Since it was first broadcast to the masses in the late 1940s, wrestling has been entertainment juggernaut. Kids across the globe have repeatedly dived high from the top ropes of bunk beds and cabinets in an effort to emulate their muscle-bound heroes. It’s true, to fans, these WWE superstars are larger than life. So, when Chris Benoit, the most popular and decorated athlete in the business was found dead in his home, alongside the bodies of his murdered wife and child, the wrestling world was understandably shocked.
The reports were chilling. Over a three-day period, Chris Benoit turned from wrestling hero to villain, leaving fans with little to hold onto. Theories involved steroid abuse, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injuries have plagued the tragedy ever since, but in the 13 years that have passed, few questions about the Chris Benoit double-murder suicide have been answered. Now, a new episode of Vice’s hit documentary series Dark Side of the Ring is helping provide some closure for fans. And it appears interest in the story hasn’t waned.
The Chris Benoit Dark Side of the Ring episode kicked off season two of the acclaimed series. The two-part documentary was expected to draw a crowd, but the season premiere blew expectations out of the water. According to Nielse data, the initial airing at 9 p.m. drew an estimated 320,000 viewers, making it the best rating Vice original telecast in history. Dark Side of the Ring also reportedly brought in 1.2 million viewers across three telecasts on March 24, up 119% on the first season premiere in total viewers.
The episode features interviews with those closest to Benoit, including Chavo Guerrero, nephew of the late Eddie Guerrero, Eddie’s widow, Vickie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Nancy’s sister Sandra Toffoloni and Chris’ other son, David Benoit. Jim Ross and Chris Jericho also make an appearance in the documentary, with Jericho revealing the release should put an end to the saga. “I think we should kind of put the cap on it,’ he told Complex. “You know, after writing about it in books and all that other stuff. I think that the best way to kind of say what I felt, kind of just leave it at that.”
Vice has made the two-part premiere available in its entirety on YouTube, with part one currently at over 2.2 million views, while part two has over 1.1 million. The YouTube clips aren’t available in Australia, but Aussie fans can check out the Chris Benoit Dark Side of the Ring documentary through SBS on-demand.
Whether you are a wrestling fan or not, the Chris Benoit Dark Side of the Ring episode is a wild ride. Thrilling, tragic and shocking, the two-part documentary has all the hallmarks of a great wrestling match, sadly played out in real-life.