Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I go and complain about the lead story being a civics-challenged Vice President and in return I get a murder suicide involving a professional wrestler I've followed for almost 15 years. I'm not going to complain anymore.
In my younger days, I was an avid professional wrestling fan. For about ten years, I watched every Monday Night Raw, read all the websites, and occasionally spent those allowance dollars on pay-per-view. In the last five years or so, I have not kept up the crazy pace of those youthful days, but I still know most of the characters and a few of the plot points. During all of that time, Chris Benoit has been around.
He was never as flashy as the guys that are commonly known like Hulk Hogan or The Rock. I recall on multiple occasions those charismatic guys would always "get under the skin" of Benoit by saying he was "boring" or had "no personality." The story lines always portrayed him as the no nonsense, rarely talking bad ass who let his in ring performance do the talking.
Benoit was one of, it not the best, technical wrestler ever. While other guys did practice those funny catch phrases, Benoit would make sure his moves were crisper and more convincing than anyone else. His in ring acting was the best, and it's why he was one of my favorites. As mentioned, I don't follow WWE much anymore, but I will say that I was pleased when I heard a few years ago, they finally let him win the big title.
Then he joins the ranks of guys like Mr. Perfect, The British Bulldog, The Big Bossman, Ravishing Rick Rude, Owen Heart, and Brian Pillman as another pro wrestler to die before 45. Illegal drugs and various other weird circumstances are still coming to the forefront, and I still can't say exactly how I feel about the situation.
The man killed his wife and child, which is unfathomable. Yet, when you watch a guy on TV every single week for ten years, you know you don't get to know him, but you feel like you have. I don't have that disgust for a guy who did kill his family that I would have if it were just some John Doe on the news. It's more of a sinking feeling where I wonder what in the world happened to this guy that's spent hours upon hours in front of me. It makes it just that much more tragic.
Dave Meltzer, a fairly well known wrestling columnist who has been around forever, aptly described it:
"You always rooted for him, because he was a good guy and he overcame the odds. It's like if you watched 'Rocky,' and in the end it comes out that Rocky killed his wife and his son."
The good guy I always liked turned around and screwed up his personal life where it came to this. It's a weird, weird deal.
Photo from The Wolverine's Den