Chris Benoit was undoubtedly one of the best performers of the modern era. During the nineties, he fought in the most important American and Japanese wrestling federations, including New Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling.
From 2000 until his death, he was instead under contract with WWE. In addition to being a two-time world champion, he has also won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, the United States title and the Intercontinental Championship.
His extraordinary record would have guaranteed him a place in the WWE Hall of Fame, but his tragic death has made him one of the most controversial characters in the history of this business. In an interview with Sportskeeda, former Tag Team Champion Doug Basham described what Chris Benoit was like backstage.
Chris Benoit died tragically
“Away from the cameras, Chris Benoit was a quiet, professional and super nice guy. I've always had a great time with him, he was a great athlete. I must admit that it was an honor to share the ring with a champion of his caliber” - said Basham.
Several years after the notorious tragedy, former WWE superstar Daniel Puder expressed some interesting considerations: "Although many years have passed, the story of Benoit is still chilling the blood today. I don't know exactly all the details of the story, but I can assure you that all there was to know has not been told.
Police found someone used Chris's phone a couple of hours after Chris died. I just want to say that many of the mysteries of that tragedy have remained unsolved. I don't know how many of you know, but there are very few important crimes that are resolved in a certain and unequivocal way."
Former WWE and WCW writer Vince Russo talked about Chris Benoit's son: “If that kid dreams of a breakthrough in wrestling, I don't see why the door should be closed in his face. He cannot be held responsible for his father's sins."
Chris Benoit's last wrestling match came against Elijah Burke on June 19, 2004. The Canadian Crippler would win the bout, allowing him to fight for the vacant ECW World Championship a few days later at the Vengeance pay-per-view.
Benoit missed the house shows leading up to the show and the event itself, leading to WWE replacing him with Johnny Nitro. Nitro would defeat CM Punk to win his first ECW Championship. Back in 1986, Benoit landed in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
He made his debut under his name that year in Japan, but three years later, Benoit wrestled under a mask and was known as the Pegasus Kid.