Investigative author Irvin Muchnick is a champion at digging for facts.

In the make believe world of professional wrestling all too often real world issues inconveniently arise.

Chris & Nancy (The Ultimate Historical Edition) - The True Story Of The Benoit Murder-Suicide & Pro Wrestling's Cocktail Of Death is literary investigative journalism at its finest.  This is because, among his other journalistic qualities, Muchnick is a REAL journalist.  In the 255 pages of Chris & Nancy, which was originally released in 2009, never once was I tempting to be bored.  As sensational as this case is, uncovering the truths surrounding it remain as gripping as when viewing a four-star horror flick.

Book Cover Amazon

The crime written about by Muchnick took place 14 years ago.  On June 25, 2007, World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar Chris Benoit is believed to have murdered his wife Nancy Benoit, and also taken the life of their seven-year-old son Daniel Benoit at their Fayetteville, Georgia estate. Benoit then took his own life.

Without all the facts surrounding the gruesome discovery at the Benoit resident, first by a neighbor Holly Schrepfer, the WWE dedicated days later an entire RAW show  to eulogizing their champion.  What Muchnick brings to light on this very dark chapter to the lives of the families affected by this tragedy is simply amazing.

By no means are all the answers by page 255 in, when reviewing the tragedies committed.  But, more questions are answered than others may would want to own up to.

Sadly, as Muchnick's investigation concludes, being a pro wrestling themed crime, the typical characters are rounded up.

There's a doctor who the late wrestling great could count on to supply him with all the necessary drugs to get him through another day of the pain and sufferings associated with the business.  Steroids, roid rage, depression, infidelity, this is where the lists of problems an overwhelmingly number of wrestlers are confronted with daily.  Some can get a better grip on them than others.

Wrestlemania Press Conference In New York
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The time line of significantly important texts to two fellow WWE performers, from Benoit to them, are dissected by Muchnick.  Why, after missing a pay-per-view event and a TV taping, how does a "super fan" in Connecticut assume that Benoit missed his booking due to the possible death of his wife come out of nowhere?  Here again, the devil is in the details, and Muchnick plays the role of archangel marvelously.

Muchnick maps out the possible tipping point for Benoit's ultimate lashing out, by explaining the loss of close friends Eddie Guerrero and Johnny Grunge, also wrestling performers.

Benoit's medicine cabinet in his home has its contents detailed by Muchnick. How the bodies are found, and where in the residence is what any well trained reporter would offer. Muchnick  swings for the fences, and succeeds.

From how Fayetteville County sheriff deputies, first on the crime scene, are pondering  to enter the electronically locked double-iron doors at the residence's front gate, as well as making their way pass the German Shepherd guard doors snatches your attention.  Seeking the truth in this case is routine for Muchnick.

Back in 1988,Muchnick's article in Penthouse Magazine - Born-Again Bashing focuses on the numerous deaths of the wrestling Von Erich family and the details surrounding these deaths made Muchnick's bones as the preeminent investigator in a business that historically has proven to ignore the truth, and make a buck off of it, as well.

Wrestlemania Press Conference In New York
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Chris & Nancy - The Ultimate Historical Edition should be seriously considered at colleges and universities, not only for journalism courses as required reading, but ethic courses, as well.  Muchnick allows the facts to drive his writing energies. This is the mark of a professional - period.

The True Story Of The Benoit Murder-Suicide is riveting reading for any season, any time of day or night.

My one concern in this brilliantly written book is why, oh why, does Muchnick feel compelled to bring former President Donald Trump into the Introduction pages?  On page 16, Muchnick believes a wrestling audience is shouting out for the following tag - "...Donald Trump, undisputed world champion of the deterioration of American civic life."

Interjecting his personal politics probably won't move the needle in book sales.  Muchnick is better than this.

Kristine Bellino, WIBX

Don Laible is a freelance sportswriter living in the Mohawk Valley.  He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio, and on the web since the 1980's. His columns are featured weekly at Don can be contacted via email at 

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