Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Benoit 1967-2007

I can't believe another high-profile professional wrestler, along with his wife and son, is dead. What makes it even worse is how I failed (and didn't want) to believe it was real until the AP released articles regarding Benoit's passing.

I am a big fan of professional wrestling. I've been a fan since Hulk Hogan was telling kids to "eat your vitamins" and telling other wrestlers "Whatcha gonna do?" I didn't follow Chris Benoit that much, since he was wrestling in Japan and Extreme Championship Wrestling at the time, but got to see him when he was in World Championship Wrestling. I didn't think Chris had the potential to be a champion, but that's only because I didn't watch a lot of WCW.

When Benoit came to the WWE, I finally got to see why people thought he could be the next world heavyweight champion. His style of wrestling reminded me of Bret Hart (Benoit was trained by Stu Hart, although Benoit's moveset really resembled more of the Dynamite Kid's because that was who Benoit idolized). Since Bret became a successful singles champion in WWE, and Benoit seemed to have more intensity in his matches, I then began to believe Benoit would be a big star.

Benoit finally did win the World Heavyweight Title from Triple H at WrestleMania XX, celebrating with the late Eddie Guerrero in the ring afterwards (Guerrero had won the WWE title from Brock Lesnar the previous month). It's very depressing to see that both Benoit and Guerrero, two great entertainers, are now gone (Eddie died in November 2005).

Benoit's last match was on ECW on June 19, 2007, where he defeated Elijah Burke to contend for the vacated ECW title. Benoit missed the WWE house show on Saturday, June 23, saying he was flying home for personal reasons. I read reports that Benoit said his wife and son were "throwing up blood," although I don't believe that was the direct cause of the deaths of Benoit's wife and son. Right now, investgators are ruling it a double murder/suicide, meaning they think Benoit killed his wife and son, then killed himself. I will wait until autopsy results come in Tuesday to figure out what may have happened. Right now, it is a time for mourning in the wrestling community.

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