Yesterday, I was surfing the internet for stories to write. I went to Facebook, which I do every day, as I am quite the social media weirdo. I am a member of many Pro-Wrestling pages, which I enjoy as I can keep my ear to the ground about what the internet likes and dislikes. This helps as a writer. One page, however, offended me to my very core. A WWE-centered page had a photo that said, “Dear God, take Randy Orton and John Cena and give us Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit.”
While many saw this as a harmless thing of the internet once again hating everything John Cena, I was not so worried about the Cena hate. Rather, I was caught off guard that this photo asks to bring back two dead men and kill the others… one of those dead men being a murderer.
I quickly wrote a comment saying that it was asinine that we would want a murderer back in place of a man who commits so much charity work that he has little personal time.
I was then told, “Oh this is about the wrestling character, not the person.”
While I understood the idea, it still doesn’t make sense. When Chris Benoit was alive, he was known as a good wrestler, but no one would ever rank him as one of the best WWE Superstars. In the era he wrestled, there were far more talented wrestlers. In fact, Daniel Bryan could be seen as an exact copy of Benoit as a wrestler. However, unlike Benoit, who had little to no charisma or mic ability, Bryan is a great entertainer and oozes charisma.
I’d much rather take today’s Daniel Bryan over Chris Benoit, personally.
However, the internet is never satisfied.
The real reason for people favoring Benoit online is not so much about how he was during the time he wrestled, because very few of them probably paid much attention to him. It is the internet “smark” trying to come off as smart by saying, “well Benoit was a great wrestler, why do we never talk about him?”
The reason we do not is that he is forgettable. In fact, WWE didn’t really do much with Benoit because they didn’t have the ability. He won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship one time at WrestleMania, and it was a nice moment. Benoit worked hard to achieve this. However, he was by no means the best in the company at that time.
Like Kane and Mark Henry, WWE gave Benoit a title run because of the hard work he put in over the years. While no one really complains about that, it seems that internet fans want to somehow make Benoit out to be some sort of wrestling God. In reality, he was not as great as people claim. While he has good matches often, you don’t remember much about him outside of one WrestleMania and the night Randy Orton beat him to become the youngest World Champion in WWE history.
Yes, Benoit has done more than this. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find much more about him online worthy of note.
The internet is known to be degenerate. They want to cause trouble. Older fans or teens that think they know everything want to make Benoit out to be God’s gift to wrestling when he was not. WWE does not talk about him or reference him because he murdered his wife and child before taking his own life. That is more than enough reason to not reference someone on TV. The WWE Network must show Benoit material because erasing things he was part of with other talent would not be fair to the other talent.
The stupidity in it all is that Benoit was a good performer but not great. He was a career mid-carder and most would not give him the same love today if he was alive. The reason we see the internet do this is only to buck an authoritarian stance. WWE doesn’t reference him, so the internet feels they have to. No one in their right mind would build a company around Chris Benoit over Randy Orton or John Cena because they have what it takes to succeed in a tough business. That much is proven in what they have done over the years. In fact, many adult fans say they’d like Cena more “if he’d just add some edge.”
Internet fans are fickle and never happy about what they get. As I referenced in my Attitude Era article, many of them think too much and feel too little. They do not care for today’s product, yet many watch it every week. They say, “Where were the days of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, they were actually good.” No internet fan, they were good in the ring, but they weren’t doing much different from today’s product.
In fact, entertainment-wise, Benoit was deadpan, and outside of a wrestling match, you could fall asleep watching him. Eddie, on the other hand, had it all. However, even he was working within the WWE guidelines still in place today.
While, yes, Benoit was a good wrestler, and many would be right to rank him top 25 on a top ring technician list… he is only remembered as much as he is because the Internet Wrestling Community keeps his name alive.
The internet smark fan is easy to pick out. They are the ones who talk about how good Independent wrestling is compared to WWE and how certain no name wrestlers were better than today’s top talent. These people are the ones leading the pack in today’s generation. People listen and think they are right. Some even join the pack just to fit in within the IWC system. That is why this Benoit love has gotten out of hand.
While people have the right to be a fan of whomever they choose, I didn’t see the same amount of love online or at the arenas for Benoit when he was alive. Apparently, they treat him like a dead painter’s work and value him higher dead than alive.
Everyone concerns themselves with a product of yesteryear and not the one of today. While they have that right, they value things and some talent far too high. Benoit is a big one of the overvalued. When he was alive, many could say he was underrated. Today, he is massively overrated. While I get the idea of keeping the memory alive, why would we do so for a man who murdered people? Yes, he had a drug problem and head issue. However, do we somehow allow ourselves to talk up the guy who murdered various children at Sandy Hook Elementary school because he was diagnosed with a brain issue? No.
So why do we do the same for Benoit?
Clearly, WWE does not reference him for good reason. Today, the internet pretty much only does to buck the established order and seem smarter than they are in reference to the craft of pro-wrestling. This must stop, as the overrated nature of Benoit is more disrespectful than people not remembering him. It’s like the Internet knows Benoit is forgettable in WWE, which is why they feel they must reference him so much. If that is the case, you can see why he is forgotten so much. At times, he is not worth remembering.
In the end, we can all agree Benoit was a talented ring worker. However, he is not as good as the internet seems to think he is. So stop claiming such. WWE has far better talent from the past and present well worth the praise you give Benoit unwarranted.
[IMG Credits: PwMania.com, YouTube, filmschoolrejects.com]