Chris And Nancy
138 pages

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138 pages

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Author Muchnick puts together the first thorough and authoritative events of the Benoit murder-suicide in 2007, one of the most shocking stories of the year. The book also goes beyond the crime itself, showing how the tragedy was a microcosm of the drugs culture in wrestling. The Benoit case led to unprecedented scrutiny of wrestling's overall health and safety standards, and this book is the primary source of what they found and what they should continue to look for.



Publié par
Date de parution 08 mars 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781770900066
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0524€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


ECW Press

Grow up your forty [years old] for mighty sakes get off the stuff it’s obvious im probably not the only one who can see and we both know the [World Wrestling Entertainment] wellness program is a joke.
Nancy Benoit to Chris Benoit
text message, May 10, 2007
The scandal isn’t what’s illegal. It’s what’s legal.
Michael Kinsley

Foreword by Phil Mushnick
I SHARE AN UNINTENDED BADGE of honor with Irvin Muchnick: if Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment ever put on paper something similar to President Nixon’s “enemies list,” both Irv and I would be on it, top ten.
Pro wrestling, by industry design, and hard journalism are oil and water. Irv, like me, only far more often, focuses on this industry’s death trap, not its magic show. That’s one reason why I hope Chris & Nancy gets widely read — and, more important, acted upon.
Before I go any further, a clarification, one both of us have made dozens of times over the past dozen years: beyond our professions, Irv Muchnick and Phil Mushnick are not related. Irv’s paternal grandparents and his then six-year-old future uncle, Sam Muchnick (who would become the legendary St. Louis promoter and long-time president of the National Wrestling Alliance), docked at Baltimore, where their surname was transliterated to “Muchnick,” with a “c.” I’m a third-generation Staten Islander (my ancestors came over on the ferry), and no one’s quite sure (or much cares) why or when Mushnick became Mushnick.
Irv was living in New York in the early 1980 s when I became the media sports columnist for the New York Post . At the time there were sports anchors on local TV newscasts — Warner Wolf on WCBS, Spencer Christian on WABC — who frequently aired WWF clips as legitimate sports highlights. Irv was the first of my readers to warn me that my mere outrage could not contain this phenomenon.
And indeed, by 1985 Andy Warhol and the downtown Manhattan demimonde were seizing the proverbial fifteen minutes to proclaim wrestling the newest manifestation of “camp” art. In March of that year, when McMahon produced the first WrestleMania on pay-per-view, two of his key shills were Dick Ebersol (the future president of NBC Sports and co-impresario of the disastrous XFL football league) and Bob Costas (having taken a break from his otherwise well-earned position as the “conscience of sportscasting”).
Three years later Irv Muchnick published a devastating profile of the sick Von Erich wrestling family of Texas (one son died accidentally from prescription drugs, one was a drug suicide, two shot themselves to death). The piece would be selected for the anthology Best Magazine Articles: 1988; not best wrestling magazine articles or best sports magazine articles, but the best magazine articles of any kind. “Born-Again Bashing With the Von Erichs” was the first serious attempt at legitimate long-form narrative journalism on what quickly became a pandemic of occupation-related deaths in American junk entertainment.
A few years after that, now living in California, Irv stayed at my house while he tracked down the cover-up of how Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka probably killed his girlfriend in a Pennsylvania motel room in 1983 . The Von Erich and Snuka stories would be included in Irv’s 2007 collection, Wrestling Babylon .
In the 1990 s, as night follows day, scandal wracked WWF . The original “mark” doctor, George Zahorian, got busted by the feds for distributing steroids like Tic Tacs. McMahon himself was indicted (but acquitted at trial). His company, competing in a race to the bottom with Ted Turner’s deeper-pocketed World Championship Wrestling, clawed back with R-rated programming, which glommed the crotch-grabbing wit of “Degeneration X” onto the perverse family pitch of the Hulkamania era.
In the course of our long friendship, Muchnick and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. He can’t always be right, ya know. But I’ve leaned on him for information, insight, and inspiration far more often than he has on me. I simply appreciate and admire Irv’s work for projecting a vision of wrestling’s dark side in a way that transcends the subject. His larger canvas isn’t wrestling. It’s how all of late-empire America has been wrestlingized .
In my Post column, Vince McMahon’s sleaze mill gets less attention than it once did. This fact does not reflect that there are bigger fish to fry so much as it acknowledges this sad triumph of wrestling values throughout sports and culture. In years to come, for example, we’re certain to see more and more veterans of baseball’s steroid era dying young, like Ken Caminiti and like the hundreds of wrestlers both before and after him. The ESPN TV , radio, and magazine brands — not to mention sports talk in general, and even national political discourse — all subscribe to the puerile “attitude” playbook pioneered by WWE . As a critic, I no longer need to note that fringe programming foretells the content of the mainstream. The future is now, and crude is in, and not likely to fade.
Meanwhile, from his own perspective, Muchnick is still throwing facts into the fire, still connecting the dots between the sacred cows of respectable society and the WrestleWorld they collude with. I’m glad he is. The Benoit murder-suicide was one of the most sensational crime stories of 2007 , and it cried out for the scrutiny of someone with a longer attention span and more intellectual integrity than the local authorities, the media, and Congress brought to bear on it. If you can read what Irv has dug up and continue to turn your head, then your powers of denial exceed mine.

Introduction to The Ultimate Historical Edition
ONE OF THE GOALS of this third “ultimate historical edition” is to reestablish the known — not speculative — record of what happened to Chris Benoit and his family in June 2007 . Another is to introduce this wicked story to a new generation of readers. My fellow author Greg Oliver, who runs the SLAM! Wrestling news and feature site, told me that when he tables his books at places like wrestling fan conventions, there is palpable renewed interest in Benoit: Wrestling With the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport , the volume of instant essays Greg co-wrote with Steven Johnson, Heath McCoy, and myself. Initially that book drew interest from people who were news consumers trying to make sense out of the event and its aftermath. Today, Greg said, he detects something different: curiosity, from scratch, on the part of those who have only heard about Benoit in passing and want to nail down the fundamentals. My hope is that this renewed footprint of CHRIS & NANCY will help.
As for what has gone down in the intervening dozen years, you can choose your own jumping-off point. Mine is related to Benoit only in one important sense: It is the most recent parallel wrestler’s suicide by hanging. On May 16 , 2019 , former WWE “diva” Ashley Massaro took her own life in this fashion. She was 39 and one of the two seemingly premature ex-WWE fatalities that year. The other, Rick Bognar, the one-time “fake Diesel,” died suddenly at 49 of unknown causes.
Obviously, this collective annual toll of two was a tiny fraction of the 20 -plus in Benoit’s 2007 , which occurred at the peak of major wrestling promotion early fatalities. Many of that generation’s untimely deaths could be traced, though not in any reliably direct, one-to-one correspondence, to some combination of drugs and what we now better understand is the insidious accumulation of traumatic brain injury. The drugs involved were at least as likely to be painkillers and antidepressants as either the steroid family or recreational “street” drugs. They now fit neatly into what we know as a society-wide opioid crisis.
This turn of phrase makes for a punchy subtitle but may be too anodyne for a fantasy industry that is almost, by definition, unequipped to deal with the realities of mental illness in general – something the world at large is just starting to come to grips with. You could say that some of the inherent self-medication in wrestling is the symptom of another cocktail ingredient.
Today, giving due credit for constructive changes, I must record that the industry’s bedrock health and safety record has improved from its unimaginably very worst. Performers in this spectacle-sports hybrid still die young at a low roar, but at rates consistent with a more expected rhythm as a consequence of the extreme risk-taking of what the Taylor Swift lyric calls “the young and the reckless.” The clear and present danger highlighted by Congressional investigations — half-hearted though those investigations were — has abated. In place is the somewhat normalized human sausage factory that is a byproduct of late-empire America’s inexhaustible entertainments.
But let’s not take too large a leap from this qualified good news. I, for one, am not about to declare the WWE Wellness Policy a success, except on its own narrow terms. I have some skin in this game, both in general and as a figure who, in caricature, was featured in the pages of American Lawyer magazine in 2011 , juxtaposed against WWE mouthpiece Jerry McDevitt for a post-Benoit debate. (See .)
Please do not try to sell me on the notion that today’s drug tests are administered, and their associated disciplines meted out, with scientific neutrality. WWE vice president of talent Paul “Triple H” Levesque, husband of Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, still performs occasionally at age 50 , and he looks mahvelous . (One of Levesque’s early personal trainers and “nutritionists,” Dave Palumbo, who at one point was imprisoned for selling fake human growth hormone, was renowned for counseling his clients on how to be

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