June 24, 2008 will be the anniversary of one of the most horrific events in professional wrestling history. June 24, 2008 is the dubious anniversary of the Benoit family tragedy.
On June 24, 2007,, the Atlanta police were sent to the house of Chris and Nancy Benoit when Chris left some weird voice messages to a couple of WWE compatriots and he failed to show up for the “Night of Champions” pay-per-view, which was formerly known as Vengeance. The police arrived at the house and made a discovery that would rock the very foundation of professional wrestling. Chris Benoit, Nancy Benoit and their son Daniel were found dead. No one knew what happened and the next night, on WWE’s Monday Night Raw television show, there was a three hour tribute to the legacy of Chris Benoit. A legacy that would be shattered beyond repair less than twenty-four hours later.
It was then that the police investigators had reached the conclusion that Nancy and Daniel Benoit were murdered and they were murdered by Chris Benoit, who took his own life after killing his family.
Steroids were found in Chris Benoit’s system and so people started saying he did it because of a condition called “’Roid Rage”. However, the details of the murder-suicide do not fall under the auspices of Roid Rage. He didn’t lose his temper and start beating his family. He methodically tied his wife and son up, killed them both by strangulation and placed Bibles next to their bodies. It was also deemed that he killed his wife first and then killed his son several hours later. He then went down into the basement, took the pull down bar off of the Universal weight system, used a cord from the bar to fashion a noose and attached it to about 240 pounds of weight, which was heavier than he was, and hung himself after putting the noose around his neck and released the weights to hang himself. It was too methodical to be Roid rage.
A piece of his brain was tested by Chris Nowinski’s Sports Legacy Institute. Chris Nowinski is a Harvard graduate and also a former WWE wrestler. The findings of the test determined that Benoit’s brain had the same stress as an eighty-five year old Alzheimer’s patient. That has resulted from about twenty years of chair shots to the head and his flying head smash delivered from the top turnbuckle. This is not saying that Benoit had Alzheimer’s disease, and in fact, he really couldn’t. If he had Alzheimer’s, he would not be able to remember the intricate moves that he performed in the ring nor would he be able to catch flights to various cities to perform. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s and could not remember his own name. I went to the hospital to visit him as he was eating breakfast and was using a piece of toast for a napkin to wipe his mouth off. No one knows nor will we ever know what was going through Benoit’s mind on that fateful day.
The doctor who gave steroids to Benoit as well as a dozen or so other wrestlers in the WWE illegally was finally charged this past May with 175 charges in a new indictment that accuses him of conspiracy and illegally providing prescription drugs to the wrestlers and other athletes as well.
The one thing that we do know is that a terrible tragedy occurred that day on June 24, 2007. It’s a tragedy that destroyed the legacy and reputation of one of one of wrestling’s greatest superstars and a tragedy that destroyed a family as well. It’s too bad because he was destined for further greatness and was a shoe-in for the WWE Hall of Fame someday. Now, as far as the WWE is concerned, Chris Benoit might as well have never existed.
To see Benoit in some of his greatest matches, please see the products links below: