In June of 2007, the professional wrestling world was rocked when it learned that Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their son Daniel had died at their home. Benoit, a well-respected hand in the ring, had been to the top of the mountain in the WWE, was a member of the Four Horsemen in the WCW, and made a name for himself in the early ECW days, as well as in Mexico, Japan, and Canada.
Benoit's wife, Nancy (who had been a valet in the pro wrestling business for years), was found bound and strangled, while their seven-year-old son was found dead in his room. Chris was found in the basement, with police determining his cause of death being suicide by hanging. Police concluded Benoit killed his wife, then murdered his son some time later before ultimately taking his own life.
No one truly knows the definitive why or how this all happened, but with the inner turmoil that many spoke of between Nancy and Chris are believed to have triggered Chris into committing such heinous acts. Well, everyone except legendary professional wrestling journalist Bill Apter.
Apter has been involved in the professional wrestling circuit since the 1970s, and rose to prominence via his work with publications like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, which played to the more theatrical side of pro wrestling without spoiling things for fans. Those magazines haven't been as prominent (thanks, Internet), but he's still remained a figure in bringing the proper news side to professional wrestling, so it made sense that pro wrestler Chris Jericho would invite him onto his Talk Is Jericho podcast. It's there that people got a fill of Apter's theory on what happened in the Benoit household back in June of 2007; it's a story that differs from what police may have found:
“I think somehow Chris got in some sort of trouble. I don’t know what it was, I don’t know what it was after or whatever, but I think something happened. I think when he got home, Nancy and his son were already dead … to me, if a hit, a murder, is done in a professional way, they can make it look like you did it and you committed suicide as well.”
Apter's main reasoning? That'd be the love that Chris had for Daniel:
“I understand that husbands and wives kill each other sometimes. They do! But not the boy. This is what didn’t make sense to me. Because I knew they had a volatile relationship, [Chris] and Nancy, there were a lot of issues and all that, but because of Daniel, the boy, and how enamored he was with Daniel, I still, today, can’t fathom that he could do this.”
While Apter doesn't really have an answer for what Benoit would have done to have angered someone to fake a murder-suicide, the official police deduction on the situation isn't any more informative. There's no definitive answer about what happened to the Benoit family eight years ago, and one can't disagree at Jericho calling the situation "shady" (Irv Muchnick's brilliant book Chris & Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide & Pro Wrestling's Cocktail of Death tried to answer some of these questions regarding the incident(s), the investigation, and more, but only came up with more questions), and while many think it was either the concussions Benoit suffered or the mixture of pills and steroids that turned a volatile situation deadly, this tragic incident doesn't seem to have any way of finding a conclusion.
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