Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Christopher Michael Benoit, better known as Chris Benoit (born May 21, 1967, Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian professional wrestler. Benoit, who grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, is widely known as one of the most technically proficient and skilled athletes in the pro wrestling world today. He trained in Calgary, Alberta under Stu Hart in his "Dungeon" and became one of the many stars to emerge from Stu's watch, alongside notables like Bret and Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Lance Storm, Chris Jericho, and others. He is known by well-earned nicknames such as "The Canadian Crippler" and "The Rabid Wolverine."
Early days in Canada and Japan
Chris began his career in the mid-1980s in Stu's Stampede Wrestling promotion. He won several International Tag Team titles there before Stampede's demise in 1989, and at that point he departed for New Japan Pro Wrestling under the name and mask of "The Pegasus Kid," later simply "Wild Pegasus." While with NJPW, he came into his own as a performer in matches with luminaries like Jushin Liger, Shinjiro Ohtani , Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero), and El Samurai. In 1991, he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, his first major championship. He would go on to win the Super J Cup tournament in 1994, which, to this day, is considered one of the best wrestling cards of all time, solidifying his status as one of the foremost light heavyweights in the world.
Extreme Championship Wrestling
Upon his permanent return to the U.S. in 1995, he signed with Extreme Championship Wrestling. In his brief time with ECW Chris dropped his Pegasus gimmick for "The Crippler," a reference to a match in which he accidentally broke the neck of Sabu. Later, he and Dean Malenko won the ECW World Tag Team titles and created enough excitement to attract the attention of the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. After being unable to obtain a proper work visa to compete for ECW and being told flat out that as a WWF competitor he would not be able to work in Japan, Benoit decided that he would return to Japan instead of wrestling in the US until learning about the New Japan/WCW talent exchange. This lead to Benoit signing with WCW in late 1995.
World Championship Wrestling
His time in WCW was defined by highs and lows. He quickly was made a member of the reformed Four Horsemen in 1996 alongside Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Brian Pillman. A strikingly real feud with Kevin Sullivan and several matches on the hunt for the US Title highlighted much of 1996, but with the rise of the New World Order storylines in the middle of that year, Benoit struggled to keep himself in the public eye. Many of his fans began to perceive a lack of respect for his abilities from the higher-ups, and indeed for a short time he was promoted as "the best wrestler to never win a WCW title." Throughout, he continued to put on outstanding matches, as the issue with Diamond Dallas Page and Raven in early 1998 and the WCW World Television title Best of Seven series with Booker T in mid-year proved. However, he remained firmly kept in the midcard, without a very visible chance to elevate himself.
In 1999, he resumed teaming with new Horseman and former ECW partner Dean Malenko, and a series of World Tag Team title matches with Raven and Perry Saturn were among the best of the year. Benoit and Malenko defeated Curt Hennig and Barry Windham to win the WCW World Tag-Team Championship , and later in 1999 he would win the United States title as well. He formed the "Revolution" team with Malenko, Saturn, and Shane Douglas around this time, highlighting his disgruntledness with WCW management. From here, a last-ditch effort to raise his stakes was made, and by late 1999, he was facing Bret Hart on several occasions. One was their tribute match to Owen Hart in October of 1999, in Kansas City where Owen had died. In November, he wrestled Bret in Toronto in the finals of a World Heavyweight title tournament. He lost that match, though by January of 2000, WCW had made their last try at keeping him, giving him the WCW World Heavyweight Title in a victory over Sid Vicious. However, he was stripped of the title the next day when he decided to depart for the World Wrestling Federation.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
Chris signed with the WWF alongside Malenko, Saturn, and Guerrero, and they were introduced as "The Radicalz". He was quickly put into a feud with Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle, and in April of 2000 he won his first championship in the WWF, the Intercontinental title. The Jericho feud and a high-profile feud with The Rock (who was WWF Champion at the time) filled out the remainder of 2000. He would later team with Jericho to win the World Tag Team titles in early 2001. A neck injury meant spinal fusion surgery and sidelined Benoit for most of 2002, but he returned late in that year to become an integral part of SmackDown!, winning the first WWE Tag Team Titles with foe and partner Kurt Angle in October. He and Angle faced off for the WWE Title at Royal Rumble 2003 in what many called the match of the year; however, the remainder of 2003 was fairly uneventful.
On January 25, 2004, Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble and put himself in line for a title shot at Wrestlemania XX. As a result of the long-standing Royal Rumble tradition that the winner receives a shot at the world champion at Wrestlemania, and the fact that there were effectively two world champions, Benoit exploited a so-called "loophole" in the rules and challenged the World Heavyweight Champion Triple H instead of the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. It is also noted that since then, this "loophole" has become standard practice, with a main post-Rumble storyline being the winner contemplating their choice of champions.
On Sunday, March 14, 2004, Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship, by causing Triple H to tap out using his signature move, the Crippler Crossface, to the surprise of many wrestling insiders who predicted Triple H to retain the title and Benoit to win the title the following month in WWE Backlash, which was to be held in Benoit's hometown of Edmonton. The match was a triple threat match that also included Shawn Michaels, and it took place at Wrestlemania XX. Besides the single day reign as WCW World Heavyweight Champion, this is Benoit's first real World Heavyweight Title reign in any promotion. The triple threat match was hailed by many observers as one of the year's best.
On August 15, 2004, Chris Benoit was defeated by Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship at the SummerSlam pay-per-view. His reign lasted 5 months and was a major part of his 7 straight pay-per-view victories. He had successful, high-profile defenses against Triple H, Michaels, and Kane, among others.
- 1993 Top of the Super Junior tournament
- 1994 Super J Cup tournament
- 1995 Best of the Super Junior tournament
- 2004 Royal Rumble winner
- Nicknames: The Canadian Crippler, The Rabid Wolverine, The Pegasus Kid, Wild Pegasus
Trademark moves and sayings
- The Crippler Crossface: Starting with fujiwara armbar takedown, he locks an arm in between his legs and locks his hands around the chin (or lower face) and pulls back. Submission hold.
- Sharpshooter: Benoit would wrap the opponents legs around his legs and turn over, stretching Legs and Back. Submission
- Triple/Rolling German Suplexes: He grabs his opponent from behind and bends backwards, causing the opponent to land back on his shoulders. Then, holds on as he gets himself and his opponent to their feet and repeats two more times. He normally releases after the third suplex.
- Swandive Headbutt: Benoit jumps off the turnbuckle headfirst and lands on the opponent with his head.
- Throat Slash: The throat slash gesture is Benoit's traditional "heat" tactic, designed to promote his intensity and get reaction from the crowd.
- Snot Rockets: The gesture where Benoit would stand over his fallen opponent and hold one nostril shut, breathe out hard, then repeat with the other nostril was used more in Japan and his earlier days in ECW and WCW as The Crippler where he was more of a heel wrestler. He still uses it today though against opponents he particularly doesn't like, most notably against Kane at Bad Blood 2004. He also used it in his victory against Triple H and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XX.
- Had first child with Nancy Daus-Sullivan together on February 25, 2000, a son named Daniel Christopher Benoit.
- When he was in WCW, he had a real-life affair with Nancy Sullivan, who was the wife of Kevin Sullivan then. A legitimate feud with Kevin Sullivan started when the latter found out about the affair. Since Sullivan was also one of WCW's bookers at the time, as revenge he made sure Benoit did not win any titles.Mainly because of this,"The Radicalz" left WCW for WWF in early 2000.
- Because of how often he defended his WWF Intercontinental Title, Chris Benoit has been called the "fightingest" Intercontinental Champion in WWF history.
- Underwent major neck surgery in July 2001 after a wrestling match with X-Pac where he suffered a botched "X-Factor."
- Has a son, David, from a previous relationship and a daughter, Megan, from his ex-wife.
- Idolized the Dynamite Kid, Tommy Billington growing up.
- When he began wrestling, he wrestled as "Dynamite" Chris Benoit, as a tribute to the Kid. He also began using the Diving Headbutt, one of the Kid's trademark moves.
- He 'won' the WWF Title on two occasions, once at Fully Loaded and once at Unforgiven 2000. However, both times the decision was over-ruled, and he had yet to win the WWE title officially until WrestleMania XX
- The second man to enter #1 and win the Royal Rumble (Shawn Michaels was the first), but now holds the record for being in a Rumble match the longest (over 61 minutes, former record holder was Ric Flair with almost one hour, while Shawn Michaels Rumble win was 48:37)
- He is the only man who has won every major WWF/E and WCW World Titles (if the one-day WCW World Heavyweight Title reign is included.)
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