Chris Benoit...

Sorry a departure from Poker and a little bit about the huge story. I used to follow wrestling so her are my thoughts....

At the start of the three hour tribute to Chris Benoit last night, I texted my friend--what if he killed his wife and kid? For those living in a hole pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and his young son all found dead in his Atlanta home yesterday. WWE scrapped it's storyline investigating the death (fake) of Vince McMahon, and canceled it's live three hour RAW special and instead aired a tribute to Benoit last night. Replete with WWE stars describing their love and respect for Benoit it was tearjerker and the more these huge musclemen cried and cried, the more it became compelling TV gold. Benoit was portrayed as a fallen hero. Yes, potentially a guy who just killed his 5 year old and his wife gets a three hour tribute. Triple H told a story about Benoit administering discipline to a young wrestler that disrespected his elders just last week. Of course Benoit sounding somewhat like a sadistic pledgemaster on edge recently was less a tribute and more a revelation at his state of mind even if Triple H didn't see it that way.

Background story... Benoit met his wife while working in the WCW. Kevin Sullivan, the head booker (meaning the guy who decides who is going to win the scripted matches), paired Benoit and Sullivan's real life wife as a for TV couple. Pretty soon they were a real couple. When Sullivan discovered the affair, Benoit and Sullivan had to be pulled apart almost every week. Precursor to the Edge/Matt Hardy/Lita fiasco (which I'll touch on). However, despite being the other man Benoit remained the fan favorite, even with Sullivan scripting Benoit to lose every match he fought on TV and making him a "jobber"(just rewards).

He jumped ship with his girlfriend to the WWE and they got married. He dutifully climbed the ranks into one of the stars and people forgot his transgressions. He was mentor to young guys like Edge who also cried about how Benoit was always there for him. I bet he was. Recently, when Edge started banging the performer Lita, Matt Hardy's real life fiancee, I'm sure Benoit was there for him. Edge took it a step further as he was also married to someone else and Matt Hardy was his best friend. Then Matt was the one who got fired. The fans, hearing the story, rised up against Edge's and Lita's character and chanted slut every time she walked out the door toward the ring. Edge also drew such "heat" that he went from tag-teamer to Main Eventer and even WWE champion. The fans were unrelenting and of course the WWE profited even more from this. Matt Hardy had such a face "pop" that even though he was wrestling for nobody he had one of the highest Q ratings out there. So WWE hired him back. And guess what they did? They buried him. Fans wanted to see him kick Edge's ass so they wrestled and Edge always won.

Have to hand it to WWE, if Matt wins storyline over, the bad guy gets his. But if Edge keeps beating down the white knight people keep tuning in to see if the white knight finally gets revenge. Ultimately, because of other factors Matt Hardy never got it and the storyline was put on the backburner because of injuries mandating Edge be in the title picture. So in review, his best friend Edge starts banging his fiancee, Matt gets fired, gets rehired only to lose in the ring every week to the guy that stabbed him in the back and then that guy becomes the WWE champion. What's this got to do with Chris Benoit?

If I can ask 5 minutes into the show, what if Chris Benoit killed his son and wife, wouldn't Vince McMahon have asked the same question. Wouldn't an executive at the WWE have said, wait a second details are "fuzzy" as yet, why don't we wait until airing a three hour tribute to a guy who might have killed his wife, HIS innocent son, and then himself. Moreover, as of Sunday wrestlers started getting strange text messages from Benoit himself. He told WWE he couldn't make it to their Sunday pay per view because his famly was throwing up blood. Then when he stopped returning calls to the WWE they asked police to investigate.

They discovered his dead body in his weight room. They discovered his wife's body in their living room and his son's body in his bedroom. The timeline for death is his wife died on Saturday, his son on Sunday, and Benoit on Monday. Meaning that poor kid walked around for a day with his dead Mother in the living room. Then Benoit, if he killed them, took a full day to kill himself with his wife and son in adjacent rooms.

WWE made a decision that was purely financially driven. In a business where "Controversy Breeds Cash," is the mantra WWE realize the bad publicity they get for airing a tribute to a murderer will be huge publicity. The stupid stunt of somebody killing Vince McMahon was scrapped because they got something much bigger. Next week, what will the ratings be when WWE is forced to make some sort of retraction. How do they not address the issue. What will the wrestlers say about the guy who killed himself and his family.

The WWE and wrestling in general, realizes that shoots (real animosity that comes out on stage) always gets a better response then scripted ones. They have profited from their wrestlers misery and deaths in the past. Eddie Guerro's death got a one year storyline. His widow, a non actress and non wrestler, got a job under the beneficient subtext of Vince giving her money for nothing to help out Eddie's family but really it was to capitalize on his fans love of him and dealing with his death. She got big cheers like his brother (catipulted from nobody to main eventer) until finally that ebbed out and they turned her into a bad guy spitting on her deceased husband's memory. That was a highlight.

What's my point, the more I think about it, WWE didn't f up and organize a three hour tribute to Benoit, they did it on purpose. Now, long time fans will tell you Benoit was the last guy you suspect this of, he was the most respected guy in the locker room, and a hard working company guy with a quiet dignity. When he finally got his title everybody thought finally and an honest guy wins it. So the WWE will be able to say like the well meaning neigbors of s a serial killer--we had no idea. Just like they had no idea all the pills and needles these guys use lead to early deaths and drug addictions.

It's possible, though unlikely Benoit didn't kill his family. Maybe they were all poisoned by someone else. However, I fear the storyline for this one is as obvious as a Hulk Hogan comeback and his legdrop for a victory. Benoit's wife as is her habit took up with another man. Benoit discovered it, went into roid rage and probably strangled her, maybe even did it in front of his kid. Then with his son asking questions and sulking around the house for a day with his dead mom in the living room, Benoit realized he had killed this kid's mom and was going to go to jail. So he did the "noble" thing and spared the kid a life without parents, or the burden of knowing his dad killed his mom and killed him too. So what if his other children could have adopted his son. Then it sunk into Chris he had just killed his son and he couldn't face prison. So this man hailed as a hero... cowardly took his own life. That's the predicable outcome, I hope it isn't true because believing the WWE's hype I always respected Chris Benoit as a solid citizen, a hard worker, and stand up guy.

Oddly enough, Benoit won his title the same night as Eddie Guerroro did. And like Eddie this tragedy will milked for every dollar it can be. The WWE will feel obligated to talk about it and to shepherd their fans through their grief, and their ratings will go up as everybody wants to see how this tragedy will be handled. My advice, let the news stations who will sensationalize it for profit, feed you this information. At least when one of their own suffers, Bob Woodward, Peter Jennings, and Ed Bradley at least they draw the line there. Sure they'll exploit anybody else but not their own. Only the WWE crosses that line.

Comments

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