Chris Benoit v Sid Vicious (WCW Souled Out, 1/16/00)
This is probably Sid's best singles match ever, right? People bring up the Survivor Series match with Michaels a lot, but that feels like more of a fun spectacle made partly by the crowd shitting on Shawn. Michaels basically worked that match as full on pinball. I know some people hate that, but there's really only so much you can do with Sid, so I guess Michaels just decided to let himself be flung around for fifteen minutes. Benoit decided to go a different route. He still bumps big all the way through, and early on I suppose he gets ragdolled a bit, but he works most of this from above by going after Sid's leg. To be fair to Sid, he seemed more than willing to be hand led here and it worked pretty damn well. I mean, he's not amazing at selling or emoting, but he has crazy charisma, the crowd are always behind him, he does what he needs to on hope spots, and he doesn't overreach. If nothing else he was good at being carried, which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it's honestly not. Dude was perfectly fine and held up his end as well as could be expected. But man, Benoit was really good in this. He's a demon going after the leg, dropkicking the steps into Sid's knee, rolling out a Muta Lock, doing this cool rolling kneebar, just super focused on taking apart Sid's wheel. Sid tapping to the Crossface so quickly despite there being no real build to it might irk some people, but I don't really mind. I'm all for guys working body parts to soften an opponent up for a finishing hold, but I don't see it as being a necessity. Submissions don't always need "build," and the Crossface was always treated as a sudden match-ender, anyway. He worked the leg to keep Sid off his feet, to cancel out the size difference, then saw an opening and used his main weapon. Benoit was on his way to the WWF, but he certainly went out on a big performance.
**(I'm not actually doing some kind of Sid project, btw)