December 4, 2003 (taped 12/02/03)

Random WWE Television from 2003! Chris Benoit works double duty and has John Cena’s best singles match up to this point, in spite of stupid WWE overbooking. And then proceeds to have a good match with Brock Lesnar!

Jamie Noble . . . can say goodbye to that “boyfriend of the year” award with the way he beats a jobber.

Eddie Guerrero . . . doesn’t have a match, but still manages to have some fun, to Chavo’s chagrin.

Chris Benoit . . . and not JBL (he was still a protection agency worker at this point) is the Wrestling God.


For a non-title match with a comedy team, this is realistically as good as it could have been. The Bashams don’t have much in the way of their own offense, but they’re good about finding ways to prevent Scotty from tagging out, and working in a couple of nice blind tag spots. Scotty and Rikishi don’t have much to add, other than their usual spots to pop the crowd, and it’s probably a small miracle that Danny wasn’t seriously injured from Rikishi’s buttdrop hitting his head. Shaniqua interferes twice, and Doug and Danny try to pull the old switcheroo, but it backfires on them and Rikishi pins Danny after his Samoan Drop. It’s fine as far as positioning Scotty and Rikishi as challengers, but the champions should have been able to show more just than the various ways with which they can cheat.


Oh yeah, this was the time period when Matt Hardy jumped to RAW and Heyman punished Moore for it by booking him every week against guys twice his size, and he’d get dismantled. It’d have been nice if this actually served some sort of purpose a la the Ernest Miller/Scott Norton feud in WCW, but alas no. Moore takes a sick bump from the top turnbuckle to the floor, and generally gets smacked and thrown around by Show, before he gets finished off with the chokeslam.


It’s too bad that the finish more or less negated the rest of the match, it wasn’t great or anything, but rather watchable thanks to Noble. Jamie brings several good spots, such as the early small package and backslide attempts, a tope suicida, the knee to the face, and he basically carries Sakoda through the reversal sequence that sent them to the floor. Sakoda was more or less a total drain, doing nothing other than generic big man offense, and the only two of his spots that actually looked meaningful were thanks to Noble’s selling. The way Noble uses Nidia to steal the win may not be very politically correct, but it was funny thanks to Nidia’s reactions. Although I don’t know why Noble didn’t just wallop Sakoda with Nidia’s walking stick instead of using the roll-up, but it gets across the same message either way.

CHRIS BENOIT vs. JOHN CENA (#1 Contender's match for the WWE Heavyweight Title)

Given that the winner here would have another match later in the show, it’s understandable that this is on the short side. Cena isn’t much good, but he looks better here than he has in any other regular singles match he’s had up to this point. His offense only consists of punches, kicks, a few basic moves, and his two big spots. But Benoit puts over everything like it’s able to put him away. The false finish and restart are typical examples of the WWE’s inability/refusal to put someone over clean, but the one thing that it did accomplish was protecting the FU. Cena did hit the FU later on, but Benoit’s kick out was due to the combination of Cena not being able to cover right away, and the fact that it “was out of desperation” and looked rather ugly as a result.

Luckily for Cena though, he happens to be wrestling Chris Benoit. Cena is kind enough to return the favor to Benoit by doing a really nice job selling for Chris when it’s his turn to bring the pain, and Benoit has no problem rolling out offense to keep the match moving. Cena’s best selling comes when he’s getting chopped by Chris, but when Benoit starts to focus on Cena’s left arm, Cena keeps the good selling coming. Benoit’s offensive run is what’s most hindered by the short length, because unlike Cena, he’s got plenty he can do, and he’s forced to leave most of it behind. Benoit fortunately makes the stuff he does get in to work Cena’s arm count, and useless run-in by Big Show or not (another example of the company being unwilling to put someone over cleanly), the tap out when Benoit locked in the Crossface was inevitable. Benoit also adds a couple of nice reversals and counters when Cena is in control, and even shows some personality by mocking Cena’s “You Can’t See Me” taunt. It’d be interesting to see what Benoit and Cena could do together if they were given fifteen-twenty minutes without any overbooking nonsense, given how shockingly decent this is, and that nobody else can get much out of Cena unless it’s a straight brawl or a gimmick match.


This is more of a continuation of the Chavo/Eddie dissension angle that eventually led to the split of Los Guerreros, than it is an actual wrestling match, and in that sense, its short length is fine. Chavo pulls off a couple of nice moves, including a gorgeous spinning head scissors, but hurts his knee and Shelton attacks it with a knee buster and spinning toehold, and Eddie cheats to (help Chavo) win, with a frog splash behind the ref’s back. Chavo doesn’t appreciate the help, and also turns down a ride in the low-rider.

BROCK LESNAR © vs. CHRIS BENOIT (WWE Heavyweight Title)

It’s really too bad that this is the only singles match that Brock and Benoit had. While this isn’t on the same level as Brock’s match with Guerrero, it’s still one of the better singles matches from Brock’s WWE run. The main fault with the match is that Brock has to carry the offense, not only because he’s the heel, but because Benoit had already worked the match with Cena, and while he’s better than Cena, Brock still isn’t as good as Benoit about keeping the match interesting with his offense. Benoit takes a few big bumps from Brock throwing him around with suplexes, a nasty bump into the stairs, and a press slam into the announce table, but aside from those and the debuting Brock Lock which Lesnar finishes Benoit off with, that’s all that Brock really has to offer here. The only build to the Brock Lock comes in the form of Lesnar attacking Benoit’s knee with a chair. Brock makes big use of a chinlock with body scissors, which makes sense from a technical standpoint, but is little more than a rest hold for Brock.

What Brock is very good at however, is putting over what Benoit does to him throughout the match. His selling of Benoit’s chops is spot on, and even though Benoit didn’t get an extended control segment, Brock did a damn fine job of making it look like Benoit was coming closer and closer to winning the title. Having already tapped Brock with the Crossface at the Survivor Series, Benoit going for the hold was a given. What’s surprising is that even though Benoit isn’t given a full-blown control segment on Brock, they manage to work in several spots where Brock’s shoulder gets hurt. The first instance comes when Benoit whips Brock into the stairs, at first it just seems like a revenge spot for Brock sending Benoit into the stairs, as well as fulfilling the prerequisite breaking of the stairs, and then a bit later on, Brock misses a charge and goes into the post. Benoit also throws in a nice shoulder block transition, and of course, the diving headbutt. And yet, the Crossface still came as a surprise counter.

Benoit’s is just as good as Lesnar in terms of selling punishment, and this time he has the bonus of working with someone who can dish out enough offense to credibly look like he can beat him. Brock’s means of attacking him with big bumps and suplexes, doesn’t let Benoit sell as good for Brock, as he could have if Brock had singled out a specific area. But it makes sense for Brock to attack Benoit in such a manner. Benoit doesn’t get to roll out as much offense as he did against Cena, but he once again makes count what he did get in. The WWE’s refusal to put someone over clean shows up yet again, the ref bump for the Crossface isn’t so bad, as it puts Benoit over for forcing Lesnar to tap out yet again (although one wonders why another ref didn’t come down, given the events of Benoit/Cena). The use of the chair is something that could easily have been scrapped, Brock’s F-5 to the ring post was right there to hurt Benoit’s knee, and finish him off with the Brock Lock. Much like Benoit/Cena, it’d have been interesting to see what these two could have done together if given a few more matches against one another. ***

Conclusion: Two good efforts out of Chris Benoit are enough to make this a keeper, but it also has the enjoyable tag team opener, and some fun with Los Guerreros, recommendation for this WWE Television episode.