It’s a book about the most controversial event in the history of professional wrestling. But is it an attempt to cash in on those events, or an attempt to gather all the facts in once place and to try and make sense of them all?
Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport is a series of essays by writers Steven Johnson, Heath McCoy, Irvin Muchnick and Greg Oliver. Each writer looks in details at the tragic events that saw Chris Benoit take the lives of his wife and son before taking his own.
It is certainly a very interesting read, as all four writers give their tack on what led up to and what happened during those three fateful days in Atlanta last year. But that’s not all, as attention is paid to the media’s coverage of the events, and how reporters and television programmes who had previously shown next to no interest in professional wrestling suddenly decided to cover this event in depth, which led to increased viewing figures as well as increased advertising revenue.
Indeed, Steven Johnson’s essay about this particular subject is the best part of the book, as he described how the various media outlets seemed to be in some sort of feeding frenzy with their over-the-top reporting, and how this feeds the modern world’s lust for instant information.
Having read this book, it was obvious that all of the essays were written before the revelation that Benoit had suffered significant brain damage as a result of his wrestling career, which played a massive part in what he did. It would have been interesting to see how the authors would have written about this, but I get the feeling that we’ll get to read more about that in other books.
In conclusion - if you’re looking for a book that glorifies the wrestling career of one of the greatest wrestlers of modern times, then this isn’t the book for you. This book deals in cold, hard facts, nothing more, nothing less. It’s been well researched by all involved, and makes for good, if somewhat disturbing, reading.
Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport, published by ECW Press is available in all good book stores.