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[2000-05-04-WWF-Smackdown] Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

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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. ***

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Another stiff Benoit-Jericho match. In some ways, this series was unnecessarily stiff at times, but I think that because of their size, they were trying to get over as tough guys since they were trying to hang with Rock and HHH on top. They made terrific use of the time here and the end result was a very good sprint and an effective title change. Benoit's bloody nose created a memorable visual. ***1/4

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This is a very fun sprint as this guys make the most of the relatively short amount of time given. There's some really stiff shots in this one and Benoit gets his nose busted open pretty badly here. I think the Earl Hebner standing up for himself act is starting to get old at this point, but it doesn't stand in the way of this very good tv match.

 

***1/4

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Richmond’s own Earl Hebner getting an entrance again! Jericho and Benoit are forehead to forehead like rutting stags! They trade slaps, double leg takedown by ‘the Crippler’ and the pair end up rolling to the outside. They’re straight back in the ring though and Benoit with a short lariat. Flying forearm by Y2J, then the two just trade blistering knife edge chops. Jericho is the first to want out of that and goes to ‘the Crippler’s’ eyes. Tiger driver, but as he goes for the Lionsault, Benoit snatches him off the ropes and hits a trio of rolling German suplexes for a near fall. Jericho with a spinning heel kick busting ‘the Crippler’s’ nose in the process. As a receipt, Benoit then just destroys him with more chops. Whip to the turnbuckles, but Jericho gets an elbow up to his charging opponent. Missile dropkick off the middle and a bulldog for two. Great roll up counter off the attempted stomachbreaker by Y2J for another close count. Belly to back suplex by ‘the Crippler’ who then heads upstairs for the diving headbutt, however Jericho falls into the ropes causing him to crotch himself (and he does this bump so well). Jericho is up with him for the superplex, but Benoit with some rapid fire headbutts and Y2J falls backwards to the canvas. Sunset flip off the top, Jericho rolls through though and he’s looking for ‘the Walls’. A stiff kick to the face puts a stop to that, and Benoit counters into the crossface. Jericho fights his way out and then Benoit picks him up for another belly to back, only this time dumping him over the top rope and to the arena floor. Hebner prevents him from going out after him, and after exchanging words they get into a shoving contest. Earl comes out on the wrong side of that one and takes a spill through the ropes and to the outside. Still distracted by Hebner, Jericho clocks Benoit with the I-C title, Lionsault and Earl ducks back in to count the fall and we have a new champion.

 

Great TV match. The physicality and intensity was there as usual with these two, but there felt like an added edge, stiffness to things. The chops they were throwing were just brutal and you had Jericho busting Benoit’s nose, kicks to the face and knee strikes too. As well as that there were some real nice counters such as the rolling Germans off the Lionsault, the roll up off the stomachbreaker that were new. Earl Hebner was again trying to show his authority, probably too much, but at least Benoit didn’t bump for him off a shove and it was he who took the spill. Even the non clean finish for the title change didn’t bother me after the match they’d put on and protects it Benoit at the same time.

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Another hard-hitting bout between these two with Benoit busting open the nose that he originally injured at Backlash. I do question why they had Jericho win the belt on Smackdown when he could have just as easily won it at Backlash but the main focus here is the continued intensity in this rivalry. 

 

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This is for Benoit’s Intercontinental Championship.

Benoit and Jericho beating the piss out of each other will never not be entertaining. We get roughly seven minutes of them stiffing each other before (FUCK) Earl Hebner decides to steal some shine from the match by getting into a kerfuffle with Benoit, which ultimately leads to Jericho taking advantage and winning. Honestly, I don’t really think the Hebner angle took much from the match, but I’m a curmudgeon and I’ll take every opportunity to say mean things about him.

Rating: ***¼

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