Jim Ross has discussed the decision to add Shawn Michaels to the main event of WrestleMania XX alongside World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Chris Benoit.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast alongside co-host Conrad Thompson, Ross would explain why adding Michaels to proceedings made sense. Chris Benoit had won the 2004 Royal Rumble and subsequently chose to defect from SmackDown to Raw to challenge Triple H.
In the build-up to that singles match, Triple H’s old friend and rival Shawn Michaels interjected himself. As Benoit was ready to sign the contract for the match at WrestleMania, Michaels would superkick him before Michaels signed the contract himself.
This led to the critically acclaimed triple threat match that closed WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden.
Jim Ross elaborated:
“We wanted to pass the torch in the most grandiose way that we could. To sell pay-per-views you’ve got that one angle – you needed that one shot. They’re closing the show at WrestleMania for God’s sake. So adding Shawn to that mix gave it a lot more star power and everybody knew Shawn wanted to be champion again. We all had a great story going in there with Shawn and his former best buddy Triple H. That all tied together.”
“I think Vince believed that just because of the fact Benoit hadn’t got completely over, we had confidence he’s going to do really good. He’s going to become an underdog champion, an undersized champion, who had no idea how big or small he was.”
“But we had to get there, we had two guys giving Benoit the rub. Two guys that were obviously considered as major stars globally in the pro wrestling business. I think you’re right on the money there, it just strengthened the card; it made the card more attractive. It became a bigger attraction with those three stars in it. The beneficiary was gonna be Benoit.”
Chris Benoit would win his only world title in WWE in this match. Benoit claimed victory after making Triple H submit to the crippler crossface. In an emotional finale to the show, Benoit then shared the ring with WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero in celebration.
Jim Ross has also discussed the future of WrestleMania. The current AEW announcer has said he does not foresee the event ever returning to arenas.
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