It has been 16-years since Chris Benoit killed himself and his family, yet new information continues to come out about the former World Heavyweight Champion.
Benoit was regarded as one of the best wrestlers the WWE had on their roster in 2007, despite being drafted the ECW brand earlier that year. He was moved to the third brand after Kurt Angle left the company the year prior, and was given the task of shepherding young stars like CM Punk and John Morrison toward the main event status he had enjoyed for the past three years.
The Canadian was actually scheduled to win the ECW Championship on the night of his death. WWE booked a tournament to crown the vacant ECW Championship, featuring Benoit, CM Punk, Elijah Burke and Marcus Cor Von.
The final was supposed to be CM Punk vs Chris Benoit, but due to his death by suicide on the night of June 24, 2007, Johnny Nitro replaced Chris Benoit in the match. Nitro won the title, although he would later drop the belt to CM Punk.
Due to the circumstances surrounding his death, Chris Benoit was removed from the WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2008 Video Game, causing a huge delay in the game that always cost the company million of dollars.
Chris Benoit In Smackdown vs Raw 2008
Chris Benoit’s death caused WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2008 to be heavily delayed, almost causing them to miss the Holiday 2007 deadline.
The 2008 edition of the game was a marquee release for publisher THQ. It was the first time the ECW brand had been included in the game, and the extreme wrestlers were a key selling point for the game – as was the ECW Extreme Rules matchup, a new addition to the game.
As Chris Benoit was set to win the vacant ECW Championship at Vengeance 2007, he was to be a key part of the games’ various game modes. It is rumored that he had a key role in the WWE 24/7 mode (the games version of their “seasons mode”), and was likely involved in multiple matches and cutscenes.
The magazine “Games Master” included references to Benoit in their previous of the game in June 2007, with that month’s issue being released just one day after the Canadian’s untimely death.
In Games Master (magazine), they published an article on the game where the main star/wrestler is Chris Benoit. Unfortunately, the magazine was released the day AFTER the suicide and it was already published. Ouch! On another note… it was said he would be on the front cover (double ouch!). In the end, it’s up to THQ to decide whether they go for money, or for having a dead person in their game… hard choice.
THQ had to do a lot of work to remove Benoit so close to the games release. They had to do things like edit out commentary relating to Benoit, alter the season mode angles, change crowd signs in support of The Crippler, and his moves from the create-a-wrestler portion of the game.
The crippler cross-face and diving headbutt moves were also removed from the game due to their close relation to Benoit, even though he was not the inventor of the move. This limited the charters fans could make in the Create-A-Wrestler suite, with legends like The Dynamite Kid no longer being able to be given their iconic moves.
All time-consuming efforts that caused a huge delay in the game. There are also rumors that Chris Benoit was going to be one of the cover stars of Smackdown vs Raw 2008. The final version had three wrestlers, each representing one of the WWE brands.
WWE Champion John Cena represented Raw, World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker represented Smackdown, while Bobby Lashley, curiously, was picked to represent ECW. While he was a two-time ECW Champion, Lashley was drafted to Raw following WrestleMania 23, and was not a part of the ECW roster.
It makes sense that the plan was to include an ECW Championship-holding Chris Benoit on the cover, alongside the other two all-time greats. While THQ could have drafted in CM Punk or Johnny Nitro to star on the front cover, Lashley was a bigger name at that point, and well known for his work on ECW.
Due to the delay for removing Chris Benoit, Smackdown vs Raw 2008 was released on the 9 November 2007 in Europe, and on 13 November 2007 in the US, hitting their Christmas deadline.
Chris Benoit’s Last Video Game Appearance
The last video game Chris Benoit appeared in as a playable character was Smackdown vs Raw 2007. The former World Heavyweight Champion was part of the Smackdown roster on the game, in what was his seventh and final appearance in a wrestling video game.
Chris Benoit was 90-rated in Smackdown vs Raw 2007, making him one of the best wrestlers on the game.
While he is not included in the latest WWE games, there is one way you can play as Chris Benoit in WWE 2K23. Click here to find out more details.
Chris Benoit’s Last Match
Chris Benoit’s last match ever was against Elijah Burke on ECW on June 19 2007.
The pair wrestled in the semi final of the ECW Championship Tournament, after the title was vacated by Bobby Lashley when he was drafted to RAW. It was a short match that opened the episode of ECW. The match lasted a little over five minutes, and was a fairly even match given the stature of both men in WWE.
However, of what little content the match had, it showed just how far gone the brain was of Chris Benoit. It was clear by his actions in the ring that he was not right, and made his death the following weekend make some modicum of sense (although the murder of his wife and child were utterly senseless)
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.