It’s been over a decade since the death of Chris Benoit, the tragic events surrounding the passing away of Chris Benoit. But before the awful double-murder/suicide that took the lives of his wife Nancy, their son Daniel, and ultimately himself, Chris Benoit was one of the greatest pro wrestlers on the planet.
On a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho, Dave Meltzer told a story about going out with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit after a tag match in Japan where they tore the house down. Meltzer said he congratulated them for having a great match and they replied, “you really think so?” Afterwards Dave said the two wrestling legends spent time pointing out every inaccuracy in the match.
Chris Jericho went on to tell a very similar story about how hard Chris Benoit was on himself.
“I remember I worked with Chris [Benoit] once in Japan — tag team match when I started going to New Japan when I started with WCW […] I went for a spinkick and I missed” Jericho said. “But I only missed to the point where no one would see it because Chris bumped so fast that we just continued on. It wasn’t like when you screw up or a blatant mistake. It was like I didn’t hit him as crispy as I should of but he still bumped.”
“After the match was done I went looking for him” Jericho continued. “I couldn’t find him anywhere. I found him in the boiler room doing squats. And I said, ‘what are you doing?’ — and he said, ‘you know I never should have bumped off that that was so unprofessional of me and it was such a bad rookie mistake, I had to do squats.’ He did five-hundred squats as like purging himself for making that mistake.”
“You know, when you hear things like that then you kinda equate it to the last few days [of Benoit’s life]. There was a lot of issues with him. Even though he was so good, maybe one of the best ever, maybe the best ever in a lot of ways. He still had that self confidence problem — like you said, asking you if that match was good. Really?”
Jericho and Meltzer continued talking about Chris Benoit’s confidence for a while and how much of a perfectionist he was.
If you can take it out of your mind how horribly Benoit’s life ended it’s hard to argue he was one of the best of all time. Benoit’s standards he held himself to were probably unattainable, but he used every bit of that driving force to make himself one of the best.