‘Dark Side of the Ring’ Documentary Tackles Chris Benoit Murder-Suicide

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Dark Side of the Ring returns for a second season on Tuesday, March 24, and its premiere episode details the double murder-suicide of former wrestling great Chris Benoit.

On June 24, 2007, murdered his wife and son before killing himself. The tragedy stands alone as wrestling’s saddest and sickest moment, ending the life of two innocent people, forever staining Benoit’s previously stellar wrestling reputation.

The documentary examines the painful details surrounding the murder-suicide, with commentary from Benoit’s son David, Nancy “Woman” Benoit’s sister Sandra Toffoloni, plus the perspective of close friends of Benoit in Chris Jericho, Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Dean Malenko.

“I didn’t want to hear how I was glorifying a murderer,” said Jericho. “I don’t want to hear that I’m ignoring this murder. I wanted to talk, specifically, about his life and times, his intensity, and his successes within the ring.

“We’re not glorifying a murderer. We’re telling the full story. It was done properly, it was done for the right reasons, and we were able to portray the full story, emphasizing the tragedy that much further.”

The Dark Side episode also intertwines the story of Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, taking a close look at how Guerrero’s death adversely affected Benoit.

“There was a huge connection between Chris’ life and Eddie Guerrero’s life, and his death, so half the story is the story of Eddie and the other half is of Chris,” said Jericho. “I think we did the right way of portraying this, reminding everyone there were people behind this, not just sensational murder coverage.

“There is a story to tell of a friendship and a family, and a guy that was not a monster. This was someone you could trust and that was very respected in the wrestling community amongst his peers.”

The Dark Side of the Ring series airs on VICE TV on Tuesday nights, beginning with the two-hour special next Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

“Chavo Guerrero helped produce it, and he’s the reason I decided to do it,” said Jericho. “His mindset was, ‘If we don’t do this properly, it’s going to get done anyway. Let’s do it for the right reasons and do it the right way.’ I think he was spot on with that.

“Chavo was involved, which got me involved, and David Benoit and Nancy’s sister were involved, then I was able to get Dean and Dean’s wife, and Vickie. Suddenly it became this noble project instead of a hack job, which is what the media tends to do in situations with someone they don’t know. We knew the person behind this, not just the murderer.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.