This edition of Raw was originally supposed to feature a fake funeral for the Mr. McMahon character following his "death" two weeks earlier. Obviously, that changed following the real-life death of Chris Benoit that same day, turning this episode into a memorial show for Benoit instead. Unlike the Eddie Guerrero tribute show a few years earlier, no matches were held and instead Superstars and commentators were shown paying their tributes to Benoit and his family. It's chilling to watch back knowing what we do now about how Benoit killed his wife and son before taking his own life, but it's an interesting watch, nonetheless. Portions of this Hard Knocks documentary aired throughout the evening along with the finish of the Royal Rumble 2004 match that he won, Benoit vs. Elijah Burke on ECW from the week prior, Benoit vs. Dean Malenko at WCW Hog Wild 1996, Benoit vs. JBL from an episode of SmackDown in 2006, Benoit vs. Jushin "Thunder" Liger from New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1990 (I wonder how they were able to air that?), Benoit vs. Chris Jericho from Royal Rumble 2001, and of course Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 20. Needless to say, this is the only Raw that can't be found on WWE Network (replaced by a studio show hosted by Todd Grisham featuring some of the best championship matches from 2007), but the first half is currently available on Vimeo and in parts on YouTube. The recent episode of Dark Side of the Ring on Benoit, which is must-see material, convinced me to watch this show and it's incredibly eerie in retrospect, to say the least.
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