This week the Underrated and Under Appreciated Wrestler Series takes a look at the career of Chris Kanyon, a talented wrestler whose career was destroyed by a plethora of issues including but not limited to: Vince McMahon purchasing World Championship Wrestling (WCW), terrible gimmicks, mental health issues, injuries, and an industry whose power structure was not the most accepting of homosexuals.
Kanyon had everything you could ask for in a professional wrestler -- size, mic ability, and a creative in-ring talent. His ability to work was a sight to behold as he brought a unique style to the ring and performed moves that few had seen before. His in-ring creativity would earn him the nickname "The Innovator of Offense" while in WCW and would result in his being entrusted with the training of the various celebrities that would pass through WCW's revolving door. Kanyon's abilities enabled him to overcome such early gimmicks as Men at Work and Mortis.
Upon his suicide in 2010, Jim Ross had this to say about Kanyon's abilities:
Chris was an innovative wrestler who always sought new maneuvers and holds to utilize in his matches and was a really good teach and helped many of today's stars with a variety of in ring techniques....Chris Kanyon will be considered an underrated star in my eyes.
Kanyon's first major break in wrestling came while he was with WCW in 1995. After overcoming being used as a jobber and the two aforementioned gimmicks, he would come into conflict with Raven and his Flock. During this feud, Kanyon would eventually join up with them and become a close ally with the leader of the band of misfits. His time with Raven created many great matches but also one of the best skits ever done in professional wrestling.
In 1999, Kanyon would abandon Raven and join up with two veterans of Underrated and Under Appreciated, Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page, to form the Jersey Triad. As a member of the Jersey Triad, Kanyon would get his taste of gold as they proceeded to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit.
After losing the titles at Road Wild 1999, Kanyon would go work as a stunt coordinator on a film and come back with a gimmick of a man so enamored by his Hollywood life that he brought it back with him to wrestling. It wouldn't last for long, thought, as he would be released by Kevin Sullivan.
When Vince Russo took over for Sullivan, Kanyon was brought back into the fold and began teaming with DDP again. This would eventually culminate in his becoming "Positively" Kanyon. The new gimmick had Kanyon working as a knock off of DDP that would involve him running around and giving cutters to random backstage employees, wrestlers, and family members at completely random times (including while other promos and segments were going on). This continued until Kanyon gave the cutter to Judy Bagwell to spark a feud with Buff Bagwell. The ensuing feud would result in a Judy Bagwell on a Forklift Match.
That's not a joke.
After a brief stint away from the promotion, Kanyon would return to feud with DDP as WCW was purchased by Vince McMahon. This move would signal the beginning of the end for Chris Kanyon's career.
Hew would come over as a part of
McMahon's personal burial of WCW the Invasion. During this time he was given the United States Championship by Stephanie McMahon and would become an ally of DDP's in his stalking campaign against the Undertaker.
Unfortunately, soon after this the injury bug would strike and he tore his ACL in a dark match against Randy Orton. After many months on the sideline he would return, but an injury to his shoulder would quickly put him out of commission yet again. During his stay in the hospital to repair his shoulder, Kanyon had a reaction to his medication and almost passed away.
Upon his return, he had been discussing the possibility of coming out of the closet and using it as a storyline with WWE. In response to this, Kanyon was booked in quite possibly one of the most disgusting segments in WWE history:
As a gift to Undertaker, from Big Show, Kanyon emerged from a crate dressed as Boy George and singing "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me". Undertaker would attack Kanyon with a chair and deliver many unprotected headshots (one of which knocked Kanyon unconscious). He would be relegated to Velocity to work as a jobber and was eventually released from his contract.
Kanyon spent the rest of his life bouncing around the independent circuit and The O Show. During this time, he would come out of the closet publicly and join the failed lawsuit to challenge WWE wrestlers status as independent contractors.
Unfortunately, Kanyon lost his struggle with bipolar disorder and committed suicide on April 2nd, 2010.
He lives on here, though, as one of the most underrated and under-appreciated wrestlers of all time.