Dirt Sheet History: June 2007 (The Benoit Tragedy)

    • Dirt Sheet History: June 2007 (The Benoit Tragedy)

      Take a trip back to a memorable timeline in sports entertainment with the most important stories reported as fact in the journalistic world of pro wrestling dirt sheets.

      Following the timeline of the last Dirt Sheet History looking back at May 2007, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from June of 2007 as we read Dirt Sheet History!

      Reminder that you can find all past editions of Dirt Sheet History looking at 2004 through 2006 right here. Now enjoy June 2007.



      * It was reported earlier today that Triple H did a radio interview earlier in the week. When he was asked about his opinion on the current state of wrestling, he said that it’s a great product, but his problem is with the younger guys. Triple H said that a lot of younger guys think that they’re owed something, but they just don’t work hard enough for it. And then they complain when they’re left off of RAW. Triple H then said that some of the wrestlers aren’t on TV because nobody wants to see them, they have no personality and are boring (he seems to be talking about the wrestlers that often appear on Heat & not Raw or are regularly left off of SmackDown/ECW). He then said that he, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels would watch a “crappy WWE TV segment” backstage, and Flair would say something along the lines of, “that’s why I’ll have a job here for life.”


      * At the moment, Chris Benoit is seemingly the only person that has been told that he’s changing brands during the 6/11 draft. Benoit is being moved to Raw due to the lack of main-event level depth on the brand.


      * TNA officials wanted Sonjay Dutt to wear a turban with a jewel in the middle and dress like a stereotypical Indian person, but he nixed the idea. He joked that TNA should have him drive a cab as well.


      * The feeling within management on Shelton Benjamin is that he “coasts” too much, presumably because he’s too athletically gifted. McMahon hasn’t invested more time in him because there are doubts about his hunger and willingness to work as hard as is necessary consistently if he were to get a top push. Also, his promo skills remain a concern. Road agent reports from house shows on Benjamin and Carlito are consistently inconsistent, which works against them. Regarding Carlito, the rap on him is that there is a sense of entitlement and that he’s comtimes across as content, if not spoiled.


      * Former WWE writer Dan Madigan recently appeared on an online radio show talking about his experience with WWE. He said that his agent sent a movie script he had written to WWE, and they liked it so they became interested in his services. He talked about pitching a lengthy exorcism angle that would end with Stephanie McMahon being exorcized on pay-per-view. She loved the idea so much she gave him a job. He also said that when he wrote See No Evil, Vince McMahon suggested a scene where Kane would masturbate on-screen and show that he has a 36-inch penis. Madigan said that the idea wouldn’t be any good and out of all the people in room, he was the only person to say anything about it.


      * A man was arrested at last night’s Raw brand house show in Lisbon, Portugal because he fondled Candice Michelle‘s breasts with his hands.


      * Apparently, the “Mr. McMahon” character was blown off/killed off tonight on Raw. WWE.com posted the following message on the company website regarding this shocking storyline:

      Breaking News! Mr. McMahon Presumed Dead

      Fiery explosion engulfs the Chairman

      Wilkes-Barre, Pa. – A night originally designated Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night turned deadly when the WWE Chairman’s limousine burst into a fiery explosion just moments after Mr. McMahon stepped into it. Permanently uprooting the world of sports-entertainment, the Chairman has been presumed dead in Wilkes-Barre, PA.


      * Triple H doesn’t want Randy Orton jobbing until he comes back. So Orton is pretty much going to be untouched until SummerSlam. At this point, WWE doesn’t know how to appease both individuals.


      * The Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, a newspaper out of Wilkes-Barre, PA, actually contacted the FBI to confirm whether or not they were called in to investigate Vince McMahon’s limousine exploding at the end of RAW on Monday.

      Special agent spokesman Jerri Williams from the FBI’s Philadelphia office told the publication, “The ‘federal agent’ (referenced on the WWE.com Web site) is definitely not the FBI… We have not been made aware of any car bombings. … We would definitely have been informed.”

      Several media outlets including Broadcasting & Cable have ran articles questioning the thought process behind WWE running such an angle. One can only hope that WWE does not suffer extreme backlash for pulling a “hoax” although it’s amazing to me that so many people could think that this was actually legitimate and not a work.


      * The feeling on Chris Jericho right now is that there is no deal and place and that he won’t be back until the fall at the earliest. That is of course if finally agrees to a deal.

      Furthermore, the company recently reached out to Big Show due to the lack of depth on the roster because of the recent rash of injuries. Show told them that he wasn’t interested in returning to WWE.


      * WWE Hall of Famer Sherri Martel, real name Sherri Russell, passed away this morning at her home. Martel was only 49-years-old.


      * It’s never too early to start the WrestleMania discussion as WWE creative members are already working on plans for WrestleMania 24 main event scenarios. Before the recent string of injuries in WWE, the plan was for John Cena to take on either Triple H or Batista. After the draft, all long term plans were scrapped.

      Undertaker vs. Edge was another possibility, but that was also before Undertaker was injured. At any rate, it looks as if WWE will be sticking with their current main event talent (Cena, Edge, Triple H, Batista) in finding next year’s WrestleMania main event.


      * According to one source backstage at tonight’s SmackDown/ECW tapings, last night’s edition of WWE RAW did a 4.2 cable rating. Several people in the company are seeing this number and are attributing the higher rating to the McMahon “dead” angle and are calling it a success.

      While there are others that are still not convinced that the angle is a huge draw and want to see how the show does next week before they pass judgment. With Vengeance coming up this Sunday on pay-per-view, next week’s edition of RAW should do a solid number as well. The true test for the McMahon angle will come on July 2nd.


      * DirecTV is running a commercial for SummerSlam that exclaimed, “Can the returning Triple H defeat the Unstoppable World Heavyweight champion Edge?”


      * The Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling Torch are reporting that both Konnan and Ron Killings quit TNA before tonight’s Impact tapings.

      Konnan had been upset for a number of months because TNA wasn’t giving him much financial support for his health problems. He pretty much stayed with the company as long as he did because LAX was a hot act and he didn’t want bail on them. There were some rumblings going into Sunday’s PPV that Konnan was going to quit the company sooner or later. That may have been the reason for LAX jobbing and not being featured much on the fifth anniversary pay-per-view. Ron Killings, who is friends with Konnan, has been unhappy for quite some time with his pay and status in the company. He has been out of action with an injury for several months.


      * It looks like Jim Ross has some competition in the sauce world. Former WWE/ECW star Blue Meanie has released a hot sauce of his own called “Meanie Sauce.” It even has his picture on the bottle. You can see and purchase this sauce at this link. This is what he said on his MySpace page regarding the sauce:

      Hey everyone!! Available today and just in time for your summer BBQing is my very own hot sauce called “Meanie Sauce” courtesy of the award winning Hotsauce Factory. Other than me they have done a wide range of hotsauces with people including Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses and Michael Anthony formerly of Van Halen! I am flattered that they asked me to come on board I think this is something to be proud of. To purchase my “Meanie Sauce” you can click here. Shipping is a bit much BUT if buy $40 worth you can get free shippng. So I hope you give it a try and most importantly I hope you like it!! Happy BBQing!!!


      * Viscera‘s transfer from Raw to ECW is going to end up being really beneficial for the big man. He is currently in line for a monster push in ECW.

      The idea is to make him a version of the 1980’s One Man Gang character in World Class and UWF, where he pretty much plows through everyone because of his immense girth. Viscera’s going to be repackaged – the comedy overtones and giant pajamas are going to be stripped from his persona. No more Viscagra and no more Rick Rude-like pelvic thrusts. Basically, “The World’s Largest Love Machine” gimmick is no more. He’s going to go back to being mean and bad, similar to Mark Henry if you will. The idea is to get him over big, unstoppable monster in ECW, then bring him back to Raw or SmackDown by the end of the year as a monster heel who can headline. This will be similar to what they perceived they successfully did with Snitsky, who is scheduled to mow down undercarders for the rest of the year and feud with John Cena in 2008.

      Viscera is getting a renewed pushed because he is big guy and not a problem backstage. Dave Lagana, the head writer of ECW, didn’t want him on the brand unless he was going to be repackaged because he felt his “Love Machine” gimmick would never get over as a headliner. Furthermore, Vince McMahon liked the idea of Viscera being pushed like the One Man Gang in the 80’s. Plus, it’s easy to convince Vince to push a monster, even he’s failed a few times before, as opposed to a smaller person, even if the person has a history of past success.

      DISCLAIMER – Things get very depressing here.


      * We have received word that Chris Benoit had some type of family emergency earlier this weekend and had to rush to his home in Atlanta, Georgia.

      The only thing that we know about the situation is that it was a “touch-and-go” trip and he should be at tonight’s pay-per-view. However, Benoit was unable to make last night’s SmackDown house show in Beaumont, Texas.

      The latest word that we have heard is that Benoit will be at tonight’s Vengeance pay-per-view and will work his bout with C.M. Punk for the ECW Title; however, nothing is a lock.


      * Add Steve Austin, Jimmy Hart, and Charles “Godfather” Wright to the names that will offer cameos on tomorrow night’s special three hour Vince McMahon funeral edition of RAW. Already announced for the show was Eric Bischoff. Expect tomorrow night’s show to be heavily comedic as WWE will attempt to turn fans around on the angle.

      * Chris Benoit was unable to work tonight’s Vengeance pay-per-view. The Canadian Crippler was replaced by Johnny Nitro, who ended up winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

      Tazz briefly mentioned that Benoit was unable to make it due to “personal reasons.” As we reported earlier here at Rajah.com today, Benoit had to fly home over the weekend to deal with a family emergency.


      * WWE is reporting that Chris Benoit and his family (including his wife, former WCW & ECW personality Nancy “Woman” Benoit and son Daniel, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports) have been found dead in their home in Atlanta. Their is a photo of Benoit on the front page of WWE.com. Furthermore, all the stuff surrounding the faux McMahon death angle have been removed from the front page.

      * Authorities have confirmed that WWE star Chris Benoit, his wife (former WCW/ECW personality Nancy “Woman” Daus Sullivan Benoit) and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, were found dead at their home in Fayetteville, Georgia earlier today. News reports are quoting authorities as saying the death of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy, and son Daniel, is being investigated as a homicide by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department pending results of a preliminary autopsy report that will come out tomorrow. Autopsies have been scheduled for Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. However, it could be weeks before there is a conclusive result regarding the deaths of the Benoit family.

      Benoit missed Saturday night’s SmackDown/ECW house show. Sources backstage say that Benoit had called WWE officials to say that he had a family emergency and couldn’t attend the show. Come Sunday, he kept pushing his flights back later and later until he finally realized that he was not going to be able to make it in time for the Vengeance pay-per-view in Houston, Texas. After numerous attempts by a WWE official to reach Benoit throughout the day, this afternoon, they asked authorities to check his residence. The lieutenant on the case, Lt. Tommy Pope, told ABC News that Benoit had missed some appointments over the weekend, leading concerned individuals within WWE to ask police to do a “welfare check” on him. Sources say Benoit was in contact with one friend backstage in what was considered to be an odd text message late last night. The nature of the message might have created a sense of urgency by mid-day today when no one was able to reach him.

      When authorities arrived at the Benoit family residence earlier this afternoon, they found Benoit, his wife, and their son dead. According to the lieutenant, there was no sign of gunshot wounds or stabbing. However, they are not ruling out other causes, such as poisoning, suffocation, or strangulation. The lieutenant noted that he was not confirming any of these causes — just not ruling them out at this time.

      Furthermore, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution altered the paragraph of their article on the Benoit family deaths. The third paragraph of the article originally read:

      “Officials would not say how the family died, other than to say they weren’t shot to death.”

      The third paragraph of the article has been changed to read:

      “Officials were investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide.”

      *WWE just made the following announcement on the company website regarding the tragic deaths of Chris Benoit and his family:

      Double Murder-Suicide

      It has been ruled that the deaths of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their son Daniel earlier today were the result of a double murder-suicide from within the home. WWE.com will have more as soon as it becomes available.

      * NBC affiliate WXIA-TV out of Atlanta, Georgia is reporting that the deaths of the Benoit family are being investigated as a double murder-suicide. A source from the Atlanta media is saying that Benoit is being looked at as the probable perpetrator, and that his wife Nancy and his son may have been dead before today. Autopsies on Tuesday morning will help pinpoint the causes and times of death.

      * Regarding the McMahon “death” angle on Raw last night before news broke out on the sudden death of WWE star Chris Benoit, thus causing the show to be a tribute show, original plans called for the show to end with “federal investigators” arresting Vince’s wife Linda McMahon on suspicion of murder.

      However, it would later turn out that the incompetent “feds” were wrong. Not on last night’s Raw, but on a future episode. The “feds” would then continue their investigation and the storyline would have continued for an indefinite amount of time.


      * The Calgary Sun has posted an article on the Benoit Family Tragedy today, featuring quotes from Bret Hart. A short time after the passings, Bret said, “I don’t know the details, and I’m not sure I even want to know. He was like a family member to me, and everyone in my family is taking it real hard. It’s almost like reliving the whole Owen (Hart) death over again.” Obviously, given the context of the quote, Hart made his comments before the believed scenario that Benoit killed his family and then himself came to light.

      * TMZ.com is reporting that several Atlanta-based law enforcement sources told them that Chris Benoit may have strangled his wife Nancy on Saturday, then smothered his 7-year-old son, Daniel, in his bed a day later on Sunday. On Monday, he then hung himself, reportedly in the weight room of his Georgia home.

      * While updating their coverage of the Benoit family tragedy, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution has posted a report that Nancy Benoit filed for divorce and an order of protection from Chris Benoit in May 2003.

      Nancy Benoit alleged in the divorce petition that Chris, “lost his temper and threatened to strike the petitioner and cause extensive damage to the home and personal belongings of the parties, including furniture and furnishings. Petitioner is in reasonable fear for petitioner’s own safety and that of the minor child.”

      This prompted the judge to issue a restraining order on Chris Benoit from entering their family home. In August 2003, his wife Nancy requested that the petition be dismissed. The couple later reconciled and celebrated Benoit’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship win at WrestleMania 20 in the ring together.

      * Below are notes from this afternoon’s press conference regarding the Benoit family tragedy. This report was written by Richard Gray of WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

      Lt. Tommy Pope:

      – Benoit’s wife Nancy was murdered Friday by asphyxiation. She was in the office area of the house, dead, for close to a day

      – Benoit’s son Daniel was murdered Saturday by asphyxiation. Daniel was confirmed to be in his bed when law enforcement officials found him.

      – Chris Benoit committed suicide late Saturday early Sunday. No type of suicide note or anything in the house was located.

      – Authorities are still waiting further results from crime lab and toxicology reports which could take several weeks to get back.

      – Only one prior arrest of Chris Benoit is known. It was allegedly for a DUI, but nothing can be confirmed. There is no knowledge at this time if there was a history of domestic violence with Chris Benoit. It was also not know whether or not a divorce had been filed.

      – Lots of prescription medications found in Benoit’s house that police believe to be legal prescriptions at this time. However, he then said that police found anabolic steroids but would not say what all they found without a full list.

      Police would not release a motive at this time.

      – Law enforcement officials reported that Benoit text messaged a co-worker, which was received several hours after it was sent; contents of the message were not revealed. It was also not confirmed who the message was sent too, other than a co-worker.

      – Steroids were not directly related to any of the deaths, police are unable to answer what Chris Benoit’s state of mind was during the killings.

      District Attorney Scott Ballard:

      – Bibles found by both victims, Nancy and Daniel Benoit.

      – Nancy was found with her wrist and feet bound, she was on her feet, with blood under her head. That was the only sign of a struggle (the blood under her head). She was wrapped in a towel.

      – Both victims were found clothed.

      – Ballard said that he was told in 2003 a temporary protective order was sought and later dismissed. Ballard said that orders are typically for domestic violence, but not always.

      – Ballard said that he is baffled why anyone would kill a 7 year old kid, but has no idea of the motive.

      – Ballard said that there was no evidence that Chris Benoit was trying to hide the bodies. It is unknown if the Benoits have family in the area but they do have other family.

      – Ballard said that he is not aware of any 911 calls and he has not personally talked to World Wrestling Entertainment.

      – The three bodies were found in three different rooms, according to DA Ballard.

      – Daniel Benoit’s body was found in his bed in his upstairs bedroom.

      – Nancy Benoit’s body was in what looked to be in a family room upstairs.

      – Chris Benoit’s body was found downstairs in the house in a weight room. Benoit was hung by a cord attached to a pulley used in weight lifting.

      – Nothing further is known about the family emergency that Chris Benoit told WWE that he had to deal with.

      – The next step in the investigation will be the toxicology reports. At this point, they are pretty clear it was a murder-suicide. Authorities need to get toxicology reports back to draw a firm confusion. Steroids were found but authorities can’t confirm he was on steroids. It could take several weeks to get toxicology reports.

      – Ballard confirms that Bibles were found by each of the two victims, he did not know if they were identical or opened.


      * WWE Chairman Vince McMahon will apologize for the three-hour USA Network tribute to pro wrestler Chris Benoit that aired Monday night, sources said.

      The WWE and USA Network have received complaints about the tribute, which was hastily produced after Mr. Benoit, his wife and their son were found dead in their Georgia home Monday afternoon.


      * WWE superstar King Booker sat down with KHOU out of Houston, Texas today to talk about the Benoit tragedy. Below are some of the highlights.

      Booker said that he knew Benoit personally and as most people in the business that knew Benoit have said, commented that he had never seen a bad side of Benoit. He noted that he knew Benoit’s wife Nancy and all of his children. He characterized what has happened as completely “out of the norm and unexplainable.”

      Booker noted that he wrestled Benoit in 75-100 matches and just recently talked to him for about thirty minutes about the wrestling business. “We’re all tired at certain points, we work a lot of hours, but I never saw this side of Chris. I’ve never seen Chris mad. I’ve never seen Chris angry. He was always the guy with a lot of positive energy, always pushing the guys.”

      He went on to tell a story of a student that came to his wrestling school in Houston, Texas to be trained. Booker said that the student arrived from Illinois, with “no way to go back” and had $800 in his pocket. He revealed that the student carried around a photo of Benoit and Eddie Guerrero with him, as he was inspired by them to pursue a career in professional wrestling. “That was just the type of person he was, always encouraging people. He didn’t even know this guy, but that’s the type of person he was.” Booker commented.

      When “roid rage” was brought up in the interview, Booker commented, “The media is going to put a spin on it, you know. We know that. WWE knows that. Did the guy last week who murders his wife and kid last week have any form of roid rage? He was a cop. This happens in any form of life. I feel like the human life is a delicate piece of equipment and everyone has their breaking point. We don’t know what his breaking point was. You don’t know what my point is, I don’t know what your point is. We’re all human. I just think it was a huge malfunction and whatever it was, we may never know. It’s not for us to know. It’s out of our hands and with God now.”

      Booker said that the wrestling industry is a huge family and he’s cried and wanted to pull his hair out over the tragedy. He revealed that he loved Chris and said that he is mad to see him “go out like this. I’m pissed at him in certain ways. I wish I could just hold him for a second, but it’s out of our hands. I’ll be there at the funeral and tell him goodbye and hopefully see him on the other side. Hopefully, I’ll find out what happened one day.”.

      * WWE Diva Victoria made the following statement through a MySpace.com bulletin:

      Hey All.

      I had planned ..ing off talking about a recent trip to an arena football game, but I would be remiss not to address the Chris Benoit situation. Everyone who knew anything about wrestling knew of his in-ring contributions. I truly don’t know what I can say and not get in trouble with the WWE. Anyone who reads my blogs regularly knows how much I love wrestling, and being part of the WWE. But I think what I have to say is more important. His son, Daniel, came to many shows. We bonded. He a was a cute little boy. What Chris did was selfish and hurtful. I fear that him being a superstar in some way glamorizes the situation. That’s not what suicide is. It is selfish and hurtful. As long as you have a breath to breathe, you can make change to improve your life. You can talk to family, or friends, or clergy. And if you’re not comfortable with any of them, here are two phone numbers for a Suicide and Crisis Hotline. 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) or 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). They take calls 24/7. You always have options. Maybe someday I’ll be able to forgive Chris, but not today.

      God Bless Us All, Lisa Marie


      * McMahon cautions against `rush to judgment’ in Benoit case

      NEW YORK (AP) The head of World Wrestling Entertainment says he’s worried about a “rush to judgment” on whether steroids played a role in a double-murder and suicide involving pro wrestler Chris Benoit (ben-WAH’).

      Steroids were found in Benoit’s Georgia home but Vince McMahon tells N-B-C’s “Today” show that a number of other prescription drugs were also found. He says it’s all speculation until toxicology tests are in. That could take weeks.

      And McMahon says “other pressures” could have been a factor.

      A W-W-E lawyer says Benoit (ben-WAH’) had argued with his wife over the care of their mentally retarded son in the days before the family was found dead.

      McMahon says what happened is a “horrific tragedy” but he says “there was no way of telling this man was monster.”


      * Chris Benoit was a “delusional juice freak” who chased the dark side and had trouble distinguishing between his fictional character and reality, says the man who started him out in professional wrestling.

      “The last time I saw him he was in pretty rough shape mentally,” said Bruce Hart, son of the legendary Stu Hart. “I didn’t know all the details but I knew it wasn’t good. I was not at all shocked (by what happened).

      “If I could see and determine that in a few visits, how the hell could they (World Wrestling Entertainment) not have known something was wrong? (In my opinion) I think the WWE needs to re-evaluate what it is doing here.”

      Hart will not simplify the shocking murder of Benoit’s wife and 7-year-old son or the eventual suicide of the wrestler by attributing it only to steroid usage. But he truly believes that steroid abuse, in combination with delusional behaviour, painkillers and failing health — “almost all the people we started out with (who did steroids) began breaking down around 40,” Hart said — is a deadly cocktail that needs to be further examined.

      “I’ve known too many wrestlers who couldn’t separate the character they play on television from their real life,” said Hart, who has wrestled professionally, promoted wrestling and trained wrestlers all his life.

      “Wrestlers start believing their press clippings and what is said on television. It’s like an actor leaving the set but still playing the part. There’s a delusional element to this. I’ve seen it over and over again. Some people can’t separate the character from real life, and Chris was one of those people.

      “From my experience, that has been quite prevalent with wrestlers and that becomes exacerbated by steroids, drugs, painkillers and failing health.”

      They hadn’t seen each other much over the past few years, with Hart still in Calgary and Benoit working the circuit. “We saw each other mostly at funerals,” Hart said. “At my brother’s (Owen), my dad’s, my brother-in-law’s (Davey Boy Smith). Not that long ago I was talking to Hillbilly Jim and we were reminiscing a little. I told him I was worried about Chris.”

      While the WWE has a drug-testing policy, Hart believes they should bring in psychologists and physicians to evaluate not only their drug-testing procedures but how they treat their athletes, deal with them, and the toll their gimmicks take on the lives of their performers.

      “Imagine if Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier were all dead in their 40s. Imagine what the reaction would be?” Hart asked. “There would be investigations and more investigations. Wouldn’t people want to know what happened and why?”

      Hart was also deeply angered that the WWE aired a three-hour tribute to Benoit on Monday night.

      “I kept hearing ‘He was a nice guy, a great guy’ and I knew him when he was a kid. But all I know now is he’s a murderer,” Hart said. In my opinion, “for them to do a tribute show was disgraceful.”

      Officials at WWE Canada refused to comment yesterday.

      WWE owner Vince McMahon told NBC Today Show viewers yesterday that “steroids may or may not have had anything to do with this. It’s all speculation until the toxicology reports come back.”

      Hart did wonder if Benoit had been given an unfavourable medical report, which may been another factor in his violent behaviour. “A lot of the steroid users start getting liver and kidney problems around the age of 40,” Hart said. “There are a lot of wrestlers out there who are dead that you never heard about whose bodies broke down. I’ve known others who had looming health issues and went a little crazy. Maybe this caused him to go off.”.

      – Tune back in next time for more Dirt Sheet History as we continue 2007.

      Stories are credited from Rajah, PWTorch, PWInsider and The Wrestling Observer. Month name photo art is by Phillip Martin.

      Past editions of Dirt Sheet History are found here.



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