One of the most tragic stories in professional wrestling is Chris Benoit. Known for his monikers as "The Canadian Crippler" and "Rabid Wolverine," Benoit was one of the most intense and talented performers in the industry in the 90's and 2000's. Vice posted the first part of their season two premiere of Dark Side of the Ring ("Benoit – Part One") documenting wrestling's most controversial stories – and starting with possibly the most tragic, horrific, and controversial topic.
"Dark Side of the Ring" – Benoit's Wrestling Past
The episode begins with Benoit's early years and career through his friends and family. Rising through the ranks of the independent wrestling scene with Canada's Stampede Wrestling and Japan's NJPW, the story focuses on his relationships with those in the industry and personal life. Narrated by Benoit's friend and AEW wrestler Chris Jericho, various names from Chavo Guerrero, Dean Milenko, Jim Ross, to Vicki Guerrero, David Benoit (Chris' son from his first marriage), and Sandra Toffoloni (sister of Nancy Benoit) offered their thoughts on Benoit – most having worked for WWE at the time of the tragic murder-suicide.
The biggest component of part one is Benoit's relationship with his best friend Eddie Guerrero. They worked together internationally and domestically in the U.S. wrestling scene. They also talked about the rise of Nancy's career as a valet adopting the personas Fallen Angel and later Woman. As Fallen Angel, she developed a relationship with Kevin Sullivan. As the two went through marital difficulties in WCW, Chris who Sullivan paired Nancy within a storyline coincidentally ended up with his "rival" in real life.
Making it to WWE
Benoit left WCW to the WWF, frustrated with his status with the company – leaving with friends Milenko, Perry Saturn, and Guerrero as the Radicalz. Nancy decided to focus on having a family, retiring from the business and having a son, Daniel. Benoit and Guerrero achieved great success in the company culminating in a storybook ending at WrestleMania XX that celebrated their status as WWE's top champions.
Unfortunately, professional wrestling took a physical toll on Guerrero and Benoit. Guerrero's past substance abuse resulted in his premature death in 2005. Benoit was unable to cope and buried himself in his work while battling depression. Part One ended on that fateful day in 2007 when the bodies of Chris, Nancy, and Daniel were discovered by Georgia police before going into further details of the murder-suicide.
Dark Side of the Ring premieres on Vice on March 24.