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  1. Really strong tv match. Benoit looks like he honestly could be the best wrestler in the world. I think it is fair to say that Sid and HHH can be limited workers and Benoit has been able to gel with both in the past month and compliment their strengths. HHH for his part is on easily the run of his career and while his 2000 may not be as great as the WWE only fanatics may have you believe, I would be lying if I didn’t say it hasn’t been pretty damn good so far. With the blown tag finish, this didn’t have as large of the stakes but it was important to see Benoit get a visual pin over HHH with the referee down and Michael Cole was really strong on commentary talking about how this was now an issue of pride for Benoit. I don’t have much recollection of their other singles matches throughout the years but this started that rivalry off on a good note. ***1/2
  2. WHOA. I think this might be the best carryjob I've ever seen. This match was awesome. Benoit plays ragdoll for Sid, bumping like a madman while also delivering some great offense to chop him down to size and work over his knee. Benoit was on offense for 90% of this after being tossed around early on, but each time Sid teased a comeback, the place popped huge for him and Benoit did big exaggerated bumps for his kickouts and chokeslams and other brief comebacks. Sid tapped quick for Benoit's crossface -- a little too quick -- which brought this down some for me, especially after working over Sid's knee the whole time, which has nothing to do with the crossface. Obviously that was done for political reasons, since Benoit was quitting to go to the WWF and this was a last-ditch attempt to convince him to stick around, so they needed an out to reverse the decision. But the body of the match was fantastic, and you can bring up Sid's matches with Shawn or Bret all you want, but I've never seen a singles match with him anywhere near this good. ***3/4
  3. A really good match that needed a crowd to invest into the action more. I thought the spots they innovated here were well done and the cutoffs and pin saves were also effective. The storyline of Kurt losing both of his belts in one night is pretty humorous but kind of hokey in execution. Benoit winning the IC belt is a big step and perfect placement for him at this point. My favorite spot of the whole match was Kurt locking in the chicken wing and the pop that received from the otherwise dead Anaheim crowd. ***1/2
  4. Cole and Tom Pritchard are on the call here. Dr. Tom is great here getting over the psychology of the match and showing the transitions that are being executed. The opening mat work was engaging and then we get the first shoot headbutt. From there the match is on with blood pouring down Regal’s face. The match is a sequence of tough power moves and stiff strikes. This was an important match for Regal as he was able to get some momentum after the last 2-3 years of being in neutral in his career. You could hear the Regal chants building and the crowd realizing they are watching a damn good match helps bring gravity to the proceedings overall. Regal hits a butterfly suplex from the top rope and the crowd gives great applause in appreciation. Reversal of the tombstone gains Benoit a slight advantage but he misses the diving headbutt. After a series of reversals, Benoit hits the dragon suplex and locks on the crossface for the submission. This is a professional wrestling match although I could have certainly done without the headbutts. ***3/4
  5. HBK starts off Raw with a promo. He talks about his promotion and even name drops TWA. He says however the thing he is most proud of is his wife Rebecca and son Cameron. As a result of not being able to fully invest in his duties, he is resigning as Commissioner. He does however want to be the referee Sunday for the iron man match. We get a clip of him screwing the Rock on SmackDown in August and out comes Vince. They do a good bit of recon ensuring Shawn is a face by Vince getting in his face and getting shoved down. HBK leaves as the rest of the regime arrives. We get another long form promo. The promo from HHH was fine but this felt too much like the traditional 20 minute open of Raw that we are used to and burned out on now. I did think Rock’s promo was one of the better ones he has done this year in being about the match and the build instead of joking with the crowd. The match is interesting. These two don’t really mix up all that much and after this I am really looking forward to Fully Loaded. Rocks busts out a cross armbreaker and a figure four to really show versatility that your aren’t used to. Benoit is great as usual at leading the pace and keeping things going along when he is on offense. HHH drags Benoit to the ropes on the figure four and Benoit locks on the crossface and Vince reinacts Montreal in a move that is getting too played out already. If they let this go, why not do it for the championship. Jericho comes out and I think it is a really smart move that they still have untraditional pairings of Jericho and HHH and Rock and Benoit. Rock gives Benoit a Rock Bottom as Jericho has the walls on HHH. DX runs in but here are the Dudley’s to even it back up. Now we have Rock and HHH going at it and HHH gets Rock Bottomed through the table. Great go home segment. ***
  6. 3 minute match but continues the HHH vs Benoit feud with Benoit going after HHH’s buddies. Even within the three minutes, Benoit does some unique things like his crisp forward roll and his arm attack that felt personal. Road Dogg gets caught in the crossface and when Benoit refuses to break, out rushes HHH for a brawl to end the segment. *1/4
  7. HHH starts off the night with a promo describing the chain of events that have happened since Backlash and his dealings with Earl Hebner. He ends up issuing the challenge for the Iron Man match and does it in a convincing way that helps protect both guys. Really great promo by him. Just as Vince is about to speak, Jericho interrupts. Jericho calls him Vance McMahon that makes me laugh more than it should. Jericho gets a huge pop saying that Vince has a small penis. I did laugh at King asking JR if that is true and JR saying “HOW SHOULD I KNOW”. Vince says he has a set of grapefruits and grapefruits grow on a tree that has a trunk. Vince sets up a match vs. Angle and he offers a guarantee that Jericho wont leave the building as IC champ. Shane has some words for Big Show which sets up their Judgement Day match. Shane is called a pussy by the crowd. Angle comes out for his match and says he is honored to defend Stephanie. Stephanie possesses class which is something these people on Long Island could never possess. Pretty good five minute popcorn match with Angle again having a clear vision of what the match is wanting to accomplish and him doing that. Jericho looks strong as he puts Angle away with the Walls clean in the ring. ** Shane is upset backstage and Show comes in and chokes Shane. Shane informs Show that he was wanting to see that fire and that Show has a chance to become IC champion. Shane is leading Big Show out who seems to have taken the advice and is becoming more serious. Show is dominating and they are showing on the big screen the added portion from the night before where Shane makes fun of Show and says he has him brainwashed and making fun of him. Show is now furious at Shane and leaves the ring. That draws Jericho a countout win. * Vince is such a pompous ass backstage announcing the Benoit match. HHH comes out in a referee shirt. This is really start to become an endearing feud where they don’t have a ton of time to work with at points but they maximize the effort. Benoit suplexes Jericho on the outside to establish dominance. He maintains that work on the back with a back suplex inside the ring and barks at Choida about a slow count. Benoit is a brilliant technician on the back doing a Northern Lights suplex and back drop before running through the Germans sequences. Benoit continues to stake his claim as the best worker in 2000. Jericho is able to hook on the Walls of Jericho and we get an interesting moment where Choida gets shoved by Benoit who then gets shoved by HHH. HHH now takes charge of the match himself. Walls of Jericho is applied but HHH is preoccupied by Steph walking down. Well, he is a loving husband. Crossface is applied and HHH calls for the bell without Jericho tapping out. I thought it was a good moment after the match that Benoit just leaves allowing DX and HHH to lay the boots to Jericho. Show ends with Too Cool, Rikishi and Big Show coming to Jericho’s aid and making the McMahon-Helmsley regime retreat. They did an admirable job on this show without Rock. ***1/4
  8. Earl Hebner gets a hometown welcome as he is out to officiate this match. Knowing their time was of the essence, they really maximized things here and went all out from the onset. Big powerbomb from Jericho followed by consecutive German’s from Benoit. A stiff back heel kick pops Benoit right in the nose and he is bleeding profusely. Benoit is vicious in this match and really has an intensity to him that gets over as a no nonsense heel. He wipes out Hebner after a disagreement but this creates an opening for Jericho. I liked the establishment of Hebner helping Jericho in the HHH creating a red herring for the match here as Jericho hits the lionsault and Hebner counts regularly to give Jericho the belt in around 6 minutes. ***
  9. Stone Cold opens things up with a state of the Austin address. He talks about the things that have changed and says he is there to raise hell and see who ran him over. Foley comes out as well. Foley says he is happy that Austin is back and wanting to kick ass but he is going to conduct the investigation. Benoit comes out too and demands a match with Rock tonight. Benoit doesn’t look overshadowed in the ring with these two which is impressive. Foley has a Monica Lewinsky joke which seems dated even in 2000. Foley announces Rock vs Benoit tonight. Angle’s music then fires up and he comes out. Angle whines and says he got screwed. Foley denies his motion. Angle then tells Austin how dare you. In their first interaction together in ring, they already have some great chemistry with each other and just feel like Austin is going to recoil and attack. Angle says he doesn’t consider Austin a winner and demands an apology from Austin. Austin says he does owe him an apology but that isn’t happening tonight. Stunners for Angle and Benoit end the segment. Rock gives a quick promo but a good one at how intense he is and calling out Benoit. Time for the match and Shane is joining Benoit so this union is back together for one night. Quick action right out of the gate as a huge Shane’s a pussy chant breaks out. Lawler plays it off that Shane will admit to being cat like in some respects. Shane interferes with a choke and they are really pushing a title change on commentary. Dragon screw and Sharpshooter from Rock early and Shane hits him with a right hand quickly to break things up. The Shane interference throughout the match is overwrought but so much heated and logical compared to the mess we saw on Nitro. Shane gets popped with a chair after Hebner punks him out. Steph runs down to check on Shane and HHH tells her to go to the back. JR is freaking out that a referee isn’t out there. Benoit runs into HHH from a Rock Irish whip and they go after each other. HHH puts Benoit neck over the top rope and right into a Rock Bottom for the count. HHH seems to be pretty steadily heading into face territory. Angle and Benoit come out and double team the Rock. HHH pulls Angle off and Angle is able to attack HHH and go after those battered ribs. The crowd does seem a bit perplexed. Steph slaps Angle and Benoit headbutts her. Holy shit what a big role for him and that was shocking. Angle seems stunned as the show goes off the air. A good reset after Unforgiven. **1/2
  10. Jericho cuts a promo for the crowd beforehand and the crowd is jacked for him. Helping out on the NEVER EVERRRR part. This was worked like a Raw match between the two which isn’t a slight. Good work and energy, just only seven minutes of action. Unfortunately, the ref bumps are really starting to grate on me and we get another shoddy ref here as he has a cramp in his leg as soon as Jericho has Benoit tapping in the Walls of Jericho. A miraculous recovery occurs when Benoit locks on the crossface as the referee calls for the bell immediately. Enough with the evil ref trope of 2000. **1/4
  11. The final push for Unforgiven with all six main guys involved. It was a little jarring to see HHH tagging with Rock/Taker but they did a good enough job showing that all three of those men don’t like each other. I think they did go a little bit too far here in presenting Angle as the heel as HHH gets some funny crowd popping spots over him during the match and then Angle uses the sledgehammer against HHH in the post match attack. He then gives Stephanie a long kiss and insults HHH on the mic. They really presented them two as a blood feud but there is less intrigue IMO on which side Stephanie will choose on Sunday. A minor mis step but the angle had been so spot on up to this point that it was noticeable. *** (5.9)
  12. Rock promo to start and he isn’t wasting time by calling out Taker. Taker comes out and basically does a veteran punks out young boy promo. That brings out Benoit and Kane and everyone wants a piece at the title. Nothing new but Foley sets up two singles matches. Back from break, Kane and Benoit brawl down to the ring and JR informs us this is the last Raw broadcast on USA. Kane is working hard around this time and hits things like an enzuiguri and exerts his power. It is nice to see and of course Benoit can push the intensity. The match ends when Benoit uses the bell in a vicious attack but Kane sits right up. **1/4
  13. Foley starts the show off saying that he is fledging an investigation as to who ran over Austin last November. He says that he would appreciate it if the guilty party just admitted it and came out there. Rock’s music fires up and Lawler gloats that he knew it all along. Rock says oh hell no to the notion that he ran over Austin but he wants a piece of Kane tonight. This brings out the #1 contender brigade including Benoit, Kane and Taker. They have a big brawl and Foley gets bumped by Kane in the middle of it. Foley says backstage he will name a #1 contender by the end of the night. He sets up the tag team main event for later. The Kane and Benoit backstage segment felt off. They humanize Kane somewhat but he is actually projecting himself as a decent monster in this role with the turn not making any sense. Rock and Taker also have tension and agree they are never going to be friends but will try to stay together. We cut backstage to Jericho busted wide open from a nun chucks shot by X Pac. The build to Unforgiven has been strong even with these unconventional big matches. Foley is out for commentary. Match is brief but continues the hot streak of WWF matches in providing a satisfying appetizer for the action that can sustain and hook the viewer into the big PPV. A fan jumps the rail off camera and gets taken out by security. A neat spot for the finish as Taker has Benoit in Last Ride position and Kane clotheslines Taker allowing Benoit to float over and pin him. JR blows the call by saying Jericho had pinned Taker. Foley says the only thing he can think of is to make the Unforgiven match a fatal four way. **
  14. Tazz on commentary here, this is just the beginning. Austin is starting to be mentioned more and more with his return looming. Rikishi is still getting good reactions even if his positioning is down the card from the beginning of the year. Benoit has a great ability of packing a lot of action into these four minute matches as we had some shifts here and it felt like a legitimate match until the RTC run in. With the RTC distraction, Benoit hits a German for the win. **
  15. They are given an extra minute from their Raw match and again these two have good chemistry with Benoit attacking the leg and Taker looking better the past couple of weeks since he has returned. The finish here sets up Unforgiven with Kane running in causing the DQ. I liked how Benoit didn’t just accept that and he goes after Kane pissed that he lost his opportunity. Rock gets involved as well and we have our four participants going against each other. *1/2
  16. So Nash is still in the N W O? I give up guys. I had forgotten that Jarrett and Benoit were scheduled to wrestle in triple threat theater which may be the worst gimmick name of all time. So I guess based on Jarrett’s promo, Bret is out of the N W O. Tony says he thinks each of the matches in triple threat theater will be ****. Benoit’s music is awful here btw. Big brawl starts with all four men. I never understood why Jarrett and Benoit was sold as a brawling style match when both are presented as the two best wrestlers in the company and could have legit very good matches without a stipulation. Hudson says Souled Out will be the PPV event of the year. Match breaks down again. Jarrett tries to use the US Title but Benoit catches him. Nash trips Benoit up on the top rope and he hits the belt on the way down. A stroke later gets the win for Nash/Jarrett. Pretty trashy match. *1/2
  17. Trish is still with T&A so I don’t know exactly why they were so giddy to help Shane last night. Jericho meets Benoit on the stage and we get a pier six to start out. The match itself is good and the Acolytes continue to improve as a team especially Bradshaw who throws a hellacious boot to set up the Jericho pinfall. T&A is on the downswing and Benoit/Jericho look to be a feud that will continue. *1/2
  18. The Jericho Chefboyardee commercial is really lame and hokey. Good tag match here. The technical wrestling between Austin and Benoit was entertaining and well thought out and then Jericho transitions into FIP. This was a good segment with frequent tags between Benoit and Kane. Austin gets the tag but the referee missed it. In a fun character move on Austin’s part he gets fed up and just stunners the ref. He then gives Benoit and Kane a stunner as well as the show ends. *** (5.8)
  19. To set up this match we get a series of interviews with everyone involved. With HHH and Rikishi both out, the Radicalz did a good job acting as the hired guns for them. Benoit will never been the best promo person in the world, but his promo here did have me thinking that he might actually crack my top 10 on the Observer Year End awards which is a surprise and not something I would have expected. Rock, Billy and Chyna have some basic words and Austin comes to the ring and is pissed at HHH. Billy and Chyna charge the ring and get beat up for their trouble until Austin and Rock enter in. Saturn looks pretty rough here having to have Austin audibly call some spots to get him into place. Crowd is electric for Rock here maybe even more than Austin as that shows how prominent he has been in 2000. Saturn is again acting as the workhorse and he does better vs Rock. Benoit gives Rock a huge chop on the outside that sounded nasty. Benoit gets tagged in the ring and beats the shit out of Rock with more chops and stomps. Benoit looks vicious here. Saturn gets tagged in and Rock is able to get a quick Rock Bottom that Benoit has to make the save on. Eddie is now in shaking his stuff for Chyna. Rock clotheslines him and makes the big tag to Chyna. Chyna beats up Eddie and Eddie shows some good ass here. Big time Eddie Sucks chant and he is mugging it up for the crowd. Eddie and Benoit are the clear highlights of the Radicalz. Austin runs to the other side of the ring, pulls Saturn off and flying across the announce table. Match breaks down after Chyna makes a tag. Benoit and Rock go to the back as Austin stomps a mudhole in Eddie’s ass. The crowd comes alive for that. Stunner for Eddie and he eats the pin. Better options around than the IC champ but it is Austin doing it. Not as fluid as the classic 10 man in February but not a bad little sister as the heat was here and the Radicalz had a good showing for themselves overcoming Saturn. Rock and Benoit are backstage tearing up the set. This feud has been much more personal and heated than I remembered. Finish to Raw happens as Benoit sets Rock up to be hit by a sledgehammer of Rikishi in a car. ***1/4 (6.5)
  20. These two right now have a good bit of chemistry and are going after each other for the first three minutes with stiff shots on the outside. The main proponent of this match was the reformation of the Radicalz as Eddie comes out with the IC belt and hits HHH with it allowing Benoit to get the pinfall. HHH comes back with a chair shot as the Radicalz retreat. I’m happy to see the Radicalz back for now. *1/4
  21. Rock is out for commentary. Kane’s pyro doesn’t go off inside the ring. Not much to the match but it is nice to see Benoit still mixing it up in the main event scene. Benoit is through the ropes jawing at Rock and Kane gives him a reverse DDT that looked absolutely horrific and dropped Benoit right on his head. Action spills to the outside and Benoit and Rock keep talking to each other. Kane sends Benoit into the steps and grabs a choke hold on Rock. Benoit has a chair that he uses on Kane and the match ends in a DQ. Afterwards, Rock gives Kane a Rock Bottom on the floor. *
  22. Benoit is again pin pointing a body part in rikishi’s shoulder and going after it in this match. This was really fun and Benoit doing strongman spots like getting Rikishi up for the back suplex make him look credible. Rikishi then mounts a huge comeback, rolls through his big offense and wins the IC title to a HUGE pop. I had honestly forgot this happened so I popped as well. Nice celebration with Too Cool. Another strong Benoit tv match that goes less than five minutes. **1/2
  23. Another cool Foley opening promo with our final build up to Fully Loaded. Mick announces that if Rock is DQ’d, he will lose the title. That gets some boos but makes sense given that the violence has put things out of control leading up to the PPV and Mick says he can’t be seen as a pushover. Shane, Benoit, Jericho all get some promo time and Benoit locks on the crossface on Jericho. HHH music fires up and out he comes to continue the attack. Rock comes out to run the heels off. This did a good job of setting up stuff for the present tonight and also the future. The tag match is splendid and up there with the better tv offerings from WWF in the year. All of the issues feel personal and each one of the pairings work well together and interweaved. Jericho’s ribs get worked over and HHH/Benoit are ferocious in their attack. This is HHH as his Ric Flair lite best as he comes in and picks his spots while Benoit is the Enforcer of the tag team. Jericho isn’t even able to get the hot tag as Rock has enough and forcers his way in. He goes nuts on everyone including the referee causing a dQ. They do a good job on commenatary putting over that if he does that on Sunday, he loses the title. After the match, Shane comes in and gets beat up taking a ridiculous bump onto the announce table. Jericho locks on the Walls on HHH and Rock grabs a crossface on Benoit! This is excellently executed by Rock and he should have went with that over the Sharpshooter. What a great go home angle. ***1/2 (7)
  24. Shane and Benoit start Raw with a promo. I like this pairing and I thought Benoit more than held his own when asked to speak. Rock gives a rebuttal but they have put over the crossface well. Chyna and Eddy come out to chase Benoit and Shane out of the ring. Match between Rock and Benoit is only five minutes but they show good chemistry. Hebner gets taken out and Shane has a referee shirt on. Benoit locks in the crossface and when Rock grabs for the ropes, Shane rings the bell. Benoit keeps the crossface in again making the move feel like a threat. A cool visual is Shane and Benoit walking up the aisle and getting pelted with trash. The crowd is invested into this feud and so am I. WWF has done a great job of trying new stuff after KOTR. Hebner recovers and awards the match to Rock. Rock is groggy and gets up and hits a Rock Bottom on Hebner as he is not at full capacity as Benoit/Shane escape. **1/4
  25. A WWF handheld which is going to be a rarity as we chronicle the 2000’s. This has a neat dynamic with them being in Edmonton so Benoit is a face and even comes out in an Oilers jersey. The promos beforehand set this up even more. This match is more condensed than their PPV offerings but well done and has some new spots like Benoit clotheslining Jericho as he goes for the springboard dropkick on the apron. It is nice to see Jericho as a heel as a bizzaro version of the feud overall. Jericho thinks he has the match won with the Walls of Jericho but Benoit reached the ropes. The tombstone reversal spot leads to Benoit taking the match with the diving headbutt. Jericho pitches a fit after the match and has some trash thrown at him from the crowd. ***