The Chris Benoit Tragedy- A Rick Starr Blog Splash
by, 03-03-2011 at 04:08 PM (4116 Views)
It's been over three years since Chris Benoit Murdered his wife and son, and then took his own life. Now many feel that this is a touchy subject, but this blog does not just do the nice and easy blogs..it does the hard ones too. I was a huge fan of Chris Benoit for many years, and I still have a WCW 4-Horsemen T-Shirt which I still wear. In my opinion one of the greatest moments in WWE history was when Benoit won the WWE title in WrestleManaia 20. However I was mortified when I learned Benoit had done to himself, and more so to his wife and son. Every time I put on that T-Shirt, every time I hear his name I always ask myself: Do I choose to remember the man that gave me so much memories in the ring? Or do I despise the man behind the curtain, that not even his closest friends apparently did not even know?
I watched several videos on Youtube.com surrounding Benoit's death. Several wrestlers from the present and the past spoke about the tragedy. From top current like Chris Jericho and John Cena, to Hall of Fame-rs like Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart. While several only knew him on a professional level only, many had known him personally for decades, but all were in agreement on one thing: Chris Benoit was the last person in the world they would ever have suspected to do something like this. They also agreed that Benoit was a quiet person, who didn't complain about any personal problems. Bret Hart knew him since he trained in “The Dungeon”, and called Benoit a “shut in case” who always “kept his private matters private”.
The Benoit Tragedy was clouded in controversy. Brain damage, steroids, and marital problems were the top three issues. Here I will cover all three, and see which one I believe is the reason this terrible tragedy occurred. Finally, I will talk about the WWE's “blackout” of Chris Benoit, and if I think that's appropriate.
The following info and a lot more on the Chris Benoit Tragedy can be found at
The Steroid “Roid Rage” Theory
Benoit had purchased both steroids and human growth hormones over the internet from two different companies. WWE attorney stated on Larry King Live, that Chris Benoit received frequent drug test, and was clean of steroids up to a week before his death. Elevated levels of testosterone cypionate were found in his urine, and no artificial steroids were found in his body.
Also the chain of events that occurred over that fateful weekend, did not show any sign of “rage”. It was a span of two days to kill his wife and then his son. In between he called WWE superstar Chavo Guerrero, and told him he was going to be late, because he overslept. Guerrero was concerned about Benoit's “tone and demeanor", but that was the last time he would ever hear from Benoit again. Benoit made one other call to change flight plans. Lastly he put one bible each by his wife and son before taking his own life.
Benoit snapped, no doubt about it. I doubt “roid rage” had anything to do with this. Was the initial act out of rage or anger? Absolutely, but I think after that first act in his mind, there was no turning back.
Chris Benoit's family is trying to make sense of this senseless act. Julian Bailes of the Sports Legacy Institute, showed that Benoit's brain was severely damaged, and resembled that of an 85 year Alzheimer patient. Bailes and his research team say that the damage to Benoit's brain is from years of head concussions, while wrestling. Bales and his team suggest that repeated trauma can cause dementia, which causes severe behavior problems problems. Bailes stated: "There is a constant theme in the failure of their personal lives, their business lives, depression and then ultimately suicide."
As I said before, all of Benoit's peer's, and closest friends had stated that they never would have expected this from Benoit. Chris Jericho, a long time friend of Benoit stated that if you put Chris in a line with a bunch of other guys, he would be the last one you you would pick. He also said that he knew if he was ever in a clinch where he needed someone to watch his kids, again he could depend on Benoit.
I watched Chris Benoit's last televised match on WWE's ECW on Tuesday Nights. He was fighting Elijah Burke (Now known as The Pope in TNA) in the ECW Championship semi-finals to go onto Vengeance:Night of Champions. I watched that match several times from beginning to end several times, and he was the Chris Benoit in the ring that I have always loved. He won that match, the ECW Title was in his grasp. I do not doubt Julian Bales findings. However Benoit was obviously able to keep things together on a professional level, so I doubt it was brain damage. You just don't walk in do work with a smile on your face, everything fine, then go home and commit a double homicide, and suicide, even with the brain damage. You would be all over the place everywhere, at home, AND at work.
The family argued over their son's alleged Fragile Syndrome X. When his son Daniel's body was brought in, they discovered needle marks in his arm.. It is believed that someone in the family was giving him the growth hormones. However, they were unable to test for the drug, as there was no urine in his body. While everyone has assumed it is Chris Benoit that was allegedly giving his child the drugs, it is to this date not proven as to who might have administered the drugs. However with Benoit ordering the drugs, and with the double murder/suicide no one is looking further than Chris Benoit.
In 2003 Benoit's wife filed for divorce and sought protection for domestic abuse. Details of the abuse are sketchy, there was some reports that Benoit was verbally abusive, and he would also tend to break furniture. The restraining order was eventually dropped, and things were quiet for four years.
Fayette County Sheriff's Office released papers that Nancy was considering leaving Chris Benoit in late June of 2007. Apparently she suspected Benoit of having an affair with one of the WWE divas. Pamela Hildebrand Clark, a close friend of Nancy Benoit testified in an affidavit: "She told me to promise her that if anything ever happened to her, make sure that Chris was investigated. She said she had a bad feeling that something was going to happen, and she just couldn't shake it."
There was obviously major problems within the marriage. Out of the three theories, this is the only one that comes close to making any sense of the madness. A Father wants to say it's Brain Damage and blame the WWE for all the head trauma. The media immediately pointed to “roid rage” as its always a hot topic in sports. And the WWE quickly erased almost every memory of Chris Benoit in the WWE.
WWE Blackout of Chris Benoit
Out of all the issues surrounding this terrible tragedy, this issue is one of the biggest debates amongst all wrestling fans alike. Many believe that despite his actions outside the ring, he should be honored and remembered for what he did inside the ring. Some would even go as far as to say he should be entered in the WWE Hall of Fame. I have to admit for a long time, I was one of those people who just wanted to forget what Benoit did with the petty excuses of brain damage, and just remember him as the “Rabid Wolverine” in the ring that I loved. But as I took this journey and looked deeper into this case, I saw the other side of Chris Benoit I didn't want to see.
After I covered the info for this blog, I went back to watch some of Chris Benoit's greatest matches in WCW and the WWE. I wanted to know if I could watch those matches with fond memories. To my surprise I found that I could, but once the matches were over, I reverted back to remembering what he done. So Do I think Benoit should be entered in the Hall of Fame? No, what he did is inexcusable, and he doesn't deserved to be honored for that. Do I think the WWE should have done a “blackout” like the way they have. No, I think by doing that, they only caused more controversy, and it's the fans choice to choose weather they want to remember him for what he did or not.
But it's not like Benoit's matches are hard to find. As I said I watched several hours of his best and rarest matches. I even watched the classic “Best of 7 Series” against Booker T in WCW for the TV Title. Benoit Definitely could have been a Hall of Famer. On a performance level, I put him right up there with the likes of Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Micheals, and The Undertaker. Even on his last match, Taz called Chris Benoit “A Future Hall of Famer”. I just wish that Benoit and his family got the help they needed so we could see him get get it.
-Rick Starr www.thewrestlegamershow.com