After another solid year on SmackDown, which saw him and Eddie Guerrero compete to crown the first WWE U.S. Champion, Benoit would once again begin his quest to become WWE World Champion and headline WrestleMania. At the 2004 Royal Rumble Benoit would enter at #1, and outlast 29 other men to win the Royal Rumble match. Sadly, WWE doesn’t mention this much anymore, instead they say that only 2 men have ever won the Royal Rumble from the #1 spot and that one of them is Shawn Michaels, Benoit is never acknowledged. After winning the Royal Rumble many thought Benoit would challenge the WWE Champion, who was Eddie Guerrero at the time, at WrestleMania. Instead Benoit challenged the World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H on Monday Night Raw, the night after the Rumble, but Benoit wouldn’t be alone. The legendary Shawn Micheals had recently returned to WWE, and had begun feuding with Triple H. The two had seemingly settled things at the Royal Rumble after a brutal Last Man Standing Match. However, Micheals wasn’t quite done with “The Game,” and inserted himself in the WrestleMania XX main event. For the first time ever, the main even of WrestleMania would be a triple threat match, and what a triple threat match it was. Sadly the classic match is another casualty of WWE’s refusal to acknowledge Benoit. It’s one of the best triple threat matches in WrestleMania history if not in all of wrestling history. At the end of it Benoit would make Triple H tap out to his patented “Crippler Crossface” to finally be crowned the World Heavyweight Champion. It would be the first time the main event of WrestleMania would end in submission. Legendary announcer Jim Ross couldn’t have summed it up any better when he screamed “Finally, Chris Benoit‘s 18 year odyssey has culminated by winning the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania XX!” It was a long overdue moment. Benoit would be joined in the ring after the match by his long time friend and WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero, who had retained his title earlier that night against Kurt Angle. The two men who had wrestled in Japan and ECW together, and who had both been overlooked by WCW were now standing together as World Champions at the end of WrestleMania. It was almost too perfect of a moment. Sadly not even 5 years later both men would be dead. Benoit’s involvement in the moment, and WWE’s reluctance to acknowledge his existence have made it just a footnote in WrestleMania history rather than the monumental moment it was. WrestleMania XX’s main event is hardly ever mentioned by WWE now a days.
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.