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Monday, January 23, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho, Royal Rumble 2001

By @Phranchize19 

During the year 2000, Chris Jericho was the third most over guy in the company (trailing only Rock and Austin) and Benoit was arguably the third best heel (behind Kurt Angle and Triple H). Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho embarked on what I feel is one of the greatest feuds in WWE/WWF history. This all started back in 2000 after WrestleMania 2000 in a triple threat match involving Kurt Angle. After Jericho lost his European Title, he had his sights set on Benoit and the IC title. After a few unsuccessful attempts at defeating Benoit in 2000, they decided the best way to end this feud was at The Royal Rumble in an ladder match for the Intercontinental Title.

The Match:
For almost 20 minutes, these great Canadians put on what could possibly be seen as the best match on the stacked card. The innovation from these men was extraordinary (more so Jericho, who I feel is one of the better ladder match performers in history). Benoit isn't known for his stunts in these types of matches, but proved he could handle this match on this type of stage with a competitor like Y2J. Jericho executing a Walls of Jericho on Benoit while they were on the ladder and Benoit suicide diving into a chair shot are two of the best spots in the history of the ladder match. Jericho would have his hand raised in victory and win the Intercontinental Title. A match like this brought great prestige to one of the greatest championships in the history of wrestling.

Fun Fact:
This was the only ladder match in Royal Rumble history. Also, Jericho and Benoit would be involved in another ladder match down the line following this one, but this time as a tag team.

This match is an absolute classic. One of the top 10 best matches in both of these men's catalog. Two of the best technicians in the history of wrestling crafted a masterpiece at the second biggest PPV WWF had to offer. This match cemented these two as top notch competitors and showed that even in the most strenuous of circumstances, they could still steal the show.

-C. Yates


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