Chris Toplack | Dark Side of The Ring – Benoit Part Two FULL RECAP
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Dark Side of The Ring – Benoit Part Two FULL RECAP

Dark Side of The Ring – Benoit Part Two FULL RECAP

Following the first episode of Dark Side Of The Ring’s second season where the documentary looked at the relationship between Chris Benoit and his wife Nancy, as well as his relationship with Eddie Guerrero leading into the final weekend of their lives, Part Two picks up where the first episode left off, with the discovery that the Benoit family were all dead, but before the truth of how they perished came to light.

  • In addition to the first episode’s interviews with Jim Ross, Chris Jericho, Chavo Guerrero Jr., David Benoit, Sandra Toffoloni, Dean and Julie Malenko, former WWE superstar Chris Nowinski, this episode also features Larry Alden of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office who was in charge of the shift that would discover the crime scene and Matthew Randazzo V, the author of Ring Of Hell: The Story Of Chris Benoit And The Fall Of The Pro Wrestling Industry.

  • Upon arrival at the scene, Alden met with a neighbour who claimed they hadn’t seen any of the family in a few days. 

  • Alden had the neighbour take the dogs (remember the texts from Benoit to Chavo and Scott Armstrong) into the house so they could perform the welfare check. Upon entering the house the neighbour came running out screaming “Daniel’s dead, Daniel’s dead!”

  • As Alden describes entering the home, police photos from the scene are shown. As far as I can tell, having done a lot of reading and research on the situation, this may be the first time these photos have been shown publicly.

  • Alden describes the smell in the home, telling one of his deputies that “something is dead in here.”

  • He describes going up the stairs where they found Daniel in his bed, face down, passed away while the police photo shows a replica of the World Heavyweight Championship on the floor beside the bed with Daniel’s name on it.

  • Upon entering other rooms, they then found Nancy on the floor, also deceased, wrapped in either a blanket or a rug as he describes.

  • Alden then describes entering the gym area in the basement, while a police photo shows a weight with the ‘Hart’ name inscribed on it, showing Benoit’s roots from the Hart family training earlier in his career.

  • Alden describes his deputy only seeing Benoit in the mirrors of the gym area, raising her weapon before Alden realized that Benoit was also deceased, with a cord from the weight machine wrapped around his neck and weights on the other side of the cord.

  • The radio called in where Alden informed them that he believed this was a homicide and suicide, while crime scene tape was wrapped around the premises.

  • Chris Jericho then states that he was driving home with his son in the backseat when he received a call from one of the writers to inform him that Benoit had passed away, at which point he pulled over and began crying, to which his son informed him “you cry, funny Daddy”

  • It should be noted for people that have read Jericho’s book that this lines up with his recollection in Undisputed: How To Become World Champion In 1,372 Easy Steps. Although in the book he stated that it was Shane McMahon who called him and that he also immediately felt that Benoit had killed his family.

  • Chavo touches on the initial theory that maybe it was carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Jim Ross speaks about WWE turning RAW into a tribute show while the footage is shown from the Chris Benoit Memorial show.

  • Jericho reveals he was asked to be on the Tribute show but declined.

  • Jericho touches on William Regal’s speech during the Tribute show and how Regal seemingly sensed something more sinister about what happened.

  • Sandra and David discuss how they were informed of the deaths and how they reacted in very emotional interviews.

  • Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho and Jim Ross all discuss the truth of the crimes coming to light.

  • Randazzo then appears to discuss the grisly details of the final weekend, beginning with Chris having a BBQ in the backyard with Daniel.

  • Later that night an altercation between Chris and Nancy turned violent where he restrained her with duct tape and choked her with a telephone cord before placing a bible next to her body.

  • There were beer cans and wine bottles strewn about indicating that Chris had been drinking.

  • Saturday morning Chris gave Daniel a Xanax and suffocated him before placing a bible next to his body. No indication is made of the horrific rumours that he used his signature Crippled Crossface to do this.

  • At this point, Chris made the phone calls stating that Daniel and Nancy were sick with a stomach virus and he had to take them to the hospital.

  • Saturday night Chris slept with the bodies of both his wife and son in the house.

  • On Sunday Benoit searched on the internet of the bible story of the prophet Elijah and the resurrection of a dead boy from the old Testament.

  • He then searched for the quickest and most painless way of breaking one’s own neck.

  • Chris entered his home gym with a half-drunken bottle of wine and used a lap pulldown machine where he removed the bar, wrapped a towel around his neck and then the cord, adjusted the weight to 240 pounds, then released the cord, ending his own life and bringing the horrific weekend to an end for the Benoit family.

  • Julie Malenko then speaks on the method that Chris used to kill Nancy, as nearly all interviewers discuss how this could have happened, and they show crime scene footage of a knife underneath Daniel’s bed.

  • Randazzo reveals that Chris did leave something akin to a suicide note in a bible nearby, indicating that Chris did know what he was doing and also was still considering taking a flight to wrestle on the Vengeance pay-per-view that Sunday evening.

  • Footage is then shown of Vince McMahon speaking on what actually happened with the Benoit family and how they would erase him from history.

  • Jim Ross spoke on going to the funeral of Nancy and Daniel and how horrible it felt. 

  • Sandra revealed that she told JR that he was not welcome at the wake following the funeral.

  • Sandra and David revealed that no one from WWE, other than Jericho and Chavo reached out to them following the murders.

  • David speaks on the media coverage following the murders and how it was the darkest time of his life.

  • The coverage moves to the media labelling the issue was a “roid rage” incident. 

  • Text messages from Nancy to Chris discussing his steroid use and calling the WWE Wellness Program “a joke.”

  • Chris Jericho speaks on the strictness of the Wellness Program while Randazzo claimed that there were many holes in the program that allowed wrestlers to slip through.

  • Footage is shown of Vince McMahon being interviewed while showing a statement from WWE indicating his actions were deliberation, not rage.

  • Randazzo reveals that Benoit passed all Wellness Program checks leading up to the murders.

  • Julie Malenko, Chris Jericho, Vickie Guerrero and Sandra Toffoloni all discuss the volatile arguments between Chris and Nancy, with Sandra discussing Nancy getting a restraining order against Chris.

  • Johnny Grunge was revealed to be much of a middleman helping keep Chris controlled during these incidents as he lived nearby.

  • Chris Nowinski is introduced to discuss concussions and CTE. As a former wrestler and Harvard graduate, he began digging into the effects of brain damage.

  • Nowinski reveals that Benoit approached him to discuss concussions and revealed that Chris stated he had “more concussions than he could count.”

  • Nowinski discusses speaking with Mike Benoit, Chris’s father, and was able to study Chris’s brain posthumously.

  • Nowinski goes on to discuss the damage to Benoit’s brain and how the insane amount of blows to the head and brain can change who a person is.

  • Vickie and Jericho discuss the effect of chair shots to the head as the footage is shown of Jericho hitting Benoit during a ladder match at Royal Rumble 2001 and Eddie taking a chair shot from JBL at Judgment Day 2004, both some of the most brutal chair shots to the head ever taken.

  • Jericho discusses how taking a chair shot to the head was a “badge of honour” as several chair shots to the head are shown in archive footage and Chavo wonders aloud how much CTE he could possibly have.

  • Discussion of brain and spine damage happens as footage is shown of the flying headbutt being passed down from Harley Race to Dynamite Kid to Chris Benoit.

  • Jim Ross discusses the changes made to the business following the learning of CTE and the Benoit tragedy.

  • Randazzo believes that due to Benoit’s style that he was always destined to have a tragic ending.

  • Jericho reveals that after Eddie passed away, that Benoit’s fate was sealed.

  • Malenko and Chavo discuss how unforgivable his final actions were, but how they have trouble distancing their friendship and matches with him.

  • Jim Ross discusses Benoit going into the Hall Of Fame, saying even Chris himself would not want to go in as it would be a great distraction.

  • Chris Jericho discusses how his final actions almost destroyed the entire pro wrestling business and would have broken his heart as he almost ruined the only thing he ever loved.

  • David talks about how people view him differently due to the actions of his father.

  • David, Julie Malenko and Jericho all discuss how important and great Nancy was and how she should be remember and immortalized in the Hall Of Fame, but it will never happen due to the connotations of her death.

  • Sandra remembers how Nancy used to tuck her in almost like she was locking her away safely. She remembers Daniel and how he was, and the love he had with his brother David.

  • Sandra reveals she tried to have a relationship with the Benoit family, and she was told the kids did not want anything to do with her and vice versa.

  • David emotionally speaks about his final time spent with his father, Nancy and Daniel, breaking down and getting emotional help from Chavo.

  • We see that David and Sandra reunite to discuss everything that happened and rebuild a relationship, thanks to Chris Jericho.

  • Jericho discusses how he feels that the family will always be blackballed and blamed for Chris’s actions.

  • We see the reuniting of everyone together, and David and Sandra enjoying a wrestling show, followed by them backstage with Chris Jericho following a match.

  • Sandra is asked if she could ever forgive Chris’s actions, to which she says she would like to, and free herself of the hatred she has.

At this point the episode ends, having finally dug into what is no doubt the greatest tragedy the wrestling business has ever seen. An absolutely fantastic look at a horrific story, Dark Side Of The Ring has hit a home run. My only critique would be they should have saved this as the finale of the second season, as there is now a giant hill to climb for the rest of the season to be able to stand with this two-part episode.

In memory of Nancy and Daniel Benoit

Note: Please consider making a charitable donation to the following organization:

https://concussionfoundation.org/

 Nancy Benoit [Photo: Nancy Toffoloni via Twitter]

Nancy Benoit [Photo: Nancy Toffoloni via Twitter]

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