Chris Benoit: A Ruined Legacy With 15 Noteworthy Accomplishments

We're a little over nine years removed from the Chris Benoit double-murder / suicide tragedy, and WWE has stayed true to their promise, which is that the "Canadian Crippler's" name will never be mentioned on WWE television ever again. Sure, they're showing his matches on the WWE Network, but, before each show which features him in it, they put up a disclaimer, warning viewers about the content that they're choosing to watch.

Some people have suggested to WWE should put Chris Benoit in the Hall of Fame, which is completely ridiculous. The only way that can happen is if the case is re-opened and they somehow find out that a third party was involved in the death of the Benoit family.

Sadly though, due to the circumstances surrounding his death, Benoit's accomplishments will never be acknowledged by WWE again, and there are certainly a ton of fantastic things that the former World Heavyweight Champion accomplished during his illustrious career.

15 WCW World Heavyweight Champion

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In an effort to make Benoit happy, and keep him in the company, WCW decided to put the vacant World Heavyweight Championship on him at the Souled Out pay-per-view in 2000. It was a bittersweet moment for Benoit because he had finally become the top guy in one of the two major wrestling promotions, but he was also miserable there.

For historical purposes, his WCW Title reign should be acknowledged. Sure, it was meaningless and he ended up leaving for WWE the very next day. But, it's just strange to look at the title history, and see an "N/A" where Benoit's name should be.

Obviously this shouldn't be talked about as one of Chris Benoit's major career highlights. But, it's just something that should be acknowledged by WWE's history books, because when fans see the blank spot in the title history, they'll look it up themselves, and find out that Benoit's name should be in that spot.

14 United States Champion

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Chris Benoit was a five-time United States Champion, which ties him with Wahoo McDaniel, Lex Luger, Bret Hart, and John Cena for the second most US Title reigns in history. He was also arguably the best United States Champion in history.

Again, much like with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, it's weird to see an "N/A" appear five different times when you look at the history of the US Title.

One of the most memorable Benoit moments involved the US Title back in 2005. The first one happened at SummerSlam in 2005, where he faced Orlando Jordan with the US Title on the line. He defeated Jordan in less than thirty seconds. He then went on to defeat Jordan three more times in less than thirty seconds in the following weeks.

13 Work Ethic

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Almost everyone who's talked about Chris Benoit has said that he was one of the most hard working and dedicated guys in the entire business. He's someone who never gave up on his dream, even after he broke his neck in the early-2000s.

Sure, there are other great examples of perseverance in the wrestling business, as guys like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were always told that they were too small to make it to the top in a company like WWE. But, people could take a lot of positives from Benoit's journey to the top.

Obviously there are a ton of negatives surrounding Benoit's journey, with the most obvious one being how his life ended and how he almost brought the entire professional wrestling business down.

12 Four Horsemen

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The Four Horsemen are one of the greatest factions in the history of professional wrestling. Granted, the WCW version in the mid and late 90s wasn't on the level of the original group. But, it was still a pretty great and a memorable group.

Obviously being part of the Four Horsemen probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you're reflecting on the career of Chris Benoit. But, if someone is going to bring up the faction, and its different incarnations, Benoit's name should be mentioned as one of the group's many members.

Also, Benoit became one half of the WCW Tag-Team Champions with Dean Malenko as part of the Four Horsemen.

11 Teaming With Kurt Angle

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Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle had a very short, and very entertaining, run as a tag-team after WWE's initial brand split back in 2002. Because of the split, WWE created a new set of Tag Team Championships and a tag-team tournament was announced, where the winners would be the inaugural SmackDown Tag-Team Champions.

Angle and Benoit were put together as a team, and it was the classic team of rivals, where they were constantly trying to one-up each other. The two men had fantastic chemistry with one another, both as opponents, and as a tag-team.

Their Tag-Team Title reign, which began at No Mercy in October of 2002, ended just 16 days later, when they were defeated by the team of Edge and Rey Mysterio in a two out of three falls match on SmackDown. Even thought their run as a team was short, it was certainly memorable.

10 The Radicalz

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The WWE Network has done a couple of shows on the greatest factions in wrestling history and every time The Radicalz are mentioned, they leave Chris Benoit out, for obvious reasons. When they show the faction, it's always a close up shot with Benoit cropped out, so if you didn't know any better, you'd think that the only men in the faction were Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko.

The Radicalz weren't a long-term faction, but it was a faction that jump-started all four men's run in WWE and it made them seem important right away.

The faction also had one of the most memorable debuts of all-time, showing up ringside at an episode of Raw in 2000. It was then that many fans realized that WWE had certainly won the war over WCW.

9 Kurt Angle Feuds

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As previously mentioned, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit had fantastic chemistry together, both as a team and as opponents, but especially as opponents.

The two men had several fantastic matches together, as Benoit was probably Angle's greatest opponent. If Benoit were still alive, he would be the best choice to induct our "Olympic Hero" into the WWE Hall of Fame. Instead, Brock Lesnar will probably be the man to induct Angle instead.

Benoit and Angle produced some pretty memorable moments together in the early-2000s and they would've produced a lot more together if Angle hadn't left WWE, and if Benoit's life didn't come to an abrupt end. Angle and Benoit never had a bad match with one another and, in a perfect world, they'd still be putting on wrestling clinics with each other to this day.

8 Best Of Seven Series With Booker T

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The Chris Benoit vs. Booker T best of seven series in WCW helped put Booker T on the map as a legitimate main-eventer in the company. Before that, Booker had been extremely successful as a tag-team star, but nobody ever took him seriously as a singles wrestler prior to his feud with Benoit.

If the best of seven series never happened, we probably wouldn't remember Booker T as the former five-time WCW Champion and he may have never even been on WWE's radar when they bought WCW in the spring of 2001.

Obviously Booker T had the tools to be successful in the WWE, and WWE probably would've given him a chance even if the best of seven series never took place, because they certainly gave opportunities to wrestlers who were less talented than him. But, the series did happen and it played a huge part in the WWE Hall of Famer's success.

7 Owen Hart Tribute Match 

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Following the tragic death of his brother Owen, Bret Hart took some time off from WCW to be with his family. He then decided to return to the ring to pay tribute to his brother on an episode of Monday Nitro. Hart was permitted to hand-pick an opponent for what was to be known as the "Owen Hart tribute match" and he ended up picking Chris Benoit.

The two men are thought to be the two best technical wrestlers of their generation, and, as you would expect, they had one of the greatest matches in the history of WCW Monday Nitro. The match ended as it should have, with Benoit tapping out to the Sharpshooter.

After the match, the two men embraced, and they left the ring together. The two men left it all in the ring, as they paid the ultimate tribute to the "King of Harts."

6 Cage Match With Kurt Angle 

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One of the most memorable matches in the history of Monday Night Raw is the cage match between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. The two men put everything on the line in that match, and, as you would expect, it was an instant classic.

Now, because of the Benoit tragedy, the match has been reduced to a missed moonsault by Kurt Angle, and, if you weren't a fan of WWE during that era, you'd have no idea who he was trying to hit with the move.

Plenty of classic matches will never understandably be acknowledged by WWE due to the Benoit tragedy and this is one of those classic matches that will always be overlooked by the company. But it's arguably the best, and most memorable match of both men's respective careers.

5 WWE Network

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While WWE will never publicly acknowledge Chris Benoit's accomplishments or matches, you can pretty much watch everything he's ever been involved in on the WWE Network. The one thing is though, you really have to search to find his matches, because they didn't tag him in anything. So, if you just search his name, you won't find any results. But if you watch something, like WrestleMania XX for example, you'll see him winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event.

Obviously WWE felt that it was too much work to go in and edit Benoit out of everything he's ever been involved in. Also, they probably knew that most of their subscribers would be hardcore fans and they might react poorly to it.

Furthermore, and this is just speculation, WWE probably thought that showing Benoit's matches on the Network would make a small percentage of their fans subscribe to the service.

4 Raw - May 21st, 2001

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This show featured a tag team match where the team of Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit took on Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H, and it was quite possibly the best match in the history of WWE Monday Night Raw.

Unfortunately, the match is remembered by most as the match where Triple H finished the match with a torn quad muscle, and not for the classic match that it was.

At the time, Steve Austin and Triple H were the WWE Tag Team Champions and they were the company's top heel team. So, fans were shocked when Benoit and Jericho actually walked out of the show as the new WWE Tag Team Champions. And, of course, due to Triple H's injury, The Two Man Power Trip was disbanded.

Of course, this classic match will never be acknowledged, or replayed on WWE television ever again, even though it's possibly the greatest match in Raw history.

3 Eddie Guerrero

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It's hard to not think of Chris Benoit whenever WWE brings up the late, great Eddie Guerrero. The two men had similar careers, as they were the best of friends and both of their careers peaked at WrestleMania XX. Now, 12 years later, one of them is beloved by WWE and the other will never be mentioned again.

The story of Benoit and Guerrero's respective careers is very similar - they were both deemed too small to make it to the top in any of the major promotions in the United States. At one point, Kevin Nash famously referred to them as the "vanilla midgets," obviously insisting that they were small and that they lacked personality.

The two men are though to be the best wrestlers of their generation and their moment together at WrestleMania XX could be the greatest moment in the history of the event, before the unfortunate events that would later take place.

2 Royal Rumble '04

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There are only two men in WWE history who have won the Royal Rumble from the number one spot: Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. The odd thing is, WWE still acknowledges that only two men in history have done it, but they'll never mention Benoit's name. So, in a way, they're reminding everyone of Benoit's accomplishment.

Prior to the Royal Rumble in 2014, where CM Punk was the first entrant, Michael Cole, in reference to Punk being the first entrant, talked about how only two men had one the Rumble after entering number one and he mentioned Shawn Michaels' name, but then he went silent for a few seconds. He then carried on with his commentary and it was quite clear that he almost let Benoit's name slip out.

1 WrestleMania XX

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WrestleMania XX's triple-threat main-event between Triple H, Chris Benoit, and Shawn Michaels was one of the greatest matches in the history of the show, and it ended with Benoit winning his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which no one saw coming.

Benoit's title win was extremely emotional and it was a great moments in WWE history. Unfortunately though, his title reign following the event wasn't all that memorable. Later, Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit for the World Title to become the youngest World Champion in WWE history. But, you'd never know that if you weren't watching the product at that time.

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