Say the name "Chris Benoit" to a wrestling fan, and you will invoke one of two images, if not both: that of one of the greatest professional wrestlers to ever perform in a ring, or that of a man who spent his last days committing a series of horrendous crimes that would shake the professional wrestling industry to its core.
Christopher Michael Benoit (May 21, 1967 – June 24, 2007) spent his youth idolizing fellow Canadian wrestlers such as Bret "The Hitman" Hart and the Dynamite Kid. In 1985, at the age of eighteen, Benoit made his wrestling debut in Canada's Stampede Wrestling and made his way all the way down to the tip of North America, wrestling in the Mexican-based Lucha Libre Internacional, AAA, and CMLL.
From there, he traveled to various overseas promotions, mainly to defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title belt of New Japan Pro-Wrestling as "Pegasus Kid", for a number of years, then made his debut in ECW in 1994. It was in ECW where Benoit became known as "The Crippler": During a match with Sabu, Benoit performed a back body drop, but Sabu landed on his head and broke his neck. Despite the act being an accident, the "Crippler" nickname stuck with Benoit for the rest of his career.
In 1995, Benoit returned to WCW (he had a short run there in 1992 and early 1993), and after impressing management with his in-ring work, Ric Flair made Benoit a member of The Four Horsemen stable. During this period of his career, Benoit feuded with Kevin Sullivan, who also booked for WCW at the time. The feud centered Sullivan's on-screen valet — his actual wife, Nancy — having an affair with Benoit; to keep the angle steeped in kayfabe, WCW forced Benoit and Nancy to spend time together so the illusion would appear real. Chris and Nancy turned the angle into reality by having an affair, and Nancy soon left Sullivan to marry Benoit.
Benoit won fans over with his in-ring work over the next few years, but management refused to push him into the main event level until Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara took over booking duties for WCW in 1999, near the peak of the Monday Night Wars. But when Russo and Ferrara were suspended by WCW management, the higher-ups placed Kevin Sullivan back on the booking team. Benoit, alongside a number of other wrestlers, saw this development as a hazard to their careers, and thus they delivered an ultimatum to management: "He goes, or we go." Management tried to appease the group by booking Benoit to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Souled Out 2000. But it proved a fruitless endeavour: Benoit — along with Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko — asked for, and were given, their releases after the event. (WCW stripped Benoit of the championship the next day.)
Weeks later, Benoit, Guerrero, Saturn, and Malenko showed up on WWF Raw—they emerged from the live audience to attack several wrestlers. The debuts of Benoit and his fellow ship-jumpers, dubbed "The Radicalz", signaled the beginning of the end of WCW; a little more than a year after The Radicalz debuted in WWE, WCW folded (and was bought by WWE).
Over the next four years, WWE built Benoit up into a main event caliber wrestler. He produced classic matches with the likes of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, and Edge. His time in SmackDown's tag division during 2002 made him part of a trio of teams fans referred to (then and now) as the "SmackDown Six": Benoit, teaming with Angle, faced the team of Edge and Rey Mysterio at No Mercy 2002 in what was easily a Match of the Year candidate and arguably one of the greatest tag team matches ever. Those two teams eventually feuded the Guerreros (Eddie and his nephew Chavo), which led to several matches between both the teams themselves and their individual members — matches that ultimately made SmackDown a must-watch show. Around this time, he was named the third person to receive Cauliflower Alley Club's Future Legend Award.
In 2004, Benoit had arguably the best year of his career: he won the Royal Rumble by lasting the entire match (over an hour after having entered #1), he went on to WrestleMania XX to win the World Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden in another Match of the Year candidate by making Triple H tap clean to the Crippler Crossface, and he retained the title the next month at Backlash by making Shawn Michaels tap to the Sharpshooter in Canada (a symbolic apology to the Canadian crowd for the Montreal Screwjob). Benoit lost the title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2004, but stayed near the main event level for the rest of the year as he feuded with Orton, Edge, and Triple H and continued to vie for the World Heavyweight Championship.
After 2004, WWE shuffled Benoit back down to the midcard, deciding that his skills could better help push new talent up the card. Benoit won the United States Championship several times and feuded with up-and-coming star Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) for months. In 2007, WWE placed Benoit on the renewed ECW brand—a move that instantly made him a top contender for that brand's championship. At Vengeance: Night of Champions 2007 on June 24, Benoit was scheduled to go up against indy darling CM Punk for the vacant ECW Championship.
Benoit no-showed the event.
The next day, Atlanta police found the bodies of Chris, Nancy, and their seven-year-old son Daniel in their home. The police didn't reveal until later that evening — and a number of fans would not find this out until after WWE had run a Benoit tribute show in place of Monday Night Raw — that over the course of the previous weekend, Benoit had strangled his wife and son, then hanged himself in his home gym.
At the next night's ECW show, Vince McMahon began the show acknowledging (more-or-less) that WWE had been too hasty regarding paying tribute to Benoit, and that his comments would be the only time Benoit's name was mentioned for the rest of the night. Years down the road, it became clear that this was the last time WWE would mention Benoit at all.
From that day forward, controversy about Benoit's life and career erupted. Did the multiple concussions he suffered over the years play a role in his actions? Should fans bring him up when discussing the best wrestlers ever, or is it right to even remember him as a great wrestler in light of what he did? Should WWE glorify Benoit's abilities and career accomplishments, or should it keep its current course of only recognizing him as a matter of historical record? What should the pro wrestling industry itself do to prevent something like this from happening again — if it could even do so?
Wrestling historians and critics have pointed to the Benoit murder-suicide as the catalyst for the company's "PG era", which was a noticeable period of WWE heavily sanitizing its programming. That and WWE's decision to refrain from ever mentioning Benoit again except for title reign records (and carefully skirting around if someone else gets a callback to a match or scenario with him) remain points of debate and controversy among pro wrestling fans. Whether it was right to do so or not is a subject with as many different opinions as can be found, and it seems unlikely that a consensus on Benoit will ever truly be reached.
While the debate about how to remember Chris Benoit continues among wrestling fans and pundits to this day, no one denies that June 25th, 2007 was one of the darkest days in the history of professional wrestling.
"The Rabid Troperine":
- Aborted Arc: Just before Benoit's murder-suicide, there was a storyline where Vince McMahon was presumed dead after his limousine exploded with him inside of it. The "Vince's limo exploding" storyline was immediately dropped cold in the aftermath of Benoit's death when Vince McMahon appeared in person on the Raw memorial show for Benoit and his family. Then when the truth came out, Vince broke kayfabe in a major way when he appeared out of character on ECW and gave a short statement apologizing for the earlier tribute. Incidentally, this was the last time Benoit's name would ever be mentioned on WWE television.
- The Ace: Even to this day, he is widely considered one of the greatest in-ring workers who ever lived. It only makes the question of how he should be remembered all the more polarizing.
- Animal Motif: One of his most famous Red Barons is "The Rabid Wolverine". He also wrestled as Pegasus Kid.
- Arch-Enemy: Kevin Sullivan, both on-screen and in Real Life. Their never-ending feud in WCW ensured Benoit was never going to move up the card (Sullivan was head booker at the time). In fact, it was Sullivan returning to WCW as head booker that caused Benoit to finally jump ship to the WWF. Oddly, he was still made WCW champion while Sullivan was supposedly holding him back, though his decision to quit the company literally the day after he won the title suggests that it wasn't enough to keep him around if meant having to deal with Sullivan as the head booker again.
- Ascended Extra: Benoit's second WCW run saw him start out in the Cruiserweight Division; eventually, he was made one of the Four Horsemen.
- Big Brother Mentor: According to his book Undisputed, Chris Jericho considered Benoit this. Paul London and Bryan Kendrick described him like this and a Stern Teacher in a shoot interview, and named Jamie Noble as another of Benoit's charges. CM Punk also seemed to consider him this, judging by his memorial message to him on the tribute show; in fact, their match at Night of Champions 2007 was supposed to kick off a program between them, presumably to help Punk get more over with the audience.
- Bittersweet Ending: Despite the horrifying tragedy surrounding Chris Benoit. By 2020, the shattered families of Benoit, Guerrero and Toffoloni managed to reconcile with one another and started a new path in life. Seeing David (the son of Chris Benoit), Chavo (nephew of Eddie Guerrero) and Sandra Toffoloni (sister of Nancy Benoit) hugging one another was a massive Tear Jerker moment.
- Broad Strokes: If it were up to the WWE, he wouldn't exist. But since he's won so many titles and was such a great wrestler, they can't undo the past.
- In an interview with WWE Magazine in 2009, Vince McMahon stated that he took the O. J. Simpson approach when it comes to mentioning Benoit: it's not okay to promote him, but they can't ignore his accomplishments.Vince McMahon: It's not right to pretend he didn't exist. It's one thing to include him as part of a historical perspective, which I believe is OK, and it's another thing to promote him, which is not OK. The situation is very similar to that of O. J. Simpson - despite his controversy, O.J. was still a part of the NFL scene. You can't deny that he existed.
- Many of Benoit's close friends took a similar approach, such as Chris Jericho and Batista, trying to remember him as the friend he was rather than the person he turned into during his last days. While none of them condoned what he did (nor could they forgive him for it), it still didn't change that Benoit was their friend for varying periods of time, and that they loved him, and because of that, they couldn't deny the part he played in all their lives.
- In an interview with WWE Magazine in 2009, Vince McMahon stated that he took the O. J. Simpson approach when it comes to mentioning Benoit: it's not okay to promote him, but they can't ignore his accomplishments.
- Broken Ace: Even before Eddie's death, Chris was getting increasingly isolated as most of his old friends and colleagues was dropping dead left and right. Eddie's death broke Chris' psyche, permanently, and he wasn't the same ever since, which culminated into the unfortunate end we now all know.
- Broken Pedestal: A very sad case of this after how his life ended. Prior to his actions in June 2007, Benoit was universally respected by his peers, fans and critics. To say that his reputation is forever tarnished after that is an understatement. This is only reinforced in Dark Side of the Ring, where several of his oldest and closest friends admit to still missing him, but also state they can never forgive him for his actions.
- The Bully: Benoit was the locker room leader for Raw during the days of the brand extension and one of the leaders of Wrestler's Court and if he liked someone he had no problems helping them and getting them over. However if he didn't like you then all the exact opposite would come into play.
- The Miz, on one of his best-worked shoots, talked about how he was excommunicated from the WWE Locker room for over six months because he spilled some crumbs all over a ref's bag. note
- Matt Striker would go on to talk about how he was bullied by Benoit for no other reason than to make an example of him for the others to follow. Benoit had actually complimented Striker for his commitment to wrestling as a whole but told him that in front of others he would treat him like trash.
- ECW Wrestler Nova, who wrestled in WWE as Simon Dean once told a story of how Benoit and JBL pounded on ring announcer Justin Roberts's hotel door so violently that he prayed Justin was not in there because he was afraid what they would do to him.
- Canon Discontinuity: As part of his un-personning in WWE, the company actively remove as many of Benoit's accomplishments as they could, most notably his Royal Rumble 2004 victory. The only place you'll find records of Benoit in WWE these days is in title reigns and match results as a matter of historical record.
- Captain Ersatz: His Pegasus kid run inspired Human Entertainment to start putting them in Fire Pro Wrestling.
- Catchphrase: Surprisingly enough, Benoit never had any; his mic skills weren't exactly stellar, so he let his in-ring work do the talking.
- He ran with the line of challenging others to prove him wrong, though.
- Earlier on in the original ECW, he was working a sociopathic gimmick, and he would call back things his opponents would say, then calmly state that "he disagreed".
- In 2004, he began declaring that he was "for real" (his tights and t-shirts would render it as "4-REAL").
- Before that, he was all about "toothless aggression."
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Wasn't a very big man, but could still German-Suplex even guys as big as Viscera.note
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Still hasn't been mentioned on camera to this day, leading to a joke between fans that he never existed. (Chris Benwho?)
- Curse: Some like to point out that in one storyline in one of the Smackdown Vs. Raw games, Eddie Guerrero was involved in a storyline with The Undertaker that ended in him buried alive. The weekend the game came out... well, Eddie died. A game later, Undertaker said "Your grieving family will have no one but you to blame when the inevitable occurs." to Benoit. The next year, Chris.. well, you know...
- Dead Person Conversation: After Eddie died, Benoit was given a journal to write to him as a way to cope.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: The number of concussions he received over his career were believed to have contributed to the circumstances leading to him killing his family and taking his own life.
- Demoted to Extra: Benoit's career following 2004 could essentially be seen as this, especially his move to ECW in 2007.
- Dented Iron: After a fashion; while Benoit's body was still in pretty good nick at the time of his death, the multiple concussions and excessive substance abuse his career had brought on him had given him the brain like that of an eighty-five-year-old Alzheimer's patient. That's Not Hyperbole either, that was actually the exact wording of the official autopsy done on his brain. The autopsy also found he had an enlarged heart from his excessive substance abuse over the years, and it's said that had he not killed himself he probably would have been dead within ten months from his heart going out.
- Despair Event Horizon: It's theorized that Eddie's death sent Benoit across this. Benoit already had it pretty rough prior to Eddie's death, having lost several friends over the years (detailed in Trauma Conga Line below), marriage problems (according to Nancy Benoit's sister, he was abusive and Nancy tried to file for divorce because of this), injuries, etc. But when Eddie died, that seemed to be the breaking point. According to his close friends and his own journals, Benoit was completely unable to move on from Eddie's death, which may have robbed him of his own will to live.
- Determinator: Broke his neck during a TLC match taped on 05-21-2001, continued wrestling for over a month until the King of The Ring event on 24-06-2001.
- Unfortunately, it can be debated that this determination was also what possessed him to wrestle through concussions, abuse painkillers and steroids, and any other destructive behaviors that led to that infamous weekend in Fayetteville.
- Double Standard: There is a small minority of fans who will argue that Benoit's contributions to wrestling outweigh his crimes, and that WWE should acknowledge his talents and legacy. Some have even called for him to be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Those same people have called for the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Orton to be blackballed from the industry for undeniably disgraceful but far less heinous behavior, because they don't have his talent and/or passion.
- On the other hand, while WWE have done everything possible to erase Benoit from history, Jimmy Snuka has remained a respected company veteran for decades despite a widespread belief that he killed his then girlfriend (either deliberately or accidentally), because there was never enough evidence to convict him.
- Due to the Dead: He adapted Eddie Guerrero's suplex combo after the latter's death.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He was not a fan of his "Canadian Crippler" nickname, a mocking moniker that stuck to his entire career after he broke Sabu's neck during his short time in ECW.
- Expy: Started as one of the Dynamite Kid, even calling himself "Dynamite" Chris Benoit.
- Fake Nationality: He was briefly billed as being from Georgia rather than Alberta, Canada. This was technically true, as Benoit did live in Atlanta at the time, but, as wrestlers are typically billed from their (Kayfabe or Real Life) hometown rather than current residence, the clear implication was that he was American.
- Fallen Hero: To some fans in Real Life. To some wrestlers as well. Pre-familicide, Chris Benoit was widely regarded as a "wrestler's wrestler" who did everything right, except cut promos. After the incident, at best, you can add "protect his head" to the things he didn't do right.
- Finishing Move: Benoit's most famous were his diving headbutt and the Crippler Crossface submission hold. (Following Benoit's death, the Crippler Crossface has been used by other wrestlers, and in WWE, it's referred to simply as The Crossface.)
- Earlier in his career, he would use a Dragon Suplex or a high-speed release powerbomb referred to as the Wild Bomb.
- And while it wasn't a finisher, Benoit popularized the usage of multiple German suplexes in a row (infamously testing Steve Austin's surgically repaired neck with an unthinkable 10 Germans in a row in one match).
- Ditto the diving headbutt off the top rope, which — taking nothing away from the tragedy of his death — can't have been good to his head when coupled with the steroids and depression over Eddie's passing.
- Odds are, you'll never see the diving headbutt used again by a major wrestling organization after that tragedy. Harley Race has gone on record as saying he wished he'd never invented the move.
- Santino Marella uses a standing variant, but he barely connects with it.
- Daniel Bryan uses the diving headbutt as a signature move, though he does it safely and never actually connects with his head on the bump.
- Benoit himself fell victim to the Crossface in a WrestleMania match with Kurt Angle. As the two men grappled, Angle eventually caught Benoit in the Crossface, and Benoit got him back a few moments later when he caught Angle in the Angle Lock.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Benoit did this quite well, on both ends of the spectrum.
- Best example: someone injured his arm with a chair during the first-ever Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 21. He almost won anyway...until Edge hit his injured arm with a chair when he was at the top of the ladder under the briefcase.
- And, of course, there's the time he and Chris Jericho tore Triple H's quad. Definitely a Game Breaking Injury.
- Graceful Loser: After losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2004, Benoit put the belt on Orton’s shoulder and told him, “Be a man”.
- Heartbroken Badass: Chris Benoit was one of the best pro-wrestlers the world has ever seen. But multiple head injuries, substance abuse and the rapid deaths of multiple of his close friends in less then a decade pushed him over the edge. By the 2000s, Eddie Guerrero was Chris' literal Living Emotional Crutch. So when Eddie passed, Chris lost his last and closest friend, and it broke him; pushing him to a irrecoverable path to tragedy.
- Heroic BSoD: According to numerous sources, Benoit did not take Eddie Guerrero's death well, and that it contributed to his Sanity Slippage.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero are the second most remembered example in pro wrestling, behind Shawn Michaels and Triple H, especially in real life. When Eddie died, Benoit looked like he lost his brother. In fact, some friends say he never got over the depression of losing his best friend and may have contributed to losing his own life.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: A lot of the long-term injuries in Benoit's brain and neck were derived from Benoit's signature diving headbutt and his penchant for taking and giving German suplexes. In the wake of his death, the WWE began to phase out the German suplex maneuver in the same way it did for the traditional piledriver.
- Humiliating Wager: LLI ignored how Pegasus Kid had been unmasked by Jushin Thunder Liger on a New Japan show, albeit only so they could follow through with their own plans to have Villano III unmask him.
- Kangaroo Court: Was a member of The Undertaker's "Wrestler's Court".
- Keep the Reward: After winning the vacant WCW World Title at the Souled Out 2000 PPV, Benoit forfeited the title and left WCW along with Guerrero, Malenko, and Saturn due to Kevin Sullivan's promotion to head booker beforehand, Benoit due to the "Woman" storyline and the other three for fear of being collateral damage.
- Large Ham: Subversion, and possibly the only wrestler of his popularity and success level who wasn't a large ham, and didn't have a manager during his peak. note
- Legacy Character:
- David Benoit, Chris' elder son and the only survivor member of his family, wants to be a wrestler and, even more, getting the name of "Chris Benoit Jr." in-ring, according to this interview for The Sun and later taking part in the 2-episode about his father in Dark Side of the Ring, showing how he has reenchanted of wrestling thanks to All Elite Wrestling.
- Chris himself wanted to be one in his beginnings, getting the first in-ring name of "Dynamite" Chris Benoit in honor to his childhood idol Dynamite Kid.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Chris was never the same after Eddie Guerrero died. It's generally agreed upon that Eddie's death is a big part of why that weekend in Fayetteville happened (with Benoit's own journals confirming it), though how much in comparison to the multitude of injuries, drug abuse, and deaths of other friends of his that also played a part is something we'll never really know. The Dark Side of the Ring also showed that another cause could be the strict agenda he had in WWE these years, where getting a rest (or a retirement as his wife Nancy would wanted) and a proper mourning would avoid the tragedy all we know.
- Loophole Abuse: After winning the Royal Rumble, Benoit (A member of the SmackDown roster at the time) proceeded to jump to Raw to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania rather than stay on SmackDown & challenge for the WWE title, citing that the Royal Rumble contract didn't specify that he can't do that. Every year afterwards, this has been part of the official stipulation for the Rumble.
- He might've done that to avoid challenging best friend Eddie Guerrero, allowing for a program where both would hold the World Titles following WrestleMania XX.
- His kayfabe motivation for the switch is strongly believed to be to get away from Paul Heyman, then-GM of SmackDown, whom guaranteed that Benoit would never get a title shot as long as he was on the show and had intentionally put Benoit as the #1 entrant to give him the least chance of winning.
- Manly Tears: He was a sobbing mess during Eddie's tribute show. Close friends such as Chavo Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Vickie Guerrero have mentioned he was much worse off camera.
- Masked Luchador: A Japanese version where he goes as "The Pegasus Kid" and fighting against other famous masked wrestlers as Jushin Thunder Liger, El Samurai and Black Tiger in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
- Must Have Caffeine
- Was noted by many people who knew him for his enduring love of/addiction to coffee. He also constantly gnawed on coffee straws, according to Chris Jericho. He even had his 25.5-second match against Orlando Jordan at SummerSlam 2005 play on a split-screen while he prepared a cup of coffee.
- On an episode of his podcast marking the tenth anniversary of the Benoit tragedy, Jericho remarked that, before going to the ring, Benoit would drink a cup of coffee, and take aspirin and ephedrine to get himself charged up.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Benoit's death, and the circumstances surrounding it, was one of the factors that led to the death of Kayfabe as it had been up to that point. It was also one of the factors in the "PG Era" starting to really gain momentum in WWE as a way to distance the company from the tragedy.
- Pater Familicide: One of the most infamous cases of the 2000s and definitely in pro wrestling's history.
- Pegasus: Wrestled in Japan and Mexico for a time under the names Wild Pegasus or the Pegasus Kid.
- Power Stable:
- Redeeming Replacement: His son David from his first marriage has expressed a desire to wrestle, possibly even under the name "Chris Benoit Jr." as a way of redeeming his family name in the eyes of the industry. The VICE documentary series Dark Side of the Ring focused on Benoit while showing the unfair blacklisting David received from the public and the world of wrestling for simply being Benoit's son. So we'll see how that goes. Jim Cornette is of the opinion that it's probably too much; while David does deserve a shot and that he's also a victim of Chris's actions, the inevitable walking on eggshells that would come with him means that no one is willing to give him that shot. Cornette even admits that this is unfair, but sticks by his opinion. note
- The Rival: Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle were his biggest opponents.
- Rule of Three: One of Benoit's later signature moves was three German suplexes in a row.
- Run the Gauntlet: When the Radicalz crossed over to the WWE, Benoit took on and defeated Saturn, Guerrero and Malenko one after another in a Gauntlet match.
- Sanity Slippage: The tragic consequences of his brain damage is what ultimately defines him, deserved or not, to many people.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After he won the Royal Rumble, he jumped from SmackDown to Raw in order to get away from Paul Heyman who had made his life difficult. This was before the winner could choose who he would challenge, as the Brand Extension was in full force, and the only way to appear on another show was via the Draft.
- Serious Business: Benoit's dedication to the wrestling business is unparalleled by only few. Several wrestlers have mentioned that he did five hundred squats before every show, and would do five hundred more as punishment when he felt like he messed up or did something wrong in the ring.
- Sins of Our Fathers: David Benoit unfortunately, was dealt a heavy hand on this. He was bullied in school and wasn't supported by WWE.
- Slasher Smile: Just watch his entrance video. Quite unnerving, considering what happened...
- Squash Match: In the summer of 2005, Benoit had a series of these with Orlando Jordan. The first, which lasted 25 seconds, cost Jordan the United States Championship; the subsequent rematches lasted 23.4, 22.5, and 49.8 seconds. This led to a small Running Gag in which Benoit would test himself on whether he could do something (such as make a cup of coffee or go to the bathroom) faster than he beat Orlando Jordan. The reason this happened is that WWE had Jordan beat Benoit semi-cleanly (he used an exposed turnbuckle bolt, but didn't have any outside help). The fan reaction was very, very negative; Jordan hadn't really connected at all, and no one believed that he was anywhere near Benoit's league, so WWE made the decision to give the fans what they wanted.
- Take This Job and Shove It: The day after he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, he asked for his release alongside Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn. Legend has it that Benoit went as far as dumping the title in the trash (though by that point its prestige had fallen so far that many considered it little more than a fancy prop) to show how much he wanted out. WCW was going down the drain by that point, a literal hell for anyone who wasn't Hulk Hogan or Kevin Nash. However, what really incited this decision from Benoit was the news that Kevin Sullivan was returning as head booker — the rest, being his close friends, followed him out of fear of being collateral damage.
- Talking to the Dead: After Eddie Guerrero died, Chris grew so depressed and disturbed that he started writing directly to Eddie in a diary, apparently under the delusion that he was actually communicating with him through it.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Despite being rivals, he and Angle were forced to team with each other by SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon during the WWE Tag Team Championship tournament in 2002.
- Toothy Issue: The gap in his front teeth.
- Tournament Arc:
- Wild Pegasus defeated The Great Sasuke in the final match of NJPW's 1994 "New Super J Cup"
- In 2002 he and Kurt Angle teamed together to win a tag team tournament.
- Tragic Bromance: He and Eddie Guerrero were very close friends and died within two years of each other (Eddie in November 2005, Chris in June 2007).
- Trauma Conga Line: Benoit had twenty of his friends within the wrestling business die young. Before Eddie, there was Brian Pillman (Benoit's original tag partner in WCW) and Owen Hart (who had been one of Benoit's friends dating back to his days in the Hart Family Dungeon). Mike "Johnny Grunge" Durham had been a next-door neighbor of Benoit's and had more or less become Benoit's best friend after Eddie's passing. He would also go over to the Benoit home and break up arguments between Chris and Nancy — and he died in 2006, less than a year before The Tragedy.
- Benoit's old tag team partner from Stampede Wrestling, Biff Wellington, died on the same day, but his death was overshadowed, obviously, by that of Benoit.
- It's been mentioned several times, especially on Chris Jericho's podcast, that Benoit broke down when he heard that Big Boss Man had died (they'd met in WCW), crying to the effect of "I can't stand seeing all my friends die anymore!" (Another friend of his and Eddie's had also died a few months prior to Bossman in Mexican wrestler Black Cat).
- This is a reason why the Benoit tragedy still generates so much controversy to this day. Benoit had numerous personal issues involving his family, his mental health, and his physical well-being, and that was why Eddie's death is generally considered to be his breaking point, since Eddie was The Confidant to Benoit, as said by the man himself. With Eddie gone, Benoit's life spiraled downwards, and thus any of those aforementioned issues could be blamed for what happened if not all of them. And since fans will never have conclusive evidence as to why, exactly, he did what he did, the debate will continue until either the tragedy fades from memory (unlikely) or the wrestling business no longer exists (just as unlikely).
- Trouser Space: Benoit would store Kurt Angle's gold medals inside his tights after stealing them from him during their feud in 2001.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: His oldest son David◊ is the spitting image of him.
- Un-person: The nature of Chris Benoit's death has caused WWE itself to essentially erase Benoit from history (except in places like event results and title histories, if only as a matter of historical context).
- Title histories don't stop them. In a magazine chronicling every WrestleMania, while every other match lists who wins the match, the entry for WM20 states that Triple H lost the World Heavyweight Title in a Triple Threat Match.
- Not only did Montel Vontavious Porter win the United States Championship from Chris Benoit just a month before his passing, but he held on to it long after, all the way until April the next year. This whole time, however, it was never said just who Porter won the championship from, just that "he won it in a 2/3 Fall Match at Judgement Day".
- Triple H and Shawn Michaels use the Crippler Crossface from time to time, and several wrestlers still occasionally use the diving headbutt.
- WWE has since advertised the main event of WrestleMania 20 as a match featuring Shawn Michaels and Triple H to avoid mentioning Benoit anywhere on the cover.
- In a similar move, when WWE released the initial match listing for the Elimination Chamber anthology DVD, the listing for the third Elimination Chamber match - which Benoit was involved in - only mentioned that Triple H won the match. An updated listing from weeks before the DVD's release showed that the match was listed in full (with Benoit's name), and UK retailer Silvervision confirmed that the match was included in its entirety, making it the first WWE DVD since Benoit's death to include one of his matches. Several lines from the commentary team that painted Benoit in a positive light were edited out (and since Benoit was a face for much of his WWE career, all of the comments were technically positive unless one of the commentators was playing a heel), but beyond that, no substantial edits were made.
- The Best of SmackDown DVD set has a video summary for the Fatal 4-Way TLC match from May 2001. Aside from a very short shot at the beginning, Chris Benoit was edited out. He was tag team champs with Chris Jericho at the time. And on top of that, they won the match. The package almost makes you believe that Chris Jericho beat the Dudley, the Hardys, and Edge and Christian all on his own.
- Likewise, when the inaugural Money in the Bank match is highlighted either during WrestleMania season or in July for the Money in the Bank PPV, Benoit is completely absent from the video packages, with some bizarre camera angles used to ensure his presence is minimized. If you know what color tights he is wearing, you might be able to catch a frame or two where his legs are visible.
- The episode "The Fall of WCW" of the WWE Network series the Monday Night Wars did show limited footage of Benoit and have Jim Ross's commentary call him by name, but he was not mentioned in the actual series.
- Benoit IS included in the most recent edition of the WWE Encyclopedia, though his entry ends with Randy Orton defeating him for the World Heavyweight Title at Summerslam 2004.
- Unexpectedly, a more recent book by WWE that chronicles its history, not only has a blurb mentioning Benoit, but the blurb explains his death by murder-suicide.
- His matches are on the WWE Network, most of which are shown in their original unedited forms but a parental advisory warning is shown before a program that features him. The ECW championship match he no showed before his death has been edited to remove any commentary mention of him. His tribute show is replaced by the internationally aired version of the same scheduled program showing some World Title matches. Some PPV posters which featured him have new artwork not showing him. That said, trying to plug his name in the search engine yields little results, and the matches he's featured in never mention his name in the description/match list for the specific show; for example, his WWE title challenge against Kurt Angle at the 2003 Royal Rumble is titled along the lines of "Kurt Angle in a WWE Championship match" or "X in a Y stipulation match for Z" with no mention of his name.
- Even the fans tend to not acknowledge him, although this seems to be done more as a parody of WWE un-personing Benoit than anything else. On some forums, he'll be referred to as 'Crispen Wah' or 'Kris Penwa' so as not to use his name. Other name replacements include [Redacted], Hardcore Holly and Stevie Richards. This often leads to ridiculous statements such as saying that Wrestlemania XX's main event was a singles match between Shawn Michaels and Triple H which ended in the title being vacated when Hunter started tapping out in the middle of the ring to nothing.
- Worthy Opponent: Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho.
- Wrestling Family: His wife Nancy was a prominent valet in ECW and WCW during The '90s. His eldest son David is also training to be a wrestler during The New '10s.
- Wrestling Psychology: Benoit was hailed as one of the best in the business in this area.