WWF superstar Chris Benoit, his wife and son were found dead in their Atlanta home on Monday, the latest tragedy to befell professional wrestling. Many of you probably aren’t familiar with Benoit, but that won’t stop talking heads from casting stones at professional wrestling. (Look for Calvin Cowherd to be especially indignant about it.) Almost immediately the Mr. McMahon death was scrutinized as some called said it was in poor taste. Prison Break kills off a cast member a week and 24 detonates a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles, but that’s cool.
People will look down their noses at wrestling for having another tragedy, maybe even calling for the end of the industry. Yet, nobody has any particular concern that Saturday Night Live kills off a bunch of people, too. The Benoit tragedy (which looks like a murder suicide) is reminiscent of the Phil Hartman shooting. And lest we forget the drug overdoses of Chris Farley and John Belushi, or Charles Rocket killing himself, but it’s wrestling that has a drug problems and other issues. Uh, sure.
Honestly, wrestling is no different than any other forms of entertainment that takes people too early. But instead of becoming heroes like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean or Elivs, dead wrestlers and the industry are often vilified.