5 Reasons why fans love Chris Benoit so much
On June 25, 2007, the world of sports entertainment was forever changed with one of the biggest tragedies in the history of professional wrestling. For a few days, everything was a blur as information about the incident was scarce and confusing, leading to rumours and speculation which have even persisted to this day.
Eventually, many more details would come out and soon enough, Chris Benoit became a household topic for all the wrong reasons. Next month will be the ten year anniversary of The Rabid Wolverine’s murder-suicide and to this day, there are still hot-button issues people debate about on a daily basis.
One of those topics which seem to come up rather frequently is the question of whether or not it is okay to cherish the legacy of someone who ended his life on such a horrific note.
Given the circumstances, how could there be apologists for Chris Benoit? How could anybody see past the negatives to defend him?
Ignoring the people who want to have a controversial opinion purely for the sake of getting a rise out of other people, there seem to be five main reasons why fans still love Chris Benoit, despite all the baggage that comes along with doing so.
#1 Judgment on technical talent alone
In professional wrestling, there’s always a bit of truth to the performance, but there needs to be a separation as well. Just as with actors in any profession, characters are not the same as the people portraying them, whether that is for the better or the worse.
Thankfully, Sir Anthony Hopkins is not actually a cannibalistic serial killer like Dr Hannibal Lecter, but in the same regard, putting on a Superman outfit isn’t going to make that actor incorruptible.
If we ignore everything about Chris Benoit’s personal life and examine him just as a wrestling character, it’s easy to see why he had a fan base: he was talented.
It’s doubtful many people would rank him in the top five technical wrestlers of all time, but as evidenced by his various feuds over the years where he had fantastic matches with Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle and more, of course, he would have his supporters from an in-ring perspective.
Many purists of technical wrestling are quick to label him with the word “innovative” with the Crippler Crossface and other staples which have just become more standardised moves over the years.
High-flying acrobats receive a certain level of admiration as do people like Benoit, who was classified more of a submission specialist, which at times can be a rare sight when more focus is put on brawlers.
The argument, when the Hall of Fame is brought up, is always whether it is okay to honour the accomplishments of the fictional character and the performer behind those shows without acknowledging the way his story ended.
If those attributes could be transferred to somebody else who had a perfectly fine life but just wasn’t as talented, that person would be inducted with no problem.
Chris Benoit had a Hall of Fame-worthy career built up based on his accolades and overall performance value and he threw it all away, but his fans are still able to appreciate everything before he did what he did.