Curtain Jerker 2/4/13: Lewis and Benoit

33 Submitted by on Mon, 04 February 2013, 08:00

benoit

 

Among other thoughts of mine, while watching Super Bowl XLVII, I couldn’t help but think about the sheer number of times the cameras panned to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis….while he was on the sidelines.

The NFL, much like WWE, tries to “tell stories” to supplement the action, as a way of using human-interest drek to reach people not necessarily into sports. In Lewis’ final NFL game, the primary pathos hook revolved around whether or not Lewis would ride off into the sunset victorious.

You’ve noticed the visage of Chris Benoit at the start of this article, and unless you know a little bit about American football, you may be confused as to its relevance. I’ll quickly elaborate.

In January 2000, two men, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, were brutally stabbed to death in Atlanta. The investigation figured upon Lewis, whose clothes that night were never found and was ultimately charged with both murders, agreed to plead guilty for obstructing the investigation in exchange for testimony against his two friends.

Those two friends were found not guilty, and Lewis merely received probation and a hefty fine from the NFL. Lewis also reached financial settlements with both families of undisclosed amounts, despite his alleged innocence.

I’m not saying he’s a murderer, but……

And this brings me back to Benoit. Not only has the NFL been quick to promote Lewis for his fierce presence and playing acumen, but he’s been one of the faces of the league for the better part of the last decade and a half, particularly among defensive players. Advertisers, such as EA Sports for one, have had no problem promoting him, despite that cloud of doubt that hangs over him.

In five years, Lewis will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, unless the selectors feel his inclusion hurts the integrity of the Hall. For what it’s worth, OJ Simpson was long inducted before his fall into infamy. But otherwise, Lewis is a lock for 2018.

WWE has publicly said that promoting Benoit would be wrong, despite there being ample evidence that his mental faculties were compromised by years of ring-related trauma. While I don’t wish to rehash that whole sad ordeal, these two cases side by side create some worthwhile discussion.

While the NFL is certainly mightier and more respected in the public eye, doesn’t it say something that they’ll promote Lewis with such zeal, whereas WWE will go to great lengths to remove Benoit from any kind of perspective?

It speaks louder that the league will invoke OJ’s name whenever a running back approaches the 2000-yard milestone in a season. I heard The Juice’s name plenty of times in 2012 when Adrian Peterson was running down that mark, as Simpson was the first player to reach 2000 yards, doing so in 1973.

And it’s not as if WWE is immune to openly associating with capital offenders. One of the inductees to the Hall of Fame a year ago was a man who served 3 years for rape, one Iron Mike Tyson. Of course, Tyson’s more portrayed as a silly soundbyte machine than a crazed criminal these days, but that’s all a matter of portrayal and public sentiment. If the people are willing to accept goofy Tyson, as opposed to rapist Tyson, then WWE is willing to play along.

My question to you is twofold:

1) If WWE, tomorrow, portrayed Chris Benoit in any way, would your reaction be more toward the negative, or just surprise?

2) Would a company that has survived calamity before have anything to lose right now if Benoit were to be acknowledged, mentioned freely, or even inducted into the Hall of Fame?

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Justin Henry is WrestleCrap's inquiring newsman, thirsting for knowledge always. He enjoys the art of satire, as you'll find in many of his works here at WrestleCrap. Drop him a line on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/jrhwriting)
33 Responses to "Curtain Jerker 2/4/13: Lewis and Benoit"
  1. Superstarl says:

    I know I’m probably in the minority of the IWC, but I don’t think Benoit belongs in the Hall of Fame. I know he was a great wrestler, but I’ve always been of the mindset that HoF inductions are for heroes of the sport. The ones you always want to look back on and brag about. When your inductee also has a bad rep as a rapist, murderer, etc., then I feel like you may want to skip the induction and find someone more worthy of remembering to future generations. You induct a man, not just his body of work.

  2. BigDaddyDave says:

    Amen to everything you just said. It’s a double standard that WWE has such a hands off policy when it comes to Benoit, but promotes murderers like Jimmy Snuka and Scott Hall, armed robbers like MVP and Booker T, and rapists like Mike Tyson, Jerry Lawler, and Vince McMahon himself. It even inducted the Von Erichs, a family of wrestlers who, besides Kevin and Fritz, all had numerous drug and suicide related deaths.

    • I'm not using my real name says:

      McMahon and Snuka were never charged with anything, Hall and Lawler had their cases dropped (Hall lack of evidence, Lawler the accuser admitted to making stuff up). Booker T and MVP both served time before going to WWE, they did their sentence, why shouldn’t they get a second chance? The Von Erichs? Seriously? Yes they had drug issues, yes too many memebers of that family sadly ended their own lives. But what the hell did they do to anyone for you to lump them in this group? Benoit’s big crime wasn’t that he killed himself.

      Despite what you may think really happened, OJ was found not guilty. Ray Lewis was never found guilty of murder.

      You don’t erase someone from the record book because they were accused of a crime. Aside from Booker and MVP who were found guilty, any of these people could be innocent, why should they lose their jobs or be erased from history?

      Had Benoit not killed himself, maybe he would’ve been found not guilty. Who knows? His brain was so damaged maybe he could’ve used an isanity defense. But he’s gone and the fact is, he did it.

      I was as big of a Benoit fan as anyone, but he did it. I think people don’t want to really think about what he did, so they focus on WWE and the fact WWE wants nothing to do with the memory of him. The man killed his wife. The man murdered his own 7 year old child. He murdered his own child. Think about that. Nothing about him should be celebrated, ever. WWE is right to ignore his history. It’s an entertainment show, they rewrite history all the time to make things look better. Why wouldn’t they choose to downplay Benoit as much as possible? I can’t watch a match of his the way I used to, I don’t know how anyone else can knowing what we all know.

      Now to answer your questions:

      1) I would be very surprised if they discussed Benoit on WWE TV. I’d think it was dumb to do because they stand absolutely nothing to gain from doing so.

      2) I’m sure there would be some backlash if they did openly talk about him but honestly, none of us would stop watching. As for the Hall of Fame, who cares? The WWE Hall of Fame is a nice idea but it’s to promote Wrestlemania and sell DVDs. Ever notice the link between who gets in and what DVDs go on sale? Foley’s new DVD is on sale April 16. Seriously, what kind of Hall of Fame doesn’t even have a building? There’s no hall.

      • Autrach Sejanoz says:

        *gives you a standing ovation*

        That is the most intelligent response that could have been given. I take my hat off to you.

        • 80sGuy says:

          I second this reply. That was spot on, even though I do think that the NFL does let certain people slide, even if found guilty, or common sense would dictate ones who were not should have.

          I think they need to hold themselves to a higher standard. I don’t follow it like I did for a short time as a kid, but f**k the people like OJ, Lewis, Michael Vick, etc.

    • Greg says:

      Hall killed that man in self defense. That’s not murder. No charges were ever filed against Snuka, so in the eyes of the law, he’s innocent. Just because someone may be connected to a crime doesn’t make them guilty, and if a court of law doesn’t prove them guilty, then they are innocent. I’m not defending their actions (except Hall’s, he was in his rights to shoot that guy), but we as a society all too often instantly condemn anyone who was even vaguely connected with a crime.

      What Benoit did was horrible, but at least we now possibly understand WHY he did it. It’s hard to hold something over a man when his mental facilities at the time were skewed. The autopsy revealed that his brain was like mush, and if you asked any of his friends, they said that his family was THE most important thing in his life, and he especially loved his son. Hard to see a guy just snapping and doing that without there being a reason behind it.

      But, what about guys like Fifita? How many men has he seriously maimed? 2 at least, but he’s just a “tough guy” and respected and all that other bullshit. That guy should have been locked in a cell and left to rot (or even better, lock him in a cage with Fedor Emelianenko or Butterbean and see just how tough he really is when the guy you’re fighting can hit back just as hard as you), but you never hear any bad words about him.

      Anyway, for the answers to the questions.

      1. Surprise more than anything, seeing as how the WWE has tried to erase him from existance.

      2. I personally think he should be inducted. What happened with him was a sad, terrible reminder of the price these guys pay to entertain us. Benoit ALWAYS gave it his all in the ring, and unfortunately, that eventually caught up to him. Does it forgive what he did? No, but it’s certainly a mitigating circumstance.

  3. Dylan Fionda says:

    I understand the dilemma with Benoit but i was a big fan of Benoit, so i personally wish they didn’t erased him from history. Murder is a big deal that should not be ignored but it just makes me sad that one of my favorite wrestlers has a sad demise, so surprised and happy if he was inducted

  4. Peter Santellan says:

    A buddy of mine was a big Chris Benoit fan before the double murder/suicide, and at that point, his opinion changed. I cannot speak for him, but while I don’t think he should be in the Hall of Fame (he didn’t have enough sustained success for me to say he should), there shouldn’t be a whitewash of history with anything involving him, either.

  5. JR says:

    Clearly Justin is a Benoit apologist, and Benoit apologists are the worse types of fans. These are the same types that worship the ground Paul Heyman walks and who create an ‘online image’ of themselves that coincides with various message boards to fit in (look no further then wrestlecrap’s own forum for an example of this).

    If the WWE promoted or endorsed Chris Benoit in anyway, the backlash against their company in the backlash against their company would be even more harmful than when he committed his acts. Hell, the WWE catches enough flack for showing footage of Owen Hart. It’s not WORTH IT to them to try and portray Benoit in any type of light.

    Not to mention this fact: Unlike Snuka, Hall, Simpson, Lewis, and the others Justin mentioned to try and justify the WWE promoting of Benoit again… Benoit didn’t have the nerve to live with his actions or face the consequences. Who would want to promote a coward like that just to appease some apologists?

    • Justin Henry says:

      “Clearly” I worship the ground Heyman walks on, because I offered a take on WWE’s whitewashing of someone?

      So, this “online image” I’ve created for myself, tell me something: is mine a gutsier one, since I’m willing to use my real name, whereas you hide behind a set of initials? :-)

      • IWPC Podcast Guy says:

        Wait, whats wrong with being a Heyman Guy?

        I’ve loved Heyman since 1985.

        • John Rike says:

          The most common individual who wants Chris Benoit honored and praised are the same ones that think Paul Heyman is a genius. The one and the same nature of that cannot be understated because if someone is an internet favorite, they get carte blanche.,

          • Justin Henry says:

            I think you’re generalizing a bit. I made a case to be debating. “You’re all one in the same because I like to label people” isn’t debate. If it angers you that Benoit is held to any esteem, then fine, you’re entitled to that feelings. But truthfully, as much as I like ECW, I know Heyman to be opportunistic, dishonest scum. Entertaining, yes, but I wouldn’t trust him.

            There. Proved your theory wrong.

      • John Rike says:

        There I put my name, happy now?

    • Greg says:

      Please take your trolling bullshit elsewhere. 4chan is a good place. We don’t need it here on WC.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      Speaking of Owen Hart, do you have any more “Owen Hart falling to his death jokes”, JR?

  6. Bill Richy says:

    I’m fine with them not promoting Benoit, not mentioning him on television, and keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. I can totally understand their thinking in that regard. But I don’t agree with their decision to simply pretend he never existed.

    I recently found a used copy of the Hard Knocks DVD in the clearance bin at my local FYE and I snatched it up without hesitation because, thanks to their current mindset, there is an excellent chance that WWE will never allow those matches to be seen again. Over the years, Chris Benoit had amazing matches with the likes of Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, The Rock, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Edge – and that’s just his WWE career. As something of a completist, it bothers me that those matches are locked away in a vault somewhere, never to be seen again. I’m not suggesting they put out another Benoit DVD set, but it seems wrong that if they wanted to put together a Kurt Angle DVD, or a Jericho DVD, or another Eddie DVD, or even another Best of Smackdown set, those matches are immediately off the table. In the long run, completely erasing Benoit’s matches from existence may do more harm than good, since it also diminishes the legacies of all the men he had those matches with.

    Of course, the minute they do decide to allow Benoit matches to appear on DVD releases, they’ll be lambasted by the mainstream media for glorifying a murderer, but that’s neither here nor there…

  7. Charles Belles says:

    I would be surprised if benoit was mention on television, but I always felt he deserved to be in the hall of fame because the he only attacked his family after sustaining brain damage after all his time in the ring and even people who don’t like him have to admit he was one of the best pure wrestlers and not entertainers of all time. You could look at any of his matches with kurt angles and you would be bound to get a 4 or even 5 star match every time. He derserves to go in the Hall of fame for being one of the best to ever lace up a pair of boots and for giving it his all every time.

  8. James says:

    I agree with the point that was made about Benoit, that while he shouldnt be in the hall of fame, there definetly shouldnt be a whitewashing of him like he never existed. Also as far as the murder rap for Oj and Ray Lewis go, Oj was found not guilty, and Ray Lewis was never convicted of Murder. Chris Benoit was the only one who committed those crimes, plain and simple. No one should apoligize for him because his mental state was not an excuse for what he did. If the WWE promoted him, they are also promoting what could potentially be seen as being pro-head injuries, and they sure as hell wouldnt want that now! This event was tragic and an innocent woman and child died as a result. The point was also made that they would also be promoting a coward since he killed himself so he would have to be held accountable. Chris Benoit is now a tainted, and like OJ, the crimes that he committed, (and in the case of OJ alledged to have committed), are now his legacy, not wrestling.

  9. Brian E says:

    A great read, JH. You laid it all out there and presented an informative and proficiently sound piece. Other times I see Benoit mentioned online, it’s one of two things; either it’s “that damn coward, he’s garbage” or “he did a bad thing, but he was still a great wrestler”, with NO room for debate or analysis.

    My answers to the questions:
    1) I would be surprised if the WWE started portraying Benoit again, especially after years of seemingly erasing him from history. Comparing to Ray Lewis again, Benoit committed his acts after having spent years in wrestling, winning several championships and putting on some of the best matches ever. Ray Lewis was involved in his controversy near the beginning of his NFL career, and despite doubts of his innocence, he has been able to cast the negativity aside and become one of the best linebackers to play the game. The point is, the timing and circumstances regarding these cases are different, and they have yielded different opinions about these men. It’s something that is neither easily definable nor easily agreeable with.

    2) Over the years, WWE has done plenty of things to tarnish the image it sends, and while this would definitely be a big one to deal with in terms of public response, I’d say do it. People will mostly see the murder-suicide and make their judgment right then and there, but they’d have to read the history books (or Wikipedia, etc.) to see that Benoit was not always a messed-up killer. When he was (seemingly) sane, he was a great guy. No controversy, no insanity…just all wrestler. But that’s just one guy’s opinion; to each their own.

  10. 6rick6 says:

    Benoit murdered his Wife and Son. You can’t really compare anything to that.

  11. RealDoubleJ says:

    I find it interesting that a lot of people are happy to believe these 2 NFL superstars are innocent. They could afford high priced defence attorneys and/or used their celebrity status on the jury in a public trial and within their industry they are vilified by their peers…but they’re still capable of doing one thing. Making money.

    That’s the difference to me. Benoit’s legacy is not financially viable. Their is a large contingent of his fans who won’t forgive him & their is an equally vocal minority who understand that he was not in the right frame of mind to correctly perceive his actions but would never give money to the company who did nothing at the time to protect the man’s physical state nor properly addressed his mental state when it was well known backstage that he was falling apart since the death of his close friend km Eddie Guerrero.

    They could never make a DVD for mass sales. To induct him or acknowledge him will only remind the audience of the company’s failure at the time to safely protect their ‘superstars’ & remind us of a true tragedy.

    I loved Benoit. I loved his work & I felt privileged every time I saw him live, twice for WCW at Birmingham’s NEC & once for WWF Insurrextion PPV at London’s earl court. I personally find it hard to enjoy his matches as a fan & I think that’s true for many fans. However, his legacy will live on in a positive way. Wrestlers will never forget him. His matches are ones to study for anyone who wants to be part of the craft & his story is a cautionary tale to not to give it your all at the sacrifice of your own body. His legacy in WWE is the company finally protecting their talent. It took Eddie to make health tests a necessity and it took Benoit to remove unwarranted violent spots.

  12. Matt says:

    I’ve always thought about this. Do I think Benoit deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? No, not even in the slightest. For what he did to his family, he deserves no accolades, nor to have his name enshrined somewhere for positive achievement. It would be a slap in the face of anyone who personally suffered due to this tragedy.

    Should we completely erase him from time as if he never existed? No. I am a firm believe that those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. We don’t need to act as if Benoit was a plague, and try and eradicate him from history. He did a lot for the Wrestling business in general, and what he did in the ring significant. But, then you are celebrating his life, and we’re right back to the point I made about the Hall of Fame.

    Honestly, I don’t mind his name showing up on programming, or even having a passing mention from commentators occasionally. I wouldn’t mind a few highlight packages being shown on a Superstar’s DVD (example: Chris Jericho’s “Break the Code” DVD completely omitted his early feuds with Benoit, and his teaming up with Benoit early in his WWE career, and they tore the house down and was a significant portion of Jericho’s career. I don’t have a problem with it being brought up in terms of someone else’s career.). However, with all that said, I don’t think he should be celebrated at all for his heinous crime.

    It’s a hard subject to try and put into words. On one hand, what he did was reprehensible and he should not be celebrated. On the other hand, those who forget history, or try and remove it from the annals of time, are doomed to repeat it, so it should be noted in some fashion… but the major question is how much, and in what context?

  13. El Rob says:

    WWE didn’t entirely erase Benoit from history. There are rare occurrences when he is part of a DVD collection. Watching the Satan’s Prison: Elimination Chamber anthology DVD, I was very surprised that the chamber match with Benoit was included, the commentary was unedited, and he was allowed to be shown on there. It’s the little things like this, that show while they will never promote him again, if he is integral to a history of wrestling, they may silently include him. Doing so, they can easily justify their position, by saying something along the lines of “well, we didn’t promote Benoit’s involvement, we just wanted a complete history and knew fans would be upset if we omitted matches. it doesn’t justify his actions, we do not wish to promote Benoit, but we do want to give our fans the most for their money.”

    I’ll go a step further. I trained to be a professional wrestler because of Chris Benoit. We’re about the same height, and I was so excited when he had won the World Title in both WCW and WWE. It was then that I knew it wasn’t always a land of giants in wrestling; however, his murders and suicide really struck a personal chord with me. That was my idol, my professional hero, the worker I wanted to emulate, because he was so proficient as a wrestler. I left the business about a year after the murders, I just couldn’t handle the emotional stress after seeing the downfall of my hero. It wasn’t just another indy worker taking a hiatus, though; Benoit’s death was also the death of working “stiff” or “snug.” Some people just call it “Texas wrasslin’” style, like in the World Class documentary. That style died with Benoit. It’s lead to softer matches, safer stories, and basically WWE being afraid to trust anyone else at the top for fear of anyone rocking the boat.

    Ray Lewis can be promoted because he was accused but acquitted. Benoit can not be promoted because the evidence was all there, and we all knew what happened. While I agree, promoting Lewis is lacking taste, especially when so many in the media frown upon anything a wrestler does, it’s football. There are no more churches in America, only football stadiums. People would gladly let football players go on mass murder sprees, rape everyone in America, and literally take shits on the referees, just as long as they have their Sunday football. You don’t mess with football, it is on a ridiculously high pedestal in this ludicrously retarded country.

    Bottom line, Benoit will scantly be featured, only if absolutely necessary. You won’t see the NFL stop running highlights in 5 years of Junior Seau even though he killed himself, or Plaxico Burress who shot himself like an idiot, but it’s football. It is the Golden God of American Culture. Wrestling, we’re on the wayside, everything we do is criticized so harshly, that we can’t afford a mistake like openly embracing the body of work of Chris Benoit. It’s a situation of take what you get and don’t ask for more.

  14. Scrooge McSuck says:

    1. I would be incredibly surprised if they ever mention him again. I’m not going to go on a diatribe about Benoit, because it will likely lead to argument. I still can enjoy watching Benoit matches, even though I will occasionally cringe when he does a german suplex too rough, or any big spot like a top rope headbutt. It took me 5 YEARS to get over that hump, so I will say what happened still really bothers me, and just wish we knew something other than mystery and that his brain was completely fried. I would like, just once, for his name to be mentioned, just to acknowledge he did exist. Don’t praise him or cheer for him, just say “Chris Benoit” when his name is relevant to a subject like being the only men to win the Royal Rumble as #1 entrants.

    2. No, maybe. They’re not privately owned, so they have to answer to share holders and such, but come on… THEY WERE ALLOWED ON THE AIR after Triple H acted out raping a corpse dressed like Kane. However, I don’t think a HoF induction would ever happen. 0% chance. It’s too hard of an issue to compromise.

  15. Peter says:

    I think where you are coming from, you are looking more at the “sports” side of WWE as opposed to the “entertainment” side. In the NFL, they mention OJ Simpson’s record because it’s a legit sports stat. I’m sure the NFL doesn’t want to mention him but he’s in the record books and because football is looked at as a legitmate sport and it is the job of journalists to report the facts, they have to mention him when someone is going for the record. It’s the same way in MLB: Broadcasters don’t want to discuss Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but every time Hall of Fame voting comes up now for the next couple of years, they will be mentioned.

    With Chris Benoit, it’s the equivalent to writing someone out of a TV show. When Charlie Sheen had a problem with CBS, his character was written off. Iron Man 2, Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard with the snap of a finger. WWE runs entertainment and TV shows, and they can dictate as they please who they want on their show and who they don’t want. Is it right? Well, I’m in the camp that believes Benoit’s brain damage and depression led to his paranoia and what he did. He thought people were coming for him. Maybe this was his escape, and he took his family with him. I don’t know. The bottom line though is WWE doesn’t have to mention him if they don’t want to, they control their own fate.

  16. Paul R. from Spook Central: The Ghostbusters Companion says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the fact that by NOT using Benoit footage on their DVDs, WWE is denying royalty payments to his next of kin. I believe his next of kin is a child from a previous marriage, so that child loses out on money because WWE is trying to whitewash his existence.

    Of course, I’m not saying a HOF induction or another Benoit DVD set is in order, just that WWE shouldn’t completely erase him from history.

  17. patricko says:

    why on earth would the WWE put a moment or a dime into promoting Benoit in any way, shape or form at this point. They’ve got absolutely nothing to gain from doing so.

    And I say this as someone who used to be a fan of Benoit’s.

    When he and Eddy won the championships, whichever year that was, I thought it was fantastic.
    It’s the last wrestling video I rented. Had to see it.

    But given what happened, the WWE would doing themselves a grave disservice promoting him, or putting him in the HoF. How could they do so, whilst ignoring the 800 lb gorilla in the room?
    HE KILLED HIS WIFE AND CHILD!!!
    best not acknowledge that during the Raw where they intro him as the next inductee…..

    Any kind of anthology would show that he was on the gas, big time. Early career vs. later career he bulked up something fierce. You’ve seen footage before, and we’d end up seeing it again…
    And then we’d see footage of the diving headbutts…

    Any pro-Benoit argument that tries to defend his actions by saying he wasn’t in his right mind.. is stoopid.
    Cut it out, Benoit fans.
    The rationale behind the act doesn’t matter, really, does it?

    I do agree that he should not be edited out of matches, as this is to the detriment of the match quality, and the other participants. he existed, he was in matches, they were good matches, and your selling an inferior product by trying to edit him out of those matches.

  18. Walter Kovacs says:

    Benoit is a special case. It’s not only ‘definitive’ that he committed the crimes, which makes it very different from the other situations. And, since there is the whole brain damage thing, it’s linked to wrestling in a very damning way as well. That’s a combination they don’t want to bring up. They could bring him up in talking about their wellness program, especially if they were implementing more study into the effects of concussions and other brain injuries, but promoting his in ring work is likely a problem.

  19. Alan says:

    1) I’d be shocked, and 2)Yes. I was a huge fan of Benoit before he committed these horrific acts. Now, I can’t enjoy his matches or storylines whatsoever. That said, I don’t believe in editing original, complete broadcasts of shows, such as old eps of Raw, Nitro, ECW, old PPVs, etc., so he should be left in there, but as far as adding him to any new DVDs, no. The WWE HoF is also a special case b/c it is used to promote WrestleMania weekend. Why would WWE want to induct someone that would put a damper on the festive mood that is WM weekend? Not only did he murder his wife, but also his innocent, sleeping 7 year old son. Murdering his wife was bad enough, but murdering a defenseless, sleeping 7 year old? There’s no excuse for that & NOTHING, not even brain damage, is an excuse for it.

  20. bret_owen99 says:

    This was a well thought out article, I wish I could say the same about most of the comments. Chris Benoit had a mental breakdown, killed his wife, then his child, then took his own life out of sadness, remorse, and guilt. It had nothing to do with “the nerve to face his crimes”. People like OJ Simpson who stands in front of a jury proclaiming “I’m 100% not guilty” doesn’t have nerve, he’s a coward.

    As far as the comparison to all the other murderers, rapists, etc, just because someone isn’t found guilty in a court of law doesn’t mean they are innocent. Pay offs happen, Police mishandle evidence, and judges make mistakes. People are guilty or not of their crime, no matter what the “court of law” says. There is one higher power, and he knows who is guilty.

    As far as why he is hated so much, I think there are two different reasons no one is willing to discuss (apart from the horrific murders he commited). 1: He commited suicide. While in the past, or even other parts of the world understand and forgive suicide, the US has a problem with people who commit suicide. they are called cowards, never spoken of again, and far be it for anyone to ever wish someone who was in enough pain to take their own life to go to heaven. They are never spoken of again, and when they are, the word hell is thrown around (as if the people speaking had the power to send them there, or even know for sure where they are). 2: Steroids. After his horrible acts,the doctor who provided him steroids was found out, and it was linked to 10 other wrestlers in the WWE. This was when Vince created the “wellness policy”, that is more of a steroid check than anything else. At the time of his tragedy, and even after, I had heard rumors of Vince and HHH being more angry about the steroid scandal than the actual murders (which really speaks volumes about them if it is true).

    As far as everyone’s comments and opinions, you are entitled to them. You can believe, or choose not to believe, that brain damage had anything to do with it. You can choose to believe, or not to believe, that he had no reasons for doing what he did. However, I want to point out one fact: America has had so many problems since Benoit: People going into movie theatres and shooting everyone, school shootings, workplace shootings. For some reason, people in America snap, and kill all those around them. Benoit didn’t do it in the workplace, his problem was at home, more than likely a case of domestic problems. It was a tragedy, but in recent years/months, America has shocked the world with how horrific it’s own citizens can be to one another.

  21. Art0Donnell says:

    I don’t think you can separate Benoit the wrestler from Benoit the murderer. The style that Benoit wrestled, with his many diving headbutts and chair shots to the head, obviously contributed to his massive brain damage. Moreover, though steroids cannot be the primary factor in the murders, the fact is that his style required him to take enormous quantities of steroids for decades; no normal man of Benoit’s stature could pull off, say, 10 German suplexes in a row without pushing his body beyond the limits of nature. The steroids were also key in Benoit ahead in the business. Compare Benoit to Malenko, also an accomplished technical wrestler of short stature who wrestled in the same places as Benoit. Malenko, however, did not have an unnaturally muscled physique, nor did he push himself to be the most intense wrestler in the world or emulate a miserable, now broken-down man like Tommy Billington.

    Many of the reasons that people admired Benoit – his intensity, his willingness to give more than 100% of what his body was capable of, and his sacrifice of his own body for the sake of a match – are choices that Benoit made and contributing factors to his death and the deaths of his wife and son.

    That’s where the comparisons to OJ Simpson (who was found guilty despite overwhelming evidence) and Ray Lewis (who was convicted of lying to police but for whom no evidence of him actually killing anyone, even in self-defense, has been found) fail. Even if we grant that those two men were murderers, the football skills they possessed did not contribute to their crimes. Unless we’re talking about his quick ability to flee the scene of a crime, nothing that made OJ a great football player led him to murder his wife and her boyfriend. For Benoit, though, almost everything that made him a great wrestler also led to his murder of his wife and son.

  22. 80sGuy says:

    To all the Benoit apologists, get over the excuses.

    He was still fit to call people, he was still fit to be in public, he still knew right from wrong. I’m sure he could tell what was happening, as evident from the “reaching out” to certain people, so he could have easily made his family go away, turned himself in for evaluation/treatment, gotten a friend to intervene, etc.

    He’s not worth the hassle of defending, and he can stay erased for all I care.

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