Monday, 25 June 2007 08:22
A link to my one-hour interview on last night's Between the Ropes Radio Show is here. We talked a lot about Benoit, but also a number of other topics in the world of wrestling.
A few articles for today:
Wednesday July 4 updates:
Many new media stories and videos out today, including the main event appearance by WARRIOR that people had been looking forward to for days. He was actually far more lucid than I think people expected, and he made some good points. We have also been told by a source that an Emergency Product Withdrawal has been sent to the largest supermarket chain in the UK, Tesco, demanding all Benoit products (figures, stickers, sticker books, annuals, etc.) be pulled from the shelves and destroyed. The reason given was "sensitivity issues".
I will be on Between the Ropes Radio tonight talking this situation and a number of other topics in pro-wrestling and MMA.
The new issue of Figure Four Weekly has also been posted with tons of news and notes on the Benoit fallout, plus a very in-depth look at the Wellness policy.
Tuesday July 3 news:
We continue to learn more about Dr. Phil Astin and what he was prescribing for Chris Benoit and others. The following news articles shed more light on the situation today:
Dr. Phil Asten, Chris Benoit's personal physician, was charged today with seven counts of distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. More on the story is available here. A criminal complaint has also been filed. This whole thing has pretty much exploded. The most damning piece of evidence to come to light is that Astin, over the course of around a year, had prescribed Benoit ten months' worth of steroids every three to four weeks. Benoit's "clean" Wellness test came during this period, which sure doesn't sound good as it relates to either the veracity of the tests or the number of loopholes available. WWE also took a major hit as the main focus of their defense, that Chris and Nancy were having major issues related to Daniel Benoit's alleged Fragile X syndrome, is now being questioned, with Daniel's medical records mentioning nothing about any sort of disability. A ton of new articles have just come out, and the following are a sampling:
The big news today is that the state prosecutor has announced that no criminal charges will be filed in the Benoit case, though he could not rule out the possibility that federal charges might. Dr. Phil Astin, Benoit's personal physician whose office was raided last week, is now being investigated by federal agents, and has stated through his lawyer that he'll turn himself in if requested. He had gone into hiding after the raid on both his office and his mother's house.
I think Dave Meltzer noted this elsewhere last night, but many people are reading too much into the GHB thing. Yes, Benoit took GHB in the late 90s, but so did a TON of people in the wrestling business. It may turn up in his toxicology report, but my belief is that he probably hadn't used it regularly or at all in the last several years, just because usage in the business has plunged overall and apparently there were a lot of other heavy drugs he was involved with. Basically, like with the "roid rage" accusations, it's looking for a simplistic answer to a much more complicated question.
Thanks to everyone for their kind words about last night's Observer Live show. I believe it replays later today on Sports Byline and perhaps Sirius, and you can podcast the show from the Sports Byline website. Members can also download the file off our BOARD~! today.
Lots of new articles to get into. Thanks to everyone who has provided links:
Dave Meltzer and I will be together for the first time since the Benoit tragedy tonight on Wrestling Observer Live. We'll spend two hours discussing the latest news and taking calls about the situation at 1-800-878-PLAY. Show airs from 8-10 EST/5-7 PST on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 122, or you can listen live using this link.
Many more new articles updated in the last few days. Thanks to everyone who has sent links.
This is by far the quietest day since the Benoit story broke on Tuesday afternoon. It may stay quiet the rest of the weekend, and Monday's volume will depend on whether or not anything new comes out, or if a bigger story breaks worldwide.
Dave Meltzer and I will be back tomorrow on Wrestling Observer Live from 8-10 EST, 5-7 PST discussing this situation in detail and taking calls. The show airs live on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 122, and you can call in at 1-800-878-PLAY. Dave is asking only for Benoit-related calls.
Today's news stories. Thanks to the half dozen of you or so who have been regularly sending links:
There are a ton of new updates about the Benoit situation this morning. What follows are a sampling of news articles from around the world. Thanks very much to everyone for your help the last few days.
I will be on the Michael DelGiorno Show on SuperTalk 99.7 WWTN-FM in Nashville, TN at 9:30 AM PST/12:30 PM EST. You can download the segment here.
I will be on NPR around 9:50 AM PST/12:50 AM EST. You can download the segment by clicking here.
Vince McMahon appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss the Benoit double murder/suicide. Video of the appearance can be found here, and we would like to thank John Wiswell for the following recap.
The segment opened with an introductory video package running down Benoit's in-ring character, and then the gruesome events in the Benoit household. Drugs, and steroids in particular were mentioned as likely causes. It said that drugs and steroids have been a problem throughout wrestling, stating that "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig died of a drug overdose and Eddie Guerrero died of heart problems related to steroid use. They quoted Lex Luger, who said it was pretty obvious Benoit was "on this stuff." The Today Show did not elaborate on the nature of Eddie Guerrero's death, and they showed Luger in a way that would allow viewers to think he was quite close to Benoit.
Vince McMahon was very somber for the interview portion. He called Benoit a "monster" at least twice for his actions, and that this was the opposite of "our job," which according to him is, "to put smiles on people's faces." Despite calling Benoit a monster, he said in person he was very quiet and professional. He said they called the Atlanta police on Monday to check on the Benoit residence because it was unlike Benoit to miss shows like this.
When pressed on the issue of steroids, McMahon criticized the "roid rage" theme in the media's response to the tragedy. When he was read a quote from his company saying that steroids had had nothing at all to do with Benoit's murder/suicide, he denied having made the comment, and when the interviewer insisted it was a valid quote, he backtracked and tried to argue that it was very unlikely that "steroid rage" was the sole cause of Benoit's actions over the three-day period. He mentioned that other drugs were found in his house. He also continually mentioned that the media was quick to judge, but that we wouldn't know anything until the toxicology report comes back.
McMahon was asked about the "60 wrestlers" who had died "since 1985." McMahon responded that only five had been with his company, and he could not speak for the others, chastized the interviewer for speculating, and went into support of the Wellness Policy. He pushed WWE's Wellness Policy, and said Benoit was clean the last time he was tested, in April. He avoided answering whether or not the Wellness Policy will change if it turns out Benoit had substances in his system.
During the interview they played several clips of Benoit wrestling and posing. They also showed a few wrestlers who had died. One still included the name, "British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith," who was listed as dying of "Heart failure," though the photo was of Owen Hart. Owen Hart was not mentioned or listed during the broadcast.
I will be on National Public Radio talking the situation at around 10:30 AM PST/1:30 PM EST. A link to the show should be up here later this afternoon. Links to a number of other interviews I've done in the past few days are below.
My newest Fight Network column, looking at the fallout of this tragedy, is available here.
Fox News is now driving me nuts. Two recent stories:
I hope they are not trying to link Kevin Sullivan to the Benoit and Sherri incidents, and if so, I hope he's got a great lawyer. I would also say it's about 100 percent that the Wikipedia deal was a strange coincidence involving a known vandal on that website.
This also just came out: Police raid office of Benoit's personal physician
A million new articles have come out today. Thanks to Dr. Keith and others for all their help. A small sampling:
Commercials have been airing stating that Vince McMahon will appear on the Thursday edition of the Today show. If he appears and you see it, we would very much appreciate reports. All correspondence can be sent to the above address. Thank you!
There is still a ton of new information coming out about the double homicide/suicide involving Chris Benoit, wife Nancy, and son Daniel. A number of mainstream article on the situation are available below. Thanks to Dr. Keith and many others.
A few notes. First off, I am unhappy to see people reporting that Benoit may have killed his son with the crippler crossface. It is my belief that the police believe a "pro wrestling chokehold" was used due to the lack of bruising around the neck area. What happens with any "pro-wrestling death" is that any maneuver ends up being labeled a pro-wrestling move. Pro-wrestling moves are pretty wide and varied, and can include anything from a closed fist to a sidewalk slam to a DDT to a chairshot. Pretty much any physical act that you can do on another human being has been done in pro-wrestling at some point. Claiming he used his finishing move is horribly sensationalist. It is far more likely that he used a simple rear-naked choke, something that cut off the flow of blood to the brain, and just held on until Daniel was dead. We may never know, but that seems more consistent with original reports of "smothering" than some sort of wrenching neck hold.
We apologize for the Karl Stern show not playing correctly in the streaming player. It was an encoding issue that I'm probably responsible for, and I apologize. It plays just fine if you download it, and the problem will hopefully be fixed for the next show.
I was on a radio show very early this morning which unfortunately I've forgotten the city, state, station, etc. of. I will be on Between the Ropes Radio with Brian Fritz tonight around 7:10 PM talking the situation.
I will be on Fight Network Radio in a few minutes (noon Pacific, 3:00 PM EST) along with Dave Meltzer. Hardcore Sports Radio on Sirius Channel 186.
WWE.com has posted a very detailed timeline of Chris Benoit's final hours here, including what was contained in five different text messages sent to individuals in WWE.
ESPN.com is now reporting new horrifying details, including the manner of Nancy's death and the fact that there were needle marks in Daniel's arms, likely the result of the family injecting him with Human Growth Hormone.
McMahon's ECW statement: "Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE presented a special tribute show, recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit tonight. On the contrary, tonight's show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, the WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world--entertain you."
The following are notes from this afternoon's Chris Benoit press conference. Thanks very much to Admin Tony for writing it up.
Around 2:30pm on Sunday welfare call from employers to police.
Autopsies, ruled as a double homicide/suicide. Possibly Friday murdered his wife, then shortly after killed his son. Then killed himself Saturday possibly early Sunday. No suicide note. Asphyxiation on all three as the cause of death. Son was in his bed. Wife was in an family room upstairs.
One arrest for DUI on Benoit. Cops did not have knowledge of domestic violence arrests at that time. A lot of perscription medication, believed to be legal. Did not disclose if there were steroids.
No motive discussed. Would not elaborate on the text message(s).
Wife was bound by her feet.
There was a bible near the body of her wife and one by her son.
It appears my segment on CBS was scrapped. It was taped before the press conference, so most likely most of what I said was outdated within 30 minutes.
I finally did the audio news update around two hours ago. It really did a number on the website as we had hundreds and hundreds of simultaneous downloads. If the site is slow or the download didn't finish, it'll probably be OK in a few hours. We're doing all we can, but we've never been hit like this before.
We've updated the radio appearance schedule below with links if you'd like to listen.
It is now being reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other sources that law enforcement officials believe Chris Benoit strangled Nancy Saturday night, smothered son Daniel Sunday night, and then hanged himself Monday in his weight room.
I just finished a 30 minute interview for CBS Nightly News with Byron Pitts, portions of which will likely be airing at some point this evening unless a bigger national story breaks.
CNN will be televising a press conference at 3:00 PM EST, noon Pacific. I'll do an audio update shortly afterwards.
WWE.com is now reporting that police have ruled the death of the Benoit family a double homicide/suicide from within the home.
Most major news outlets are now reporting that the belief is that Benoit killed Nancy on Saturday, Daniel on Sunday, and himself on Monday. It is being reported that "the instruments of death" were found inside the house, and that all three bodies were found in different rooms.
"The details, when they come out," said Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard, "are going to prove a little bizarre."
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday morning. Toxicology reports will not be available for some time. A timeline should be established, however, which should answer many questions.
The police were also expected to give a statement in the next few hours.
TMZ.com is now reporting that "Benoit may have strangled his wife on Saturday, then smothered his son in his bed a day later. Investigators refuse to officially comment, pending final confirmation by the coroner on the cause and time of the deaths."
There is a new morning update available here.
We will continue updating this page as news becomes available.
CBS News is working on a story about this for tonight's newscast.
I will be on AM 1500 in Minnesota around 9:30 AM PST/12:30 AM EST. (Link)
I am on Dory Motson's radio show on KIRO in Seattle right now (2:15 PM PST, 5:15 PM EST).
I will be on the Drive Time all-sports show on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 186 at about 4:35 PM EST/1:35 PM PST this afternoon. Show airs from 4-6 EST.
I will be on Jed Williams' radio show in Mobile, AL (WNSP) at 5:25 PM CST/3:25 PM PST.
I will be on the nationally syndicated Cooper Lawrence Show tonight around 8:40 PM EST/5:40 PM PST.
We'll have an audio update online within a few hours as well.
It has been confirmed by multiple sources that Chris Benoit and his family were found dead in their home in Peachtree City, GA Monday.
Benoit, 40, rushed home this weekend to attend to a family emergency, but no other details were available. WWE has a statement up saying the home is being investigated by local authorities. It is believed the other family members were wife Nancy and son Daniel. Tonight's Raw, which was scheduled to be a wacky three-hour "funeral" for Vince McMahon, will now be a three-hour Benoit tribute show.
Caller-Times.com is now reporting that the live Raw show at the American Bank Center has been canceled. It is being reported that fans are being turned away from the building.
Wrestlers were filming tributes this afternoon to insert into the show. Everyone in WWE is obviously devastated. There was a major push to end the Vince McMahon is Dead storyline immediately, and Raw tonight opened with Vince McMahon alone in the middle of the arena, so apparently it's over.
Because I've gotten e-mails, I want to make mention that the articles which quoted me as talking about potential marital issues were in error. I was called and asked a number of questions today by reporter Saeed Ahmed, and one of them was how Benoit died. I said nobody knew anything at this point, referring to the death, and I guess he took it to mean I was referring to potential martial problems. It has since been corrected.
The news is everywhere at this point, including Sports Illustrated, CNN.com, and the AP.