Another Dead Wrestler: Chris Kanyon

World Wrestling Entertainment would like to express its deepest condolences to Christopher Klucsaritis’ family and friends on his tragic passing. Klucsaritis was under contract with WWE from March 2001 until February 2004 and performed under the name “Chris Kanyon.”

The rest of the story, from the Wrestling Observer website:

Chris Klucsaritis, who wrestled as Chris Kanyon, passed away last night from an overdose of pills at his apartment in the Sunnyside section of Queens, NY, last night.  He was 40.

Klucsaritis’ death is believed to be a suicide.  He had been open about suffering from a bipolar disorder and had talked and threatened suicide many times in the past according to those who are close with him.

He had been talking about going through another bout with depression and taking his life earlier in the week.

Klucsaritis was trained locally in New York by Bobby Bold Eagle, and later in Columbua, SC by Lillian “Fabulous Moolah” Ellison at her home gym in Columbia, SC, and developed into an innovative and underrated wrestler.  He debuted in 1992, and wrestled the bulk of his career for WCW.

He started with Mark Starr as part of a tag team “Men at Work,” and later developed the Mortis gimmick.  His highest profile role, including holding the WCW tag team titles, came with Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow as the Jersey Triad.

During that period, he also worked in Hollywood on movie sets during a boom period for pro wrestling when the movie industry was interested in films, including on “Ready to Rumble” and a made-for-TV movie on Jesse Ventura.

He was a victim of the demise of WCW, as WWE wasn’t really a good fit for him stylistically.  Even though he was 6-3, he did not possess the kind of look they wanted.  He was also plagued by injuries during that period and was finally released in 2004.

He attempted to get back into the major leagues doing a gimmick as the first openly gay pro wrestler, later admitting to be gay in real life.  He tried to garner publicity claiming WWE fired him for being gay, but the publicity went nowhere.  TNA was also not interested in the gimmick.  He had wrestled sparingly in recent years, had announced a retirement, but still on occasion wrestled.

He was part of a lawsuit with Scott Levy and Mike Sanders against WWE for misclassifying wrestlers as independent contracts, but the suit was thrown out of court because the statute of limitations had expired on filing such a suit.

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