Muchnick lays bare the murder-suicide of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their seven-year-old son, Daniel. The Benoit murder-suicide in 2007 was one of the most shocking stories of that year in any realm, and a seminal event in the history of wrestling.
Featured on episode SE7ENTEEN of the My Favorite Murder Podcast
“Irvin Muchnick is hell-bent on discovering the essence of the cover-ups, the nuts and bolts of the investigations…”— Wrestling Observer
“The Ultimate Historical Edition” extends the 2009 true crime account by connecting it to it to someone who was then a bit player in the wrestling world: Donald Trump.
A new introduction reflects on Trump’s business ties to WWE’s McMahon family, how wrestling “attitude” came to define the populist, demagogic Trump presidency, and their similar scandal management playbooks.
Muchnick — the author of Wrestling Babylon and a co-author of Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport —drilled down deep into public records and interviewed dozens of witnesses, inside and outside wrestling, to put together the authoritative account of the events of the gruesome June 2007 weekend in Fayette County, Georgia, during which World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Chris Benoit murdered his wife Nancy and their seven-year-old son Daniel, before proceeding to kill himself.
But this book goes beyond the crime itself to answer some of the most important questions behind it. The biography of Benoit, a wrestler’s wrestler, makes it clear that his tragedy was a microcosm of the culture of drugs and death behind the scenes of one of North America’s most popular brand of sports entertainment. The author probes the story of the massive supplies of steroids and human growth hormone found in his home — all prescribed by a “doctor to the stars” who got indicted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and all dismissed by a WWE “wellness policy” that promoted everything except its talent’s wellness. The Benoit case led to unprecedented scrutiny of wrestling’s overall health and safety standards, by Congressional investigators and others, and this book is the primary source of what they found and what they should continue to look for.
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Irvin Muchnick, author of Wrestling Babylon, has written for Sports Illustrated, People, The Washington Monthly, and the Sunday magazines of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among many other major publications. He has appeared on media forums as diverse as National Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and the former Fox News program The O’Reilly Factor.
Irv’s reporting on the death of WWE legend Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka's girlfriend Nancy Argentino drove the prosecution of Snuka more than 30 years later in what observers said was the longest-running homicide cold case in the history of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. A former National Writers Union official, Irv launched a landmark freelance writers' rights case that became the U.S. Supreme Court decision Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick.
Chris & Nancy, first published in 2009, became key opposition research sinking the U.S. Senate candidacies of Linda McMahon (wife of Vince McMahon, former CEO of WWE, and later the head of the Small Business Administration in President Trump’s cabinet).
Published: May 2021
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.
“Irvin Muchnick is hell-bent on discovering the essence of the cover-ups, the nuts and bolts of the investigations that ignored a Stamford hacker much too quickly, and provides an insight into media manipulations and Congressional indifference, and to that end, he provides more details and more insights that ultimately increase frustrations, but at the same time, must be examined if you choose, like myself, to claim to be an informed fan of an industry that had its blissful ignorance torn to shreds.” — Wrestling Observer
“Muchnick provides a great public service in exposing what he describes as the WWE’s ‘Cocktail of Death.’ Now its up to wrestling fans to demand action, or else continue seeing their heroes die early from avoidable deaths, often ending up destitute after enriching the McMahons.” — Beyond Chron
“Incredible retelling of the tragic story... Highly recommended.” — Georgia Wrestling Online
“…an extremely well written account… the best book published on the subject to date. Trust me when I say there is a lot to be learned in reading this book.” — PW Mania
“The tragic events surrounding the Benoit murder-suicide calls out for greater scrutiny, and Muchnick painstakingly obliges.” — Alternative Weekly Network
“Riveting reading for any season, any time of day or night.” — WIBX 950 AM