Superstar Rewind: Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit was born on May 21, 1967 in Montreal, Quebec to Michael and Margaret Benoit, but moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada shortly after his birth. As a kid, Benoit idolized Bret “The Hitman” Hart and The Dynamite Kid, Tom Billington. After viewing countless pirated tapes of Dynamite’s legendary matches from Japan against Tiger Mask, Benoit soon decided to join his idol in the wrestling profession.

By the time Benoit reached fifteen, he met Dynamite for the first time, flexed his biceps, and proclaimed he wanted to be just like him. Michael Benoit, Chris’s father, though not a big wrestling fan, nonetheless encouraged his son to pursue his dream by buying him a set of weights and, later, by allowing him to drive to Calgary, some three hours away, to train in the Hart family “Dungeon”. After years of strenuous training under Bruce Hart, and later under Stu Hart himself, Benoit began his career in 1985.

Benoit debuted alongside with The Remarkable” Rick Patterson against Butch Moffat and Mike Hammer on November 22nd that year. According to his memoir, Benoit attempted Dynamite’s diving headbutt and had the wind knocked out of him. He recalled that he would never wanted to do that move again, but years later, that move ironically became one of Benoit’s trademark maneuver.

In 1986-1994, Benoit spent 8 years in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) wrestling under the gimmick, The Pegasus Kid. It was at this time that Benoit met Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko. Eddie, Malenko and Benoit became good friends at this time. According to Benoit’s memior, the Crippler Crossface was actually borrowed from Malenko which eventually became his renowned signature move.

By 1995, Benoit moved back to America and had a short stint in Paul Heyman’s ECW playground before being talent spotted by legendary nature boy, Ric Flair to join the revamped “The Four Horsemen” at WCW. Benoit later met fellow wrestler, Kevin Sullivan and had a controversial feud with the latter. Sullivan’s real life wife was involved with Benoit in an onscreen scripted affair. This however, escalated into reality and Kevin Sullivan filed divorce with his wife. The lady is none other than Benoit’s late wife, Nancy (whom he murdered in 2007). From 1998-2000, Benoit held the WCW heavyweight championship during his stay in WCW but due to the political atmosphere backstage, he chose to leave alongside with Eddie, Dean and Perry Saturn.

In 2000, the four debut in WWE as “The Radicalz” feuding with likes of Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and The Rock. The stable eventually split and Benoit went into singles competition. Benoit spent the next 4 years in midcard, before being promoted to the main event scene when he captured the coveted heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 20 from the hands of Triple H. Prior to his Wrestlemania match with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble and made history as the one of the two men in the history of WWE who had won this competition as the first entrant.

In June 2007, Chris Benoit was scheduled to defeat CM Punk to capture the ECW heavyweight championship. Benoit, however, missed the weekend house shows, claiming that his wife and son were vomiting blood due to food poisoning. When he failed to show up for the pay-per-view, viewers were informed that he was unable to compete due to a “family emergency” and he was replaced in the title match by Johnny Nitro (John Morrison). Nitro won the match and became ECW World Champion.

On June 25, 2007, police entered Benoit’s home on a “welfare check” after several missed appointments, leading to concerns. The officers discovered the bodies of Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their 7-year-old son Daniel. Upon investigating, it was concluded that Benoit had committed the murders. During the investigation, steroid abuse was said to have caused unpredictable rage attack. This has been established and considered as the primary reason that led to the murder and suicide. After the issue became apparent, WWE begun to distance themselves from Chris Benoit, likely due to the fact they do not want to be associated with bad press.

Chris Benoit was quietly cremated months later. As we approached Benoit’s death anniversary (3 years), we unlike other corporate creature do not distance ourselves due to public scrutiny. Here in WD, we give honor to one of the most popular, respected and gifted technical wrestlers of all time – The Rabid Wolverine, Chris Benoit.

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~ by wrestlingdynasty on June 24, 2010.

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