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The Benoit family tragedy examined from all angles


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#21 sek69

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 11:44 AM

Not to mention the stigma of smaller guys in wrestling is part of the reason a lot of guys died with enlarged hearts but Kevin Nash will probably live a long life with minimal side effects of being a wrestler other than probably needing knee replacement surgeries.

#22 Jingus

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:00 PM

I know Benoit was insecure about being small, but aside from that, I don't see how being a cruiserweight led to him killing people. His position on the card made no difference in his style, he always worked at an identical 101% pace whether he was jobbing in the first match or winning the world belt.

#23 Loss

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:04 PM

He may have taken less drugs if he didn't feel he had to be of a certain size to make money and be successful.

#24 Dylan Waco

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:09 PM

I know Benoit was insecure about being small, but aside from that, I don't see how being a cruiserweight led to him killing people. His position on the card made no difference in his style, he always worked at an identical 101% pace whether he was jobbing in the first match or winning the world belt.


Not to be a dick,but really I'm not sure who you are arguing with.

No one..myself included..argued that the failure for the WWE to treat cruiserweights seriously caused Chris Benoit to kill his family and himself.

I was merely expanding on the point Cook made, by pointing out that smart fans demanded these guys we pushed up the card, but these guys knew it wasn't going to happen without hitting the roids hard. If cruiserweight wrestling was treated in a different manner it is possible that steroid abuse would have been far less substantial among that generation of wrestlers.

You are right that it probably would have had no effect on Benoits wrestling style though.

#25 sek69

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:37 PM

It all goes back to what nearly got Vince put in jail in 1994: WWF/E doesn't go around jamming a needle in the wrestler's asses, but they make it clear that you won't get higher than a certain level on the totem pole unless you bulk up. To get the big time cash you have to start with the injectables if you weren't lucky enough to be born a bigger guy. It's really a scummy deal since Vince always has the out of "I didn't FORCE anyone to take steroids" despite clearly not pushing anyone who wasn't obviously taking them.

#26 Jingus

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:38 PM

Okay, I finally get it. Sorry, I thought you were talking about wrestling style, not the gas. Yeah, I kinda wish Benoit had learned from Dynamite Kid's example, rather than just blindly following it.

#27 Guest_KCook_*

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:44 PM

It's a lot more than smart fans demanding that these guys get pushes--it's also the way hardcore fans buy into the whole bullshit "wrestling as art" gimmick these guys push. Benoit, Guerrero, Pillman--these guys were insane, flat out lunatics, and if they hadn't gone into wrestling they would have gone into intelligence or porn or the mob or something similar. But they did go into wrestling, and they wanted to get ahead for money and ego like everyone else, and they didn't have the kind of bodies Nash and Hogan had. So they in part created and in part went along with this whole ridiculous idea that there is something noble about killing yourself in the ring, as opposed to doing just enough to satisfy the crowd and leave them wanting more (which is hard enough on its own). Because they were insane, they believed their own bullshit and lost track of reality--but the original problem is in the con, and the problem with smart fans is in buying into the larger, overarching con, not demanding pushes for specific wrestlers. There's nothing noble about being dead, or about being as fucked up as Mitsuharu Misawa or Dynamite Kid. This is just a con these guys were using to get ahead, the same way Hogan and Nash used the size con to get ahead or Foley used a variant of the "wrestling is art and it's real" bullshit.

#28 kjh

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:46 PM

Oh, I'm adding a section to the beginning explaining the nature of wrestling and also wrestling fans, and that quote from the Observer site is definitely getting included.


I read that section and while I agree with your criticism of wrestling fans, I think it should have been pointed out that their worst behaviour is often bred by the reckless actions of the wrestlers and wrestling promoters themselves. Is it any surprise that fans have forgetten that wrestlers are human when Kurt Angle was allowed to work WrestleMania 19 with a broken neck, risking paralysis, and such behaviour is not only condoned by WWE but praised and encouraged? In a similar vein, WWE fans have been taught by over two decades of booking that "bigger is better". Why should WWE fans believe Rey Misterio is believable facing bigger wrestlers in main events, when during his World title run they book him to be squashed in three consecutive weeks by Mark Henry, The Great Khali and Kane? I agree that the second Hell In A Cell match raised the bar of fan expectation way too high, but Vince McMahon, in the middle of the biggest wrestling war ever, was all too willing to allow Foley to risk his life and limb by taking those two death-defying stunts.

#29 Loss

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:52 PM

The wrestling fans who were complaining about believability purposely choose not to believe in anything they watch in wrestling anyway, and are often fans who talk about wrestling frequently acknowledging that it's fake. The criticism was coming from an odd place. Wrestlers like Akira Hokuto have also attempted to wrestle with broken bones in the past, so it's not even exclusive to WWE. I'm not so sure all the blame can lie on the promoters in that case. DDTs, piledrivers and shooting star presses being banned have led to far more complaints from fans than praise. Those individuals feel their personal entertainment is more important than anyone's safety. There's also fans overreacting with righteous indignation when Vickie Guerrero is given less than two minutes of TV time per week, so she is employed and can support her family. Fans criticize WWE for putting someone who doesn't entertain them on television (despite Vickie being harmless and for the most part barely featured), not taking into account the ridiculous sacrifices she has had to make in her real life so spoiled fans can get their money's worth.

#30 Guest_Spunk_*

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:19 PM

This is great stuff, Loss. This isn't a direct reaction, but this is what this made me think.

Intelligence interests me a lot for the same reasons wrestling does -- hidden histories fascinate me -- and while in many ways it couldn't be more dissimilar, the two fields demand something very similar, a total dissolution of your own identity and your ability to trust people.

When you read about the early years of the CIA and the men who built it, you read a lot of stories very similar to those of wrestlers who have died. Suicides, insanity, broken families, murders, disappearances; it's really horrible stuff. Anyone who got too involved with covert action or counterintelligence, anyone who really understood the inner secrets of American foreign policy, ended up horribly damaged in some way. There are a lot of theories about why this is but I think it's simple enough; when you demand someone give up their ability to maintain a true personality to do their work they're going to get fucked out of all recognition.

I'm not really too sure where I'm going with this, but a couple of points come to mind. Benoit is accountable, of course, but I think in a very fundamental way wrestling itself -- the nature of it, the secrecy and working -- is what caused this and the rest of the explanations are red herrings. By all accounts it's all he cared about. It cost him his health, his family, his friends, and it also gave him those things. I think he reached a point where he lost his passion, looked at what wrestling had cost him, and realized it had all been for nothing. I don't think that's the true cause of the murders, but I do think that's the line of thinking that ultimately led to this.

The other point is this. If you saw The Good Shepherd, that's a heavily fictionalized account of the life of America's greatest spy, James Jesus Angleton. The usual line on him is that he went insane with paranoia because of the nature of intelligence work, seeing KGB everywhere, and crippled the CIA for years with his counterintelligence purges, which ruined the careers of a lot of honest men. The real truth is a lot murkier. His biggest fear was that the KGB would be able to insert moles in both the FBI and CIA at the same time and construct a feedback loop. Something like that actually happened with the Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames cases, after Angleton was discredited and forced out. He was insane, and he did see enemies where there weren't any, but he understood the nature of intelligence in a way others didn't, and on the very fundamental points, he was ultimately right.

It's an odd comparison, but it seems similar to the position of guys like Hogan or Nash. They always preached that the road guys like Benoit followed was a dead end, that if you understood the nature of the work you'd understand why what they did wasn't just unnecessary, but was counterproductive. They thought Guerrero and Benoit and those guys were marks working themselves to death for nothing but the praise of a handful of hardcore fans whose opinions didn't mean shit. I think ten years later it's pretty hard to argue with them, and I think hardcore fandom is complicit in all these deaths, though hardcore fans as individuals aren't, if that distinction makes sense.


Well by all means, these guys did drive themselves insane trying to be the best ever, and it cost them their lives. What really got me about Dave's updates was the part about Benoit working so hard to reach the Shawn/HHH level of star, and how he was going insane thinking he wasn't there and how he would never be there.

It kind of blurs the line between wrestling being 'real' and being 'fake.' Some of these guys just get so obsessed with da biz, and need to feel validated and respected. It was disturbing before everybody knew he did it that everybody who eulogized him on TV talked about respect. I was finding it kind of hard to sympathize with Benoit being dead when you had Austin's bizarre 'I liked working with him, but didn't do it a lot' and Regal's 'Benoit had good wrestling matches' kind of stuff. John Cena came off like a really naive, nice dude who saw Benoit as a great guy and was probably afraid of him in some way.. You get every impression that Chris Benoit treated wrestling like what went on was 'real' in a sense, and that his placement on the card and how people thought, looked at him, and treated him was vastly important to him.

#31 Jingus

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:30 PM

I agree that the second Hell In A Cell match raised the bar of fan expectation way too high, but Vince McMahon, in the middle of the biggest wrestling war ever, was all too willing to allow Foley to risk his life and limb by taking those two death-defying stunts.

If Vince knew about it. Foley claims nobody but himself, Taker, and Funk knew the plan, for fear of getting told not to do it.

There's also fans overreacting with righteous indignation when Vickie Guerrero is given less than two minutes of TV time per week, so she is employed and can support her family. Fans criticize WWE for putting someone who doesn't entertain them on television (despite Vickie being harmless and for the most part barely featured), not taking into account the ridiculous sacrifices she has had to make in her real life so spoiled fans can get their money's worth.

I've never really bought that as a truly charitable thing. Why have her on TV at all? How is that not Eddiesploitation? Vince is a "billionaire", he could afford to pay her the exact same money to sit at home and raise her kids. It's not like she's drawing any money or adding quality to the show with her ultra-wooden acting anyway.

#32 kjh

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 01:57 PM

I'm not so sure all the blame can lie on the promoters in that case. DDTs, piledrivers and shooting star presses being banned have led to far more complaints from fans than praise. Those individuals feel their personal entertainment is more important than anyone's safety.


The way I see it is that a promoter, first and foremost, has a responsibility for the wellbeing of their employees. Some fans may care about their own entertainment more than the wrestlers' safety, but a promoter doesn't have to and shouldn't satisfy those bloodthirsty fans' demands, even though it may put a few more bucks in their pocket and his wrestlers are crazy enough to want to do it.

If Vince knew about it. Foley claims nobody but himself, Taker, and Funk knew the plan, for fear of getting told not to do it.


I'm not sure I buy that story, but even if it is true, it didn't stop McMahon from allowing Foley to do similar risky stunts in subsequent matches.

#33 Guest_teke184_*

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 02:16 PM

Piledrivers and the SSP I can see banning, especially since there have been some high-profile accidents involving both. (Austin's broken neck, Jericho's broken arm from Smokey Mountain, Brock's blown SSP from Mania 19, etc.) But why the DDT? Does that one have a high chance of concussion as well? It's not a move that appears especially physically demanding on the performers, unlike the other two.

#34 pantherwagner

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 02:50 PM

Benoit, Guerrero, Pillman--these guys were insane, flat out lunatics, and if they hadn't gone into wrestling they would have gone into intelligence or porn or the mob or something similar.


This is Kevin Cook back in his best shape ever. Bravo, sir. All points and comparisons were brilliant and spot on.

#35 pantherwagner

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 02:54 PM

But why the DDT? Does that one have a high chance of concussion as well?


Think Edge's Impaler instead of Jake Roberts' DDT.

Pro wrestling would be better if 80% of the SQUARE+CIRCLE moves in Fire Pro Wrestling were banned.

#36 Bix

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 03:21 PM

Jake's DDTs were pretty nasty at points, though, like the Steamboat one on the floor.

#37 Guest_Spunk_*

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 03:23 PM

But why the DDT? Does that one have a high chance of concussion as well?


Think Edge's Impaler instead of Jake Roberts' DDT.

Pro wrestling would be better if 80% of the SQUARE+CIRCLE moves in Fire Pro Wrestling were banned.


Even the back grapple ones? I can't live without the Chickenwing Suplex.

I hate when people whine about guys not being allowed to do moves. If you are good enough at what you do, you don't need a Shooting Star Press to get over. If Paul London was as good as people make him out to be, he wouldn't have to whine about being denied the SSP and 450. It isn't like his move arsenal outside of those moves is nothing, that mushroom stomp thing he did was awesome and I'm sure he could find another finisher to get over. I know he is a smallish dude, but just because he is small doesn't mean he can't get moves that aren't flips over.

#38 World's Worst Man

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 06:06 PM

I don't like the idea of banning moves. It would make more sense to me if they just told the wrestlers to be smart about their usage of the dangerous/flashy moves. That is to say, to only use them for special occasions such as big, high-profile matches or what have you. People like what they like, there's no "right" or "wrong" way to enjoy pro-wrestling, and some people do enjoy "big moves" at face value. But they also need to be reasonable with their expectations, because wrestlers are only human. Seeing high-impact, athletic moves all the time eventually kills the importance of those high-impact moves, and more importantly it greatly increases the wear and tear on the wrestlers. Banning dangerous moves and going back to purely fundamental wrestling would likely turn many fans off, but serious moderation is something that could keep everyone satisfied.

#39 Bix

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 07:44 PM

http://www.wrestling...t.asp?aID=20050

--Bodybuilding.com which is a main site for bodybuilders talking about bodybuilding subjects including steroids. One thing I've been told is that not only this site, but the Muscle & Fitness web site and ProSource bodybuilding web sites is a lot of posts from people mad at Benoit--not because of the tragedy, but they are angry because his actions may make it more difficult for them to get steroids and GH. (thanks to Mike Rice)



#40 S.L.L.

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 08:17 PM

I don't like the idea of banning moves. It would make more sense to me if they just told the wrestlers to be smart about their usage of the dangerous/flashy moves. That is to say, to only use them for special occasions such as big, high-profile matches or what have you. People like what they like, there's no "right" or "wrong" way to enjoy pro-wrestling, and some people do enjoy "big moves" at face value. But they also need to be reasonable with their expectations, because wrestlers are only human. Seeing high-impact, athletic moves all the time eventually kills the importance of those high-impact moves, and more importantly it greatly increases the wear and tear on the wrestlers. Banning dangerous moves and going back to purely fundamental wrestling would likely turn many fans off, but serious moderation is something that could keep everyone satisfied.


But that is what's happening. Paul London still does shooting star presses, he just does them less, etc. As for turning off fans....not sure there's ever been a successful box office draw who's used the shooting star press. I guess Brock is kinda borderline. Don't know how much of a draw you want to consider Liger. But I don't buy into the notion that cutting down on big moves will hurt business. Especially if it means less potential money draws dying.




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