The wrestling world and beyond was shocked nine years ago this week, when it was announced that Chris Benoit had murdered his wife and son and subsequently committed suicide.
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Nobody knows what was going through Benoit’s head at this point, but over the years there has been a whole load of speculation, with some saying that he had actually developed brain damage/Alzheimer’s due to his physical exertions in the ring. Now, Benoit’s sister in law Sandra Toffoloni has appeared on Chris Jericho’s – another close personal friend of Benoit – podcast Talk is Jericho to discuss the events that took place in the run up to Benoit’s murder/suicide.
This is her first major interview since the incident and she reveals a hell of a lot that we didn’t know previously. You can listen to the whole 90 minutes of it below but here’s some of the most revealing parts of the podcast:
It’s upsetting because the big push for ‘concussion, concussion, this is why he did it because the Chris Benoit we know could never have done this—they want to put it on something so they don’t have to blame Chris anymore. But it was a combination of a lot of things. It was just a huge boulder of weight from loss and grief, it was a ton of medication altering his body chemistry and brain chemistry, and possibly, yes, a little bit of brain issue from hitting his head over and over and over. Would it drive someone to murder? I don’t know. I can’t say definitively yes that’s what did it.
I know there were issues in the house he was having with himself struggling inside with things that are privy to he and I that I wouldn’t put on blast for anyone to know, but that coupled with the facts of what I know from being there immediately after that weekend and seeing everything, it wasn’t the act of someone with brain damage. It’s impossible. I understand the necessity to want to put it on something and say, ‘this is why he did it,’ because the daily pain of living with not knowing why and not knowing what happened is crippling, for lack of a better term.
What a lot of people didn’t get to see is how much he and my sister loved one another. If there was a moment of rage on Friday night — and to be clear, it was serious rage. He brutalized my sister. It wasn’t just like, ‘Maybe I hit her too hard and she hit her head.’ He murdered her. Brutally. But when I try to talk about my nephew, it’s difficult, because I don’t understand it. You think about a murdered child and it’s the worst thing ever. But when you think about that murdered child as the one thing you love in life more than anything, because I did, and my sister did, and he did, it’s very hard for me to think about what was going on in his head and in his heart to do that. He knew for a fact that had anything ever happened to he or Nancy, I would be there to take care of Daniel, 100 percent. There was no question about that. It would have been a difficult time but he would have had a loving family to take care of him.
All I can think of is that it was kind of a selfish last act to do that he just — I’m not sure. I can’t put a reasoning behind it. He did love Daniel very much, and all I could really think was if Daniel ever saw or found out what [Chris] had done to his mother, that would have broken that child … [Chris] spent two full days in the house with Nancy and Daniel, not alive. Let’s be honest: That’s weird. That’s straight-up weird. There’s no justification for that.
Geez. It’s never nice discussing a murder suicide and it’s always going to feature a huge level of messed up, but this is just even more shocking and upsetting than when I first heard about it. And it was pretty shocking and upsetting back then. RIP Nancy and Daniel Benoit. Not so sure about Chris.
In the end, it’s just another story about how pro wrestling has ruined people’s lives. For another equivalent tale, check out the decline of Scott Hall/Razor Ramon.