Chris Benoit made his WCW debut in October 1995 as a part the Cruiserweight division, and his outstanding performances quickly caught the attention of WCW‘s higher ups. One of Benoit’s biggest fans and supporters was “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. At the time Ric Flair and “Double A” Arn Anderson were looking to reform their legendary Four Horsemen stable and Benoit was hand picked to be a member. Benoit was booked strongly in his early WCW days and his professional life was on the right track. Coincidentally it would be a wrestling angle that would change his personal life forever. Benoit would be booked into a feud with Kevin Sullivan, and the story line called for a kayfabe affair with Sullivan’s wife Nancy (better known as Woman in WCW and ECW). At the time, wrestling still hadn’t been completely exposed as a work, so Benoit and Nancy were required to hold hands in public, go out on dates together, and share hotel rooms. Life would go on to mimic art, and eventually Benoit and Nancy would begin a real life affair. The wrestling angle wrapped up with Benoit defeating Kevin Sullivan in a match and retiring him. While in real life, Nancy would leave her husband and go on to marry Benoit. Kevin Sullivan would transition into a backstage management role, and some thought it would affect Benoit’s WCW career, but it surprisingly wasn’t too much of an issue. The real obstacle standing in front of Benoit and WCW stardom wasn’t Kevin Sullivan‘s backstage influence, it was the arrival of the NWO. When Benoit signed with WCW in 1995 the landscape was a bit different, Ric Flair was still a prominent figure and young talent weren’t being completely buried just yet. However in 1996 everything changed when the NWO became a force to be reckoned with on and off screen. Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash reached heights that had been previously unseen in wrestling, and they weren’t exactly trying to spread the love around. WCW‘s young stars like Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Jr., Booker T, and Chris Jericho were all kept at the bottom of the card and any attempts to get a big push were squashed by the NWO. In WCW, Benoit won the Television Title, the Tag Team Titles, and the U.S. Title, but was never considered a main event talent by Eric Bischoff or WCW. Their lack of faith in him and their refusal to give him a true main event push, made Benoit reconsider his relationship with the company. It would be another crucial mistake that led WCW‘s eventual demise. Once it became apparent to WCW management that he was leaving, a last ditch effort to keep Benoit was made by booking him to win the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Sid Vicious at Souled Out 2000, but it was too little too late. Benoit won the match and the title, but he left the company the next night, and the Championship was vacated.
I’m Wesly Avendano. Life long wrestling fan from a small town in Southern California. Writing and wrestling are two of my passions so why not combine them and see what happens. I’m currently the host of Flashback Wrestling Podcast. Favorite all time wrestler is a tie Bret Hart. Favorite current wrestler is AJ Styles. Don’t forget to follow me, and the Flashback Wrestling Podcast on Twitter @fbwpodcast and Instagram @flashbackwrestling.