Last week's Dark Side of the Ring documentary captured the attention of many wrestling fans and viewers drawing the series' best audience rating in their portrayal of the Chris Benoit tragedy. Canadian wrestling star Tyson Dux portrayed Benoit through the vignettes on the show. Dux spoke with Spencer Love on the Conversations With Love podcast to talk about his prior experience with Dark Side of the Ring.
"If you check out that first season, there's a pilot episode," Dux said. "The pilot episode is the Bruiser Brody one, because why not start with one of the craziest stories ever? That being the Bruiser Brody story, being stabbed in Puerto Rico and the promoter getting away with it, right? [It's] crazy, just crazy. Well, in that first episode, I played Dutch Mantel. It was really neat, because those guys, Jason and Evan, the guys that are behind this, they're the vision behind this amazing series.
"The thing I love about Dark Side of the Ring is you don't have to be a wrestling fan to really enjoy this program. You can be completely in another part of life other than professional wrestling and if you watch that for five minutes, I guarantee you'll be hooked. You'll be hooked by it. It's just great TV. It is just good TV, and those guys, their vision of it, how they keep your imagination into it, because just watching interviews will kind of get on you a bit, you know what I mean? You don't wanna see just faces. Just having that dramatic illusion of how it looked and stuff like that to give people an idea of how it went down is just monumental. It's just great stuff."
Dux talked about how he got the opportunity to play Benoit. He said he enjoyed the opportunity to portray one of his wrestling idols.
"So, they base their stuff out of Toronto, of course, because Toronto's a great filming area because it's cheaper," Dux stated. "It's easy to get rings because it is Toronto. It is easy to get talent, all this stuff. Jason, who's the director, is from Nova Scotia, so he's a Canadian boy, and then Evan, of course, is just across the pond, he's just in the States. So, those guys got together, and I got hired just because of my name to do the Dutch Mantel role because of my beard that I had at the time, and it was great! It was a great experience.
"So, when the second season came up, they were looking for people to play different roles for the series, for the whole series. They asked me to see if any of my kids could fit any of these roles. So, I put one of my kids and said 'hey, he could probably play Benoit,' and they're like 'ah, he really doesn't have that Benoit vibe, we were honestly really hoping that you would play the role of Benoit other than him.' I said 'of course, I would love to, just I have a whole bunch of tattoos, so I really didn't want to make a mess of your thing.' He [said] 'don't worry about it, we've got a lot of makeup artists that are the best in Canada, so we'll just cover them up and if you could, you play Benoit.'
"I chomped at the bit. Benoit's always been my idol when it comes to professional wrestling. Let's just get that out of the way. When it comes to wrestling, Benoit's always been my guy. He's the guy I watched when I wanted to become a professional wrestler, he's the one that I watched and said 'yup, that's exactly what I want to do.' It was really easy to – it was an easy hire because they already know me. I know how it all works, I know how the script worked and all that stuff. It was supposed to be four days, it got cut to three days because I had to wrestle on the fourth day. So, they crammed my stuff all into three days over twelve hours a day of work to make the finished product, which turned out. I just watched the finished product along with family, so I was just blown away by how well it turned out."
Dux was asked about his relationship with Benoit. He talked about meeting Benoit a few times, and he talked about remembering more the person he knew and his in-ring work.
"I just look at the body of work. I knew the guy, and I've met Benoit many times," Dux said. "I'm not saying that we're best friends, I try not to tell people that we were super chummy, but I worked with WWE in 02-04 consistently every month as a freelance guy and just worked with the company. I did know Chavo [Guerrero], I still talk to Chavo from time to time. I knew Eddie well, I knew Chris well, and I know them as people and as human beings. That's what I try to remember, I try to remember the Chris that I knew and the body of work that I've always loved that he did.
"So, I still watch his stuff as if nothing had ever had happened or this horrific nonsense had happened, because at the end of the day, we'll never know – it's a mystery of why, the question is why. I don't know what would make a man that I knew that was a cordial, very quiet, polite, humble human being turn like that and snap like that, and I guess we'll never know. Just know that he was broken, he was definitely mentally broken. So, I can separate, yeah."
Dux noted that the documentary bringing him closure. He remarked how Dean Malenko struggled to divide the Benoit's horrific act and his best friend.
"I feel as though it being shared out there, because even if you watch it again or somebody watches it and you watch Chavo talk about him, Chris talk about him, Jericho talk about him. You watch Dean, even like Dean Malenko, who is just one of the greatest human beings on the planet, they're still torn up, because that is still their best friend, but yet they can't come to terms with it even now, so that really shows you that there's some kind of disconnect where there's got to be some therapy involved in making this better."
"It's so hard, even for them. Dean I found was the hardest because Dean just could not separate the horrific act from his friend. That might not ever happen and that's not on him, that's not his fault. It's not even a fault thing. If he doesn't come to those terms in that, so be it, but if he does, even better."
"I get a lot of these questions. I put on Twitter how I felt about the role, being able to be Chris Benoit. Of course, I always have to re-think my words all the time, because you have a lot of people that would first attack instead of finding that. They just want to attack at you, they don't really want to think about what you're saying."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Spencer Love of the WCSN with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription