Defending: Chris Benoit

german-suplex I’m going into this fully expecting to catch all sorts of hell just from the title of this article alone. I’m a big boy, I can handle it, I just hope that nobody takes what I’m saying as an endorsement of the final acts of Chris Benoit. I will NEVER forget and certainly never forgive him for what he did to his wife and child, in no way will that ever be accepted by the fans of pro wrestling, as well it shouldn’t. As a father with a three year old child I can promise if anyone were to ever harm her there would be many levels of hell to pay, and in no way could I ever harm her myself. If he had ended his own life and left the other two alone, things would have been completely different than where we stand currently.

If the Hall of Fame were a real thing instead of the made up product of Vince McMahon that it happens to be (more on what I hope from that on another day) Chris Benoit would have clearly been a first ballot (another absurd theory since there’s no real ballot) member of said Hall. I have no problem admitting I was a massive fan of Benoit, even going so far as to write a post on my old MySpace page about how a legend was dead, before we had any clue about what had actually happened in the house. Once word came out I removed it and made sure not to save a copy. He may have been a short guy, but he was one HELL of a worker in the ring. I still, to this day, see Chris Benoit as the best technical wrestler I have had the chance to see work a match. I could see a matchup between Benoit and Punk headlining WrestleMania in a barn burner, tearing the house down. Fans still admit how much they loved his work in the ring and how much of a shame it is that we have to wipe him from our memory because of his final act of insanity.

As a wrestling fan I would easily put Chris Benoit in a solid third place on my list of all-time favorite workers, just ahead of Raven and sitting only behind Undertaker and Jake Roberts. There wasn’t a prettier German Suplex in the business, his falling headbutt was a thing of beauty, and the Crippler Crossface was one of the greatest finishes I’ve ever seen in all my years watching wrestling. While he wasn’t the most exciting man on the mic, he didn’t need to be, he just got in the ring and busted his ass night in and night out, doing everything he could to entertain the fans. Very few, if any, workers could get me to sit down and watch any and every match in which they were involved. If you enjoyed seeing athleticism, precision moves, and true artwork in the ring, Chris Benoit was your man. You will never hear it mentioned on television but even the popular Daniel Bryan modeled his ring work after Chris Benoit to a degree.

We all know how his life came to an end, and I have my belief lately on what helped lead to this disgusting finale to an amazing career and the lives of his wife and his innocent child. As much as I am willing to admit that concussions had a part in what happened that night, one thing I feel also played a major part in it was the amount of steroids that he was taking at the time which had to have an effect on his brain functions just as much as the numerous blows to the head. I do honestly believe that his doctor is just as guilty as Benoit himself in the murders of Nancy and Daniel. I feel that one day we’ll find out what’s making these pro athletes snap isn’t just concussions but also the increased testosterone making them go overboard because they start to lose all touch with reality and start to lose their ability to control their emotions and process logic and reason. Putting that all together I think we should be hauling in any doctor who has put their personal gain ahead of the health of their patient and charging them with the murder because of their enabling of these addictions.

I know this is a pretty controversial topic, but I honestly am not afraid to take on any topic that comes my way. I will always remember Chris Benoit for his amazing work and the things he was able to pull off in the ring, not for the deranged monster that killed his wife, child, and then himself. I can promise you right now that people would flock to the stores and purchase a Chris Benoit DVD going over his career and all of his greatest matches in a heartbeat. You may not admit it, maybe even hide that DVD under the mattress so that nobody out there realizes that you bought it, but it would be a big mover because his work was THAT good. Admitting that Chris Benoit was one of the greatest workers to ever enter the ring is NOT endorsing what he did in his final moments, I am able to separate the two as completely individual parts of one complex and damaged human being. Bill Clinton has already proven to us that you don’t have to have the greatest moral fiber as a man in order to be seen as great. I feel the same way about Chris Benoit the wrestler, while also detesting Chris Benoit the man.

{Follow me on Twitter @Surrency525 and Like me on Facebook}

  • Darren

    I respect your opinion and mature enough not to name call or bash you. I just disagree 100%. It’s not like he got caught cheating on his taxes or holding up a liquor store. Was he great wrestler of course no debating that. He also did a unspeakable act. I feel all that trumps anything he’s done in the ring. I highly doubt people would flock to the DVD store to buy a man who killed his wife and child. Even if wrestling fans have short memories. I do agree with you about steroids. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more acts of aggression with all the pumped up steroids guys in wrestling today. I won’t name call because I don’t have proof but it just so obvious. Again I don’t believe your endorsing him. I just believe when the name Chris Benoit is spoken I don’t think the first thought is hall of fame wrestler. I believe the word is Monster.

  • Jesse Sherwood

    Chris, you have written an excellent article here and my thoughts on Benoit are similar. Benoit was probably the most technically sound wrestler to ever enter a ring. While I can't forgive Benoit's actions in his last days, I better than most can understand them, as I have suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) myself and understand the changes that it causes. And against what some people may think, it only takes one serious concussion or TBI to cause it, as is in my case. Your personality can shift, your memory is spotty, your temper becomes much shorter, and your emotions become erratic, and those are only the mental issues. The long-term physical effects can be just as hard to deal with. The steroids only further exasperated the symptoms he was experiencing. I hope that organizations such as the Sports Legacy Institute can further raise awareness of the long-term effects of concussions and help WWE and other sports organizations prevent them in the future.

  • Mark Freeman

    First let me apologise for any typos-I’m on my phone.

    Brilliant article. I’m happy that someone has written this. The way I look at it is, had Michael Jackson been found guilty of the crimes he was accused of, which in my eyes would be almost as close in gravity to what Benoit did would the world stop saying that Bad was the greatest album ever released. I doubt it. People shouldn’t feel like talking about Benoit in the ring is wrong. I fully understand why VKM has distanced himself from Benoit, but as fans we should be able to talk about his ring work freely.
    Had this article had been written without the Benoit tragedy, I would be writing about how much I disagree with you. I didn’t find his style in the ring entertaining, I’m not the biggest fan of ‘wrestling’. I’m sure you and many people if given the choice of replacing the Brock/HHH cage match at extreme rules to a ultimate submission match between Benoit and DB both in their prime you would leap at it, whereas I wouldn’t. And that for me without ever condoning what he did, that’s how we should talk about Benoit. It’s not wrong or bad to have a debate on who’s better, or how would a fantasy match look between him and xxx.
    So to finish Im going to say you are entitled to your opinion and yes he would of got into the HOF, I just don’t hold the same view as you, Benoit matches didnt hold my attention, give me a baseball bat on a ole match any day.

  • ayat

    i agree with most of the writer's article
    CHRIS BENOIT the wrestler should be different from CHRIS BENOIT the human being
    if i kill your family , you would disrespect me because of my actions and not because i am not a human being , whether i am USA PRESIDENT or not my actions are wrong but respecting human beings is also a different thing
    take for example santino , we will be remembering him as a joker who does funny stuff , but not as a wrestler get it , same we remember a person because what he did last is wrong
    i agree killing himself and his family both were wrong , but how could he perform that well without steroids ??!!
    MJ also died because of the same , amazing performances and concerts but kiled himself because of excessive and misusing of drugs
    i will have to say we should remember his amazing matches instead of talking behind an already dead person which if you ask me is not correct too , we shouldn't talk behind a dead man
    to conclude i will respect him as a human being and as a great , hardworking wrestler but will not and never respect him because of his last actions
    this should be our attitudes and not that the " i don't care if he worked his ass off for us for many years or not , but he killed himself and his family so i will not talk good about him " attitude

  • Steven

    As a father of six incredible kids, I just can't bring myself to even acknowledge how great a wrestler Chris Benoit was. I have tried in the years since that whole thing happened, but I still can't sit there and watch an old wrestling video with my boys without skipping his matches. There is no denying his abilities in the ring, but I just can't handle the fact I went from being shocked and saddened to learn of his death to utter outrage and disgust after learning the rest of the story.

  • Numero Uno

    My buddy travis wanted to bring a Benoit sign to Raw last night. heard it got taken by security after he walked in the door.

  • Mike

    First off, as someone who never comments on anything, congratulations for writing something that actually warrented a comment from myself (LOL).

    Now on to my point. While we are both entitled to our own opinions, I can't say that I'm anything but disgusted here. People often forget that wrestling is an occupation. Therefore, by your argument, that while what he did was wrong, it's all good, because this man was very good at his job. What if he was a successful CEO? Accountant? Hell, what if he was a very good garbage man? Would you still be saying the same thing? Something tells me that you would not. I will never, ever, support anyone who commits such an act just because they were good at whatever they did as an occupation.

    However, I will whole heartily agree with your comment on his doctor. While i would not say he is as guilty as Benoit himself, he should still be found to have committed negligence.

    I look forward to any counter points you might have, hopefully sparking an intellectual debate of sorts (something very rare in the online world of wrestling)

    -Mike G

    • christopher525

      Thanks for responding, I appreciate it. I completely understand your point, and I really can't argue it as incorrect. The one thing is, I am willing to accept his actions as horrible, wrong, and unforgivable. I don't think he gets a pass for his ring work, but I feel that he should still be respected in his field. The biggest thing to me is that he would be in the Hall of Fame and he would have had countless tributes and DVD's if he had decided to end his own life and not touch Nancy and Daniel. I honestly wish he had done that instead. As someone who honestly doesn't feel sorry for people who commit suicide typically (having been down that road myself before), but if he had just killed himself I could have felt bad for him. I don't condone his actions and it's still sickening, but I think that fans should at least be able to respect his abilities instead of being shunned for admitting it publicly.

  • tim

    Nice to see someone acknowledge this topic. Like everyone else I can't forgive Benoit for what he did but do believe it was largely due to steroids and brain injury. I know most people don't want to talk about him because of what he did and I appreciate the well written article. It amazes me that wrestling fans who never got to see Chris Benoit will never know anything about his in ring abilities because he is completely erased from the business that he loved so much. I am not at all defending Benoit for his evil actions that day but believe his mind was not there. For those who never did see Benoit in the ring though, you missed one of if not the best technical wrester the business has ever seen.

  • Pingback: Defending: Chris Benoit | WWE News | Alpha Channel

  • clint

    Benoit should never go into the hall of fame, but to ignore him completely is wrong he helped pave the way for many wrestlers, what makes this even more despicable is this could have been avoided if wwe would have cared about there performers well being, this act that was committed as sick as it was, helped them make a change so that something like this would never happen again, its just sad that three people died for it to be fixed

  • Dave Barton

    Benoit the wrestler – absolutely phenomenal

    Benoit the man – a victim of brain injury that led to an unthinkable double-murder/suicide

  • M Kad

    I know large pockets of fans have not forgotten about Chris Benoit. Even just on this past Monday night Raw, I noticed a group of signs, the first one saying: “I am with Owen ^^^ (up above)” and the next sign saying “I am with Chris vvv (down below).” I am fairly sure this is a reference to the man erased from the company’s past and many people’s minds.

  • Pingback: Hardcore Wrestling, Are We To Blame For The Consequences? | WWE News

  • jblack424

    Beniot is one of those guys who could beat anyone and you truly believe it. I coild never forgive what he did but I don’t not watch his matches. He was an excellent wrestler and in my top 25. Rock, bret, hogan(not great in ring but he is an icon, hbk,taker, sting, jericho(mic gives him edge) edge, austin, cena(again what he did outside ring, angle, aj styles, savage, flair, bruno, thesz, punk, hhh, jeff hardy(look I know he aint the same but think of all abuse his body took, all above rvd( made a secondary title more important then the ecw world titl) steamboat,foley(can’t remeber a bad foley match) beniot tied 23rd with eddie. Final guy andre. Wasn’t great in the ring but stories how he was ready to knock guys out and his mystic put him in my 25

  • Eddie

    I wouldn't judge him as a human being, because i think he was a different person in his final days…. or maybe not, i don't know… but in my opinion, chris benoit was the greatest ever to have stepped into the ring….. yes, he might never be forgiven for his final act.. but i feel extremely sad when i think that he will never officially get his place in wrestling history which he more than rightfully deserved….
    i feel really really happy when i see bryan perform the crossface and the headbutt… and i am feeling really happy that someone has actually written an article about him….
    if him being scrapped of wrestling history is a punishment to his final act, then bryan adapting his moves is a sign of respect for his in ring talent…

    it takes a lifetime of hardwork to gain respect, but it takes a single moment to loose it.
    benoit is a perfect example of this.
    i don't think i am anyone to forgive or not forgive the chris benoit who did the monsterous act, but i can't ever forget the rabid wolverine i saw in the ring every week…

    thanx a lot to the author for this article.

  • manish

    i jst want his name back in wwe with respect. Those who hate him never try to undrstand what he would’ve felt after doing that act undr brain imbalance, he knew he had spoiled his life, love everything, with that he and noone can live.

  • Strafe

    Personally, I just try to forget what he did and just remember the good stuff, when he was kicking ass in the ring. Sure it is horrible, but people who were not involved nor affected by the event in any way should stay out of it. It is a shame what happened, and I would prefer if he HAD to die (I wish he didn't) he would have just harmed himself and not his family. Perhaps then he could still be talked about today without people cringing and flaming insults at the very mention of his name. Fantastic article and I agree with everything you said 100%

  • callousk9

    man i dont care, as a wrestler chris benoit was up there.