It’s all finally come together: pop culture, journalism, religion, the internet, drug and alcohol abuse, and murder. We’re speaking of course, of the World Wrestling Federation.
Pro wrestler Chris Benoit skipped out on a match late last week and headed back to his Atlanta home. Sometime over the weekend, someone apparently suffocated his young son and strangled his wife, and placed bibles beside each of their bodies. Benoit was hung by a cable from one of his weight-lifting machines. On Monday afternoon, police discovered the scene, and found a large supply of anabolic steroids, 10 empty beer cans in the trash, and an empty wine bottle beside Benoit’s body. The investigation immediately led to Dr. Phil Astin, the physician who prescribed the steroids, and who was once suspended from writing prescriptions for three months for “reasons related to competence or character.” The logical conclusion: Dr. Astin’s careless distribution of anabolic steroids led Benoit to kill his family in an outburst of “Roid Rage.”
By midweek the media circus had pitched its tent. The press headed right to Wikipedia for a little back-story on Benoit and his career. And lo and behold they found that Benoit’s profile had been promptly updated with information on his family’s demise. In fact, the most recent update to the Benoit file had been submitted early Monday morning. And the IP address of the computer that made the submission was from Stamford CT, the headquarters of the World Wrestling Federation. Someone at WWF was reporting on Benoit’s death 14 hours BEFORE the police discovered it.
WWF attorney Jerry McDevitt’s 4th of July plans just got slammed into the turnbuckle. Someone will be having a look at WWF’s computers and email boxes. Benoit’s cell phone calls and text messages are being scrutinized. They’ve got some ‘splaining to do.
And the marketing department has their hands full too. On Thursday, a WWF spokesman declared definitively “steroids were not and could not be related to the cause of death” and that the findings indicate “deliberation, not rage.” (It seems drugs and violence don’t kill people, people kill people.)
No word yet on how many corporate sponsors have been lost, and whether viewership is holding up among the critical 12-18-year-old demo. Stay tuned.