Now in all honesty, those die-hard fans of Chris Benoit, or simply of World Wrestling Entertainment in general, will likely know the majority of these facts and fictions about the double homicide/suicide case.
It is a shame that this Canadian-born wrestler never managed to be of sound enough mind to realize the damage done to him through working with the WWE (as so many of his peers have subsequently done), in order so that he might join the class action suit against the company… but because of this tragedy, many and more wrestlers have come forward, and are looking for help, healing, and even just a bit of humanity from those higher-ups at the WWE headquarters.
It may be a long time before they get it, but the Benoit family tragedy, along with the debilitation, and death of many more wrestlers due to medicinal mishaps, illicit drug use, and physical injuries, has opened the door for discussion about the rights of the talent, and the responsibilities of the ruling executives.
Here are some things you might not have known about the Benoit case.
15. Elijah And The Bibles
It is likely common knowledge, by now, that Chris Benoit set copies of the Bible next to his wife and his darling little son Daniel. Clearly Benoit was a man of some sort of faith (in spite of the fact that he committed both murder and suicide — which are both frowned upon… at least in the New Testament, for the most part). That he is French Canadian suggests a Catholic faith, in which both murder and suicide are great sins. However, the fact that he still left Bibles by the innocent victims of the incident is not, in fact, the whole story. It turns out that, upon search of his computer (to help aid in piecing together the puzzle of the crime scene), investigators discovered Benoit to have been searching stories about the prophet Elijah. One such story in the list of those searched had to do with Elijah raising a young boy from the dead. It turns out that, biblically, one of the first steps in exacting this process is to have the child in question resting in his bed. Where did police find the little boy? Indeed, he had been placed on the bed. One wonders if, in his condition, Benoit thought there might be a chance for Daniel to come back, or if it simply a figurative offering in hopes that this would raise his son to Heaven.
14. Severe Brain Damage
So many people were so quick to jump to the idea of roid rage surrounding the double-homicide, and suicide that is the Chris Benoit case that, after extensive examination of his brain, many news outlets had to retract previous claims regarding the cause of it all. The testing and work conducted on the brain of the late wrestling superstar, was done by one Julian Bailes of the Sports Legacy Institute. This work showed definitively that the cause of the tragic incident was, in fact, severe brain damage. As it happens, Benoit’s brain was so severely damaged that it resembled the brain of an eighty-five-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. If any reader has ever had the misfortune of losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s, one will very clearly understand just what kind of mental state Benoit could very easily have found himself in, during his last days. Bailes research team concluded that the brain damage was a result of so many years of sustaining concussions, and varying degrees of head trauma, whilst working in the ring. One might begin to wonder just how the WWE weighs in on this issue.
13. Chavo Checks In
“Chavo Guerrero – a close friend of Benoit – told WWE Magazine that he talked to Chris for while on Friday night on his house phone. About 45 minutes into the conversation, Chris told him that there was somebody knocking at his door and he was going to see who it was. Shortly after Chris answered the door, there was a “scuffle” and then his house phone line went dead. Chris could only be reached on his cell phone about 3 hours later. This is very significant. This explains why there was no forced entry. Chris let the killer or killers in.” This little piece of poppycock is some form of astoundingly inept conspiracy theorizing. First of all, there was never an interview in WWE Magazine with Chavo Guerrero, regarding Chris Benoit in 2007 (or any year after the incident). Chavo did speak to Benoit on the phone the weekend of the murder/suicide, but there was no mention of someone at the door. To the contrary, Chris confided in Chavo that he had to take his son Daniel, and wife Nancy to the hospital because they were sick (though they were likely already dead by this point). Having missed a house show with Chavo, and other close friend Scott Armstrong, Chris sent the two friends text messages, letting them know his dogs were (so they could be taken care of presumably), and while the two gents thought it strange, they covered for Benoit as best they could. Only after Chavo finally made mention of the texts, Benoit having missed a match in which he was to win a championship belt, were people sent to investigate, and discover the horror that was the Benoit family home.
12. Kevin Sullivan Suspected
This case has been unfortunately plagued with conspiracy, so unwilling are people to believe that Chris Benoit could have wrought such terror on his family. And so, here is one of the most ridiculous notions of all the fan fictions surrounding the case. This theory exists due to the fact that Kevin Sullivan happens to be Nancy Benoit’s ex-husband. Former, fairly unknown wrestler, Johnny Lee Clary is said to have started this rumour, and even once had a website declaring several, equally ridiculous Benoit theories. “it has been 10 years exactly since Nancy divorced Kevin Sullivan to marry Chris Benoit,” Clary states, and while they were married ten years, the divorce certainly did not line up ten years “exactly” to the day of the murders. Clary even goes so far as to say, “According to a source close to me, Kevin Sullivan is a high ranking member of the Satanic Church.” Now Sullivan did play a Satanist character on screen, but he was in no way a practising worshipper of Satan (which is not even true Satanism anyway). The notion that this fairly unknown wrestler, Clary, had any insight to another fairly unknown wrestler’s (Sullivan) taste for revenge is pretty pathetic, and seemingly a grab for attention for a wrestler who never made it to superstar status. With no physical, or forensic evidence to bring to the fore on this, one should simply be aware of the existence of such stupidity, and subsequently follow the science on the matter.
11. Fragile X Syndrome
Another of those juicy bits of information from the rumour mill, it was tossed around that little Daniel Benoit was the unfortunate victim of Fragile X Syndrome: “a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment.” However, some media sources, like the New York Daily News went so far as to state: “Pro wrestler Chris Benoit and his wife fought over care for their mentally retarded son… who was left mentally and physically stunted by a genetic disorder called Fragile X, an inherited form of mental retardation often accompanied by autism.” Besides the awful political incorrectness of this conclusion jumping article, only just a week after the incident, the general information given about this disorder from the media is false. Assuming this disorder was the reason the family fought, and Benoit lost his mind, the media also asserted that there were track marks on Daniel’s arms, from the injection of human growth hormone (HGH). Without any such evidence, it was amazing just how quickly the media worked to sensationalize the event, and vilify Chris Benoit. Nancy’s sister Sandra Toffoloni, as well as wrestling superstar Chris Jericho, have refuted the notions of both the disorder and the use of HGH (which would do nothing for Fragile X Syndrome anyway). Jericho had this to say, years after the incident: “It turned out that Daniel didn’t have Fragile X, but at the time it made sense because I was grasping at straws.”
10. Dr. Astin Does Time For Meds Mishap
This frowning, and somewhat frighteningly frumpy face is that of Chris Benoit’s personal doctor: Dr. Phil Astin. This man was apparently treating Benoit for low testosterone (which can be a counter-intuitive side effect of steroid use — which Benoit had at one time been involved with). However, aside from the testosterone, Astin had also been prescribing various pain medications to the wrestling superstar. It might be interesting to note that two other wrestlers have died with Astin’s drugs in their systems. The first being Johnny Grunge, and the second, though undisclosed, is believed to be Sherri Martel. Since the Benoit incident, Dr. Phil Astin has been charged with one hundred and seventy five counts of drug charges related to illegal prescriptions, and various other drug charges. Pleading guilty, Astin has found himself serving a ten year sentence (which will be up in two years time). Without getting too into conspiracy here, one does wonder just what role the variety of medications might have played along with the deterioration of Chris Benoit’s brain.
9. The Deadly Diving Headbutt
There are so many articles about the drugs, and the testosterone, and the potential insanity, and then of the subsequent reality of the brain damage caused by repeated concussions and head trauma. But there have not been near as many articles about the specific signature that may be the culprit of a great many of those concussions, and traumatic moments. The flying headbutt was Chris Benoit’s claim to fame from the top rope (or top of anything else it seemed fit to jump from to execute the move). It has been said, over and again, that WWE owner, Vince McMahon, never lets a move or an event pass through those ropes, without first giving it a go himself. Perhaps Vince should have paid special attention to the jarring impact one feels when driving one’s face into another person, or the mat, or a steal chair, etc. Now Benoit did indeed continue his career, breaking his body much faster than thought possible, but McMahon doesn’t seem to have had much care for the safety of his roster. Perhaps people should focus their attention on the potentially lethal list of moves that still pervade the WWE ring today?
8. David Benoit Speaks
Ok, so the title of this entry does play a bit of mischief on those who think the accompanying video is David Benoit speaking, but he has indeed said a lot about his father since the incident that cost him almost his entire family. Now a wrestler in training himself, David Benoit has, at one time or another, said he would never be in the WWE, and that he would certainly find his way into the company in the future. One of the greatest issues that the young Benoit takes with World Wrestling Entertainment is the resistance of the company to induct Chris Benoit into the WWE Half of Fame. For all that Chris gave to the company somewhat more tragic to not only lose the star, and a great majority of his family, but also to lose the good that he brought to the company (the very company that is in part responsible for the death of Chris, Nancy, and little Daniel). David bemoans his father missing his spot in the Hall of Fame, and also his thought that the WWE would not be so PG today, if not for the tragic events that took away his family. “WWE you could say kinda killed my passion for wrestling. It’s just not the same anymore. TNA on the other hand, they have wrestling… I think there needs to another company that challenges WWE… You watch these matches these days, they’re about 10-15 minutes these days? Half are talking half of the time.” He doesn’t hold back his thoughts, to be sure.
7. There Were No Anabolic Steroids
What is interesting about the anabolic steroid theory is that the police did happen to find anabolic steroids at the scene of the crime (which Benoit had been using, for sure, in the past)… but upon examination, the toxicology report determined that Chris Benoit had absolutely no sign of anabolic steroids in his system. In fact, the results of a drug test done in April (two months before the incident) by the WWE, show that not only had Benoit been off the anabolic steroids, but he was also completely clean of additional testosterone as well. That his testosterone was so low (and then suddenly jacked) leading up to his death, could give some insight into his mental state at the time. And given that also found in his system were Xanax, a powerful psychoactive anti-anxiety and depression drug, and Hydrocodone, an addictive opioid derived painkiller, that bares relation to Heroin… well, perhaps one could ask Dr. Phil Astin about just what that could possibly do to someone’s head, especially when it has already been battered and beaten for years.
6. The Foretold Wiki Death Of Nancy Benoit
Some fourteen hours prior to police discovering the three deceased members of the Benoit family, someone made an edit to the Chris Benoit Wikipedia page, stating that Chris missed a flight due to the death of his wife. Though this was flagged, stating: “Need a reliable source. Saying that his wife died is a pretty big statement, you need to back it up with something,” another post came from an address in Australia, adding to the rumour. The first edit just so happened to come from an I.P. address in Stamford, Connecticut (where the WWE headquarters just happens to be). However, there was no connection able to be made between the preemptive death post, and any member of World Wrestling Entertainment. It turns out though, that there had previously been several vandalizing, and promotional spam posts, and edits made to the Chris Benoit page. So perhaps the fact that info had been edited hours before the crime scene was discovered is simply coincidence. But it does not take a genius to be able to see just how this sort of information could lead to an explosion of conspiracy theories relating to the Benoit incident, and the WWE‘s role in it.
5. Showing Symptoms Years Before The Deed
The above, quite revealing information, from Nancy Benoit’s sister, Sandra Toffoloni, gives a great deal of insight into the history leading up to the tragic events that cost Sandra her sister, brother-in-law, and little nephew. Aside from a great deal of self-medication (as well as the medication illegally prescribed from Dr. Astin), it becomes clear that these issues stemmed not only from meds, and physical trauma… it also has much to do with grief. Having lost so many friends in the wrestling industry (especially his very best friend Eddy Gurrero), both Chris and his wife Nancy began down a road of alcoholism and drug abuse. Reaching the point of minor physical abuse from Chris to Nancy, there was even a few week period that a restraining order was filed, and Chris was out of the Benoit home. It is also revealed (in a different part of the podcast interview) that Sandra discovered a Google search, made by Chris Benoit, that revolved around the easiest way to break someone’s neck. Seeing this as a clear, and terrifying bit of evidence toward a relatively sound mind being responsible for the tragedy, Sandra does not fully accept the brain injury excuse. While she’s sure it contributed, the clear planning that had taken place seems to indicate someone who was aware of what they were doing.
4. The Class-Action Suit
Well perhaps this isn’t an incredibly unknown lawsuit, but there are some interesting things to be considered with it (besides the fact that the WWE calls it “ridiculous”). The callous nature of the WWE executives aside, there has been some pretty clear damage caused by the organization, which has plagued many a wrestling superstar. There are now 53 wrestlers (though Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka has since passed away — partially from dementia — so 52?), who are part of the class-action suit against the WWE for “long-term neurological injuries” sustained in their line of work. Bringing up Jimmy Snuka, it should be pointed out that, much like Chris Benoit has been all but eliminated from the company’s memory, Snuka was also deleted from the WWE site, and media after Snuka was charged in 2015 with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. It’s astonishing how quickly the WWE moves to sever its ties with its talent after something horrible happens, but how slow to action it is to provide preventative measures, and support for its talent. The lawsuit touches greatly on the effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which Chris Benoit is said to have suffered from. CTE can cause memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoia, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and eventually progressive dementia. Only able to be diagnosed after death, through brain tissue sampling, there is every reason for the Benoit case to have been a heavy hitter for the class-action suit… but it seems to be going nowhere fast (much like the WWE itself).
3. Roid Rage?
As aforementioned, when the police found Chris Benoit, and his family, there were anabolic steroids present in this house, but absolutely none in his system, and not for months before either. The only thing he had subsequently jacked up on (besides pain meds) after the WWE drug testing was testosterone. Perhaps an unhealthy amount of which was found in his system upon autopsy. Given that this was the least amount of steroids that had been in Benoit’s body, for a considerable amount of time, it has been suggested that the lack of steroids may have caused a great deal of depression. Throw into the mix the constant grieving over the many friends in the wrestling business he had lost, and the drugs Xanax, and hydrocodone… and there are the makings, not of so-called “roid rage”, but of a man with nothing left to live for. Not only a man with nothing left to live for, but a man with nothing left to live for whose brain is comparable to that of an eighty-five-year-old’s. It is entirely likely that a man, with such degenerative brain function, and such mixture of medications, as well as high emotional stress, could have, over the course of days, weeks, or even months, planned such a horrible deed (but still not have been of sound mind). But one thing is absolutely certain in this case: there was no roid rage involved in the deaths of Chris, nor his wife and child.
2. WWE Donates…
For all of the trash-talking that gets directed towards World Wrestling Entertainment, there must be some mention made of some eventual good that has come from the tragedy of the Benoit case. Though never publicly accepting responsibility for the great damage done to Chris Benoit’s brain, the WWE did (six years after the fact) donate 1.2 million dollars to the Sports Legacy Institute to fund further research into CTE. Considering the overwhelming evidence that the institute has, from analyzing Benoit’s brain, one might think that the donation is much too little, and perhaps more than a little late, but it is a step in the right direction (even if meant as a paltry pay off). Even the great number of wrestlers who have had extensive time off to recover from concussion is a sign of moving forward in a safe direction. And now with rehab being offered, for free, from the WWE to current and former talent, there is a tiny bit of light at the end of a very long tunnel. One might think there need be a bit more of a push to ensure that wrestlers actually get rehab when needed, but the WWE would likely say they have no responsibility there, and that they have left the door open; the rest is up to the talent (the organization is famous for its callousness).
1. McMahon’s Final Words On The Issue
Speaking of callousness, WWE owner and executive, Vince McMahon has said quite a bit about the late WWE superstar. “It’s not right to pretend he didn’t exist. It’s one thing to include him as part of a historical perspective, which I believe is OK, and it’s another thing to promote him, which is not OK.” If the incident was a clear cut case of cold-blooded murder, then perhaps banning almost all of his matches, and his wrestling career from any degree of promotion might make sense. But given the fact that there is so much surrounding the events that are heavily based on likely responsibility of the WWE itself, there should be more leniency: especially so that family, friends, and fans may properly show their respect for the former superstar. It is not helped when McMahon presents a tribute episode of RAW one day, almost with tears in his eyes, and then calls Benoit a “monster” on network television only days later, and subsequently, and effectively erasing him from World Wrestling Entertainment. A lot has come to light, in spite of all of the garbage rumours…so perhaps McMahon should rethink his position now, ten years on. Perhaps it is time to take some responsibility, and both celebrate the man Chris Benoit was, and work to discourage anyone from becoming the tortured, disturbed, and mentally dysfunctional man he ended up.