Monday, June 25, 2012

5 Years ...

This past weekend marked the 5th anniversary of the day wrestling changed ... and I have yet to see any wrestling site mark it. Chris Benoit, on the weekend of the 22nd-24th of June 5 years ago, murdered his wife and young son before taking ihs own life.

It is a day that will live in infamy in the wrestling industry. I said on my Facebook this weekend, it was a tragic day for wrestling fans, but more especially the families involved. We lost a myth, a legend gone up in smoke ... they lost loved ones (and yes - that includes Chris, and the man everyone seemed to think he was).

You will rarely, if ever, hear his name on a wrestling broadcast these days, his title reign wiped from the record books as you hear that at Wrestlemania XX, Shawn Michaels and Triple H fought each other in one of the best Triple Threat matches in history, and somehow neither of them left with the title. But his impact on the business is undeniable, as headshots with chairs have been banned, even as the WWE denied concussions and other head injuries were the factor behind the crime ... the drug-testing Wellness Policy was beefed up, despite the adamant denials that this was a case of 'roid rage.

This could have crippled the industry ... but in some ways it made it stronger, more wrestler friendly. But more could be done. What about incorporating psychological testing into the Wellness Policy? What about mandatory, rotating vacations so wrestlers don't burn out? What about health insurance coverage so guys can get the taking care of they need without worrying about losing their spot? What about - dare I whisper it? Dare I utter it? A wrestling union?

It is not too late to try to turn the tarnished and tragic Benoit legacy - one of waste, unchecked mental illness and hidden demons - into perhaps a positive one ... one that could have protected Chris, and perhaps more importantly, his family.

Naysayers will speculate that this is about Benoit's own mental illness/addictions, what have you - and I agree. He's an adult who sought out and engaged in unsafe, unhealthy, and ultimately fatal behaviours. A monster. But these types are inordinately attracted to the wrestling business. Whatever is cause and whatever is effect - we need to heed that, and work accordingly with it. For the sake of all the future Nancy, Daniel, and yes - even Chris - Benoits out there.


blog analyzer
HammerMill Copy Paper