B.J. Mendelson of SocialTimes has a story on why WWE distancing themselves from Chris Benoit since his career and life ended in a murder–suicide in June 2007 is damaging to the sports-entertainment organization in his eyes.
Benoit is not acknowledged by WWE on television, as references to the deceased Canadian grappler are solely limited to historical perspectives and matches on new video releases involving multiple wrestlers. For instance, when commentators mention the fact that only two men have won the annual Royal Rumble match starting from the number one spot, with Shawn Michaels being the first to do so in 1995, followed by Benoit in 2004, Benoit is not acknowledged.
Mendelson feels the exclusion of Benoit from many of the company’s properties creates a “black hole” and also sets a problematic precedent. He writes, “By erasing Benoit, WWE is erasing a good chunk of history within their fictional universe. This creates a black hole where his and other wrestlers storylines once existed. And since the true wealth of the WWE rests in its possession of the world’s largest video library of professional wrestling, creating a near limitless resource for DVDs, merchandise, retrospectives, and repurposed programming, you can see where creating a black hole could represent a problem for the company and its shareholders. Especially if this decision to delete a wrestler established a precedent that would be followed and expanded to include performers who did things the company, its shareholders, or the public frowned upon. Because they’re not only deleting the offending party, you’re also deleting the other wrestler’s match as well, which limits the exposure that wrestler has, hampers his or her ability to sell merchandise (which is how WWE determines which wrestler to put their efforts behind), and damages one of the key assets of the company.”
To read the article, click here.