Yesterday, WWF (I will never call it WWE) wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy (former WCW valet Woman) and his 9 year old son were found dead in their Atlanta home. Various news outlets are reporting that the crime scene is being considered a double murder-suicide, with Benoit as the main suspect. Personally, I think this is going a little too far to get heel heat. The Atlanta police are conducting an autopsy, but I wonder if they have a test for death by cross-face.
Seriously though, this is a difficult story to write. I've been a big Benoit fan ever since he wrestled Booker T. in a classic best of seven series years ago in WCW. He was a great technical worker and always wrestled his ass off, whether he was vying for the championship or wrestling the Boogie Man. At the same time, it would be rather inappropriate to write a tribute to a guy being accused of killing his wife and their child. Last night the WWF cancelled a live Raw, ended the McMahon death angle, and ran a 3 hr tribute to Benoit. They were really between a rock and hard place because none of the wrestlers wanted to go out there after receiving the news of Benoit's death and the tragedy had to be addressed by the federation, but the initial details that were out were suspicious and hinted heavily at foul play. Now if it is found that Benoit killed his family and later himself, should the federation wash its hands completely of its former champion?
I'm also surprised by the lack of media coverage of this event. I just turned on all of the 24 hour news stations and two of them were leading with the wild fire out west, while one was talking about Paris Hilton getting out of jail. This story lends itself to sensationalism, but I guess the national media's disdain towards wrestling and wrestlers somehow leads to less coverage. This is the biggest celebrity related murder since OJ, yet Phil Spector and Robert Blake, who had been irrelevant for decades, got more media coverage instantaneously.
One theory that Tremont and I discussed was that all of these wrestling deaths over the past few years have been faked and everyone is going to come back for one big battle royal, but I think that is a bit of a reach.
It will be very interesting to see this story unfold. SYHD's condolences to the Benoit family and Nancy's family.
Oh here is video of Benoit breaking Sabu's neck: