Jerry McDevitt does not like my harping on the 30-hour gap between when Chris Benoit sent Chavo Guerrero and Scott James (Armstrong) text messages, and when WWE higher-ups are said to have become aware of them.
McDevitt points to an interview Guerrero did with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News on July 18, 2007. I will comment after first quoting, at length, the relevant passage of that interview:
VAN SUSTEREN: So he obviously didn’t call you later that night [Saturday, June 23] to say, I’ve arrived in Houston.
GUERRERO: He never arrived, right. Right.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right…
GUERRERO: He never arrived. I did get text messages from him, though, in the morning, early in the morning, about…
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, what time — let me ask you — I was just going to say, was the first — the time of the text message you received from him?
GUERRERO: If I remember correctly, it was 3:53 AM Houston time, which is 4:53 Atlanta time.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it said what?
GUERRERO: And that — yes, that text message said — it just had his address. He lived in — he’d just moved to this new house he had built because the last house that he had was kind of on a public — was on a public street, a public area, and he just couldn’t go outside anymore. He was afraid for Daniel to be outside and playing because so many, you know, fans or people from the airport would just come and camp out in front of his house. So he couldn’t really — he couldn’t really have a public life anymore. So he went ahead and bought this land in suburban Atlanta, built the house out there and had a PO box, and no one really even knew his address. So those texts were — his — his — they were telling me what his physical address were. But nothing out of the ordinary, just, My physical address is this, and that’s it. And he texted me again…
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he think that was peculiar, I mean, that — I mean, his address, was that odd?
GUERRERO: It was — you know, sometimes when you send a text and the person doesn’t get that text until two days later, I kind of — it was so early in the morning, I was sleeping. I looked at my text, and I’m going – – I didn’t know why he was sending that to me, so I thought maybe he sent it to me a day before or two days before or whatever, and I’m just getting it now. And then I got another text a couple minutes later saying, The dogs are in the enclosed pool area and the garage door’s open. I’m going — I didn’t know if he was thinking that he wanted us to pick him up. But we were in Houston. I didn’t really know what was going on. And so I thought again maybe it was a — just a text that was sent a couple — you know, a couple days ago. So I went back to sleep and…
VAN SUSTEREN: I was going to say, was that the last text message you received from him?
GUERRERO: No, no. I received another one same — that was the same as the first one, My physical address is this (INAUDIBLE) this, whatever it was. That’s — you know, it was the last text I got from him. And it was just — it was just so random. There wasn’t a cry for help. There wasn’t a, you know, I love you. There was nothing in there. It was just kind of very, very random. So I didn’t really think anything of it. I wept back to sleep. And then in the morning, I kind of — I called him in the morning to see if everything was OK, but he didn’t answer.
VAN SUSTEREN: And then when did you learn that he was dead?
GUERRERO: Not until the following day. That whole day was on Sunday. And we had a pay-per-view event. He was supposed to be at the pay-per-view event. He had a match. And it was very, very, very unlike him to miss the pay-per-view . He was really — didn’t do that. To miss any match, he just — that never happened. Chris was the ultimate professional. And for him to miss a match was very strange.We were calling him all day and WWE was calling him. We were just trying to get a hold of him. We just never did until the next morning, when I mentioned to some of the WWE office that I got these weird text messages from him. So they sent a car out to his place, and I guess there was — the dogs were running around, so they couldn’t really enter his house. And they said that the dogs were there, so they’re trying to — they were trying to get into the house to find out what’s going on, if anything — at that time, they didn’t know what was wrong. So they had talked to me, and I told them that I think their neighbor, one of their neighbors knew them. So I think that’s how they ended up getting in and finding what happened.
Turning to commentary, bear in mind that Guerrero has never returned my several phone messages.
When I shared this transcript today with Dave Meltzer, he had two reactions.
The first reaction was, “At the time it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. But if Chavo did get the text messages, why didn’t he say anything to anyone until Monday?” This is a question that Van Susteren did not ask, much less press.
Dave’s second reaction was similar to mine: Independent sources have told both of us that Chavo privately gave a second explanation – that, no matter what the time stamps say, he didn’t receive Benoit’s text messages until the next day because of a problem with cell phone transmission or reception. So which is it? That he got these bizarre messages and didn’t think enough of them to tell anyone? Or that he didn’t get them until Monday?
Again, Meltzer: “The Greta Van Susteren response is a very different explanation and makes even less sense because when Chris didn’t arrive for the PPV [Sunday], why didn’t Chavo tell anyone?”