By Goose Mahler, Associate Editor
Any wrestling fan knows talking about one of the biggest tragedies in the Benoit murder/suicide is very taboo. A company completely erased a wrestler from their history. They also completely left the innocent abandoned when they needed a shoulder to lean on. The latter being nauseating at best.
“Dark Side of the Ring” deserves a big standing ovation for the job they did bringing a lot of facts to light in Benoit documentary. There were so many unknown factors that this documentary touched on. The key players all wore their hearts on their sleeves telling stories and talking about arguably the biggest tragedy ever in wrestling.
Before continuing, people tend to absolutely crap on people that try to defend Chris Benoit and what he did. Let me get this out of the way, no chance in hell do I defend Chris Benoit or his actions. There were so many stories before this regarding his backstage demeanor and how he treated people that I find appalling. But “Dark Side of the Ring” also shows things that shed light on his rapid fall from grace.
It was apparent that Chris Benoit was mentally lost without his wrestling soul mate Eddie Guerrero. Both Vicki and Chavo Guerrero paint several pictures for fans that most people did not know about with Eddie and Chris. They both had inklings that Chris was showing distraught signs. But neither was a doctor that could diagnose just how mentally checked out Benoit became after Eddie’s death and leading up to his final actions.
Chris Jericho also points out that Benoit became very distant after Eddie’s passing. Both Dean Malenko and his wife also saw signs of what might have been Benoit’s downfall and differences in Chris’ behavior. Heck, even Chris’ son David and Nancy’s sister Sandra Toffoloni admitted there was some fear about Chris and people wanting him to step away from wrestling and regain some of himself before it was too late.
But as said above, none of these folks were doctors and could help Benoit since he distanced himself from even people who seemed to be in his closest circles.
The unfortunate events that took place because signs were not immediately reported or thought to be as bad as indicated were unseen. No one could have predicted what was going to happen. And the bottom line after watching this documentary is no one is to blame except Chris Benoit. Two innocent lives were taken too early all to a senseless act.
Nancy and Daniel should never have their memories tarnished or forgotten. But there is a little more to this. Neither should other people close to the situation that had nothing to do with it. Chris has 2 other children that endured taunting, unacceptable accusations from people, and down right bullying for things they didn’t do.
Nancy’s family was cast aside because of the last name a wrestling company wanted erased from their history. How sick is that? Going to my original start, it’s nauseating. The Toffoloni family didn’t deserve the cold shoulder as they did nothing wrong to the company. There was no need to ignore that family. Benoit’s surviving family, his dad, his mom, his ex-wife and kids also did not deserve the invisible treatment, but still got it.
As the documentary was ending and Sandra and David were able to reconnect. There were signs of some closure for two people that were hurting the most by what happened. To me, it was nice to see because it seems like people wanted to not let these two families heal. Shame on those people that didn’t want Sandra and her niece and nephew to stay connected, again they were innocent in this situation.
The makers of “Dark Side of the Ring” and all those that contributed to this documentary you all deserve rich pops for sharing your stories for fans that prejudged and didn’t know the entire story. You shared your emotional highs and very lows and that needs to be commended.
One thing that stood out to me is Chris Jericho saying Woman deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I cannot agree more. From her time in FCW to WCW to ECW and back to WCW, she was always one of the best managers in wrestling. Without her and Sandman, we never would have gotten Tommy Dreamer. She was a part of the elite before AEW with the Four Horsemen. Her mark on the wrestling industry is not one that should be overlooked.
However, I would not stick Nancy in a specific company’s Hall of Fame. They don’t deserve her any more than they deserve a mention in this column. What they did to the victim’s families is far worse than erasing a name from the history books. Shame on them. It wasn’t the family that didn’t gather all the information before praising a killer prematurely. To that company they deserve a big ole one finger salute.
Until next week, be well.