Historically Speaking: Crippled

“The tease, the way you lie; The stumble in your mind; The fear, the hope inside; They hit here; Hit here”
– written by Raine Maida, from the song “Whatever” by Our Lady Peace

As I sit here and write this just mere minutes after watching the three hour tribute to Chris Benoit I really don’t know what to say. I turned on RAW just a few minutes late, maybe 3 or 4 minutes after the hour and I saw a Chris Benoit video tribute playing. I instantly sat down and just looked in awe. Without the commentators saying a word or any words on the screen, I knew what had happened. I didn’t know why or how, but I knew that Chris Benoit had died. I wasn’t real worried about getting home immediately at seven in order to turn and catch the opening of RAW; I figured it just be some damn video package about “the demise of Mr. McMahon.” It turns it was a video package of a demise I didn’t expect and didn’t want to see. I ran to my brother’s computer and made him switch to wwe.com immediately to see what the news was. All it said was that Chris, Nancy and Daniel Benoit were dead. As I tried to log on again at 10:15 after RAW had ended I find out that it is being ruled a double murder and suicide. IP’s server has crashed and so have other top wrestling websites.

This will not be my usual HS column. And I said last week that I didn’t want to use this column to write obituaries for wrestlers who left before their time.

Now as I sit down to finish typing this column early on a Thursday morning with over 48 hours to digest all the news and comments made by many different columnists like me, I still do not really know how I feel about it. I don’t know how I’ll feel watching a Benoit a match again. I won’t burn my Hard Knocks DVD or rip apart my copy of WrestleMania XX, but I don’t know how I’ll feel about Benoit as a performer in the weeks, months and years to come. My views of Benoit as a man, however, are completely tarnished.

Chris Benoit ran with the moniker “The Crippler.” Well from this moment on Benoit’s legacy as a wrestling performer has been crippled. There goes the Hall of Fame induction he so richly deserves. There goes the spine-chilling image of him and Eddie at WrestleMania that was every WM video package.

I don’t like how the mainstream media is instantly pointing at steroids as the culprit. But steroids and wrestling deaths go hand-in-hand so it’s a natural point to jump off of. In my humble opinion, this wasn’t steroids. This wasn’t roid rage. This was obviously some sort of deliberate or calculated attack. Roid rage doesn’t cause hinting text messages to be sent to Chavo Guerrero. Roid rage doesn’t cause Bibles to laid down. I don’t know what it was, but the thought of all since the gory details have been released makes my stomach ill.

I know I am coming late in the wake of the multitude of Benoit column out on the wrestling sites and in the mainstream media, but I feel the need to use my weekly space to air my thoughts as so many others have done. And this isn’t just for others to read, I think it’s a way for me to think aloud and put it to paper what have I been reacting to. I feel like there is more I should write and more thoughts I should put to paper and other columns I should respond to here, but right now I just don’t feel like it. The man has already gotten more press about him than anyone could ever dream.

I and a lot of others in the “IWC” are fairly old and “mature” enough to handle this situation and will be able to go on being wrestling fans, but I think about the young fans, the ones who are five who are just getting into wrestling like I did when I was five or the 10 year olds who are still young and impressionable about this “sport.” Please don’t let this one instance stop you from being a fan of wrestling. Trust me, it well getter with time.

Just two weeks ago Vince McMahon and WWE creative wanted a death storyline to spike the ratings and get media attention. Careful Vince what you wish for, you just might get it.

For this week the vault is closed

Linked to the Pulse
There are so many amazing columns that have come down the pike at IP about this situation all week that it isn’t fair just highlight a couple and not the rest. They are impassioned columns with widly varying viewpoints and all make for an interesting read to say the least.

This Day in History
I figured if we are talking history around here we should pay homage to what has happened on this very day in the years gone by. It will either make you long for the old days or be happy for what we have now.

Who cares what happened in history on June 28. It’ll be the day June 25 that people will remember from now on.

The Assignment
It’s important to know your history to know where you have come from and where you are going. Nova implemented history assignments for the students of the developmental territories months ago so they would know pro wrestling’s history and they would learn just how many moves Nova did create. I feel this is a smashing idea and every week I will assign a book or DVD for you to check out and learn from. They are not only educational but very entertaining.

I have recently picked up a wealth of new wrestling books and DVDs. I plan on indulging myself in them so as to get on with being a fan. This past weekend I watched the The Most Powerful Families in Wrestling DVDs and I must say it is one of the most entertaining of the WWE documentaries put out in a long time. I was completely engrossed in the over two hour doc. It talked about the expected families like the Harts, McMahons and the entire Samoan lineage and even sheds some light on some less talked about families like the Grahams, Vachons and the Rougeaus. They held back on the Von Erichs as their own disc is coming out soon but it was enough to wet the appetite. The matches are a little hit-and-miss as far as quality and match choice, but there are some nice hidden or forgotten gems like a Guerrero brothers squash match from Mid-South, Barry Windham teaming his dad Blackjack Mulligan in a squash and the Putskis versus Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher from RAW in 1997. There’s also a really great extra where Duece talks about the inspiration his dad Jimmy Snuka was to him. This is a really great DVD for the documentary alone and the match extras just help it out.

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