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Superstars of the past and present

 

Wrestling Stars of the Past

 

This is my first article for TWG and is also the first of what I hope to be one of the most exciting articles around. Entitled “Wrestling Stars of the Past” my articles will take an in-depth look at some of the most influential wrestlers in the history of the sport. I have no doubts that the more of these articles I write, the more controversy will ensue over whether or not my selections deserve to be credited as one of the “all-time greats.” The only response I can provide to this is, if you don’t like the articles stop reading!

For those of you still with me to this point I have provided for your reading pleasure, one of the most controversial selections of them all as my first induction. He is a man that was respected by all in the locker room. His fast-paced, smash-mouth, technical wrestling style was second to none and he was one of the most watch World Heavyweight Champions in WWE since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He has been known as “The Canadian Crippler” and “The Rabid Wolverine.” He was Chris Benoit.

Now I realize that the name Chris Benoit has been considered a dirty word since his death in June of last year. But I truly believe that the way Chris died was nothing like the way he lived his life. And if it weren’t for the way his family passed, he would no doubt be a lock for the WWE Hall of Fame.

He may not have been the most charismatic wrestler the industry has ever seen, and admittedly, his microphone skills left much to be desired. But what Chris Benoit lacked in promotional skills, he more than made up for in the ring. Chris Benoit brought an unmatched level of intensity to every match he was in and fans knew that if Chris Benoit’s name was on the card they were in for a treat. It didn’t matter who he was up against, Chris Benoit had the rare ability to carry a match and make any opponent look good.

            Growing up, Chris Benoit’s favorite wrestler was “The Dynamite Kid” Tom Billington, and if anyone were to compare their fighting styles they could see the resemblance. In fact, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, one of the few men to have the honor of facing both Benoit and Billington, said that Chris emulated Tom to the tee. As homage to his childhood hero, Chris Benoit won a large portion of his matches with “The Dynamite Kid’s” finishing maneuver, The Diving Headbutt. It was a move that very few men even attempted and that none to perform nearly as beautiful. His other finishing move, known as “The Crippler Crossface” was a gift from a good friend of Chris’ named Dean Malenko. Those who know Dean may recall that in WCW he was known as “The Master of 1000 Holds” and Chris Benoit decided that his character needed a submission maneuver to finish off his opponents. As a result, Dean taught Benoit the Crossface, and it has become a trademark move of Benoit.

Throughout his career Chris Benoit has faced all kinds of opponents within multiple federations including Stampede Wrestling, various promotions in Japan, ECW, WCW and of course, WWE. He has faced many of the sport’s greats including Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero and Tiger Mask as well as some of the worst. But Benoit had the ability to turn a nobody into a star and a star into a champion. Case in point, I only had the esteemed pleasure of watching Chris Benoit live in one match. And while I will attempt to take you through this match, I implore you to look it up and watch it for yourself as there is no way that my words can do it justice. But of course, I’ll attempt it nonetheless.

The day was August 15, 2004 and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto was hosting a major WWE pay-per-view entitled Summer Slam. While the show claimed to have two main events, everybody in the arena knew that Benoit’s match would steal the show as John “Bradshaw” Layfield defending the WWE Championship against The Undertaker ended up being a giant snooze-fest. But Benoit’s opponent on that night was a young man with a bright future ahead of him, and a man who the WWE hoped was a champion in the making. On this night, Chris Benoit defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton. And I have to say that this match was by far Randy Orton’s greatest match to date. I don’t think I sat in my seat at all during the match.

The match up began very fast paced with Chris Benoit on the offensive for more of it. At one point, Benoit had Randy Orton locked in the Crossface for so long I thought for sure the match would be over, but of course, for those who know their WWE history, Randy Orton made it to the ropes. The turning point of the match came when Randy Orton was on the outside of the ring and Benoit went for an unsuccessful suicide dive, that resulted in his head smoking the barricade and I was sure his neck was broken. Orton then rolled Benoit into the ring and gave him a move that I’ve never seen before which I can only describe as a gutwrench neckbreaker. It was at that moment that I realized that Benoit was bringing out the best in Randy Orton and trying to establish him as a championship contender. And wouldn’t you know it; the finish came with an RKO seemingly out of nowhere and resulted in Randy Orton becoming the youngest World Champion in WWE History.

The problem with Randy Orton was that he was almost too young to be champion and after failing to have a match anywhere near the level of his Summer Slam clash with Benoit, that he ended up losing the belt to Triple H just one month later. And while this match did mark the end of Benoit only Heavyweight Championship reign in WWE history, it did show that he had the ability to put just about anybody over. As a result, Benoit won the United States championship a few months later and was placed in storylines to establish the careers of many of the younger talent on the roster such as Orlando Jordan, Ken Kennedy and MVP just to name a few.

The tragic loss of Chris Benoit and his family was a huge loss to the world of wrestling. There will never be another Chris Benoit, this much is for certain. But I certainly hope that people will one day be able to see past the terrible last moments of his life and acknowledge the tremendous accomplishments he has made for the world of wrestling. I pray for the day that Benoit’s name is once again acknowledged by those other than me. I have no doubts that the day will come and Benoit’s name will be acknowledged in the WWE’s Hall of Fame. Benoit lived to wrestle. He lived a life that few would be able to live, filled with long car rides, plain rides and little time for family. He lived a life that took a toll on his body and his mind. As a result of a series of undiagnosed concussions, researchers concluded that Chris Benoit had the mind of a 65-year-old with dementia when he passed. It was a mind that was no longer his own. On June 25, 2007, Chris Benoit took the lives of his wife and son before taking his own. I hope now, that the Benoit family is at peace. I’m sure that this article will receive a number of comments filled with people enraged that I would honor a man who killed his wife and child, but I hope that this article also brings out others who would like to see Benoit honored for his accomplishments in the ring. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me. I’m not that naïve. But I hope there are at least some other people out there who would defend my views as I’m sure this article will spark some debate. I am and always will be a fan of Chris Benoit, and while I am by no means trying to justify what he did, I hope the day comes when Benoit is remembered for how he lived and not how he died.      

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Comments

  1. Comment #1

    My first reaction was that he had the decency to avoid the mic since he wasn't very good at it. Unlike the 45 minute Edge/Lita train wrecks we were getting weekly for a while. However, on second thought, I think he was better off without mic skills. Nothing he said on the mic would have been as eloquent as what he said in the ring anyway.

    Posted by Eirik Vincent on Monday, May 12, 2008

  2. Comment #2

    That was a very interesting read, but I cant see Benoit being in the HOF. As much as everyone dislikes it, WWE' reputation takes a certain hierachy to honour and dedication.

    Posted by X2X on Monday, May 12, 2008

  3. Comment #3

    Nice article, how often will these be posted?

    Posted by Nurkie on Monday, May 12, 2008

  4. Comment #4

    articles will be posted daily. Each Author will be put up once a week in here.

    Posted by Darth Yoda on Monday, May 12, 2008

  5. Comment #5

    I Loved Benoit, I had the Undeniable Honor of being there for WrestleMania XX, and all i can say is

    Don't Blink...You Might Miss a Benoit Match

    Posted by Benoit Fan on Monday, May 12, 2008

  6. Comment #6

    I was a benoit fan. Before last year I'd have stood behind anyone wanting to put benoit in the HoF but not now. A killer is a killer he was brilliant in the ring but his final act was nothing short of mortifying.

    Posted by Former wrestling fan on Monday, May 12, 2008

  7. Comment #7

    That was an excellent read! Interesting, well researched and well written! Looking forward to next week's article!

    *Applause!*

    Posted by Lance on Monday, May 12, 2008

  8. Comment #8

    Well, gosh, you sure are fishing for controversy, aren't you? Pulling out a Benoit story with your first column...

    Now, personally, I am completely able to separate Chris Benoit the wrestler and Chris Benoit the murderer. What happened is, to me, just an unfortunate sidenote to Chris' amazing career. But there are a lot of people who don't feel that way.

    Chris was one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, and he will always be such. So I completely agree with your article. Good work!

    Posted by The Glide on Monday, May 12, 2008

  9. Comment #9

    everything ends up ok, benoit will make the HOF. if its not ok, its not the end.Rest in Peace brother.

    Posted by Curtis Kash on Monday, May 12, 2008

  10. Comment #10

    benoit was my favourite wrestler also. i loved watching coming to the ring , words cant possible say what meant for me to watch that guy in action.true poetry in motion, perfect tech skill. i loved some of his matches , against y2j, regal, edge , hhh , eddie and of course angle.. like u said, there will never be another chris benoit.

    Posted by pedro on Monday, May 12, 2008

  11. Comment #11

    Excellent article! I have been and continue to be a fan of Chris Benoit. He will always be the most prolific wrestler of all time to me. No I am not a fan of the man that killed his family and ended the life of my favourite wrestler. Chris is truly missed. And I too hope someday people especially the WWE can get past their biases to put Chris in the HOF, where he truly deserves to be for what he gave us all as wrestling fans for years....his life.

    Posted by Rough House Fargo on Monday, May 12, 2008

  12. Comment #12

    how can noone have seen if his mind was that wrecked typical wwe now there putting stars in rehab bit to late for benoit hay

    Posted by frankie on Monday, May 12, 2008

  13. Comment #13

    Benoit was easily one of the five greatest wrestlers to ever live and it is horrible that the WWE will no longer recognize him. Even worse is that at the last PPV, three men, HHH, HBK, and Khali, all used the crossface. It's a shame that his greatest weapon is now being used like a sleeperhold or an armbar. As hard as they try, Benoit will never be forgotten from his days as the Pegasus Kid in Japan, to his cruiserweight days in WCW, to finally winning the World Title in WWE, I don't know if I will ever have the pleasure of watching a more technical wrestler in the ring.

    Posted by Mask of Fury on Monday, May 12, 2008

  14. Comment #14

    awesome article benoit was a great tech wrestler i also feel he should be in HOF we shouldn't look down on the deaths of the family but his wrestling career people are not put in HOF for their life outside the ring, they are put in for their wrestling career and what they did for the business. And chris Benoit was mr wrestlng every nght he gave it his all

    Posted by dirty sean on Monday, May 12, 2008

  15. Comment #15

    I must say that I am quite pleased with the responses on my first article. I'm glad people enjoyed it. I'm glad other people are also able to separate Chris Benoit the man from Chris Benoit the monster.

    Posted by Scott "The Hunter" Manson on Monday, May 12, 2008

  16. Comment #16

    good job and its nice to see no one trash talk cris as a wrestler or what the new reporters call him chris is one of if not the best wrestler the wwe/wwf/wcw/ecw/japan has ever seen there will never be another chris beniot

    Posted by shawn on Monday, May 12, 2008

  17. Comment #17

    This was a good article and look forward to the next one. As stated by article and posts, Beniot was a great wrestler and I enjoyed watching him in the ring. Not so good on the mic yes, but was a natural gift in his wrestling ability. HOF I think would be nice for all he has done for the industry.

    Posted by jay on Monday, May 12, 2008

  18. Comment #18

    Benoit doesnt need vince's hall of fame to be remembered as one of the best..while i don't condone what benoit is accused of out of the ring,that has nothing to do with if he was one of the best to ever set foot in the ring.

    As much as everyone dislikes it, WWE' reputation takes a certain hierachy to honour and dedication. (lol as far as this comment made above,, dedication? chris was all about wrestling.. honor? doesnt even belong in the same sentence with "wwe"..)

    Posted by Scott Portis on Monday, May 12, 2008

  19. Comment #19

    I Agree with u completely, Benoit was a fantastic wrestler. I too think that he should be a hall of famer, but i do not see happening, i read somene mention the repuation of the wwe, and i think that is sad but true, but maybe some day we will see him with the Huge and Golden big W behind his image that he earned inside the ring.

    Posted by Lancha on Monday, May 12, 2008

  20. Comment #20

    "And if it weren’t for the way his family passed, he would no doubt be a lock for the WWE Hall of Fame."

    His family didnt pass away, they were assassinated. I was stunned on how could WWE make tributes to him, no matter how good you are, nothing you did can get surpass the fact that you are a murderer, someones daughter, some1 grandson, some1 sister, how about a tribute to them? Being fair to them, and not to praisse the man who killed some1 they loved. I cant even imagine how i would feel to see, a Company with so much influence as WWE praise and pay tribute to the man who killed my son.

    Posted by TIE Fighter on Monday, May 12, 2008

  21. Comment #21

    Benoit has been one of the most controversial deaths in WWE's history. He and Owen Hart's death have to be the most controversial topics for a long time. With Owen everyone wondered what happened and what went wrong. With Benoit everybody has to pick a side. Either you believe he should be in the Hall of Fame, or He shouldn't be in the hall of fame. To me their is a difference between the Benoit in the ring, and the Benoit as a killer. Benoit deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments in the ring not for his life. However Vince probably won't put him in the HOF. Which I understand I mean could you believe the media's reaction to that.

    Posted by Dromkl on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  22. Comment #22

    the glide is right youre fishing for contreversy and you just pulled a great white shark

    Posted by hhhhbk on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  23. Comment #23

    I really makes me angry: i watch spanish-translated WWE, and when hhh hits the crossface it's never been acknowledge as what it used to be. they call it whatever. at wrestlemania, Carlos and Hugo (spanish commentators) said it was a STFU variation. do they think we're that stupid?!
    WWE have been trying to pretend there were never a Chris Benoit for a long time.
    however two of his matches appear in The Rock's latest DVD. some of his pictures are showed now if you go to wwe.com and look at judgement day's history throught the years. i hope this shows WWE is changing its mind about it.
    I was, am and will be Benoit's fan. guess why i added "Crippler" to my real-life name when i gave my wrestler a name.

    Posted by Rodrigo "Crippler" Munoz on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  24. Comment #24

    This is my first reaction to an article and I am very impressed. Keep up the good work, Scott.

    Posted by Dominic Korgath on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  25. Comment #25

    Inside the ring Benoit was definatly one of the greatest. Everyone has a life outside of it though. If not for the "roids" I think the story of Beniot would be totally different. I still do not like to think Benoit did what is accused. All in all he was a great athlete and had a high love for the business.

    Posted by Jay on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  26. Comment #26

    The passing of Benoit and the Murder of his wife and child at his own hands was tragic, actually beyond tragic.
    It soiled the memory of a Legendary and proud wrestler, loving father and husband, and a friend to all those who got to know him even briefly and resulted in the deaths of those he loved the most.
    It is unfortunently another story of the toll that wrestling takes on the minds and bodies of it participants and the cost it often has on their own personal lives.

    Chris Benoit SHOULD be in the WWE Hall of Fame regardless because of his wrestling explots and abillity, but will probably not be for at least a decade because of the heinous unthinable crime commited by him in his illness, hopefully though the passing of time may someday allow us to reconcile this while not erasing it or causing it be forgotten.
    Much like the man Chris Benoit.


    WildFire

    Posted by WildFire on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  27. Comment #27

    thank you

    Posted by ├╝leyman on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  28. Comment #28

    I have to say, just before WCW collapsed and was bought out by the WWE, there was a series of matches between Booker T and Chris Benoit.

    They may have been the greatest wrestling matches I had ever seen. And they were all between the same two people. Each one was completely different than the last, and again, AMAZING.

    Benoit deserves appreciation from wrestling fans everywhere. I'm not sure what he did in the WWE specifically deserves them giving him hall of fame status, but if there was a wrestler that deserved to be respected, it was Benoit.

    Posted by Zulias on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  29. Comment #29

    I agree with you, just because Benoit made a Gigantic mistake in his life is no reason (and I heard this) to make a rule never to say Benoit's name in WWE at all.
    Benoit was a loved wrestler (I espically liked his "spaz" on Chris Jerichos Highlight reel just un-loading on Edge) his Rivalry's and Title matches were the best. His finisher move was, and still is, amazing (People are now mimicking it!!) on WWE! E.X. Backlash, and RAW one week later Triple H and Randy Orton. Its a weird ending but, Keiji Out.

    Posted by Keiji on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  30. Comment #30

    This article was written by my fellow federation mate and is one of the best articles I've read and I've read a lot so congrats on becoming a articolist and a great one at that. This article shows great respect to one of the best wrestlers of all time.

    Posted by Dragonfist on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

  31. Comment #31

    As a fellow articolist, I must say this is one of the most interesting and well written articles that i have read. Congratz and keep up the good work.

    Posted by American on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

  32. Comment #32

    Thank you for a well-written article. There have been enough markish articles in TWG and it's nice to see somebody treating wrestling as a craft.

    Chris Benoit was a superb worker. For obvious reasons he had next to no time on mic, but still he showed his personality and told his stories through his ring work. I remember thinking at SummerSlam '02 Benoit vs RVD that why doesn't RVD wrestle like this more often (suplexes, match that made sense)? At Bad Blood '04 Kane had a match with Benoit that told a good story and made him look good in defeat. Both times that was all Benoit. Two not that great wrestlers carried to very good matches. And these are just two examples out of dozens carry jobs.

    Benoit's death has rightfully diminished the respect people had for him as a human being. But he still had incredible twenty year career with one the best bodies of work ever. There is nothing wrong in appreciating his craft or emulating his ring work.

    Posted by The Alistaja on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

  33. Comment #33

    I adored cris benoit and Eddy guerrero for its way to fight. Its histories its situations. Eddy Guerrero was homaged very well, but I liked that they the same fisecem for the grating cris benoit. Eddy and Benoit I still and adored forever you. R.I.P

    Posted by Pipas on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

  34. Comment #34

    Good wrestler, just in ring.
    Bad human, even in ring. it makes me to not honor him, because he was not kind.

    Posted by Zal on Thursday, May 15, 2008

  35. Comment #35

    First of all, Scott, excellent and well-thought article! You're off to an excellent start with the news. As for Chris Benoit, I do admire his in-ring abilities. From what the rest of the readers' comments. I do hear their thoughts. It's a pity Chris chose that method, yet I do wonder if He was truly aware of what he's doing or not. Nonethless, it's about Chris "The Crippler" Benoit the wrestler, not the family man, evne though it's nearly nigh-impossible to ignore the facts. at least Scott pointed out in regards to his wrestling ability to make himself look good and others too. My hat's off to Chris Benoit the wrestler.

    Posted by Tsikenonwaristak on Friday, May 16, 2008

  36. Comment #36

    Well done! I agree what benoit did in the ring was great!! Roids do kill! And those who cant see that are blind! I saw a good friend who was a body builder go from a good kid to an a--hole! Rip chris

    Posted by Baron on Friday, May 16, 2008

  37. Comment #37

    good article but i dont really think benoit was the same after eddie died

    Posted by daza on Saturday, May 17, 2008

  38. Comment #38

    Wrestling talk Aron No DQ is right on chris benoit WWE needs to grow up. How cna you not say Chris benoit is nto oen fot he allt iem greats. Chris benoits very rare talent of gettign int he rign and making everyone better is very rare and really hall fof ame worthy. Plus his overcoming of adveritity greater than eddie Guerro. The ebatign eh tooka nd came abck form were worst and Chris Benoit held many titles. Chris benoit is a Hall fo Famer and the next eprosnw ithin a level fo me to insult Chris benoit's legacy will be challenged to an I quit match by me.

    Posted by Jake Hammer on Saturday, May 17, 2008

  39. Comment #39

    Chris is and always will be the greatest of all time. I still watch his matches any chance I get. Though I really don't see him ever making the HOF it is nice to see the WWE slowly adding his image back to their website and on 24/7 since it is impossible to ignore that Benoit ever existed. I thing a lot of this has to do with WWE making a stance on repetitive concussions which at least keeps his HOF chances alive even if they are low. It is still hard to believe we will never see a new match from him even after almost a year.

    Posted by Abazaba on Sunday, May 18, 2008

  40. Comment #40

    too bad, they took the matches with benoit from the rock's dvd

    Posted by Rodrigo "Crippler" Munoz on Wednesday, May 21, 2008

  41. Comment #41

    On WWE.com they have a thing from May 1st saying that some station had some of the phone calls made before what happened. So they are gradually admitting what happened.

    Posted by Dromkl on Wednesday, May 21, 2008

  42. Comment #42

    a very touching and a very nice artice to read, keep up the good work.

    Posted by Ratu on Saturday, May 24, 2008

  43. Comment #43

    RIP CHRIS

    Posted by Waseem on Saturday, May 24, 2008

  44. Comment #44

    i`like batista

    Posted by matin on Saturday, May 31, 2008

  45. Comment #45

    My personal view on the whole roid thing is it is a drug first and formost, and like any drug you take you can develope a chemical imbalance in your body chemistry. if that happpens then your body starts to reject it and tries to get rid of it and sometimes that happens from with in the brain. and some cases result in violent rages.
    Chris Benoit was one of the most talented wreslters of all time. It is a shame that he won't be inducted into the hall of fame. I think the wrestling org. better rethink thier way of amazing us as fans and I hope that the suspensions result in saving some lives and promoting clean and sober entertainment because I personally m getting depressed of wondering who it will be next.

    Posted by Stevil on Monday, June 02, 2008

  46. Comment #46

    i hate some few wwe superstars who had passed away in the past but i miss them because feel sad wont even see them anymore.. goodbye to superstars who is in the heaven now..

    Posted by shawn on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

  47. Comment #47

    Chris Benoit was one of the wrestlers I wanted to see I saw him in Omaha. I thought the HOF was to honor those who made an impact not there private lives.

    Posted by Ken Ward on Monday, April 08, 2013

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