"Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport"

Essays by Steven Johnson, Heath McCoy, Irvin Muchnick, & Greg Oliver

Description: Between November 22nd, 1985 and June 20th, 2007, Chris Benoit built a Hall of Fame wrestling career. Throughout his twenty-two years in the business, he was a promising newcomer, a rising star, an international sensation, an admired hero, a consummate ring general, a respected locker-room leader, and champion of the World in every division. But the horrific events that happened on the final weekend of June 2007 would forever tarnish Benoit's legacy and leave him remembered as the monster that killed his wife (Nancy) and 7-year old son (Daniel) before taking his own life.

It took ECW press only three months to produce the first of what I imagine will be many books written about the Benoit tragedy. Established writers Steven Johnson and Greg Oliver (co-authors of "Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams" and "Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels") were joined by Heath McCoy (author of "Pain & Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling") and Irvin Muchnick (author of "Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death & Scandal") to compile several essays focusing on the frenzy that occurred following what has become known as wrestling's darkest day.

The book fittingly begins as a tribute to Chris Benoit's wrestling career, which was a good move because the great professional life of Chris Benoit, the wrestler, deserves to be acknowledged. However, many would argue that point.

After paying reasonable tribute to the wrestling career of Chris Benoit, the authors turn their attention to the real story of what exactly happened on that dreadful weekend. They also reflect on the media frenzy and the battle for information which resulted in the reporting of many unsubstantiated claims, such as the blockbuster presented by WWE that Benoit's son, Daniel, suffered from Fragile X syndrome - which ended up being proven false by family members and Daniel's school teacher. The internet also played a part in the global distribution of BENOIT developments. The world of professional wrestling had a powerful spotlight placed upon it, as theories of Roid-rage were splattered on every major news publication on the planet. This was another theory eventually proven ghastly inaccurate. By the time the toxicology reports were released, the world was exhausted and had already moved on to the next news story.

This book contains a series of essays written by four of the best wrestling journalists in the world, presenting a very informative version of the life and death of Chris Benoit and his family. It is a short book, about 160 pages; large print, a strong reader could polish it off in one sitting (three sittings for me). At around $17 Canadian ($15 US), the price is certainly worth it to get the entire Benoit story - as straight-forward as it's ever been told. There will be more books about Chris Benoit in the future, including a full-length book by Irvin Muchnick called "Chris and Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro-Wrestling's Cocktail of Death."

"BENOIT: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport" will be released on October 15 and will be available at most book stores and online bookselling sites; for more information on the book and its authors please visit

Rating: 8 / 10 - Personally, I still struggle to comprehend what Chris Benoit did. I will never be at peace with this.

Reviewed by Brad Dykens on October 7, 2007.

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