Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Volume 2, Number 21: Benoit Revisited

(Note: Here's an entry from late June 2007, which I originally posted on my Yahoo! GeoCities blog.)

So long as I speak my mind on this blog as much as I do, I should admit it whenever I "play the general after the war," also known as Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

In previous entries, I criticized the WWE for deciding to do a Chris Benoit tribute show prior to all the facts coming forth. WWE announcer Jim Ross set me straight in his blog. I have copied-and-pasted part of it below, but the entire blog entry is here.

I have had friends who questioned the Benoit-themed Monday Night Raw, especially in light of the events that occurred in the Benoit home. For all those who seem to know all the answers and seemingly like to give the appearance of having 20/20 vision after the fact let me add this; when we went on the air at 7 p.m. central time, all we knew was that the police, at the WWE’s urging, had gone to the home and had found three dead bodies in the Benoit home Monday afternoon. This information was confirmed to us late in the day Monday in Corpus Christi and that was all we knew. There was no talk from the authorities themselves of a double murder suicide that was relayed to us in Texas. The facts came out as the night progressed and more facts are still being released several days after this unspeakable nightmare.

In other words, WWE assumed that Benoit was innocent (as I am sure many people did, especially WWE fans). Assuming the defendant to be innocent until proven guilty is, after all, one of the rules on which the American justice system is founded. Michael Waleskowski (who I mention in a previous blog entry, the ex-cop who killed his family and himself over debt problems) was, at first, assumed innocent as well. Given the short window of time between the time the bodies were discovered and the time RAW was to go on the air, I should not have had a problem with WWE making that assumption. The tribute show was nearly over when police investigators ruled the deaths a double murder-suicide.

Also, one of my brothers said that WWE was in an awkward situation--they had to produce something to fill the three hours of time that were scheduled for RAW that night. He outlined what he saw as their options:

  • A, do the Benoit tribute show;
  • B, proceed with the live RAW with a locker room that was emotionally not able to go through with it; or
  • C, do a Benoit-free clip show that would raise viewers' suspicions and tip WWE's hand that something was amiss.
(I guess paying USA to fill the three-hour gap with a movie or a few Law & Order reruns was not an option.)

My brother concluded that, while he agrees with me that the tribute show was a case of Russian Roulette, it was worth the risk for the company to show its appreciation for Benoit and for the fans to have once last chance to reminisce about Benoit's matches before that innocence was pulled away.

I still stand by what I say I would have done--wait longer to make any decision on a tribute show--but I was wrong to blast anyone for making the opposite decision, and for that, I apologize.

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