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Wrestling-Online Newsletter #2507

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  • Colin Vassallo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2007
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      Tuesday July 3rd 2007 Issue #2507
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      Visit our website at http://www.wrestling-online.com
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      //->> OPENING WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
      Colin Vassallo -[editor@...]-

      The Chris Benoit family murders/suicide story has been added to our Special
      Report section on Wrestling-Online.com. SR is a section that tackles the big
      stories and lists all the news in chronological order. You can check it out
      at http://www.wrestling-online.com/specialreport


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      //->> NEWS FROM THE WRESTLING-ONLINE NEWSWIRE
      Web version at -[http://www.wrestling-online.com/news%5d-


      > BENOIT STEROIDS PRESCRIPTIONS COULD ROCK THE WELLNESS PROGRAM CREDIBILITY
      - The death of Chris Benoit could have the biggest impact in World Wrestling
      Entertainment and its Wellness Program program. Introduced after Eddie
      Guerrero passed away in late 2005, the Wellness Program randomly tests WWE
      Superstars for steroid use and other medication which wasn't in their system
      after their baseline test. According to the DEA, Chris Benoit received a ten
      month supply of steroids every three to four weeks in the period of May 2006
      to May 2007 from his personal physician Dr. Phil Astin. WWE sent a press
      release last week saying that Benoit was tested in the beginning of April of
      this year for steroid use and the results came in negative. The news of
      Benoit receiving that large amount of steroids every four weeks puts the
      Wellness Program credibility in jeopardy regardless of the outcome of the
      toxicology reports.
      - [Discuss: http://www.wrestling-online.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=4828]


      > DR. ASTIN LOSES MEDICAL LICENSE, UNDER HOUSE ARREST
      - Dr. Phil Astin - who surrendered himself yesterday - was arrested by
      Georgia police and charged with seven counts of distributing painkillers and
      other drugs to other clients, a case brought forward by the federal
      government. He was later released on a $125,000 secured bond however his
      freedom came with a few conditions. His medical license was revoked and he
      was placed under house arrest and forced to wear an electronic monitoring
      ankle bracelet. Astin's lawyer, Manny Arora, said his client was innocent of
      the charges and said that Astin never prescribed steroids to Chris Benoit -
      a friend for the past six years. DEA agents stormed his offices twice last
      week and took computers, files and other information that could spell big
      trouble for other wrestlers or sports celebrities who were prescribed with
      drugs and steroids. The search warrant was obtained by the website
      TheSmokingGun.com and you can read it at
      http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0702071benoit1.html
      - [Discuss: http://www.wrestling-online.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=4827]


      > WWE STANDS BY ITS DRUG TESTING POLICY
      - In comments given to Newsday.com, WWE said that its testing program is one
      of the most aggressive of its kind compared to other tests by competitive
      sports organizations and as WWE put it, it's "unique for an entertainment
      company." Despite the reports of Benoit getting a huge chunk of steroids
      every couple of weeks, WWE stood firm by its tests although the company said
      that it would make any improvements necessary to maintain it as a
      "state-of-the-art program to the utmost betterment of our performers, fans,
      and business partners." WWE said that the abuse of drugs and steroids is
      unacceptable in the company. Dr. Gary Wadler, a Manhasset steroid expert
      criticized WWE's drug test policy calling it woefully lacking. He said that
      WWE allows for a higher threshold of testosterone in a person's system than
      in other sports before considering a steroid test positive. The company
      gives wrestlers up to an hour's notice before the test is done. Dr. Wadler
      also noted that WWE prohibits only 'non-medical use' of banned drugs and
      allows wrestlers to provide a doctor's explanation for use even after
      testing positive.
      - [Discuss: http://www.wrestling-online.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=4828]


      > FUNERAL SERVICE FOR NANCY AND DANIEL BENOIT
      - Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com is reporting that Nancy and Daniel Benoit's
      funerals will be held on Saturday July 14th at the Lady of Lourdes Catholic
      Church in Daytona Beach, FL., starting at 1PM. The address is 201 University
      Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32118. No funeral arrangements for Chris Benoit have
      been made yet although it will happen where his parents live in Alberta,
      Canada.
      - [Discuss: http://www.wrestling-online.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=4802]


      ======================================================

      //->> WELCOME TO THE JUMBLE
      By Jen Robinson -[jenwrestlingonline@...]-

      Hello, Wrestling-Online readers, and Welcome to the Jumble!

      It's been over a week and yet I still don't know how to feel about the
      double murder-suicide that took place at the Benoit home in Georgia. Last
      week when I wrote my column, I was still in shock from the initial
      announcement that Chris and his family were dead. One of the things I said
      was that I took comfort in knowing Chris was with friends like Eddie
      Guerrero and Owen Hart. Several readers wrote in and blasted me for saying
      something like that. What they didn't realize was that I made that comment
      BEFORE the police had announced who they thought committed the murders. At
      the time of my writing, I had just heard the term "murder-suicide" mentioned
      but no one was saying who did what. Was it Chris? Was it Nancy? Was it both?
      Did Nancy do something to their son and Chris snapped when he found out?
      Rumors were running rampant but no one was saying anything for sure. It
      wasn't until after I'd already sent my column to Colin, my editor, that the
      investigation seemed to focus on Chris.

      I can't apologize for what I said last week. That was honestly what I was
      feeling at the exact moment I sat down at my computer to begin typing. If I
      knew then what I know now, what I said would probably have been very
      different.

      Since I still can't put into words what I'm feeling about this tragedy, I'd
      like to focus instead on the reactions we've all been hearing from the
      media, former wrestlers, ex-wives, and so on. Who should be the ones
      commenting on what happened? Who should really keep their mouths shut?
      Should the media be so quick to jump to conclusions?

      Let's start with the tribute show on June 25th and the programming that came
      after. I did not, and still don't, have any problem with the WWE scrapping
      the "Vince was blown up" storyline in favor of a three-hour tribute to a
      wrestler and his family who were found dead in their home. The WWE didn't
      know, just as the rest of us didn't know, who was responsible for the
      deaths. They did what they felt was right at the time, and that was to honor
      a great wrestler and the family who loved him. After the show was over and
      investigators began pointing their fingers at Benoit as the perpetrator,
      some people began saying the WWE was wrong to have ever aired the tribute
      because Benoit was a murderer and shouldn't have been honored. They said it
      was like glorifying what he'd done. Some said the WWE should've waited until
      more details had been released before they decided whether to do the tribute
      or not. I think the WWE was between a rock and a hard place on this one.
      They knew Chris and his family were dead and maybe they were suspicious or
      had been given the impression that it was a murder-suicide, but they didn't
      know that for sure. What if they hadn't done the tribute and it was revealed
      someone broke into the Benoit home and murdered the family? Then WWE
      would've been criticized for NOT doing a tribute show. In my opinion, Vince
      and company did what they thought was best and shouldn't be condemned for
      it. The very next night, Vince appeared on ECW and stated there would be no
      further mentions of Benoit's name on their programming. The show was
      dedicated to everyone who had been affected by the tragedy and was the
      "first step in the healing process." I really don't think Vince could've
      said or done anything other than that. It was the right decision.

      I'd really like to slap some of the media for their comments lately. Some of
      them do sound like they've done their homework and know their facts, but
      there are many who just plain sound stupid. They are really quick to jump on
      the "WWE is bad and hands out steroids that make their wrestlers go nuts"
      bandwagon when no one knows for sure yet whether steroids had anything to do
      with what happened or not. It's just too easy to blame the WWE. Now I won't
      absolve the WWE of all blame because perhaps their Wellness Program still
      needs some tweaking, but I'm not going to lay the blame solely on them. And
      who knows what the toxicology tests will tell us? Perhaps Chris was
      suffering from some form of mental illness that had nothing to do with
      steroids or other drugs. No one knows and it's irresponsible of the media to
      point the finger at drugs before they know that's really the cause.

      This brings me to the comments from the wrestlers, both past and present,
      and other people who either are still involved in wrestling in some way or
      used to be. Some of the interviews I've heard, especially those of Chris
      Jericho and Bret Hart who were actually friends of Benoit's, were excellent.
      They spoke of what a good guy Chris was, of how much he loved his son and
      how he would fly home for a few hours between shows just to spend time with
      Daniel. They also didn't come right out and blame steroids but said to wait
      for what the tests would say. The pain in their eyes and their voices was
      tangible. These men lost a dear friend, someone they loved like a brother.
      These were the people who the media should've been speaking to all along,
      not the people who didn't even know Benoit very well. I mean, honestly, just
      because you work with someone or have worked with him/her in the past does
      not necessarily mean you know him/her. You might be acquaintances but maybe
      not friends. There's a difference, and unfortunately I think some of
      Benoit's acquaintances were doing more talking than they should've been
      unless they were truly his friends.

      I felt the worst among the interviews was Bret's brother Bruce Hart. Bruce
      claimed Benoit was a "delusional juice freak" that couldn't distinguish
      between reality and his wrestling character. He said the last time he saw
      Chris he knew Chris was in trouble and he wasn't surprised by what happened.
      Supposedly he was "reminiscing" one day with Hillbilly Jim and told him he
      was worried about Benoit. My first reaction to his words was, "What the heck
      are you smoking??" If Bruce really, truly thought there was a problem with
      Chris and steroids or depression or whatever, then why didn't he tell
      someone? Why didn't he do more to help Chris? Telling Hillbilly Jim, if
      that's what he really did, sure didn't help. Why didn't he talk to Bret
      about his concerns? Bret could've either talked to Benoit or maybe called
      someone like Chris Jericho or Lance Storm and asked one of them to talk to
      Benoit. You don't just stand idly by and let your friend walk down the road
      to darkness. Granted, your friend might get angry at you for talking about
      him/her and might refuse to admit he/she has a problem, but if you could
      save your friend's life wouldn't you do it? Even if it meant your friend got
      mad at you? I know I would. If I seriously thought there was a problem, I'd
      do whatever I could to get my friend some help.

      So what am I saying overall? I'm asking everyone to please don't let the
      media or acquaintances sway your thoughts on what has happened. Let's wait
      for the results of the tests and then decide where the brunt of the blame
      must lay. We also need to realize that we may never know what happened in
      that house during those sad days. The only people who might be able to tell
      us for sure are gone.

      Before I go, I'd like to take a moment and change subjects to something
      happier. My all-time favorite wrestler, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, celebrated
      his 50th birthday this past Monday, July 2nd. Happy Birthday, Bret! I hope
      you were able to have a nice day even while still trying to make sense of
      this latest tragedy in your life.

      Take care, everyone, and I'll see you next week!



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