News Analysis: This is Not a Wrestling Story

Unfortunately, it doesn’t just feel like three lifetimes ago when the Texas crowd chanted “We Want Benoit” during the ECW Championship match between C.M. Punk and Johnny Nitro at this past Sunday’s Vengeance Pay-Per-View … it WAS three lifetimes ago.

As everyone now knows, it has been reported that over the weekend Chris Benoit – one of the most respected and revered workhorses in professional wrestling history – was the lone perpetrator in the double homicide of his wife Nancy and his son Daniel before killing himself in what has been deemed by authorities as a murder-suicide.

While many people are already talking about steroid abuse and concluding that rampant ‘roid rage in the WWE is the reason why Chris Benoit committed such an unfathomably reprehensible act, I just couldn’t sit idly by as assorted news outlets and other media who are turning this horrifying situation into another way to rail against professional wrestling lose sight of the fact that this situation goes beyond needles being injected into wrestlers who travel across the country to feel the rush they get from thousands of screaming fans in packed arenas whose eyes are locked on the action inside the ring. That this situation is not about the mind-boggling amount of pro wrestlers who die before the age of 50, nor is it about lackluster wellness policies or the plethora of heart failures or failed surgeries or fluke accidents or drug overdoses that have plagued this industry.

This situation is about a 40 year-old man who asphyxiated his wife, smothered his son, and then hanged himself. This is about a man who was respected and loved and admired by so many people in his own locker room that it is incomprehensible to imagine him alone in his house with two dead bodies of loved ones – their blood on his hands – sending bizarre text messages as he plots his next course of action that would wind up being his last.

This is about a man named Chris Benoit who killed his wife Nancy, his son Daniel, and then himself.

He just happened to wrestle for a living.

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