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[2000-07-23-WWF-Fully Loaded] The Rock vs Chris Benoit


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Rock starts off really fast and takes the fight right to Benoit. Shane is running around and being a nuisance but has Benoit slingshotted into him. I liked Rock going for the early crossface too to a big reaction. Benoit takes over and puts the fight to Rock with a large “Shane’s a pussy” chant from the Dallas crowd. Ross and Lawler are still contentious with each other on commentary during this match. Rock is channeling a lot of hate and aggression and it makes the match carry a fever pitch that feels frantic but enjoyable. I liked the back suplex from the top that Rock delivers. Both men are slow to get up and when Shane distracts the referee, Benoit uses the belt for a close nearfall. Using the DQ stip and Rock losing the title is fun to see all the ways Benoit and Shane are going to cheat. Benoit locks on a Sharpshooter and starts focusing his attack on the leg of The Rock. In another short bit of cheating, Rock runs the ropes but Shane pulls the top rope down and Rock topples out to the floor. With the action spilling to the outside, Shane is able to sneak in some more shots. Rock gets fed up and throws a beer right in Benoit’s face. I would have liked to have seen more admonishment from Hebner and the commentary mentioning that Rock is treading a thin line. With Benoit firmly in control, Shane chokes Rock away again. It is a lot of egregious interference but the character work is so strong by all, I don’t mind it as it feels like Benoit could compete if he wanted to but is willing to take the short cut. Rock does a powerbomb hot shot which is a nuts move I don’t think he has done since. Rock completes his comeback with the People’s Elbow but Shane is on the apron distracting the referee for 10 seconds. Hebner then makes the count and Benoit kicks out. Shane’s celebration is awesome. Benoit comes back showing some good tenacity and forcing Rock to again be physical with a smacking clothesline. Benoit brings a chair in the ring and Shane wipes out Hebner with a chair to the back. Rock goes after Shane with the chair and locks on the crossface. Benoit is tapping but Hebner is still down. Hebner calls for the bell and announces Benoit the winner by DQ to a shocking reaction. Shane comes in an blasts Rock with a chair before celebrating with Benoit and the belt. Rock blades off of that shot. They did a good job of showing Hebner seeing Rock with the chair. Foley comes out and exerts his power to a huge pop from the crowd. Rock is bloody and wanting a piece of Benoit as he fires away with punches. Benoit is able to catch up with the rolling Germans for a close two count. Benoit looks for the crossface and locks it in. Rock struggles and makes it to the ropes. Benoit is fighting away but Rock pulls off a Rock Bottom from no where for the win. This really see-sawed into becoming an overbooked mess but the physicality and character work of everyone involved saved it. Ross really puts over Benoit strong and Benoit actually looks better coming out of the match of both competitors. **** (8)


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  • 4 months later...

This was a damn sight better than I thought it would be. The thing I look for in a match like this is whether it lives up to the video package. And for the most part, this lived up to the hype. I was expecting a lot of shitty looking work from the Rock but he worked pretty well with Benoit. I didn't love the restart or the finish but the pair matched up well and it was a hard fought fight. Gets the thumbs up from me.

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  • GSR changed the title to [2000-07-23-WWF-Fully Loaded] The Rock vs Chris Benoit

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