Christopher Michael "Chris" Benoit (May 21, 1967 – June 24, 2007) was a Canadian professional wrestler whose career and life ended in a murder–suicide. During his professional wrestling career, Benoit worked for such major promotions as Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment (WWF/WWE).
Among other accolades, Benoit is a two-time world champion: a one-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, one-time World Heavyweight Champion (tied for third longest reign in history). Both of his world title reigns were represented by the Big Gold Belt: Benoit is one of four men to have held the Big Gold Belt in both WCW and WWE, alongside Bill Goldberg, Booker T and Big Show. He is also a record-tying five-time WCW/WWE United States Champion, having held the championship twice in WCW, and three times in WWE. The twelfth WWE Triple Crown Champion and seventh WCW Triple Crown Champion, he is the second of four men in history to achieve both the WWF and WCW Triple Crown Championships.
In addition to championships, Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble match, joining Shawn Michaels as one of two men to win the match as the number one entrant. Described by WWE as "a favorite among WWE fans for his unbelievable athleticism and wrestling ability," Benoit was widely regarded as one of the most popular, respected, and gifted technical wrestlers in history.
Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son on June 22, 2007 and subsequently hanged himself on June 24, 2007. Since Benoit's suicide, numerous explanations for his actions have been proposed, including brain damage, steroid abuse, and a failing marriage. Benoit last performed for WWE on their ECW brand. Paul Heyman, head of the original ECW promotion, intended to book Benoit to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship in 1995 but did not renew his United States Work Visa in time; twelve years later, Benoit was booked by WWE to win the title in one of three world championship matches at pay-per-view event Vengeance: Night of Champions, which again did not come to fruition due to his death that night.