wrestlinginc.com
wrestlinginc.com
 
Chris Benoit: A Wrestling Legend's Triumphs and Tragedy
User avatar
Curated by
cdteliot
5 min read
1 month ago
174
Chris Benoit was a Canadian professional wrestler renowned for his technical prowess and significant achievements in the wrestling world, including multiple championships in WWE and WCW. However, his legacy is marred by the tragic events of June 2007, when he committed a double murder-suicide, killing his wife and son before taking his own life, an act that has led to his near-erasure from wrestling history and sparked discussions about the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in athletes.

 

Chris Benoit's Early Life and Career

steamcommunity.com
steamcommunity.com
Chris Benoit was born on May 21, 1967, in Montreal, Quebec, and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. From a young age, he was passionate about wrestling, idolizing wrestlers like Tom Billington and Bret Hart, whose moves he later incorporated into his own repertoire. Benoit began training seriously at the age of 12, and by high school, he was already winning awards in wrestling and bodybuilding. He started his professional wrestling career in 1985 with Stampede Wrestling, where he quickly made a name for himself by winning multiple titles, including four British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championships and four International Tag Team Championships. His success in Stampede Wrestling led him to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in 1989, where he wrestled under the name "The Pegasus Kid" and continued to build his reputation by winning prestigious tournaments like the Best of the Super Juniors and the Super J-Cup.
thefamouspeople.com favicon
imdb.com favicon
historytools.org favicon
5 sources

The Radicalz: Benoit's Transition to WWE

quora.com
quora.com
Chris Benoit transitioned to WWE in 2000 as part of a group known as The Radicalz, alongside Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn. This faction quickly aligned with Triple H, marking Benoit's entry into the WWF (now WWE) during the tail end of the Attitude Era. Benoit soon established himself as a formidable singles competitor, capturing the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 2000. His technical wrestling skills and intense in-ring style earned him significant acclaim, leading to high-profile feuds and multiple title reigns, including the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX, where he defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a memorable Triple Threat match.
thesportster.com favicon
reddit.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
5 sources

Shocking Murder-Suicide Details

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
On June 22, 2007, Chris Benoit murdered his wife, Nancy, by asphyxiation, binding her hands and feet before placing a Bible next to her body. The following day, he sedated his seven-year-old son, Daniel, with Xanax and then killed him by asphyxiation, also leaving a Bible by his side. Finally, on June 24, Benoit hanged himself using the cord of a weight machine in his home gym. The sequence of events shocked the wrestling community and the public, as Benoit was widely regarded as a dedicated family man. Friends and colleagues were stunned by the brutality and premeditation of the acts, which seemed incongruent with Benoit's public persona. The discovery of high levels of testosterone in Benoit's system led to speculation about "roid rage" as a potential factor, although it was later revealed that the testosterone was prescribed to counteract the effects of past steroid use. Additionally, subsequent examinations of Benoit's brain revealed severe damage consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition linked to repeated head trauma, which may have contributed to his violent behavior. The tragedy prompted widespread media coverage and intense scrutiny of the wrestling industry's practices, particularly concerning drug use and the long-term effects of concussions. WWE initially aired a tribute show for Benoit but quickly distanced itself from him once the details of the murder-suicide emerged, erasing nearly all references to him from their programming and publications.
en.wikipedia.org favicon
amazon.com favicon
news4jax.com favicon
5 sources

Factors Behind Benoit's Actions

medium.com
medium.com
Chris Benoit's tragic actions have been attributed to a combination of factors, including severe brain damage, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), depression, and substance abuse. Benoit sustained numerous concussions throughout his wrestling career, leading to significant brain damage. Post-mortem examinations revealed that his brain resembled that of an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient, with extensive damage across multiple areas, consistent with CTE. This condition, linked to repeated head trauma, can result in severe behavioral changes and cognitive decline. Additionally, Benoit was deeply affected by the death of his close friend Eddie Guerrero, which plunged him into a profound depression. Compounding these issues, Benoit had high levels of testosterone in his system at the time of his death, a result of long-term steroid use and subsequent medical prescriptions to counteract its effects. These elements, combined with personal stresses and the intense physical demands of his profession, likely contributed to his deteriorating mental state and the horrific events of June 2007.
abcnews.go.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
news4jax.com favicon
5 sources

WWE Erases Benoit Legacy

sportskeeda.com
sportskeeda.com
Following the revelation of Chris Benoit's involvement in the double murder-suicide, WWE took immediate and extensive measures to erase him from their history and programming. Initially, WWE aired a tribute show for Benoit, but once the details of the tragedy emerged, they swiftly distanced themselves from him. WWE removed nearly all mentions of Benoit from their website, including his biography, video tributes, and news articles related to the incident. His name was also excised from the MP3 release of his theme song "Rabid" and from the video game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008. Matches involving Benoit were either edited to exclude him or omitted entirely from future broadcasts and DVD releases. On the WWE Network, his matches were included without mentioning his name, and searching for his name yielded no results. This erasure extended to promotional materials, where his image was either blurred or removed, and his name was omitted from event descriptions. Despite these efforts, some references to Benoit, such as title histories, remained but without detailed summaries or clickable links.
bleacherreport.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
reddit.com favicon
5 sources

Benoit's Awards and Honors

Chris Benoit received numerous awards and honors throughout his wrestling career, reflecting his technical skill and impact on the sport. Below is a table summarizing some of his most notable accolades:
Award/HonorDetails
Cauliflower Alley ClubFuture Legend Award (2002)
Catch Wrestling AssociationCWA World Tag Team Championship (with Dave Taylor)
Extreme Championship WrestlingECW World Tag Team Championship (with Dean Malenko)
New Japan Pro WrestlingIWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, Super J Cup (1994), Best of the Super Juniors (1993, 1995), Super Grade Junior Heavyweight Tag League (with Shinjiro Otani)
Pro Wrestling IllustratedFeud of the Year (2004) vs. Triple H, Match of the Year (2004) vs. Shawn Michaels and Triple H at WrestleMania XX, Wrestler of the Year (2004), Ranked #1 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2004
Stampede WrestlingBritish Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship (four times), International Tag Team Championship (four times), Hall of Fame
World Championship WrestlingWCW United States Heavyweight Championship (two times), WCW World Heavyweight Championship, WCW World Tag Team Championship (with Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn), WCW World Television Championship (three times), Seventh WCW Triple Crown Champion
World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling EntertainmentWorld Heavyweight Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship (with Kurt Angle), WWE United States Championship (three times), WWF/E Intercontinental Championship (four times), WWF/E World Tag Team Championship (with Chris Jericho and Edge), Royal Rumble (2004), Twelfth Triple Crown Champion
Wrestling Observer Newsletter5-Star Match (1994) vs. Great Sasuke, Best Brawler (2004), Feud of the Year (2004) vs. Triple H and Shawn Michaels, Best Technical Wrestler (1994, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2004), Most Underrated (1998), Most Outstanding Wrestler (2000, 2004), Match of the Year (2002) with Kurt Angle vs. Edge and Rey Mysterio, Readers' Favorite Wrestler (1997, 2000), Hall of Fame (Class of 2003)
Benoit's extensive list of awards and honors underscores his significant contributions to professional wrestling, despite the controversy surrounding his legacy.
gwrestling.fandom.com favicon
cagematch.net favicon
simple.wikipedia.org favicon
5 sources

Impact of Eddie Guerrero's Death on Benoit

Eddie Guerrero's death in November 2005 profoundly affected Chris Benoit, plunging him into a deep depression. Guerrero and Benoit shared a close bond, having risen through the ranks together in various wrestling promotions, including WCW and WWE. Guerrero's passing left Benoit emotionally shattered, with friends and colleagues noting a significant change in his demeanor. Chris Jericho described Benoit's grief as overwhelming, recalling a desperate hug at Guerrero's funeral. Benoit became increasingly reclusive, refusing to take time off from WWE, which exacerbated his mental and emotional decline. His personal journal, gifted by his wife Nancy, revealed his struggle to cope with Guerrero's loss, further highlighting the depth of his despair. This emotional turmoil, combined with other factors like CTE and substance abuse, contributed to the tragic events of June 2007.
youtube.com favicon
cbr.com favicon
otherpsych.com favicon
5 sources
Related
how did Eddie Guerrero's death affect Chris Benoit's mental health
what were Chris Benoit's reactions at Eddie Guerrero's funeral
how did Chris Benoit's friends and family describe his grief after Eddie Guerrero's death
Keep Reading