January 27, 2010
"Chris & Nancy – The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide & Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death” by Irv Muchnick
Ever since the tragic events of June 25th 2007 many of us have wondered and debated about what went on in the head of Chris Benoit as he proceeded to murder his wife and child and later kill himself. In the days and weeks following the tragedy, news outlets reported a variety of conflicting reports about steroids, concussions, text messages, Wikipedia hackers and who knew what, when and why. Unfortunately we will never have complete closure on this tragedy as it will be impossible to determine and share what exactly happened and why, but that won’t stop some from trying to shed some light on the facts. Since the tragedy there have been a couple of books released attempting to do just that, the latest from ECW Press is “Chris & Nancy – The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide & Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death” written by Irv Muchnick.
The opening pages of the book feature a profile on the author Irv Muchnick and why he is such a hated man within the offices of the WWE. For years he has published very well written articles and books on some of the more controversial subjects in WWE’s history. Unlike some haters, Muchnick is not someone who is spewing hate blindly, he knows what he is talking about and often has some evidence to prove it, this book is no exception. Using evidence from the actual public records of the investigation Muchnick and takes his “best stab at (explaining) what it all means”
The 1st chapter gives you a summary of the events of that tragic weekend in the summer of 2007. It is thorough enough to give you a fairly clear picture on the events of that weekend, and also begins exposing and debating upon some of the evidence. For example using references to autopsy reports Muchnick gives you insight into what exactly were the causes of death.
From there you get chapters on the lives of Chris Benoit and his wife Nancy, as well as a recap of the problems Benoit had to live through as his close personal friends began to drop off like fly’s. These are expected chapters but not the strength of the book as it attempts to maintain the balance between telling the story of their lives without delving into too much detail. Depending on how much you know about Chris Benoit’s life you could love or hate these chapters as its easy to point out some of the missing information and point out what should of or should not of been included. That being said the life and times of Chris Benoit is not what this book is intended to be and not what you should be buying this book for, after all the title eludes to the fact that it wants to tell you the true story of the Benoit murder-suicide.
The most important question to answer then is whether or not the book is able to establish itself as the best reference tool when researching this topic. Covering the events of that weekend, the progression of who knew what and when, the Monday night tribute, the text messages, how the investigation was completed and how the media handled the entire mess, as well as the fallout from the tragedy including the Dr Phil Astin investigation and congress’s smackdown on the world of wrestling and it’s rampant substance use, this book is undoubtedly a strong reference tool. Along the way there is some conspiracy theory thinking and personal opinion which you may agree or disagree with. If you disagree with it you may be one to not put as much stock into what he is offering as the truth, but you shouldn’t as this is an extremely well written account of the tragic events.
I have come to realize that when this topic comes up from time to time there are those who do not want to hear about it or discuss it at all. They are just done with it all together. However I am the complete opposite, Since that day in 2007 ive wanted to learn as much as I can about the tragedy and why it happened. If your like me then you’ll absolutely love this book. Some of the other books released about Benoit since the tragedy focus more on his career and less on the investigation, this is the opposite and uses actual police material that Muchnick obtained which to me makes this the best book published on the subject to date. Trust me when I say there is a lot to be learned in reading this book.
In addition to the book, author Irv Muchnick is selling a companion DVD that contains all of the investigation evidence that he obtained including crime scene photos, 911 audio, and transcripts of text messages and statements, you can check out www.muchnick.net for more details on that.