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September 24, 2000

The Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Kane vs. Chris Benoit in a Fatal Four Way for the WWE Championship

The Rock’s WWE Championship reign was in great jeopardy at Unforgiven 2000 as he defended the gold against three top of sports-entertainment’s fiercest competitors: Kane, Chris Benoit and Undertaker.

WWE fans witnessed several weeks of bitter turmoil amongst the competitors, from Benoit battling Kane, to Kane chokeslamming The Rock through an announce table, to Undertaker actually earning a non-title victory over the champion. With the Rabid Wolverine, the Big Red Machine and the Phenom each believing they were the No.1 contender for the WWE Championship, WWE Commissioner Mick Foley stepped in and ordered a Fatal Four Way Match between all four men.

In this high stakes type of match, The Rock could lose the WWE Championship without even being involved in the decision. Nonetheless, never revealing any anxiety, The People’s Champion boldly promised to walk into the high risk match and “layeth the smacketh down on all their candy asses.”

Before the match began, eight referees filled the ring to keep the four eager WWE Superstars in opposing corners until the bell rang. When each man was finally in the ring, the bell sounded and the action started immediately as Kane fought with The Rock, and Benoit went toe-to-toe with Undertaker. After a brief exchange of blows, The Rock and The Phenom were left standing in the center of the ring in an intense staredown. Kane and Benoit returned to the action and attacked the two from behind.

Rock and Benoit spilled to the outside and fought through the raucous Philadelphia crowd as Kane ascended the top rope and delivered a flying clothesline to his brother in the ring. The Big Red Machine then made the first pinfall attempt in the contest by covering Undertaker, who kicked out at the two-count.

Moments later, The Rock battled Kane in the ring and dropped the monster with a big Samoan drop. Kane fired back with a thunderous powerslam on The People’s Champion and gained momentum until Undertaker - who incapacitated Benoit on the outside – made his way back to the ring. Rock recovered and he and the Deadman double-teamed Kane, dropping the Big Red Machine to the outside and allowing for Rock and Undertaker to finally trade blows in the match.

Following a sidewalk slam to the champion, the Deadman went for his classic Old School maneuver, carefully stepping across the top rope until The Rock pulled Undertaker’s arm and sent him crashing to the mat. The champion then clotheslined the Phenom to the outside and collided with Kane who entered the ring. The Big Red Monster gained the advantage and went for the Tombstone,  but The Rock wriggled out of what could’ve been the finishing blow, pushed Kane into the referee and dropped him with a thunderous DDT.

Before The Rock could capitalize, Undertaker made his way back into the ring, and with the referee down, the Deadman blasted the WWE Champion with a steel chair. An opportunistic Benoit then used a chair of his own to drop Undertaker and cover him for the win. The referee came around and counted to three, not seeing Undertaker’s leg make it over the bottom rope. Still groggy, the referee awarded the match to Benoit and the announcement was made in the Wachovia Center that the Rabid Wolverine was the new WWE Champion.

This decision drove Commissioner Foley to take action. Foley came to the ring, immediately reversed the referee’s decision and restarted the Fatal Four Way Match much to Benoit’s dismay. The Rabid Wolverine argued with Foley up the entranceway until turning around to find all three of his opponents fully recovered and staring in Benoit’s direction, angry about his controversial near victory. The Rock made the first attack on Benoit, then Kane and Undertaker, each tossing Benoit into the steel Unforgiven set and fighting their way back to the ring.

In the ring, The Rock tossed Benoit into the ropes and caught him with a big belly-to-belly suplex, but Benoit retaliated and hit his signature German suplexes on the champion, bridging the third suplex for a two-count. The Rabid Wolverine then signaled for the diving headbutt from the top rope, scaled the ringpost and landed the high risk move; again, Benoit covered him but The Rock kicked out.

Finally, the People’s Champion regained control and applied Benoit’s own Crippler Crossface on his opponent; but just as Benoit was about to tap, Undertaker broke it up and sent The Rock to the outside. Kane followed his brother into the ring and dropped Undertaker with a giant chokeslam, then sought to do the same to Benoit. Holding Benoit by the throat, Kane delivered a big boot to The Rock, who had charged at the Big Red Monster. Minutes later, The Rock turned the tables and floored Kane with a spinebuster and went for The People’s Elbow which was intercepted by a vicious clothesline from Benoit.

Undertaker got involved in the action again, hitting the Last Ride powerbomb on The Rock. Kane rose up and broke Undertaker’s cover; the brothers then fought to the outside where Benoit blasted both with a chair. With both of the monstrous brothers temporarily incapacitated on the outside, Benoit rolled into the ring and applied the Crippler Crossface on The Rock. The People’s Champion screamed in agony, but the fans rallied behind The Rock allowing him to hold on until Undertaker came in the ring to stomp on Benoit. The Phenom then delivered a chokeslam of his own to Benoit, but was again pulled outside the ring by his brother. As Kane and Undertaker exchanged heavy hands at ringside, The Rock gave Benoit the Rock Bottom. Kane continued to hold the Deadman outside as the WWE Champion scored the pin on Benoit in the center of the ring to retain his coveted championship gold.

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