Did WWE Do the Right Thing?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back when I was in middle school and the early stages of high school I like many others my age got into wrestling. It was at its prime, WCW was peaking with the introduction of the NWO and the WWF introduced Degeneration X and the Rock was starting to peak people's interest. Eventually I waned off watching but I have always been familiar with the characters.

The Canadian Crippler, Chris Benoit had been around forever. He was a mainstay at WCW and when that organization folded the WWE(F) snatched him up immediately. One thing was certain from his on stage persona, he was a guy who they could always run out to be a pissed off foaming at the mouth mother f'er. Well this weekend he canceled his appearance at the WWE's pay per view due to personal reasons, on yesterday he along with his wife and their son were found dead in what is believed to be a murder suicide, with the death of the wife and son believed to have occurred over the weekend and Benoit dead sometime yesterday.

This is obviously completely tragic and I fully understand the WWE's decision to cancel their live show last night. What I disagree with, is that they instead aired a 3 hour dedication to Benoit. I fully agree with this being a tragedy and I'm not going to fully destroy a guy who apparently killed his son, wife and himself, he obviously had serious mental problems which he needed help for. I just think that airing a 3 hour tribute to a man who just committed 3 murders is wrong. The guy was a famed wrestler for many years, however what he did despite his mental status was horribly cruel and wrong and had he not killed himself there's no way a tribute would have taken place. I'm sorry but suicide makes the story sadder but it does by any stretch alleviate the depth of wrong involved in killing an innocent 7 year old boy.

Note: The one commenter was right Benoit jumped ship just prior to the WCW collapse. Not sure how that's overly relevant to the story line, but he was correct in pointing out that I am not a wrestling historian.

Posted by Simon at 10:27 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


Your right about doing a 3 hour tribute to a murderer being wrong.If he did kill his family the wwe should never mention him again on their tv products or website.And he should certainly not be placed in the hall of fame.U cannot celebrate or reward the life of a murderer no matter how great that life was prior to the tragedy!This all episode is so sad he was such a talented wrestler now hes thrown his legacy away.To kill your wife in a rage is terrible but to kill your 7 yr old son is disgusting beyond words!!What could he have done to chris to deserve that?????

Anonymous said...
11:11 AM  

The details of the deaths weren't revealed to the media until the show was over. You can't retroactively blame the WWE.

Raskolnikov said...
4:02 PM  

They didn't announce that it was a murder/suicide until today.

Anonymous said...
4:03 PM  

I agree they wouldn't have paid tribute to a murderer, but nobody knew Benoit was the killer last night; that report didn't come out until this morning/noontime. It does seem like it was a bad idea in hindsight, but I don't think the WWE should shoulder any blame in this.

Of course, tomorrow the story might have changed and then the WWE will be completely to blame, so we'll just have to see I guess.

Andrew said...
4:04 PM  

At the time it was decided to do a tribute, it was not known that this was a murder/suicide. The WWE was in a tough spot with scheduling to fill and a lockerroom full of heartbroken wrestlers and staff. The tribute was as much for them as it was for the fans who also at the time did not know this was a murder/suicide. Therefore, perhaps you should consider the circumstances AT THE TIME rather than blog about something you only clearly know about secondhand.

Anonymous said...
4:04 PM  

Hindsight is 20/20, ain't it?
The WWE didn't know it was a murder/suicide, as all the other comments stated. Blaming the WWE is ignorant, and wrongly placed.

Phishisgr8 said...
4:11 PM  

I agree with all the was said.

Also want to point out the Benoit jumped ship about 2 years before WCW folded. He came in with the late Eddie Guerrero... strange how in the past year, We've lost both...

Anonymous said...
4:15 PM  

Haven't news reports mentioned that people at the WWE received some "bizarre" text messages from Benoit before he killed himself? I don't know what those were exactly, but the wording suggests to me that they might have had some idea that this wasn't just an accident, much less a homicide by an outside source.

4:15 PM  

"Paperview?" Are we viewing paper or do you mean pay-per-view?

Death to Sweeney said...
4:19 PM  

This smacks of Vince "I had my memorial ready for this show, but now realize it was a bad stunt, especially in light of what just happened" McMan capitalizing on tragedy. The WWE were the ones who called the cops, so they knew SOMETHING fishy was going on. They may not have knon everything, but they knew enough to keep it off the air.

Anonymous said...
4:24 PM  

Oh please. If WWE hadn't done a tribute, non-fans would have ripped them and fans would have been upset.

It wasn't hinted that it was a double murder suicide until last night around 11:00 PM CST.

Also, Benoit joined WWE in January of 2000, 13 months before WCW went bankrupt and was bought by Vince McMahon.

Might be a good idea to get your facts straight.

PG said...
4:29 PM  

I thought this was one of Vince's classiest moments, to be honest. It looks like it will come back to bite him in the ass, but canceling the live show (at a big price to the company), ending his personal "death" storyline, and giving the wrestlers and the fans an opportunity to mourn his death, was one of his best moments. He has exploited his wrestlers' deaths in the past, but not this time. So far.

Anonymous said...
4:33 PM  

Folks, I understand the issues of needing to fill three hours of air time. I also understand the sadness of fans. And I understand that the knowledge that Benoit likely killed his wife and son was not yet known.

The reason WWE has egg on its collective face this morning is because the circumstances surrounding the deaths were immediately suspicious. They really should have erred on the side of caution on this one and not risked airing a 3-HOUR tribute to a man now believed to have been a double-murderer.

Of course, I suppose it's way too much to ask an organization to wait until they know some facts about a situation before reacting.

Especially one that plays fake sports/fake reality show make-believe for a living.

Anonymous said...
4:37 PM  

The guy was dead in his home with his entire family around him. There were suspicious text messages that the WWE even reported about on their own website.
These circumstances should be suspicious enough to warrant putting a hold on a tribute video to anyone with two ounces of common sense.
Not to mention prudence dictates you shouldn't take ANY action in a case like this until there are more facts out than the ones available to the WWE.
Yes, they may not have know the truth at the time of the tribute video. But it doesn't mean they are absolved from being completely irresponsible in their behavior.
I hate to be cynical, but this just reeks of Vince doing anything he can to bring publicity to the franchise, be it positive or negative. Bad form.

Anonymous said...
4:53 PM  

As loathe as I am to say anything positive about that asshat McMahon and his band of flunkies, if "RAW" was on a night other than Monday, I think they would've backed off on the "tribute", especially after the current facts had been made public. I don't think even Vinny Mac would've held Benoit up as a good guy. But then again, this is the same guy who allowed a wrestling card to go on just hours after Owen Hart had died in the arena; so who knows.

Bruce said...
5:15 PM  

It always piques my interest to get a peek at peak evil.

Anonymous said...
5:20 PM  

You are a moron - last nite all they knew was that the family was dead. Had they been murdered by robbers would a tribute have been right? Of course. In hindsite yes they look like they have egg on their face but to castigate them for something they didnt know is plain stupid.

Anonymous said...
5:28 PM  

"If WWE hadn't done a tribute, non-fans would have ripped them and fans would have been upset."

Actually, non-fans would have ignored it. The fans would have just come back anyway.

The WWE has properties all over the place, airing all days of the week. They could have waited. They should have waited. A sane business would have done a risk analysis of how this could have gone.

Instead, they've made a move that makes the Owen Hart incident pale in comparison. (At least that time, they didn't spend 3 hours telling their public how much Hart enjoyed heights.)

DMtShooter said...
5:48 PM  

Sorry but it's time to inject some humor here because I've had too much of this sappy crap when the murder scene and circumstances were so obvious. See, I've heard so many times of guy's killing their wives, but killing your 7 year old kid just makes you a deustche.

Chris was one of my favorite wrestlers, his attitude, ring moves, everything. Only to come and find out that his blue-collar type attitude deceived us all. The name "Benoit" should now be one of those words that people throw in as a verb in the same jest of 'je ne se quir.' What does Benoit mean exactly....what else but to decieve. And it should be used as such:

Jim Benoited his wife into believing he spent 5,000 dollars on a vacation, when it was really to pay off his gambling debt.

Luke pulled a Benoit on his friend Mike, by convincing him, that he was a virgin.

Cero said...
9:03 PM  

I may be repeating here, but I think that the WWE removed the tribute from their website today after the news of the murder and suicide was released...

dswinder said...
9:37 PM  

I really wish Deadspin hadn't bothered to turn their readers' rheumy eyes towards this lazy piece.

Anonymous said...
9:48 PM  

I agree. Deadspin should not have linked to this. The details of the incident were not revealed in time of the broadcast. Total waste of time. Let's start thinking before we write.

Anonymous said...
11:44 PM  

Oh c'mon.

I'm not much of a wrestling fan these days but it seems like sometimes to certain people that view the WWE as a con (it's not, it's just a fictional TV show like every other TV show out there... yet for some reason people still get up in arms over fictitious storylines, but if the same thing happened on another TV show nobody would bat an eye. But that's a totally different story.) the WWE will be damned if they do and damned if they don't.

NOBODY knew it was a double-murder suicide when the show went on last night.

You think McMahon just wanted to profit from it?! Then why in the hell did he give the 16,000 people that were going to attend RAW that night their money back and just show clips of old Chris Benoit matches instead, thus ruining several of the shows ongoing storylines in the process?!

You people make no sense. They did the right thing at the time. But as soon as I learned what really happened I immediately thought "Oh god... the press is gonna kill McMahon again and totally ignore the fact that they didn't know he killed them when they put the show together!"

They needed to put SOMETHING on to fill the 3-hour timeslot. The USA Network AND the stockholders would be irate if he didn't. Considering what they knew at the time, a tribute made the most sense. There was no glorification of a killer there, just paying tribute to a dead wrestler.

Anonymous said...
11:45 PM  

The AJC reported the likelihood it was domestic in nature VERY early. At 9Pm last night I read it was a muder suicide on that newspaper's site. Unless I was the first person to read it, it was probably known, but not widely, before then.

Anonymous said...
12:15 AM  

Make sure you get the facts straight. The WWE didn't snatch up Benoit when WCW folded: Benoit jumped ship to the WWE over a year before WCW went under.

The little mistakes kill off any credibility you have with your writings.

The tribute may have rubbed people the wrong way, but like they said, you can't blame the WWE retroactively.

Anonymous said...
1:24 AM  

Well, the WWE didn't know at the time that it was a double-murder suicide, ripping them over a tribute show is ignorant. Besides, he was one of the best in-ring performers that the WWE ever had, so double murder/suicide or not, he still is dead and should be shown some respect for his career. Besides, ripping the WWE now isn't going to do anything. The tribute has already been shown.

BlackLavender said...
4:07 AM  

WWE.com had Murder Suicide under Beniot's picture on the frontpage of their website prior to the West coast airing of RAW and during the EAST COAST airing.

perhaps they could have ran a "Best of RAW" or something instead of a tribute (at least on the West coast, when the facts were known)

However, all the people killing the writer for getting facts straight should get the facts straight themselves.

Anonymous said...
5:16 AM  

As soon as the death was announced, the police reported it as an alleged murder suicide. From the start, before the tribute, there were doubts circulating. WWE knew this. They proceeded anyway with their ill-timed tribute. It is now confirmed as a double murder suicide. But the ratings were great and look at the publicity.

Simone is correct to condemn this. Benoit is a piece of trash that strangled his wife, injected his 7 year old with HGH because he didn't think he was big enough (there were confirmed track marks in his kids' arm plus a toxicology report), then smothered his son, then hung himself. I hope he rots in hell.

Adam said...
7:51 AM  

Wow Smion, I had no idea other people actually read you're stuff. I especially like the 10 comments in a row saying that at the time of the tribute, they didn't know it was a murder suicide, and the paperview comment. Mills suggests to me everyday that he should be your editor, prior to you posting stuff.

Perras said...
8:18 AM  

A) To me the writing was on the wall and when they came out with the news report on monday afternoon that was all it sounded like. Also, the WWE had reported that they had received suspicious text messages and in addition it is almost guaranteed that they had the info prior to the general public.

B) You're right in that they didn't release it was a hanging + strangling til yesterday morning but still the writing was on the wall.

C) I'm not going to say don't watch wrestling anymore if you like it cause this was so bad. I just think that if the writing is on the wall perhaps a little patience would have been a smarter choice.

D) I am in fact a moron so that guy was right on. And who said I have any credibility?

Simon said...
9:03 AM  

Its pretty easy to look back and say "Vince should have known. There were suspicions from the start." However, just consider the timing. At about 4pm est (4hours before the start of the show) they find out the Benoits are dead. Obviously it stuns everyone. Yet again I must point out its 4 hours until they go live. A desicion is made quickly to make a tribute. So they now have to gather the crew, inform them of what happened, and produce the tribute, which includes not only previously recorded material, but testimonials that have to be shot. From that point until 8pm its a scramble to put the show together, plus work with the arena to get word out that the live event is cancelled. Also, as the show got in to its third hour. the live announcers obviously had learned the truth about the tradgedy and were making it clear that they were honoring him as a great wrestler. All in all a hard place to be in, and I don't see what they could have done differently.

Paul said...
9:12 AM  

The writing was on the wall? Maybe I'm silly but the news comes across about a family found dead in their home suddenly, the writing seems to spell Carbon Monoxide poisoning. And if I was putting together a live show that is going to be the first time a lot of people here of this news, I might err on the side of caution, instead of "reading the writing on the wall"

Paul said...
9:17 AM  

Oh I would definitely give Vince McMahon the benefit of the doubt. Because he's shown such restraint and good judgment in the past.

In my opinion, it's the WWE making a knee-jerk promotional decision without thinking it through. I'm sure McMahon thought it was good to strike while the iron was hot on goodwill toward Benoit. But the fact is, no matter whether you think it was a good decision or not, the WWE should be embarrassed. Even if you are a WWE apologist, you have to admit that in 20/20 hindsight, knowing all we DO know now, it was a horrible move to air such a tribute.

Bill said...
9:42 AM  

Here's a quote from Vince McMahon, you choose to believe everything or not.

''Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE presented a special tribute show, recognizing the career of Chris Benoit,'' McMahon said. ``However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent.''

``Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit tonight. On the contrary, tonight's show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, the WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world -- entertain you.''

So if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt its your choice.

Personally I think that they should have played it out and waited, as to me the only natural thought to the news was murder suicide and perhaps thats a sad statement into my feelings about wrestlers and of america in general.

Simon said...
10:54 AM  

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