so I think that's definitely it for me and wrestling.
I haven't watched wrestling much since 2001, anyway, but now I don't think I could ever get into it again, even if I really wanted to.
I just wonder, obviously Benoit takes the blame here, but how culpable could the industry be in this situation? You can say the constant pain, the probable abuse of pain-killers, and the loss of several close wrestler friends most likely played a role in Benoit's likely actions, but can you really blame pro wrestling for inciting somebody to murder? The steady wave of drug-related deaths is obviously a huge mark against the industry, and something that the WWE could have done more to attempt to prevent, but I'm not sure how much, or if any, blame can be laid upon the industry for this latest tragedy. Of course I'm sure others will do so, and perhaps this will be the final grisly straw that leads to serious efforts to reform the nature of the industry, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.
Obviously this whole situation involving Chris Benoit's death is horribly shocking and depressing news. He's one of the last wrestlers I'd ever expect to do something like this. I haven't watched wrestling regularly since 2001, but after getting back into it in '96 there was nobody I enjoyed watching in a match more than Benoit. He was the finest technical wrestler of his generation, and the absolute best at making it look real. I'd almost always root for him over his opponent, even if that opponent was a more charismatic or engaging personality, which, to be honest, almost everybody was. As great a wrestler as Benoit was, he was mostly horrible when it came to interviews and the more dramatic (or at least melodramatic) aspects of the medium. And maybe that's why, despite enjoying his matches more than any other wrestler since Randy Savage and Ric Flair in their 1980's prime, and despite everything being so sordid, his death hasn't quite hit me as hard as Owen Hart's and Eddie Guerrero's, or made as much impact as a hypothetical similar death of Chris Jericho or Mick Foley would. It's obviously horrible, I was deeply saddened last night, still am really damn bummed, but it's been less than twelve hours since I found out and I'm already slightly detached from the whole thing, and can approach his death unemotionally. With Owen and Eddie I'd get depressed for days afterward. And like I said, I do believe it's mostly because Benoit failed to create a memorable character, beyond being the serious and determined ass-kicker (a stock wrestling type that I really really like, but that still required more acting ability than Benoit possessed), but also I have to wonder what effect the amazingly sordid and despicable nature of his death has already played upon my memory of and respect for the man. Damn.
Nancy Benoit was a prominent valet and wrestler in WCW and ECW throughout the late '80's and '90's. I first saw her as Rick Steiner's geeky superfan, Robin Green, who would sit in the front row during Steiner Brothers matches and eventually became something like his girlfriend. After a few weeks she asked to accompany the Steiners to ringside; Scott wasn't so sure, but Rick prevailed, and so she became their unofficial valet. Of course she immediately turned on them and helped their opponents win. She ditched the goofy, ill-fitting sweaters in favor of a leather bustier, went from dowdy '80's housewife hair to slutty, overly teased, '80's rock video vixen hair, and changed her name from Robin Green to Woman. She managed Doom during their early masked phase, when they were awful, in a memorably one-sided feud against the Steiners. Later she was the valet for her then-real-life-husband, Kevin Sullivan, and after that accompanied Ric Flair to the ring for a brief period of time. She briefly popped up in ECW in '94 and '95, I believe. In 1995 Kevin Sullivan, who was the booker of WCW, came up with a storyline where his wife would leave him for the young up-and-comer Chris Benoit. To make the story more realistic, Kevin had Nancy and Benoit travel together, during which time they started up a real affair. She left Sullivan for Benoit, and the bad blood between those two men eventually led to Benoit leaving WCW for WWF in 2000. But so, after marrying Benoit and taking his name, Nancy mostly retired from wrestling. Initially it seemed like her death would be overshadowed by her husband's, but considering the nature of of their deaths I imagine you'll see a number of wrestling fans pointedly pay tribute to her. Sort of like I just did, I guess.