New York Times : Following a grisly murder scene created by a former champion, World Wrestling Entertainment is trying mightily to cut ties with a deed that echoes a sport that stages brawls between feuding, well-built men.

So close are the similarities that they may include the cause of death for the second victim, Chris Benoit’s seven-year-old son. reported today that investigators think he “may have died after being put in a wrestling choke hold.” The wife, who once played a pro wrestling character, was strangled beforehand; Mr. Benoit hanged himself, authorities said.

Authorities found legal steroids in the home, but toxicology tests could take weeks. Either way, the W.W.E. is trying to dismiss ‘roid rage’ as a possible cause. A news release with five bullet points noted that he recently tested negative for steroids and argued the crime had none of the hallmarks of a steroid flip out.

“The physical findings announced by authorities indicate deliberation, not rage,” the company said. Adding to the portrait, the main image on shows Mr. Benoit half smiling.

The W.W.E. said that the statement was a response to “sensationalistic reporting,” but the company is also fighting steroid accusations that have emerged from former wrestlers, and a case in the 1980s. testimony from Hulk Hogan, among the sport’s biggest stars, said that steroid use was “fairly common” among competitors, and he himself booked orders with Chairman Vince McMahon’s secretary. Mr. McMahon was acquitted.

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Last Updated on June 28, 2007

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