I am still having a very difficult time trying to come to terms with what has happened.
I am still having a very difficult time trying to understand how a man I respected, a man who I looked up to, a man who I looked forward to watching every single week, and a man who avoided the temptations that go with being a celebrity, could commit such a heinous act.
It still feels like a bad dream - Chris Benoit, his wife and his son are dead. Chris Benoit asphyxiated his wife and son, and then committed suicide. I am trying as hard as I can to separate the performer from the man who committed the murders.
Right now, I have a picture of Benoit as my Facebook photo. My Facebook status and MSN name also mention Benoit and his family. However, I want you to know that I am only paying homage to Benoit's wrestling career. My tribute, in no way, relates to the awful violence that has taken place.
Chris Benoit was one of the best technical wrestlers of all time. When he stepped into the ring, you knew you were about to witness a quality match. There are a lot of wrestlers who only have one style of wrestling. For example, John Cena uses a "street fighter" style, Rey Mysterio uses a lot of acrobatics, and CM Punk tends to use a martial arts style. Chris Benoit, on the other hand, had many styles. He took it upon himself to learn as many different techniques as he could. He did this by wrestling all over the world. He fought in Japan, Mexico, Germany, the United States, and Canada. It didn't matter whether he wrestled someone as technically sound like Kurt Angle, or someone who was slow and sluggish like The Big Show, Benoit could always get a great match out of anyone.
Benoit was one of a very select bunch that perfected his craft. He didn't care for all the glamour that came with being a star in the major wrestling organizations. All he cared about was his art and being the best artist in the business. Benoit worked really hard and certainly archived this.
Wrestling fans recognized Benoit's dedication and would always show their respect and appreciation by applauding, or booing if he was the "bad guy." Sure, he was not a great talker and he wasn't an attractive man either. Nevertheless, the fans understood his desire and rewarded him appropriately.
Benoit won many great matches and countless titles. In my opinion, his greatest accomplishment occurred on March 14, 2004, when he took part in the main event of Wrestlemania 20. It was a grueling and dramatic match. Benoit defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels to win the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship. It was a huge milestone in his career. After the match, Benoit's good friend Eddie Guerrero, who was the WWE Heavyweight Champion at the time, came into the ring and the two embraced and celebrated. This celebration has become one of the most famous images in WWE history. What's really sad is that within three years, both men would be dead. No one could have expected that.
Regardless of whether it was deliberate or a case of "roid rage," Chris Benoit committed a horrible and cowardly act. Some may say it's unforgivable. He deserves to be condemned for it. However, any form of condemnation should be for his actions and not for what he did inside a wrestling ring. When one thinks of Chris Benoit, there must be a division between the wrestler and the man who took away two innocent lives.
That's how I choose to handle it.