There is no mistaking the fact that the circumstances surrounding the sad demise of Chris Beniot the WWE wrestler are pretty grim and to be honest no one wants or would expect us to go into that.
From a purely PR angle though I was absolutely shocked and somewhat in awe of the seeming respect and power of the WWE public relations team coming from the rest of the WWE organisation. When it first transpired that something might be seriously wrong with Mr Benoit's family who did his colleagues go to first? Not the police, not other members of his family but straight to the WWE PR team. For a big business, that is quite amazing.
Sadly passed away and is accused of killing his family
More and more big corporations are trying to put public relations professionals at the heart of the decision making process as they are arguably best placed to understand potential stakeholder reaction to changes.
Over in the UK brands like Virgin are very, what is know as, "PR Centric" and always have both eyes on PR when they look at making changes and rolling out new ideas. Many other large companies are now playing catch up trying to do this, but it is often a case of internal politics preventing this from happening.
WWE's PR machine rolled into full effect and was able to manage the situation to ensure minimum damage to the brand... to some this may be difficult to hear in terms of them "managing" the event but they did nothing wrong. It was WWE who called the police because they heard what was happening and wanted to follow due process and also immediately cancelled its event on the night it occured as a sign of respect to the family.
Once this was done WWE put its most senior people up for interview, again, getting the media on side by giving them access to the MD's and alike and the interviewees came away looking very polished.
Powerful PR indeed.