Nick Name: The Best Damned Technical Wrestler in the World
Birthday: May 21, 1967
Died At Age: 40
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Christopher Michael Benoit
Born Country: Canada
Born in: Montreal, Canada
Famous as: Canadian Professional Wrestler
Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Martina Benoit (m. ?–1997), Nancy Benoit (m. 2000–2007)
father: Michael Benoit
mother: Margaret Benoit
siblings: Laurie Benoit
children: Daniel Benoit, David Benoit, Megan Benoit
Died on: June 24, 2007
place of death: Fayetteville, Georgia, United States
Cause of Death: Suicide By Hanging
City: Montreal, Canada
Chris Benoit was a Canadian professional wrestler often considered among the greatest wrestlers. During his immensely successful wrestling career of 22 years, he won numerous titles and was part of ‘World Wrestling Entertainment/Federation,’ ‘World Championship Wrestling,’ ‘New Japan Pro Wrestling,’ and ‘Extreme Championship Wrestling.’ During his illustrious career, Benoit achieved an impressive 22 professional wrestling titles, including the ‘World Heavyweight Championship’ in WWE and WCW, ‘United States Championship,’ and ‘Tag Team Championship.’ He is also known as one of the four wrestlers in the world to get their hands on the ‘Triple Crown Championships’ in both WWE and WCW. In 2004, he became the second wrestler after Shawn Michaels to win a ‘Royal Rumble’ match as the number one entrant. His athleticism and wrestling prowess made him one of the most loved professional wrestlers with a large fan following. His death came across as a shocker to millions of his fans around the globe when he was pronounced dead in June 2007. He murdered his family and two days later, took his own life. His death sparked a lot of rumors; in the end, depression and brain damage were asserted as causes of his diminishing mental health. It is also believed that concussions caused by head injuries over the years inside the ring may have led to his violent behavior.
Childhood & Early Life
Chris Benoit was born Christopher Michael Benoit on May 21, 1967, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He spent most of his childhood in Alberta. According to his father, Chris was obsessive as a child, totally in love with the idea of becoming a wrestler and started preparing himself by the age of 12. In high school, he won numerous awards in wrestling and bodybuilding and had unwavering focus on becoming a world class wrestler.
Tom Billington and Bret Hart were his inspiration as a kid and he attended several wrestling shows, where these two performed. He imitated Billington and Hart while training and even incorporated Hart Bret’s finishing move ‘sharpshooter’ as one of his very own finishing moves when he started wrestling professionally.
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Chris Benoit started his professional wrestling career in 1985 in ‘Stampede Wrestling’ promotion. His admiration for Bret Hart as well as Tom Billington’s wrestling style became apparent as he perpetually used their moves, such as the sharpshooter, diving headbutt, and snap suplex to instill fear in the hearts of his opponents. Due to his ferocious speed and physical strength, he earned the nickname ‘Dynamite.’
In his ring debut in November 1985, Benoit participated in a tag team match and ended up winning after pinning one of his opponents down with a sunset flip.
His run in ‘Stampede’ turned out to be quite successful and earned Benoit enough credibility to be considered for bigger leagues. During his initial period in ‘Stampede,’ he ended up winning four ‘British Commonwealth Titles’ and four ‘International Tag Team Titles.’ In 1989, he bid goodbye to ‘Stampede Wrestling’ and moved to Japan to join ‘New Japan Pro-Wrestling’ (NJPW).
He wrestled in ‘New Japan Pro-Wrestling’ under the name ‘The Pegasus Kid.’ Sometime later, he started wearing a mask. Throughout the early-90s, he established himself in NJPW by winning ‘Best of Super Juniors’ tournament twice and securing a win in the ‘Super J-Cup Tournament.’ During the early-90s, he kept wrestling in Japan, Mexico, and Europe and ended up winning a few championship titles.
In 1992, his stint at ‘World Championship Wrestling’ (WCW) got him noticed for his brilliant wrestling skills. In 1994, at the ‘Extreme Championship Wrestling’ (ECW), he gained notoriety after starting feuds with popular wrestlers and earned the nickname ‘Crippler Benoit.’ His first American title win came in 1995 when he won the ‘ECW World Tag Team Championship.’ Owing to the talent exchange program between NJPW and WCW, Benoit kept constantly switching between the two promotions.
At WCW in 1998, Benoit entered into a long-term feud with Booker T; the wrestlers fought it out several times for many months. In 1999, Benoit teamed up with Dean Malenko to win the ‘WCW Tag Team Championship’ and formed a group named ‘The Horsemen,’ which was later renamed ‘The Revolution.’ However, he remained unhappy with the management of WCW. After a title win, for which he wasn’t officially credited, Benoit made up his mind to leave WCW and signed up with ‘World Wrestling Federation’ (WWF).
Along with Eddie Guerrero, Saturn, and Malenko, Benoit formed the group ‘The Radicalz’ and debuted in WWF; Triple H joined them sometime later and the group came to be known as ‘Heel Faction.’ In a triple threat match against Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle, Benoit scored his first title victory, ‘The Intercontinental Championship’ at ‘Wrestlemania’ in 2000. This started a long-term rivalry with Chris Jericho over the championship title. In January 2001, Benoit ended up losing the title to Jericho.
After ending his association with ‘The Radicalz’ in early 2001, Benoit started a feud with Kurt Angle and stole his Olympic gold medal; the rivalry lasted for days and included single fights and tag team matches. In 2002, the first WWE draft moved him to SmackDown. Despite his ongoing feud with Kurt Angle, he joined hands with him to become the first ‘WWE Tag Team’ champion. He was given an opportunity to fight for the ‘World Heavyweight’ title at ‘Wrestlemania 20’ after he won the ‘Royal Rumble’ in 2004. He won the ‘World Heavyweight Championship’ by defeating Triple H in the title match, only to lose it to Edge a few months later.
He became the ‘WWE United States’ champion after defeating Booker T in a title match. He returned to ECW in 2007 for a brief period of time. In ECW, he earned a title match for the ‘ECW World Heavyweight Championship,’ but backed out due to a family emergency. In June 2007, the news of his death surfaced, leaving the wrestling world in a state of shock and disbelief.
Murders & Suicide
On June 25, 2007, police discovered the dead bodies of Benoit, his seven-year-old son and wife. Benoit, before killing himself by hanging on his lat pulldown machine, had killed his son and wife.
A three-hour tribute was aired by WWE and his father claimed in an interview that he had been suffering from depression. It was also said that his mental illness was caused by years of repeated head trauma inside the ring. Harmful toxics were found in the victims’ bodies.
Tests conducted on his brain revealed that his brain resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient. It was claimed that several blows to his head during his wrestling career had caused irreversible damage to his brain, which led to mood swings, violent behavior outside the ring, and psychotic behavior.
Chris Benoit was friends with Eddie Guerrero. When Eddie died in November 2005, Benoit went into depression. His colleagues said that Eddie’s death changed him on a deeper level and that he was never the same after that.
Chris Benoit was married twice. His first wife was Martina, with whom he had two children - a boy and a girl.
Benoit later started an affair with Nancy Sullivan, wife of his fellow wrestler Kevin Sullivan. Nancy gave birth to Benoit’s son and the couple got married in 2000. Nancy filed for divorce in 2003, stating that she was being mistreated and accused Benoit of behaving violently. However, she took her charges back some time later, but this led to bitterness in their relationship, which lasted until her death.