Professional Wrestler. Born in Montreal, in the French-speaking province of Quebec, and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, in western Canada (he was a graduate of Archbishop O'Leary Catholic High School in Edmonton), Chris Benoit was a major wrestling fan since childhood, idolizing such superstars as The Dynamite Kid (one half of The British Bulldogs). He was regarded as one of the purest technical wrestlers in professional wrestling. He trained in the late Stu Hart's legendary Dungeon and made his debut in Stu's Calgary, Alberta-based promotion Stampede Wrestling on November 22, 1985. His debut was a tag team match, partnering with Rick Patterson against Butch Moffat and Mike Hammer. He would go on to win the International Tag Team and British Commonwealth titles on several occasions. When Stampede disbanded in 1989, Benoit traveled to, and became a huge wrestling star, in Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling, wrestling under the names of the Pegasus Kid and Wild Pegasus. After his time in Japan, Chris briefly worked with the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the early-90s. By 1994, he was a regular in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). It was here he attained the nickname "The Canadian Crippler" when he broke Sabu's neck in a match when Sabu attempted to turn mid-air and he almost landed square on his neck. He won the ECW tag team championship with Dean Malenko and they became part of the Triple Threat Stable, headed by ECW heavyweight champ Shane Douglas. Benoit was still a top star in ECW when WCW signed him on to the organization again in 1996. During Benoit's time in WCW, he became a member of one of the many incarnations of the famed Four Horsemen. It was during a feud in the mid-90s with booker Kevin Sullivan that Benoit met Nancy Sullivan (then Sullivan's wife). Benoit replaced Brian Pillman in a feud with Sullivan and Benoit was supposed to be having an affair with Nancy (who was known as Woman). To make the affair believable, Benoit and Woman shared hotel rooms on the road and held hands in public. Nancy eventually fell in love with Chris and she divorced Sullivan in 1997. Sullivan placed the blame for the breakup of his marriage on Benoit. Chris won the WCW World Heavyweight Title in 2000, but left the organization the day after winning the title because of his reported dislike of where the organization was headed and of concerns how he would be treated by Sullivan (who was now head booker), considering their past history. He left WCW with Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn and headed to the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), forming The Radicalz. In less than six months, Benoit was in the main event with The Rock. In 2001, he was part of the main event at King of the Ring where he faced Steve Austin and Chris Jericho. After that match, he sat out for almost a year due to much-needed surgery for a neck condition. He returned to action in 2002, and he went on to win the 2004 Royal Rumble. At Wrestlemania XX that year, he won the World Heavyweight Championship, his wife, Nancy, and son, Daniel, joining him in the post-match celebration in the ring. While he was world heavyweight champion, he also won the World Tag Team Titles with Edge. He lost the world title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam, but quickly won the U.S. Championship on SmackDown. As of June 2007, he was signed to a new incarnation of ECW (under Vince McMahon) and was scheduled to fight for the ECW Heavyweight Title at Vengeance. Announcers Joey Styles and former wrestler Tazz (who wrestled under the name Tazmaniac in the original ECW in the 90s) informed the audience Chris had to go home for personal reasons. Reportedly, the arena audience chanted, "We want Benoit!" after learning he wouldn't be there. On Monday, June 25, 2007, police went to the family home in Fayetteville, GA for a "wellness check" at the request of a WWE official alarmed at several cryptic text messages he received from Chris that were sent from both his cell phone and his wife's, along with the fact that he was unsuccessful in contacting Chris after repeated attempts. According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper, Nancy was killed on Friday, the 22nd. Her body was discovered in an upstairs bedroom, her wrists and feet were bound and she was wrapped in a towel. Seven year-old Daniel was found in his bed, killed by suffocation. Bibles were placed next to both of their bodies. Then, either late-Saturday night or early-Sunday, Chris hung himself in the basement weight room, using the weight cords attached to pulleys. A prescription for steroids was found in the home along with painkillers. Chris left no suicide note detailing his actions.
Bio by: Donna Di Giacomo