Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Going too far?

Perhaps this strange thing called karma finally caught up to the WWE.

In the midst of a kayfabe storyline about Vince McMahon's death, the WWE was struck by the real tragedy of the death of Chris Benoit and his family this weekend. Still reeling from the recent death of the popular Eddie Guerrero and haunted by its much-scrutinized "the show must go on" treatment of Owen Hart's death, the WWE was quick to trot out the full scale tribute for Benoit on Raw. The circumstances, this time, however were different. Investigators believe that Benoit murdered his wife on Saturday, murdered his son on Sunday, and killed himself on Monday. Considering the possibility that Benoit is a double-murderer, WWE's tribute seems in poor taste - especially to those closest to the victims of the tragedy.

I, of course, will yield the floor to DudeSpin contributors who are far more well-versed than I on professional wrestling. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to condone McMahon's actions here.

6 comments:

The Franchise said...

I was at work last night when this all went down, so by the time I got home the new information was already coming out. I watched Raw on tape while I sifted through about 50 e-mails from various SLAM! Wrestling staffers debating how we should cover the whole thing.

Much can be said, of course, about how the WWE handles various situations, and Vince's motivations are often highly suspect. In this case though, I really think it was a no-win situation. Of course they did the right thing by calling off the scheduled show, but had they not done a tribute, I think many fans would have been outraged - especially since the murder-suicide theory did not come out right away.

Benoit was one of my favorites, but if it turns out he killed his own wife and son, I won't be saving the tape of that tribute, that's for sure.

The Franchise said...

As a follow-up TMZ.com and a few other sites are reporting that Benoit strangled his wife, strangled or smothered his son the next day, then hung himself yesterday. A sad, gruesome end to this story if it's true...

The Dude said...

Reports indicate that the WWE received word that the three bodies were all found in the house by 4 pm. During the initial search, investigators also found the house to be in order, except for the bodies. How do you have that information and not be cognizant of the likely possibility of a double-murder-suicide? Especially when one of the dead is a 7 year old, the other is a woman, and the third is a WWE wrestler - simply put, the WWE was wrong to roll out the tribute last night. And what you have now, in all likelihood, is a three hour tribute to a double-murderer indelibly preserved on tape.

That's tasteless - but not surprising considering the source

Head Dude said...

I don't really know enough to have any opinion on these issues, and I'm not Bill O'Reilly so I won't make one up, but if it's found he was on steriods at the time and people make the insinuation of roid rage, do you think that could lead to a crackdown on drug use, followed by testing after a reasonable period of time for detox? That would seem to me to be a possible course of conduct for the WWE to follow.

The Franchise said...

Dude, I hear what you are saying, but I'm not sure the timeline of information is as cut and dried as it may seem. The official press conference to advance the murder-suicide theory wasn't held until 10 pm, well after Raw was on the air. The taped pieces featuring other wrestlers talking about Benoit had to have been shot earlier in the day too. FWIW, several members of the SLAM! staff agree with you.

Head Dude, I can tell you with the utmost certainty that people in the WWE will be sweating profusely awaiting the results of the toxicology reports. If it turns out steroids were involved - and I can see the 'roid rage theory having a lot of supporters - that's going to open up a whole new ugly can of worms for pro wrestling. If guys want to kill themselves by taking them, that's one thing, but this... well, I don't even need to point out the difference.

Grizzly said...

I am under the impression that WWE did not know all the details when they decided on the tribute. What other option did they have last night? If the news was out at noon yesterday that Benoit was the one doing the killing, then I doubt they would have run a tribute. At least I hope not. It will be interesting to see how they handle it on tonight's show (which I think is live).

They are in a tough spot because he was so highly respected in the industry... up until a few days ago. He is one of the last wrestlers I would have ever expected to hear anything like this.