After leaving WCW, Benoit and his buddies Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn went to work for Vince McMahon and the WWF. Benoit and the other WCW defectors were dubbed “The Radicals,” and were booked to have a huge immediate impact. A little over a month after joining WWF, Benoit would win his first championship in the company. He would walk out of WrestleMania 2000 as the Intercontinental Champion, after pinning Chris Jericho in a classic triple threat 2 out of 3 falls match, which saw Kurt Angle also lose his WWF European Championship without having being pinned in either fall. It was a strong start for Benoit, and it showed that he would be taken seriously in WWF. Benoit even found himself main eventing opposite The Rock for the WWF Championship on multiple occasions during his first year in the company. His WWF stock rose even higher after he and Chris Jericho had a classic ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship at the 2001 Royal Rumble. Both men were so impressive that they earned a bigger push and a spot in the WWF Championship picture. Benoit and Jericho even defeated the juggernaut tag team of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was also WWF Champion at the time, and Triple H for the WWF Tag Team Championships. The two men continued to impress during their main event push, but unfortunately for Benoit he suffered a severe neck injury and he would miss the next year of his career. It was a tough blow for the WWF and Benoit. He was really starting to get hot at the time, and was already over with the fans. His injury also forced him to miss the Invasion angle. He had history with both ECW and WCW, and it would’ve made for a more compelling story line had Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero for that matter, been a part of it. His injury slowed his momentum down a bit, but nothing was gonna stop Benoit from reaching the top of what was now known as WWE.
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.