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 "The Apparent Murder-Suicide of Chris Benoit Really..." 
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Post "The Apparent Murder-Suicide of Chris Benoit Really..."
The Apparent Murder-Suicide of Chris Benoit Really Creates More Questions Than Answers
by: Ed Bagley




News of the apparent murder-suicide of well-known and well-liked WWE wrestler Chris Benoit left me with mixed emotions: sadness and dismay.

Unlike so many men past 60 who would not be caught dead admitting to watching pro wrestling on television in a polite, worldly, sophisticated public environment, I embraced the admission and stood my ground.

I believe Chris Benoit would have done the same. Benoit's boob tube presence was never a good interview, never as charismatic as we would have liked, never a loudmouth, never a blowhard, never obnoxious, never foul mouthed but always quiet, real, genuine and tough as nails.

There is no telling how many World Championships Benoit (pronounced Ben-WAH) would have been allowed to win if he was all of the things that other wrestlers like "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, the "Heartbreak Kid" Shaun Michaels or "The Cerebral Assassin" Triple HHH (Hunter Hurst Helmsley) flaunted.

Do not misunderstand what I am sharing here. I respected Triple H, I loved Ric Flair and Shaun Michaels as competitors and I loved Benoit even more as a pure competitor.

Benoit, Flair and Michales have probably taken more punishment in the ring, won more matches and won more titles than any other competitors. Few competitors and few fans ever figure out that everyone can dish it out in pro wrestling, but the ones who can dish it out AND withstand the punishment are eventually the champions.

Chris Benoit was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up in the same wrestling community as Stu Hart and his sons, most notable of which were Bret Hart and Owen Hart. Benoit was the consummate mat wrestler with talent and skills only matched by Flair and Michaels and perhaps exceeded by Bret Hart.

Benoit was a former World Heavyweight Champion, Intercontinental Champion and several time Tag Team Champion. His ring names included "The Canadian Crippler" and "The Rabid Wolverine".

Benoit reminded me a lot of of Eddie Guerrero. Both Owen Hart and Guerrero died prematurely, Owen from a tragic wrestling promotion accident that should never have happened, and Guerrero from an apparent overdose of prescription drugs.

Like Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero, Benoit was almost universally liked by his fellow superstars and sports entertainers in the WWE locker room.

I do not believe that Vince McMahon (Vinny Mac), the World Wrestling Entertainment owner and arguably the most gifted of sports entertainment promoters ever, could really tolerate a person so quiet and respected as Christ Benoit.

That is why it came as such a shock to me that Benoit could have allegedly strangled his 43-year-old wife Nancy, strangled his 7-year-old son Daniel and then committed suicide by hanging himself on the cable of a weight-training machine at his home. I cannot comprehend the unspeakable horror of his wife or son realizing their circumstance when Benoit apparently lost control of his life.

Their bodies were found in three separate rooms of their home off a gravel road about two miles from the Whitewater Country Club near Atlanta. Holy Bibles were left beside Benoit's wife and son.

Benoit had maintained an Atlanta address from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling. The Fayette County Tax Assessors Office listed the value of the house, situated on more than 8.5 acres, at nearly $900,000. The same house and property in Connecticut, California or Seattle, Washington would probably be valued at $2+ million.

I know the pain of suicide as my sister Loretta committed suicide. She was a victim of MS (multiple sclerosis) and had apparently lost any hope of living a better life in the advanced stages of her disease. I came to know that people who commit suicide have lost all hope of a better life.

I certainly do not condone killing one's immediate family on the way to committing suicide; murder in this circumstance seems cowardly to me, and if there is one thing I never, ever, thought about Benoit was that he was a coward. I thought him to be just the opposite.

Since this tragic story has unfolded it has taken on a life on its own in the national media, in part because of the incredible events that have surfaced since the tragedy. These include:

The rumor that Benoit and his wife constantly fought about money, even though he apparently made $500,000+ as a professional wrestler for WWE.

The rumor that Benoit and his wife fought about the best way to raise their son Daniel, who was undersized and possibly a special needs child.

The fact that Benoit's wife filed for divorce in 2003, saying their three-year union was irrevocably broken and alleging "cruel treatment." She later dropped the complaint as well as a request for a restraining order.

The fact that Benoit's page on Wikipedia, a reference site that allows users to add and edit information, was updated about 14 hours BEFORE authorities say the bodies were found on Monday, June 25. The update said the reason Benoit missed a match on Saturday of the fateful weekend was "stemming from the death of his wife Nancy." The source was traced to a user in Stamford, Connecticut, but claimed no connection to WWE, which has its headquarters in Stamford.

The fact that anabolic steroids found in Benoit's home led officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings that started the weekend of June 22. Some experts believe steroids can cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage". Toxicology tests on Benoit's body have not been completed.

The fact that Benoit had seen his personal physician and friend, Dr. Phil Astin, and been given prescription medications on June 22.

The fact that Dr. Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to Chris Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and May 2007, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in a filed affidavit.

The fact that the DEA acknowledged that Benoit's name had surfaced in a drug probe investigation before the tragedy occurred. The probe was called "RX Weight Loss" and Benoit was identified as an excessive purchaser of injectable steroids.

The fact that Dr. Astin was charged exactly a week after the tragedy with improperly prescribing medications to two patients, but not Benoit. More charges may be coming.

For the record, since 1997 about 1,000 wrestlers 45 and younger have worked on pro wrestling circuits. Of the 1,000, at least 65 have died since 1997 according to a report in USA Today (3-12-04 edition), 25 from heart attacks or other coronary problems. Many had enlarged hearts. Another statistic from another source purports that 104 wrestlers have died prematurely in the last 10 years.

The list of steroid or prescription drug users include some big names: Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), former Minnesota governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (real name Roderick Toombs), "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Bret "The Hit Man" Hart (Hart was also know as "The Excellence of Execution"), Paul Michael "Triple H" Levesque (also known previously as Hunter Hearst Helmsley), Mark "Johnny B. Badd" Mero (Sable's husband), "Superstar" Billy Graham, Jim "The Ultimate Warrior" Hellwig, Kevin "Big Sexy" Nash, Jeff Hardy, Mike "Road Warrior Hawk" Hegstrand, Mike "Crash Holly" Lockwood, Scott "Raven" Levy, Eddie Guerrero, "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, and the lesser known "Strongman" Johnny Perry.

Why do they use steroids and prescription drugs? That is an easy answer.

During a 15-minute match, pro entertainment wrestlers exchange choreographed body slams and punches. Some leap from top ropes onto cement surfaces outside the ring.

No matter how choreographed the moves, imagine lying in the ring and your opponent does an Eddie Guerrero "Frog Splash" on you from 15 feet in the air. Stand on top of a 15-foot stepladder in your front yard, dive off, flatten yourself out so you hit parallel to your lawn. Does it hurt landing? You better believe it.

In the more physical "hard-core" matches, wrestlers are smashed through tables, whacked in the head with steel chairs and punctured with barbed wire and tacks. None of these dangerous antics are fake. And you thought pimping was hard. Try being a pro wrestler.

Pro wrestlers have my total respect. They are incredibly well-conditioned, talented athletes who put up with a lot for my viewing enjoyment.

My heart sinks when I see an genuine icon like Ric Flair wrestling at his age and being allowed to get the holy hell stomped out of him for the sake of ever-more violent entertainment.

There are no words to describe my anguish over Chris Benoit. May God have mercy on his soul, and may God take Benoit's wife Nancy and son Daniel into his arms in Heaven.

Perhaps Benoit's father Michael said it best: "It's impossible to come up with a rational explanation for a very irrational act." My condolences go out to Chris Benoit's family and to all of those who knew and loved Chris Benoit as one of the greatest pro wrestling entertainers of our generation.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

About The Author
Ed Bagley is the Author of Ed Bagley's Blog which he Publishes with Original Articles on Current and Past Events, including Analysis and Commentary on Lessons in Life, Movies, Sports, Internet Marketing, Jobs and Careers that are intended to Delight, Inform, Educate and Motivate Readers. Visit Ed at . . .
http://www.edbagleyblog.com
http://www.edbagleyblog.com/MovieReviewArticles.html
http://www.edbagleyblog.com/LessonsinLifeArticles.html





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Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:43 pm
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