e mërkurë, 27 qershor 2007

Wahlers on Benoit

Don Wahlers puts into words what I have been feeling about this tragedy.

For once in my life, I am at a loss for words. There
are really no words that can adequately describe how I
feel about the events of the past two days. The
apparent murder of Nancy and Daniel Benoit at the
hands of Chris Benoit, and then his subsequent suicide
is just something that I can’t even begin to fully
comprehend or accept. But I’m going to attempt to put
my feelings down in words, because it’s what you guys
would expect from me.

This is a column I never ever wanted to have to write.
I wish I could just crawl in a hole, and make believe
it never happened. But unfortunately, this is real
life, and it did happen. Three people are dead, and
the circumstances surrounding the deaths will just
make your head spin. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen

I got the horrendous news this past Monday afternoon,
"Chris Benoit and family dead." My initial reaction
was that this was someone’s idea of a really bad joke.
It had to be a joke. It just couldn’t be true. Not
another one. Not Chris Benoit. Please tell me it’s
not true. Those are the things I kept telling myself
as I came online to confirm the news, hoping against
all hope that it wasn’t true. Actually, hoping that
this was another sick WWE angle. What the hell, why
wouldn’t they go this far, I thought. There are no
lines Vince McMahon won’t cross. So why not? My
greatest fears were realized when I logged onto
Wrestling Observer.com, and saw the post from Dave
Meltzer. My heart sank, and tears began streaming
down my face.

In my 22 years of watching wrestling, this is the
worst thing that has ever happened. It may very well
be the worst thing to ever happen in the history of
the wrestling business. You’d be hard pressed to find
a more unbelievably tragic, and disturbing turn of
events. Three days later I still can’t come to terms
with what happened. I can’t believe that Chris Benoit
is dead, and I can’t even begin to grasp the fact that
he murdered his own wife and son. It’s like a bad
nightmare that you can’t wake up from. How could
something like this happen? There have been so many
wrestling deaths, and some have been sadder than
others. But this one affected me more than any other.

Chris Benoit was on a pedestal to me. He was a man
that I admired and respected perhaps more than any
other wrestler. I loved watching him compete in the
ring, whether it was the main event, or the opening
match. I can’t even believe I’m writing about him in
the past tense today. That is so incredibly messed
up. Benoit was one of my favorite wrestlers of
all-time, and I’m not one of those people that’s just
saying that because he’s dead. Anyone that knows me
knows how much I loved Chris Benoit, and how much of a
mark I was for him. Hell, if you like the true art of
professional wrestling, you have to be a mark for
Chris Benoit. The guy did it better than anyone I’ve
ever seen.

As far as what he accomplished in the ring, he will go
down as one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of
boots, and nothing that happened this week will ever
change that fact. But I will never look at Chris
Benoit the same way again. I will never watch a Chris
Benoit match the same way. The love, respect, and
admiration I had for him as a wrestler will always be
there, and that will never change. But the love,
respect, and admiration I had for him as a person is
gone. As a person, I am disgusted and repulsed by his
actions. As a person he is a murderer. There’s no
other way to put it.

Killing your wife is bad enough, but to kill your
innocent 7 year old son, there are no words to express
how immoral that is on every possible level. That, to
me, is the most revolting part of this whole ordeal.
And that is the part I am having the hardest time
trying to come to terms with in my own head.

All I can imagine is that Chris had some very deep
rooted mental problems, and whether they were caused
by steroid abuse, drug abuse, or whatever it might be,
one thing is very clear. You have to be fucked up in
the head to do something like this. And it hurts me
so much to think of Chris Benoit in that way, but
there is no possible way to sugercoat this, or dress
it up to make it look nice. As much as I wish I

The reports are that Chris tied up and gagged his wife
Nancy, and then choked her to death. He then
smothered his son with a plastic garbage bag as young
Daniel was apparently sleeping. I can’t even imagine
how terrified Daniel must have been as his father was
literally squeezing the life out of him. I want to
cry when I think about it. How can a father kill his
own son? How can someone go so far off the deep end
that murdering your own wife and son becomes a valid
option? I can’t fathom how that is possible.

He supposedly murdered his wife and son over the
course of a couple days, and then sat in the house
with the dead bodies for a day or two. Those are not
the actions of a sane person. Those are the actions
of a person that has broken all ties with reality, and
I have no idea what could have drove Chris to take
such drastic, final actions. Did he have an argument
with Nancy, and he just snapped in the moment, or was
this something he planned out? I have no answers,
only a million questions swirling around in my head.
And these are questions that there will never be any
answers to, because the answers died with Chris.

That’s why I say he must have been suffering from some
severe emotional and mental problems, and we as
wrestling fans would have had no knowledge of that.
All we saw was the character he portrayed on TV every
week. That’s all these people are. They are
characters on TV. We have no idea what they’re like
in real life, or what’s really going on in their head.
I would have never believed in a million years that
Chris Benoit would be capable of doing something so
heinous. But obviously, I, nor anyone else knew the
real Chris Benoit. It was stupid of me to place a man
I didn’t even know on such a high pedestal in my life.

Immediately after his death was announced, I wanted so
much to be able to write a nice bio piece on Chris,
and talk about some of my best memories of him. I
wanted to write about being there live at Madison
Square Garden for Wrestlemania 20, the night Chris
realized his greatest dream, and the emotion I felt
seeing him finally win the World Heavyweight
Championship. That was a highlight of my life as a
wrestling fan. I don’t know that anything will ever
top that night. It’s a memory I will always treasure.

It was the perfect storybook ending. Chris Benoit and
Eddie Guerrero, two smaller guys that had always been
overlooked for title consideration in the past,
standing in the middle of MSG hugging, both as World
Champions in WWE. It didn’t get any bigger or better
than that. Three years later, both men are gone.
What a cruel twist of fate that is. Who could have
ever imagined?

I wanted to talk about Benoit’s best matches, and most
memorable feuds today. I wanted to talk about how
much he meant to me, and how much I loved watching him
work. I wanted to honor and remember his Hall of Fame
career. But that became impossible when the news came
out that he had murdered his family. How can you
honor someone that did something so despicable?

An entire career that took more than 20 years of
blood, sweat, and tears to build will forever be
tarnished because of what happened this week. People
will no longer look at Chris Benoit as one of the
greatest wrestlers of all-time. They will look at
Chris Benoit as a murderer. It will never be, "Oh
yeah, remember that great match he had with Dean
Malenko." It will instead be, "Oh yeah, isn’t he the
guy that murdered his wife and son, and then killed
himself." And in the end, that may be one of the many
reasons Chris decided to take his own life. It was
indeed a tragic end to a storied career. And it’s
something I still can’t believe I’m writing about. I
don’t think I will ever understand.

Chris Benoit was one of my heroes, he was someone that
I looked up to for his work ethnic, and the way he
carried himself. He was such a class act, the kind of
guy you wanted to pattern yourself after. There are
few wrestlers that I respected and admired more than
him. But that illusion was shattered this week. It
was shattered into a million pieces. I will never
think of Chris Benoit the same way. And that makes me
very sad, and hurts me down deep in my heart and soul.

Three lives were ended this week, a brilliant career
was forever stained, a wife and mother lost her life,
and a 7 year old boy will never get the chance to grow
up, and experience all the best that life has to
offer. His live brutally snuffed out by his very own
father. There are no words in the English language or
any other language to express how deeply sad I am
about this, and how much I wish this never happened,
and I had been watching Chris Benoit defend the ECW
World Title for the first time last night, instead of
writing the most heart wrenching, painful column I
have ever written.

My deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and
friends of the Benoit family, and anyone that was
affected by this horrible tragedy. My profound
sympathy to the victims in this, Nancy and Daniel
Benoit. May you both rest in peace, and find your
eternal reward.

Goodbye Chris. Thanks for the memories, and for all
the classic wrestling matches. I may never be able to
forgive you for your unspeakable actions, but I will
certainly never forget you for what you brought to the
wrestling business, and the joy you brought into my
life. Unfortunately, that joy ended on Monday June
25, 2007. A date that will remain etched in mine, and
every other wrestling fans memory forever. Things
will never be the same again.

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