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Benoit - 10 years on


Chris B
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Tend to read rather than post these days, but I re-read a lot of the Benoit Gold thread while researching a long-read I wrote about the Benoit murder-suicide. Lister has an article about it in the latest FSM as well, which is really good. Since it's now ten years ago this week, I was interested in what people's thoughts were about the whole deal now.

Quite a few people have told me it led to them stopping watching (if not immediately, then a little afterwards), and I think that's understandable - it was kind of difficult not to think about. But it's also weird thinking that there's a lot of fans now that weren't around for it going down, who may not know much about him.

Although WWE criticised Nowinski's concussion theory at the time (suggesting Benoit's dad was using it to excuse him of responsibility), they did take action on it by banning chairshots to the head and similar. And the resultant steroid scandal meant that they had to make the wellness policy more of a real thing, for a while at least.

Looking back on it, do you have any thoughts on it? Did it change how you view wrestling? Have you been able to watch and enjoy Benoit matches since, or is that still difficult? Do you think there was anything else wrestling had to learn from it?

 

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I wouldn't say that it changed how I watch wrestling per se, but the banning of head chair-shots can only be seen as a good thing for a wrestler's wellbeing.

I do still watch Benoit's matches if I'm watching a show, that hasn't changed, but you can't exactly see him with associating him without the word 'murderer' being attached. To say that his problems started when he got to WWE and it's all McMahon's fault would be incorrect in my view, he came from a different era and he'd been on the gas long before he got to WWE.

One thing that the WWE have always been correct in since the whole is not mentioning him in any way. Granted he's turned up on a couple of DVD sets since, but he's never been the selling/focal point of them. They're absolutely right to wipe him from history after what he did, and no amount of online petitions from utter mutants to get him into the Hall of Fame will change that

Edited by WyattSheepMask
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When the news broke of their deaths I remember thinking it must've been a burglary/home invasion gone very wrong. Like most, not for one second did I think the truth would be revealed as a murder/sucide at Benoit's own hands. While it didn't cause me to stop watching wrestling I've never watched a Benoit match again and one of my favourite moments (Eddie and Chris hugging each other in celebration at the end of 'Mania 20) is soured and gone forever. Watching brutal headshots in old matches and current death matches and hardcore indie shows are also unpleasant to watch now thanks to everything that came out about concussions and head trauma amongst wrestlers.

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I was going to make a joke about Benoit killing them as an act of mercy because they were sick, but nah. 

Honestly, it was a crazy week. But I can't say it really made me watch wrestling more or less. I have no issue if he pops up in something I'm watching but I'd probably never seek out his matches. As others have said, his actions actually ended up having some positive impact on the business with getting rid of chair shots to the head, the Wellness policy getting beefed up. It's a shame it took a murder/suicide for that company to start taking its employees health seriously. 

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My interesting in wrestling was on its arse at the time, so wasnt online keeping updated. I could be wrong, but I think I was on Sky Sports News seeing if United had bought Tevez yet, and it popped up on the news at the bottom that Chris Benoit had murdered his wife and kid. So I wasnt even following the whole goings. It was incredibly weird finding this news out. There was something just horrible about wrestling during those years. I'd sort of accepted that wrestling was filled with roid heads and bullies and all my heros were going to end up dead on the floor of a hotel. Proper small penis lot, who put you in kangaroo court because you didnt shake the hand of a bloke who liked shitting in womens bags.

Wrestling in 2017 is pretty much home to a bunch of fannies who dont appeal to me in anyway, because they arent stars and they all do the same moves in every match and there's a ceiling for charisma it seems like. There are no Steve Austins or Rocks about. No Mick Foleys. But I imagine there are far less cunts about in 2017 than there was a decade ago. Wrestling seems to have finally taken its natural progression of a bunch of nerds who collect wrestling figures playing wrestling, like we all wanted to do as kids.

I think in many ways the Benoit tragedy did change the business for the better. Its just a shame that two people had to die in a horrible fashion. Its funny how all the praise wrestling gets for changing the way its run, but it generally seems to always happen way to late. Something tends to always go terribly wrong before Vince McMahon changes his philosophy.

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He's a cunt. We joke here about Rock n' Roll Christmas on this forum a lot, and it is a great track, but none of us are rushing to buy his albums or put him on Deezer. Same for Benoit, great at what he did but being the dogshit of people supercedes being good at what he did. 

 

But, in the Post-Benoit world its opened my eyes to lots of different workers throughout history and shown me how great they are doing safer, and smarter, styles. 

Edited by PowerButchi
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I remember when I found out, I was on WWE.com and I was confused because it was not long after Vince and the limo explosion, and the Raw on that Monday night was the conclusion of who killed Vince and I thought "They can't be doing another death as a storyline can they?" I then googled it and was shocked at what I was reading. Then angry when it came out what really happened.

I avoided watching his matches for a long time afterwards but I do watch them back now and don't really think about what he did. I still enjoy his matches and the match at 'Mania where he won the title is still my favourite triple threat match of all time. 

The tragedy did help with banning chair shots to the head which can save more lives. Watching back some of the shots people used to take in the 90s and 2000s make me wince now. Especially knowing the impact it had on Benoit and the damage it's probably done to Foley. 

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It's genuinely never bothered me. I've always differentiated the art from the artist and sitting back watching a Benoit match is just watching one of the best wrestlers of all time do his thing. The guy was one of the world's best and - while his crimes were heinous and I can 100% understand why WWE won't go near his name - I still think he should be acknowledged for that. Child murderer or not, it doesn't affect his wrestling ability and he was one of the greatest of all time in the ring. I discovered wrestling in 2000 and so his is a name I'll always remember fondly as the dickhead but imposing Canadian who was not to be taken lightly

I'm not going to stop watching Naked Gun because OJ Simpson's in it. I'm also not going to stop watching world class matches because Chris Benoit is in them. The guy was an incredible professional wrestler and that rings true regardless of the evil he subsequently sunk to.  

Edited by SpiritOfTheForest
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I'd already started to sour on WWE the previous year after how they handled the Eddie death, which broke my little heart. Primarily watched TNA and ROH but by the way time this happened it wasn't long until I knocked wrestling on the head for a bit, after all the Googling I'd done about the business I just thought "Jesus christ, this grotty fucking industry eh?" and thought I'd grown out of it. 

Of course I came back but it's all different now down to this. Mostly for the best. It's particularly tough to see a chair shot to the head now

I've still watched Benoit matches when they come up but I'd never seek them out. Backlash 04 used to be one of my fav shows but the main event is practically ruined by it happening in Toronto, and ugh, big video packages, the whole family is out there. So difficult to digest when the first match at Mania 20 doesn't suffer so much on a rewatch. The Eddie hug will always be massively bittersweet though. 

Was on the old The Wrestling Channel forums when I heard about it, first I see RIP Chris Benoit and think 'oh no not again, not another great wrestler dying young in their sleep' - although admittedly without the complete shock of when Eddie died - then I read the rest, don't think I went to bed that night

Edited by sj5522
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I can watch his matches now - though I'd never think 'I really fancy watching some Benoit' - but it's with a different level of scrutiny to any other match. I can still recognise he was very good, but I can't escape the thought of what he did, and every bad bump or head drop he takes makes me wince and think about how it might have contributed. The main change, as others have said, is probably chair and weapon shots to the head - I hate seeing them in old matches now. The number of unprotected chair shots you used to get, knowing what we know now... I'm very glad they don't do that anymore.

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I was on holiday with my ex and her twat parents at the time. I remember not having great internet on my phone and it came up on Rajah, both the first night where it wasnt clear and then the subsequent breaking news. I was horrified and upset as Benoit was one of my faves, but yeah, he's a massive, massive cunt and rightfully deserves to have been ignored and wiped from existence.

I think I've watched one match of his since. 

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I was so shocked at the time, a guy I respected and enjoyed watching did this this. I told a guy at work this and ripped out of me for respecting a murderer, but the day before to me he was not a murderer. I look back and think and believe I should not have been that surprised. The state many wrestlers were in after roids, coke, alcohol and doing damage to themselves physically and mentally (mainly I feel to employers not giving a flying fuck about them) with suicide attempts that it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Just a shame that it did.

At first I struggled to watch his matches. However now I do sometimes watch him. Only really because of J Cup and the Owen Hart memorial match (which is one of my favourites and is in memory of a man I still respect), there is plenty of good stuff out there so I don't have to watch him.

I believe the drugs and the chair shot stuff fucked him up and am glad the wellness policy was actually put into place properly and they were more careful about what they did in their matches. Many other companies and wrestlers obviously changed styles at the time. However it should not have taken 3 gruesome deaths (yes I include the suicide) to have done that as we saw plenty of wrestlers in a bad state by that time. I wonder what his state of mind was at the time; I can't say he was a bastard because with the bible thing it sounds as if he thought he was doing well by his family caused by problems he had. However I cannot condone what he did.

The synic in me says that the strictness of the WWE wellness policy was to cover their own back rather than the health of wrestlers. However at least it is in place now and I don't think we will see something like this happen in wrestling again.

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I remember we recorded a podcast about 2 years ago talking about this for about 15 or 20 minutes, and I decided to pull the entire episode rather than air it because I thought, "who the fuck wants to listen to this, it's way too depressing."

Maybe I'll post it one day as a little bit for people to listen to if they want. Gist is, the situation is obviously fucking horrible, and the more you look into it and think about it, the worse it really gets. I don't have any real problem watching him wrestle or anything, but like HG said, you just never get "the itch" to check out some old Benoit. If he's involved in something you want to watch, he's there, but it's always impossible to ignore, and you almost dread something happening like a chairshot to the head or an angle that has a tie to what happened. Case in point, I'm watching old Raw's from the summer of 2000, a glorious era. In the middle of it, an angle I forgot all about - Benoit putting Chyna in the crossface as JR screams about how he's trying to break a woman's neck as they're heating him up for The Rock. Ugh.

Honestly, that words probably sums it all up. Ugh. It's one of the rare cases where I honestly sense wrestling fans would rather just never talk about it, never think about it, even if you watch him, you don't want to dwell on anything about it, because if it do, it reminds you of the worst aspects of humanity in an industry that's supposed to be escapism.

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