Jun 28, 2007

"Nobody knows anybody. Not that well."

For a long while, I was a very big pro-wrestling fan. No particular reason, just liked watching men pretend to beat the crap out of each other in interesting ways. And although I stopped watching full-time around 2001 or so (about the time the WWE bought Ted Turner's WCW), I keep up every now and then, and part of that was sadly keeping up with the constant flow of wrestler deaths. The past couple of months alone brought the end of former mainstays Bad News Brown and Sensational Sherri Martel.

And yes, one of my favorite wrestlers was Chris Benoit.

And even as a casual fan, I'm struggling a bit with the cognitive dissonance of a guy who by all accounts was a good man and a great wrestler committing an absolutely unforgivable deed. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer said " It's like if you watched `Rocky,' and in the end it comes out that Rocky killed his wife and his son," and to fans, that's about what it's like.

I'm not too surprised about the media turning this into a 'roid rage issue, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised if that was a mitigating factor. The constant drug use, steroids, painkillers, recreational, has to be a drain. But there are so other many things to consider. The constant grind of travel. The revelation that there may have been pressures relating to the son's Fragile X syndrome. The death of many of Benoit's friends, which may have contributed to depression.

But ultimately, when thinking about this, a line popped into my head, from my favorite movie of all time, Miller's Crossing:

"Nobody knows anybody. Not that well."

And as I think about a father who, regardless of the circumstances, put his hand around his son's throat to end his life, I have to think that must be true.