Chuck Williams, an independent wrestling veteran who briefly competed in the original ECW promotion in the 1990s, was reportedly found dead on Friday morning in his home in West Goshen Township, in Pennsylvania, in what authorities believe was a murder-suicide.
Although local news sources have yet to confirm the identities of the deceased, PWInsider, the Wrestling Observer, and WrestlingNews.co were among the publications that cited friends and colleagues and reported that the victims were Chuck Williams and his wife, whose name was not given. Williams, 52, was most commonly known in the independent wrestling scene as “Rockin’ Rebel,” and was best known for his early ’90s stint in ECW, where he had mostly worked as an under-card heel, or villainous character.
Apart from his stint in ECW, Williams had also competed in the 2000s for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), an indy promotion known for its hardcore wrestling, and for producing talents that included the likes of WWE superstar Dean Ambrose (then known as Jon Moxley) and NXT referee Drake Wuertz. The Wrestling Observer noted that he got his “Rockin’ Rebel” ring name because he was trained by tag team legends Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, aka the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.
According to PWInsider, Chuck Williams had a mixed reputation among his wrestling colleagues, as he was “liked by some,” but considered by others to be a backstage politician who tried to sway bookers into giving him a more prominent role. As a wrestler, he was described as someone who often made controversial comments in his promos that may have been good for “cheap heat” during his prime, but would likely have “[caused] a huge uproar” had he uttered such words in a modern-day show.
The incident was first covered by Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI, which wrote that a male and a female victim, both adults, were found dead at around 6 a.m. on Friday, after police responded to reports of a shooting inside the victims’ home. Per preliminary investigations into the shooting, authorities have confirmed that there is no threat to the public, as the shooting was most like a murder followed by a suicide.
Details on what might have led to the suspected murder-suicide are still largely unknown, though a neighbor of the victims told WPVI that the couple tended to keep to themselves and rarely left their house. Despite their quiet nature, however, the neighbor added that police were called to the home on multiple occasions.
“There were always problems over there. The police were there a lot,” said Stephanie Seiple.
Commenting on the crime that had apparently taken place on Friday morning, Seiple said that she was concerned that the shooting happened in front of the couple’s children. She added that it wasn’t uncommon for children to be seen playing in the victims’ backyard.
The case reportedly involving Chuck Williams and his wife comes over a decade after another wrestler was involved in a much higher-profile murder-suicide. On June 25, 2007, Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, were found dead in the family’s Georgia home, with an investigation revealing that the former world champion, who was still employed by WWE at the time of the crime, killed his wife and son before hanging himself. This led to WWE removing everything related to Benoit from its preexisting programming, and no longer referencing him on television, published literature, and other forms of media.