WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Impact of the Chris Benoit Tragedy Five Years Later

Chris BenoitSunday, June 24th, 2012 marks the five year tragedy of the sad impact of the double-murder-suicide of Daniel, Nancy, and Chris Benoit. Why write a piece on such a tragic situation?

I listened to a few Figure Four Daily podcasts with Bryan Alvarez from the Wrestling Observer a few days after Chris’ death and he mentioned in his podcasts that things in the wrestling business needs to change. After Eddie Guerrero’s death in November 2005, WWE had a wellness policy that was dropped six months afterwards, yet if they kept going with it how much of an impact would it of had on had on Chris Benoit?

After looking at Benoit’s brain, Chris’ brain was compared to an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient (reported by Julian Bailes from West Virginia University). It was speculated that his brain was shot due to all the diving head butts that became a signature move in Benoit’s arsenal.

Vince McMahon and the WWE set up a wellness policy that’s thankfully still in tact following the murders-suicide-tragedy. After it was set in stone, several big-time stars got into trouble because of steroids. I won’t list any names because to me, it doesn’t matter who they are. If you want to know, I’m sure you can Google them and find out.

Vince McMahon claims to be concerned about the health of his superstars. Chair shots to the head have been banned and blood have become “no-nos” as well. I remember among my hardcore fans being upset at these changes. Yet looking back now years later, it was for the best. I want the wrestlers who I watch to keep their health as long as they can.

Okay, what about the impact of the Benoit tragedy you mentioned at the start of the blog? Do I, part-time writer and full-time Spee Dee Delivery Package Handler believe the business has improved since the sad situation?

Some say that Chris Benoit almost killed the business. I can’t argue with their opinion because it’s true. I remember that United States Congress even thought about looking into the steroid use among professional wrestlers, given that hindsight was 20/20, they thought steroids were what caused the rage that killed Nancy and Daniel as innocent victims. If they would have wanted to check out Benoit’s brain, we would have found the reason behind the tragedy.

We all know (at least I hope) of the steroid scandal that the WWE faced in the early-90s when US Congress brought Vince McMahon to trial on the use of steroids in his, then, World Wrestling Federation. Maybe in the mind of McMahon, Congress wanted to rehash an old feud and try to take him out? Vince had no control of Benoit or his actions and shouldn’t have been held accountable, yet that is where it looked like the situation was heading at one point.

I’m off point here, lets back-track to the question posed: what impact has the Benoit situation had on the business?

The media was going for the throat of the wrestling business but WWE made a smart decision to set embrace a wellness policy (can be found here: http://corporate.wwe.com/company/abuse_policy.jsp). With that, the banning of chair shots to the head, and ban on blood as stated already in the blog, I see these all as positives for the wrestling industry. The health of the superstars should be a huge priority for us all, from fans to the man who signs the paychecks.

I mentioned the state of Benoit’s brain when he snapped. It was figured out that his brain was as bad as it was because off all the concussions he had over his career. So banning chair shots to the head a good thing? That should be an easy answer.

So, with the points I mentioned, it’d make perfect sense about chair shots to the head and blood to be cut out. Thanks to all of the research on what we know about steroids and the performance-enhanced drugs, it also makes perfect sense to cut them out too right? We aren’t in the land of the giants anymore and we are living in the land of “knowledge” these days, so why damage our bodies to make an extra buck?

To conclude, I hope I pointed out some positives on the sad tragedy that came out of the Benoit situation. Like I mentioned earlier, the podcasts I listened to from Bryan Alvarez made me sad speculating about why Benoit did what he did. I didn’t want to cover that in this blog. In turn, I do feel that professional wrestling is a better place five years later. I am Eric Darsie and until next time, stay classic!

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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Welcome to the Camel Clutch Blog. The CCB was born in 2007 and features blogs from over 50 different writers. Articles from the Camel Clutch Blog have been featured by some of the world's most respected websites including; CNNSI.com, Foxsports.com, Yahoo News, Business Insider, MSNBC, NBCsports.com, and more.

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