Former WWE referee Marty Elias recently spoke out during a fan Q&A about how the roster was informed of the Benoit tragedy in June 2007.
Benoit murdered his wife and son on June 22, 2007 before hanging himself two days later. WWE first ran a tribute show for Benoit before the details of what happened emerged, resulting in the company completely scrubbing him from their history.
Elias, who was with WWE in 2007, told of the surreal atmosphere backstage in quotes transcribed by the UK’s Daily Star.
“For me personally, being there, and being in that whole backstage thing, it wasn’t real. It wasn’t real,” Elias explained.
“When everybody found out, it was the meeting with Vince and Stephanie. They pulled everybody together, and that’s when they made the announcement.”
The announcement brought a range of emotions, with many WWE roster members being left in a state of shock.
“I mean it was so surreal. Everybody were scratching their heads, and I remember people dispersing, and going off and crying. People just literally being in shock and awe.”
“When they found out that it was a murder/suicide? everything just kind of stood still,” Elias continued. “We had another talent meeting, and we were advised that we weren’t gonna do anything for Chris.”
“It was just a whole different vibe. I’ve been backstage at WWE so many times, but that particular instance, during that whole time, was a whole different vibe.”
John Cena recently addressed WWE not acknowledging Benoit in a Q&A in Australia.
“Very difficult question, and I’ll answer it like this,” said Cena. “Often times, we get caught up in a person’s ability and their performance – and this transcends WWE – this is a problem in sport. It is also a problem in entertainment. People will do bad things. But if they are good at what they do, sometimes those things are overlooked.”
“I don’t in believe that. I believe you should take ownership for your actions. All of them. Not just ones that are performed in front of an audience,” explained Cena. “I think our company’s stance on the entire situation set a precedent for athletics, and a precedent for entertaining of taking ownership for your actions.”
You can read more quotes from Elias on Benoit by the Daily Star by clicking here.