RAW: WWE Pays Tribute to Benoit Family

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Due to the tragic deaths of Chris, Nancy and Daniel Benoit (full story), last night’s RAW — originally set to be a three-hour “Mr. McMahon” tribute — was instead a show put together at the last minute to commemorate the life of former World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit.

RAW began with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in the ring, and the arena empty. Here is a transcript of his comments, shown three times during the show:

Good evening. Tonight this arena here in Corpus Christie, TX, was to have been filled to capacity with enthusiastic WWE fans. Tonight’s storyline was to have been the alleged demise of my character Mr. McMahon. However in reality, WWE Superstar Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their son Daniel are dead. Their bodies were discovered this afternoon in their new, suburban Atlanta home. The authorities are undergoing an investigation. We here in the WWE can only offer our condolences to the extended family of Chris Benoit, and the only other thing we can do at this moment is tonight pay tribute to Chris Benoit. We will offer you some of the most memorable moments in Chris’ professional life, and you will hear tonight comments from his peers; those here – his fellow performers – those here who loved Chris and admired him so much. So tonight will be a three-hour tribute to one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time. Tonight will be a tribute to Chris Benoit.

Throughout the show, matches were shown from Benoit’s past; the RAW, Smackdown and ECW announce teams talked about the matches, shared thoughts on the Benoits, and introduced video segments; and several WWE superstars shared their happy and sad memories.

WWE.com has posted a touching tribute video and wrestler testimonials which also aired on RAW, as well as some official statements, a Chris Benoit career retrospective and more.

We have the entire Benoit family in our thoughts as we mourn one of the greatest wrestlers in history, his wife and his son, all who died too young… and send our condolences to their loved ones, in particular Chris’ son David and daughter Megan.

Matthew Michaels is editor emeritus of Pulse Wrestling, and has been since the site launched.