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June 26, 2007

WWE Refutes Benoit "Roid Rage" Claims

World Wrestling Entertainment slams steroid speculation in double murder-suicide of wrestling champ Chris Benoit and his family.

World Wrestling Entertainment has issued a statement responding to media speculation that steroid abuse, commonly referred to as "roid rage," was a factor in the double homicide-suicide involving WWE wrestling star Chris Benoit, his wife, Nancy, and their 7-year-old son, Daniel.

WWE stated that the cause of death, asphyxiation, and physical findings at Benoit's home by local "authorities indicate deliberation, not rage." WWE also stated that the wrestling champion had tested negative "on the last test done on Benoit by WWE's independently administered drug testing program, done on April 10, 2007."

Prescription anabolic steroids were found in Benoit's home, but authorities have not released toxicological reports indicating whether he had steroids in his body at the time of the murders. WWE's statement expressing the company's concern (and outrage at press and fan speculation) and ongoing monitoring of the investigation, is noted below.

WWE has decided to cancel its Canadian tour, scheduled from July 14-17, "out of respect for the surviving members of the Benoit family and the city of Edmonton." Benoit, dubbed "The Canadian Crippler" on the wrestling circuit, was born in Montreal and lived with his family in Fayetteville, GA, about 20 miles south of Atlanta, where their bodies were discovered at the family home Monday by local police.

Benoit's wife Nancy, who worked as a wrestling stage manager under the name "Woman," filed for divorce in 2003 (they married in 2000) alleging cruel treatment, but later dropped the complaint and her request for a restraining order, notes AP. Benoit had two children from a previous relationship, according to a second AP report.

USA Network's top-rated Monday Night RAW telecast (which was scheduled to include a "memorial service" for WWE head Vince McMahon, who was killed off in a fictional storyline) was pre-empted after WWE cancelled its RAW event in Corpus Christi, TX, and instead quickly produced a three-hour on-air tribute to Benoit's career, a last-minute decision that has drawn criticism from some outraged fans and critics.

Local authorities said at a press conference Monday afternoon the crime scene evidence indicates Benoit strangled his wife with a cord on Friday before suffocating their son with a bag and then hanging himself many hours later on Sunday, using a pulley in his basement weight room. Bibles were discovered next to the bodies of Nancy, found in an office, and Daniel, who was in an upstairs bedroom.

Benoit is the second WWE star from Canada to die in the past decade, following Owen Hart's tragic plunge during a 1997 pay-per-view. Another wrestler, Eddie Guerrero, died in Nov. 2005 from heart failure related to causes of drug and steroid abuse, according to an autopsy.

Benoit, who won the WWE world heavyweight championship at WrestleMania 20 in 2004, missed two appearances this past weekend — a live event Saturday in Beaumont, TX, and Sunday's Vengeance: Night of Champions pay-per-view event in Houston — which worried fans and WWE executives alike.

WWE VP of government relations Richard Hering then asked Fayette County sheriffs, who discovered the Benoits' bodies, to check on the family home Monday after a series of disturbing text messages Benoit sent Sunday to WWE colleagues.

Update: WWE late Monday revealed Benoit's five text messages (scroll down) and implied the company regrets the on-air tribute to Benoit on USA's RAW Monday night, which aired before the company knew the full circumstances surrounding his death: "The decision to cancel the live event scheduled in Corpus Christi that night was made between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. (Monday). In keeping with company policy, and with limited knowledge regarding facts of the case, WWE chose to air a memorial dedicated to the career of Chris Benoit. As facts emerged surrounding the case, all tributes to Chris Benoit were removed both on-air and on WWE.com."

WWE.com (which also deleted Benoit's merchandise and other content) posted the company's first statement Monday on Benoit's death here, and a Monday update here.



WWE Shocked At Latest Developments In Benoit Tragedy, Concerned By Sensationalistic Reporting
Tuesday June 26, 5:51 pm ET

STAMFORD, Conn., June 26, 2007 – World Wrestling Entertainment is stunned and saddened by the details released by local authorities concerning the double homicide-suicide involving Chris Benoit, his wife, Nancy, and his son, Daniel.

However, WWE is concerned with the sensationalistic reporting and speculation being undertaken by some members of the media following the press conference held by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney.  During the press conference, the investigating authorities made the following points, all of which run contrary to the media speculation that "roid rage" was a factor in the senseless murders and suicide:

1. The authorities stated that all drugs found in the house were believed to be legal prescriptions.

2. Steroids were not, and could not, be related to the cause of death (asphyxiation).  Authorities had no factual basis to speculate as to Benoit’s state of mind, and rightly did not do so.

3. Toxicology tests have not even been completed, so there is no current evidence that Benoit even had steroids or any other substance in his body. In that regard, on the last test done on Benoit by WWE's independently administered drug testing program, done on April 10, 2007, Benoit tested negative.

4. The physical findings announced by authorities indicate deliberation, not rage. The wife's feet and hands were bound and she was asphyxiated, not beaten to death. By the account of the authorities, there were substantial periods of time between the death of the wife and the death of the son, again suggesting deliberate thought, not rage. The presence of a Bible by each is also not an act of rage.

5. WWE strongly suggests that it is entirely wrong for speculators to suggest that steroids had anything to do with these senseless acts, especially when the authorities plainly stated there is no evidence that Benoit had steroids in his body, pending the toxicological reports, and that they had no evidence at this time as to the motive for these acts.

WWE is continuing to monitor the ongoing investigation being conducted by local authorities.



WWE Shares Internal Timeline And Details Relating To Chris Benoit Tragedy
Tuesday June 26, 10:39 pm ET

STAMFORD, Conn.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—World Wrestling Entertainment today released additional details of what it knows concerning communication with Chris Benoit and authorities before and after the tragic double homicide-suicide involving Benoit, his wife Nancy, and his son, Daniel.

WWE's timeline of events began on Saturday:

* On Saturday, June 23, Chris Benoit was slated to appear at a WWE live event in Beaumont, Texas. That afternoon, Benoit contacted WWE to inform them that his wife and child were ill, and that he would not be able to attend the show.
   
* WWE executives rebooked Benoit's flight for the following morning, allowing Benoit to miss the Beaumont event and making alternate arrangements for him to attend the pay-per-view event in Houston on Sunday.
   
* WWE employees attempted to confirm with Benoit his travel plans but were unable to contact him.
   
* Early Sunday morning, between 3:51 and 3:58 a.m., Benoit sent five text messages to co-workers:

Text Message 1 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:53am)
- Chris Benoit's cell phone
"My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane, Fayetteville Georgia. 30215"

Text Message 2 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:53am)
- Chris Benoit's cell phone
"The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open"

Text Message 3 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:54am)
- Nancy Benoit's cell phone
"My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215"

Text Message 4 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:55am)
- Nancy Benoit's cell phone
"My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215."

Text Message 5 to one co-worker (sent 6/24 at 3:58am)
- Nancy Benoit's cell phone
"My address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215"

* Throughout the day on Sunday, WWE made numerous attempts to contact Benoit both at home and at local hospitals in the Atlanta area. As of 11:00 p.m., WWE officials were unable to establish contact with Chris Benoit.
   
* At 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, WWE officials were notified of the text messages sent to the co-workers the previous day. By 12:45 p.m., WWE had contacted Fayetteville County Sheriff's office requesting they check on the Benoit family.
   
* Fayetteville County Sheriffs office made contact with WWE at approximately 4:00 p.m. advising that they had entered the house of Chris Benoit and found three deceased bodies - an adult male, adult female and a male child. WWE was told that Benoit's home was now considered a major crime scene.
   
* The decision to cancel the live event scheduled in Corpus Christi that night was made between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. In keeping with company policy, and with limited knowledge regarding facts of the case, WWE chose to air a memorial dedicated to the career of Chris Benoit. As facts emerged surrounding the case, all tributes to Chris Benoit were removed both on-air and on WWE.com.

WWE was stunned and saddened by the details released today by local authorities and is continuing to monitor the ongoing investigation.






Comments (7) for "WWE Refutes Benoit "Roid Rage" Claims"
1.
I think that this was a very tragic situation with the Benoit family. I think that Chris Benoit had a lot of personal things going on in his mind. It was very very shame to hear of the deaths of Chris and his family! I can't believe that Benoit would do something like this to his own family. You never would of thought that Chris could or would do something like this. He seemed likie such a humble individual. I would like to extend my condolences to the entire Benoit family on the loss of three good pepole who didn't deserve to die!
Posted by Ryan on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 @ 10:36 PM
2.
My first thought was psychotic episode brought on by steroid abuse as soon as I heard he and his wife and child were dead. It is happening more often and hanging was the choice of another wrestler too. I found it strange that he killed his 7 year old son but showed concern for his dogs by enclosing them in the pool area and sending a text message telling the WWE where they were confined.

And he STRANGLED his wife and child and blood on the floor under her head where he beat her head on the floor yet the WWE is denying it was steroid rage, claiming that he laid a bible near them so it wasn't rage. Gee, ya think he was happy while he was choking her and beating her head on the floor? To me the bible stuff and messages are more evidence of a psychotic break.

It is disgusting that WWE is defending steroid abuse by denying use though they were found in his house instead of addressing the problem. It is like a modeling agency defending bulimia.
Posted by MW on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 @ 07:36 AM
3.
This is probably part of a script. You'll find out next week that it's all fake.

Wrestling is not real.
Posted by Hulk on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 @ 08:19 AM
4.
I don't think WWE are really defending steroid use or Benoit -- in fact they've pretty much disowned him at this point. All Benoit merchandise has been discontinued and most references to him as a member of the WWE roster have been removed from their website. The 3-hour memorial they showed on Monday -- composed before the details of the deaths came to light -- has been stricken from overseas rebroadcast, and in the subsequent show aired last night they took care to refer to it as a tragedy and say nothing more.

It's more a blanket CYA approach they're taking. WWE is a publicly traded company that's already under a fair bit of scrutiny over the quality of their material. When they're already being held responsible for kids jumping off of rooftops or Stone Cold Stunnering their toddler siblings to death, the last thing they need to do is show some kind of respect for a guy who murdered his family. Bring in steroids and it's 1994 all over again.

The whole thing is just really sad. The text messages that he sent -- "My physical address is...", and "The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open" -- seem more like some kind of demented plea for someone to come over and help.
Posted by Jason on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 @ 10:32 AM
5.
Hulk: This isn't fake. Sure, wrestling is scripted, but as Mr. MacMahon said on Monday: His "character" died on the show, but Benoit and his family died "in reality". Watching RAW or SmackDown or ECW, you can tell what's fake or not.

MW: I don't think he was showing concern for his dogs by enclosing them in the pool area, but rather he wanted it to be easier for police to get in. The text messages he sent were telling his close friends exactly where he lived. He -wanted- people to find his body. I've read somewhere that it was known that his dogs roamed outside, normally "guarding" the house. I think he just wanted to make it easier for people to get in.

Also: WWE said that the binding around Nancy's hands and feet indicated -deliberation-. What they're saying is that if it -was- rage, she would've been beaten beyond recognition. If you're in rage, you're not going to take the time to tie up someone's hands and feet.

I agree, though, with "... like a modeling agency defending bulimia". I'm sure all wrestlers take steroids. Bulking themselves up is part of their career. All WWE is saying, though, and what we should take from, is not to automatically assume he killed his family out of Roid Rage.

Yes, it was a tragedy, and yes, he must've had some deep psychological torment going on, but we can't all jump on some bandwagon as to what happened.

I feel really shocked that Benoit would do something like this, as he always seemed like a really kind person. I also find it cold that WWE removed any profile and tribute to Benoit on their site. I understand removing his merchandise, and the fact that they may not want to glorify his actions, but I do think he deserves recognition for his impact on WWE itself and his brilliant technical wrestling. Eddie was a drug addict, and his wrestling profile was on WWE dot com for months after he died.

I don't know, anymore.
RIP Chris, Nancy, and Daniel.
Posted by M.N.O. on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 @ 10:37 AM
6.
y would sum1 do that to their son and wife? i think benoit is sick.
Posted by josh corby on Thursday, June 28, 2007 @ 02:49 PM
7.
Has anyone bothered to think that MAYBE all this was a set-up? Maybe someone has framed Benoit. A friend, someone they believed and trusted in, someone they would let into thier home and not think anything about it. I know the Benoit is a wrestler and can handle himself, but what if.. he was drugged or under gun point. Maybe someone had it out for him and set it up to look like a murder suicide... Just something to think about. There are too many unanswered questions....
Posted by April on Saturday, June 30, 2007 @ 07:33 PM

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