It was a hot Monday afternoon, I was getting ready to go to work. At that time I worked the 3pm-11pm shift supervising a call center for an HR consulting firm. During this regular routine, I don’t pay too much attention to whats on television as my only focus is heading out the door and getting to my desk. When i got to my desk, a buddy of mine, Antonio, whom I have shared some WARS with in terms of discussing pro wrestling is headed in my direction. I can tell by the look in his face that he had something to tell me. And that’s when he broke the news,
Antonio: “Dude, did you hear what happened?”
Me: “No, whats up?”
Antonio: “Chris Benoit is dead”
Me: *blank stare*
I’ll never forget the sadness that came over me as one of my all time favorite and most respected guys in the business is now done.
Antonio: I don’t know, but they found him and his family in the house, murdered.
If I didn’t think that my heart could drop anymore, it succeeded in doing so. His FAMILY? Nancy? His sons? WHAT?!?! Nancy Benoit, known to the wrestling world as “Woman”? His sons, whom the wrestling audience was very familiar with as we would see them at event with Chris! Who on earth would rob not only the world, but also their collective families and friends of some of the best people you could ever know? What kind of monster could commit such as tragedy?
Little did I know, that that monster was the man that I had a fond respect for.
The next day after the Monday Night Raw that was dedicates to Chris Benoit, the news broke additional information about the story, BENOIT WAS THE KILLER!
(***Queue Car Break Noise, along with Car Crash***)
Chris Benoit, maybe the Lebron James of professional wrestling, took the lives of his wife, his son Daniel and himself.
As a wrestling fan, we are very prone to seeing our in ring heroes taken from us. The business of pro wrestling is very unforgiving as these men take a massive amount of punishment on their bodies just to entertain the fans that have devoted their time to them. Say what you will about pro wrestling, but wrestling have, do and always will get the short end of the stick, but what they are GENUINE when it comes to the love they have for their fans. But even with deaths unforgiving hand taking our heroes from us, Benoit’s murder/homicide was just too much to wrap our heads around. Even though I don’t condone it, I get why wrestlers have to resort to heavy amounts of pain medication. If they don’t perform, they don’t get paid and they have families to take care of. Going into matches every night will take a toll on the body and in order to get through the struggle, you have to cheat. Doing too much of this is a a high risk of death. But what drove Chris to this breaking point where murdering his family and himself was the right answer? What was it that made Chris justify these actions as being something that was ok? I understand that these questions will never be answered, but if 5 years later, I’m still asking “WHY”, then there still is an existing problem on our hands that has yet to be fixed! And I’m sure that there are other wrestling fans that can attest to these feeling that I have.
I give kudos to the WWE for recreating their company to have a better image and to put into place of resources and procedures so something like this can never happen again. But was it all just medical? Or what it just a natural psychological in-blanace that Chris had, making this an isolated incident? Once again, I don’t know, because it has not been fully addressed. All I know is that there is a possible chance that the business of pro wrestling may’ve brought this tragic situation to us, leaving 3 dead and millions hurt.
There is a pending question that still remains, should WWE eventually start to recognize Chris Benoit. Aside from the events of his murder/homicide, what he did in the ring was unparalleled. Benoit showed us moves in the ring that we could never even begin to fathom and had classic matches with some of the best of all time in the business. Chris was a genius in the ring. When his music hit, you knew you were about to witness a clinic. However, all of that has been voided. The moment he made the conscience decision to take away the lives of his wife and his son, thus granting eternal heartbreak and struggle to their family, friends and fans, was the moment where every match of his no longer existed. Today, we are dealing with the aftermath of the Joe Paterno issues that surround Penn State, and Penn State’s victories under Paterno being taken away. When someone says that taking those victories away from the school, and the 60 million dollar fine is too harsh, I want you to ask if those families and friends of the boys that were involved in the sexual assault, if it is too much. I still own Chris Benoits DVD “HardKnocks”, but I haven’t put it in a DVD player since pre June 24th 2007 and its a high chance that this 5 year streak of not watching will continue. I feel it is only best to block our minds of Benoit completely, but not to forget the men and women who put themselves in the ring, night in and night out for all of us as fans, but most of all, for them to take care of the ones that they love the most…their family.
Maurice D. Proffit is a writer for Rant Sports