The Benoit Family Tragedy - A Serious & Unbiased Explanation.
by, 11-03-2013 at 04:37 PM (3445 Views)
I want to begin by saying that this tragedy is, quite possibly, the most controversial and damaging event to ever occur in the wrestling industry.
You don't find many talking about what happened, and a lot of hatred still consumes those fans who either don't want to read up on the evidence, or they know the evidence, and still wish to direct their anger towards other fans whenever they mention it or Benoit in any form.
This is my second blog on the tragedy, as I feel that some facts were missed or were not known at the time of writing. I want to say that writing about this tragedy is difficult for me, but that nagging question of "Why?" always comes into my mind whenever something reminds me of Chris Benoit. I have to continue looking, despite knowing that it will never be fully explained, I can only do my best to fill in the gaps. I want to begin by shooting down certain rumours that are so ridiculous and farfetched that I will not go into too much detail about them. They are left out because there is not enough sufficient evidence, only speculation and no proof that the "source" exists.
Rumours to ignore
Kevin Sullivan involvement - Johnny Lee Clary, a former wrestler from the 80's, began this rumour, and is well known for causing controversy with his mouth. His accusations that Sullivan killed his ex-wife on the ten year anniversery of their divorce, and how Sullivan is a satanist, is absolutely propostorous and have zero merit and zero credible sources. They make little sense, and no evidence was ever brought forward from the investigation to warrant the possibility of somebody else entering the property. Anyone who believes this, probably believes that the tooth fairy is real, and heroin is good for you. I will not be mentioning this blasphemous rumour any further.
Sherri Martels death - Seven days before Nancy Benoit died, Sherri Martel, a really good friend of the Benoit family, died from an overdose prescription pain pills. There is nothing to say whether her death was deliberate or accidentel, or had anything to do with the Benoits whatsoever.
Dr. Astin - Following the tragedy, it was revealed that Dr Astin had been providing Benoit with Testosterone and other prescription pills. In 2009 he was sentenced to ten years for over-prescribing medications.It was noted that three of his patients died with his drugs in their system. These were Chris Benoit, ECW wrestler Johnny Grunge whose use of painkillers clashed with his sleep apnea, causing his death in 2006, and a third undisclosed name. The third could possibly have been Sherri Martel. This does not support any of the conspiracy theories, however, his over-prescribing could have been a contributing factor to what actually happened, although it has never been proven.
Chavo heard an intruder over the phone - There was a rumour going around that Chavo had told WWE magazine that during a conversation with Chris Benoit over the phone, he had heard a disruption.
"Chavo Guerrero â€“ a close friend of Benoit â€“ told WWE magazine that he talked to Chris for while on Friday night on his house phone. About 45 minutes into the conversation, Chris told him that there was somebody knocking at his door and he was going to see who it was. Shortly after Chris answered the door, there was a â€œscuffleâ€ and then his house phone line went dead. Chris could only be reached on his cell phone about 3 hours later. This is very significant. This explains why there was no forced entry. Chris let the killer or killers in."
There are no records of Chavo ever making this claim, and as many know, the WWE made it absolutely clear that nothing would be said about the matter after Vince McMahon announced it on television.
In July 2007, Chavo revealed on a talk show that he had been in contact with Chris Benoit on the Saturday, the day after Nancy is said to have been killed.
Chavo said that at about 3:30pm EDT, he got a voicemail from Chris saying he overslept and missed his flight for a live event in Beaumont, Texas. Chavo returned the call and said Benoit â€œsounded odd and he left with a forced â€˜I love youâ€™ Chavo.â€
Chavo called him a few minutes, and Chris told him he had been having a stressful day and that Nancy and Daniel had food poisoning. This was the last time they spoke. Benoit told another coworker the food poisoning story, and WWE officials that Nancy and Daniel were hospitalized because of it.
Chris Benoit missed the house show, and then Chavo and co workers received odd text messages from his and Nancys cell phones. Five text messages were sent, here are two of them:-
3:53 AM â€“ Chris Benoitâ€™s cell phone: â€œMy physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane, Fayeteville Georgia. 30215â€³
3:53 AM â€“ Chris Benoitâ€™s cell phone: â€œThe dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open.â€
WWE officials attempted to contact Benoit on a number of occasions, and contacted local hospitals in case he had taken his family there, to no avail.
At this point, Benoits co workers felt he was acting strangely, as Chris was one of the most reliable men in the company, and would never disappear off the radar with no prior warning. Chris Benoit was set to fight for the ECW Championship with CM Punk at the PPV on the Sunday night, but as he was unavailable, the match had to be rescheduled. Chris would have won the title if he had shown up.
The next day, at 4pm on Monday, severeal hours before Monday Night Raw, the WWE was informed by the Fayette County Sheriffâ€™s office, that they had found three bodies in the Benoit family household. It was soon confirmed that the bodies were those of the Benoit family, although details were not given.
Monday Night Raw saw the return of Vince McMahon, who had "died" in a prior storyline. Just like when Eddie Guerrero passed, the whole show was dedicated to former World Champion, Chris Benoit. Here is just one video of one of his closest friends, Chavo Guerrero, remembering Chris Benoit.
Some other co workers who made tribute videos include: Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, CM Punk, Dean Malenko, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, William Regal and Edge. You can see all of those on youtube.com
The WWE found out the details, and immediately cancelled the Chris Benoit tribute show in favour of a re-run of a previous episode. The episode began with a message from Vince McMahon, stating that due to evidence brought forward, that after his mention of Chris Benoit, there would be no further mention of his name on any broadcasts going forward. The Chris Benoit tribute show aired live before the details were found, which is why videos of the show are still shared over the internet.
The media went into a frenzy over steroid abuse once they got hold of the story. They even went as far as bringing wrestlers in for live interviews so they could badger them into admitting that steroids caused Chris Benoit to kill his family in a crazy rage. You can watch Kevin Nash get abused by a female reporter in the video below, as she was not happy with the responses that Mr Nash was bringing forward. The amount of times he was interrupted during the interview was shockingly disrespectful, and this was the extreme extent that the media went too, to blast the WWE and the use of steroids in wrestling.
Vince McMahon reacted, and revamped the wellness policy. Banning the use of chair shots to the front and back of the head, and other measures to ensure his company did not end up with a PR nightmare. He changed the product to PG, and cut a lot of the edgier content from shows.
Some news outlets went as far to speculate that Benoit had been giving steriods to his son Daniel due to his small size. It is difficult to pinpoint where that came from. It was also speculated that Daniel had a condition known as Fragile X syndrome, but this was recently denied by Nancy Benoit's sister in June 2013. After Nancy filed for divorce many years ago, she made a legal document that gave her sister the right to have custody of Daniel if anything ever happened to them. After the tragedy, Sandra, obtained Daniels medical records, and during an interview, explained that Daniel was perfectly healthy, had no syndromes, no marks on his arms, and that any information regarding that was 100% false.
The toxicology report of Chris Benoit revealed the only prescribed drugs he had in his body was testosterone, which had been prescribed to him due to him not being able to perform sexually, due to his age and sterioids he had taken in the past. It has been proven by doctors that roid rage does exist, but it is not so severe that it would cause someone to kill another person. If anything, the testosterone would help the state of mind, and make a man feel calmer and more collected compared to if a man had a lack of it.
As the murder-suicde was calculated, with bibles being placed, and a note being written, it rules out roid rage completely, as it was not done in a furious rage. There is a possibility that coming off steroids could lead to depression and anxiety, but is not completely proven.
Toxicology also found that Benoitâ€™s system contained a combination of Xanax, a powerful psychoactive anti-anxiety and depression drug, and Hydrocodone, an addictive semi-synthetic opioid derived painkiller, that bares relation to Heroin.
Side effects of Xanax include a loss on inhibitions, memory and concentration problems, drowsiness, and in some people aggression, rage, mania, suicidal thoughts and hallucinations. As weird as it sounds a very common effect of anti anxiety and depression medication is more anxiety and depression.
Side effects of Hydrocodone can also include changes in mood and anxiety.
Empty bottles suggested alcohol was also a factor, though we canâ€™t say for sure because it would have already left the bodies before toxicology was performed.
To conclude, there is a wide range of possible factors that played a role in determining Benoitâ€™s mental state, â€œroid rageâ€ is only one of them, and itâ€™s not even strongly supported by the evidence.
Michael Benoit was approached by former WWE wrestler Christopher Nowinski about Chris Benoit. Nowinski told him of his findings in the NFL of football players who died prematurely, and usually, under very extreme circumstances.
Michael Benoit agreed to let Nowinski and his organisation, the Sports Legacy Institude, to examine Chris Benoits brain. Nowinski had talked to Benoit while he was the WWE World Champion, and Benoit was interested with his findings, and Benoit told Nowinski he had suffered lots of concussions in his career.
Nowinski left wrestling because of concussions. He suffered badly with them, and he wasn't able to focus on simple tasks, and it took him a long time to recover. Concussions had been ignored in wrestling for decades, and a number of wrestlers worked through them, assuming that, if you had to take time off for it, you were not doing your duty as a wrestler. They were taken as seriously as a bruise to the arm, or a slight cut, something you could work through and it would be completely fine.
Science Daily reported in September, 2007, that results showed Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in all four main regions of Benoitâ€™s brain, which is caused by repeated head trauma:
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
According to the examinations, Mr. Benoitâ€™s brain exhibited large amounts of abnormal Tau protein, manifested as Neurofibrillary Tangles (NFTs) and Neuropil Threads [NTs]. These represent aggregates of abnormal Tau protein, which are remnants of the cytoskeleton of the brain cells and their connections. Frequent NFTs and NTs were distributed in all regions of the brain including the neocortex, the limbic cortex, subcortical ganglia and brainstem ganglia accompanied by loss of brain cells. Accumulation of abnormal Tau protein in the form of NFTs and NTs in the brain has been confirmed to cause neurodegeneration, cognitive impairment and dementia.
This expresses itself in memory problems, depression, aggression, erratic and abnormal behavior, and even suicide. Though CTE can only be fully diagnosed after the sufferer has passed away, these symptoms have been observed retroactively after diagnosing a number of deceased professional athletes. As well as Chris Benoit, Andrew â€œTestâ€ Martin who overdosed on prescription pills in 2009, also had CTE.
For anyone who wishes to see the documentary that outlines the research, while also includes interviews Michael Benoit, Bret Hart, Jake Roberts, and others, follow the link below and watch the documentary.
A Fight til the Death
In the last few months of Chris Benoits life, he began acting strangely. It began with the death of Eddie Guerrero, and his other really close friend, Johnny Grunge. He became paranoid, Nancys sister said in a recent interview how Chris would take 30 different ways to the airport so he would not be tracked, and keep his family safe.
MVP, Montel Vontavious Porter, travelled with Chris on the road, and regarded him as a close friend and mentor. He continues to wear Benoit shirts to this day, and always defends him when asked about the tragedy. He said this in an interview.
"What I want to express, it wasnâ€™t steroids. My friend lost his mind. He was insane. Sane people donâ€™t go home and kill their wife and kid. Thatâ€™s not something a sane person does. In the autopsy, they found that he has severe brain damage, severe. Iâ€™m not making excuses, Iâ€™m just saying that in this nation every day, people snap and kill 30 people at a college campus or go into a grocery store, and we donâ€™t say â€˜Hey, that guy was on steroidsâ€™. We say, â€˜This guy was mentally affected. There was some sort of mental lapse that took place that caused him to do that.â€™ And thatâ€™s what happened with my friend. So while WWE for PR purposes may want to erase his memory, in my heart he will always be very near and dear to me."
Why did it happen?
I am 100% certain if there was a definitive alibi for why Chris Benoit would kill his closest family that he loved so much, then proceeded to kill himself, then everyone would be 100% certain on how they feel about Chris Benoit.
The problem is ... there is no 100% answer, and there probably never will be. At the end of the day, it is all down to interpretation. There is plenty of evidence out there to state that many different variables all culminated together to create a very depressed, anxious, and unstable Chris Benoit.
You cannot say that Benoit was a cold blooded murderer unless you know for 100% fact that he had some sort of alibi. It is difficult to fathom his thought processes during that time. It is impossible to believe that he would do it on purpose, considering how much love his family, his co workers, and his fans had for him. He was a kind, quiet human being, who loved to wrestle, but loved his family more then that. He loved them so much that he continued to wrestle to provide, and him and Nancy were thinking of getting Chris out of the business and open up a wrestling school. A plan was drawn up and everything, but with Vince wanting Chris to become ECW Champion, it appeared that the plan was put on hold.
The amount of concussions, steriods, other medications, and the stress of friends dieing one after another, you can begin to paint a picture, and that picture is what would lead to the tragedy, and nobody was close enough to stop it from happening. His brain was damaged, his heart was three times the size it should be, and he was bound to die like Eddie Guerrero did within the year. His passion for wrestling over two decades led to this downfall, and also the grueling WWE schedule, meant he was never able to fully recover.
Wrestling fans remember Benoit in two different ways. Either as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, or as a murderer and coward.
Some fans would appreciate him going into the WWE Hall of Fame, because his accomplishments and contributions are deserving enough. However, it would be a complete PR nightmare for the WWE, as it would appear they are glorifying a murderer, which technically, they would be.
If Benoit would ever get the chance to be inducted, it would be done, not because of his career, but because of the changes that were forced to be made because of him. His downfall put the wrestling world on notice, and it is safe to say, the WWE take the health of their wrestlers, and concussions, very seriously nowadays. Ziggler recently had a concussion, and couldn't remember finishing his match, he was unable to compete after the WWE put him through some Impact tests to see whether he was capable of wrestling.
The legacy he will leave behind, is not one we should celebrate, because his matches were stiff. Being hit in the head with chairs full force, to the point that it actually hurts, is brutality that the Attitude era gave us, and it will never happen again because of Chris Benoit. Wrestling will continue to find ways to look after their performers, and it will save lives in the long run. It is not fair for the fans to expect brutality in the ring if it means certain wrestlers may not live past the age of 45. We would love to see brutal matches again, they were really entertaining and made the products look much more real, but the cost is far too high, and we should not be so selfish.
Chris Benoits legacy should be a tribute, to the ongoing progress of health in the wrestling world, because without it, the deaths of Nancy and Daniel would mean nothing. He should be used as a symbol, for Nancy and Daniels sake, and the Benoit family should not be forgotten completely.
For the sake of scientific integrity what we cannot do is use emotional cop-outs like â€œhe was evilâ€, and leave it at that. Likewise attributing hate and anger towards an irrational act like the Benoit tragedy is itself irrational. After all the fact that he did these horrific things should make it obvious that he was in a defective mental state.
It is sad that the fans who knew of Chris Benoit, will always act in this irrational way, they will always be that naive, but it is human nature to act and perceive things according to what that person can comprehend in their mind, so they cannot be blamed for judging him in that manner.
When you next think of Chris Benoit jumping full force into a steel chair, think about how many lives will be saved in the future, due to the extreme passion he had, and the extreme sacrifice that was inevitable because of it. Do it for Nancy and Daniel, don't get upset because somebody mentions Chris, or even if they appreciated his wrestling, just think of what you have read here today.
This is life, and sometimes, when the limits of life are being pushed, tragedies like this will occur, to remind us that we need to think more about the wellbeing of others, whether money, or a wrestling product, is involved or not.Attachment 4979