The Life and Tragedy of Chris Benoit
Lucha libre is perhaps best described as a “soap opera with muscular actors.” These men and women have dedicated their lives to keeping audiences and fans entertained with their dazzling signature moves and often tricky backstories. Over the decades, only a select few have managed to bring a little more of themselves into the ring and grab everyone’s attention with nothing but sheer emotion and sheer talent. These ring demigods are demigods in their own right; And although their light has long since been extinguished from the face of the earth, their stories will live on in the hearts of their fans.
However, there is a dark side to wrestling. Everything could be scripted and everyone is in the act. However, a warning, the dangers and the violence are all too real. Many careers have been tragically cut short due to the glory of violence. The price of fame comes at a high price, sometimes at the cost of a life.
One of the most tragic stories known to many wrestling fans is that of Chris Benoit. Known for his incredible technical skills, Benoit remains one of the most popular and respected fighters to date. Born as a boy, Christopher Michael Benoit idolized wrestling greats like Bret Hart and Dynamite Kid.
After watching countless pirated tapes of his idol’s fights, young Benoit decided to join his heroes in the world of wrestling. Although his father was not a fan of the sport, he was nonetheless supportive of his son’s dream. She even bought a set of weights for her son for weight training and muscle building. He would later allow Benoit to drive to Calgary to train in the Hart family’s “Dungeon”. During this time, Chris was trained under the tutelage of Bruce and Stu Hart. The training was strenuous, but it would prove useful for years to come. When Benoit began his wrestling career in 1985, he had just finished high school and was working on Stu Hart’s wrestling promotion. During this time, Benoit became close to Bret Hart and often regarded him as a role model.
The young entrant would prove to be a fierce and welcome addition to the world of wrestling. With signature moves like the nose dive, his opponents faced a tough match despite Benoit’s smaller build. Benoit would debut in Stampede Wrestling and then go to WWF. Along the way, Benoit would form friendships with fellow wrestlers such as Dean Malenko and the late great Eddie Guerrero. The two would later share the victory at WrestleMania XX. Benoit defeated Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship with a Crippler Crossface. This was to be the first time the WrestleMania main event had ended in a submission. It was an emotional moment for both Benoit and Guerrero as they celebrated their victories in the ring.
The glamor and fame of the wrestling life were overshadowed by the demons that haunted his personal life. His marriage to his first wife, Martina, failed. He eventually married Nancy Sullivan, with whom they had a son, David. The marriage was considered “broken” due to Chris’ “cruel treatment” of his wife. On June 25, 2007, the police found a gruesome discovery at Benoit’s home. The lifeless bodies of Benoit, Nancy and David were found. It was later discovered that Benoit was behind the murders, taking his own life after killing both his wife and son.
His death was a huge shock to many in the wrestling world. His father would later reveal that years of trauma to his son’s brain may have caused his actions. Benoit was quietly cremated and quietly passed away from the wrestling world to the next.