The Radicalz: Iconic WWF Stable Debuted 20 Years Ago


January 31, 2000 -- WWF Raw. WWF Tag Team Champions Road Dogg and Billy Gunn walk to ring to defend their titles against Al Snow & Steve Blackman. As Blackman and Snow were entering the ring, the camera goes to Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn, as Al Snow leaves the ring and shakes their hands. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are in the commentary booth, and JR states that it is "all over the internet that they thumbed their noses at their last employer," which was World Championship Wrestling. Lawler stated that the group of four have not signed any contracts yet, so "maybe they're here to get a birds-eye view of the competition."

JR followed by stating, "I'd say this is a pretty radical strategy on their part, wouldn't you think? It was radical enough that they walked out on their last employer because it was a lousy place to be, in their opinion, and showing up here unannounced is nothing short of radical either."

Al Snow jumps onto Road Dogg, and Road Dogg flips over onto the ex-WCW wrestlers. He gets back up, climbs back over the barrier, looks at the four, and swings a right on Benoit. This led to a gang attack from Benoit, Saturn, Malenko, and Guerrero. Saturn executed a T-Bone suplex on Billy Gunn, followed by a frog splash from Guerrero, followed by the tandem offense of Malenko suplexing Road Dogg and Benoit performing his diving headbutt. JR concluded, "Those four radical young men are walking up the ramp!"

Backstage, Mick Foley discussed with each of the four that what they did was how you make an immediate statement.


The Radicalz Turn Their Backs on Cactus Jack

It certainly was a radical move for each superstar to leave WCW, especially Chris Benoit, who relinquished the World Heavyweight Championship to work for Vince McMahon. Prior to their jump, Benoit, Saturn, and Malenko were part of The Revolution WCW stable with former ECW World Champion Shane Douglas. However, this faction ended up breaking away from Benoit, who was starting to become a top babyface of the company. The following episode of SmackDown, WWE Champion Triple H competed against Chris Benoit in a non-title match. The stipulation was that if The Radicalz defeated D-Generation X members in two out of three matches, they would get contracts.

Dean Malenko lost to X-Pac, and Guerrero & Saturn lost to the New Age Outlaws. Guerrero also suffered a dislocated elbow in that match.

The following Raw, in Dallas, Texas, the show opened up with X-Pac walking to the ring. The Radicalz walk out, which led X-Pac (and Tori) to leave the ring. Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko expressed that the group were not good enough to get a contract. Eddie Guerrero thanked the fans for their support, and Chris Benoit called Cactus Jack out to thank them for an opportunity.


Cactus Jack walks out and consoles them, before Triple H and Stephanie McMahon interrupt them by coming out. Triple H challenged Cactus Jack to one last match for the WWF Championship at No Way Out. Foley chose Hell in a Cell, and the main event was set. Triple H accepted, but with the stipulation that Foley would have to retire if he won. Foley countered by stating that he has done it all, but had never main-evented WrestleMania. He stated that if he defeated Triple H, he takes on the winner of co-Royal Rumble winners The Big Show vs. The Rock (who would compete against each other at No Way Out to determine the #1 contender) in the main event of the WrestleMania.

Triple H accepted and walked to the ring. When it seemed as if Cactus Jack and The Radicalz were going to outnumber Triple H and X-Pac, The Radicalz jumped Foley, and Triple H revealed that the faction was going to get a contract. The main event of the evening was Triple H, X-Pac, and The Radicalz against Mick Foley and partners of his choosing. The Rock put his name in the hat, temporarily reuniting the Rock n' Sock Connection. As they were coming to the ring outnumbered, Too Cool & Rikishi joined them to even the odds. Unfortunately, the babyfaces lost the match, and were even more outnumbered after the match when the New Age Outlaws came out. However, Paul Bearer returned with Kane, and he cleared the ring of the heels.

The Radicalz Split as a Faction

At No Way Out, Rikishi & Too Cool were able to defeat Benoit, Saturn, and Malenko. At WrestleMania, Chyna & Too Cool defeated Guerrero, Saturn, and Malenko, but Benoit was able capture the Intercontinental Championship. On the Raw after WrestleMania 2000, Guerrero defeated Chris Jericho to win the European Championship. Saturn defeated Crash Holly on the SmackDown a week after WrestleMania 2000 to win the Hardcore title. However, he lost it just moments later to Tazz, who lost it seconds later to Crash. Also, around this this time, Eddie Guerrero started to be infatuated with Chyna, and she began to accompany him to the ring.


Chyna's involvement with Guerrero is what JR speculated to cause the rift between The Radicalz, as they competed against each other for Guerrero's European Championship. The faction continued to split, as Terri Runnels aligned with Saturn. Saturn was able to get the upperhand on Guerrero, defeating him for the European Championship at Fully Loaded. At the same pay-per-view, in the main event, Chris Benoit was unable to defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship. By the summer of 2000, Benoit continued to branch off on his own in the upper-midcard and main event scene, as Guerrero and Saturn were among the top midcard talent, thus officially ending the faction.

While Malenko and Saturn experienced midcard success during their WWE tenure, Guerrero and Benoit both end up becoming world champions. At No Way Out 2004, Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar to win the Undisputed WWE Championship. At WrestleMania XX, just a month later, Chris Benoit defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

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