World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night Raw program on USA Network Monday night was supposed to feature a fictional memorial service for the character of WWE chief Vince McMahon.
The show did end up featuring a memorial service, however it was for three very real people: WWE wrestler Chris Benoit and his wife and son, all of whom were found dead in their suburban Atlanta home earlier on Monday.
The show opened with McMahon standing in an empty ring in Corpus Christi, Texas, where the Raw show was supposed to feature a memorial for McMahon’s “Mr. McMahon” character, who was blown up in a car, according to the show’s storyline.
“Tonights storyline was to have been the alleged demise of my character, Mr. McMahon,” said a sullen McMahon, wearing jeans instead of his customary tailored suits. “However in reality, WWE superstar Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their son Daniel are dead.”
The remainder of the show was a three-hour tribute to Benoit.
ABC News was reporting Monday night that the incident was being investigated as a “possible suicide and double homicide.”
The premature deaths of its stars continue to plague professional wrestling, the most recent major star to pass away being 38-year-old Eddie Guerrero less than two years ago.