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Dark Side of the Ring episode with Chris Benoit becomes most watched Vice series ever

Dark Side of the Ring: Chris Benoit review: A touching resolution to a horrific tragedy
Chris Jericho with David Benoit and Sandra. Pic credit: VICE

The Season 2 premiere of Dark Side of the Ring focused on Chris Benoit and the murder-suicide that almost destroyed professional wrestling and the WWE.

It turns out that the episode was a massive success and it ended up as the most-watched show in the history of Vice.

Dark Side of the Ring breaks records

According to Variety, the Nielsen data for Dark Side of the Ring reports 1.2 million viewers watched the three telecasts on March 24. The first airing alone drew 320,000 viewers.

That is 119 percent more than the first season premiere. That episode as about the relationship between the late Macho Man Randy Savage and the late Miss Elizabeth.

More than that, it was also the best ratings ever achieved by any Vice television original telecast.

There is even more.

The first part has over 2.2 million views on Facebook. Part two currently has 1.1 million views so far.

The first episode was all about the life and career of Chris Benoit, the love story between Benoit and Nancy Benoit, the death of Eddie Guerrero, and the eventual murder-suicide that brought wrestling to its knees.

This was the first time that a subject received two parts.

In Season 1, the best episode first run was about the tragic Von Erich family, which brought in 230,000. That was the story of how David Vohn Erich died, followed by the suicides of Kerry, Mike, and Chris Von Erich. Kevin Von Erich is the only one still alive.

Other first season episodes included the Montreal Screwjob, an episode about the murder of Bruiser Brody, the mysterious death of Gino Hernandez, and the life of the Fabulous Moolah.

Season 2 of Dark Side of the Ring

There is almost no chance that any other story in Season 2 reaches the level of success of the Chris Benoit two-parter.

However, for wrestling fans, there is a lot to love.

The next episode, which airs on Tuesday night, is called “The Life and Crimes of New Jack.”

For those who don’t know, New Jack was an ECW wrestler who was more hardcore than most. He ended up battling a minor who lied about his age and then brutalized the young man in an incident known as the Mass Transit Incident.

New Jack took a blade to make Eric Kulas — untrained and 17 years old — bleed and he almost died. New Jack was charged with aggravated assault but was acquitted when Kulas sued him and lost. Kulas died by the time he was 22.

Other stories this season include The Brawl For All, a WWE event where wrestlers had shoot fights, where the wrong man won.

Episode 5 will go into the story of Superfly Jimmy Snuka and the woman he allegedly murdered, Nancy Argentino, an event covered up for years. When he was finally tried for murder, he was an elderly man in early-stage Alzheimer’s and died before the trial could get going.

In Episode 6, the death of Dino Bravo will be explored. Bravo, a WWE superstar, was shot 17 times. This is an unsolved homicide.

Episode 7 will look at the life and career of Doctor D David Schultz, a star in the making in WWE whose career came to an end shortly after he angrily slapped a reported who questioned if wrestling was fake. That reporter was John Stossel.

Episode 8 is about Herb Abrams, a wrestling promoter who tried to revive territorial wrestling in the ’90s before dying of a heart attack at the age of 41.

The life and tragic death of Owen Hart is the one episode that is likely to come closest to matching the Chris Benoit episode. Hart died in an accident before a PPV match when he was lowered to the ring on a bungee that snapped.

Finally, Episode 10 will focus on the Road Warriors, one of the most legendary tag teams in this history of professional wrestling.

Dark Side of the Ring airs on Tuesday nights on Vice.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more

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