On June 24, 2007, WWE wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel in their Fayetteville, Georgia, home before committing suicide. Toxicology tests revealed that the Canadian native had Xanax as well as hydrocodone in his system. His body also contained an elevated level of testosterone, which is caused by synthetic testosterone, a steroid.
On October 1st, ECW, a Toronto-based publisher, will publish Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport by four veteran professional wrestling writers: Steven Johnson, Greg Oliver, Irvin Muchnick, and Heath McCoy.
"It was sort of a natural fit for us when the tragedy occurred," said senior editor Michael Holmes. "I’ve been involved in wrestling one way or another for quite a while and doing books on it and I thought we had one of the best stables of writers to actually put some perspective to the issue because a lot of our writers were being called by the national media both in Canada and especially the United States to appear on shows like Nancy Grace and things like that. When all of our writers are being asked to talk about the issue it probably would be a good idea for us to put together an anthology of essays with them discussing the real issues at hand in a way they couldn’t on commercial television."
The book will consist of an introduction, and four new extensive essays: Johnson discusses the media’s coverage of the story and the role of the media in the story itself; Oliver discusses Benoit’s story in the context of the pro-wrestling industry and personal correspondence with Benoit; McCoy establishes the facts of the case and Benoit’s Alberta roots; Irv Muchnick gives his opinion on the significance to pop culture and the place of the tragedy in wrestling’s dark history.
The book will be distributed by IPG. Holmes said he expects a 10,000-20,000-copy first printing, as well as extensive media exposure for the authors.
"I think in the last 20 years you’ve seen wrestlers dying between the ages of 20 and 40 in unbelievable numbers and it’s only because they’ve been doing steroids for that long...I think it’s not going to be long before you see athletes in other professions suffering heart failure and suffering kidney failure in the same way you’re seeing it in professional wrestlers," Holmes said. He added that the book is intended call attention to the danger of steroid abuse. "So we’re trying to actually do something good with this book and not do something that’s a crash title, that exploits a hot-button issue."