The Benoit murder-suicide in 2007 was one of the most shocking stories of the year, and a seminal event in the history of wrestling.
In “The Ultimate Historical Edition” of his classic 2009 true crime account, Chris & Nancy, Irvin Muchnick extends his definitive record of the most sensational scandal in pro wrestling history by connecting 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 finally a scandal management playbook that both exposed the former and foreshadowed the latter.
Muchnick — the author of Wrestling Babylon and a co-author of Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport — has parsed public records and interviewed dozens of witnesses, inside and outside wrestling, to put together the first thorough and authoritative 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.
Irvin Muchnick has written about media, business, higher education, and sports for many major magazines and newspapers, including The Village Voice and The New York Times. His first book was a collection of these articles called Wrestling Babylon (ECW Press). A native of St. Louis, he lives in California.
Published: November 2009
Dimensions: x 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