Chris Benoit was a professional wrestler who murdered his wife and 7-year old son, before taking his own life in a murder-suicide at the family home. The incident took place over a three day period from June 22nd to June 24th, 2007. It was a story which at the time dominated the news cycles and left the world searching for answers. To this day it remains to be the darkest moment in professional wrestling history.
Right from the get-go, the media was speculating that “roid-rage” must have had something to do with this tragic incident, but in this VICE special which is part of the Dark Side of the Ring series we see how other factors have since come to light. However, the film doesn’t shy away from claims that Chris Benoit was abusing steroids and other substances but rather examines how in recent years chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE, is better understood by the scientific community and could have played a key role here.
CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that is caused by repeated head trauma. It has only recently become a concern in Boxing, the NFL, and other contact sports but in this film, we explore how the past few decades of the professional wrestling landscape have created ideal environments for those involved to develop the condition. In fact, upon examination of Chris Benoit’s brain, it is revealed that his brain was in extremely poor condition and had extensive damage.
Through a number of interviews with family members and fellow professional wrestlers, we learn a great deal more about the victims, primarily his wife, Nancy, who was known by her stage name “Woman” in the wrestling world. She was very successful in her own right, having competed for many years and managing several of her peers. Her husband Chris has been all-but-erased from wrestling history, but this documentary does a great job of rehumanizing his victims and family which remain with us today.
Directed by: Jason Eisener