AKA Christopher Michael Benoit
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Location of death: Fayetteville, GA
Cause of death: Suicide
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: WWE wrestler, murder/suicide
Growing up in Canada, Chris Benoit (pronounced ben-wah) was always a fan of big time wrestling. At the age of 12 he started modeling himself after his hero, The Dynamite Kid, and he worked his way inside the ring to make his pro debut in 1985. He competed in the New Japan Pro Wrestling circuit, wearing a mask and billed as "The Pegasus Kid", and after being unmasked in a bout he fought as "Wild Pegasus". He was already wrestling under the name "The Canadian Crippler" when, in a 1994 bout, he accidentally broke his opponent's neck with a back body drop (the other wrestler, Terry Michael Brunk a.k.a. Sabu, recovered and continued wrestling). Widely considered one of the best technical wrestlers, Benoit competed primarily in World Championship Wrestling until 2000, then fought in World Wrestling Entertainment until his death.
In a 1995 storyline, Benoit was portrayed as pursuing Woman, the wrestling real-life wife of wrestler Kevin Sullivan. As part of the drama, Benoit and Woman (Nancy Daus-Sullivan) flirted and held hands, and as often happens in stage romances, they fell in love off-stage. She eventually divorced Sullivan and married Benoit. In his long career, Benoit won numerous championships, and was rated #1 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2004. His life story and many of his best matches were presented in a 2003 video, Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story.
Benoit was scheduled to perform in a pay-per-view event on Sunday, 24 June 2007, but was replaced at the last minute because of "personal reasons". On the next night's Monday Night Raw telecast, amidst an ongoing storyline of Vince McMahon's supposed "death" from a limousine explosion, viewers might have thought it was a stunt when the words "Chris Benoit 1967-2007" appeared on screen. McMahon himself, however, broke kayfabe to announce that Benoit, along with his wife and his son, had been found dead at their suburban Atlanta home. A police detective said that the deaths are being investigated as a murder-suicide; Benoit apparently strangled his wife Friday, smothered his 7-year-old son the following morning, left a Bible by both their bodies and then hanged himself on Monday, 25 June 2007.
In early reports of the crime, Benoit's son was described as retarded, with Fragile X syndrome. Family members, medical records, and the boy's teachers suggest that he had no mental or physical impairment.
Father: Michael Benoit
Mother: Margaret Benoit
Wife: Martina Benoit (div., two children)
Wife: Nancy Benoit (former wrestler, b. 21-May-1964, m. 2000, d. 22-Jun-2007 murder)
Son: Daniel Christopher Benoit (b. 23-Feb-2000, d. 23-Jun-2007 murder)
High School: Archbishop O'Leary High School, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (1985)
World Wrestling Entertainment
Risk Factors: Performance-Enhancing Drugs
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