Unpopular Opinion: Chris Benoit should not be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame
When you're connected to countless wrestlers, companies and groups, you can literally customize your Facebook feed to reflect 85% current wrestling happenings. That being said, something I came across recently rubbed me the wrong way.
"Chris Benoit to be inducted into WWE Hall Of Fame 2019," said WWE's "Twitter." I already knew it was fake. It wasn't the first time we've seen doctored images of WWE's official Twitter account to appear to give the impression, "Oh, the official WWE Twitter tweeted about this, so it's legitimate."
Sadly, there was a time where Chris Benoit was an absolute Hall Of Fame shoo-in. In a period where gimmicks reigned supreme in WWE, he possessed personality between the ropes whether he ran sternum-first into the turnbuckles, dropped headbutts from the top rope or delivered sometimes as many as 10 consecutive German suplexes.
A decorated career backed with a multitude of Championship reigns across different divisions helped Benoit become synonymous with big names like Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero. In 2004, he won the Royal Rumble match from #1 and won the world title at WrestleMania XX. A decade before Daniel Bryan, Benoit was perceived as the first "little guy who could."
Benoit's 2007 showed a slight toll on the veteran, but an impressive "one-up me" feud with MVP helped elevate the relative heel newcomer. A move to ECW set Benoit to utilize his expertise to full fruition. The table was even set for a Pay-Per-View bout with CM Punk for a vacant ECW Championship, but they never dined.
Remember that now awkward Raw from June 25, 2007 that was actually supposed to pay tribute to "Mr. McMahon" and his "death" via an exploded limo two weeks prior? Of course, the truth came out after the three hours that instead paid tribute to Benoit, complete with matches/interviews.
As best as possible, they backtracked from any mentions besides a disclaimer the night after. With WWE 24/7 - their on-demand video service, all Benoit footage was removed. Benoit's name will still not be found on the WWE Network upon program descriptions/match listings. It's a step up that they do show his matches because it's there if you do watch the entire show, but that's about it.
History exists so you can learn from it. The omit of Benoit's existence won't help younger wrestling fans, but the internet in 2019 can fill you in on just about anything. Perhaps WWE knows that. Why promote Benoit when anyone could just look him up?
His abilities and easygoing ways out of the ring all went for nought with one fateful weekend. For that reason, you can't utter "Benoit" without thinking "murder." It's close to impossible for a wrestling fan. Even nowadays, the emotional wounds still feel fresh. For those reasons, it'd be unethical for WWE to showcase somebody who committed murder/suicide, especially nowadays when it's more of a sensitive issue.
Three days undid just about everything he did in 22 years. However, no matter who commits it, murder is still murder and suicide is still suicide. Actions can forever change a person's reputation. It's no different here than it would be if you discovered your friendly next-door neighbour got arrested for child porn.
WWE couldn't afford the publicity of a Benoit induction and possible backlash of the product. That's why it seems that while they can respect the performer, they must shun the person. While a tweet like that would get some hopes up being that it has been nearly 12 years since the unspeakable end to Benoit's life in where he also ended that of his wife and son, but that's exactly it - it'll NEVER happen. At least under the WWE umbrella.Published 13 Jan 2019, 09:04 IST