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Chris Benoit Review,
This review is from: WWE: Hard Knocks - The Chris Benoit Story (DVD)
NOTE: The 3 Japanese matches on this disc come with 2 alternate commentaries each. The first is a pretty straight forward, but sufficiently informative, commentary by Michael Cole & Tazz. It's probably best to jump straight to this, unless you understand Japanese, or have a lot of time to spare. The 2nd commentary is by Benoit, Dean Malenko & Todd Grisham. It's nothing controversial or highly enlightening, but it's informative enough & fascinating because most of it is coming from Benoit himself.
vs JUSHIN 'THUNDER' LIGER for the IWGP Junior HeavyWeight Title. August-19, 1990: Benoit was under the mask here wrestling as 'The Pegasus Kid'. He was the challenger to Liger's title & defeated him in this 15 minute clinic of a match, to win his 1st ever Japanese title. The first 6 or 7 minutes of this bout, is a submissions based match, where basically every flashy submission move on the planet is used by one wrestler or the other. If I was to be in any way critical, I actually doubted the psychology of it all, but it was as entertaining as hell, and nothing lasted too long to get anywhere near monotonous. What followed was some fast-paced, high-flying, chain & counter wrestling which was right up there with any Benoit vs Angle match that you've seen. Benoit wins with a tombstone piledriver followed by a top-rope legdrop. As always with Japanese matches, it's also interesting to see how the crowds react to everything. Match Rating...9
vs TOO COLD SCORPIO. WCW SuperBrawl. February-21, 1993: I always thought Scorpio (who later became Flash Funk in the WWF) had a unique wrestling style that sometimes really worked & sometimes really bombed. You just knew that it would work to some extent with Chris Benoit. Man, did Benoit look like a combination of Dynamite Kid, Bret Hart & 'Stunning' Steve Austin in this bout!!! If anything, Scorpio's flashiness almost dominated this match too much. It actually got a little too tedious when Benoit was on offense, as this time was basically used for rest periods. Scorpio wins with a rollup just one second short of the 20 minute time limit. Nothing fantastic, but not bad. I think this match was included to fill the timeframe between the Japanese matches on the disc. Match Rating...7
vs BLACK TIGER (EDDIE GUERRERO) in a Super J Cup Semi-Final. April-16, 1994: Not as perfect as you would expect from these 2 wrestlers, but it has to be remembered that this was the 2nd of 3 matches in a one night tournament. Ten minutes in duration, this was actually a little sloppy (especially Guerrero). Still very good though & it's great to see the early work of 2 of the WWE's finest at the moment. The finish is somewhat of an anti-climax, as Benoit turns Eddie's top-rope flying bodypress attempt into an armdrag for the pin!!! Match Rating...7
vs THE GREAT SASUKE in the Super J Cup Final. April-16, 1994: Fantastic match, and even better considering that it was both men's 3rd bout of the night. Well paced 19 minute match which was different in style to both the Liger & Guerrero matches on this disc. Built up really nicely & had a decent mix of everything. In fact, I'd almost say that Benoit's intensity at the time, mixed better with Sasuke's high-flying, than with Guerrero's. Excellent match which ends in a Benoit win, after a top-rope gutwrench suplex. Match Rating...9
vs SABU. ECW November 2 Remember. November-5, 1994: This is the infamous bout where Benoit tosses Sabu onto his head about 40 seconds into it, and the match is stopped with Sabu suffering a broken neck. That was one scary landing!!! Not Rated
EASTER EGG: Pressing left while this option is highlighted will screen an ECW promo by Benoit. It actually shows his strength & weakness at the same time, as his intensity came through well, but so did his lack of clarity on the microphone.
vs AL SNOW. ECW Double Tables. February-4, 1995: Very good match which told an excellent story. This was probably the closest that Benoit came to portraying a cocky heel character, as Snow was playing an underdog face-type character at the time. The 15 minute match started off evenly & was very entertaining while that lasted. It was a good mix of mat wrestling using predominantly suplexes, with some high-flying & submission based offense thrown in. Benoit then started to dominate, but Snow wouldn't go down without a fight & mounted a comeback. Benoit eventually regained the momentum though & ended up victorious. A bit of a sleeper match which is more than worth a watch. Match Rating...8
vs EDDIE GUERRERO. WCW Monday Nitro. October-16, 1995: Very good television match. At 8 minutes in length, these 2 could only do so much, and they decided to concentrate mainly on suplexes. That's fine by me, and man, were they good!!! A bit of high-flying was thrown in, and the pace was predominantly in fast-motion. A great ending sees Benoit get the pinfall with a picture-perfect Dragon (Full Nelson) Suplex. Everything you could expect from a television bout, and a little more. Match Rating...8
vs KEVIN SULLIVAN. WCW Great American Bash. June-16, 1996: Entertaining match which spent most of it's time in the men's bathroom!!! Not exactly a wrestling match (actually, barely a wrestling move is seen), but an intense brawl. You just have to ask yourself while watching this bout, how much of the intensity was real? I think it's fair to say that a fair bit of it was. Too short with not enough variation, this bout also ended a little anti-climactically with a superplex. Match Rating...6
vs BOOKER T. WCW Great American Bash. June-14, 1998: I think this was the longest match of the series at 16 minutes. Good mix of the more current style of professional wrestling that Benoit has adapted very well to. Booker T was also a slightly different style of opponent for Benoit, and their styles actually mixed excellently. Both wrestlers were nearing the very best of their careers at this point of time & it showed. A fitting ending to what was a tremendous series of matches in mid 1998. Match Rating...8
vs BRET HART. Owen Hart Tribute Match. WCW Monday Nitro. October-4, 1999: This bout is almost surreal & it really does take a lot of time to both the viewing & live audience to get into it. Because of this, I believe that Benoit & Hart opened the bout with more of a clinic, than a match. The first half of it's 23 minute duration (excluding commercial breaks) is a little meandering, but technically proficient. However, from about the 10 minute mark onwards, we see some great counter & chain wrestling, as you would expect from these two. And they're both very professional, as the competition aspect of the match does come into play very well. A tough one to rate because of the match circumstances, but definitely very good. Match Rating...8
vs SID VICIOUS for the World HeavyWeight Title. WCW Souled Out. January-16, 2000: With all the controversy surrounding WCW & Benoit's imminent departure at the time, the quality of this match is often overlooked. It's actually a very good big man vs small man bout (not too dissimilar to Benoit's title defense against Kane at this year's 'Bad Blood'). Sid played the strong big man very well here (Benoit's tremendous selling obviously helps a lot), while Benoit was clinical in chopping the big man down to size from his knees. At 15 minutes in length, it didn't outstay it's welcome. Under-rated & forgotten match. Match Rating...8
vs WILLIAM REGAL. Brian Pillman Tribute Show. May-25, 2000: This was Regal's first match back from an extended layoff & one of Benoit's early matches while working with the WWE. Interesting commentary from Dr.Tom Pritchard, who claims that he often uses a tape of this match for training purposes. And you can see why, as both these guys put on a virtual clinic. I'm not actually the hugest fan of Regal in the ring, but he mixes it up perfectly with Benoit here. Furthermore, both men's intensity levels turn this into a super competitive match. A secret gem of a bout!!! Match Rating...8
EASTER EGG: Pressing right while this option is highlighted will screen a brief (30 second) WWE Benoit promo. Nothing special.
vs KURT ANGLE in a Steel Cage Match. WWE Raw. June-12, 2001: Wow!!! Forget being a Raw main event, this was definitely the quality of a PPV main event. At 15 minutes in length, it could have been a little longer, but that was almost the only weakness of this match. It did have only a little of their excellent technical mat wrestling, but that didn't take away too much from this bout at all. In it's place, there were suplexes galore (including 9 almost consecutive German Suplexes from Benoit), some cage action, and a few terrific spots: a German Suplex off the top-rope by Benoit, a missed moonsault from the top of the cage by Angle, and a diving headbutt from the top of the cage by Benoit. Angle wins when the commentating `Stone Cold' Steve Austin (who was feuding with Benoit & Jericho at the time) interfered. Sensational. Match Rating...9
vs KURT ANGLE for the WWE Championship. 2003 Royal Rumble. January-19, 2003: Excellent 20 minute match!!! Leading into this, I just thought it would be similar to what they had put together previously. I thought that there was no way Benoit could win & this match was only on the card to see the reaction that Benoit would get at main event level. While these points still held true, the match was a resounding success anyway. At times, it genuinely appeared as if Benoit would win the bout, and the standing ovation he received afterwards was surely noticed by WWE decision makers. The match itself was a good hybrid of their previous efforts. While containing technical bursts, it didn't get bogged down. There were a few new reversals performed & the overall psychology of the match was top-notch. But at the end of the day, the competitiveness, intensity, counters & false finishes of this match have yet to be surpassed afterwards, to this day (18 months on). The crowd was literally eating out of these 2 guys' hands towards the end. My 2003 Match Of The Year. Match Rating...10
vs TRIPLE H & SHAWN MICHAELS in a Triple Threat Match for the World HeavyWeight Title. WrestleMania 20. March-14, 2004: Excellent & memorable match where all 3 combatants brought close to their best. Right from the beginning of the bout, Benoit looked his intense & crisp self, while HBK & Triple H stepped it up a notch or two from their usual 2004 performances (thus far). At 25 minutes in length, this wasn't the most perfectly paced match. Nor was it a technical masterpiece (which I would have preferred that they tried for in the first 8-10 minutes). But I suppose that is the inherent problem with Triple Threat matches. What it undoubtedly was though, was exciting, entertaining & memorable. A superb finish capped it all off very well. Great stuff & Benoit is the World HeavyWeight Champion for the second time!!! Match Rating...9
Neck Injury: A 90 second segment with Dr.Youngblood about Benoit's neck injury & resulting surgery.
Crossface Collection:A 3 minute segment where Benoit talks predominantly about `The Crippler Crossface'; It's origin, it's danger & even a `How To' step-by-step guide on how to apply the hold.
Raw Magazine Cover Shoot: A 2 minute segment detailing Benoit's magazine cover shoot in a meat freezer!!!
EASTER EGG: In the bottom right-hand corner of the screen on the second extras page of Disc-2, there is a tooth. Highlight this by highlighting `back' at the bottom of the screen & then pressing right 3 times. This egg is of Benoit's father finally revealing the truth on how Chris Benoit lost his tooth. His opponent that was the culprit: A Rottweiller!!!
DAVEYBOY'S CONCLUSION: I thoroughly enjoyed this 2 Disc set on Chris Benoit. As a Benoit fan, I found the 15 matches that accompanied his life story, truly fascinating. This is especially the case, because I hadn't seen many of the bouts before-hand. There is a tremendous mix of matches included over a 14 year timeframe. The amazing thing is that almost every style of professional wrestling match is captured. Maybe some of the chosen matches are questionable, but no 2 people will ever agree on that type of thing. All in all, this is right up there with (& probably a little better than) the Hulk Hogan & Rey Mysterio DVD's (remembering that I haven't seen Flair's & Foley's as yet). Thoroughly recommended. If I had to grade it, I would give it an A minus.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2009 10:25:17 AM PDT
You don't need to understand Japanese in order to watch a Japanese match with Japanese commentary, bigot.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2013 8:08:30 PM PST
Really!?!? Wow, that comment is probably the dumbest one I've ever read in my life. You really are a moron.
Posted on Jan 21, 2014 8:14:47 PM PST
Alexander Micheal Shute says:
Easter Eggs are a great addition to mention!
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