It has now been nine years now since the Chris Benoit murder-suicide shocked the wrestling community and the wider world as a whole.
The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion killed his wife, Nancy, and son Daniel, before eventually killing himself at the family's home in Georgia between the 22nd and 25th of July, 2007.
Sandra Toffolini, the sister of Nancy Benoit, appeared on Chris Jericho's Talk is Jericho podcast last week and spoke about what Benoit was like in the lead-up to the murders and his state of mind at the time.
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According to Toffolini, she believes that drug abuse paid a huge part in what happened and that the autopsy on Benoit showed just how much of an effect it all had.
“I think that it [drug abuse] was a huge contributing factor to what happened," she said.
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"The autopsy said so, I had seen it prior to that — the alcohol and medication, not just the steroids but everything else that had been going on — it was a huge factor."
Interestingly, Sandra went on to add that his mental health - specifically issues related to concussions, were very overstated by those in the media and fans ever since the incident.
"I know that everyone talks about the concussion issue with Christopher, maybe that played a role as well, the autopsy never said he had Alzheimer’s, that he couldn’t find his way, the things they are saying related to concussions wasn’t Chris and wasn’t anything I observed ever," she added.
Ever since the murders, everyone has basically assumed the rumour that Benoit had the brain of an Alzheimer's-suffering pensioner to be true. That he was so badly affected by concussions, that he couldn't think straight and was basically a dementia patient in the body of a wrestler.
It is big that Toffolini said she never saw any signs of that and the autopsy didn't really show it at all.
According to her, Benoit's memory was perfectly fine, using the example that he knew how to get out of any airport in the world in less than 10 minutes.
Medication and Worry
So, what does the sister of Nancy Benoit put the double murder-suicide of her family down to? Well, a combination of things.
"I think it was a ton of medication altering his body chemistry, his brain chemistry, alcohol, everything that was going on at that time. I know there were issues in the house that he was having, again, with himself."
A potential part of it was apparently the death of Eddie Guerrero - his best friend - and Benoit constantly wondering if he would be the next wrestler to die.
"I can’t put it on any one thing; it was a combination of many things, outside factors, and an inner struggle that he had been going through for quite some time after Eddie and everyone else…he almost had this look in his eye — it wasn’t more of who’s next, it was more of, am I next — in his eyes.”
Whatever you think, this was an absolute tragedy. We may never know what truly happened that caused Benoit to snap, but this is a good start.
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