AEW’s Matt Hardy has recently opened the lid on the death of Chris Benoit and how he and his fellow WWE Superstar learnt about the fatal news. Benoit was found dead on 24th June 2007 in his home, and the WWE quickly put together a tribute show for the Canadian star, just as they had done for Eddie Guerrero two years prior.
However, information soon came to light that made them regret their decision. It was revealed that The Rabid Wolverine killed both him son and wife, before hanging himself in his garage. WWE immediately retracted all statements regarding his death and condemned him for his action and promised to never mention Chris Benoit again – something which they have honoured over 15 years later.
The news came as a shock to all, but especially the wrestlers who shared a locker room with him over the decades. Chris Jericho refused to believe he did the murders at all, but later on came to terms that a man he called his best friend did do these action. The killings are largely attributed to the state of his brain, which was like an “86 year old Alzheimer patient”.
Matt Hardy was a part of the WWE locker room in 2007. He was regularly teaming with brother Jeff Hardy at that point, as The Hardy Boyz, and was embarking on a Smackdown solo run which would see him in an incredible multi-month feud with MVP over the United States Championship. He was not known to be close to Benoit, but had shared his time in the WWE with him since the Canadian’s debut in the company in 2000.
Speaking on his The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, the former ECW Champion spoke about how the talent in WWE found out about Chris Benoit’s death. He revealed WWE called a roster-wide meeting with all the talent, including The Undertaker, to let them know that their friend was dead. At this time the details were unknown so nobody quite knew how bad his actions truly were.
“They had this talent meeting, they call everyone together. I’ll never forget I saw ‘Taker coming out slowly, walking out to where all the crowd was gathered around. I saw Michelle McCool like, crying. I remember turning to Ken Kennedy and going, ‘Chris is dead.’ I saw Undertaker and Michelle coming and Undertaker would’ve been given the heads up and Michelle’s just so upset, I thought ‘he’s gotta be dead.’”
“Keep in mind, we’ve been walking around all day long. There’s caskets in several different places for shots they’re going to do about Vince. There’s all these wreaths everywhere. There’s flowers everywhere, like it’s really like a funeral home.
“It was a super eerie day and even having walking around all day seeing that funeral stuff, it was just a weird, creepy day. Corpus Christi, Texas. I’ll never forget it. I remember it like it was yesterday and how shocking it just was.”
The caskets and funeral equipment in question that were all around were due to the planned funeral for Vince McMahon that night on Raw. He had been “killed” the week prior in a breath-taking limousine explosion, and the WWE Universe was on tenterhooks, excited to see the next beat in the story (which was meant to lead to Mr Kennedy vs Triple H at Wrestlemania 24).
Less than 24 hours after being honoured by a tribute episode of Monday Night Raw, the truth that Chris Benoit killing his son and wife finally came to light. This completely changed the mood backstage and the world of wrestling was changed forever. Concussion began to be taken more seriously and there was more scrutiny than ever on the WWE, with various former and current wrestlers taking part in massive interviews with huge news stations and talk show hosts.
The full episode of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy can be watched below.