Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H - 8
The story of each person going into this bout was excellent. Shawn was in the middle of a heated feud with HHH and what better way to get one up on your hated rival than to take his title from him. Benoit, the old veteran, who had been told numerous times that he would never win the “big one” laster over an hour in the Royal Rumble match to win his title shot. Triple H was the dominant champion, the man who had defeated each opponent that had come after him. Benoit’s chops echoed throughout the arena like gunshots. The action spills to the outside early on where Michaels does a crazy moonsault that takes out both HHH and Benoit. Michaels is bouncing all over the ring for both guys and the exchanges between HHH and Benoit are crisp. Michaels gets busted open after being dropped face first on the top of the ringpost. Benoit and HHH go to the outside where Benoit is thrown rather violently into the ring steps. HHH clears out Michael Cole and Tazz and tears up their table. All three men start trading punches on the Spanish announce table where Shawn and Trips execute a double vertical suplex and drop Benoit very hard through Cole and Tazz’s former table in a very, very sick spot. This match hasn’t let up once and I’m loving every minute of it! Shawn gets a pin attempt on HHH and Benoits flies in to break it up. That was wild! The crowd pops for the sharpshooter and then gasps when Shawn beheads Benoit with a superkick. In the final moments, Benoit sends Shawn flying out of the ring and reverses a Pedrigree into the Crossface. HHH finally taps and Madison Square Garden goes wild! I haven’t watched this match in ages and it definitely holds up after five years. Another match I would be proud to show anybody.