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   Thu, June 28, 2007


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Wrestlers open up about Benoit tragedy
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling
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World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers have begun to comment both on their websites and to media on the Benoit family double murder suicide.

"You try to figure out why something like this would occur and sadly, it's hard to come up with a reason," Jerry "The King" Lawler told Memphis' WMCTV, saying Benoit brought his family on the road during wrestling matches and they always seemed close. "I think that's what's so shocking to the wrestling community. Everyone that knew Chris, to everyone that knew Nancy and especially to everyone who knew his son Daniel," he said.

In Houston, Booker T, whose best-of-seven series with Benoit in WCW launched his career as a singles wrestler, was interviewed by CBS affiliate KHOU TV.

"It is definitely a shock and something that the wrestling family and wrestling world wouldn't suspect. It's the first time something like this has happened in our business. I knew Chris personally and never saw this side of him before. I knew his wife and his kids and it is something totally out of nowhere and unexplainable," Booker T said. "I've never seen Chris angry, he was a man who had a lot of positive energy and pushed the young guys. I feel like the human mind is a delicate piece of equipment and we don't know what someone's breaking point is. We are human and have malfunctions and I think it was a huge malfunction. We may never know, and it's not for us to know, it is out of our hands and in God's hands now."

"Well, there's no need to wait until we have our heads wrapped around this, because I doubt that'll happen, so here it is. I know that a monster committed those terrible, unforgivable acts of horror. Just like everyone who knew Chris Benoit, I can't think of him as a monster. Not Chris," stated Rob Van Dam on his website. "Chris was truly a role model's role model. You simply had to respect him and admire his focus and unmatched discipline. If I ever got asked a question about who I looked up to the most in the business, you guessed it. That's me sharing a real feeling with you. Not talking about bull shit that I have little interest in, like who would I like most to wrestle with, or what's my favorite color, but who I actually looked up to in the dressing room. It's Chris Benoit -- in the ring and in the dressing room and with his family."

"How many murderers .. baby murderers at that ... are praised so highly by EVERYONE who knew them? This is all so bizarre and new information seems to come out every few hours but I can't imagine we'll ever understand what happened here. It appears that Chris took the answers with him. To tell you the honest truth, the easiest thing for me to believe at this moment is that if no frame work was involved, he was taken over by demonic energies with no compassion. I have to believe this is often the case with such inhumane acts," RVD continued. "Nancy, Daniel and Chris' tragic deaths obviously have affected a lot of people. Just remember, there's enough hate in this world. Hateful thoughts do not move us in the right direction, so make a conscious effort to remember that. It's important now and always."

Many wrestlers have spoken on blogs in the MySpace community.

"Everyone who knew anything about wrestling knew of his in-ring contributions. I truly don't know what I can say and not get in trouble with the WWE. Anyone who reads my blogs regularly knows how much I love wrestling, and being part of the WWE. But I think what I have to say is more important. His son, Daniel, came to many shows. We bonded. He was a cute little boy. What Chris did was selfish and hurtful. I fear that him being a superstar in some way glamorizes the situation. That's not what suicide is. It is selfish and hurtful," Diva Victoria wrote, before encouraging people thinking of suicide to get help. "Maybe someday I'll be able to forgive Chris, but not today."

"Well, by now the whole world knows of the horrible news that took place this week. With all of the comments and messages from people saying how sorry they are for our loss, I figured I would speak in general," said Jillian Hall. "I am 100% in agreeance with WWE and Mr. McMahon on completely erasing all tributes to Chris Benoit. While he had always been nice and polite to me and most of the WWE talent, what he did is completely disgusting and unforgivable! This man who could have been a legend has demolished his reputation. My heart goes out to Nancy and the adorable Daniel and the family and friends they left behind!"

"I haven't always agreed with every decision Vince McMahon has made, but I do agree with everything he's done dealing with this situation thus far. Out of respect for the sudden death of Benoit's family and his contributions to the business, I think Vince did the right thing by canceling the scheduled Raw. When the decision was made to make Raw a Chris Benoit tribute show, the WWE was only doing what seemed respectful and right at that time. When more information was discovered, the WWE took a different and appropriate stance towards their programming. The ECW and Smackdown shows this week were dedicated to our great fans. Wrestling fans who were grieving and confused over this tragedy needed us, including me, to entertain them. I feel it is my responsibility, as well as my pleasure, to put smiles on people's faces and give them an escape from reality. I know Vince feels that way as well," wrote Matt Hardy. "Chris Benoit was always kind, considerate, and professional when I interacted with him. Like everyone else, I was shocked when everything came out. I can't believe Chris Benoit and his wife and child are dead as I type this. As of now, all of the strange pieces of this puzzle haven't been put together yet. My thoughts and prayers go out to Benoit's other two children as well as the immediate family and friends of the deceased. More than anything, I feel terrible for little Daniel -- he was as innocent as any human being could possibly be. This is a terrible and sad tragedy."

Jim Ross wrote a lengthy piece on his website:

"The senseless and tragic death of the 3 people in the double murder-suicide that occurred over the weekend in the Benoit's home in an Atlanta suburb is a nightmare that one still wants to awake from. For those of us that knew Chris, Nancy, and Daniel on a personal level it is still hard to believe that this horrific event could even occur much less why. The last time I saw the three of them together was at Wrestlemania 23 and my wife and I had a long visit with the Benoits and at no time could one detect that there were any issues whatsoever. I even had the occasion to speak at length privately to Nancy and she said things were fine at home. As well as Nancy and I knew each other, if that had not been the case, she would have inferred otherwise I assure you. Like so many others who attended the event on that night, the Benoit family was happy and enjoying the moment," he wrote. "The bottom line is that a woman and a small child are dead of murder and that is an utter shame. That act is inexcusable. The victim's families need to be held close to our hearts and in our prayers. Let's consider putting forth as much passion and effort in prayer and reflection as some are in playing amateur detective and wannabe investigative reporters. Let's spend a little more time with our own families while we are at it, because there are no guarantees about tomorrow and we should covet every day we are blessed to have with our loved ones. I know this, I am going to do all I can to spend more time with family and friends than ever before as this sad situation has slapped me in the face in more ways than one. I know that Benoit's behavior was totally uncharacteristic of him, as I knew him over so many years as he was one of the most professional and polite men with which I have ever been associated. I don't know why this sickening chain of events happened, but murder, especially taking one's own child's life, is unpardonable. I am anxious to read the results of the toxicology reports as the next curious individual but the bottom line is that 3 people are dead including a mother and her son."

Eric Bischoff, who Benoit worked for in WCW, commented on his website: "I can not begin to articulate my feelings about the tragedy in the Benoit family. It is something I am really struggling to comprehend. I heard the news late Monday afternoon just as I was sitting down in a business meeting in Pittsburgh, I sat stunned as I listned to DDP on the other end of the phone, trying to tell me what happened. My meeting went very late into the evening and there was little new information when I went to bed."

Bret Hart, who knew Benoit well, has spoken to several media outlets.

"I am waiting for clarification as to what might have happened. Something like this you might never find out what really happened. Chris was always a really solid guy and this is not characteristic of him," Hart told Kevin Neuman on the Global National broadcast on June 26th. "This is totally unexpected. I think all of the wrestlers and fans are reeling from this. This is probably more tragic then my brother Owen's passing. What I am reading about Chris is not only heartbreaking but mindboggling."

Much of the media attention has focused on steroids, something many wrestlers are quick to speak out on.

"The media is going to put a spin on it, you know. We know that. WWE knows that. Did the guy last week who murders his wife and kid last week have any form of roid rage? He was a cop. This happens in any form of life," said Booker T.

"I've seen certain wrestlers that have taken steroids their entire life and have suffered no ill effects," said Lawler. "You have to look at it as a possibility, but at the same time my understanding is that the WWE has a really strict drug policy right now. That they found steroids doesn't necessarily mean that he was on them."

"My phone rang at 7 a.m. on Tues and the caller ID revealed a 404 area code. Assuming it was someone that I used to work with in the area, I answered the phone. It was a local sports/talk show in the Atlanta area and they wanted to get my comments. I hesitated, but since the radio personality was a friend of a friend, I decided to go ahead. The questions started out ok...what one would normally expect in a situation like this. However they quickly turned into a 'who's to blame' line of questioning and went down hill from there," wrote Bischoff. "It's really impossible anymore to be honest about something as tragic and emotionally charged as this issue without sounding like I have some kind of 'hidden agenda.' It's clear that the media wants to blame steroids, professional wrestling, Vince McMahon, or anyone or anything else that further sensationalizes this family tragedy. I refuse to join the choir. I don't have enough information. I wasn't there. I am not a psychiatrist. I just can't imagine how or why this could have happened."

"So what happened? I do not know. No one knows. We will hopefully know more when the toxicology reports are completed. Until then all anyone has, including the media, is supposition based on speculation. To garner ratings, the media will continue to make this as huge a story as possible, even without all the facts. That's the business in which they are involved. Remember when the media, without all the facts, essentially convicted the Duke Lacrosse team several months ago only to find out that there was no case but in the spirit of ratings and to scoop the competition, the three young men from the Duke Lacrosse team were in essence ruled guilty by the media?" wrote Ross. "I know this damn sure isn't a Duke Lacrosse matter or even remotely close, because two innocent people are dead. But again we hear the media rush to judgment about why and how this horrific chain of events came to pass, but still without the evidence or a valid motive. So then why are three people dead? What caused this irrational and totally uncharacteristic behavior from an individual who hereto for had never demonstrated such tendencies in his workplace, not even once? I don't know and neither does anyone else until the medical examiner can provide more information and then there will be most likely questions in this matter than may never be answered. I know this, God knows and he will deal with this matter accordingly."

RELATED LINKS

  • RVD's website
  • Victoria's MySpace website
  • Jillian Hall's MySpace website
  • Matt Hardy's MySpace website
  • Jim Ross' website
  • Eric Bischoff's website

    BENOIT LINKS
  • Chris Benoit tragedy news section
  • Chris Benoit biography and story archive