On June 24th, 2007, the landscape of professional wrestling changed forever. Chris Benoit, who was one of the greatest wrestlers in the world at the time, was found dead at his home in Georgia. The discovery sent shockwaves throughout the industry and dominated mainstream media outlets for months to follow.
The horrific details of this tragic event were at the forefront of every story, but there are still some less well-known truths surrounding Chris Benoit's death. Lets take a look at five such facts:
#5 Chavo Guerrero was possibly the last person Benoit contacted
Chris Benoit's friendship with Eddie Guerrero was known to all. The two legends were best friends, traveling on the road together. Due to his friendship with Eddie, Benoit was also close to Chavo, Eddie's nephew. Chavo was the one who broke the news of Eddie's death to Benoit, and the two have been quite close since then.
In an interview with Dark Side of the Ring, Chavo revealed he got some strange texts from Benoit on the day he passed away. The first text was "The dogs are in the enclosed pool area, and the back door is open.", followed by another text detailing his address.
Guerrero didn't make anything of the texts until Benoit failed to show up at the Vengeance pay-per-view, where he was supposed to win the ECW World Championship. Following the event, Guerrero shared the chat with Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis on Monday. This led to WWE requesting the police to search Benoit's house. The rest is history.
#4 Chris Benoit had brain damage
Following medical examinations that took place after the tragedy, experts diagnosed Chris Benoit with 'severe brain damage', stating that his brain resembled the nature of an '85-year old Alzheimer's patient'.
Brain damage, in many cases, can be the explanation for symptoms such as unnecessary aggression, depression, and erratic behavior. It is well known that concussions can lead to brain damage, and many former friends of Benoit stated that he had a very laid-back attitude towards injuries in wrestling.
He saw it as an honor to wrestle each night, whether injured or not. It was later confirmed that the damaged brain tissue in his body wasn't linked to any steroid use.
#3 His death changed WWE's wellness policy forever
The tragedy was a disaster for WWE's PR team and shone a direct bad light on the company's flawed drug testing. It forced WWE to take their Wellness policy more seriously by taking into consideration not just the effects on health, but also mental fragility.
Superstar well-being was highlighted more, through personal care. Autopsy results showed that Chris Benoit's body contained ten times the normal level of steroid testosterone despite passing a WWE steroid test 3 months earlier.
The autopsy also revealed that his heart was three times larger than it should have been; he could have possibly died within the next ten months regardless.
Did you know that wrestlers today are ten times more likely to die before the age of 60 than NFL players? This is due to poor welfare precautions and constant concussions. The death forced WWE to take concussions more seriously, enforce substance regulations, and conduct rigorous drug testing.
#2 Wikipedia knew it happened before it happened
In a shocking turn of events, Wikipedia foreshadowed the incident a good 12 hours before the police raided the Benoit household. How on earth did someone know Nancy was dead before the police discovered the bodies?
But alas, when the police tracked the IP address of the wiki user, it showed up as a local teenager who lived in the same city as WWE HQ. Perhaps a coincidence, but conspiracy theorists will forever use this as a vital piece of information in their allegations.
#1 He was suffering from depression
Benoit's mental state was permanently altered ever since the death of Eddie Guerrero and he was in constant 'bereavement' ever since. Many close to the situation also claimed it to be "The Beginning of the End" for the Canadian Crippler. The final straw for him was the death of long-time friend Sherri Martel in 2007. Two weeks later, Chris Benoit committed suicide.
It's incredible that right up to this day, there are still so many unanswered questions surrounding Chris Benoit's death. Many have spouted their own conspiracy theories stating that he was set up by other people with evil intentions. But what is clear is that Benoit was gradually becoming more and more unstable as his life progressed with something dark brewing inside of him.
It's sad to think that a wrestler that was well on his way to becoming an all-time great could have suffered so much internally behind closed doors, but this spine-tingling scenario will be used as a case study to prevent future travesties.
Many current wrestlers like Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan have mentioned how Benoit was one of the top wrestlers in the business. Chris Benoit will never be forgotten, but his horrific actions on those three nights will forever overshadow his in-ring accomplishments.