Benoit was my favorite wrestler in the states and I’ve yet to watch a match of his since. I know what you mean… :/
I’m with you. I don’t think I’ve watched a match of his since.
I tried to re-watch a match of his, as Pegasus Kid against The Great Sasuke in NJPW about two months ago, thinking that enough time had passed and that his work as the Pegasus Kid was so removed from his later persona that I’d have an easy time watching it…but I found myself fast-forwarding right through it.
Couldn’t do it.
I can’t speak on how the rest of the crew felt, but personally, it bothered me to the point where I, for better or worse, did what WWE did and tried to forget about Chris Benoit’s existence.
I was such a huge fan of his, and felt that there was so much overlooked in the tragedy, and the whole thing was upsetting and disgusting. After having it on my mind for a long time, learning more about the case and thinking through things, I just tried to shut it out cause it’s so terrible.
Thinking about something like that, especially as it relates to a public figure you felt some sort of emotion about as a fan…it’ll drive ya crazy. Poisonous, I’m tellin’ you.
“Southern Discomfort” by Keith Elliot Greenberg - RAW Magazine [April 2000]
“The mass defection of four of World Championship Wrestling’s top stars — Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Eddy Guerrero — to the World Wrestling Federation ranks among the biggest sport-entertainment stories in recent memory. For the first time, the Radicals tell their side of the story.”
Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko In the Audience for WWF RAW is WAR in Atlanta, Georgia [1/31/2000]
Several excerpts on the defection of The Radicalz from WCW to the WWF, taken from the 2004 book The Death of WCW by R.D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez:
“Finally, [WCW] decided to give the shot to [Chris] Benoit. Sadly, there was a flaw in this plan. Benoit hated [Kevin] Sullivan, who was more or less the head of the booking committee. In fact, Benoit and at least fourteen others hated him so much that they all got together the Saturday night before the [Souled Out] PPV and decided to ask for their releases. Their main grip was that when Sullivan was briefly in charge of booking the year prior, he’d done everything in his power to keep the mid-carders down, and there was no reason to believe that he’d do any differently this time around. By Sunday afternoon, half of the wrestlers had changed their minds, probably for fear of losing their guaranteed deals without any other concrete offeres on the table. The WWF likely would have taken some, but not all of them, and most were unwilling to gamble their financial security on it. So Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Konnan, Billy Kidman, and Shane Douglas all went to [WCW Senior Vice President, Bill] Busch as a group and said they wanted out. Busch, totally unprepared for this, told them to please wait a week, and he’d try to handle the situation.”
Chris Benoit Delivers a Flying Headbutt to Kurt Angle - WWF RAW is WAR [6/11/2001]
Fantastic in-cage shot of a flyin’ Benoit in a match where both grapplers delivered a grand total of one-hundred and eighty-seven German Suplexes combined. Seriously, if you like German Suplexes, then this is the match for you (you’ll love the insane top-of-the-cage one).
This particular shot is a bit misleading as it appears to be Benoit in the middle of his signature top-turnbuckle Swandive Headbutt. In reality, “The Rabid Wolverine” got to the very top of the steel cage and instead of deciding to win the match by climbing out (a very pissed off Stone Cold was waiting for him armed with a steel chair), Benoit turned to deliver a beautiful Swandive Headbutt directly onto the heart of Kurt Angle.
IIRC, Chris Benoit did a similar spot in WCW, where he did the exact same headbutt from the top of the cage onto a steel chair placed on the skull of Jeff Jarrett. As you can imagine, that moment was just as insane as this spot as Benoit immediately turned to reveal a swollen eye socket afterward.
“Garden Party: Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero Savor the Spotlight at WrestleMania - WWE SmackDown Magazine [May 2004]
A fantastic shot of the emotional ending to WrestleMania XX. Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit had to hear for years in WCW that they could never be the lead guys in the wrestling business, but the WWE saw the same thing inside these two that the fans saw and made them into top-tier superstars of their organization.
Eddie Guerrero walked into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion and successfully defended his title against Kurt Angle in a tremendous match. Chris Benoit won his only World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels and Triple H in one of the most-exciting Triple Threat matches in WWE history, if not one of the greatest main events in WrestleMania history.
Fun fact: Triple H tapping out to Benoit’s Crippler Crossface marked the first time a WrestleMania ended with a submission maneuver.
Promo of the Day
The Rock Delivers a Message to The Radicalz
WWF RAW is War
November 13th, 2000
Thirteen years ago, The Rock was still talking about shoving things up people’s asses and cutting promos that made Jerry “The King” Lawler squeal with delight. Fun spot.
“Exodus: The Real Story Behind the Flight From Atlanta” - RAW Magazine [April 2000]
A great photo of The Radicalz obviously taken the same night as their debut, 1/31/2000. Inside this magazine, there’s a great piece about the groups deflection to the WWF that goes into an insane amount of detail that I did not expect a WWF magazine to go into.
Seeing Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr. name-dropped in the mag is kind of strange given the time but reading a whole discussion about the booking of Kevin Sullivan is absolutely nuts! I’ll post the entire article this evening along with all the photos included.
The Radicalz - RAW Magazine [April 2000]
On January 31st, 2000, one of wrestling’s biggest storylines went down as four prominent members of World Championship Wrestling joined together to defect to their company’s rival, the World Wrestling Federation. The idea of Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Perry Saturn turning their backs on a company that largely helped make them all known to the American wrestling audience was shocking enough, but the fact that Benoit had held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship title a mere two weeks prior to their surprise WWF debut created an instant buzz around fans and people inside the wrestling industry. Surprise debuts of superstars from other organizations were one thing, but no one had ever seen a fully-unified walk out like this before.
Today will be non-stop posts about these four men, the Radicalz of the WWF.
Chris Benoit Stares as Chris Jericho Walk Towards the Ring - WWF SmackDown [10/5/2000]
God… I absolutely loved the old SmackDown set.