Stability: What pro-wrestling can learn from “The Benoit Tragedy”

Posted: May 23, 2012 by Kick Out At 2! in Derick B
Tags: , , , , ,

If we here at KO@2 ran a poll of 100 readers and asked them “What incident has changed the history and future of Pro Wrestling?”, the answers would be varied. Some would be kayfabe; The formation of the nWo, The formation of DX, The fingerpoke of doom. Others would be real events: WWE buying out ECW and WCW, The Magnum T.A. plane crash, or the countless deaths of wrestlers in, or near their prime. But one would stand out: The Benoit Tragedy.

Now, since you are on this site, I would surmise that the majority of you know what took place the days of June 22-25, 2007. I’m not going to get into details. In short, police entered the Benoit home on June 25th, and subsequently found the crime scene.  Nancy (Chris’ wife) dead of asphyxiation, Daniel (their son) dead of asphyxiation, and Chris dead due to hanging.

The only thing myself and other don’t understand is WHY. Speculation has ranged from steroid use and abuse, to multiple (and untreated) head injuries, a failing marriage, etc.  Could all of these been avoided? To an extent, Yes. Were there signs? No. So, the best that the industry can do is learn from them.

Pro wrestling (and specifically WWE) have taken MAJOR steps in the prevention of this tragedy happening again. The main step: The Wellness Policy. Simply put: If they test you and you test positive for a banned substance, you are suspended. Do it 3 times, and you’re out. On the other side of that, If you ever have wrestled for the WWE and have a substance abuse problem, they will pay for your rehab 100%. This is by far the best thing to happen “behind the scenes” in the industry. Ever. I wish, No, I compel wrestlers that have abuse issues to please look into this.

As for the head injuries. Medicine has, and is, making leaps and bounds in the study of concussions. The brain is a very fragile organ. One wrong chair shot to the head could be career-ending. As a wrestling fan, I couldn’t begin to count the times I’ve seen a chair shot and thought “There is no way he is conscious.” Yes, I know they are trained to do them correctly, but the dangers are still there. My hats off to the WWE for moving chair shots from the head to the back.

Lastly, the personal life issues. Look, at the end of the day, Wrestlers are human. They may have marital issues. They may get run down of the constant on-the-road schedule. They may have issues with family. If they do, give them the time off. Example: John Cena. Cena is currently going through a divorce. From experience, I can tell you they get down right brutal. If Cena needs time away from the ring, then let him have it. I’m sure your merchandise sells may dip. What would be better: John Cena taking time off to deal with life issues, or, his mind not being 100% and possibly injuring himself or someone else in the process??

Bottom line: The Benoit Tragedy was unforgettable. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.

“The Champ” has spoken.

-Derick B.

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Comments
  1. Christine says:

    I completely agree. Being in medical school, I have found out that mental illness is a lot more prevalent than we all think. Unfortunately, no one wants to admit that they have problems and families tend to hide them. I have talked to Shane a lot about this tragedy and how the WWE could have used it as a cautionary tale for wives to seek help from dangerous husbands; from men to admit they have an illness and find help before they become dangerous to themselves and loved ones.

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