Former WWE referee (and current Lucha Underground official) Marty Elias recently appeared on the Pancakes & Powerslams podcast to give his account of being backstage the week that Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son before taking his own life. Here is his haunting recollection:
“One of the craziest experiences for me is being backstage when the whole Chris Benoit thing went down. The backstage area during that whole timeframe was just very surreal. For me personally, being there, and being in that whole backstage thing, it wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. And, thinking back about it so many years later, going like ‘Wow. That really happened.’ Because nobody, at first, could really believe it, because people [were] looking for Chris. Nobody could get a hold of Chris. And when everybody found out, it was the meeting with Vince and Stephanie. They pulled everybody together, and that’s when they made the announcement. And just the whole environment, vibe, I mean it was so surreal. Everybody were scratching their heads, and I remember people dispersing, and going off and crying. People just literally being in shock and awe, and that’s not normally what you get in WWE backstage.
Normally, the vibe is very upbeat, very intense, and the show is going. But, when that all went down, for the next few days, even in San Antonio the next day. What they did at first is they were asking people to volunteer for the tribute show the next day in San Antonio, and I remember I volunteered, because I was supposed to be going home. When we got to SmackDown to do that whole tribute show, a lot more information was out, a that was during the afternoon in San Antonio. At the show is when they found out that it was a murder/suicide. And everything just kind of stood still. We had another talent meeting, and we were advised that we weren’t gonna do anything for Chris, per the investigation and things of that nature. It was just a whole different vibe. I’ve been backstage at WWE so many times, but that particular instance, during that whole time, was a whole different vibe, and a very odd experience if you were there.”