10 tournaments that stood out

“Gold Rush” No. 1 Contender Tournament

To determine World Heavyweight Champion Batista’s top contender in spring 2005, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff proposed a simple, if effective solution: give the opportunity to the winner of an eight-Superstar, multi-week “Gold Rush” tournament. Catchy name and title implications aside, the tournament created indelible scenes that live on in the WWE Universe’s memory bank.

WWE fans still rave about the opening round conflict between Shawn Michaels and Shelton Benjamin that climaxed with an awe-inspiring Superkick. Nothing topped the dramatic match between finalists Kane and Edge, however. “The Ultimate Opportunist” had used his Money in the Bank briefcase to clobber his way past Chris Jericho and HBK in rounds one and two, but against The Big Red Monster, Edge appeared at a loss. That is, until Lita, Kane’s wife, slid the briefcase to The Rated-R Superstar, simultaneously enabling Edge’s win and beginning one of WWE’s most torrid relationships.