The most shocking thing I have ever been faced with in the near three decades I have followed Professional Wrestling was the Double-Murder Suicide case involving Chris Benoit. It wasn’t just that I had once had the pleasure of meeting Chris (in Toronto at the festivities surrounding the WrestleMania X8 weekend) and found him a pleasant bloke who was interested that I came from Wigan (close to the hometown where his hero Dynamite Kid grew up). It was thought of what the last hours of his wife and child’s life must have been like. Nancy surely met her fate face to face, so to speak, and did Daniel have any idea what was going on?
Despite having sat through numerous wrestlers dying far too young thanks to the drugs that they took, and were prevalent in wrestling circles, for the first time I really had to sit and contemplate if wrestling was worth it. The consideration that wrestling had somehow contributed to what had happened in someway seemed inescapable. We will never know, of course, but the one thing that kept running through my mind was whether any of this would have happened if Chris Benoit had had a different dream when he was a young kid.
And it was this thought that came back to me when I heard the news that his son from a previous marriage was not only contemplating a wrestling career but had been training for one and was set to make his debut for a Hart Legacy Wrestling event in July 2014. (Although today that has since been rebuffed)
Now let’s get this straight. David Benoit has done nothing wrong. He cannot (and most certainly should not) be made accountable for the terrible actions of his father. But there is no escaping the fact that if he was my grandson/brother/friend I would certainly not want him following in his father’s footsteps and would be doing everything within my persuasive powers to try and stop him. I would hope someone has tried. But the young man clearly has a dream, and at the end of the day who can really stop him?
However, what would life as a wrestler really be like for Benoit?
In the “reality era” there is no way of avoiding that it’s a “Benoit” in the ring. A name change/new gimmick wouldn’t disguise the fact. With that in mind, can you see the WWE employing him and putting him on their TV shows? For years the WWE airbrushed his father out of history, and even today on DVD his match from the main event of WrestleMania XX was not on Mr. WrestleMania, a supposed “complete” collection of Shawn Michaels’ matches on the biggest stage of them all. On the Money In The Bank anthology, Benoit’s ring entrances were cut out, as were a lot of his attacking moves. Naturally when money was REALLY at stake the WWE chose not to airbrush him out of dozens of WWE and WCW pay-per-views on the Network, but does this mean they would be willing to place his son on the air as a wrestler?
Friends of Chris will hold no grudges against his son, but will all the locker rooms around the world be as understanding and forgiving? Even with a lot of Chris’ contemporaries no longer being as involved as they once were in the business, the wrestling world is a strange place with backstage morals and attitudes which would not be tolerated in a normal office environment. Could David overcome prejudices that might exist? Could he “prove” himself to his fellow workers? Would someone take offence to him using the notoriety of a murderer to take his place in the business? It’s not that far-fetched to believe someone might.
He apparently has no interest in TNA and is it certain that Jeff Jarrett’s new promotion would be hungry enough for any publicity they can get to want to work with him either? I can’t imagine he would be making much money off a Hart Wrestling Legacy show either, so that leaves possibly Japan, which is a tough enough gig for any foreigner. And let’s remember; all this conjecture is before he has even stepped into the ring in front of a paying audience.
Comments about his father deserving a spot in the Hall of Fame and his insistence that WWE writers have told him that they will “use” the Benoit name again could be perhaps considered a mix of wishful thinking and belief in a dream. (Seriously, does anyone expect that Chris Benoit will be in the WWE Hall Of Fame…ten thousand fans and dozens of wrestlers rising as one to applaud a murderer). But they don’t make the idea of him trying to get to the WWE any more sane or logical.
David Benoit clearly has a dream. Even though I would wholeheartedly advise him against trying to pursue it, you cannot stop someone if that is what they want to do. In a funny way I hope he succeeds in all his dreams, or at least succeeds to the level that he can enjoy what he does and the money he makes from it. But I simply cannot see any sort of “happy ending” on the horizon to this story. And I certainly can’t see the day when David Benoit walks out onto a WrestleMania set for his own main event moment.
– By Matthew Roberts | @IWFICON
Do you agree with Matthew? Is David Benoit doomed from the start? Should he perhaps get a “real job” or do you think it’s unfair to place that kind of assumption on him? Will he be a success? Will the locker room blacklist him? Let us know how YOU feel in the comments below.