Dark Side of the Ring is back for a second season and it premiered on VICELAND last week. The premiere episode centered around Chris Benoit and the backstory that led up to his double murder-suicide.
The show's executive producer and writer, Evan Husney, and executive producer and director, Jason Eisner, discussed how difficult it was to balance the life and career of Benoit when they joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"We just wanted to get in touch with those closest to the story and were mostly affected by it," said Jason. "It was sitting down with them and letting them talk about it. Hearing their truth to the whole story and explaining how it made them feel at the time and how they continue to still deal with it. It was pretty much just finding those people and giving them a platform to speak their truth about it.
"For everyone involved, it was almost a therapeutic process. Let's create a safe environment for everyone to talk about this and let's try and process it in a way so that we're open to everyone's feelings. We just created an avenue for them to talk about it."
The episode featured interviews with numerous wrestlers who were once friends with Benoit as well as an interview with his oldest son David. Evan talked about David Benoit's involvement with the episode.
"David was hesitant at first. He wanted to come meet us and he came to Toronto and spent a whole weekend with us – which I don't blame him – because it's such a sensitive story. It's something he hasn't really spoken about publicly so I think he wanted feel us out and see where we were coming from and what were our intentions and perspectives on it," said Evan. "We really bonded over that weekend and we were able to earn his trust. He knew that doing an interview with us that we were gonna create an environment for him to feel comfortable with doing it."
Much of the episode centered on the friendship between Benoit and Eddie Guerrero and how that may have played into what Benoit ultimately ended up doing. The producers were asked if they are considering doing a standalone episode on Eddie Guerrero.
"I definitely think there is more to Eddie Guerrero than what you are getting in two hours of this show," stated Evan. "That being said, it was definitely important to us because Eddie plays a big part into the Chris Benoit story. So we wanted to highlight that aspect of it which hadn't received much attention before. To really see the emotional damage that Chris had gone through with the loss of his best friend, and that was one aspect that we wanted to focus on. Who knows in the future if we cover more than Eddie? It's possible. But for the time being in this season, this was the way we wanted to cover that side of the story."
With hours of interviews and wrestling footage, the producers were asked if there was anything they discovered about the Benoit tragedy that they didn't know beforehand.
"There are definitely emotional details I didn't quite know until diving into the story, like how much he was connected to Eddie and hearing about how much grief he and Nancy were experiencing at that time. Spending a lot of time with this story, I think Evan and I processed that a lot and it's something we talked about a lot," said Jason before Evan added that Vickie Guerrero really opened up about how close their two families were.
"How intimate those two families were really intertwined beyond just Eddie and Chris – that was something eye opening to me," admitted Evan.
Chavo Guerrero was a central figure of the episode as he was the one who found Eddie in his hotel room and was one of the last to communicate with Benoit before the tragedy. Evan talked about his involvement.
"Chavo was so key to the story for a multitude of different reasons. One being the fact that he was the first person we reached out to with the idea for this project and he was very open to it," said Evan. "We had shown him our show before it came out and he thought it was great. We then broached the subject of this story and he was onboard if the tone was right. Chavo was the one really responsible to introducing us to a lot of the people you see on camera in the episode. So, I don't know if this would have even been possible without his involvement."
The episode featured many moments from Benoit's career including several WWE matches. Evan was asked about any working relationship between them and WWE.
"There is no working relationship between us," stated Evan. "It's just a journalist piece in terms of looking at this. We're producing it independently and not working with WWE."
Dark Side of The Ring airs every Tuesday night, 10/9c, on VICELAND. Evan and Jason's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get ever episode as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.