Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Benoit tragedy

Pro Wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and seven year old son and then killed himself. This horrfic tragedy is hard for anyone to wrap their brain around. It's almost impossible if you're a wrestling fan.

I have been a pro wrestling fan since I was a preschooler spending weekends at my grandparents house(I will be 36 this month). I have watched a genre that I love to follow evolve (or devolve) into a T.V. product that I find virtually unwatchable.

Dawn Marie enjoys watching a show call Top Chef. I often see challenges where they ask the competitors to take a traditional dish, reinterpret it, put a modern spin on it and make it even better. This is how I viewed Chris Benoit. Benoit captured the essence of the pro wrestling I watched as a kid while at the same time performing the
"nifty" modern high flying, high impact moves that are prevalent today. Benoit could do it all in a ring and he did it with an intensity and authenticity that no one else could match. Benoit was the best in ring performer I have seen in all my years of watching pro wrestling.

What caused one of the most respected men in the industry to snap?

I believe The drive that led Benoit to be a pro wrestling virtuoso also led to his downfall. Years of taking prescription drugs to enhance his physique and to reduce pain along with multiple head injuries, deaths to many of his close friends a deteriorating marriage and numerous other factors caused Benoit to drift into insanity. I am not absolving Chris Benoit, because ultimately he is responsible for what happened. I do think that the pro wrestling lifestyle helped create the perfect storm that led Chris Benoit to commit these heinous acts.

Can anything good come of this?

I do believe that the WWE cares. I just don't think they get it. They have done some good things adding drug testing and a wellness program as well as reduced the number of days on the road. Yet, in the last week I have tuned into their programming and I've seen that the most hyped performer is a body builder that has virtually no ability in the ring or behind a microphone. This send a dangerous message and shows to me they truly don't get it.

A couple of days after the tragedy Vince McMahon was on the today show. Meridith Vierra asked him about the high mortality rate (she mentioned 40 deaths If I remember correctly) of pro wrestlers before the age of 45 in the last 25 years. McMahon said he could only talk about those that died while under contract to him (which was 5) and that Vierra's numbers might have been excessive (in reality her numbers were low). McMahon went on to say that these events were so far remove from what the WWE was about which was "putting smiles on peoples faces".

My reaction?

Over the years I have acquired over 50 hours of classic Portland Wrestling 1977-85 If I am sad or mad I put in those DVD's and they instantly put a smile on my face. If I need something to put a smile on my face in the future I will reach for my Portland collection and I will stay away from WWE programming. From this point forward I will not spend another minute or dollar on the WWE. As far as my blogs Walla Walla Barer and TV Time Limit I will no longer have WWE content.

Vincent K. McMahon as far as I am concerned,,,,You're Fired!

1 comment:

Mike Barer said...

This is indeed a terrible tragedy, and reflects another recent tragedy of Lynn and Bob's former neighbors who moved to Chicago, alegedly the Father shot his wife and children and then wounded himself.