After kicking off Season 2 of Dark Side of the Ring with a full preview of Part 1 of the Chris Benoit, Vice's series on the seedy underbelly of the world of professional wrestling returns with the full two-hour premiere episode, featuring the second part of the tragic Benoit murder-suicide saga. Narrated by Chris Jericho and featuring a number of key players in the Benoit saga—including Nancy Benoit's sister Sandra, Chris Benoit's son David Benoit, Chavo Guerrero, Vickie Guerrero, and Jim Ross—Part 2 got into what happened at the Benoit home, how the WWE reacted, and how the story played out in the media. It also dove into the issue of CTE in regards to Chris Benoit, attempting to understand what possibly drove him to do what he did.
We've already provided our takeaways from Part 1 of this story, and wanted to share some of the biggest takeaways from it; from the WWE's response to the tragedy to what may have been learned from this awful situation, here are the biggest takeaways from the second part of the Chris Benoit episode of Dark Side of the Ring.
The Chris Benoit Memorial show the WWE put on is what they thought “was right”
According to Jim Ross and Chavo Guerrero, the WWE didn’t have complete knowledge of the scene at the Benoit household, where the bodies of Nancy, Daniel, and Chris were found. Police were said to have already been looking at it as a murder-suicide based on evidence at the crime scene, but at the WWE, the show must go on, and the decision was made to pay tribute to Chris Benoit’s life on the episode of Raw the day many found out that the Benoit family was dead.
As Ross said in the episode, “we tried to honor the guy, we tried to honor his family, we tried to honor his fans, but we didn’t have the full story. Shame on us for that, I guess.”
William Regal’s appearance on the tribute episode was the most telling
Chris Jericho mentioned that he did not want to take part in the Benoit tribute, saying Chris’ death was “worse” than what happened with Eddie, but he did point out that while watching the episode at home, he took particular interest in what fellow WWE performer William Regal said. “Now all I’m willing to say is that Chris Benoit was undoubtedly the hardest working man in professional wrestling” is all Regal, who lived in the same city as the Benoit family, said during the tribute. Jericho mentions that Regal was privy to what was going on in their home and what Benoit was going through, and when he saw Regal’s reaction, he knew there was something going on.
There’s still no real indication on why all of this happened
No matter what their history was as a couple, there’s no official word on what sparked the murders of Nancy and Daniel Benoit. The timeline says that Chris subdued then murdered his wife Nancy on Friday evening after an altercation, murdered his son Saturday morning, told people that Nancy and Daniel were suffering from a stomach virus and they needed to go to the hospital, stayed at the house with their bodies there, and on Sunday researched how to quickly commit suicide. Then did just that. Even the note he left behind just mentioned that he was “preparing to leave this Earth.”
There are a lot of contributing factors about what would’ve lead Chris Benoit to act this horrifically, but the actual spark? That may never be known.
The WWE wouldn’t allow its performers to mention Chris Benoit’s name
After the full facts of the Benoit family deaths came to light, Vince McMahon went on television to advise that, after his remarks about the situation, the Benoit name would never be uttered on WWE programming. Vickie Guerrero mentioned that wrestlers and personalities in the WWE were forbidden from speaking Benoit’s name on TV or during interviews, which is obviously hard for those who worked alongside him.
No one from the WWE reached out to the Benoit family
Nancy’s sister Sandra asked if the interviewer was joking when asking if anyone in the wrestling business “provided care” for the family after this incident; Daniel Benoit said that the only people who reached out to their family were Chris Jericho and Chavo Guerrero. The rest, Daniel says, “backed off like I didn’t exist.” One has to imagine that the ramifications of this incident had the media pointing fingers at the professional wrestling industry as being the culprit, primarily because of the use of steroids and their effects on people over the years, as well as how concussions during contacts sports (similar to individuals in the NFL) result in CTE, which has been linked to the suicides and deaths of a number of pro football players over the years, including Aaron Hernandez.