Chris Benoit Vs Randy Orton – Smackdown January 13th 2006
Last week, Benoit got a DQ win over Orton who replaced Booker T in the best of 7 series for the US Title. That win for Benoit made it 3-3, so this would be the final match. If Benoit wins, he gets the US title. If Orton wins, then BOOKER wins the US Title.
Should also be noted that Batista gave up the WHC at the start of the show after Henry injured him. Orton wanted in the Battle Royal to get his shot at the WHC, but was forced into this match as he has already agreed to replace Booker. So Benoit would be fighting for the US Title, while Orton would be fighting for pride and to prove that he is one of the best, and no doubt to gain momentum going into the Royal Rumble which is a couple of weeks away.
They spend the opening few minutes just fighting for control, and you really get the sense that both men are doing their absolute best to fight for that position. This is an important match for both men, and for different reasons; Benoit wants the title, Orton simply wants the win for bragging rights (and no doubt to prove to Teddy Long that he should have been in the WHC Battle Royal).
Benoit ends up on the outside, and sees Booker T coming towards him with the crutch. So what does he do? Channels Eddie Guerrero of course! He holds his knee and tells the referee that Booker hit him with the crutch, and Booker gets sent to the back! Smart by Benoit to get any outside party sent away so he can be fully focuses on Orton, who he knows CAN beat him, as he proved in 04 for the WHC.
With Booker gone, and a commercial break, nothing has really changed in the ring. Both guys are still fighting for control, and its probably done in a way that Andy would describe as “gritty”, so you know its probably good lol.
Benoit turns things up a notch when he gets tired of fighting with Orton on the mat, and just chops the fuck out of him. Orton’s facial expressions when he gets chopped are just priceless too, which makes his attempt to stop Benoit even more meaningful.
Even with Orton in control of the match, he has to fight with Benoit every step of the way to keep control, and sometimes very nearly loses it. Benoit has to be right up there as one of, if not THE best opponent Orton has ever had. Its basically a lite version of the Benoit/Regal and Benoit/Finlay matches, so I think its safe to assume that everyone on here will pretty much adore this match.
Benoit’s big “comeback” spot is awesome too, something that you probably wouldn’t see from ANYONE else; its a headbutt while both guys are on the ropes, and Orton gets headbutted off the ropes to the guardrail. Its probably one of the best comeback spots I have seen lol.
I’m struggling to think of something to say now lol, without going all play by play . I guess its best to just reiterate what I have already said; this match is a fight. You can tell who has control of the match, but there is never a part of the match where someone is completely dominating as the other guy is constantly trying to fight out of whatever hold he is in. Screw calling this a lite version of Benoit/Regal and Benoit/Finlay, this is pretty much the full thing now.
I think highly of a small handful of Orton matches, but I don’t think I have seen anything quite like this from him before, even with Benoit. Most likely Orton’s best singles match, and probably his best match singles or otherwise.
My ONLY complaint with this match is the ref bump and interference. Orlando showing up was pointless (like always, even when he has a match), and with the performance Orton put on for this match, I think it would have been better for him to win this one clean rather than with Booker’s help. Everything else before that though was fan-fucking-tastic. This is going to make my top 50.