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[2001-05-31-WWF-Smackdown] Steve Austin vs Chris Benoit

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WWF World Heavyweight Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Chris Benoit - Smackdown! 5/31/01

 

They are in Edmonton and Benoit is the hometown hero and Vince McMahon is worried that 'Ol Stone Cold does not have the chops to defeat Benoit in these circumstances. Austin flips out. Benoit still has his ribs taped and is wicked over with the Edmonton crowd. Also, VinnyMac is the special enforcer since he did such a great job on Raw. :)

 

Unlike RAW, Benoit is aggressive to start by kicking some ass, a great way to fire up the crowd. I love Austin wildly flaying trying to get away from the asskicking machine that is Benoit. Swinging neckbreaker by Austin and it is definitely 2001. Love the Crossface tease early and Benoit tenaciously will not let go and applies thrice, but it is too early. in a match of this magnitude there is no reason to use anything besides your best weapon to win the match. Austin powders after being overwhelmed. Benoit gives Austin no quarter and is on his ass the whole match. Austin is great at tumbling and stumbling all over the outside. Austin stymies Benoit with a wild kick to the injured ribs and then throwing Benoit into hard objects. Desperate, Austin grabs the championship belt, but Benoit just keeps firing away. DDT on belt. The crowd is feeling it and Benoit is going to go airborne. Benoit eats gold with the diving headbutt. OW! OW! Ow! Benoit has a nasty cut under his eye from that. Benoit KICK OUT! He kicks out! Great transition, but a little dangerous. Austin goes for a heat-seeking Sharpshooter and gets those boos. Awesome! Huge Benoit chants! Benoit powers out and applies his own Sharpshooter to a massive pop! Perfect use of the Sharpshooter in the middle of the match to get the crowd revved up. Austin powers out and applies his own Sharpshooter and he has a wild look on it. They tease the rope break to a great reaction. That big pop and then immediately fades. Benoit breaks it and gets the Sharpshooter and Austin makes ropes but Benoit is tenacious and yanks him back. Great sequence that crowd loved it and felt dramatic without being too exhausting. Benoit lays in some stiff shots to Austin's back to set up the German and Austin pops up his leg to ballshot. LETS GO BENOIT! I did not like the set up to the superplex. Austin went to the top. Not buying it. Benoit is able to get right back and superplex (did get a big pop) after a ballshot. Respect the ballshot! CROSSFACE! Austin's selling outside the ring is impeccable. Austin is able to hit a nasty front suplex on Benoit's injured ribs on the announce table. The second front suplex is an insane, out of control one that looks like Benoit was so close to being piledriven into the floor, but his abdomen caught the announce table and all I go to say is OW! AUSTIN SUCKS! AUSTIN SUCKS! AUSTIN SUCKS! I love this crowd! Austin taunts Benoit with the belt as he has been working the ribs. Lets Go Benoit chants! Benoit fires back like only he can, cheers, AUSTIN THROWS BENOIT DOWN with a spinebuster! Austin is incredulous at the kickout. Austin applies a Boston Crab, holy shit, 2001 Austin is one of the all time greatest years for one wrestler. Austin is just slapping Benoit in the back of the head to a chorus of boos. Rolling Germans! Austin wants a timeout, but Benoit refuses to let go, this is Suplex City Bitch. TEN! TEN! German Suplexes! Austin is shoved into McMahon and Crossface! Vince in with a chair and Benoit kicks him off. Benoit kicks Vince's ass with the chair the perfect way to send crowd happy, but knowing Austin was going to roll him up with the tights to win.

 

Awesome, awesome hometown hero vs champion match that was totally updated from 2001. It tugged on all the same strings as a touring NWA champion match, but with a completely fresh take. I have seen this match twice in just a couple days and it is bitchin. A couple misfires here and there, but they play to this crowd perfectly. Benoit roars at the beginning, gets the Crossface and then they use the Diving Headbutt into the belt as the first really crazy high spot. The Sharpshooter sequence could only work in Alberta, but fuck talk about perfect placement. Then that Austin heat segment that's how you do a heat segment. The finish is great you get to see Benoit have Austin in the Crossface, kick Vince's ass, but you still manage to get Austin to retain. Wicked badass. ****3/4

 

 

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Awesome match with the hometown hero in a very hot crowd with his second attempt the capture the WWF title from Austin. Everything Benoit did was intense and conveyed aggression and urgency at it's highest level. Austin with his heel work was stellar by cutting off Benoit and showing ass at the right moments to get the crowd invested even more. My god Austin was so unselfish making Benoit look like the top face of the company. Also he was extremely giving taking ten german suplexes with a surgically repaired neck, insane. The finish took nothing away from Benoit having Austin squeak out the win being taken to the limit with the roll up with the trunks. Awesome match!!!

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This was a great match. Austin was amazing in this match. This wasn't just the touring champ against the hometown hero. There was all the emotion of Austin's heel turn mixed with the hometown hero's title shot. I love how Austin wrestles like a rattlesnake during this run. The best part in the match is when he gives Benoit that suplex into the announcer's table and pushes the cameraman out of the way as the adrenaline starts to flow. This was laid out superbly for a television match and was good enough to be on a pay-per-view. You could see the TV finish coming a mile away, but it was expertly handled. This was head and shoulders above anything I've seen from May thus far. 

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Austin was electric in this. He embodied the crazed madman in his offence and attitude. He pushed his weight around, cheated and bullied his way to victory. My favourite part of the match is where he recklessly throws Benoit hip first into the corner of the announce table before posing to boos. Benoit was on point as well with his excellent selling that milked sympathy from the crowd and when he went on offence, he looked like an absolute king. While watching this, I felt like Benoit definitely could've been the top face of 2001 if only injuries didn't stop his momentum dead. He was that good. This was magic. Outstanding work on the ribs, the face and heel divide was great and the finish made Benoit come off like Austin, almost, getting his hands on Vince while Austin looks like a crafty heel who took the opportunity when he came to him. My only gripe with the match is with Michael Cole’s commentary. He constantly repeats how Benoit being hurt is the same as the crowd being hurt. Once is fine, but anything after that is force feeding. ****1/2

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