Recently, WWE announced that they will be releasing their second encyclopedia, following the first volume that hit the shelves in 2009. Everything and anything in the promotion's history will be included: wrestlers, title reigns, pay-per-views and so on. However, along with this, one question had to be raised.
Will the late Chris Benoit be included?
It's pretty much common knowledge that WWE have strayed away from Benoit since the high-profile double murder-suicide case in 2007. Slowly but surely, his likeness has been nearly entirely wiped from existence, save brief summaries of his title reigns. Mentions of the Rabid Wolverine have been removed from archive footage on WWE Classics On Demand, whereas his matches and appearances are found far and few between on video releases.
However, Benoit had been listed in the previous encyclopedia, albeit a small passage. It was in here that his career was summarised up until losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton in 2004, with very little description of him and his impact.
Author Kevin Sullivan was questioned on Twitter about whether or not Benoit would end up being included in the new release. In a simple statement, he confirmed that he will indeed be listed, although no further information was announced. It would come as no surprise if his inclusion would be no different to that in the previous installment.
It is understandable, though, since the topic of Chris Benoit is incredibly touchy and sensitive. Anybody, especially if they are a WWE employee, has to be incredibly cautious if they discuss the Canadian. Often, one will opt not to talk about him whatsoever, and those who do choose to talk about him usually make a brief, rather vague proclamation.
This ordeal with Chris Benoit is no different to that of O.J. Simpson. The management of WWE and the NFL can decree that the images of both stars should no longer be shown, but their legacies are already rooted deep into the respective histories of each company. It is impossible to pretend that Benoit and Simpson didn't exist. It's undeniable—they were once there.
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