June 26, 2007
Column: Questioning Benoit's tribute
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Chris Benoit was a wrestling legend. He was a champion, a warrior whose tenacity and dedication made him one of wrestling’s greatest technicians.
He was also a husband and a father. And now it looks like he was a killer, too.
Benoit, his wife Nancy and seven-year-old son Daniel were found dead in their Atlanta-area home Monday afternoon.
Nancy was found with her wrists bound. She had been strangled. Daniel was found in his bed, the life smothered out of his tiny lungs. Bibles had been placed beside both bodies. Benoit was found in his weight room, hanging from a pulley.
To World Wrestling Entertainment’s credit, it cancelled the Monday night RAW card. This is the same WWE that went on with its regular show the night Owen Hart was killed when he plummeted to the ring from the rafters. Instead, WWE aired a three-hour tribute to Benoit. A tribute to Benoit?
If we are to believe the pieces of the puzzle that investigators have strung together, Benoit killed his wife, then his child. Murdered them. This isn’t another whacked-up WWE storyline. This is real life.
Wrestling websites are full of tributes to Benoit’s successes — the championship belts, his classic matches, the kind of character he was. It all seems kind of hollow now.
Prescription steroids were found in the house. Was it ’roid rage? Most of us will never know the mental and physical anguish that go along with being a professional wrestler. Night after night, Benoit put life and limb on the line, his body run into ring posts, folding metal chairs cracked over his head.
But there can never be an excuse to take the lives of two people who should have been so precious.
Chris Benoit will continue to be hailed as a hero, a legend who wore tights to work every night.
But, really, it looks like all he turned out to be was a killer. The bell will toll 10 times in tribute to the “great” Chris Benoit. But it’s not Benoit, the troubled soul, we should remember — it’s the helpless wife and especially the child, who never had a chance to be great.
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor of the Ottawa Sun and he also writes a weekly wrestling column for Sun Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org