WrestleMania XXXVI’s “Last Man Standing” match between Randy Orton and Edge is apparently getting some backlash over a spot which is now being described as “The Chris Benoit Hanging Spot.” According to Ringside News:
Edge and Orton did a spot in the gym of the WWE Performance Center where Orton wrapped weight-lifting equipment around Edge’s neck and he attempted to hang him. This was very close to what happened with Chris Benoit.
Naturally, “Dinosaur” Dave Meltzer chimed in, relying on his seemingly inexhaustible supply of backstage sources, commenting on Wrestler Observer Radio that:
“I know some people who go, ‘ah oh well it didn’t offend me.’ I know people in the company it offended. I know when I saw it I couldn’t not see [Benoit]. It’s impossible unless you’re brand new, I know. Here’s the other thing too. It probably affects the talent more than the fans because while you can say that some fans are new and some didn’t see it, there’s not one wrestler there who doesn’t know the Chris Benoit story, not one.”
This is either a case of some overly-sensitive wrestlers or more likely, an attempt by one or more persons to stir the pot. It wasn’t as if Orton tried the move and told Edge, “I’m gonna Benoit you buddy” or pointed to the sky and said “This one’s for you Chris.” It’s just outrageous that anyone thought there was recklessness or intent involved in crafting the spot which in some addled brains is now being called “The Chris Benoit Hanging Spot.” Unless we start hearing Michael Cole calling the move, “That’s a vintage Chris Benoit Hanging ” I don’t think anyone has anything to worry about.
The real controversy should be over what a snoozefest the match turned out to be. After weeks of fantastic build-up, the match itself was largely punches, kicks, and occasional chair shots. Orton treated Edge as if he was wrestling Mr. Glass. If the WWE (or Edge’s opponents) are that worried about him being as fragile as an octagenarian ice-skating, why is he wrestling?
As noted by several wrestling pundits including Pro Sports Extra’s very own Brad Shepard, the announcing for the match was equally dull. Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton sounded more like hypnotherapists than announcers, perhaps attempting to induce amnesia in the audience as to the 36+-minute bore-fest they sat through. Other than one sick bump, the match looked like a Texas Death Match from 1970s WWWF (and without the blood)
The match was an utter disappointment and a reminder of how Randy Orton’s plodding style of wrestling is best reserved for matches that go ten minutes or less. Edge hinted that he didn’t want his comeback match to be forty seconds but perhaps it would have been better off if it had.