wrestling / Columns

My Thoughts On Chris Benoit

June 27, 2007 | Posted by Armando Rodriguez

After reading the details of the press conference where investigators told reporters that Chris Benoit choked his wife to death with an electrical cord, soffocated his seven year old son with a bag and then hung himself with a cable from his weight bench, I am totally shocked and confused.

I never personally knew Chris Benoit. I knew him as the performer he was. I watched him on TV for years, read about him on the internet and fell in love with his story. The underdog, the man always overlooked by “The Man” in spite of his talent, desire and passion for the business. The same man who made me cry for the first and only time during a wrestling event when he won that World Title for the first and only time in his career, the same title that had eluded him for over fifteen years, the same title no promoter would give him because he was too short, could not talk on the microphone to the same level as guys like Ric Flair and The Rock, or simply, the man who could not draw fans. It was an inspirational thing. The dream we all have, that at the end of the line, no matter what the struggles have been, we will reach our ultimate goal, no matter what it is. That moment when Benoit and Eddie Guerrero embraced, both of them holding world titles and sharing tears, in the spotlight of the biggest event in our industry, at the top of the hill, is perhaps the most lasting memory I have of professional wrestling and one of the few times that real emotion trascended the boundaries of a fixed spectacle. To me and to all the fans around the world, that night, wrestling was real. It’s incredible that less than five years later both men who made such an impression on me are dead. Eddie died due to heart failure, the result of years of steroid and drug abuse. But you know what? Eddie died clean. He had been clean and sober for four years, had managed to save his family, once at the verge of a divorce. He had defeated his demons and I know he died in peace with himself. Because he had managed to correct everything he did wrong.

But the question in my head is….why Chris, why? I understand better than many others the phenoms of temporary insanity. Loosing control to anger and pain. I can understand that under this influences, and if it’s true that Benoit was taking steroids, which could have augmented this symptoms, you cannot control what you do. But killing your own son? An innocent creature? That I cannot understand. And probably I never will.

It is sad that the legacy of one of the greatest in the business, one who created so many memorable moments for me and the other fans, is eclipsed by this tragedy. I can imagine that this will close the door on Benoit for the WWE Hall of Fame. The WWE has even removed the tribute pages, has removed his merchandise and even his name from DVD listings. This I cannot understand. The man made a serious mistake, but are we the judge to destroy his entire legacy because of this? When I remember Chris Benoit, I remember the man who made me, already way over 18, cry like a five year old out of pure emotion and joy. The man who when he came out to that ring, I knew I was going to enjoy the show. The man who gave us all our money’s worth. To me, Chris Benoit deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Chris Benoit deserves the tributes he is getting. Because that man meant a lot to a lot of people. One mistake, as big as it is, should not overshadow your entire life. When it’s my time to die, I only wish for people to remember me for all I did on my life, not the mistakes I made, but all of my life. I know must of us do. So let’s do the same, shall we?

So in spite of all that has happened, I am not afraid to say this: Chris Benoit, you where my hero and I shall remember you for every good match, for every chop, for every flying headbutt, for every crippler crossface and more importantly, for every tear I dropped at the end of that Wrestlemania. Because for those lasting minutes, wrestling was real.

Rest in Peace


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Armando Rodriguez

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