Benoit:A Reply And A Different Perspective.

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I have to say Rich I find what you wrote incredibly wrong on several levels. I agree Chris shouldn’t appear on WWE products ever again or go into the HOF but at the same time what you are saying is incredibly reductive,quite insulting and insensitive to some.

Firstly did you know Chris? No and clearly neither did the few guys close to him that well, but those that did somewhat don’t know WHY he did what he did or what he was thinking so I can’t see you do either.

Secondly we know there were several factors that effected Chris:

Mental Illness and Depression: By all accounts Chris was an extremely introverted private person with very few close friends. The way he gets described backstage could easily point to many different disorders. It is clear he had something wrong with him throughout his life and really was a time bomb. We also know now the effect untreated and repeated concussions can have on someone.

WWE Schedule: WWE are not to blame but they are partly responsible. Not only by creating and encouraging an atmosphere of mistrust and personal attacks but by the schedule itself. So many top guys have cracked under the strain and either left the business or turned to painkillers,alcohol and other drugs. WWE should have done a lot more a long time ago to check and help people with dependecy issues and emotional/mental problems. According to Angle, Chris took him aside and said he was ready to snap and had had enough of things a year prior to what happened. Partly because of the nature of WWE taking time off to get help wasn’t much of an option. Kurt himself said Vince convinced him (Kurt) he could overcome his injuries and painkiller addiction still working because ‘He was an Olympic Gold Medalist’ that and HHH didn’t like him and wanted him out of the spotlight and would have used any time off to his advantage. As Kurt also said it Chris’s decision to keep working as was his to keep working too instead of telling Vince where to shove it and get himself help. The fact is they shouldn’t have been put in those kind of positions in the first place. And it isn’t like they could go find another well paying job at there age and qualifications anymore is it. And WWE knows it.

Steroids: Yes, it was his decision to take steroids but it is no secret most big (in every sense) wrestlers have taken them as it was almost a prerequisite to getting anywhere in the business at one time. It is also no secret that not only does taking them for a long period seriously damage your body including parts that produce hormones that effect behaviour and mood, but also can lead to several mental health problems.

His Marriage: I don’t think anyone knows the true extent of the problems between him and Nancy nor would I ever try and defend any sort of violence against women.The fact remains that he did have troubles with his wife and over a long period of time that would have a negative effect. Obviously I don’t condone anything he did but with the problems he clearly had there was a chance things would not end well.

On a side note I hate the hypocrisy when it comes to this. There are plenty of ‘Legends’ and Hall Of Famers with a history of violence towards women. Either in isolated instances or over time. If we ignored every one of their contributions to wrestling the history of WWE/WCW/ECW/NWA would be extremely different. They may not have done what Benoit did but they aren’t exactly saints either.

Also on Benoit in the ring. Something people who weren’t fans of Benoit need to get over is he was very popular. I understand why many don’t like his style or the fact he wasn’t a great talker but that doesn’t mean he didn’t entertain and enthrall millions, which he did. To many when his music hit and he strode down to the ring it was simialar to when the glass broke and Austin came down. They knew ass was about to get kicked without words being said. Kurt Angle is much better on the mic than Benoit but he is in that boat too now. Many fans would consider the work he did with Angle and Jericho (among others) to be some of the greatest wrestling ever and certainly of the last decade or so.

Comparing Benoit to Dynamite: It is easy in all aspects of their lives and we all know he was Benoit’s idol. They also both used the diving headbutt which again over time causes serious damage to among other things the spine. Do you think that prolonged spinal damage could cause big problems for someone? On the other hand Dynamite for whatever reason (We can all think of some) was terrible to pretty much everyone all the time. That can’t be said about Benoit.

The reason this has struck such a nerve with me is because I have had plenty of experience of mental health problems and suicide not only through those close to me but myself included. Life isn’t as simple as good and evil and whether you or anyone else likes it most people have the potential to do almost anything ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It just takes the right set of circumstances.

I don’t know anything about you and so can’t comment on what I don’t know. What I do know is when someone breaks down, snaps, goes through enough crap, bad things quite often happen especially if someone is predisposed or doesn’t have a way to cope. And it isn’t simple. People don’t wake up one day and just go ” Better kill my wife and kid now” If things were that simple we might be able to combat things better. When someone breaks for whatever reason …..things get weird I don’t know what else to say. I can’t write anything that would make you understand what I mean unless you have gone through the same thing. The world and the way you veiw it can become a very different place to everyone else and how you used to be. Basic logic and morality can get twisted in ways you might not be able to imagine or go completely and aren’t anything like what gets shown on TV or in the movies.

I would ask everyone who thinks bad of Benoit to re-watch WretleMania 20. Watch Benoit with Eddie after they both finally got the titles and recognition they deserved after years of sacrifice and hard work. He clearly loved what he did and loved his family and friends, and for most people especially those that knew him it is hard to see that and see the same person to who did what he did. Eddie also made bad often selfish choices as well. He may have managed to overcome his problems but in the end they still cost him his life, his children a father and Vickie a husband. What Benoit did was infinitely worse and it possibly was selfish but the decisions both made ended up hurting others more than themselves. We also know that Eddie’s death among those he cared about that died in a short time hit Chris incredibly hard and I think most who knew him like Chris Jericho would say that was the proverbial straw that Chris couldn’t recover from.

Yes some killers deserve to be in prison. But there are many reasons to kill someone, some which are considered ok and some that aren’t. Chris didn’t kill someone by accident or for money or a simple grudge. He didn’t do it for fun or pleasure. He did it because he was ill in ways we will never know and putting people like that in prison doesn’t solve their problem really. He wouldn’t have been paying a debt or repenting. He would just stayed messed up for as long as he lived. While I am not trying to defend or pardon him, forgiving and understanding is the ultimate test of who you are and accepting to a degree Chris wasn’t in all likelyhood 100% in control is what some people need to try and do as hard as that sounds.

I would also say on the subject of suicide, unless you or anyone else has seriously got to the point in your life where you have genuinely considered, planned or attempted suicide you should shut the hell up because you don’t have the slightest clue what you are talking about and aren’t fit to judge someone in that position. It isn’t just a simple decision. It can be something that builds over time without you really knowing it or it can gradually dawn on you to do it. Take Shawn “Bad Seed” Osbourne (Shawn McGrath) who tragically took his life earlier this year. Yes I know things played out very differently but there are similarities. His friends knew he was having problems but thought things were ok overall. Then they got the news that he had killed himself having sent goodbye texts to everyone. When they found him he had written a suicide letter which they found out he had been writing for about a month. To most doing that kind of thing is unfathomable and impossible to get your head round. I can totally relate to it . I can’t say 100% what was going throught his mind and his heart when he decided to end his life or if it was a ‘decision’ as you would know it at all. And the same is true of Benoit. Neither you or I will ever truly know what Chris was thinking or feeling when he did what he did. We know he wasn’t well. He may have thought it was the right thing to do. He may have thought he was helping his family. He may not have thought or felt anything at all. We don’t know and that is my ultimate point. It is unlikely he woke up, decided to do what he did then went for ‘The Cowards Way Out’ as so many like to think. He almost certainly wasn’t thinking like that or clearly at all.

When it comes to this type of thing most people are lucky in that they are ignorant to the situation Chris and others like him are in. Rich, while I disagree totally with almost everything you said and have no reason right now to think you and I will ever see eye to eye on this among other things, I hope you and those you care about have never and will never reach the point where the things I have said or Chris did make sense to you.

p.s I am sorry to anyone in this who may feel I am using their names just to make a point. I have nothing but respect and compassion for all those mentioned and wish they were all alive and with us today.

4 Responses to Benoit:A Reply And A Different Perspective.

  1. Avatar Rich
    Rich says:

    We will have to agree to disagree on this. Posing the question about knowing him personally is asking to consider feelings instead of facts. While the WWE schedule is hard, not every WWE champion kills their family. Depression is hard, not every depressed person kills their family. If that were the case, they would be placed on death row. Chris escaped because he took the cowardly way out. There is such a thing as morals, Chris had none. He deserves to be on death row, but instead, he will burn in hell. Anyone small enough to make excuses for a murder needs some time for self-reflection. No offense here, but depression and a hard schedule does not give you free reign to kill your family. I personally work about 80 hours a week currently, I love my family and others in my life. Is it hard? yes, but I have the morals to not snap and kill the people I love. Making excuses for actions is something we could do all day long. Its quite stupid to say oh well the guy was depressed and had a hard schedule, so that’s why he killed his wife. Amazingly flawed thinking, this is the last I will respond to the issue though. Thanks for the article.

  2. Avatar VinceGillett
    VinceGillett says:

    I think that is best. I am not trying to be rude or anything but I would advise you not to bother reading anything I put up here if you hadn’t decided that already though feel free if you want to. We aren’t really disagreeing on anything. Firstly I wasn’t trying to persuade you or anyone else that I am right or you are wrong really. You seem to have totally misinterpreted or misunderstood the point I was trying to make here so badly it worries me.I’m not saying you are stupid or anything. A large part is my fault as I am not a professional writer nor have a ton of expeirience in writing. I know the way I write isn’t easy for everyone to follow myself included sometimes.Just take my Misfit HOF.That was intended to be a not so serious look at the HOF and to get people coming up with ideas for guys who should be in that aren’t the same old names that always get mentioned (Savage,LOD,4 horsemen etc) that was a total failure and I take full blame for that. It didn’t come out the way I intended and is one of the few things I posted I wasn’t happy with.

    Maybe if I had done a spoken podcast on the subject I would be clearer but like I said the point I made or thought I made isn’t the one you seem to disagree with.

    You seem to have strong moral,philosophical or religious values and I would genuinely love to get your take on different issues and do some sort of debate on things but obviously that isn’t what we are here for and the level of miscommunication or misunderstanding is so vast it probably wouldn’t work anyway.Hopefully one day we will find something we can agree on but untill then I will say ‘Goodbye……and goodluck.’

  3. Avatar BigErn
    BigErn says:

    I would like to chime in on this as well if I may. It is late where I am and I have to be up in a couple of hours so I am definitely not giving this issue the time that it deserves … for now.

    You two have done well in tackling what I consider (I am tasteless here I might add) the ‘abortion issue equivalent’ to wresting. In abortion, if you are pro-life or pro-choice you are likely going to piss off a lot of folks either way. Same goes for the death penalty. Although in my estimation more folks are likely to agree with Rich’s opinion rather than Vince’s (just a guess from who I have spoken to).

    That being said, I have dealt with somebody I love going through mental illness (hospitalization and the whole works). I swear to you that person is either a fantastic actor or did not know what they were doing when they went through a ‘spell’. Mental illness is a VERY complicated issue and having ‘the brain of an 80 year old with Alzheimer disease’ is no help either.

    This does NOT mean that I condone what Chris Beniot did or make excuses because very likely nobody here knows exactly what happened except for Chris, Nancy, and Daniel but it sure didn’t look good for Chris. I had wished that Nancy left Chris from previous incidents … and Chris was indeed very sick. Chris needed help a long time before the awful incident took place.

    On a personal level I took the event hard like I am sure a lot of folks did. Chris Benoit was one of my favorite workers in the industry and I followed him from WCW to WWE and was a huge mark for the guy. I did not care about his lack of mic skills and liked his no-nonsense attitude and would argue that he is among the top 5 workers in the history of the industry.

    So in summary, I see Rich’s point about wrestlers not going out and killing their families despite the same schedule and pressures that Chris had but there is a lot of truth to what Vince has said about mental illness and (I am sure to get it here) a chance (bear with me) that Chris did not know what he was doing given his condition, mind, and mental illness … JUST a possibility. No excuses for Chris because what he did is one of the most deplorable acts imaginable IMHO. I am afraid that there are victims of mental illness (as serious as this and not as serious as this) on a daily basis and countries/municipalities still don’t know how to deal with it. It really is sad.

  4. Avatar VinceGillett
    VinceGillett says:

    Well put as always Ern. I would be interested to know what people think of the chapter in Jericho’s latest book on the topic. It changed what I thought and felt about the whole thing to a degree. Jericho knew Benoit about as well as anyone and I think he gives possibly the best and most even handed take on things we will ever get.

    I try and watch Benoit’s DVD every now and then and I do find it hard not to tear up seeing him talk about growing up, his family, the struggles he and Eddie as well went through to achieve their dream. You might not think it but I am sad most of all knowing what he would do, that there was a darkness buried inside him whether that be mental problems or something else, and that he would do something so terrible to two people I think everyone close to him would say he did genuinely love.