This weekend marks the 10-year anniversary of probably the greatest tragedy ever seen in the wrestling business. Over the course of a weekend Chris Benoit killed his young son, wife Nancy (also known as Woman) and then himself. This horrific event rocked the wrestling business and had people questioning whether there should even be wrestling business. In the final act of his life Benoit brought about questions regarding domestic violence, substance abuse and concussions. Fans were left shocked as guy whom we never heard anything about privately committed such a gruesome crime.
The WWE was left with the unfortunate task of answering all the questions regarding this tragedy and how to move on. Now Benoit was not just some run of the mill wrestler who maybe won just isolated IC Title or was a part of a forgettable tag team. The Canadian Crippler was the man who career consisted of time in ECW, New Japan, WCW and finally the WWE. A former world champion who main evented Wrestlemania 20 in MSG perpetrated this crime. Just acting like this guy didn’t exist would be a lot easier said than done.
The WWE to their credit has probably handled this as best as they could. They did have the gaff or running the Tribute Show on RAW before they had all the information. After that moment Vince McMahon appeared on the then ECW show to let the world know that Benoit’s name and image will appear on the company’s programming again. So far, they have held true to that statement no matter how hard it is. If you look up anything that has to do with the history of the Royal Rumble they talk about 2 men starting out as #1 and winning it all, the name Benoit is left out. On the WWE site, the Wrestlemania 20 main event consisted of a triple threat involving Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
With WWE Network fans can still see old Benoit matches but they cannot search his name. The WWE could not possibly edit Chris out of every PPV show he appeared on in 3 different companies not to mention episodes of Nitro, RAW and Smackdown. They didn’t take him out but they will not be in a position to be perceived as promoting his appearances in their content. Now some fans are a little upset by this and hate the idea of erasing his in-ring legacy. Despite their misgivings there are something way more important than the performances.
We are 10 years removed and a lot of us still have more questions than answers. One question that can be answered that still seems to come up is, will Chris Benoit ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame? The answer is no, he will never be added to the Hall of Fame. As far as everything Benoit did in wrestling he is more than deserving but that has never been the lone criteria for the WWE Hall. No matter how far we are removed from what happened in Fayetteville, GA that night it will not never change the outcome. It is understood that the man had 20 year career of excellence but all of that pales into comparison to the murder of your wife and child.
Keith B. Holt
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