Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Wrestling fans prefer “blowoffs” of their “angles.” In the case of the deaths of Chris, Nancy, and Daniel Benoit, the instinct to move on is supported by the clear evidence that Chris himself — not Kevin Sullivan, not Vince McMahon, not the proverbial one-armed man from The Fugitive — committed the infamous June 2007 double murder/suicide in Fayette County, Georgia.
But the Benoit family tragedy is no angle; it is chilling, real-life detail on the demise of the sport’s greatest bell-to-bell performer of the last 20 years. The reason that detail merits closer scrutiny, even in the absence of some sensational conspiracy theory, is the insight it provides into the larger pathologies of pro wrestling. Over a period roughly tracking Benoit’s career, this is an industry that made a Faustian bargain, reaching new heights of popularity and profitability in return for eating its young. If we all reflected seriously on what’s ambiguous in the whole troubling scenario, as well as on what’s certain, life-saving reforms might result.
For the complete column today at SLAM! Wrestling on canoe.ca, Canada’s leading interactive news site, go to