There’s a lot going on, with virtually all of the top cable news shows covering the Benoit tragedy today. Bret Hart and Irv Muchnick were on MSNBC, Johnnie Stewart on Fox News, Superstar Billy Graham on CBS, Brian Christopher (Lawler) on CNN, and the news has featured several experts talking about the issue and more. We previously reported that WWE issued a press release asking the media to be careful before blaming this all on steroids. FoxSports.com is one of several media outlets that has outlined past deaths of young wrestlers. Here are some more notes:
“Out of respect for the surviving members of the Benoit family and the city of Edmonton, World Wrestling EntertainmentÃ‚Â® has postponed its Canadian tour scheduled from July 14-17. These dates include shows scheduled at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, the Brandt Centre in Regina, the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary and the Rexall Place in Edmonton.”
“PWTorch can now report the content of the text message sent by Chris Benoit to Chavo Guerrero on Sunday morning. The message, according to our sources, said that the sliding glass doors to his house were open and the dogs had been fed. No one was quite sure what to make of it, but he wasn’t reachable afterward for clarification.”
“In an interview with ESPN.com on Tuesday, Ballard indicated that the boy had needle marks in his arms. The district attorney said he believed that the boy had been given growth hormones for some time because the family considered him undersized.”
“‘Her hands were bound together, her feet were bound together, and there was a little blood over her face,’ District Attorney Scott Ballard told ABC News in an interview after the press conference. ‘The medical examiner found bruising on the small of her back and bruising on the front of her body consistent with being crushed up against the floor.'”
“Silvervision, WWE’s European DVD distributor, has pulled the Chris Benoit: Hard Knocks DVD from their website. We’ve received reports that ToysRUs.com has pulled Chris Benoit action figures from their website as well. In addition to the Benoit merchandise they pulled from their website this morning, WWE has also pulled the ‘I did it!’ Mr. McMahon T-shirt.”
WWE.com has posted a timeline of events, which include information not yet reported as well as an explanation from WWE that has yet to be shared, so we are posting it in its entirety here:
On Saturday, June 23, Chris Benoit was slated to appear at a WWE live event in Beaumont, Texas. That afternoon, Benoit contacted WWE to inform them that his wife and child were ill, and that he would not be able to attend the show.
WWE executives rebooked Benoit’s flight for the following morning, allowing Benoit to miss the Beaumont event making alternate arrangements for him to attend the pay-per-view event in Houston on Sunday.
WWE employees attempted to confirm with Benoit his travel plans but were unable to contact him.
Early Sunday morning, between 3:51 and 3:58 a.m., Benoit sent five text messages to co-workers:
Text Message 1 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:53am)- Chris Benoit’s cell phone
“My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane, Fayetteville Georgia. 30215Ã¢â‚¬Â
Text Message 2 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:53am)- Chris Benoit’s cell phone
“The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is openÃ¢â‚¬Â
Text Message 3 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:54am)- Nancy Benoit’s cell phone
“My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane.
Fayetteville Georgia. 30215Ã¢â‚¬Â
Text Message 4 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:55am)- Nancy Benoit’s cell phone
“My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane.
Fayetteville Georgia. 30215″
Text Message 5 to one co-worker (sent 6/24 at 3:58am)- Nancy Benoit’s cell phone
“My address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215Ã¢â‚¬Â
Throughout the day on Sunday, WWE made numerous attempts to contact Benoit both at home and at local hospitals in the Atlanta area. As of 11:00 p.m., WWE officials were unable to establish contact with Chris Benoit.
At 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, WWE officials were notified of the text messages sent to the co-workers the previous day. By 12:45 p.m., WWE had contacted Fayetteville County Sheriff’s office requesting they check on the Benoit family.
Fayetteville County Sheriffs office made contact with WWE at approximately 4:00 p.m. advising that they had entered the house of Chris Benoit and found three deceased bodies Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an adult male, adult female and a male child. WWE was told that Benoit’s home was now considered a major crime scene.
The decision to cancel the live event scheduled in Corpus Christi that night was made between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. In keeping with company policy, and with limited knowledge regarding facts of the case, WWE choose to air a memorial dedicated to the career of Chris Benoit. As facts emerged surrounding the case, all tributes to Chris Benoit were removed both on-air and on WWE.com.
According to TVWeek.com, Vince McMahon will apologize for the tribute show before tonight’s ECW.
TNAWrestling.com has removed its condolences note to Chris Benoit.
ABCnews.com has a story on the potential effects of this story on young fans —
JR’s Blog includes this entry on Chris Benoit.
Canada.com has posted this video interview with Bret Hart.
ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons called the Benoit story the biggest in sports in an online chat today, saying that “I don’t know if wrestling will survive this one.”
And… from www.AmericanBankCenter.com —
“American Bank Center has scheduled a new date for WWE Monday Night Raw. The event will be back in Corpus Christi at American Bank Center Arena on July 16th at 6:30pm. Tickets for the June 25th postponed date will still be honored. American Bank Center General Manager, Marc Solis says, ‘We have worked tirelessly with WWE officials since the event was postponed yesterday to set a new date. July 16th is only weeks away and we believe that shows the dedication and appreciation WWE has for their loyal fan base in Corpus Christi. It’s a difficult time for the organization, our thoughts and prayers are with the WWE family and friends.'”
Comments below are continued from past news posts on this tragic story…