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Christopher Klucsarits (born January 4 1970), better known by his ring name Chris Kanyon (or simply Kanyon), is a American professional wrestler, best known for his work in World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation.
As a youth, Kanyon played roller hockey, basketball, and baseball. In 1992 he graduated from the University at Buffalo with a bachelor's degree in physical therapy and was a member of the Mad Turtles, the University of Buffalo Rugby Football Club. After college, he began training under Pete McKay Gonzalez, Ismael Gerena and Bobby Bold Eagle at the Lower East Side Wrestling Gym in Manhattan at some point between December 1991 and January 1992. He wrestled his first match on April 5, 1992 in Levittown, New York at the Island Trees Junior High School, and wrestled one match as Chris Morgan before adopting the ring name Chris Kanyon. Kanyon worked as a physical therapist for the next three years, wrestling on weekends and in the evenings, before finally deciding to become a full-time professional wrestler in 1995. Early in his career, Kanyon formed a tag team with Billy Kidman which saw both men wrestle in the uniform of hockey players. In late-1994 he made several appearances with the World Wrestling Federation as a jobber. His friend and future manager James Mitchell saw potential in him and sent him for training with The Fabulous Moolah in South Carolina and with Afa at the Wild Samoan Wrestling School.
World Championship Wrestling Edit
Kanyon debuted in WCW as a jobber. After several months he was placed with Mark Starr in a tag team called Men at Work. Their gimmick was that they were two construction workers turned wrestlers who wore overalls to the ring, and that Kanyon would cause the team to suffer losses by taking measurements with his tape measure at inopportune times. Kanyon was replaced with Mike Wenner before the team disbanded altogether.
Blood Runs Cold (1997)Edit
In 1997 Kanyon donned a mask and was repackaged as Mortis, a Latin word meaning death. The gimmick was based on an amalgamation of two characters from the fighting game Mortal Kombat - Reptile and Scorpion. Kanyon mentioned in an interview that when writers were brainstorming for his "Mortal Kombat" gimmick that they wanted to make him a snake character. But because when he was a child, he was a big fan of the comic book series Ghost Rider, Kanyon decided his character should be a skeleton-based character. The history behind the character was supposed to be that he was be a pit fighter who made his pedigree in underground fights in Thailand.
Managed by James Vandenberg, Kanyon feuded with Glacier (modeled after the character Sub-Zero). Kanyon faced Glacier at Uncensored 1997 on March 16 in his pay-per-view debut but lost to the undefeated Glacier. Following the match, Wrath debuted, siding with Kanyon and assaulting Glacier. Glacier defeated Kanyon in a second match at Slamboree 1997 on May 18. After the match, Wrath and Mortis once again attacked Glacier. However, Glacier was spared a post-match beating when Ernest Miller ran to the ring to defend him. The four men fought one another over the following weeks, culminating in a match at Bash at the Beach 1997 on July 13 which was won by Kanyon and Wrath. Kanyon and Wrath continued to team together until the angle was quietly dropped in late 1997. Kanyon claimed in an interview that the Glacier/Mortis feud was originally intended to reach high status but was ultimately retired in favor of the popular nWo angle.
The Flock (1998)Edit
In February 1998, Kanyon (still in his guise as Mortis) asked Raven if he could join Raven's stable The Flock but was told that he could only become a member if he defeated Diamond Dallas Page for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. Kanyon failed to defeated Page for the title on the 12 February episode of Thunder and was DDT'ed on the entrance ramp by Raven as a result. This led to Kanyon discarding the "Mortis" persona and beginning a feud with Raven, in the course of which he was dubbed "The Innovator of Offense" by play-by-play commentator Mike Tenay due to his unique wrestling technique, which included multiple moves performed from a fireman's carry position. He formed an uneasy alliance with Perry Saturn in order to fight against The Flock, but eventually turned on Saturn and joined forces with Raven. After Saturn forced The Flock to disband by defeating Raven at Fall Brawl 1998, Kanyon and Raven continued to team together until Raven was sidelined with (kayfabe) depression and Kanyon took time away from his wrestling career to work as stunt coordinator and stuntman on The Jesse Ventura Story.
The Jersey Triad (1999)Edit
Kanyon returned in 1999, helping Raven and Saturn win the WCW World Tag Team Championship, but soon abandoned them and formed a stable with Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page known as the Jersey Triad. The Triad feuded with Saturn and Chris Benoit over the Tag Team Championship, defeating them for the titles on June 13 in the Baltimore Arena at The 1999 Great American Bash. During their reign, they were given special dispensation by WCW President Ric Flair to defend the titles as a three man unit, granting them a numerical advantage over their opponents. However, the ruling was overturned by Flair's replacement Sting, and Kanyon and Bigelow lost the titles to Harlem Heat at Road Wild 1999 on August 14 1999 in Sturgis, South Dakota. The Triad disbanded shortly thereafter, with Kanyon once again placing his wrestling career on hiatus to work on the WCW produced film Ready to Rumble, where he served as stunt coordinator and as the stunt double of lead actor Oliver Platt.
Kanyon returned to WCW in 2000 as Chris "Champagne" Kanyon, abbreviated to C.C.K., accompanied by J. Biggs, his "agent." He claimed that he had become acclimatised to the glamor of Hollywood and thus began indulging in luxuries such as champagne, women, and expensive cars. He feuded briefly with Bigelow and Page before being removed from WCW by interim booker Kevin Sullivan. The character bore a strong resemblance to a character in the WWF present around the same time called the Godfather.
Kanyon returned to WCW once more on April 10 2000, when Vince Russo replaced Sullivan. He teamed with Page for several months, which climaxed with him attempting to save DDP from being powerbombed by Mike Awesome on top of the triple cage which was also used in the Ready to Rumble movie. Kanyon saved Page, but Awesome turned his attention to Kanyon, throwing him off the triple cage onto the ramp below, ending the pay-per-view in dramatic fashion. Kanyon, after a storyline which saw him in a halo brace in a hospital and in a wheelchair, stepped out of the wheelchair and turned on Page joining Eric Bischoff, the leader of the New Blood faction. In the course of his renewed feud with Page, Kanyon began imitating Page, renaming himself "Positively" Kanyon (a reference to Page's autobiography, Positively Page) and wearing a long blonde wig. In the course of the feud he began using a version of Page's finishing move, the Diamond Cutter, known as the Kanyon Kutter. He began arbitrarily delivering the Kutter to various WCW backstage employees, and at one point executed the move on Gene Okerlund and Buff Bagwell's mother Judy, leading to a short feud with the Bagwell family. His feud with Page stretched into 2001, and had not been resolved when WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in March 2001.
During his tenure with WCW, Kanyon trained celebrities such as David Arquette, Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, and Jay Leno for their wrestling matches in WCW, and was the Wrestling Technical Advisor for the Ready to Rumble movie. During production of the movie, he also served as Oliver Platt's stunt double.
World Wrestling Federation Edit
On July 5 2001 Chris Kanyon made his WWF debut on SmackDown! as part of The Alliance, a group of former WCW wrestlers who were "invading" the WWF. On July 26, 2001 in the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T, at the request of Stephanie McMahon, gave Kanyon his WCW United States Championship (which he held in conjunction with the WCW World Title). Upon being presented with the title, Kanyon began referring to himself as "The Alliance MVP", and frequently posed the rhetorical question "Who betta than Kanyon?".
Kanyon reformed his tag team with fellow Alliance member Diamond Dallas Page, and on the August 9 2001 episode of SmackDown! in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, they defeated the Acolytes Protection Agency (Faarooq and Bradshaw) for the WWF Tag Team Championships. Their reign lasted until August 19 2001 when they were defeated by the Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) for the titles in a steel cage match at SummerSlam 2001 in the Compaq Center in San Jose, California. Kanyon went on to lose the United States Championship to Tajiri on the September 10 2001 episode of RAW is WAR in the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. From here Kanyon worked on the WWF's B-Shows.
On October 29 2001 Kanyon tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a dark match with Randy Orton, marking his first major injury. He underwent surgery with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama, and was sidelined for the remainder of the Invasion angle. In May 2002 he was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, a WWE developmental territory, to restore himself to full fitness. However, while wrestling Lance Cade in Lima, Ohio on July 13, 2002 Kanyon injured his left shoulder, suffering a humeral head contusion and supraspinatus tendinitis. He underwent surgery on July 21 2002 but began experiencing breathing difficulties on July 25 2002. As a result of an allergy to the medications he was being treated with, Kanyon's lungs filled with fluid and his blood oxygen level fell to 41%. He gradually recovered, and was discharged from hospital on July 28 2002 having lost 32 lb (15 kg) in the interim.
Kanyon returned to OVW in October 2002, and remained there for a further four months. On the February 13 2003 episode of SmackDown! he returned to the main roster, emerging from a large crate dressed as Boy George and singing the song "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" to The Undertaker, prompting The Undertaker to attack him. Kanyon was relegated to Velocity from that point on, in addition to wrestling on several house shows as Mortis.
Retirement and beyond Edit
On February 9 2004, after a year of not being used in any major storylines and two injuries, Chris Kanyon was officially released from his contract. He retired from professional wrestling on August 28 2004 after losing a retirement match to Diamond Dallas Page in Wayne, New Jersey. In July 2005, he announced the end of his retirement and his imminent return to the independent circuit. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, he took part in several benefit shows.
On October 14 2005, Kanyon revealed that he had been diagnosed with manic depression in mid-2004, and had been placed on a course of antidepressants and mood stabilizing drugs. In the early hours of October 16, he was arrested in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida for "disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence" after attempting to break up a fight. He was released that same day after fellow wrestler Altar Boy Luke provided a $750 cash bond. Kanyon publicly claimed he did nothing wrong and was ultimately vindicated when the case was thrown out of court.
Kanyon appeared at the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling pay-per-view Turning Point 2005 on December 11 2005 as Chris K, losing to Raven. He attended a TNA iMPACT! taping in February 2006, but did not wrestle due to a dispute over the wording of the contract he was asked to sign, which would have granted TNA the right to merchandise his image and persona without paying him royalties.
Revelation of homosexuality Edit
On February 4 2006, while wrestling on an independent show for Blood, Sweat & Ears in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Kanyon stated that he was tired of living in "the closet" and announced that he was a homosexual. He went on to say that he was fired from WWE not due to cutbacks, but because of his sexual orientation. Proclaiming himself to be the first ever active openly gay professional wrestler in the wrestling industry, Kanyon told the audience that he chose to be "the real Chris Kanyon", and that they could choose whether they wanted to boo or cheer him, commenting that, "life is about choices".
Kanyon went on to reveal that his February 4 2006, announcement of homosexuality was strictly about the character, Kanyon, but that his real sexual orientation, that of Christopher Klucsaritis, the person behind the character, was really nobody's business, although he did say that he would probably reveal his real sexual orientation "sooner or later." On March 5 2006, Kanyon revealed that he was legitimately homosexual and that the ambiguity between his February 4, 2006 announcement and his March 5, 2006 announcement was intentional in order to attract mainstream attention, receive bookings on bigger shows and possibly even obtain a long-term contract with WWE or TNA. His homosexuality has been confirmed by a number of sources and has been covered in the top circulated gay news magazine, The Advocate (May 9 issue), as well as the Chicago Tribune and numerous talk radio shows and gay newspapers.
On September 8 2006 he showed up at a WWE house show in Tampa, Florida and ran up to the rail during DX's intro and held up a sign that said "Triple H, ask Vince why he fired me" on one side and "Shawn, pray for my gay soul" on the other side. DX member Triple H responded by saying "Who invited Kanyon?" and "We Are Better than Kanyon!" in reference to his catch phrase. Security then escorted Kanyon from the arena, even though he paid for his ticket to attend the event.
Kanyon later gave his own account of his appearance on his MySpace page along with a plea to be rehired by WWE, and would also appear on both a radio show to promote his stunt and on Howard Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio Show where he talked openly about his homosexuality. This once again raised speculation that his homosexuality is a work for publicity and employment.
In October 2006, Kanyon joined Tha O Show as a regular columnist, and is in the middle of filming a documentary. On one edition of the show, he claimed that Bret Hart told him that Hart, Vince McMahon, and Pat Patterson were all in on the Montreal Screwjob.
In wrestling Edit
- Finishing and signature moves
- As Kanyon
- Flatliner (Leg hook reverse STO)
- Kanyon Kutter (Three-quarter facelock bulldog)
- Electric chair drop
- Inverted sitout side powerslam
- Swinging leg hook suplex
- Russian legsweep, sometimes from the second rope
- Backbreaker rack dropped into a neckbreaker
- Fireman's carry followed into a seated surfboard stretch
- Inverted Boston crab
- Sitout double leg slam
- As Mortis
Championships and accomplishments Edit
- Northeastern Wrestling
- NEW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with JS Storm
- World Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling Federation