I know I am a little late to the party, but this past weekend I finally had the opportunity to watch The Dark Side Of The Ring: Benoit Part I and Part II.
In my defense, I had been wanting to catch it for weeks now, but between working Monday to Friday (I work from home as a full-time freelancer), a global pandemic, homeschooling two kiddos, cooking (what feels like) a thousand meals a day in quarantine, and so much more – I decided to treat myself by subscribing to CRAVE.
Rather than going throughout the documentaries in order, I zeroed in on Benoit’s story, first. Now, currently binge-watching through the rest of the series … when I can!
I’m not going to go into Chris Benoit and what he did in this article. Overall, the documentary opened my eyes in so many ways, and two major takeaways from it were that, first and foremost, Chris Jericho is stand up guy and how he’s reached out to Benoit’s first son David and helped him throughout all this shows just what a great person Jericho truly is. I mean, I’m a huge fan of Chris’ work (always have been), from his WCW years, to WWE, to now AEW; however, his work in the ring is one thing, and heart and compassion are another, and Jericho reaching out to David – during a time that very few did – shows incredible heart.
Another take away was Nancy Benoit being honored in the WWE Hall of Fame.
As a wrestling fan for just over four decades (revealing my age here a bit), and a wrestling journalist for about eight years, I’m embarrassed by myself for never placing Nancy Benoit on any of my WWE Hall of Fame blogs.
Lists are now famous among wrestling sites all over the Internet, and I’ve had a handful of these types of articles outlining who deserves a spot in WWE’s HOF, and sadly, Nancy never made it on my lists. Having said that, I’ve never argued that Chris Benoit should be in the HOF, but that controversy still lingers among wrestling fans, everywhere; perhaps the new debate should center around Nancy, focusing on her career, and how her roles in business helped progress female performers in the land of sports entertainment.
Or perhaps as a collective wrestling community fan base we can agree (or a majority of us can agree) that Nancy Benoit deserves a WWE HOF spot, and sometime soon.
After the documentary, I sat and reflected on so many different things, but one main thing I couldn’t shake was how for years now, I almost forgot what a fan I was of Nancy’s (well, I loved to hate her character – that’s for sure), and how now as an adult, I appreciated her persona that much more.
How had I forgotten that? How I had her name escaped any of the lists I had written about HOF contenders? How has her named escaped WWE officials? How is it that almost 13 years after her death, no one has come forward to say, Nancy deserves a positive spotlight placed on her career and wrestling accomplishments?
Will the way she passed on, forever overshadow the impact she made on the wrestling business? Is it fair that she was not only a victim the day her life was taken from her, but that the wrestling community cannot come together and celebrate her accomplishments because of the stigma and magnitude of insanity that circled around her death?
I remember when she debuted in WCW in 1989, and aligned herself with Rick Steiner; I also remember what incredible mic skills she had as Woman, when with the Four Horsemen; I remember her time onscreen with Benoit, too. Nancy was beautiful, glamourous, a fantastic heel, and I always saw her (when she was Woman and aligned with Ric Flair) as the nemesis to Miss Elizabeth’s character in the WWE, circa the late ‘80s, as Nancy was just as stunning, with incredible outfits, except she could cut a promo just as good as the men, and was a bad girl.
With that said, her work outside the WCW was outstanding (Florida Championship Wrestling and ECW), and while I wasn’t privy to it, I’m sure fans of these promos and of hers would agree that a WWE HOF induction is deserved at this point. It’s more than overdue for Nancy’s fans, loved ones, and family to be able to honor her, her contribution to this business, and her career, on a higher level.
It’s more than overdue for the wrestling community to gather and be able to shine a spotlight on Nancy Benoit for something other than how she died, but rather how she lived, and the passion she had for this business and the industry.