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TOMMY DREAMER, CHAVO GUERRERO & MORE DISCUSS DARK SIDE OF THE RING'S BENOIT DOCUMENTARY, CONCUSSIONS, CTE, THE LINGERING EFFECTS OF BENOIT TRAGEDY AND MORE: VICE TV AFTER THE DARK REPORT

By Mike Johnson on 2020-03-25 10:30:00

The first episode of Dark Side of the Ring – After Dark premiered last night on Vice TV following the series’ Chris Benoit documentary.

Host Chris Gethard was joined by Tommy Dreamer, Chavo Guerrero (who helped produce the episode) and comedian Ben Kissinger, who was introduced as a super wrestling fan.

Gethard noted that the story of the Benoit was tragedy was told in the doc from the perspective of those who loved Benoit.  Guerrero said they were as shocked as the rest of the world, if not more, because they knew him.  He said that you hear that you never knew someone.  He thinks about the situation every day and it’s something that has greatly affected him.

Gethard noted that Dreamer and Guerrero had each closely worked with Nancy Benoit during her career in the business.  Dreamer said that Nancy helped him early on in his career, noting that she was a big proponent of his career and was part of the Sandman caning angle that was designed to show how tough he was.  As beautiful as she was, she was equally beautiful on the inside.  Dreamer said he cried after watching the documentary.  It was able to answer some questions.  Benoit had stayed and lived with him at his parents house when he wanted to stay and learn how to talk on the mic and how to edit.  They had lost touch when Benoit went to WCW but like Chavo said in the doc, the tragedy was the darkest day for professional wrestling.  He said he re-lived the situation watching the doc and that made him cry.  He said that everyone in wrestling is a family and going through all those emotions again, that’s what you miss not being on the road with everyone – you relive all those emotions again.

They aired a deleted scene with David Benoit talking about inappropriate comments he receives online.  Guerrero notes that fans tweet him the same final message Chris Benoit texted him. Benoit asked people to stop, noting he and Nancy’s family have suffered enough.

Gethard asked Chavo what people get out of acting like that.  Guerrero said he feels people forget that others are human beings when they are hiding behind keyboards.  He said there’s not enough love in the world so people spread hate.  Dreamer said on your worst day, you don’t want people coming at you, and people should remember this is someone’s son, brother, etc.

Gethard brought up CTE and asked them if CTE is still as prevalent as it was and whether wrestling companies are trying to stay on top of it.  Guerrero said that companies are trying to do their part to be conscious of it.  Dreamer said he once received three concussions in a week.  He worries about it but he doesn’t regret it, because that’s what he did.  Dreamer said all sports have evolved and WWE has gone “above and beyond” trying to protect their athletes. 

Dreamer said everyone has to keep on progressing and moving forward.  He noted that he’s donated his brain to Chris Nowinski’s Sports Legacy Foundation because he feels if they can learn anything from his brain, it’s important.

Gethard went back to Dreamer suffering three concussions over the course of one week.  He said that makes his jaw drop and asked how many concussions the average wrestler gets.  Dreamer said it’s hard to tell.  He said that Van Dam has a hell of a documentary titled Headstrong and in it, RVD says he believes he’s had 100 concussions.  Dreamer said he used to fight through concussions.  RVD used to kick a chair into his head as hard as he can.  He would feel everything going dark and he would fight it, then there would be light and he would feel himself “pop out” of the concussion and everything was moving fast with slow audio of people.  He’d then pop right out of it and that was all the time.

Dreamer noted Chris Jericho referenced being slapped by Benoit in the doc and told a story about being out on his feet after being slapped by Bob Holly on WWE Velocity.  He wrestled for nine minutes unconscious and woke up while being given his finish.  He wondered why he was sleeping in the ring during the match.  He kept repeating to Holly over and over asking how the match was.  He said Holly was kind of a jerk then but Holly was good to him when learning he was out and said that Dreamer was great, leading to Dreamer to joke that perhaps he should have wrestled unconscious more.

Gethard noted that Benoit remains a divisive figure.  They aired a deleted scene with Dean Malenko talking about Benoit wrestling in Japan.  There was talk of how bad the hazing was in the Japanese dojos.  Chris Jericho said he wrestled Benoit for the first time in the Super J Cup.  Benoit slapped Jericho so hard he was out for a second.  Benoit later apologized for the slap, saying he wasn’t that good at them.  Jericho said that he was good because he nearly knocked him out.  He said Benoit was so believable in the ring, he was almost a God in the ring there and would be the top star and champion there now if he was wrestling today, he was so believable.

Gethard brought up the importance of Japan.  Chavo talked about his father going to Japan after being convinced by Dory Funk Sr.  There was a period where Japan was his primary place to go work because he was blackballed in the States.  His Dad was a big maverick because his mentors there were Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen and that’s why he was the rebel he was, noting Dreamer witnessed some of that personally when his dad dealt with Johnny Ace in WWE.  Dreamer said that he was asked to go to the dojos, but he had a girlfriend and he had ECW, so he didn’t.  It was a different mentality.  New Japan is still the number one company there but it was a different business and time.

Comedian Ben Kissinger noted he trained to be a pro wrestler for two months but the second he hit the ropes, he realized that it was better not to be hitting the hard ropes and he was thrilled to instead pursue a life in comedy and podcasting.

They aired a deleted scene with Chris Jericho discussing Eddie Guerrero’s personality and the importance of the Guerrero wrestling family.

Gethard asked Guerrero about doing inflammatory promos.  He said the Guerreros’ wanted to be heels and wanted to fight the fans all the way to the back and have to be smuggled out the back.  Vince McMahon once told him and his father that he liked them because they get heat and they weren’t afraid of anything.  He said he can’t give heat to people because they are afraid of it but they loved it.

Kissinger said that if anyone watching thinks they can hop in the ring because these are “fake fighters” they should think about what happened during the Bret Hart WWE Hall of Fame incident and how the “entire Hart family” kicked the crap out of them and that wrestlers are not to be messed with.

Gethard said as Chavo was saying he wanted to fight fans, Gethard was sitting there stunned and Dreamer was completed unphased like it was nothing

Dreamer laughed and said he wanted to say something about the documentary.  He said it really helped him learn a little bit about something that he held onto for a long time.  Time does heal wounds and there was some cleansing.  Chavo said there’s always a scar.  Dreamer said he loves Guerrero’s family and Chavo said that he loves him back.

They closed out with a sneak peek of next week’s episode on New Jack.

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