Nancy Benoit

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Nancy Benoit
Nancybenoit.jpg
Birth nameNancy Elizabeth Toffoloni
Born(1964-05-21)May 21, 1964
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJune 23, 2007(2007-06-23) (aged 43)[1]
Fayetteville, Georgia, U.S.[2][3]
Spouse(s)Jim Daus (divorced)
Kevin Sullivan (1992; divorced)
Chris Benoit (1997-2007) (her death)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Devil Angel[4]
Fallen Angel
Para
Robin Green
Woman
Debut1984[4]
 
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Nancy Benoit
Nancybenoit.jpg
Birth nameNancy Elizabeth Toffoloni
Born(1964-05-21)May 21, 1964
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJune 23, 2007(2007-06-23) (aged 43)[1]
Fayetteville, Georgia, U.S.[2][3]
Spouse(s)Jim Daus (divorced)
Kevin Sullivan (1992; divorced)
Chris Benoit (1997-2007) (her death)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Devil Angel[4]
Fallen Angel
Para
Robin Green
Woman
Debut1984[4]

Nancy Elizabeth Benoit (née Toffoloni, formerly Daus and Sullivan; May 21, 1964 – June 23, 2007),[4] more commonly known by her in-ring names Woman and Fallen Angel, was a professional wrestling valet and manager.[5] She worked in several promotions, including Jim Crockett Promotions, Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling.

In the weekend ending on June 24, 2007, she and her son were killed by her husband, wrestler Chris Benoit, who committed suicide the next day.[1][2][3][6][7]

Career[edit]

Early days[edit]

After graduating DeLand High School, Nancy got a job answering phones at State Farm Insurance.[5] When George Napolitano needed a beautiful young girl for the cover of the June 1984 edition of the pro-wrestling magazine Wrestling All Stars, fellow photographer Bill Otten suggested the 20-year-old Nancy Toffoloni Daus for the role.[4] Nancy, who had worked as a model,[4] often sat alongside her then-husband Jim. She had also been selling programs at the Orlando shows and appeared as Para in the old "Apartment Wrestling" features. It was on this shoot where she met Kevin Sullivan, who eventually wanted her to be a part of his wrestling entourage. After months of convincing, Nancy finally became an on-air valet, taking the name Fallen Angel. She made her in-ring debut on July 7, 1984 at the Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida for Florida Championship Wrestling.

She became a part of Kevin Sullivan's stable of kayfabe "Satanists", which also included wrestlers The Lock, Luna Vachon, The Purple Haze, and Sir Oliver Humperdink.[4] Nancy and Kevin Sullivan traveled throughout the United States using the "Satanist" gimmick for promotions such as Angelo Savoldi's ICW and Southwest Championship Wrestling. The two married in 1985.[4]

World Championship Wrestling[edit]

She first appeared in WCW as a "fan" of Rick Steiner named Robin Green, wearing a Steiner T-shirt and large glasses. She would sit in the audience and would interact with Steiner whenever he appeared. She eventually turned on him, aligning herself with Kevin Sullivan and adopting the name Woman and became the manager of Doom (Butch Reed and Ron Simmons). After leaving Doom, she aligned herself with Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen.

Extreme Championship Wrestling[edit]

In 1993, Kevin and Nancy surfaced in the fledgling ECW, where—once again called simply Woman—she managed Sullivan and The Tazmaniac to the ECW Tag Team Championships. When Kevin re-sought the greener pastures of WCW, Nancy remained in ECW, going on to manage Sandman and 2 Cold Scorpio. Once again, she almost seamlessly re-invented herself to fit with The Sandman's gimmick—opening his beers, lighting his cigarettes, and destroying his opponents with her own Singapore cane.[4] She wrestled her first match in ECW when she teamed with The Sandman against Tommy Cairo and Peaches in a Singapore Cane Match.

World Championship Wrestling return[edit]

After being dumped by Sandman and Scorpio in ECW, she once again resurfaced in WCW, first appearing on the January 22, 1996 edition of WCW Monday Nitro as one of many women who stood in the aisle and waved as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage came to the ring. On the February 5, 1996 edition of Nitro she turned on Savage during his match with Chris Benoit and rejoined Flair, Arn Anderson, Brian Pillman, and Benoit in the then-current incarnation of the Four Horsemen. Miss Elizabeth also managed the stable.

In 1996, Pillman had left the Horsemen, but they added Steve McMichael and his wife Debra in June,[4] which didn't sit well with Woman. In her next angle, the two bickered, not getting along in general. The Four Horsemen were often given interview time on Nitro and when it came time for Debra to speak on the mic, she'd often go into a soliloquy regarding Woman's looks and fashion sense — usually when the two weren't within the vicinity of each other. Despite the heavy tension, the two managers never had a physical altercation.

At the same time, she started an on-screen relationship with Benoit, who at the time was involved in a feud with her real-life husband, Kevin Sullivan.[4] On December 7, on WCW Saturday Night, during a post-match interview with Sullivan, a home movie of the couple canoodling in a kitchen was played in front of him. Woman taunted Sullivan by saying, "You can't find me" and "I'm my own woman," while Benoit added: "You consider yourself the master of human chess. Well, my bishop just took your queen". After the video, Sullivan stood there speechless, and his manager Jimmy Hart led him off stage.[8] This feud between Benoit and Sullivan saw Woman clashing with Sullivan's then-valet Jacquelyn at ringside. In one match, the two ladies were strapped together, took shots at each other, and used the strap connecting them as a weapon against the men.

Eventually, the Benoit-Nancy on-screen relationship developed into a real-life affair off-screen. Because of this, it is often joked that 'Kevin Sullivan booked his own divorce.'[4][5] The two were indeed divorced in 1997. What's more, Sullivan lost a retirement match to Benoit. His intent had been to retire from in-ring action and focus on booking.[4]

Nancy's final WCW appearance (and professional wrestling appearance as Woman) took place on May 26, 1997 on Monday Nitro as she accompanied Benoit to the ring for a confrontation with Jimmy Hart regarding the whereabouts of Sullivan, who wasn't in the arena.[9] On the following week's show, Benoit came alone to ringside without her by his side. After managing him for a little over half a year, no reason was given for Woman's sudden disappearance, and she was never mentioned on WCW programming again.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Before her marriage to Kevin Sullivan in 1992, Nancy had previously been married to and divorced from Jim Daus.[4]

Nancy and Chris Benoit became engaged in 1997 after her divorce from Sullivan that same year, although Benoit only referred to Nancy as his fiancée even after they were married.[4] She managed her husband's career from their home in Atlanta.

She gave birth to her son Daniel Christopher Benoit on February 23, 2000.[4] Nancy married Chris Benoit on November 23, 2000.[4] However, in 2003, she filed for divorce, citing the marriage as "irrevocably broken" and alleging "cruel treatment."[5][11][12] She later dropped the suit, as well as a restraining order filed on her husband.[5][11]

In December 2005, Nancy had back and neck fusion surgery with Lloyd Youngblood.[13]

After Nancy's death in 2007, Hustler published nude photographs of Nancy from a shoot taken when Nancy was 20 years old. The length of time between the events caused controversy, causing critics to claim that Hustler owner Larry Flynt was attempting to capitalize on the event. The family of Nancy Benoit took legal action against Hustler. The appellate court ruled that, “The photographs published by [Flynt] neither relate to the incident of public concern conceptually [the murders] nor correspond with the time period during which Benoit was rendered, against her will, the subject of public scrutiny".[14][15][16]

Death[edit]

On June 25, 2007 Benoit, her husband Chris, and their son Daniel were found dead in their home in suburban Atlanta at around 2:30 p.m.[17] It first was reported by their WWE Mobile Alerts service and posted to their official Web site soon after.

Lieutenant Tommy Pope of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department told ABC News it was being investigated as a double murder-suicide,[18] and the police were not searching for any suspects outside of the house, as the instruments of death were located at the scene of the crime.[19]

During a press conference on June 26, Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard reported that Chris had killed his wife and son.[1][7] A Bible was left by Nancy's body, and she died of asphyxiation.[20] She had bruises on her back and stomach consistent with an attacker pressing a knee into her back while pulling on a cord around her neck.[21] Daniel also died of asphyxiation, without signs of restraint. He had internal injuries to the throat area, but no bruises, indicating he may have been killed by a rear-naked choke.[21] Chris killed Nancy on Friday, Daniel on Saturday and asphyxiated himself with the cord of a weight machine in his basement on early Sunday morning.

A memorial for Nancy and Daniel took place in Daytona Beach, Florida, on July 14, 2007.[22] Both were cremated and their ashes placed in starfish-shaped urns[23] for Nancy's family. Chris was also cremated,[24] and what was done with his ashes is not public knowledge.

Wrestlers managed[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Authorities Confirm Chris Benoit Murdered Wife and Son". June 25, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  2. ^ a b Gerweck, Steve (June 25, 2007). "AP: Police say they will investigate Benoit deaths as homicide". Archived from the original on 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b Dave Meltzer (June 25, 2007). "Update on Chris Benoit". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Chris Schramm (June 25, 2007). "Looking back on the career of "Woman"". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Cal Massey and Jeff Wilen (June 27, 2007). "Slain wife of wrestler a Deland High School graduate". Daytona Beach News Journal Online. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  6. ^ Keller, Wade (June 25, 2007). "UPDATED: Chris Benoit and his family found dead in their hammocks". PWTORCH.COM (TDH Communications Inc.). Archived from the original on 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  7. ^ a b "WWE Wrestler Chris Benoit, Family Found Dead". WSB-TV, Atlanta. June 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  8. ^ "This Week In WCW (12/07/96 - 12/09/96)". ddtdigest.com. June 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  9. ^ "This Week In WCW (05/24/97 - 05/26/97)". ddtdigest.com. June 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  10. ^ "This Week In WCW (05/31/97 - 06/02/97)". ddtdigest.com. June 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  11. ^ a b "WWE star killed family, self". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-26. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Released divorce papers and restraining order" (PDF). TMZ.com. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Woman's Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  14. ^ Bill Mears (2012-05-02). "Family of slain wrestler loses privacy appeal over nude pictures". CNN. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  15. ^ "Nancy Benoit, Hustler Photos". News.gather.com. March 10, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  16. ^ National Ledger (December 27, 2007). "Nancy Benoit Nude Photos: Online Hustler Spread of WWE Star Chris Benoit's Wife". National Ledger. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Canadian wrestler Chris Benoit, family found dead". CBC.ca. June 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  18. ^ Saeed Ahmed and Kathy Jefcoats (June 25, 2007). "Pro wrestler, family found dead in Fayetteville home". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Archived from the original on 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  19. ^ "Wrestling Champ Chris Benoit Found Dead with Family". ABC News. June 25, 2007. Archived from the original on October 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  20. ^ "Officials: Wrestler Strangled Wife, Suffocated Son, Hanged Self". Fox News. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  21. ^ a b Kevin Duffy (2007-06-27). "Chokehold may have killed Benoit's son". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  22. ^ "Service held for Nancy and Daniel Benoit". SLAM! Wrestling. July 14, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  23. ^ Benoit's wife and son mourned as many questions persist
  24. ^ "Wips.com". Pwresource.com. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 

External links[edit]