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Benoit Story: Chris Jericho speaks HN's Nancy Grace show, which spent 40 minutes on Benoit
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
Jun 28, 2007, 23:16

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WK Analysis in parenthesis...

-Nancy Grace opened the show with "breaking news" regarding the Benoit Family Tragedy, noting that the DEA doctors came down on his personal doctor. She then acknowledged unfounded, unsourced "rumors" that Benoit "was actually murdered." Somehow, then a rehash of information reported throughout the day everywhere was labelled as "Breaking News Exclusive" (You don't know shameless network TV news until you get absorbed into a story like this.)

-An SI reporter Louis Fernando Llosa was interviewed about the DEA raid of the office of Benoit's doctor. (He looked like he had been woken up suddenly and thrown into the chair he was sitting in, staggering thorough his words and seemingly trying to keep himself awake.) He said the local authorities and the D.A. are trying to find out what exactly he was being prescribed in terms of steroids and get an idea of what the problems might have been he was having. Jean Casarez from Court TV then noted that Chris visited that doctor and later that day or the next day his wife was dead. The SI reporter explained the internet pharmaceutical mail order scheme that Benoit was purchasing drugs from.

-Grace asked about the track marks on his arm for human growth hormone injections. Then Mike Brooks, a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst. He talked about the crime scene and the methods of death. He said putting the timeline together for the deaths and the toxicology reports will be very important in this case.

-Grace said there was an uproar in the wrestling world that Benoit had used steroids. She asked what was worse - him doing it of rationale mind or in a drug-induced rage. Susan Moss, a family law attorney and child advocate, said it makes no sense, so he snapped and acted tragically over the course of several days. Grace said she had never heard of Fragile X Syndrome. She interviewed a doctor who explained the condition.

-Then Chris Jericho joined the show and asked how it has hit him. "It's almost a tale of two cities, a tale of two people. There was the Chris Benoit that had these horrendous acts of extreme psychopathic lunacy in the last days of his life. Then there's the Benoit I myself travelled with, lived with, said I love you to on many occasions; he was my mentor, one of my best friends, and was a brother to me in so many ways. The 15 years I knew him and the two days he did these horrible horrible acts, it's hard to kind of discern the two. That's why we have to find out what would make a mild-mannered, polite, influential tremendous person and performer to do such things. Is steroids a reasons? I think it goes much deeper than that. I think we're seeing a man with some severe psychological, troubled issuese and held them in for far too long and they combined to cause him to snap in such a horrible way."

-Grace asked if Benoit ever talked about his son's handicapped. Jericho said: "No. See, this is why I really wanted to come talk to you, Nancy, and talk about Chris Benoit the man to some of the people who don't know anything about wrestling or him and the millions of fans or hundreds of co-workers he influenced in such a positive way. Chris was a very quiet man, but not a recluse and not a hermit. He minded his own business. In all of the years I was with him, I never once saw anything. If I went nuts and wanted to beat somebody up, he was the guy who would contain me. A lot of people can tell you that. As far as knowing Daniel's condition, it wouldn't surprise me - and I'm saying this seriously - if even his parents didn't even know. If Chris had decided he wanted to keep it to himself, you wouldn't have been able to pry it out of him for anything. I don't know anybody, myself or any of his close friends, his co-workers, his boss, who knew or suspected anything about him having Fragile X. Yet as soon as I read the symptoms of Fragile X, it fit Daniel to a T all across the board. The lack of social skills, hard to make eye contact, intense shyness, flapping the hands, ADHD, and even to the point of his ears being a little bigger, his head being a little larger. You don't think much about that; some kids grow into themselves over the years. But now that you read it, you can kind of see where this all ties in." He then said that back at a WrestleMania party two years ago, who was a year and a half at the time, spoke more and better than Daniel who was four and a half at the time. "I just thought Dan was like his father, quiet and withdrawn." The doctor then talked about Fragile X symptoms and said they don't know a lot about the disorder. He said it isn't associated typically with stunted growth.

-Grace asked Dr. Bethany Marshall about whether he'd need special treatment to develop as much as he could. She wanted to know why someone would keep it secret. The doctor said four percent of all homicides include a suicide. She said often men who kill their wives, children, and then themselves have an extreme personality disorder and then marry a normal woman. She said what might have happened is that the little boy was about to go off to school so the illness was about to be exposed. Given that this wrestler who homicidal, he could have felt his wife and child were exposing him to harm in his career or humiliation and combined with steroid use, it could have caused such actions. She men who commit crimes of passion believe their partner is exposing them to danger, so they act out.

-A caller asked about a prior record or mental health issues. A guest said "early in his life" he had a DUI and four years ago there was a petition for a restraining order and divorce.

-Regarding whether being moved to ECW was a demotion that could affected his mood that weekend, Jericho said he was the champion on Raw, but when he moved to Smackdown he was used in the mid-card. He said in ECW, he could become champion again and help develop younger guys. "To move Chris to ECW, Chris would not see that as a demotion; he would see that as his job to help the business and keep it going." He said he took it as an honor. Grace asked if it meant he was going to become a trainer. Jericho said no, he was about to become champion (because she didn't understand that when you "fight" someone in a match, the veteran is also "training" them to get better; it's a foreign concept if you don't "get" wrestling, which is understandable).

-A caller asked if they were sure there wasn't someone else involved if he was such a good guy and tested negative for steroids. Grace said rumors were flying that Benoit's death was actually a murder. She went to the SI reporter who said investigators and the D.A. told him nothing conveys that as a possibility. He said it's a case of someone probably depressed and a steroid user. He said the toxicology reports will help show what happened.

-Dr. Gary Wadler was then brought on the show as a crawler listed young wrestler deaths: Mike Von Erich (23), Louie Spicolli (27), Art Barr (28), Gino Hernandez (29), Jay Youngblood (30), Rick McGraw (30), Joey Marella (30 - a referee who died in a car wreck), Ed Gantner (31), Buzz Sawyer (32), Crash Holly (32), Kerry Von Erich (33), D.J. Peterson (33), Eddie Gilbert (33), The Renegade (33), Owen Hart (33), Chris Candido (33), Adrian Adonis (34), Gary Albright (34), Bobby Duncum Jr. (34), Yokozuna (34), Big Dick Dudley (34), Brian Pillman (35), Barianna Komlos (35), Pitbull #2 (36), The Wall/Malice (36). Then they cut off the crawler. Grace asked how a steroid could cause such a raid in someone. Wadler said talked about how the more you take, the more you move up the scale to the point of losing impulse control and "easily provoked into doing harm to one's self or someone else."

-Lex Luger clip shown: "I knew Chris. He was a quiet, gentlemanly kind of guy. You never, ever would have expected any kind of violence or the carnage. I can't even imagine."

-A caller asked about his other kids in Canada. Jericho was asked about that. He said they're doing the best they can to deal with it. He said they're still processing it. The son is 14 and the daughter is 10 or 11.

-Grace asked Wadler how he passed his April test. "We only know they reported he passed his urinalysis. We know nothing about the collection. We don't know anything about the chain of command. We don't know about the period of time he was told he had to give a specimin to when he had to give a specimen. There's many opportunities for that information to be misleading."

-When a discussion came up of the DEA raid of Benoit's doctor's office, one guest - defense attorney - said she couldn't imagine the ground, citing that Benoit passed the test "four weeks ago." Grace caught that and called her on it, saying it was April. The guest said, "Okay, a little over four months ago." Grace said, "April, May, June, we're heading into July. It's almost four months ago." (It was about eight weeks ago, so they were both ridiculously off, but anyway...) Another guest said "possibly accessory to murder" is at stake for the doctor. "If he gave her medications that he should not have been taking, and that medication brought him to snap, there's going to be potential liability." The defense attorney then said that perhaps the autopsy reports will show the child may have been killed first by the wife.

-Grace went back to Jericho (who deserves great credit for not laughing at the last ridiculous exchange) who said their last discussion is getting away from the subject. He said Benoit had a mental problem that was so hidden nobody knew about it. He said this isn't about steroids or wrestling, it's about finding out what the mental problems are this man had to cause him to snap in such a brutal form. "I love Chris Benoit. I hate the fact of what he did," he said. Grace said the murder victims can't speak and "he killed himself, although there are rumors he was murdered." She said it would ease her heart to know he was on steroids and flipped. She noted that the son had a little action figure of her father by his bed and from what she heard, he loved his children. Jericho said he talked about his kids constantly. He said, "That's why you can't comprehend it. Was it steroids? Maybe. But I don't want to hang everything on that. This is something that had been building in him for many years to snap like that and take away the most important thing in his life."

-Grace asked about the chronology of the deaths. The SI reporter said the chronology of the deaths has changed in the past few days. (They haven't.) He said WWE has to change their rules to care for their talent.

-Back to guest Mike Brooks, an in-house analyst, asked what procedures WWE goes through for their drug testing procedures. Jericho said it's random testing by an independent corporation. "If you are caught, you are fined and suspended," he said. He told them to ask McMahon for results and he'll supply them. "It's a real true stringent drug test that gets results."

The Headline Prime show, also on CNBC, dedicated part of the program to the Benoit-WWE situation.

WK ANALYSIS: With all due respect to Irv Muchnick (who was good but given little time to talk in the interviews I've seen), Chris Jericho was far and away the best guest on news/interview program this week. His glowing endorsement of the wellness policy was the one disappointment.

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