Thursday, April 18

The Death Of Chris Benoit & His Unforgivable Acts

TRIGGER WARNING: The following article discusses instances of self harm and suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk or in immediate danger, please dial one of the suicide hotlines provided:

International Suicide Hotlines

Wrestling might be a form of entertainment meant to bring joy, but there have been countless dark moments behind the scenes. Over the decades, so many of our favorite wrestlers have died before their time. Some of those stories are more than simply heartbreaking, but shocking, such as Owen Hart’s death after a stunt went wrong during a WWE show in 1999. The most shocking wrestler death, however, might belong to someone else, due to the brutality of how it happened. In 2007, Chris Benoit was on top of the wrestling world, but over the course of a weekend, he and his family were dead at his hands. The death of Benoit, no matter how much history has tried to sweep it under the rug, changed WWE and wrestling forever.


Simply put, Chris Benoit’s name will never be brought up in WWE ever again. At one time one of the most notable names in the world of professional wrestling, the legacy of Benoit is not one that focuses on his in-ring career. It is one that focuses on the horrible and terrible acts that were committed at his home in 2007. Since it was learned what he did, Benoit has never been mentioned on WWE television. He will never be spoken of in WWE again, and you will never see him mentioned in any instance on television.

Chris Benoit Was A Major Name In WWE And WCW

He Was In The Main Event Of WrestleMania 20

  • Chris Benoit’s career began in 1985 in Stampede Wrestling.
  • He debuted for WWE in 2000.
  • Benoit is a former World Heavyweight Champion, United States Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and WWE Tag Team Champion.

Born in 1967 in Montreal, Chris Benoit began wrestling at just the age of 18 for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling. He had short stints with WCW and ECW, but it was when he returned to Ted Turner’s promotion in 1995 that he began to become one of the top stars in the business. He was a midcarder for a while, receiving attention in Ric Flair’s reinvented Four Horseman faction, but it was late in the decade and heading into 2000, as the old stars began to give way to the new, that Benoit became a main eventer. In 2000, he became the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, beating Sid Vicious for the vacant title at the promotion’s January event, Souled Out. It was an act of desperation for a crumbling company which didn’t work. The next day, Benoit left WCW.

He was next seen on an episode of Raw with three other former WCW wrestlers (Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn) as part of the Radicalz, but as the Attitude Era ended, Benoit quickly became a major singles star, even beating Shawn Michaels and Triple H at WrestleMania 20 for the World Heavyweight Championship. As the show ended, Benoit hugged his wife, Nancy (who was Woman in WCW), and his young son Daniel, as confetti rained down. It was a beautiful moment, but one that is now so difficult to watch.


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Chris Benoit Didn’t Show Up At WWE Vengeance: Night Of Champions In 2007

Chris Benoit Was Scheduled For An ECW Championship Match


  • Benoit was scheduled to face CM Punk for the ECW World Championship.
  • He had sent concerning messages to Chavo Guerrero and then stopped communicating altogether.
  • WWE had initially held a tribute show before they learned details of what happened.

In the summer of 2007, Benoit was still at the top of the card. At WWE’s June pay-per-view, Vengeance: Night of Champions, he was scheduled to face CM Punk for the vacant ECW World Championship. That’s when the downfall began. What happened next has been talked about many times by some of those involved, including in a Dark Side of the Ring episode. First, Benoit told WWE and one of his closest friends, Chavo Guerrero, that he and his family were sick that weekend. Then, Chris Benoit sent a concerning text to Chavo telling him that his dogs were in the backyard and the door was open. Soon after, all contact stopped, and no one could reach him. Meanwhile, the show went on, with Johnny Nitro taking Benoit’s place on the card.

When WWE wasn’t able to get a hold of him, the police were called. They arrived at the Benoit home to find a grisly scene. Chris Benoit, Nancy, and Daniel were all dead. It was a Monday, and with no one yet knowing the details, WWE canceled Raw that night and instead aired a tribute show to him, with Vince McMahon speaking to an empty stadium, and WWE Superstars talking in vignettes about what Benoit meant to them. As this was happening, the truth came out. Chris Benoit had murdered his family. He killed Nancy, strangling her, on June 22. The next day, he smothered his seven-year-old son, Daniel. The day after that, Chris Benoit hanged himself from a weight machine in his basement. WWE had just aired a heartfelt tribute to a man who was now revealed to be a killer.


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WWE Has Mostly Erased Chris Benoit From Its History

Chris Benoit’s Death Changed WWE Forever

  • The final time WWE ever mentioned Chris Benoit on television was on June 26, 2007.
  • Searching Benoit’s name on the WWE Network will not yield results.
  • When footage is shown of him, WWE blurs or omits his image.

That Tuesday, before an airing of ECW, Vince McMahon spoke to home viewers briefly in a taped segment. He said that because of the truth of what had happened to Chris Benoit now being out, WWE would not mention what had happened any further, instead choosing to focus on the in-ring product for fans. WWE has made no mention of him since. He can be found in every segment he was ever part of on Peacock and the WWE Network, but he is not talked about on TV, never celebrated for his accomplishments, and you’ll never see his name in the WWE Hall of Fame.

That doesn’t mean that Chris Benoit’s heinous actions were forgotten. An autopsy showed that Benoit’s brain had advanced CTE from years of wrestling, including the diving headbutt that he performed nightly. He was said to have the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. That led to some positive changes in WWE. Concussions were now taken seriously and those disgusting chair shots to the head disappeared from the company. Watch WWE in the past and you’ll see headshots delivered weekly. Today, every chair shot is given safely to the back instead.

WWE is justified in never speaking his name. Without excusing his crimes, he was also a very sick man in his final days, his brain ravaged by an advanced disease. While many acknowledge what he did in the ring, it is also impossible to separate Benoit from the horrible acts that he committed. Whatever accolades Benoit acquired in his career, they do not matter in comparison to what he did. Benoit, despite the calls that a vocal minority of fans want in regard to Benoit’s image to be revived, that will never, and should never, happen. In response to a fan at an Inside the Ropes event, Paul Heyman said,

“You can admire his work all you want, but I’ll give you my take on it since you want to keep on yelling out, ‘My boy.’ Three people died in that house that night. I don’t care about CTE. Three people died in that house that night. Only one person had the choice behind it. The other two didn’t have a choice to die. So if that’s your boy, f*** you.”

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