Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chris Benoit erased his own legacy

I rarely talk about Chris Benoit because quite frankly, doing so makes me incredibly sad. The timing of this piece may seem odd, but I had to respond to a column written by Matthew Hester over at Wrestling Voice. Obviously a lot of work and research went into Mr. Hester's column and that's certainly admirable, but the motivation behind the piece was to combat WWE "erasing" Chris Benoit from existence, which is simply untrue.

Go to the title history section of WWE.com, his name is displayed right there next to every title reign he had. Pick up the Elimination Chamber DVD or any PPV DVD where Benoit competed, and Benoit is on it. No, they’re not going to put his matches on compilation DVDs where it's not historically necessary, they're not going to talk about him on weekly programming and he won't be a legend in the next Smackdown vs. Raw video game, because that would be gratuitous. They’re not going to be the company that profits off someone who murdered his wife and son.

And I'm sorry, you can’t just separate the two. OJ Simpson was a great football player, doesn’t change the fact that he was the only suspect in the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Charles Manson is a hell of an artist, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re paintings by Charles Manson. People are more than what they do for a living, and sometimes the people we admire betray us.

Chris Benoit was responsible for the darkest day in the history of professional wrestling, he ruined his own legacy on June 24, 2007 and the industry is wise to distance themselves from those acts. WWE still accurately depicts Benoit in a historical context, but that’s the only obligation they have to his work as a wrestler.

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