Dr. Keith Lipinski, who has been one of those very helpful IWCers, sending us updates on the Benoit story throughout the week, was interviewed on Monday Night Mayhem, which you can listen to here (MP3).
Also from Dr. Keith, in response to a question about “who” the five wrestlers were that Vince McMahon refered to on the Today Show, the following five men died while under WWF/E contract:
1. Chris Benoit, suicide, June 24, 2007
2. Eddy Guerrero, acute heart failure, November 13, 2005
3. Russ Haas, heart attack, December 15, 2001
4. Owen Hart, accident, May 23, 1999
5. Brian Pillman, atherosclerotic heart disease, October 5, 1997
Dr. Keith also sent the following review of the Chris Benoit story in the new edition of PEOPLE Magazine:
The Benoit story made the pages (and the top right cover with the caption “Wrestler Chris Benoit’s Shocking Murder-Suicide”) of this weeks People Magazine (July 9, 2007 pages 54-57)
“Wrestling’s murder suicide” is the title of the story with a full page picture of Benoit sitting by a wrestling ring and the caption of “we’re real people outside of the ring,” Benoit tole a London interviewer last March. He also spoke of “burnout” on the job. “You’re on the road so long. Sometimes you just need to step out of it to get refreshed.”
Page 55 Caption (along with picture of Chris & Nancy used many times on CNN with Benoit having a black eye) “What cause WWE Champ Chris Benoit to kill his wife and 7-year-old son and hang himself at his home gym?”
First paragraph: “Of all the bad-guy scenarios played out in professional wrestling, nothing could match the horrific final hours of Chris Benoit. According to police, the popular gladiator known as Rabid Wolverine subdued his wife, Nancy, 43, on the wooden floor of their home office in suburban Atlanta June 22, tied her wrists and feet together, wrapper her in a blanked and strangled her with a cord. Hours later he strangled their 7-year-old son, Daniel, face-down on the boy’s bed.”
“Then, according to authorities, he went to the basement exercise room, looped a cable from a weight machine around his neck and, with a nearly empty bottle of wine at his feet, dropped a stack of weights and strangled himself.”
“Court papers suggest that Benoit, ferocious in the ring, could also be violent at home.”
“Stanley W. Levitt, an Atlanta attorney who represented the Montreal-born Benoit in the divorce action, notes that Nancy dropped her petition three months after filing. “Chris was very much in love with his wife3 and they wanted to get back together,” Levitt says. “The Chris I knew was a kind, gentle and compassionate person.”
“He was definitely one of the more popular wrestling in the company, both amongst the wrestlers themselves and with the fans,” says Phil Low, editor of the wrestling Web site Wrestlemag.com.
“Jimmy Baswell, Benoit’s driver – who last talked to Chris June 17 – says the wrestler adored his son. “When we were at their house, he would always let Daniel walk around with championship belts, running around and saying “I beat my daddy and I’m the new champion of the world’ He carried that boy on a pedestal.”
Ballard “Our thought is, somebody had been giving the boy growth hormones for some time, because there were not fresh needle marks.”
“People tend to connect to the characters they see on TV and think they know who they are” says lifelong wrestling fan Shannon Scott, 23, of Radford, VA. “But we don’t.”
There is also a box on page 56 with the caption COULD IT BE STEROIDS?
Eric Bischoff commented on the Benoit tragedy on his blog:
How Can This Be?
I can not begin to articulate my feelings about the tragedy in the Benoit family. It is something I am really struggling to comprehend.
I heard the news late Monday afternoon just as I was sitting down in a business meeting in Pittsburgh, I sat stunned as I listned to DDP on the other end of the phone, trying to tell me what happened. My meeting went very late into the evening and there was little new information when I went to bed.
My phone rang at 7am on Tues and the caller ID revealed a 404 area code. Assuming it was someone that I used to work with in the area, I answered the phone. It was a local sports/talk show in the Atlanta area and they wanted to get my comments. I hesitated, but since the radio personality was a friend of a friend, I decided to go ahead.
The questions started out ok…what one would normally expect in a situation like this. However they quickly turned into a “who’s to blame” line of questioning and went down hill from there.
It’s really impossible anymore to be honest about something as tragic and emotionally charged as this issue without sounding like I have some kind of “hidden agenda”. Its clear that the media wants to blame steroids, professional wrestling, Vince McMahon, or anyone or anything else that further sensationalizes this family tragedy.
I refuse to join the choir.
I don’t have enough information. I wasn’t there. I am not a psychiatrist. I just can’t imagine how or why this could have happened.
God bless Nancy and Daniel. God forgive Chris Benoit.
Jerry Lawler commented on the Benoit tragedy to WMC-TV in Memphis, saying “You try to figure out why something like this would occur and sadly, it’s hard to come up with a reason.” Additional comments from Lawler can be found at the story linked above.
At Kurt Angle’s official Web site, the following statement has been posted: “Kurt hopes that you will join him in extending condolences and prayers for the survivors of the Chris Benoit Family. This news is very sad for all of us that knew and loved Chris. It is a sad tragedy and we wish the best for the family members that have to deal with this situation and go forward from this.”
On his WWE.com blog, JBL wrote “”I want to say my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the horrific events that happened this past weekend with the Benoit family. I have never been this close to a tragedy of this scale, and still have no understanding how this incomprehensible thing could have happened. I knew the family well, and I don’t want to add my speculation to what happened. I just want to say, I wish it never had, I think it is deplorable and my heart is broken that it did.”
In other news, gossip site TMZ.com has reported that Chris Benoit’s doctor had a shady history.
According to PWInsider.com, all current and future Chris Benoit items are being removed from Jakks Pacific’s collections, including the upcoming PPV Series 15 collection (aBrian Kendrick figure will take its place).
Also from PWInsider.com, Amazon.com has pulled the Chris Benoit DVD (except for used copies) after reportedly using the tragedy to promote the DVDs.
WWE Niagra Falls is removing Chris Benoit merchandise, etc.
Yet another update on Wikipedia-gate: PWTorch.com is now reporting that someone with the same IP address as the person who wrote that Nancy Benoit was dead (hours before authorities found her body) has not only “caused trouble” with edits to the Sopranos, Ron Artest and other pages, but has supposedly erased bad info about Chavo Guerrero. Um… okay.
Wade Keller at the Torch is reporting that he’s heard from many wrestlers who knew Chris Benoit that they will not be attending his funeral (only his close inner circle like Chavo and Regal are supposedly considering it), but those who were friends with Nancy will be attending hers. The feeling is that they don’t want to honor Chris and also feel that by attending, it wouldn’t be comforting to his relatives.
Keller also has a very detailed report up of Chris Jericho’s appearance on CNN/HN’s Nancy Grace show tonight, which includes these comments: “It’s almost a tale of two cities, a tale of two people. There was the Chris Benoit that had these horrendous acts of extreme psychopathic lunacy in the last days of his life. Then there’s the Benoit I myself travelled with, lived with, said I love you to on many occasions; he was my mentor, one of my best friends, and was a brother to me in so many ways. The 15 years I knew him and the two days he did these horrible horrible acts, it’s hard to kind of discern the two. That’s why we have to find out what would make a mild-mannered, polite, influential tremendous person and performer to do such things. Is steroids a reasons? I think it goes much deeper than that. I think we’re seeing a man with some severe psychological, troubled issuese and held them in for far too long and they combined to cause him to snap in such a horrible way.” When asked about whether or not Benoit talked about his son’s condition, Jericho said “No. See, this is why I really wanted to come talk to you, Nancy, and talk about Chris Benoit the man to some of the people who don’t know anything about wrestling or him and the millions of fans or hundreds of co-workers he influenced in such a positive way. Chris was a very quiet man, but not a recluse and not a hermit. He minded his own business. In all of the years I was with him, I never once saw anything. If I went nuts and wanted to beat somebody up, he was the guy who would contain me. A lot of people can tell you that. As far as knowing Daniel’s condition, it wouldn’t surprise me – and I’m saying this seriously – if even his parents didn’t even know. If Chris had decided he wanted to keep it to himself, you wouldn’t have been able to pry it out of him for anything. I don’t know anybody, myself or any of his close friends, his co-workers, his boss, who knew or suspected anything about him having Fragile X. Yet as soon as I read the symptoms of Fragile X, it fit Daniel to a T all across the board. The lack of social skills, hard to make eye contact, intense shyness, flapping the hands, ADHD, and even to the point of his ears being a little bigger, his head being a little larger. You don’t think much about that; some kids grow into themselves over the years. But now that you read it, you can kind of see where this all ties in.” Read Keller’s full report here.
Debra Williams and Superstar Billy Graham were on Hannity & Colmes tonight, Marc Mero on MSNBC, and Chyna was on Jim Rome’s radio show today. Also, by several accounts, Geraldo’s appearance on The O’Reilly Factor tonight included several factual inaccuracies about WWE and the Benoit case. If you saw the segments, or any others, you can send a report to me by clicking the feedback button below.