I think the photo is a fake. Look at it. Those bleachers are maybe 3-4 feet off the ground. THOSE were being used at Metlife Stadium? By WWE? I think not. My theory is that the local radio station did it to be funny and everyone else jumped on it. It's probably a picture from a game that was played somewhere. I walked the entire length of Metlife Stadium on Sunday and saw nothing that looked like those bleachers. I really expect that it will come out that it was a repurposed photo.
I have been reading your questions/answers column for a while and have been noticing that you seem to have an unfair view of Chris Benoit. I am not justifying what he did or attempt to make any excuses for the man. However his accomplishments in wrestling can't be ignored. He was one of best technical wrestlers ever. He could make any wrestler who was bad look good and the greats looked even better. What he did was horrible but I believe that he wasn't in his right mind. As a former football player I know what a concussion can do to a person. I had one in high school where I believed that I didn't have legs. (That is said in complete honesty) Chris Benoit is estimated to have suffered multiple concussions. Many of these were likely suffered with a short amount of time in between. The man shouldn't have been wrestling as often as he was. However I believe he loved the business and wanted to work hurt. The event bookers and doctors had a responsibility to stop him but didn't. That being said do you think the blame was still his? I would appreciate your honest perspective on this.
First of all, you say you won't make excuses for the man, then you use concussions as a reason why he was out of his mind. I know all too well what a concussion can do to a person as I had a severe concussion in a car wreck in 2001 and it took a long time before I felt like myself again. I remember all too frighteningly the conversations I would have with people and then having them again, because I wouldn't remember that we had already spoken about the same subject ten minutes earlier. So, as someone who has had at least 3-4 concussions in his life, I understand how dangerous and scary they can do.
All that said, I don't care whether the person was Chris Benoit or Vince McMahon - at the end of the day, he murdered his wife and then the next day, he murdered his young son. You can have sympathy for him all you want, but as Bob Holly wrote in his book, you can't say that concussions were the cause unless you are making excuses - this was a guy who remembered every spot, was never late and remembered everything that was said to him. That's not something that someone who has signs of dementia or Alzheimer's will be able to do daily. Benoit did.
I was a Benoit fan from the first time I saw him as Pegasus Kid in New Japan. I loved watching his climb to the top of the business and yes, he was the best ever at what he did but at the end of the day, he took his own little boy and killed him. I can understand being in a toxic relationship with another adult and something bad happening. I can never, ever understand putting your hands around a little child and killing them. At the end of the day, Benoit was a great wrestler but he was also a murderer. The latter will always trump the former.
There are a lot of people who knew Chris who say he must not have been in his right mind that weekend. I tend to agree with them, but at the end of the day, the blame for his actions go to him and him alone and with that, comes the reality that they will always erase what he worked so hard to achieve.
Benoit was the guy everyone held on a pedestal as the best pro wrestling had to offer. He was also the guy that destroyed that distinction, forever. That view is not, as you said, unfair - it's rational. The man murdered his child. That is fact, not an unfair accusation.
Do you think that the wrestlers know how a story/match (series of) will play out ahead of time. Such as on Smackdown, Kofi defeated Cesaro. Do you think Cesaro knows he will drop belt at say ER or Payback, if he were to?
It depends on the talent. I know that the top tier talents usually know where they are going a few months in advance, although plans change all the time. The lower tier-wrestlers never really know more than a week or so out.
. How come Michael Tarver appeared in the background but was never used in the ring?
He did from time to time. He was just released before he was used in any real prominent role.
I've read that in the old Apter magazines, several of the writers were simply Bill Apter using a psuedonym. I'm curious if this is true, particularly in the case of heel columnist Dan Shocket who supposedly died of cancer.
Dan Shockett was a real writer. There were times that Bill and others wrote as other writers. I can tell you that Stu Saks, Apter, Andy Rodriguez, Bob Smith, Brandi Mankiewicz, Steve Anderson, Dan Murphy and Eddie Ellner was all legitimate writers.
My question is, you have been talking a lot about The Undertakers physical 'condition,' I was just curious if you knew what his health problems were (minus his age) and why it's keeping him from being physically active in the ring. If you choose not to answer out of respect for his personal life, I totally understand, but I was just curious!
Undertaker has had a lot of shoulder, back and knee problems. It's the cumulative effect of decades of working in the ring and the injuries that come with it.