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.