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Erased! The Tragic Story of Chris Benoit

In 2007, WWE decided to relaunch ECW as its third brand, and Benoit was sent there, along with other huge stars like Kurt Angle and Big Show, to help legitimize it. The new ECW got off to a hot start when Rob Van Dam won the WWE Championship at ECW One Night Stand 2007, but it took a hit when he was forced to drop it after he and Sabu were busted with possession of marijuana. The new promotion took an even bigger hit when Kurt Angle decided to leave WWE entirely for TNA. ECW‘s final death blow however, came when they lost Chris Benoit. Benoit was a legitimate ECW original, and a legitimate former WWE World Champion, he satisfied both the casual WWE audience and the hardcore ECW fans. Had ECW been able to lean on Benoit, perhaps it would’ve survived it’s second incarnation. Benoit wrestled his final match for WWE/ECW on June 19, 2007, against Elijah Burke. He won, advancing to the finals of the tournament to crown the new ECW Champion. Benoit was scheduled to face CM Punk at the Vengence pay-per-view, and was booked to win the ECW Championship too, but he never made it to the event. Benoit had contacted WWE management and informed them that he would be missing the weekends house shows leading up to Vengence, to take care of his family, who had fallen sick. After he failed to show for the pay-per-view, police were dispatched to Benoit’s Atlanta residence for a welfare check. The bodies of Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their 7 year old son Daniel were discovered dead when police arrived. That night on Monday Night Raw, WWE held a tribute show for Benoit.

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