Throughout WWE’s history, we’ve witnessed so many entertaining and historic matches. There have been moments where we laughed, celebrated to the point where the noise ordinance was broken, and shocked us to the point where we were left speechless. I want to honor these amazing moments and those who created them by creating a new blog segment called Flashback Friday.
This week’s Flashback Friday was originally scheduled to be written last week, but since I went to the beach with my boyfriend from Friday to Sunday, this was postponed until today. How wonderfully ironic that it falls on the weekend of America’s 240th birthday! Not only that, but the match I’ve chosen was a title match for the United States Championship! This match has current Champion Orlando putting his United States Championship on the line against “The Rabid Wolverine” Chris Benoit.
Orlando Jones is the first to make his way out to the ring, with the United States Championship around his waist, followed by the challenger Chris Benoit. Jones wastes no time as soon as the bell rings, as Jones goes right to Benoit’s mid-section trying to take him down. Although unsuccessful, Jones was able to corner Benoit in the ring. The referee breaks up the hold Jones had against Benoit and Jones again puts Benoit in the corner, only to shortly end up in the corner himself. The referee begins the count until Benoit breaks the hold and hits Jones’ mid-section with his knee repeatedly. Benoit is able to strike Jones with several elbows to the face, followed by a Clothesline and a couple chops to the chest before Jones is able to hit Benoit with a couple of punches and elbows to Benoit’s backside. At one point, Benoit is able to block Jones’ punches and continues to hit Jones with elbows and chops to the chest. A knee to Jones’ mid-section connects before Jones and Benoit begin swapping punches with one another. Benoit then hits Jones with a Snap Suplex followed by a Dropkick. Benoit’s attempts to pin Jones for the United States Championship but Jones kicks out at two.
Benoit takes Jones’ head and slams it into top turnbuckle with Jones to quickly follow with a few moves up his sleeve, those being an elbow to Benoit’s shoulder. Jones’ primary focus for a duration of time is the shoulder of Benoit and does everything imaginable to it, such as pressing it down against the ropes, twisting it, pulling and striking blows to it. Eventually, Benoit is able to get out of it and the fans get behind him by chanting “Let’s go, Benoit!” Jones tries to connect his knee to Benoit but Benoit rolls underneath it, grabs Jones’ leg and does a Leg Drop on The United States Champion. Jones grabs his knee in pain and rolls himself right out of the ring. Benoit joins Jones outside of the ring where Jones grabs him and throws Benoit into the ring post. The bandage to Benoit’s neck loosens and exposes an open wound with a little blood coming from it which did not phase Benoit a bit. Jones at this point was back in the ring, loosening up the cover of the top turnbuckle when Benoit was back in the ring and interrupted Jones with a blow to the neck. Benoit hits Jones with a German Suplex, followed by chops to the chest and a knee to the mid-section. Benoit hits Jones with another Suplex and tries to pin The Champ but Jones once again kicks out at two.
Jones begins dominating over The Rabid Wolverine, hitting him with elbows and knees – especially to Benoit’s neck wound – followed by connecting his foot to Benoit’s back and rib cage repeatedly until the referee breaks it up. Benoit is able to get up and connect several chops to Jones’ check but Jones then whips Benoit into the corner of the ring. Benoit stumbles out of the corner and it is at this time that Jones hits Benoit with a Clotheslines. Jones then refocuses his attention on Benoit’s shoulder and attempts to pin Benoit, but Benoit kicks out at two. Jones tries again and Benoit kicks out at one. Jones tries once more to pin Benoit and once again, Benoit kicks out at one. Jones puts Benoit in an Armbar and Benoit is able to get out of the maneuver. Benoit then connects a forearm to Jones’ face before Jones goes for a Clothesline that Benoit is able to dodge but Jones does successfully connect a Drop Kick. Jones then begins to get cocky, drawing a big “O” in the air with his finger which Benoit breaks this by hitting Jones with several punches before the roles are reversed and Jones is punching Benoit. The referee breaks it up and Jones brings down Benoit to pin but Benoit kicks out at two. Jones tries again to pin Benoit but again, Benoit kicks out at two. Jones tries once more to pin Benoit but Benoit kicks out at two.
Benoit tries to put Jones in the Sharpshooter but Jones is able to counter. Benoit hits Jones with a couple chops to the chest before Jones hits Benoit’s with several blows to the back. Jones puts Benoit in an Armbar followed by a Hammerlock. Benoit is able to break out of the Hammerlock by hitting Jones in the face. Jones quickly follows with blows to the neck of Benoit followed by a Swinging Neckbreaker. Jones tries to pin Benoit to retain the title but Benoit kicks out at two. Jones resumes punching Benoit’s neck before trying to pin Benoit. Benoit is able to kick out at two. Jones hits Benoit with a High Elbow and tries pinning Benoit again but again, Benoit kicks out at two. Jones moved on from pinning Benoit and puts both of his knees to Benoit’s neck and back, taking Benoit’s arm and pulling them back so pressure is applied. Somehow, Benoit is able to get out of it which Jones quickly slams Benoit. Jones then goes to the top rope only for Benoit to knock him off. Benoit hits Jones with a couple chops to the chest, goes up on the top turnbuckle and brings Jones with him. Benoit does a Suplex off of the top rope, which leaves them both almost lifeless on the mat. The referee begins his count which Benoit is up first at the count of six. Benoit at this point hits Jones with a forearm followed by a Body Drop. Benoit tries the Sharpshooter on Jones once again but Jones, like before, is able to get out of it before it is successfully locked in. Benoit then connects the German Suplex on Jones three times before the grip is released from Jones’ waist. Both of them are down on the mat again where Benoit is able to get up at four. Benoit climbs to the top turnbuckle and goes flying with a Flying Headbutt to Jones! Benoit pins Jones but Jones kicks out at two and a half.
Benoit hits Jones with several chops to the chest then takes Jones’ head and hits it on the top turnbuckle Jones was working on earlier in the match. Jones headbutts Benoit which sends Benoit flying back first on the mat. The referee begins his count on Benoit while Jones is working on exposing the top turnbuckle. Benoit finally gets up and hits Jones with a blow to the back while Jones is successful at exposing the top turnbuckle. When Benoit runs toward Jones, where Jones moves out of the way for Benoit’s head to hit the exposed turnbuckle. Jones is successful in his plans and follows up with pinning Benoit and retaining his United States Championship.
Winner: Orlando Jones
I love Chris Benoit. I absolutely love him. He was a true talent and certainly left his legacy in professional wrestling. No words can truly embody the emotion behind the next words I’m about to type: I wish he were still with us. I wish he were here, performing his magic in the ring. I wish her were here, being a mentor to this new, exciting generation of professional wrestlers. Thankfully for us, we have these matches to look back on, smile at the memories of Chris Benoit that resurface as we watch them and enjoy these matches now just as much as the moment they happened. I hope you’re resting peacefully, Benoit. You are greatly missed by those whose lives you touched. Every, single, day.
This match and pay-per-view, among many others, are available to watch on The WWE Network for only $9.99 a month!