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Chris Kanyon

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Christopher Klucsaritis (January 4, 1970 – April 2, 2010) was an American professional wrestler, best known for his work in World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation, under the ring names Chris Kanyon (or simply Kanyon) and Mortis.

Professional wrestling career

Early career

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 Canyon and later changed it to 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, facing wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Tatanka and Bob Holly. 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

Debut; Mortis (1997)

Kanyon debuted in World Championship Wrestling (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.

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. Managed by James Vandenberg, Kanyon feuded with Glacier (modeled after the character Sub-Zero). Kanyon faced Glacier at Uncensored 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 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 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.

The Flock; The Jersey Triad (1998–1999)

Main articles: The Flock and Jersey TriadIn 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 defeat Page for the title on the 12 February episode of Thunder, and he was DDT'ed on the entrance ramp by Raven as a result. This event 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, Kanyon and Raven continued to team together until Raven, in storyline, was sidelined with depression and Kanyon took time away from his wrestling career to work as stunt coordinator and stuntman on The Jesse Ventura Story.

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 title on June 13 in the Baltimore Arena at The Great American Bash. During their reign, they were given special dispensation by WCW President Ric Flair to defend the title 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 title to Harlem Heat at Road Wild on August 14, 1999. 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.

C.C.K.; Positively Kanyon (1999–2000)

Main article: New BloodKanyon returned to WCW in late 1999 as Chris "Champagne" Kanyon, abbreviated to C.C.K., accompanied by J. Biggs, his "agent", and two former Nitro Girls, Baby and Chameleon. 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.

Kanyon returned to WCW once more on April 10, 2000, when Vince Russo replaced Sullivan. He teamed with Page for several months, which climaxed at Slamboree 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 at The Great American Bash costing him his Ambulance match against Mike Awesome. Kanyon then joined 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. He eventually dyed his hair blonde and wore a "P.C.K." (Positively Chris Kanyon) T-shirt. 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, which led to Buff Bagwell defeating Kanyon at New Blood Rising in a Judy Bagwell Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match. Kanyon left WCW shortly afterward.

Kanyon returned to WCW on the February 5, 2001 episode of Nitro attacking Diamond Dallas Page renewing his feud with Page. Kanyon returned to the ring and defeated Page at SuperBrawl Revenge on February 18, 2001, but Page defeated Kanyon in a rematch the following night on Nitro. Kanyon began feuding with Ernest "The Cat" Miller in March 2001. During this time he had a small gimmick change including a more intense look, new entrance music and a black leather jacket he wore to the ring. The feud has not been resolved by the time WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in late March, 2001.

World Wrestling Federation

WCW Invasion/The Alliance

On July 6, 2001, Kanyon made his WWF debut on SmackDown! as part of The Alliance, a group of former WCW wrestlers who were "invading" the WWF. At Invasion Kanyon along with Shawn Stasiak and Hugh Morrus defeated The Big Show, Billy Gunn and Albert in a six-man tag team match. 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. 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 on the August 6, 2001 edition of Raw when Kanyon helped Page attack The Undertaker backstage. On the August 9, 2001 episode of SmackDown!, they defeated the Acolytes Protection Agency (Faarooq and Bradshaw) for the WWF Tag Team Championships. Their reign lasted until August 19, when they were defeated by the Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) for the title in a steel cage match at SummerSlam. Kanyon went on to lose the United States Championship to Tajiri on the September 10, 2001 episode of Raw.

Kanyon then had a small feud with Matt Hardy over Kanyon hitting on Lita. Kanyon pinned Hardy on September 24, 2001 edition of Raw. The feud eventually ended in early October after the Hardy Boyz defeated Kanyon and multiple Alliance partners, such as Rhyno, Lance Storm, Chuck Palumbo and Hugh Morrus, in a series of tag team matches. Kanyon then began working on the WWF's B-shows.

Ohio Valley Wrestling; SmackDown

On October 29, 2001 Kanyon tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a dark match with Randy Orton. He underwent surgery with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama and was sidelined for the remainder of the Invasion angle. In May 2002, Kanyon was cleared to compete and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, a WWE developmental territory, through the end of the month 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 with which he was being treated, 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, while continuing working dark matches before Raw and SmackDown throughout late 2002 and early 2003. On the February 13, 2003 episode of SmackDown! he returned to the main SmackDown roster, emerging from a large crate, from The Big Show, 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 made his televised in ring return on the April 19, 2003 edition of Velocity with his "Who Betta Than Kanyon?" gimmick and was defeated by Rhyno. Despite a few appearances on SmackDown, Kanyon was relegated to Velocity as a jobber from that point on for the rest of 2003, in addition to wrestling on several dark matches and house shows as Mortis.

Retirement

On February 9, 2004, after a year of not being used in any major storylines and two injuries, 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.

Kanyon appeared at the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling pay-per-view Turning Point on December 11, 2005 as Larry Zbyszko's choice, Chris K, losing to Raven. Kanyon also appeared in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla taking on PWG champion, Joey Ryan. Joey retained the title with help of distraction by someone wearing a Mortis outfit.

In October 2006, Kanyon joined Tha O Show as a regular columnist. On one edition of the show, he claimed that Bret Hart indirectly admitted to him that Hart, Vince McMahon, and Pat Patterson were all in on the Montreal Screwjob.

Personal life

As a youth, Kanyon played roller hockey, basketball, and baseball at school. Tall, lean, and strong, Kanyon spent most of his spare time lifting weights in the gym. In 1992 he graduated from the University at Buffalo with a bachelor's degree in physical therapy. During his time there, he was a member of the Mad Turtles, the University of Buffalo Rugby Football Club. Kanyon worked full-time as a physical therapist for three years before becoming a wrestler.

In the early hours of October 16, 2004 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 the case was thrown out of court.

Kanyon, along with Scott Levy and Michael Sanders, attempted to sue WWE for "cheating them out of health care and other benefits" but a federal judge in Stamford, Connecticut dismissed the case. In addition, on February 4, 2006, while wrestling on an independent show for Blood Sweat and Ears, Kanyon cut a post-match promo saying that Vince McMahon released him because he was homosexual. Chris later said the character "Kanyon" was gay, but the man may or may not be. This was his attempt to build interest in himself and get resigned to WWE or to get a full contract in TNA and become the first openly gay Wrestler in Professional Wrestling. When that didn't happen he decided to come out nationally on World Wrestling Legends PPV on March 5, 2006 after a match with his friend, "Diamond" Dallas Page.

Death

On April 2, 2010, Kanyon was found barely alive by his brother Ken in his Sunnyside, Queens, New York apartment, due to an overdose of Seroquel. Reports have confirmed that his death was a suicide.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing and signature moves
  • Flatliner
  • Nicknames
  • "Champagne"
  • "The Innovator of Offense"
  • Tag teams and stables
  • Managers
  • Wrestlers trained

Championships and accomplishments

See also

External links

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