The night after Backlash 2005, then-RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff announced the "Gold Rush Tournament" to crown the next contender to Batista's World Heavyweight Championship.
Fancy name aside, there was nothing innovative or groundbreaking about this idea. Ever since professional wrestling had champions that needed challengers, tournaments have been a tried and true way to figure out who they would face.
Why? Well, because they're great! Especially the "Gold Rush" version because with only eight participants, it seemed like any guy had an honest shot at winning it.
Kane, Christian, Triple H, Chris Benoit, Edge, Chris Jericho and of course, Shawn Michaels and Shelton Benjamin.
Youth met experience in that match-up and the ending gave even this longtime, jaded wrestling fan something to stand up and mark out over.
The video is a bit misleading. I mean, he doesn't KILL Benjamin but man, was that brutal. I especially love the guy's reaction in the front row.
Stuff like this is why I miss Shawn Michaels, Hell, it's also why I miss Shelton Benjamin. The experience that "HBK" brought to the table combined with the athleticism that Benjamin possessed not only made this spot possible but made it look absolutely amazing.
So what say you, Cagesiders? How awesome was that?
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