Benoit Answering Machine Messages Released, Plus Author Irv Muchnick’s Theory

Messages on Chris and Nancy Benoit’s answering machine have been released. The WSB-TV story, however, doesn’t mention what has been previously reported elsewhere: that Chris and Nancy had kept messages from Eddie Guerrero left for Chris the day before Eddie died in 2005.

Also regarding the Benoit tragedy, author Irv Muchnick — who is about to publish a book on the case — has been blogging regularly about what he feels are holes in the investigation, and whether or not Vince McMahon and others in WWE knew that Benoit likely killed himself and his family PRIOR to going on the air with the three-hour tribute. If you’re interested in his theories, he recently recapped the key points here. Some of the more interesting hypotheses/excerpts from recent posts:

Vince McMahon, the chairman of WWE, closely held a lot of information on the Benoit murder-suicide at the moment when McMahon stood inside the ring in an empty American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, at 8 p.m. Eastern time on June 25, 2007, and introduced, with teary eyes and a cracking voice, a Monday Night Raw tribute to Benoit.

No one who has read the reports on this blog could seriously continue to believe that World Wrestling Entertainment didn’t manipulate the news so that the world wouldn’t yet know a murderer was being honored on the June 25, 2007, edition of Raw. As for which specific WWE personnel knew what and when — that can’t be pinned down. Almost all of the wrestlers certainly did not know; they were being “worked” — for their own good, of course — every bit as much as the public. However, enough of the important people, the ones who call the shots, knew. In isolation, that describes what essentially was a PR issue, and for cynics just another in a line of “who cares?” questions when it comes to pro wrestling.

McMahon’s performance in Corpus Christi may have been designed to garner momentary sympathy for the company and distract the public from what WWE knew would be unprecedented scrutiny of its drug culture once the full facts came out. An additional factor in the equation may have been the historically high TV ratings for dead-wrestler tribute shows – Brian Pillman (1997), Owen Hart (1999), and Eddie Guerrero (2005).

I recommend Dave Meltzer’s coverage in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter for what has been the most comprehensive reporting on this case, in my opinion.

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