The season two premiere episode of Dark Side of the Ring on the Chris Benoit tragedy garnered the series its highest ratings to date. But many thought there was one key figure missing from the interviews included and that’s Nancy’s former husband and longtime wrestler/booker Kevin Sullivan.
Producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisener discussed Sullivan’s absence on Dark Side of the Podcast hosted by Conrad Thompson.
“The only person who was on the list that we wanted to have in the story and someone that we planned to have in the story was Kevin Sullivan,” said Evan. “Mostly because he was there so early on in Nancy’s career and highlighting Nancy’s career was such an important aspect of this project as her legacy has been tarnished and swept under the rug since the events of 2007…
“We wanted to highlight aspects of her personal life and have him commentate directly. That was always the intention. When we reached out to him, it was tough because for him it was a complicated family situation between him and Nancy’s family.”
Evan and Jason said they had talked to Sullivan before at an event but it was about other Dark Side episodes and not necessarily the Benoit one.
“He’s a fan of the show, but for him I think his participation… I just realized it was a much more complicated situation than as simple as a yes or no,” stated Evan before adding that he got the impression that Kevin didn’t want to upset Nancy’s family by appearing in the episode.
Sullivan is involved in one of the many conspiracy theories regarding the double murder/suicide with some wrestling fans thinking he was somehow involved. The producers discussed the presence of those conspiracy theories and how they handled them in producing the episode.
“In our piece, we don’t even really dive into conspiracy theories like people thought Kevin Sullivan was involved in the murder,” said Jason. “When you really sit down with the people involved and who were there, and when you come out of the experience when watching our episode, I think it leaves zero doubt in what happened and how it really affected people.
The wrestling audience is seeing the ramifications after all of these years, the people closest to the story are affected every day.”
“In the early cuts of the episode, we did have a section that addressed the conspiracy theories,” revealed Evan. “When we talked to Nancy’s sister Sandra or we talked to David [Benoit] about it, it was a pain for them for that to keep coming up again.
It makes it harder in their grieving process and coming to terms with all of this… I felt like when it was in there, giving any credence to this just didn’t feel appropriate.”