It’s now been 10 years since the horrible act of violence current and former WWE Staff, Superstars and alumni refer to as “The Incident” happened. I’m referring to the morning Chris Benoit killed his wife, young son and then himself in a double murder-suicide. The incident shocked the Wrestling world and made national headlines.
According to Benoit’s suicide note, he killed his own son with his signature submission move the Crippler Crossface. He then shot himself in the head with a pistol. Benoit, who had known anger management and drug issues in and outside WWE had been overheard arguing with his wife by neighbors. He’d been suspended by WWE for domestic violence-related arrests in the past, which of course WWE kept out of the public eye (his absence was explained as an injury as I recall but everyone in the locker room knew the truth).
In the years since the Benoit Incident, we now know it’s very likely Benoit had CTE. At the time, chair shots to the head were allowed. Research on possible long-term effects forced WWE to ban head-shots, On a related subject, Kevin Nash announced a few years ago he is going to donate his brain to researchers when he dies.
The timing couldn’t have been worse: The week before, Vince McMahon’s on-screen character died when the limo he got into blew up. The Benoit Incident forced WWE to immediately scrap that storyline to address the incident. Mind you, this was after Vince’s “death” was announced as having actually happened. Stunned viewers watched as Vince McMahon–alive and well–came down to the ring the following RAW. I dismissively explained he staged his death to see if he would be missed.
WWE was cordual in regards to the Benoit Family because they had to. Once that grace period ended, they immediately removed all mentions of him from WWE.com and elsewhere. WWE does not talk about him because he murdered his wife and child. That is more than enough reason to forget he ever existed.
The Internet’s reaction, on the other hand was beyond tasteless: 10 years later, they overhype a wrestler who had a mostly mediocre career. He will always be remembered as the man Randy Orton beat to become the youngest WWE Champion ever. Yet, you still have internet tough guys who feel what he did should be separated from his career, which is pretty forgettible in reality. Benoit himself knew it.
Ok, let’s look at just Benoit’s WWE career. He won the Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania (which WWE Network does not have) and the U.S. Title once each. He put then new talent over as a Face and a Heel. That’s it.
The inconvenient truth is Benoit did not have a Hall of Fame career. Like it or not, what he did disqualifies him from ever being considered for the Hall of Fame. “But what about the other superstar involved in his matches?”, you ask? WWE does reference them but they do not specifically mention him by name.
Some people felt Stone Cold Steve Austin not mentioning Benoit during his video podcast with Vince McMahon was a missed opportunity on his part. Austin knows it’s one subject to stay far away from is all.
So no, Chris Benoit will NEVER be inducted into the Hall of Fame EVER. Yes, what he did is as much a factor as Razor Ramon’s substance abuse kept him out of the Hall of Fame for several years. Pete Rose was banned for life from MLB for gambling and fixing games, which could be argued as far less tame compared to what Ron Artest (biggest fight in NBA history about 10 years ago, 1 year suspension and legally changed his name to clean up his image) and Michael Vick (dog fighting ring, spent time in jail as a result) have both done.
So, yeah. Follow WWE’s lead and forget Chris Benoit ever existed. Everyone he ever wrestled did years ago. LOL.