Great college starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Raw is Jericho
Re: WWE RAW : THREAD 8PM Eastern. In honor of the Chairman *3 hour special*
The sports-entertainment world has lost a Legend, as WWE is saddened to report that Chris Benoit and his family were found dead in their Atlanta-area home today. Benoit was 40 years old.
A trainee of the legendary Stu Hart, Benoit began his career in 1985 in Calgary after training with Stu and the Hart Family in the infamous Dungeon. Benoit idolized former World Tag Team Champion Dynamite Kid, and the high-flying style Benoit utilized throughout his career was influenced heavily by the British Superstar. However, his training in the Dungeon helped mold him into one of the best technical grapplers in sports-entertainment history as well.
Benoit competed for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling organization from 1985-1989, where he held both the British Commonwealth Title and the International Tag Team Title four times each, before heading to Japan, where his career truly blossomed. He originally competed as the masked Pegasus Kid and had numerous classic clashes with Japanese legends such as Shinjiro Ohtani and Jushin “Thunder” Liger. It was in New Japan Pro Wrestling where he also met a man who would become one of his closest friends, Eddie Guerrero.
While in Japan, Benoit held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and won the 1994 Super J Cup tournament, one of the most prestigious light-heavyweight tournaments in sports-entertainment.
It was that same year that Benoit burst onto the scene in the United States. He had competed in the States before, taking part in the NWA World Tag Team Title tournament in 1992 and wrestling briefly in WCW, but it was in South Philadelphia where Benoit truly cut his teeth in America. Benoit joined ECW, where he teamed with another long-time friend, Dean Malenko, to win the ECW Tag Team Championship. It was also during his time in South Philadelphia where Benoit became known as the “Canadian Crippler,” as it was during a match with Benoit where Sabu suffered a broken neck.
After a year in ECW, Benoit headed back to WCW (and also New Japan, who had a working agreement with ECW at the time). His career elevated to the next level when he became an official member of the Four Horsemen, joining Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman in 1995.
During his near five-year stay in WCW, Benoit went from an unknown to household name and bona-fide Superstar. Staying close with the Horsemen through numerous incarnations of the group, Benoit became known for his hard-hitting, smash-mouth, no-nonsense style. His rivalry with Kevin Sullivan throughout 1996 (including their legendary Falls Count Anywhere Match at the 1996 Great American Bash) was lauded as one of the greatest and most intense in the company’s history.
While in WCW, Benoit also racked up numerous accolades. He held the Television Championship on three occasions, was a two-time United States Champion and won the WCW Tag Team Championship twice as well (once with Malenko, once with Perry Saturn). He also faced Bret Hart in a tribute match to Bret’s brother and Benoit’s good friend Owen Hart in 1999, and in his final WCW match in January 2000, Benoit defeated Sid to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Unfortunately, trouble in WCW led to Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko and Saturn leaving the company the next day, so the reign was nullified. The foursome, however, debuted later that month in WWE as The Radicalz.
Benoit immediately found success in WWE, claiming the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 2000. He would go on to hold that gold on a total of four occasions. Through 2003, he also held the World Tag Team Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Finally, in 2004, after nearly 20 years of struggle, Benoit reached the top. Starting the match at No. 1, Benoit lasted over an hour to win the 2004 Royal Rumble Match, last eliminating the mammoth Big Show to win. That earned him a World Championship match, and at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden, he defeated Shawn Michaels and champion Triple H in a Triple Threat Match to claim the World Heavyweight Championship. The celebration is one of the most memorable WrestleMania moments of all-time, as he and best friend Eddie Guerrero (the reigning WWE Champion at the time) embraced in the center of the ring amidst a stream of confetti and the cheers of a raucous capacity crowd.
In the next three years, Benoit would go on to hold the World Tag Team Championship twice more and had three reigns as United States Champion, the last of which ended just two months ago at Backlash. He was drafted to ECW in the 2007 WWE Draft, and in his final WWE match, Benoit defeated Elijah Burke on the June 19 ECW on Sci Fi.
Over the course of his 22-year career, Chris Benoit solidified his reputation as one of the greatest to ever set foot inside a ring. He was a man of few words, but his passion for the sports-entertainment business was almost unrivaled. Whether loved or hated, Benoit was always well-respected by our fans and his peers for his in-ring ability, his trademark toothless grin and his non-nonsense attitude.
The sports-entertainment world has truly suffered a loss with his passing, as one of the all-time greats was taken well before his time.
Last edited by D-Wade : 06-25-2007 at 07:38 PM.