series event of '07, beating Mike Kruel in a 20-minute match. At WWE Saturday Night's Main Event #34, Benoit teamed up with Batista to take on the World Champion, Edge, and the US Champ, MVP. While Benoit's rage was intense against MVP, Batista's fire was enough to scare Edge away, as he left MVP alone late in the match. Benoit quickly capitalized, getting the Flying Headbutt on the prone MVP for the victory, pinning the US Champ. It seemed that Benoit was set to take out MVP and regain his gold, but, surprisingly, the two didn't even face off at the next WWE PPV, One Night Stand '07. A week later on Smackdown, Benoit faced off against the World Champion, Edge, in a Non-Title Match. Unfortunately for Benoit, Edge proved to be the better man, winning with a Spear. Soon after, things again changed for the Wolverine.
WWE ECW: 2007
On the next Raw, the Draft Lottery of '07 was taking place, with members of Raw, Smackdown, and ECW facing off to decide who got the picks in the draft. Benoit, representing Smackdown, went at it with the ECW representative, Bobby Lashley. The two put on an impressive match on free tv, with Benoit giving it his all for his brand. Unfortunately, Lashley turned out to be a little bit stronger on this night, putting Benoit away. Soon after, ECW got its 'random' draft pick: Benoit! Suddenly, Benoit was on his way to where he got his start in the American scene, back to his old stomping grounds. On the next ECW show, Benoit teamed up with rising star, CM Punk, to take on the New Breed (Elijah Burke & Marcus Cor Von). It was a competitive match, so competitive that the ref opted to DQ Cor Von when he refused to break before a 5 count, giving the win to Benoit & Punk. Benoit, never one to be happy with a DQ ending, sent the fans home happy by making Burke tap out to the Crossface afterwards.
It was announced soon after that, since Lashley had been transferred to Raw, he would have to give up the ECW World Title. This set up a mini ECW World Title Tournament, with the winners of two singles matches going on to face each other for the vacated title at the next PPV. Benoit started things off with a tough match against Burke. The two fought hard in the match, with both eyeing the title sitting outside the ring. Benoit nearly got in trouble in one point, when he flew off the turnbuckle with the Flying Headbutt, only to ram headfirst into Burke's knees! Later on, though, when Burke missed the Elijah Experience, Benoit capitalized, locking on the Sharpshooter and making Burke tap out again, this time earning Benoit a shot at the gold. He had a face-off later that night with the other winner, CM Punk, setting up what looked like a dream match. Sadly, this was not meant to be.
At Vengeance '07, it was announced that Benoit had to head home due to "personal reasons", and wouldn't be there that night. Instead, Johnny Nitro defeated Punk to become the ECW World Heavyweight Champion. On the following Monday, June 25th, 2007, it was announced that Chris Benoit, along with his wife, Nancy Benoit, and his 7-year-old son, Daniel, were all found dead in their Atlanta home. On the night's Raw, Vince McMahon appeared in an empty building, explaining that the entire three-hour show was dedicated to Benoit and his family, with many acquaintances talking about how they felt about the Wolverine.
It was later announced by Atlanta detectives that Chris had killed both his wife and his son via suffocation/strangling, then placed Bibles next to both of them, before later hanging himself. It's a true tragedy that no one can understand, as three lives have ended abruptly and painfully, including one that should have still had many decades ahead. No one can say what Benoit was thinking, or why such a legendary wrestler ended his life in such a shocking way. What I will always remember is Benoit in happier days. I will celebrate his career, and mourn his family. RIP, Chris. RIP, Nancy. RIP, Daniel.
Pay-Per-View/Show Summary: (103 - 91, 2 NCs, 1 DCO)
- NJPW Sumo Hall (February '87) = Benoit & Shinya Hashimoto were defeated by Tatsutoshi Goto & Naoki Sano.
- Stampede International Tag-Team Title Tournament (April '87) = Benoit & Jeff Wheeler lost to Duke Meyers & Kerry Brown. Brian Pillman & Bruce Hart won the tournament.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 2, '87) = Benoit was pinned by Kensuke Sasaki.
- NJPW Super Fight (February '90) = Pegasus Kid & Naoki Sano beat Jushin Liger & Akira Nogami.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (June '90) = Pegasus Kid pinned Owen Hart.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August '90) = Pegasus Kid defeated Jushin Liger to become the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (November '90) = Pegasus Kid lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title to Jushin Liger.
- NJPW Top of the Super Junior '91 (April 15-30, '91) = Pegasus Kid competed in the League, losing to Noria Honaga in the Semis. Honaga went on to win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title.
- UWA 17th Anniversary Show (January '92) = Benoit retained the WWF Light-Heavyweight Title, defeating Villano III in a "Three Falls" match.
- NJPW Top of the Super Junior '92 (April 16-30, '92) Pegasus Kid competed in the League, which was won by Jushin "Thunder" Liger.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (April 30, '92) = Pegasus Kid & David Finlay defeated Negro Casas & Eddie Guerrero.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XIX (June '92) = Benoit and Beef Wellington lost to Flyin' Brian Pillman and Jushin "Thunder" Liger.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (June 26, '92) = Pegasus Kid was pinned by the Super Strong Machine.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 12, '92) = Pegasus Kid pinned Jushin Liger.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (November 22, '92) = Pegasus Kid took out the Tazmaniac.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (November 23, '92) = Pegasus Kid & Dean Malenko lost to Jushin Liger & Takayuki Iizuka.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXII (January '93) = Benoit defeated Brad Armstrong.
- WCW Superbrawl III ('93) = Benoit was pinned by 2 Cold Scorpio.
- WCW Slamboree '93 = Benoit and Bobby Eaton lost to the American Males (Bagwell and Riggs).
- NJPW Top of the Super Junior '93 (May - June) = Pegasus Kid defeated El Samurai in the Finals to win the League.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (June 15, '93) = Pegasus Kid & El Samurai were beaten by Dean Malenko & the Ultimo Dragon.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 2, '93) = Wild Pegasus & Shinjiro Ohtani fell to Jushin Liger & El Samurai.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 3, '93) = Wild Pegasus defeated Tiger Mask III.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 6, '93) = Wild Pegasus & Negro Casas beat Jushin Liger & El Samurai.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 7, '93) = Wild Pegasus, Negro Casas & El Engendro lost to Jushin Liger, Eddie Guerrero & the Black Cat.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 8, '93) = Wild Pegasus was beaten by the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champ, Jushin Liger.
- EMLL 60th Anniversary Show (October 1st, '93) = The Pegasus Kid, Vampiro, & King Haku won, via DQ, over Mocho Cota, Pierroth Jr., & Black Magic.
- NJPW Super Grade Tag League III (October 8 - November 4, '93) = Wild Pegasus & Jushin "Thunder" Liger competed in the League, which was won by Keiji Mutoh & Hiroshi Hase.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (November 4, '93) = Wild Pegasus & Jushin Liger were beaten by Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (February '94) = Wild Pegasus & Max Moon won over Shinjiro Ohtani & El Samurai.
- NJPW Super J Cup Tournament '94 (April 16, '94) = Benoit defeated the Black Tiger, Gedo, and the Great Sasuki to win the Tournament.
- NJPW Best of the Super Junior '94 (May 26 - June 13, '94) = Wild Pegasus competed in the League, which was won by Jushin "Thunder" Liger.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (June 15, '94) = Wild Pegasus & Black Tiger defeated Dean Malenko & Brad Armstrong.
- ECW/NWA Title Tournament (August '94) = Benoit lost to Too Cold Scorpio.
- NJPW Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament (September 27, '94) = Wild Pegasus beat the Black Tiger, but lost to Norio Honaga in the Finals.
- NJPW Junior Heavyweight Super Grade Tag League (October 9-18, '94) = Wild Pegasus and Shinjiro Ohtani beat Norio Honaga and Gran Hamada in the Semis, then defeated the Black Tiger and the Great Sasuki to win the League.
- AAA When Worlds Collide (November 6th, '94) = The Pegasus Kid, Too Cold Scorpio, & Tito Santana defeated La Parka, Jerry Estrada, & the Blue Panther.
- ECW November To Remember II ('94) = Benoit fought to a No-Contest with Sabu, then fought to a Double Count-Out with Too Cold Scorpio.
- ECW "Double Tables" (February '95) = Benoit won over Al Snow.
- ECW "Three Way Dance" (April 8, '95) = Benoit and Dean Malenko lost to Public Enemy in a "ECW Tag Title 3-Way Dance". The Tazmaniac and Rick Steiner were the other participants.
- NJPW Pyongyang Sports Festival (April 28-29, '95) = Wild Pegasus was pinned by Hiro Hase. The next night, Wild Pegasus defeated Too Cold Scorpio.
- NJPW Wrestling Dontaku '95 = Wild Pegasus again beat Too Cold Scorpio.
- NJPW Best of the Super Junior '95 (June 23 - July 13, '95) = Wild Pegasus defeated the Black Tiger (E.Guerrero) in the Semis, then won the League by beating Shinjiro Ohtani.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '95 = Benoit and Dean Malenko defeated Steve Regal and Bobby Eaton in a dark match.
- WCW World War III '95 = Benoit lost to then-WCW US Champion Kensuke Sasaki. Later in the night, Benoit competed in the "3 Ring Battle Royal", which was won by "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
- WCW Starrcade '95 = Benoit lost to Jushin Liger.
- WAR Super J Cup: 2nd Stage (December 13, '95) = Benoit beat Lionheart, but lost to Gedo.
- Stu Hart Tribute Show (December '95) = Benoit defeated Rad Radford.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXXII (January '96) = Benoit lost to Steve Regal in a dark match.
- WCW Slamboree '96 = Benoit and Kevin Sullivan were beaten by Public Enemy.
- World Wrestling Peace Festival '96 = Benoit defeated Alex Wright.
- NJPW Best of the Super Junior '96 (May 24 - June 12, '96) = Wild Pegasus lost to the Black Tiger in the Semis. Black Tiger went on to win the League.
- WCW Great American Bash '96 = Benoit won a "Falls Count Anywhere" Match with Kevin Sullivan.
- WCW Bash At The Beach '96 = Benoit and Arn Anderson lost to the Giant and Kevin Sullivan.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII (August '96) = Benoit was easily annihilated by the Giant.
- WCW Hogg Wild '96 = Benoit defeated Dean Malenko.
- WCW Fall Brawl '96 = Benoit beat Chris Jericho.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '96 = Benoit and Steve "Mongo" McMichael defeated Meng and the Barbarian.
- WCW World War III '96 = Benoit competed in the "3 Ring Battle Royal", which was won by the Giant.
- WCW Starrcade '96 = Benoit was defeated by Jeff Jarrett.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIV (January '97) = Benoit won a "Falls Count Anywhere" Match over "The Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan.
- WCW Superbrawl VII ('97) = Benoit managed to defeat Kevin Sullivan in a "San Francisco" Death Match (he pinned him; didn't have to kill him).
- WCW Uncensored '97 = Benoit teamed with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Steve McMichael, and Jeff Jarrett as Team Piper, who fought against Team nWo (Hollywood Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash) and Team WCW (Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, and the Giant) in a Triangle Elimination Match. Benoit was the 6th man eliminated (Nash threw him over the top rope).
- WCW Spring Stampede '97 = Benoit and US Champ Dean Malenko wrestled to a No-Contest.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome '97 (Battle Formation '97) = Benoit defeated Kevin Sullivan.
- WCW Slamboree '97 = Benoit was forced to submit by Meng in a "Death" Match.
- WCW Great American Bash '97 = Benoit managed to make Meng submit in the "Death" Match rematch.
- WCW Bash At The Beach '97 = Benoit won a "Retirement" Match over Kevin Sullivan.
- WCW Road Wild '97 = Benoit and Steve "Mongo" McMichael won an "Elimination" Match over Dean Malenko and Jeff Jarrett.
- WCW Fall Brawl '97 = Benoit, with Ric Flair, Steve McMichael, and Curt Hennig, lost a War Games Match to Kevin Nash, Konnan, "Buff" Bagwell, and Syxx.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (September '97) = Wild Pegasus, Jushin Liger & El Samurai defeated Chris Jericho, Koji Kanemoto & Dr. Wagner Jr.
- NJPW Final Battle Hall (November '97) = Benoit was beaten by the J Crown Champ, Shinjiro Ohtani.
- WCW World War III '97 = Benoit was involved in the "3 Ring Battle Royal", which was won by Scott Hall.
- WCW Starrcade '97 = Benoit lost to Saturn in a "No DQ" Match.
- WCW/nWo Souled Out '98 = Benoit defeated Raven in a No-DQ Match.
- WCW Boston Brawl (January '98) = Benoit beat Eddie Guerrero.
- WCW Superbrawl VIII ('98) = Benoit failed to take the WCW United States Title from Diamond Dallas Page.
- WCW Uncensored '98 = Benoit lost to Diamond Dallas Page in a Triangle US Title Match (Raven was the other participant).
- WCW Spring Stampede '98 = Benoit lost to then-TV Champion Booker T.
- HCW Brian Pillman Memorial Show (April '98) = Benoit defeated Chris Jericho.
- WCW Slamboree '98 = Benoit was defeated by Fit Finley, who retained the WCW TV Title.
- WCW Great American Bash '98 = Benoit lost the final match of the "Best of 7" Series between himself and Booker T.
- WCW World War III '98 = Benoit competed in the "3 Ring Battle Royal", which was won by Kevin Nash.
- WCW Souled Out '99 = Benoit forced Mike Enos to submit to the Crippler Crossface.
- WCW Superbrawl IX ('99) = Benoit & Malenko, to win the Tag-Team Titles, had to beat Curt Hennig & Barry Windham twice. Although, with the Texas Cloverleaf, Malenko won the first set, Windham was able to win the second, giving Hennig & Windham the titles.
- WCW Uncensored '99 = Benoit & Malenko, with help from Arn Anderson, defeated Curt Hennig & Barry Windham to earn the WCW Tag-Team Titles.
- WCW Spring Stampede '99 = Benoit & Malenko (and Arn Anderson) defeated Raven & Saturn, after a flying headbutt from Benoit.
- 2nd Annual Brian Pillman Memorial Show (May '99) = Benoit & Malenko lost to Konnan & Rey Mysterio Jr.
- WCW Slamboree '99 = Benoit & Malenko fought in a 3-Way Tag match for the titles. Raven and Saturn, with help from Kanyon, won the tag titles. The other team consisted of the former champs, Rey Mysterio Jr and Billy Kidman.
- WCW Great American Bash '99 = Benoit and Saturn lost the tag-team titles to Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon.
- WCW Bash at the Beach '99 = Benoit and Saturn were unable to take the tag titles from the Triad.
- Curtis Comes Home (July '99) = Benoit, Dean Malenko, & Shane Douglas won over Tracey Smothers, Chris Candido, & Tim Horner.
- WCW Road Wild '99 = Benoit defended the United States Title, defeating Diamond Dallas Page.
- WCW Fall Brawl '99 = Benoit fought a great match, but lost the US Title to Sid Vicious.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '99 = Benoit was pinned by Rick Steiner, losing the Television Title to the Dog-Faced Gremlin.
- WCW Mayhem (November '99) = Benoit defeated Jeff Jarrett in the semi-finals, but lost to Bret Hart in the World Title Tournament Finals.
- WCW Starrcade '99 = Benoit retained the United States Title in a Ladder Match over Jeff Jarrett.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome (Jan '00) = Benoit was beaten by Hiroyoshi Tenzan.
- WCW Souled Out '00 = Benoit defeated Sid Vicious for the vacated Heavyweight Title. Match later reversed when Benoit left promotion.
- WWF No Way Out '00 = Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn lost to the team of Too Cool and Rakishi.
- WWF Wrestlemania 2000 = Benoit, in a "2 Falls, 2 Titles" Match, won the Intercontinental Title by pinning Chris Jericho for the first fall. Kurt Angle was the other competitor. Jericho won the second fall to get the European Title.
- WWF Backlash 2000 = Benoit won, via DQ, over Chris Jericho. Benoit retained the Intercontinental Title.
- 3rd Annual Brian Pillman Memorial Show (May '00) = Benoit forced Steven Regal to submit.
- WWF Judgement Day 2000 = Benoit defeated Chris Jericho in a Submissions Only match to stay the Intercontinental Champion.
- WWF King of the Ring '00 = Benoit lost, via DQ, to Rikishi.
- WWF Fully Loaded '00 = Benoit was beaten by the WWF World Champion, the Rock.
- WWF Summerslam '00 = Benoit defeated Chris Jericho in a 2 out of 3 Falls match.
- WWF Unforgiven '00 = Benoit lost a 4-Way World Title match to the Rock. The Undertaker and Kane were the other two participants.
- WWF No Mercy '00 = Benoit was beaten by Hunter Hearse Helmsley.
- WWF Survivor Series '00 = Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Eddie Guerrero fought in an Elimination match with Billy Gunn, Chyna, K-Kwik, and the Road Dog. Benoit & Saturn were the 'survivors'.
- WWF Rebellion (December '00) = Benoit was defeated by the Undertaker.
- WWF Armageddon '00 = Benoit defeated Billy Gunn to become the WWF Intercontinental Champion.
- WWF Royal Rumble '01 = Benoit lost the WWF Intercontinental Title to Chris Jericho in a Ladder match.
- OVW Christmas Chaos (January '01) = Benoit won, via DQ, over OVW Champion Vic Dinsmore.
- WWF No Way Out '01 = Benoit lost in a "Fatal Fourway" match to the IC Champion Chris Jericho. The other two were Eddie Guerrero and X-Pac.
- WWF Wrestlemania XVII ('01) = Benoit was beaten by Kurt Angle.
- WWF Backlash '01 = Benoit won a "30 Minute Ultimate Submission" Match over Kurt Angle.
- WWF Insurrextion '01 (May) = Benoit defeated Kurt Angle in a 3 Falls match.
- WWF Judgement Day '01 = Benoit lost a "3 Falls Medals Match" to Kurt Angle. Later that night, Benoit & Chris Jericho won the Tag-Team Turmoil match, beating Justin Credible & X-Pac and Edge & Christian.
- WWF King of the Ring '01 = Benoit was beaten in a "Triple Threat" match by WWF World Champion Steve Austin. Chris Jericho was the other participant.
- WWE Vengence '02 (July) = Benoit & Eddie Guerrero lost a "Tables" Match to Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley.
- WWE Summerslam '02 = Benoit dropped the Intercontinental Title to Rob Van Dam.
- WWE Unforgiven '02 = Benoit pinned Kurt Angle.
- OVW Fall Brawl '02 (September 4) = Benoit defeated "The Machine" Doug Basham.
- WWE Smackdown Tag-Team Title Tournament (October '02) = Benoit & Kurt Angle defeated John Cena & Billy Kidman and Chavo & Eddie Guerrero to reach the finals at No Mercy.
- WWE No Mercy '02 = Benoit & Kurt Angle won in the finals of the WWE Tag-Team Title Tournament, beating Rey Mysterio Jr & Edge.
- WWE Rebellion '02 (October 26) = Benoit & Kurt Angle defended the Tag Titles, winning over Eddie & Chavo Guerrero Jr.
- WWE Survivor Series '02 = Benoit & Kurt Angle lost to Chavo & Eddie Guerrero, who won the WWE Smackdown Tag Titles. Rey Mysterio Jr & Edge were the other participants.
- WWE Armageddon '02 = Benoit forced Eddie Guerrero to submit.
- WWE Royal Rumble '03 = Benoit was beaten by the "Smackdown" World Champion, Kurt Angle.
- WWE No Way Out '03 = Benoit & Brock Lesnar won a "Handicap" Match over Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas.
- WWE Wrestlemania X-9 (March 30, '03) = Benoit & Rhyno lost a "Triple Threat" Match to the WWE Smackdown Tag Champs, Team Angle. Los Guerreros were the other participants.
- OVW Spring Break-Out '03 (April 11) = Benoit, Nick Dinsmore & Johnny Jeter won an "Iron Man" Match over Rob Conway, Doug Basham & Damaja.
- WWE Judgment Day '03 = Benoit, Brian Kendrick & Rhyno fell to John Cena & the F.B.I. (Palumbo & Stamboli).
- WWE United States Heavyweight Title Tournament (June/July '03) = Benoit defeated Rhyno and Matt Hardy to reach the finals of the tournament.
- WWE Vengence '03 = Benoit lost to Eddie Guerrero, who won the vacated US Heavyweight Title.
- WWE Summerslam '03 = Benoit lost a "Fatal Fourway" Match to the US Champ, Eddie Guerrero. Rhyno and Tajiri were the other participants.
- WWE No Mercy '03 = Benoit defeated the A-Train.
- WWE Survivor Series '03 = Benoit, Kurt Angle, John Cena, Hardcore Holly & Bradshaw competed in an "Elimination" Match against Brock Lesnar, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, A-Train & the Big Show. Benoit & Cena were the 'survivors'.
- WWE Royal Rumble '04 (January 25) = Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble match.
- WWE Wrestlemania XX (March 14, '04) = Benoit won the WWE Raw Heavyweight Title from Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a "Triple Threat" Match. Shawn Michaels was the other participant.
- WWE Backlash '04 (April 18) = Benoit retained the WWE Raw Heavyweight Championship, winning a "Triple Threat" Match over Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Shawn Michaels.
- OVW Super Summer Sizzler Series (May 21, '04) = Benoit, as the WWE Raw Champ, won a "Non-Title" Match, via DQ, over the OVW Heavyweight Champ, Matt Morgan.
- WWE Bad Blood '04 (June 13) = Benoit & Edge won, via DQ, over the Raw Tag Champs, La Resistance. Later on, Benoit stayed the WWE Raw World Champion, pinning Kane.
- WWE Vengeance '04 (July 11) = Benoit kept the WWE Raw World Title, beating Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
- WWE Summerslam '04 (August 15) = Benoit lost the WWE Raw Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton.
- WWE Unforgiven '04 (September 12) = Benoit & William Regal defeated Ric Flair & Batista.
- WWE Taboo Tuesday (October 19, '04) = Benoit & Edge won the Raw Tag-Team Titles from La Resistance.
- WWE Survivor Series '04 (November 14, '04) = Benoit, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, & Maven fought in an "Elimination" Match with Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Gene Snitsky, Batista, & Edge. Benoit was eliminated by Edge. Orton was the 'sole survivor'.
- WWE New Year's Revolution (January 9, '05) = Benoit competed in an "Elimination Chamber" Match for the vacated Raw World Title, which was won by Hunter Hearst Helmsley. The other participants were Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Batista, & Edge.
- WWE Royal Rumble '05 (January 30) = Benoit competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Batista.
- WWE Wrestlemania 21 (April 3, '05) = Benoit lost the "Money In The Bank Ladder" Match to Edge. Shelton Benjamin, Chris Jericho, Kane, and Christian were the other participants.
- WWE Backlash '05 (May 1) = Benoit lost a "Last Man Standing" Match to Edge.
- WWE Gold Rush Tournament (May '05) = Benoit beat Triple H, then fell to Kane in the semi-finals. Edge won the tournament.
- ECW One Night Stand (June 12, '05) = Benoit forced Eddie Guerrero to submit.
- WWE Great American Bash '05 (July 24) = Benoit lost to the United States Champion, Orlando Jordan.
- OVW Six Flags Summer Sizzler Series '05 (August 12) = Benoit & Brent Albright defeated Daniel Puder & Ken Anderson.
- WWE Summerslam '05 (August 21, '05) = Benoit won the United States Heavyweight Title, quickly beating Orlando Jordan.
- WWE No Mercy '05 (October 9) = Benoit retained the US Title, winning a "Fatal Fourway" Match over Orlando Jordan, Booker T, and Christian.
- WWE Survivor Series '05 (November 27) = Benoit lost the first match of a "Best of 7" Series for the vacated US Title to Booker T.
- WWE Armageddon '05 (December 18) = Benoit won a "Best of 7 Series" Match over Booker T, bringing the series to 1-3.
- WWE Royal Rumble '06 (January 29) = Benoit competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Rey Mysterio.
- WWE No Way Out '06 (February 19) = Benoit won the United States Heavyweight Title from Booker T.
- WWE Wrestlemania 22 (April 2, '06) = Benoit lost the United States Heavyweight Championship to John Bradshaw Layfield.
- WWE '06 King Of The Ring Tournament (April/May '06) = Benoit lost in the first round to Finlay. Booker T won the tournament.
- WWE Judgment Day '06 (May 21) = Benoit defeated Finlay.
- WWE No Mercy '06 (October 8) = Benoit took down William Regal.
- WWE Raw Family Reunion (October 9, '06) = Benoit won over Shelton Benjamin.
- WWE Survivor Series '06 (November 26) = Benoit retained the WWE United States Heavyweight Title, beating Chavo Guerrero.
- WWE Armageddon '06 (December 17) = Benoit stayed the WWE United States Heavyweight Champ, once again taking down Chavo Guerrero.
- WWE Royal Rumble '07 (January 28) = Benoit competed in the Royal Rumble Match, which was won by the Undertaker.
- WWE No Way Out '07 (February 18) = Benoit & the Hardy Boyz defeated MVP & M-N-M.
- WWE Wrestlemania 23 (April 1, '07) = Benoit kept the WWE United States Heavyweight Title, beating MVP.
- WWE Backlash '07 (April 29) = Benoit retained the WWE United States Heavyweight Title, pinning MVP.
- WWE Judgment Day '07 (May 20) = Benoit lost the WWE United States Heavyweight Title, losing a "Three Falls" Match to MVP.
- OVW Super Summer Sizzler Series '07 (June 1) = Benoit beat Mike Kruel.
- WWE Saturday Night's Main Event #34 (June 2, '07) = Benoit & Batista defeated MVP & Edge.
- WWE ECW World Heavyweight Title Tournament (June '07) = Benoit won over Elijah Burke to reach the finals. However, Benoit was unable to make the Vengeance PPV due to an announced family emergency, and was replaced by Johnny Nitro (who won the title).
- Calgary Stampede International Tag-Team Champion w/ Ben Bassarab (3/01/86 - 3/24/86)
- Calgary Stampede International Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Keith Hart (5/09/86 - 6/06/86)
- Calgary Stampede British-Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion (3/19/88 - 6/10/88)
- Calgary Stampede British-Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion(2) (3/19/88 - 6/10/88)
- Calgary Stampede British-Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion(3) (6/17/88 - 6/24/88)
- Calgary Stampede International Tag-Team Champion(3) w/ Lance Idol (10/07/88 - 10/28/88)
- Calgary Stampede British-Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion(4) (1/13/89 - 7/07/89)
- Calgary Stampede International Tag-Team Champion(4) w/ Biff Wellington (4/08/89 - 6/09/89)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion (8/19/90 - 11/02/90)
- WWF Light Heavyweight Champion (3/03/91 - 9/13/92)
- CWA World Tag-Team Champion w/ David Taylor (12/21/91 - 6/92)
- ECW World Tag-Team Champion w/ Dean Malenko (2/25/95 - 4/08/95)
- WCW World Television Champion (4/30/98 - 5/01/98)
- WCW World Television Champion(2) (5/02/98 - 5/03/98)
- WCW Tag-Team Champion w/ Dean Malenko (3/14/99 - 3/29/99)
- WCW Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Perry Saturn (6/10/99 - 6/13/99)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion (8/09/99 - 9/12/99)
- WCW Television Champion(3) (9/13/99 - 10/24/99)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion(2) (12/19/99 - 12/20/99)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion (1/16/00)
- WWF Intercontinental Champion (4/02/00 - 5/02/00)
- WWF Intercontinental Champion(2) (5/08/00 - 6/22/00)
- WWF Intercontinental Champion(3) (12/10/00 - 1/21/01)
- WWF World Tag-Team Champion w/ Chris Jericho (5/21/01 - 6/19/01)
- WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion (7/29/02 - 8/25/02)
- WWE Smackdown World Tag-Team Champion w/ Kurt Angle (10/20/02 - 11/05/02)
- WWE Raw World Heavyweight Champion (3/14/04 - 8/15/04)
- WWE Raw World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Edge (4/19/04 - 5/31/04)
- WWE Raw World Tag-Team Champion(3) w/ Edge (10/19/04 - 1/01/04)
- WWE United States Heavyweight Champion(3) (8/21/05 - 10/18/05)
- WWE United States Heavyweight Champion(4) (2/19/06 - 4/02/06)
- WWE United States Heavyweight Champion(5) (10/10/06 - 5/20/07)
PWI Achievement Awards: (3 wins, 5 1st RUs, 4 2nd RUs, 2 3rd RUs)
- 1988 Rookie of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 1996 Most Improved Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2001 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Benoit vs. Kurt Angle)
- 2002 Tag-Team of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Benoit & Kurt Angle)
- 2002 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Benoit/Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio Jr/Edge)
- 2002 Most Inspirational Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2002 Comeback of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2003 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Benoit vs. Kurt Angle)
- 2004 Wrestler of the Year
- 2004 Match of the Year (Benoit vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Shawn Michaels)
- 2004 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Benoit vs. Randy Orton)
- 2004 Most Popular Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
- 2004 Feud of the Year (Benoit vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley)
- 2004 Most Inspirational Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up