10 years have now passed since the devastating actions of Chris Benoit rocked the wrestling community and completely reframed how the damaging excesses of an industry were handled.
During a three day period between June 22nd and June 25th 2007, 'The Rabid Wolverine' killed his wife Nancy and seven-year-old son Daniel, before committing suicide himself. It was a grizzly scene that portrayed the heartbreaking final acts of a deeply damaged and troubled individual, and shone a harsh light on how a profession could aid a complete mental and physical denigration of an ostensibly rational and balanced individual.
The severity of the crimes briefly brought the case into the mainstream, with numerous commentators (informed and otherwise) opining on the how's and why's of such brutal crimes, but like most niche stories, the press attention was only fleeting.
Naturally, this was not the case in professional wrestling. The spectre of the murders still lingers today, and though company insiders would presumably like to distance themselves from Benoit's last actions wholesale, the family's tragic end brought about a sea of short and long-term changes that irreversibly altered the way WWE does business.
A decade on, and fans and wrestlers alike still remain in a perpetual recovery from the case, whilst WWE is an organisation transformed from the cataclysmic event.
10. Drugs Are Bad
WWE implemented the Wellness Policy in early 2006 after the untimely death of Eddie Guerrero, but it was roundly chastised until an aggressive tightening in 2007 following the Benoit murders that saw countless performers suspended thanks to a litany of recreational and performance enhancing busts.
Despite Guerrero's devastating death due to a heart attack allegedly aided by years of steroid abuse, the policy was openly mocked on air. The nadir came in October 2006, when Triple H infamously suggested that Chris Masters write a book entitled 'how to lose 50lbs in two weeks' during a backstage vignette after he'd returned from a suspension with a comically reduced muscle mass.
Initial (and ultimately inaccurate) reports of the Benoit murders occurring because of a 'roid rage' brought new focus on performance enhancers that the company hadn't experienced since quietly parking their in-house testing in 1997. The Orlando-based Signature Pharmacy were busted on illegal drug charges, and boasted a client list with several main roster members as regular customers.
Names disappeared on television on an almost weekly basis, and physiques across the company shrunk and normalised as crackdowns intensified under the ever-changing policy.
It made for chaotic television and a complete readjustment of how the company conducted business (and drug-related punishments) for several months until a slew of stars had served their time.