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 Post subject: Ring of Hell Review
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:01 am 
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Sorry it took so long. This is just my opinion, which as a fan of wrestling and Chris Benoit may be a bit biased.

In Ring Of Hell, author Matthew Randazzo V does his best to take us through the life of Chris Benoit beginning with his starting point with Stu Hart and the rest of the Hart clan until the double murder and suicide of Benoit's wife Nancy and son Daniel. While Randazzo tries to get into the mind of Chris Benoit, certain aspects (such as Benoit's respect for locker room etiquette) seem to be placed in the category of “unstable mental characteristics” for no reason other than to paint Benoit as a madman (as if his actions that fateful weekend weren't enough).

In recent interviews Randazzo has claimed to be a lifelong wrestling fan. However, if one hasn't heard or read these interviews they would assume that he was the Jack Thompson of wrestling, a lawyer who sees no redeeming qualities at all in the business and who's fans are all mentally stunted rednecks, who seemed to have stepped out of the movie Deliverance. This is a small complaint, but seeing as he needed to be unbiased in telling the Benoit story, his removal of the mark in him is understandable. Then again, by (even unknowingly) belittling the fans of the sport, it tends to put the readers on the defensive against someone who seems to be an elitist who feels that they are better than you by virtue.

As I mentioned earlier, Randazzo spends quite a bit of ink using Benoit's work ethic and respect for the business against him. Perhaps, Benoit was his own worst critic and unduly punished himself with Hindu Squats for what he saw as mistakes he made in a match which went unnoticed by most fans. However, for someone who looks at their job as an art form (which wrestling truly is), even the smallest mistake is enough to flaw the entire wok in their eyes. If a painter whitewashes an entire canvas because a stone on building looks wrong to him, he is considered a master, dedicated to his craft. If you are Chris Benoit, apparently you have the tell-tale signs of a serial killer. Another reason that this bothers me is the fact that inside the ring, you trust your opponent to protect you from serious harm. One slip up, no matter how small, can leave a person paralyzed or worse. To a consummate professional like Chris Benoit, protecting you opponent was paramount to everything, including his own well being. Now, that might have been a contributing factor to some of the multiple concussions he took, but you can't place blame on protecting his opponents in the ring and respecting the sport that men and women have sacrificed blood sweat and tears for, for the murders. That's like blaming Henry Cavendish (the man who discovered hydrogen gas) for the Hindenburg disaster.

Before it seems like I'm burying the book, let me take a few moments to give credit to some of the work that I did find particularly well done. First, I enjoyed the background into the Calgary wrestling era. There is such a myth about the greatness of the Hart's and in particular, Stu's Dungeon, that it was refreshing to see their real lives (not to mention Bret's attitude about having to be considered the best ever) being brought to light. Also, the section about Japan was well done, from the description of the training to the Japanese Mafia's influence was another nice touch. Although, from what I understand, Puerto Rico is just as bad with organized crime ties so maybe it should have been given a mention. Even though Benoit hadn't spent much time there (if any at all), there was the murder of Bruiser Brody which did go unpunished, even after getting the murderer.

I'm really torn on this book. One part of me thinks it's just a hit piece on pro wrestling and it's fans, yet the other half of me thinks that it was a book designed to trace the gradual mental breakdown of a murderer who happened to be a world famous athlete.

One thing it does though, it reminds me that, although murders and crimes happen in every sport or form of entertainment, wrestling is the one form of both that is looked at as the bottom of the barrel in terms of athletics, entertainment and fans, which is the absolute worst possible outcome that a book by a “professed” fan should do.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:41 am 
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Modern Day Nephilim

Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:52 am
Posts: 3423
Location: the D
Primus,

I'm surprised you had this reaction to the book.
With all due respect, I think it is is because you're too much of a wrestling fan.

Or maybe I just view it differently because I never liked the WWF/WWE and think it was ruined by the elimination of the territories and the subsequent monopoly Vince created.

I think Randazzo's assertion that Benoit committed the murders because he was a brain-damaged junkie is spot on.

How else do you explain a guy killing his son, then rebooking flights to his next show.

Benoit is a devil for what he did and Randazzo simply shows you the steps which made him that way.

Randazzo's connections to mob ties and the wrestling business helped him tell the tale of Gompei, who was beaten to death because he didn't perform the moves well enough.

I agree with you that the background on New Japan and the Harts was the best part of the book. Those stories are much more interesting than Benoit.

That background is necessary to show what a pyscho Benoit was -- even before he killed his family.

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"I didn't need to learn what I learned today." -- Jesse Ventura.
"There is but one special interest that we should be working for, and that would solve just about all of our problems, and that is our liberty. " - Ron Paul.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:42 am 
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Like I said before in another thread, it's hard for me to be unbiased and not take things about the business personally. For the record (without naming names to protect their privacy) I am a cousin to a big name who you can see on many, many DVD's and down the line related to a few others that were also stars. So wrestling is a part of my blood. It's no different than Rendazzo mentioning his heritige in the author bio in his book.

One other thing I should mention about the book. I really wish he would have given us a bit more background on Nancy's ex. (not named to protect Tim legally). I really think he had a bigger role in this than everyone is letting on. Think about it. Empty Beer cans (the same kind of beer as in his Where are they now pic on WWE.com) and wine bottles near the weight machine, yet no alchohol in Benoits system. Hmmm....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:11 pm 
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Modern Day Nephilim

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Sid Vicious? i know he's from Arkansas.

_________________
"I didn't need to learn what I learned today." -- Jesse Ventura.
"There is but one special interest that we should be working for, and that would solve just about all of our problems, and that is our liberty. " - Ron Paul.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:32 pm 
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redsonsuperman wrote:
Sid Vicious? i know he's from Arkansas.


No, not Sid. My mom's side of the family comes from Canada (and that's the side he's on). Also, no it's wasn't Benoit either.


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