WWE has attempted to distance themselves from Chris Benoit since his career and life ended in a murder–suicide on June 24, 2007. With the exception of his results and listings in WWE.com’s title history (though summaries of his title reigns have been removed), and select content published when he was alive, he is generally not acknowledged by the sports entertainment organization. All mentions of Benoit have been removed from archived footage broadcast on WWE Classics On Demand whenever possible. Matches and other footage involving Benoit have appeared very sparingly on new video releases. Benoit was, however, listed in the first WWE Encyclopedia volume released in 2009, where his wrestling career up to where he lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton in 2004 is detailed, along with title history. A second volume is scheduled for release this September and author Kevin Sullivan confirmed that Benoit is once again listed.
When asked via Twitter whether the new edition will have a Benoit section, Sullivan responded, “Yes, he does.”
Vince McMahon stated during a 2009 interview with WWE Magazine for “The Untold History of the WWE” issue that it is okay to acknowledge Benoit within a historical context but not in a promotional manner.
“It’s not right to pretend he didn’t exist,” he said when asked whether Benoit’s history can be acknowledged by WWE. “It’s one thing to include him as part of a historical perspective, which I believe is okay, and it’s another thing to promote him, which is not okay.
“The situation is very similar to that of O.J. Simpson—despite his controversy, O.J. was still a part of the NFL scene. You can’t deny that he existed.”
Over a three-day period ending on June 24, 2007. Benoit killed his wife, Nancy Benoit, strangled his seven-year-old son, Daniel, and subsequently committed suicide by hanging.
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