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Monday night something startling occurred to me. It was such an epiphany, I simply had  to share it with all of you. Got a minute? 

Now anyone who has read a word of my writing in the past knows that I am about the biggest Chris Benoit mark that you'll ever meet. I think that he represents everything that is good and pure about the wrestling business. Why?

  • He's an old school grappler who got his skills training with Stu Hart, one of the most grizzled wrestling veterans known to man. 
  • He grew up in and out of the business with Owen and Brett Hart.
  • He surely is the greatest technical wrester in the industry today, even HHH said it.
  • He can still knock us over with his high spots. (Who wasn't marking like a ten year old when he followed Snuka's cage-top superfly onto Jarrett with a cage-top head butt of his own on NITRO a year or so ago?)
  • He's built like a brick shithouse.
  • He is one of the best sellers in the business.
  • When he puts on the crippler crossface, your almost believe that he is trying to hurt the other guy. He cranks his neck back and screams like the strain is almost too much for him.
  • He beat X-Pac by forcing him to submit.
  • He wears a long leather trenchcoat. ( I got one too!)

...and that just scratches the surface.

Onto my startling realization. 

Many other Benoit marks will agree with the above list, but they will also go on to say that they feel Benoit is being misused in the WWF. They argue that he jobs too much and loses credibility.


I will admit that I'd like to see a few more marks in the "Win" column for the Crippler, but think about it. He has pinfall and submission wins against guys like The Rock, HHH, Jericho, X-Pac, and Rikishi. When he held the Intercontinental Title, he beat nearly the entire midcard roster cleanly. He's got more clean singles wins than most guys out there, including the current WWF champion, Kurt Angle.

I agree that wins and losses matter. If you don't believe me, I invite you to take a trip down memory lane and look at the opening to this former column. The "record" of any one superstar has some effect on how he is perceived by the fans, however, these days, it's not the most important factor. Workrate, personality, and gimmick all contribute to a specific wrester's potential ability to "get over" with the fans. If Benoit went out and won every wrestling match he was involved in, not only would it get boring (*cough* Goldberg) but it would come across as a bit unbelievable and uninteresting (*cough* Goldberg).

"Michaelangelo, you still haven't gotten to the point!"

Jeez, I was leading up to it. The point is this: Benoit is being used perfectly by the WWF.

Now, before you flame me, let me explain.

Chris Benoit's biggest problem is his personality. We all know his in-ring abilities are unparalleled, but he always had trouble getting over on the stick.

How would you, as a booker, deal with this. You know you have a potential superstar on your hands, but you just need to get him over one hump.

Maybe you'd have him engage in feuds with four of the companies top talkers. Guys like Jericho, The Rock, HHH, and Austin. Maybe, they can give him some pointers. Maybe their interviewing savvy will rub off on him.

Moreover, what if he started to bring out the best in his opponents? What if wrestlers long criticized for their limited in-ring arsenal and workrate started pulling out four and five-star matches and shocking fans with new moves and holds?  What if he brought out the best in his opponents?

What are the odds?

See where I am going with this? No? Let me spell it out for you.

Chris Benoit feuded with Chris Jericho and these two guys showed the WWF locker room just how you put on a wrestling match that not only tells a story but also gets the fans on its feet.

Chris Benoit feuded with The Rock and before we knew what hit us, Rocky was doing belly to belly suplexes and slapping the Sharpshooter on his opponents.

Chris Benoit feuded with HHH and managed to have some of the best matches in either man's career.

Chris Benoit is now feuding with Steve Austin, and in their very first outing, Austin wrestled better than he has in years, stunning fans and critics from the arena to the Internet.

And in the end, Benoit has come away giving better and better interviews each week.

Benoit is still in his infancy as a WWF superstar. He needs time to develop a persona that the fans can get behind. He's got his share of heat, but I think he's destined for a whole lot more.

I am a Chris Benoit fan. I am glad he is in the WWF. He's doing good work right now. I encourage you to watch him closely because it is about to get a whole lot better.

I am still Michaelangelo and will be for a while. Happy Thanksgiving!

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