Over the course of the last week, the wrestling world has been busy re-litigating the tragic case of Chris Benoit, the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion who murdered his wife, Nancy, and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, before taking his own life in 2007. But Sandra Toffoloni, Nancy’s sister, believes we should be remembering Nancy instead.

The situation began on July 7, when Impact Knockouts World Champion Jordynne Grace delivered what she described as her “coldest take” on Twitter. Grace lambasted Chris Benoit, responding to a fan who called out the focus wrestlers place on Benoit’s in-ring work rather than his murderous actions, which in turn sparked renewed debates on the subject online. Grace also received backlash for saying that Benoit wouldn’t be able to “hang” in the ring with modern wrestlers because “he would not be able to remember matches,” an apparent reference to Benoit’s CTE. Grace would later apologize for her comments and release a statement saying that she was donating $5,000 to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. More importantly, she said “I should have recognized the impact my words would have on friends and family close to the situation,” and “I’ve reached out privately to friends and family that are angered and hurt,” specifically mentioning David Benoit, Chavo Guerrero, and Chris Jericho.

That’s when Toffoloni felt the need to speak up.

“It’s weird, I didn’t hear my phone ring,” she tweeted in response to Grace. “I really thought the work I’ve been putting in for 15 yrs trying to keep & elevate my sister’s legacy hadn’t gone unnoticed. Guess my family is an afterthought…again. I don’t…I don’t even know where to f*cking start. #heartbroken.”

In a second tweet, Toffoloni added, “To think I broke all the yrs of silence, ignored my personal pain and rage to successfully put EVERY person mentioned in this apology tweet over time & again in the press, doing pr and on my platforms. Why did I think it would be different? F*ckin Groundhogs Day.”

In all the exchanges surrounding Grace’s tweet, there had been no mention of Nancy Benoit, despite Toffoloni’s efforts to keep her sister in the public consciousness, notably making an appearance on Vice’s “Dark Side of the Ring” series. Nancy got her start in the wrestling industry in 1984 in Florida Championship Wrestling, and in 1989 she debuted in World Championship Wrestling, where she eventually took on the character known as “Woman” and became a regular valet/manager, at one point working with Ric Flair and the Four Horseman. Her career later took her to Extreme Championship Wrestling, where she managed the likes of The Sandman, Shane Douglas, and 2 Cold Scorpio, and then back to WCW, where she famously got involved in an on-screen storyline between her real-life husband, Kevin Sullivan, and Benoit, who she would marry in 2000, three years after divorcing Sullivan in 1997. That was also the year her presence in wrestling came to an abrupt end — in the middle of the Benoit/Sullivan feud, Woman suddenly disappeared and was never mentioned again. In 2003, she filed for divorce from Benoit, citing “cruel treatment,” but dropped the suit later that year.

Following Toffoloni’s reaction, Grace reached out and offered to speak to her privately, and Toffoloni seemed amenable, saying “My hurt is not aimed at you personally, but could I have a moment where I think of myself and my parents first?” She later clarified that her feelings were less about Grace’s tweet than about the responses from fans defending Benoit.

“I’m angry because it was the flood of outrage over her tweet disparaging his technical prowess,” Toffoloni said. “That’s what upsets everyone? That’s the hill people are gonna die on?”

Hours later, a fan wrote the following in response: “Nancy was treated as an after thought, yet again. She’s treated like one constantly since her death. He’s all anyone wants to talk about, and Jordynn [sic] is feeding into that even with her apology. She apologizes to Benoit’s friends and to his son, but not to Nancy’s side.” Toffoloni retweeted and endorsed this message.

“Everyone has their limit,” she said. “My graciousness, understanding and forgiveness has been pushed to a detrimental level. It’s NOT about the Tweet. It’s the reaction.”

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