Rabid Rumble

Rabid Rumble

As far as Chinese New Years go, 2004 was the Year of the Monkey. However, in World Wrestling Entertainment, 2004 belonged to the Rabid Wolverine. Chris Benoit started off the year as the No. 1 Royal Rumble entrant, and gave an incredible Over-the-Top Rumble Performance that WWE.com proudly ranks in the No. 4 slot.

In the weeks building up to the 30-Superstar main event in Philadelphia's sold-out Wachovia Center, Benoit had been hearing that he would never win "the big one." Even in the moments before heading down to the ring and facing No.2 entrant Randy Orton, the Rabid Wolverine could only stand silent as Ric Flair told him backstage, "You grab that big brass ring, you pull it down, but somehow it slides out of your hand."

After eliminating six WWE Superstars and remaining in the ring a then-record 61 minutes and 30 seconds, Benoit simply would not be denied a chance to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion.

Let's give credit where it's also due: Big Show was dominant since entering the ring at No. 24. He had just dumped the last four men over the ropes before body-pressing Benoit high in the air, ready to launch him to the outside floor. That is, until Benoit surprised the giant with a front facelock that forced Show to lean across the ropes with him.

Having joined Shawn Michaels as the only No. 1 entrant to win a Royal Rumble, Chris Benoit made the most of his opportunity, using a legal loophole to switch brands to Raw and challenge Triple H for his World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX. There, he'd come out the victor in a classic Triple Threat Match against The Game and HBK, forcing Triple H to tap out to the Crippler Crossface and winning the championship. However, it was his Royal Rumble accomplishment that changed everything for him; as an excited Tazz told Jim Ross at the announcers' table, "I said Benoit never won the big one? Well, he did it! He finally did it!"

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