The WWE NXT Women’s Championship will be getting a name change from here on out. according to PWInsider’s Mike Johnson. The title will be now known as the NXT Championship, losing the gender-specific designation.
This week on WWE Backstage, Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch pushed to lose the differentiation between Men’s and Women’s wrestling and just refer to all performers as wrestlers.
As of right now, this change is only affecting the NXT Women’s Title held by Rhea Ripley, with it being unknown at this time if the Raw and Smackdown titles will be changed as well.
It’s not known how WWE is going to differentiate announcing the NXT Championship held by Adam Cole and NXT Championship held by Rhea Ripley, but apparently this is the plan.
In the WWE.com writeup of the Rhea Ripley segment on NXT last night, they did not put “NXT Women’s Champion” for her. Here’s a snippet of that.
Days before her chance to knock off NXT Champion Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm looked to add another feather to her cap with a victory against Io Shirai. Storm claimed the win, but not in the manner she wanted, as it came through a disqualification after Bianca Belair attacked her. The actions of Belair — who won last week’s Battle Royal to become next in line for a championship opportunity — didn’t sit well with The Evil Genius of the Sky, who made that clear by retaliating.
It appears the change has happened.
Matt’s Musings: I consider myself to be a pretty progressive person and a proponent for women’s rights, and applauded WWE when they finally got rid of the Divas Division. However, unless WWE is going to completely mix their men’s and women’s division and allow inter-gender wrestling, this move makes little sense.
It has been over four months since NXT officially debuted on the USA Network, starting what fans like to refer to as the Wednesday Night Wars with AEW. Triple H recently sat down with Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT to discuss his thoughts on the new competition.
“I don’t approach it as a competitive thing. To me, we’re just putting on our shows. I’m gonna put on the shows when we need to put them on, the best places we need to put them on, the right time slots for them and with the best talent I can find in the world. And we already have them. I’m confident in that. When I look across the board at NXT and NXT UK, we put on show after show of the highest caliber not one match or two match, the entire show. For me it’s not competitive against anyone or anything. I just want to put on the best show possible for fans of NXT [and] for fans around the world. That’s all this is. It’s funny because a few years ago, we were doing this and doing the same kind of thing: wowing people. There wasn’t any competitors out there. I guess we were just doing it for competitive reasons then to compete with ourselves.”
NXT is not the only brand that Triple H oversees as he is also in charge of the NXT UK Brand. Triple H discussed he hopes that NXT moving to the USA Network will bring more eyes to the UK Brand as well.
“It takes time to build these things outright, and it’s not just about looking at the UK or at individual markets while looking at a global presence. NXT UK I believe is the second most popular thing on the WWE Network and that was behind NXT in the U.S. [Now] moving to the USA Network and having a 24-hour re-air on the Network, changes a little bit. I also expect that opportunity on the USA Network in the states to resonate here (UK) as well. I want to use that platform, as well, to continue to grow these brands, to continue to grow the presence in the UK, to take this NXT UK brand [and] showcase it in a different place all over the globe [to] make sure it has as many eyeballs on it as possible. We’ll see where that goes from there. As this grows out, the WWE plans to do more TakeOvers here. We’re gonna add more to that scheduling. There’s a lot more to come. It’s bit by bit. I don’t want to overwhelm everything too much, but it’s bit by bit. It’ll continue to grow so every next step you take is successful.”
Finally, Triple H discussed the fear that some WWE fans have that now that NXT is on national television Vince McMahon is going to take control and “ruin” it.
“Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of things that people say that don’t make sense because they don’t approach things from a business standpoint. Put it this way, we’re gonna be live on Mondays. We’re gonna be live on Wednesdays. We’re gonna be live on Fridays. There’s so much bandwidth to go. It’s just funny the small mindedness of it that people don’t give Vince the [credit for being the] businessman that he is. When people talk about him as a businessman, there’s so many crazy misconceptions.”
“The truth is, all of what we’re doing right now, this business is here because of him. [He] took a failing industry, so to speak, and a period of time in the 80s and took it a global phenomenon when nobody else had the foresight to do it. You hear people talk about where it is today and some of the negative things, and I’m like, ‘really? Because we’ve signed billion dollar deals with Fox and USA. I’m not sure it’s crumbling.”
“He’s also smart enough to understand the things that we do and where they go and how. If you’re asking for the simple answers, he’s not involved. Yeah, he’s gonna have some say in some things as far as where the brand sits and the marketing of it within USA.”
“The truth is, at this point in time, he’s basically just said go make this thing a success. It’s what he told me in the beginning. ‘Go make this thing a success.’ We pick up the phone with each other every now and again. We see each other all the time. ‘How’s it going? Good. Excellent. Great.’ And we move on. That’s where it’s at, but they always want to speculate. A lot of it is just silliness. If you love NXT, it’s just gonna get bigger. There’s gonna be more of it. Two hours gives us more opportunity.”
Thank you to WrestlingInc for transcribing the quotes. The full interview can be seen in the video below including Triple H wanting to wrestle The Rock at WrestleMania 32, but scheduling issues prevented it from happening. There’s plenty of good stuff in here, so check it out.
Matt’s Musings: WWE NXT has been the most consistent and entertaining wrestling promotion in the world over the last few years. Hopefully, Triple H can keep steering the ship, and the promotion can just keep growing and getting better for years to come.
Daniel Bryan recently shaved his trademark beard and long hair, to further progress his feud with WWE Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. Bryan sat down with MySanAntonio.com to discuss the change, admitting that shaving his beard was his idea.
“Actually, it was my idea. And my idea was not the hair, it was just the beard. I had kind of pitched this to them as this idea of, ‘OK, how do we extend this story with Bray Wyatt,’ which is what they wanted to do, because he’s already defeated me cleanly, right? How do we do that? One of the things to me was that he’s changed people’s character so much when he’s faced them. And by him ripping out or cutting my beard, it would be this idea that he’s stripping me of part of my identity.”
Although it was Bryan’s idea to shave his beard, he admits that he had no plan to shave his head as well.
“That was my kind of pitch to them. What actually happened? They said, ‘Well, yeah, then he can cut your hair, too!’ And I was like, ‘No, I don’t really want that. I don’t want my hair to be cut.’ I kind of wanted my hair to be longer. Just wrestling wise, I like that.”
“But then, the day of, we’re like, ‘OK, well, he will rip out some of your hair.’ You’d have to understand the mechanisms that are going on while this is happening. We’re in a live TV show, right? So, they pulled me under the ring, they’ve got two barbers there who are in charge of like, getting my beard off and getting hair off so there can be this appearance of him ripping out my hair and all that kind of stuff. And we have a minute and a half of TV time left on the live show. And there’s also a producer down there, who’s saying, ‘We need more hair, we need more hair, we need more hair!’ And it’s completely dark under there. We were all so crammed in this little area because there’s also like real stuff under the ring that needs to be under the ring. It’s just all in this crammed little area and these guys are cutting my hair and cutting my beard really quick and they’re supposed to just to cut X amount of hair off, which wasn’t as much as they ended up doing. But the one guy on one side did a great job. They actually both did a great job considering the circumstances. But one guy just went a little too tight and a little too high. And then, after the show, they did their best … they tried after the show for like 45 minutes to make it like not just a shaved head. But that was the best we could do under the circumstances.”
Bryan went on to admit that one person who wasn’t a big fan of Bryan’s new look was his wife Brie Bella.
“And it’s really funny, because as different as it is for my character, I knew I was in trouble, because my wife hates shaved heads. She’s never liked them, and I texted her immediately after. I said, ‘You’re not going like this.’ And her response was ‘What did you do?’ And I know I’m in trouble because she knows that this idea of the beard thing was my idea. So, my idea has led me to this. And I tried to take a couple pictures before I FaceTimed her, but none of them were good. And I was just like, ‘OK, I better just FaceTime her.’ And then, you know those conversations that you have with your significant other where it’s like, they’re really quiet and you can just see the anger. This was one of those kinds of things. But luckily that happened the day after Thanksgiving, and then I flew home that Saturday, and we had a bunch of family and stuff there, so she couldn’t be too outwardly mad. Then after a day or two it blows over. She just gets used to it, and that’s sort of how it all went down.”
Finally, Bryan talked about the difficulties of facing “The Fiend” under the red lighting that is always shining on the ring during his matches.
“Initially, I was like, ‘It’s no difference for me,’ but what I was thinking? I find that it’s hard sometimes for the fans watching. The fans live in attendance, and probably for people at home, too, as far as watching. Although on TV, I think they’ve done a much better job of finding a balance of where that light comes from. It’s really difficult in live events, because every building is different. And we don’t have the same kind of TV production crew that we have.”
“I did a live event in Springfield, Missouri, and we’re under the red light, and it’s a little bit weirder than usual. I do my backflip in the corner where the guy whips me in and I run up the turnbuckle and backflip, although for whatever reason, I couldn’t see it right. I just didn’t make it right. It affects those kinds of things. But mostly what I think it affects is fans’ reactions to things, because there’s some things that they can’t see quite as well. That’s the biggest adjustment.”
Daniel Bryan is set to face “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship in a strap match, this Sunday at the Royal Rumble at 7PMET.
Matt’s Musings: Daniel Bryan has been one of the most consistent and entertaining wrestlers of the last decade, with or without long hair. Now let’s hope that WWE turns off that stupid red light, so we can actually see him perform on Sunday.
The wrestling world lost a true legend in the wrestling world this week, with the passing of Rocky Johnson at the age of 75. The news first broke on Wednesday. Besides being a pioneer in the wrestling world, Johnson also is the father of one of the biggest stars in the world Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Today on Instagram, The Rock” posted a touching video tribute to his father along with a lengthy heartwarming post.
therock I love you.
You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world.
I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar.
The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am.
The boy you raised with the toughest of love.
The intense work.
The hard hand.
The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities.
Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood.
Son to father.
Man to man.
That’s when my adoration turned to respect.
And my empathy turned to gratitude.
Grateful that you gave me life.
Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.
Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side.
But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning.
Gone in an instant and no coming back.
Im in pain.
But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass.
Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish.
Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman.
Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease.
You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring.
I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son.
Go rest high.
You can see the post below that also included a video of Rocky Johnson wrestling.
Killer Kross may be headed to WWE very soon. According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE may be closing in on signing one of the biggest free agents in the wrestling world. According to Meltzer, Triple H is set to meet with former Impact Wrestling star Killer Kross at some point this week. That meeting may have already happened. Meltzer noted that Triple H is “high on him” so that should indicate there is a lot of interest on WWE’s side.
Kross was officially released from Impact Wrestling recently, after asking for his release all the way back in May of last year.
Kross’s current girlfriend Scarlett Bordeaux, who recently signed with WWE this past November, teased on Twitter last week that she may soon be reunited with Kross.
In other WWE news, two Superstars may be returning from injury next week. According to PWInsider, both former NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream and former WWE Heavyweight Champion Jinder Mahal are scheduled to be in Houston for the Royal Rumble on January 26th.
Matt’s Musings: No matter if Kross decides to sign with WWE or any other company, he has the look and talent to be a major player for years to come. As for Mahal and Dream, I am glad to see that they are returning to the ring, and hope that they both can stay healthy and make an impact in 2020.
After recently returning to the WWE after an 8-month hiatus, Sheamus sat down with talkSPORT to discuss his return, plans for the future and if he considered retirement.
Sheamus believes that he is in better shape now then he has ever been throughout his career, and is excited for the next chapter.
“But, yeah, I’ve dropped a lot of weight, I’m still doing fasted cardio every morning for half an hour and then I’ll probably go eat or whatever, do my thing, and I’ll workout again later on that day, and sometimes I’ll do kickboxing and stuff. But it was very important for me to come back in the shape that I want to be in. I’ve had enough time, no excuses. Now I feel better than ever.”
Sheamus went on to discuss why he decided to lose the Mohawk and return to his more traditional look.
“We just went so far with the Mohawk. The Mohawk was done. I thought about it and, creatively, myself and a guy I work with called Ray, we just talked about it and it was like [debuting the mohawk] so shocking, you know, and I got that reaction ‘you look stupid’ and stuff and it was a great reaction. It was completely different because we we just hit a roadblock with whatever it was. You can’t go further than that.”
“So it made sense. People were asking on the channel, on social media – bring back the old Sheamus. So, I did. I wanted to bring back the old music too, but some things you can get and some things you can’t. But yeah, it’s very important, especially the spirit of the Celtic Warrior. That kick-ass, Celtic Warrior vibe. It made sense.”
Sheamus admitted that he felt burnt out with wrestling and even considered retiring completely.
“The truth is, I wasn’t ready to be done. There are things that pop into your head, like doubts and that saying ‘I might be done’. I got back to that question just after ‘Mania and I felt I was kind of burnt out too. I felt like me and Cesaro – as great as a tag team we were, we’d already won the titles five times.”
“And I just feel, creatively, there was no direction for us at the time. And I guess we were both burnt out. Then we went back for that Raw after ‘Mania, man. We interrupted that Kofi [Kingston] and Seth [Rollins] match. And we weren’t supposed to be there. We got a call a couple of hours before we were supposed to go on there, and, you know, the crowd just sh*t on it. And it was just like, we hit that point where it felt like we’d hit that roadblock.”
“And I was burnt out too, I wasn’t feeling great and I went away for a while. [Then] I just worked my ass off, man. I had so much fun wrestling with Cesaro and we created a legacy with The Bar and you don’t want that to be diminished.”
After spending the last few years of his career in a tag team with Cesaro, Sheamus now feels it is time to focus on his singles career again.
“Sometimes it’s good to get away for a while, you know, we can always go back to that. But I felt like it was time and there’s a lot more to accomplish as a singles wrestler – the Intercontinental Championship, for example. And I went back and I worked my ass off, mate. And I’m not trying to be like ‘Oh, I’m great’ this and that, but I could have easily come back and been like I’ve won all these titles, I’m just gonna live off that and collect a paycheck – for me, I went off, started doing fasted cardio every morning. I started kickboxing. I started tuning up my diet with the help of a really good friend of mine, Jerry. I started taking my training to another level and in my mind, I was starting again.”
Sheamus was dealing with neck issues, but after getting physical therapy and changing his workout routine he now feels he is 100%.
“Yeah, it forced me to think. I got physical therapy too – nothing injured, but like working on my form, working on my posture, my thoracic spine. A lot of stuff that people have anyway – and not by being in the ring – even by sitting at a desk all day or something. And so I’ve worked on fine tuning my body, I’m working on stuff that needs to be strengthened and I’m working on my weak points.”
“I don’t throw heavy weights around anymore. I think that’s another ego thing and I feel better. I feel better than they did 10 years ago. I feel better than I did when I started the WWE. Also, no gluten, no dairy. I feel so much better without dairy.”
Check out the full interview with Sheamus on talkSPORT where Sheamus also talked about how he was always supposed to win the 2012 Royal Rumble as far as he knows and plenty more.
Matt’s Musings: Great seeing Sheamus back in the WWE healthy and ready to go. Hopefully he can have several more great years in what is already a Hall of Fame career.
Welcome back TJR readers. Did you spend all week in a bomb shelter waiting for the big one from Iran and miss Smackdown? Possibly you were rocking out to Rush albums to mourn the loss of Neil Peart and missed RAW. Whatever the reason you missed wrestling this week, The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week have returned to catch you all up.
10. Tessa Blanchard Wins Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
It was a week of highs and lows for Impact Wrestling’s Tessa Blanchard. After getting called out by several other female wrestlers for bullying and using racial slurs on Friday, Blanchard made history Saturday night by becoming the first woman to win the Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. Blanchard, who is the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard, won the title by defeating Sami Callihan in the main event of the Impact Wrestling show Hard to Kill. No matter what poor decisions Blanchard has made in the past, becoming the first woman to win a title that has been held by the likes of AJ Styles, Kurt Angle and Sting is a huge accomplishment for women everywhere. Let’s hope that this push for women’s equality turns out to be as Hard to Kill as Impact Wrestling has been.
9. New WWE Series Fight Like a Girl Debuting on QUIBI Streaming Service
Just in case you thought there wasn’t enough WWE programming on television as is, a new series featuring WWE Superstars was announced this week. The series will feature Stephanie McMahon and several members of the WWE women’s roster in a new show called Fight Like a Girl on the QUIBI streaming service. Stephanie McMahon will be featured as she pairs a struggling young woman with a different female WWE Superstar every week. The superstar will help the young woman overcome the obstacles in their lives, helping them become stronger and more confident. Luckily the WWE didn’t try to air this show during the “Divas” era, or Fight Like a Girl would have aired for three minutes during the bathroom break. (TJRWrestling)
8. Bianca Belair Becomes the Number One Contender for the NXT Women’s Title
NXT held an 18 women battle royal last night to crown a new number one contender for the NXT Women’s Title. Bianca Belair ended up outlasting everyone else and will now go on to face Champion Rhea Ripley at NXT Takeover Portland. Belair is hoping that the third time is the charm as she competed for the NXT Women’s Title at two different Takeovers last year. If Belair once again fails to capture the title, perhaps Stephanie McMahon can pair her up with a WWE Superstar to show her how to overcome adversity and Fight like a Girl. (TJRWrestling)
7. David Benoit Planning on Becoming a Wrestler
There is no name that is more controversial or loathed in the wrestling world than Chris Benoit, with the WWE doing whatever it can to try to erase it from history entirely. Forgetting about Benoit may become much harder, however, if his oldest son David has his way. Chris Benoit’s now 27 year-old-son David plans to begin training to become a wrestler, with the hopes of working for AEW. David plans on going by the moniker Chris Benoit Jr., even going as far as having similar tights as his father’s made. Trying to honor the memory of his father is a noble cause, but David may have an easier path in the wrestling world if he chooses a less controversial name, such as Paul Levesque Jr. (TJRWrestling)
6. Diamond Dallas Page Returns to the Ring on AEW: Dynamite
AEW Dynamite had their Bash at the Beach special last night, bringing in one of WCW’s legendary stars to compete at it. Sixty-three year old Diamond Dallas Page teamed up with QT Marshall and the 50-year-old Dustin Rhodes to face the team of The Butcher, The Blade and MJF. Page’s team, who’s combined age was a 137, ended up losing the match when Marshall was quickly rolled up by MJF for the pin. This may not be the last we see of Page, however, as he may be brought back if AEW ever does The Great Geriatric Bash. (TJRWrestling)
5. Robert Roode Returns to Help King Corbin on Smackdown
Robert Roode returned from his 30-day wellness violation suspension this past Friday on Smackdown to help King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler lay out Roman Reigns and The Usos at the end of the show. Reigns will now go on to face Roode this week on Smackdown in a tables match, before doing double duty at the Rumble when he both faces King Corbin and competes in the Rumble match itself. Roode will also enter the Rumble, but will not be a threat to win of course, unless he draws number 30 or somehow gains 200lbs. (TJRWrestling)
4. Brock Lesnar attacks R-Truth on RAW
Brock Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman, came out on RAW to promote Lesnar’s entry in the Royal Rumble match. After Heyman spent several minutes promoting Lesnar, he and Lesnar were surprisingly interrupted by the often forgotten 24/7 champion R Truth. Truth then gave a hilarious in-ring promo which included threatening to eliminate Heyman from the Rumble match, before Lesnar finally had heard enough and brutally attacked Truth. Mojo Rawley then came out and took advantage of the injured Truth and pinned him to end Truth’s 30th 24/7 title reign. Lesnar briefly teased taking the 24/7 title for himself before laughing and throwing it down, depriving the WWE Universe of the opportunity of “Brocky Two Belts.” (TJRWrestling)
3. WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson Passes Away at the Age of 75
WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson has passed away at the age of 75. Johnson was a pioneer in the wrestling business having many amazing accolades including being the first African American WWF Tag Team Champion with Tony Atlas. If Johnson’s own accolades didn’t leave enough of an imprint on the wrestling world, he also fathered one of the biggest stars in the world, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It is clear that if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson truly is “The Great One” that he was passed down that moniker by his father. (TJRWrestling)
After once again losing to Aleister Black on RAW this week, Buddy Murphy stayed by the ringside barrier clearly distraught. Murphy stayed there until the end of the “Fist Fight” match between Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and The Big Show versus AOP and Seth Rollins, when Murphy suddenly assisted Rollins and AOP to help them win the match. Rollins then all came together at the end of RAW to form a yet to be named faction. Buddy Murphy, Rezar, Akam and Seth. (TJRWrestling)
1. AEW and WarnerMedia Extend Dynamite Contract Through 2023, Announce Plans for Second Show
Any fears that wrestling fans had that the Wednesday Night Wars between AEW and NXT would be over quickly, were put to rest this week. WarnerMedia has agreed to a $175 million, four-year extension of AEW’s television contract with TNT, as well as plans to debut a second weekly hour long show very soon. AEW Dynamite has been very successful since debuting last October, with an average of 1.2 million viewers when you take DVR numbers into account. NXT and AEW have both said in the past that the war between them is a marathon and not a sprint, clearly with this announcement TNT and AEW are prepared to run for a very long time. (TJRWrestling)
That will conclude another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Like always if you enjoy what I do please follow me on Facebook and Twitter @BackseatBookers and listen to my podcast the BackseatBookers (please be aware that it is explicit as I swore six times alone when Adam Sandler wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award this week.)
It’s been a busy week of announcement for All Elite Wrestling. After announcing yesterday that they have signed a four year extension to keep AEW Dynamite on TNT until 2023 along with bringing the one hour show AEW Dark to television very soon, AEW was still not done making announcements. Today, AEW announced that they have signed former ECW and WWE superstar and WWE and TNA commentator Taz to a multi-year contract.
Taz has commentated on AEW Dark several times in the past, and would be a great addition to that show when it premieres on television or wherever AEW chooses to use him.
Taz announced early today that his podcast known as The Taz Show was on hiatus until further notice.
After signing the contract with AEW, Taz stated “Looks like I’ve joined a revolution … again.”
The current AEW announce team for Dynamite is Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur. It’s not known if Taz would join the broadcast team for Dynamite or be used for Dark only or have some other role in the company.
A video of Taz signing the contract can be seen below.
One of Brock Lesnar’s biggest rivals has declared that he will be entering the Royal Rumble as well this year. Cain Velasquez sat down with SunSport and confirmed that he will be in the Royal Rumble Match this year.
“I think I’m doing it, right, I think so. I can win it, hell yeah, that’s my mentality for everything. For everyone as well, that is how your mentality has to be. I’m going in to win this thing.”
Velasquez went on to discuss the disappointment he felt when losing to Brock Lesnar in 88 seconds last October at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.
“I thought with the MMA that would be enough, go in there with the same style and same gameplan. But this is a different animal. Brock is the man here, so I ended up getting caught, the match was going my way, he caught me at the end. I just have to keep pushing forward. I am never going to stop fighting to go out there and beat him again.”
Velasquez finally went on to confirm that the rubber match between Lesnar and himself will occur eventually.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be 2020, but the trilogy will happen some time or another. The more I am here, the more time we spend in between, I am getting better and better.”
Velasquez was in London, England promoting WWE’s move to BT Sport television.
It is worth noting that WWE has not officially advertised Velasquez for the Royal Rumble yet, but he did believe he would be in the match. There have been reports that Lesnar/Velasquez is not the plan for WrestleMania although as we know as WWE fans, plans can always change.
Matt’s Musings: Velasquez has yet to make a big impact in the WWE, since signing a lucrative multi-year contract a few months ago. Hopefully, the Rumble can change that, and Velasquez can begin a successful WWE career.
The double murder-suicide of Chris Benoit, Nancy Benoit and their 7-year-old son Daniel is without question one of the most tragic events in pro wrestling history. Chris killed Nancy and Daniel and then himself in their Atlanta home in June 2007. Perhaps no one has been affected more by this tragedy than Chris Benoit’s oldest son David, who recently sat down with Chris Van Vliet to discuss what the horrific event was like for him. David is now 27-years-old and has a striking resemblance to his father.
“The news was f–king non-stop. It was either about steroids, steroids, steroids, or that Nancy Grace joke, it was terrible man. I couldn’t even walk around. I didn’t go/finish school. I was 14 or 15. I didn’t finish my finals. I finished high school, but just not that year.”
Benoit went on to discuss how years of head injuries in the ring lead to his father having CTE, which David believes led to the horrific events.
“That wasn’t him, man. He would never do that. I know he wouldn’t. I think something went terribly wrong. The doctor said he had CTE. At the beginning, that somewhat gave me closure. He had CTE, so I don’t think that was him.”
Benoit went on to recall the last time he actually spoke to his father. David lived in Edmonton with his mother (Chris’ first wife) and sister while Chris lived in Atlanta with Nancy and Daniel.
“No, I didn’t see him that much. I’d see him in the summer for four weeks and then two weeks for Christmas. I talked to my dad on Father’s Day. That was the last time. We talked for like two hours. We were just laughing and getting ready to make plans for the summer and I got to say ‘I love you’ one last time to him. That was the last time.”
David Benoit was only 14 years old when the events occurred, and admits that he had a hard time accepting it at first.
“I thought it was a joke when I first found out. I was in Edmonton doing a fundraising thing with my sister. My mom got a call from RCMP telling her to come down (to Georgia). My mom told me. My grandfather (Chris’ father) went down (to Georgia). He was in control of it. My mom couldn’t do it because she had to take care of me and my sister. He was in control of the estate and the lawyers.”
“I punched a cop. I punched him right in the chest. I thought it was a joke, I really did. I just didn’t believe it, bro. I think the day it really hit me was at his funeral, that was a hard day. I laid him to rest.”
“It took me seven months. I was sitting there thinking. I thought about it every day. Why? Couldn’t he have left a note or could he have called me?”
Benoit admitted that he wanted to believe all the conspiracy theories that were out there after the event including the ones about Kevin Sullivan (Nancy’s ex-husband), but knows now that they aren’t true.
“Conspiracy theories are just a joke. Kevin Sullivan didn’t do anything, you know? We looked into that and never had the police look into him, so yeah. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought someone broke into the house or some s–t and did it, but apparently there was a scuffle at the door. That’s what I heard.”
David Benoit is now trying to follow in his father’s footsteps by beginning to train to become a pro wrestler as well. David is even planning on using his father’s name by wrestling as Chris Benoit Jr, and has had wrestling gear similar to his father’s made.
“I don’t own [the rights to] his name yet. I have his middle name I can legally use it and they can’t come after me. Yeah [I would wrestle as Chris Benoit, Jr] I think it would be cool. I’ve got the tights with the claw.”
Matt’s Musings: David Benoit is an innocent victim in this whole tragedy, and should not be held accountable for his father’s sins. However, the Benoit name is forever scarred in the wrestling world, making the already difficult road to become a successful wrestler way more challenging for David Benoit.