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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Chris Benoit Murders Wife, Son, 
Then Kills Self; Wrestling World Reels
June 26, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

LAST UPDATED AT 3PM ON SATURDAY, JUNE 30. ALL UPDATES APPENDED AT BOTTOM OF PAGE, BELOW THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM MONDAY NIGHT:

I have often been told things like "Rick, I know it's sick to say this, but you really are at your best when somebody in wrestling dies."

Well, folks, prepare to be disappointed.
 

I spent the time between 5:30pm and 8:15pm on Monday fielding and collating an ludicrous number of phone calls, voice mails, txt msgs, and e-mails. 

I'd estimate that by 5:45, I was clinically retarded as a result of the sheer confusion and shock caused by the news I'd received. Somewhere out there are about a dozen people who spoke to me, and who are probably wondering 

who the hell robbed The Rick of about 150 of his IQ points.

Hearing about one of your favorite performers being found dead along with his wife and young son will do that to a man. Not to belittle any previous Wrestling Death I've covered, but it really was the Hat Trick of Suck that got my in my soft, girlish underbelly more than the loss of Benoit The Performer. Three for the price of one; and you can't forget that Benoit's wife was a performer of some repute in her own right (hey, without her performance as "Robin Greene" in WCW of the 80s, there very well may never have been a Rick Steiner; at least, not one with coattails sturdy enough for brother Scott to ride to stardom; and think how *that* might have changed things over the past 2 decades). This triple-shot of sad was all new to me, baby. And it felt worse than any 80mph foul tip I ever took to the crotch while umpiring, to boot.

Around 8pm, I looked at the bottle of whiskey in the cabinet, determined that it would meet my needs for the night, and sat down to watch what I knew would be a tough RAW. By now, my confusion and shock were being compounded by the fact that whatever part of my brain *did* still function was now making mental notes for a wrestling column. "Chris Benoit, Greatest Wrestler Ever, Dead at 40; Wife and Son Along For The Ride" was being written on the fly, almost utterly decimating my ability to carry on conversation or do anything other than refill my cocktail glass.

Three hours of tribute to Benoit go by. A bit of whiskey numbs the pure freaked-outted-ness of the whole thing. I figure I might as well start trying to collect a little info so I can write up about 6000 words of Benoit Tribute before bed. I felt up to it. Though still far from my normal, comfortable self, I think I was probably back up to at least 90 or 100 Fully Functional IQ Points by 11pm. Enough to be, if nothing else, utterly average and serviceable.

My local news actually picked up the story, but had no real details beyond what WWE was reporting (and both the CBS and ABC affiliates here in town opted to refer to Benoit as "Ben-oyt"). I took a stab in the dark, and tried former OO Semi-star Erin Anderson, who might have had additional info from the local Atlanta Media (and who was among the many who had called earlier in the night and  deserved an apology for my near catatonic conversational skills at the time), but she's waking up at 6am these days and wasn't in a mood to chat. A few other folks I know got called, but I got shuttled to voicemail all around the horn. That last one was odd, but I thought little of it, figuring everybody had just got done watching RAW, and the last thing they wanted to do was to talk or think MORE about Benoit. So I made the mistake of thinking the only information I'd have to report would be a total lack of new information, and decided "Well, I'll just catch me some Letterman and SportsCenter before going to the computer to write."

Which is when I learned that the Associated Press (as of 11:30pm on Monday night) were reporting that police were investigating the death of the Benoit family (Chris, his wife Nancy and son Daniel) as a suicide and a double homicide. Police have already said that a "working theory" involves Benoit as the murderer (his wife and kid killed over the weekend), who eventually killed himself at some point on Monday.

I do not report that as fact. I merely repeat what I have both seen and read reported by ESPN and other generally-reliable outlets. Or at least, they are outlets with no particular reason for inventing outright lies. ESPN has it already. I can only assume CNN, FOXNews, CNBC and others will all have it by tomorrow morning. 

I hope you understand, at this point, if I have absolutely no stomach for trying to live up to my reputation as the Internet's Greatest Eulogizer. Nothing -- not over a decade of fandom of Benoit's work, not Benoit's contributing 2 of the 5 greatest wrestling matches I've ever witnessed live, not anything -- can make me feel right about paying tribute to Chris Benoit.

Not yet. Maybe later. Hopefully later. After we hear some good news. Something better than we've heard so far tonight, anyway.

Till then, if I tried to live up to my reputation, I know I'd fail. My words wouldn't be coming from the usual place: the honest place, the place of unconditional respect and fondness for somebody who entertained me for years. My words, if I tried to form them, would frankly be a bushel of pleasant-sounding, but essentially-empty half-remembrances. Even if you're the sort who wants to assume the best about Benoit right now: I assure you that the best thing *I* can do for his memory is to hold off till I mean it. 

I dunno how your mind and your morality works, but if it really does do ya fine, try to remember the good. But maybe start bracing yourself for the worst.

A few other factual notes (which I will update as I get more info and am able to deem it credible, so keep reloading and checking back on this page for the next day or so, as it will be Benoit Central until such time as we have reason to do a Whole Big Write Up or Tribute or something):

  • I found out about this around 5:30, and I think WWE.com can take credit for breaking the story shortly before 6pm. 
     
    Tonight's RAW was originally designed to be a faux funeral/tribute show to Vince McMahon, who fake-died in a car bombing two weeks ago. In keeping with this motif, the arena in Texas was adorned with a bunch of funereal imagery and spots on the concourses where fans could be filmed "paying homage" to Vince McMahon. 
     
    When WWE received news of the Benoit family tragedy late in the afternoon, the first move was to assemble the talent (around 5pm eastern) and tell them what happened. And then, rather than open the doors to the arena and try striking the entire funereal motif, they just sent the fans home, and went with the clip show that we all saw.
     
    Vince McMahon, he of the fake dead-ness, opened the show with a prepared statement (which was replayed several times throughout the 3-hour telecast). This, regardless of the possibly morbid circumstances surrounding this tragedy, certainly counts as the bare minimum of thoughtful and decent behavior on WWE's part. [WWE was fully aware of the backlash and fan distaste for the "Dead Vince" storyline, as witnessed by a live crowd opening mocking and booing Stephanie McMahon last week when she tried to eulogize her father. Hubris had them believing they could turn that around with a big fancy 3-hour song and dance tonight. Reality hopefully now has them realizing that this is a storyline best left forgotten and never mentioned again.]
     
  • The start of the Benoit debacle came on Saturday. Contrary to my original understanding, Benoit didn't start the house show swing this weekend and get called away.... rather, he never left Atlanta, and called the company on Saturday, claiming a "family emergency."
     
    As late as Sunday afternoon, he had led WWE management to believe he would be in Houston for the Vengeance PPV, where Benoit was scheduled to win the ECW Title. When Benoit did not show, and did not call to explain himself, WWE instituted Plan B (Johnny Nitro faced CM Punk, instead, and Nitro won the ECW belt). Also: it was at this point that friends, co-workers, and employers got genuinely concerned about Benoit and his family. 
     
    And I do mean GENUINELY concerned. Depending on how tightly certain people guard Chris' privacy, you should not be surprised to hear stories about how Benoit's troubles at home were not exactly a well-kept secret over the past few weeks, to the point that co-workers were worried. Even I did a brief (but not necessarily overly-concerned) double-take when it was announced Benoit was a no-show for Sunday's PPV because of the vague and mysterious whispers that had only started to seep out to third-hand chumps like me and had yet to take on any discernable shape.
     
    After Vengeance concluded, and Benoit was still unaccounted-for, calls were made, and the Atlanta PD (or appropriate suburban authority) eventually made a "welfare call" on the Benoit household on Monday afternoon. 
     
    It was at this time (between 2:30 and 3pm eastern time) that Benoit, his wife Nancy, and son Daniel were all found dead. I believe both Chris and Nancy have children by previous marriages, but they were not living with the couple at the time of this incident.
     
    Chris recently turned 40. I believe Nancy (who worked as "Woman" for WCW and ECW throughout the 80s and early 90s) was slightly older than that. I believe Daniel was roughly 10 years old, having been born not too long after Chris and Nancy became a real-life couple in the late 90s (following an on-screen coupling).
     
  • And if you're ready for the gut-churner: 
     
    Police sources are telling reporters that -- though they will not officially confirm anything, not until autopsies and full crime scene investigations are complete -- the three bodies were found in three different rooms of the Atlanta-area residence, apparently deceased at three different times (Nancy first and as early as Saturday, Daniel second, and Benoit not until Monday morning). One police source was quoted as saying the smell of decaying flesh was already strong, further supporting the idea that this is something that had to have played out over the course of days, not just in the last few hours before the police visit.
     
    Chillingly, though the PD have explicitly ruled out shooting or stabbing deaths, they admit to the press that the "instruments of death" have already been recovered. Also: the police have told the media that there are not interested in looking for any suspects outside of the household.
     
    Again, it should be noted that this is information being distributed from on-the-scene police sources to reporters (and not via any official spokespersons or press conferences). But my experience is that -- even off the record -- police sources don't give out details and information like this without having a pretty damned good reason why.
     
  • WWE.com, after running with a fairly "safe" and sanitized version of the story up until around midnight, has now acknowledged the media reports about a possible murder/suicide. Ominously, they have also started shuffling/removing certain tributes to Benoit that had been posted previously to the site.
     
    The ones removed so far are exclusively the tributes that had to do with Benoit and his love for his family. Which (if you watched the 3-hour RAW) you'll know is a goodly percentage of them. If this story does not change substantively before dawn, all the tributes may be gone by the time you read this, and WWE may take a completely different tack in covering the story.
     
    There is also already talk that WWE has internally scrapped plans for ECW and SmackDown! this week to be Benoit Tribute shows, and they will return to normal business. When WWE starts to distance itself from you, well....
     
    Let's just say that the feeling of being repeatedly kicked in the balls continues. If ECW tomorrow is business as usual, that tells you everything you need to know about what WWE knows. And the way things are looking, that's exactly what they're planning to deliver. 
     
  • Again, I apologize if you're cut of a jib that says "everybody's innocent till proven guilty, so just remember the good, and quit rumor mongering." Your optimism and good-cheer certainly help the world go 'round. And I hope against hope that in the coming hours or days, I'll be kissing your asses, praising your restraint, and celebrating how you were right and I was wrong.
     
    But for now: no tribute. No eulogy. Only the wait for stone cold facts, rock hard information, and the knowledge that I'm already sort of suspecting I'm gonna want to un-learn as soon as I hear it.
     
    Thus concludes What OO Knows As Of 2am (Monday night/Tuesday morning, eastern). Again: check back frequently, as updates will be made here until we get those stone cold facts and have reason to move into Phase 3 of our Coping With This.
     
    Now where's the rest of that damned whiskey?
     

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 3:40PM UPDATE:

  • Police in suburban Atlanta have just held the first official news conference on this matter.
     
    They confirm that Chris Benoit first bound, and then strangled his wife Nancy to death on Friday. A day later, he suffocated his son Daniel with a plastic bag. On late Saturday or early Sunday, he hanged himself with a cord from a work-out machine.
     
    There was no suicide note, but bibles had been placed with the bodies of Nancy and Daniel. Clarifying my previous item: Nancy was 43 years old, and Daniel was 7.
     
    When asked, the police spokesperson confirmed that prescription drugs and steroids were found within the residence. 
     
  • If you're thinking "one time outburst of Roid Rage," you'd probably better think again. The usual muckrakers have uncovered legal documents from 2003, when Nancy requested a divorce and restraining order against Benoit, citing physical intimidation and threats of violence against her person.
     
    She pulled back those requests before they were granted by the court.
     
  • To my surprise, I heard that many of the expected outlets for this kind of sensational story were a bit slow to pick up on it early this morning (often burying it as a 30 second blurb amidst wall-to-wall Paris Hilton coverage).
     
    This changed around lunchtime, and the reason why it took that long is both sad and kind of funny: none of the 24-hour news channels wanted to get burned with another "hoax" like the "death" of Vince McMahon. Pardon me for being a dick, but precisely who got successfully "hoaxed" on the one?
     
    Anyway, it's all over the place now, and you can expect all kinds of tabloid coverage of this tragedy in the coming hours and days.
     
  • WWE has continued distancing itself from Benoit and his story. Presently, there is only one front page link to what is essentially a reprinting of the latest AP report on the WWE.com website.
     
    Others with more time than I have tell me that by 1pm, the entire website had been "scrubbed" of just about all other Benoit mentions (including deleting his name from PPV results, and removing all his merchandise from ShopZone).
     
    With the police findings at Benoit's house, and with a media looking to explore every possible angle, you can bet that WWE is not just going to deal with the bad press of Benoit being a murderer, but will also have to deal with another round of scrutiny as it relates to their Wellness Program and drug testing procedures.
     
    There has also been some mild backlash against WWE for running a positive Tribute Show to Benoit last night. As sick to my stomach as I am over this, there's no reasonably minded person who could fault WWE for how they handled things last night, not unless they're just out to try to make themselves look like the sole proprietors of the Moral High Ground. Cuz other than self-righteous posturing, there's no reason to rip into WWE for the show they presented. 
     
    There are already media reports of "curious" text messages received by Benoit's friends on Sunday that are part of the reason why people became so concerned by Sunday night that WWE called the authorities in Atlanta and requested a "welfare check." But to suggest that anybody had truly come to the conclusion that Benoit had been the perpetrator of a double-murder/suicide at 5pm last night (which is when this information hit the WWE lockerroom) would be an exaggeration.
     
    Also: the people who might have had some kind of nagging suspicion due their their personal relationship with Benoit were NOT the people who were in charge of figuring out what the hell to do about a live telecast that begins in 2 hours.
     
  • It goes without saying that my tidbit from last night about "business as usual" will be borne out: no more TV tributes to Benoit. Starting with ECW tonight, it's back to wrestling.
     
    By all accounts, the Death Of Vince McMahon storyline is also going to be ignored and forgotten.
     
  • I think that's all I have for now. I still have not decided precisely what my next step will be, besides just updating this page with incremental information that emerges. It's becoming harder and harder to envision some kind of celebration of Benoit's career.... but when the time is right, I promise I'll figure out some appropriate way of providing closure to this mind-numbing situation.
     
    Till then, keep checking back here and reloading this page, as I'll keep appending updates to the bottom as they become necessary. Later on, folks...

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 6:40PM UPDATE:

  • WWE has made a few more announcements regarding event and TV scheduling in the wake of this afternoons grisly confirmations.
     
    For one, they have shuffled line-ups so that they can return to Corpus Christi, TX, for a live edition of RAW in just 3 weeks (on July 16). All tickets for last night's event will be honored. I'm not precisely sure what tangible benefit is gained by rushing back so fast, but on a day where every wrestling related newsbite feels like an eyeball punch, this at least has the feel of "nice gesture" to it.
     
    And for two, all future airings of last night's RAW (repeat broadcasts in Canada, and overseas airings) will be replaced by other content. If you didn't see the "Tribute to Chris Benoit" last night, you won't ever see it.
     
    I said above that no right-thinking person can blame WWE for running the show that they did last night (not even the west coast replay, which started roughly commensurate with word getting out about the murder/suicide investigation).... I now say that no thinking person cannot commend WWE for pulling these repeats/foreign broadcasts. It's a small thing, but an important thing.
     
  • Despite handling things about as well as could possibly be expected, WWE's stock dropped 31 cents today (roughly 2 percent of it's overall value). When trading opens tomorrow, WWE will be valued at a 2-month low.
     
  • WWE has gone on the offensive, releasing a statement calling post-news-conference reporting irresponsible and speculative. Most of this centered on the issue of drug/steroid use and insinuations of roid rage or institutional failure by WWE's Wellness Program to catch those problems.
     
    In the press release, WWE notes (very bluntly and matter-of-factly) that Georgia police never drew those conclusions, as simple crime scene evidence points to premeditation. Not to an irrational outburst. Nancy was bound and tied before her strangulation. Daniel lived for 24 hours after his mother's death. Nobody, at this point, can say that Chris Benoit was a clear-headed and sane man; but WWE claims that these facts point to something other than a singular outburst of "roid rage."
     
    Of course, they also make sure to mention that Chris Benoit successfully passed all tests and examinations (including a drug screening) on April 10, 2007.
     
  • Perhaps most disturbing of the latest round of news: several sources are now reporting that Daniel Benoit was found with numerous needle marks on his body, the result of being injected with growth hormone or other substances because "his parents felt he was undersized."
     
    As yet, police have not indicated that the Benoit household held any illegally-obtained substances, leaving us to at least consider the possibility that the steroids and drugs found were legally and responsibly prescribed. But I'm having a hard time swallowing that pill. Daniel was "undersized"? No, he was FRICKING SEVEN YEARS OLD. What are you undersized for at that age? 
     
    To be honest: I have answers to that (not-quite-rhetorical) question. But at this point, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Chris Benoit is a murderer. I'll save the contemplation over what kind of chronically-screwed-up parent he might have been for another time. I don't think my brain is prepared to cope with another layer of soul-crushing Suck right now.
     
  • Once again: keep checking back and refreshing this page. Updates will be appended as they are deemed necessary. Later, kids....

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 9:50AM UPDATE:

  • The latest twist in the saga of young Daniel Benoit's needle-marked body involves him suffering from a relatively rare disorder known as "Fragile X Syndrome."
     
    This report originated in Canada, last night, when friends of the Benoit family discussed this in an interview.
     
    Some of the wrestling media -- perhaps just looking for some semblance of normalcy and decency -- quoted the article (which itself had the misfortune of quoting Wikipedia as if that is the last, best bastion of medical information), and surmised that "Oh, so that's why Daniel Benoit had the needlemarks. They were treating his disease with the HGH."
     
    There's just one problem with that: being "undersized" is not listed in any of the literature as a key symptom of this disorder, and HGH didn't show up as a recommended treatment during my cursory examination of www.FragileX.org (whose word I will take over Wikifrickingpedia any day of the week). 
     
    It is, rather, a behavioral and psychiatric disorder. It is an inherited genetic disorder, as well, but before you go flying off the handle with theories that maybe Chris Benoit had this mental disorder, and it caused him to flip out and murder his family, you need to know: because the mutation that causes Fragile X is passed along on the X chromosome (thus the name), IT CANNOT BE PASSED FROM FATHER TO SON.
     
    If you're feeling super-motivated and curious, there is the entire Fragile X website for your perusal.
     
    Despite what you may see the intellectual titans who call themselves "wrestling journalists" saying out there, HGH and Fragile X do not appear to belong in the same equation or same discussion. It should be noted, however, that this does NOT mean there are not legitimate reasons for the needle marks.
     
    Fragile X *is* treated with several injectable drugs. If the authorities who were quoted as saying they suspected Daniel of being injected with HGH was simply talking out of his ass, theorizing (or possibly even misquoted or misunderstood), then it remains possible that the needle marks are simply the result of a legitimate treatment for Daniel's condition.
     
    If, however, it turns out that those claims of "undersized-ness" and HGH were correct, then that's still troublesome, and becomes something you have to consider as a separate issue entirely from this particular disorder.
     
    This, more than likely, will end up being a matter for a toxicology report, which is not expected to be available for weeks.
     
  • Not surprisingly, most of the clowns who populate the worthless genre of "24 Hour News Punditry" leapt all over this story last night. My understanding is that the two most popular tacks taken by hosts were to either (1) vilify WWE or the wrestling industry, or (2) blame "Roid Rage."
     
    Neither of these is a particularly thoughtful or incisive way to look at the situation, but we're talking about TV personalities who think yammering on about Paris Hilton for hours at a time is noble work. They're only slightly more capable of analytical thought than their braindead viewers, it seems.
     
    For whatever it's worth, the shows who had reputable guests on (the list ranged from Bret Hart to my old benefactor Alex Marvez) seemed to do a better job presenting the story responsibly. Those with ties to the industry tried to explain things simply and clearly, and presented their information with no apparent desire to feed the anti-WWE/"Roid Rage" machine.
     
    Though it seems to me that the traditional model of "Roid Rage" is woefully incomplete as an explanation (the methodical nature of the crime points to altogether other mental problems), you can probably expect folks to be on the edge of their seats when Chris' toxicology report comes out, too.
     
    WWE (truthfully) claims that Benoit successfully passed a comprehensive screening on April 10. What they leave out is the part where this was at the height of the Sports Illustrated Steroid Scandal, and the company-wide tests on April 10 were FAR from an unexpected "pop quiz." A crafty veteran wouldn't have had any problem seeing the test coming, and being able to evade it. Especially if a crafty veteran was a client of one of the companies being splashed all over the press. Which, it turns out, Benoit was (according to a Wednesday morning AP report).
     
    If the final toxicology report confirms everybody's worst suspicions, that's when things'll get really ugly. And probably stupid, as people start arguing and posturing over what "roid rage" is and how many different kinds of it exist and how we clearly now have the real culprit in the case. 
     
    Here, on June 27, 2007, I preemptively declare that anyone who gets wrapped up in that debate and who ever tries to point a finger anywhere other than directly at Chris Benoit's chest is really missing the point and could stand for a lesson or two in Personal Accountability. Steroids didn't do this, Vince McMahon didn't do this, the culture of the wrestling industry didn't do this. Chris Benoit did this. Same way that gun control laws and videogame violence didn't commit any crimes at VATech a few months ago.
     
    End rant.
      
  • WWE has released a series of five text messages sent by Benoit to various WWE performers on Sunday morning (at 4am, though it's unclear if that's the eastern time zone -- where Benoit was -- or the central time zone -- where all WWE employees were located in preparation for the Vengeance PPV).
     
    The messages are less illuminating than they are creepy. One message tells its recipient that the garage door will be left open and the dogs are fed. Two messages simply contain the statement that "My physical address is Such-and-Such." The two "physical location" messages were then repeated a second time using Nancy Benoit's cellphone, instead of Chris'.
     
    Those are the types of messages that would be impossible to decipher at the time, although (in combination with equally odd messages also sent to Benoit's neighbors) hindsight allows us to interpret this as Chris Benoit's disjointed final plea to please come find our bodies, and hopefully do it before the dogs need to eat again.
     
    Like I said: unilluminating. But creepy as hell.
     
  • Vince McMahon pretty much laid out the WWE Mission Statement for how they're going to deal with this on TV during a brief 20-second comment on last night's ECW.
     
    There will be no further mentions of Chris Benoit on TV. WWE is appalled by the tragedy. And though no "apology" was explicitly offered, the implication was that if WWE knew -- at 8pm on Monday -- what they knew on Tuesday, there's no way they ever would have broadcast the version of RAW that they did.
     
    WWE's moratorium on Chris Benoit merchandise has also created a massive glut of Benoit-related items on eBay, where some sellers are really looking to clean up.
     
    And in one of those fabricated internet "nontroversies," some fans are up in arms because WWE's "scrubbing" of their product to remove Benoit extended to confiscating all Benoit related signs at last night's TV tapings. This is a policy that is certain to continue.
     
    I don't see what there is to get worked up about: there was no distinction made between signs that would vilify Benoit or signs that would honor him. WWE just doesn't want to be associated with the man anymore, and with good reason. If anything, I'm having a hard time understanding why fans would care that much to make up a sign of either type.
     
    Venting your anger with Benoit doesn't bring back Nancy and Daniel. And trying to respectfully pay homage to Benoit's memory means you're needlessly memorializing a murderer. Neither strikes me as particularly appropriate or healthy.
     
    I'm sure my own final catharsis on this matter will take the form of a lengthy rant, but for now, my main feeling is that Chris Benoit was simply a broken human being. The tragedy here is in what happened to his wife and son. What happened with Chris, on the other hand, strikes me more as the inevitable conclusion of some sort of cosmically faulty wiring. Chris Benoit is not a tragic figure, not a sympathetic figure, not really a villain, and certainly no hero. His ultimate nature, it seems, was that he was fundamentally broken. You can't really condemn a guy to hell for that. But you also shouldn't be turning a blind eye to his internal shortcomings and try to celebrate him, either.
     
    I'm not phrasing that well, and I can't even tell if I'm being utterly insensitive or if I'm being too sensitive. And *that*, my friends and neighbors, is probably as good a reason as any why I don't really see the problem with WWE confiscating all Benoit-related signs from people who probably aren't thinking any more clearly than I am, who are probably as conflicted as I am, and who might just serve to start unnecessary debates and trouble in the crowd among fans. 
     
    Like I said: to me, a non-issue.
     
  • That's all for now. Remember: return, reload, and refresh, as I'll continue posting relevant updates here as they are necessary.
     

SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 3:00PM UPDATE:

  • The only major developments to the Benoit debacle over the past few days center on his personal physician and self-reported long-time friend, Dr. Phil Astin.
     
    On Tuesday, Dr. Astin told reporters that Chris Benoit had been in to visit him on Friday. This would have been mere hours before he bound and strangled his wife Nancy to death. Astin said that Chris appeared to be in good enough spirits, his normal self. Dr. Astin declined to comment on what, precisely, brought Benoit in and what prescriptions he may have supplied.
     
    On Wednesday, Dr. Astin's office came under investigation. First local police visited the office, and later a Drug Enforcement Agency raid followed. The involvement of federal agents may point to a bigger picture, but authorities have explicitly stated that the Astin investigation stems from prescription drugs found inside the Benoit home. 
     
    Although records have shown Benoit to be a former client of one of those internet "wellness" purveyors who got busted in a multi-agency steroid sting in March, authorities say the Benoit house did not contain any drugs obtained from the internet. That leaves Dr. Astin as Benoit's source for whatever he may have been taking... and apparently, whatever Benoit was taking (or at least, had around the house) was deemed suspicious enough to investigate.
     
  • An alleged visit by Nancy Benoit to Dr. Astin on Thursday also provides the basis for the current Theory Of The Day: Chris and Nancy were struggling with how to treat their son's Fragile X Syndrome, and may have argued violently over the proper treatment, leading to last weekend's debacle.
     
    No less than WWE's long-time in-house legal counsel, Jerry McDevitt, has said that it was well known that Daniel's medical condition was a point of contention between Chris and Nancy. However, no less than WWE President Linda McMahon claims to have had no previous knowledge of Daniel's condition.
     
    Even more strange: Daniel's grandparents (Nancy's parents) claim to have had no idea that Daniel was suffering from any sort of diagnosed disorder, and they would frequently visit and babysit him.
     
    Something just doesn't feel right about all these differing claims. For WWE's in-house lawyer to claim something was well-known when Daniel's own grandparents didn't know it is downright bizarre.
     
    Without engaging in any sort of hypothesizing, I will at least say that these claims and revelations open up several cans of worms when it comes to what Daniel's condition may have been and how his parents' were dealing (or perhaps not dealing) with it.
     
  • Michael Benoit -- Chris' father -- has also been interviewed. His primary message was to offer his and his family's most heartfelt condolences to Nancy's family, and expressing a general feeling of confusion.
     
    Also, he confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Chris Benoit will be buried in a private service in Edmonton. Nancy and Daniel will be cremated and memorialized in a service in Daytona Beach, FL (where Nancy and her family are from). For obvious reasons, no additional details about either service are being released.
     
  • The Benoit story continues to permeate the "24 hour news cycle," though I guess a few networks scaled back yesterday to cover the piddling matter of a foiled terrorist plot in London; lost in the shuffle was the chance to see the Ultimate Warrior babble incoherently on FOX News. Oh well...
     
    I've pretty much forbade myself from letting any of these shows poop into my brain, and would hope most wrestling fans are doing the same. Even in small doses, the sheer volume of factually incorrect information being disseminated by dimwits like Nancy Grace and Geraldo has stunned me. Literally stunned me. I know not everybody is a 20-year fan of wrestling, but that doesn't excuse you from doing at least a minimum amount of research so that you don't go "reporting" things such as "Sherri Martel also died on the same day as Nancy Benoit, so clearly Vince McMahon is Satan Incarnate." Which is something that Geraldo actually reported.
     
    Another fun story "reported" by these dum-dums was that Nancy Benoit's death was listed on Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page on Sunday night, more than 12 hours before the bodies were found. Because the IP address of that Wiki update resolved to Stamford, CT, the working theory was that WWE knew about the deaths on Sunday evening, and apparently kept it secret for the better part of a day, thanks to help from Deep Throat, a guy on the Grassy Knoll, and AquaMan.
     
    The only "story" there was that some fan let his imagination run wild with possibilities after Benoit missed the Vengeance PPV, and irresponsibly posted that theory for Benoit's absence on Wikipedia on Sunday. And you people wondered why I made fun of Wikipedia in a previous update....
     
    Of the myriad industry-related folks who've been carted out as guests for these shows, most seem to be trying to steer discussion away from the "Roid Rage" issue, and towards a far more complicated (and thus, far less "sexy") explanation involving Chris Benoit's mental state. A few notable exceptions to this, however, are Bruce Hart (BRUCE, not Bret; Bret's been very level headed about this in his interview appearances) and Debra McMichael/Austin/Whatever-Her-Last-Name-Is-Now. Bruce called Benoit "a delusional juice freak" and claims to have known that Benoit was mentally unstable for years (he bases this on seeing Benoit 3-4 times in recent years, and exclusively at funerals). And Debra has used this tragedy to go on record talking about her abuse at the hands of Steve Austin, and how she thinks the steroids he took drove him to it.
     
    On a happier note: Chris Jericho surfaced briefly on Thursday night on CNN, and came off as exceptionally intelligent and unbelievably level-headed. He came off great. Well, except for the fact that he's looking even douchier than he did last summer on that celebrity duets show. Sweet fancy moses, can't SOMEbody who cares about the guy slap the Bravo Network out of him. For his own good.
     
  • Ratings for this week's WWE TV shows:
     
    Monday's RAW averaged a 3.8 over the course of 3 hours. However, if you discount the extra hour (which many fans may have forgotten or not been aware of), RAW averaged a 4.0 rating in its normal 9-11pm timeslot. This is roughly on par with the previous two week's numbers, which makes sense. For the vast majority of the country, there was only 60-90 minutes between the news about Benoit breaking and the start of RAW. There wasn't much chance for a buzz to build up (as there has been for all previous WWE "tribute" shows).
     
    ECW on Tuesday did a 1.7, which is a mild bump back up from the usual mid-1's the show does. It is very likely that Tuesday's ECW (with a brief comment from Vince McMahon) will mark the last mention of Chris Benoit on WWE TV in a long, long time. [Benoit has been fully scrubbed from all WWE.com mentions and all video-on-demand 24/7 offerings.]
     
    Last night's SmackDown scored a 2.4, which is also pretty much in line with recent averages. However, on a night where TV viewership was anemic (Fridays are already a bad night, and Fridays during the summer? doubly so), SD! is claiming the Demographic Victory as the most-watched show in the prized adults 18-49 demo. Yippee; on a night where only one show (out of five networks worth of programming) managed to sneak above a 4.0 rating, SD!'s accomplishment is right up there with being the World's Tallest Midget.
     
  • That's all the news that's fit to print here, today. This will probably be the final update to this page, as genuinely important new information becomes scarce, and as the wrestling industry (and its fans) begin moving on.
     
    In the next few days, I'll put my capper on this whole mess, and try to supply a column providing some kind of closure when it comes to What We Will Remember About Chris Benoit (while also remembering his wife and son). And from there on out, it looks like WWE is set to keep us supplied with the usual crap on TV, too, so hopefully we can also get back to bitching about Hollywood Writer Monkeys and Randy Orton's line-mangling and chin-locking, too.
     
    Further developments in the Benoit situation will be incremental at best and perhaps a while in coming (such as toxicology reports), and will be folded into your standard OO Updates.
     
    It's been a long, strange week, folks. I hope you've found these updates useful, and I hope you're getting to the point where you're ready to join me in moving on. Happy Weekend, and see you on Monday.... 

 


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 

 


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