Pound for pound, Chris Benoit can be considerablythe strongest wrestler in the game today. He
is also by far one of the best technical and underated grapplers to ever grace the squared
circle. Standing a mere 5"10' (which happens to be my height) and weighing 220 pounds, the
native of Canada seems to be at a disadvantage whenever he steps between the ropes, but once
the bell sounds eveyone in attendance witnesses his unbelievable mat skills.
Benoit was born in Montreal, where he lived for the first twelve years of his life until his
family moved 4 provinces west to Edmonton,Alberta. He took in his first pro match at the Northlands
Agricon, a Stampede Wrestling event where he saw the man he would soon work to emulate in every
possible way: Tom Billington, a.k.a. The Dynamite Kid.
The young wrestler took notice of everything his idol did and tried to incorporate it into his
repertoire. To this day, like the Dynamite Kid, he is supremely conditioned, having muscles on top of
his muscles, and utilizes impressive, high-flying moves as part of his lethal arsenal.
"Ever since I first laid my eyes on the Dynamite Kid I've tried to emulate him," Benoit said. "I've
tried to look like him, walk like him, and talk like him. I'd spend time in my bedroom throwing punches
and kicks at the bed pretending to be him. I started lifting weights at 13 to try and clone myself
after him. He defitely lit a fire inside me that still burns strong today, and that is the passion
I have for professional wrestling."
Benoit has found success wherever he has gone, on oforeign soil such as Mexico and Japan, in Philadelphia's
Extreme Championship Wrestling ( where he got the knickname Canadian Crippler for breaking the neck of an
opponenet in the ring), and in the WCW, where he had the honor of wearing several chamionship belts,
including the world heavyweight title,which he abandoned hours after he won it to start a new chapter in his
wrestling career in the WWf.
On January 31, 2000, Chris Benoit made his WWF debut as he, along Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Eddie Guerrero
took seats at ringside, only to later become involved with the New Age Outlaws. This was the start of something
big for the wrsetler who is comparatively small in stature to his foes.
In less than 4 months, April 2, 2000, in his Wrestlemania debut, he captured his first WWf title as he took control
of the Intercontinental Championship from Kurt Angle, 1 month later, May8, 2000, after losing the IC belt to Chris
Jericho 4 days earlier on a Smackdon! telecast, Benoit recaptured the IC belt on Manoday Night Raw. These
action-packed confrontations were also building up a huge rivalry beween the 2 young guns.
Benoit was meanwhile becoming a ruthless warrior in the ring, where no one was safe. Eveything he did between
the ropes had a purpose, and he began to show more intensity and determination than ever before in his career. He
was also developing the mean streak.
One person who felt his wrath, believe it or not, was Chyna. As I said, noo one was safe, and she found out the
hard way what it was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in July 2000. This was to be the night that Benoit
solidified himself as a heel in the federation.
On July 3, 2000, in Orlando,Florida, Benoit took part in a bout with Eddie Guerrero and won by DQ because Chyna had
interfered in the match. When it was over, Guerrero tried to get Benoit back but misfired with a dropkick that laid
out Chyna. The Canadian Crippler then blasted Guerrero with his own European belt as Eddie was checking on his "mamacita."
The best--or worst-- was yet to come as benoit applied his Crippler Crossfacew on chyna for a long while before the officials
could finally break it up. On that night, announcer Jim Ross put Benoit over as a "mega-heel", claiming that he doesn't give
a damn about who he hurts.
Ross was correct as, later in the night, the new badass struck again. He came onto the scene as the maevent match between
Shane McMahon and the Rock was about to begin. Before the 2 had even gotten started, Benoit came out and nailed The Rock
from behind witha chair. Her locked the Crippler Crossface on " The People's Champion" as the young McMahon licked The Rock
in the midsection. WWF officials had a difficult time breaking this mess up, but the hold was finally broken by Mick Foley. When
all was said and done Benoit's only reaction was to smile sadistically.
With the son of the boss now by his side, there was no telling how far Benoit would go. As a matter of facct, the lethal wrestler
almost made it ot the top of the mountain with Shane at his side. On July 23 , 2000, at a Fully Loaded event in Dallas, Texas, Benoit
touched WWF heavyweight gold for a brief second in a main even match against The Rock.
In a crazy match where shane interfered something awful with chairs and cheapshots, Benoit was granted the win as a result of a DQ
granted by the ref. And just when everyone thought there was a new WWF world champ in Benoit, out come Commissioner Mick Foley, who
overturns the ref's decision and orders the matchto continue, citing that there was no dq. THe Rock then proceeded to defend his tiltle
and remain champ.
Even though he didnt walk out of the arena that night with the heavyweight strap, it seems certain that Benoit is destined for the top
slot sometime in the near future, but until then, he'll just keep "crippling" his opponents!
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