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Opinion

The Underrated Files: Chris Kanyon

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Throughout the many years of professional wrestling history, it can be easy for fans to forget about Superstars of the past, especially if they were never a World Champion. It could be argued that there’s a vast amount of competitors that never got their “just due” or weren’t utilized to their full potential, whether it be issues backstage, not being used correctly or any other number of reasons. The advent of the WWE Network allows us to shine a light on some of the men and women that have been forgotten, reintroducing stars to a new audience that never got to see their talents. In this first installment of my “Underrated Files”, we do just that as we look back at one of my “under the radar” favorites, Chris Kanyon.

Real name Chris Klucsartis, many people believe that Kanyon got his start in World Championship Wrestling, however he began training in late 1991 after graduating from the University of Buffalo at the Lower East Side Wrestling Gym in Manhattan, debuting in April 1992 and even running into a future co-worker to form a tag team, Billy Kidman. In late 1994, Chris got his first taste of the “big time”, appearing as a jobber for the WWF in matches against the likes of Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Tatanka and Bob Holly. Another future co-worker named James Mitchell saw the potential inside of Kanyon’s 6-4, 242 pound frame, sending him for more training with WWE Hall Of Famers The Fabulous Moolah and Afa of The Wild Samoans.

The extra training paid off by 1995, debuting with WCW (as a jobber again), but continuing to work on his in-ring skills at the famed WCW Power Plant. He would be swiftly put into a tag team with Mark Starr known as Men At Work, a construction worker gimmick that often saw the team lose when Kanyon would pull out a tape measure to take some lengths in the ring at very inopportune times. It wasn’t a long-term solution, but it didn’t earn him a break and he would soon be replaced in the tandem by Mark Winner and taken off of television to be repackaged.

This is where the going really gets good, reappearing in 1997 as a new character under a mask that I found very interesting as a youth, Mortis, the latin word for “death”. Alongside the renamed James Mitchell, now going by James Vandenburg, Mortis was thrown right into a feud with another new WCW character that had been given a major push and lots of funding behind his gimmick, Glacier. Some would argue this was Kanyon’s best work and they may be right, but the constraints of the mask and having a mouthpiece at his side would limit him as we rarely, if ever heard Mortis speak. His feud with Glacier was primarily what the Mortis character was built around, but he always seemed to end up on the losing end of things until the debut of a familiar face with a new name, Wrath, who had previously been known as Adam Bomb in the WWF. Wrath & Mortis were a very formidable duo that had seemingly gotten a lot of investment into their storylines and gimmicks, donning what looked to be very pricey entrance gear and embracing a dark side.

Mortis didn’t see too much success, but it was during this time that he really caught my eye. Here’s a bold statement; Mortis was arguably one of the most innovative in-ring performers there has ever been. His offense included maneuvers that I had certainly never seen before and coupled with his unique look, I was in. His finishing move the Flatliner, a 2nd rope Samoan Drop was devastating, not to mention his other creations such as a Rocker Dropper (Famouser) off the 2nd rope, his torture rack into a neckbreaker called an Argentine neckbreaker and his mix of mixed martial arts like kicks, really made him stand-out to a young Eric Ames. Not to mention a sick looking superkick and arguably one of the best right hands in the business. Many of you may say, “Everyone throws a right hand”, but there’s something to be said about having a good one that comes across on television as very clean and impactful.

Things didn’t quite work out for Wrath and Mortis, the angle being dropped late in 1997 with no explanation ever being given. Mortis would do his best in storyline to remain relevant, begging Raven to join his Flock in 1998 to no avail. After being shunned, he would drop the Mortis gimmick altogether and return as Kanyon to feud with the aforementioned Raven, often appearing out of nowhere dressed as a fan, cameraman or even a vendor to attack The Flock’s fearless leader. This opened the door for us to see Kanyon’s personality and spawned his ever famous rhetorical question, “Who better than Kanyon?”. In addition to his microphone skills being revealed for the first time, he continued to create new maneuvers between the ropes such as the Scream Machine (electric chair face drop) and a new version of the Flatliner, a reverse STO, earning a nickname coined by Mike Tenay, “The Innovator Of Offense”.

After another break in late 1998, Kanyon returned and joined forces with Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow to form The Triad, a trio of Superstars from the New Jersey area. WCW’s business was starting to trend downward by this time in 1999, something the company would vehemently attempt to turn around, but it was too far gone. Kanyon continued to impress and became one of the more hated Superstars in the company, finally earning some success with reigns as a WCW Tag Team Champion. Unfortunately, the sinking ship of World Championship Wrestling couldn’t seem to stop the momentum the WWF had, leading to the company’s sale to their competition in 2001. Among the contracts purchased by Vince McMahon was that of Chris Kanyon. He would play a big role in the WWF’s “WCW Invasion” angle, but like many stars from WCW, he was made to look like a fool against McMahon’s talent.

There’s not much good that came from his WWF days, although he did get some key spots and matches alongside Diamond Dallas Page against Kane and The Undertaker, even the WCW United States Championship and dubbing himself “The Alliance MVP”. Injuries would plague Kanyon over the next two years, ultimately leading to his release from the renamed WWE in 2004 after a really lackluster run, to no fault of his own. Chris would retire from the business at the young age of 34, however it didn’t last long as he came back to compete for other promotions such as Total Nonstop Action and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla before formally retiring in the spring of 2007.

While on the independent scene, Kanyon revealed publicly that he was a homosexual and even tried to use it as part of storylines, claiming the WWE fired him for being openly gay. This was of course untrue and he would later reveal that it was simply a publicity stunt. Unfortunately, this very underrated Superstar and wrestling innovator had struggled with bi-polar disorder his entire life, many of the people who surrounded him never having any clue. On April 2nd 2010, Chris’ brother Ken found him inside his apartment in Sunnyside, Queens, New York, Kanyon’s lifeless body laid-out next to a bottle of antidepressants.

Although he cut his own life short at the age of 40, there’s no denying that he left an impact, at least on this fan anyways. During those days, I was in love with the video game ‘WCW/NWO Revenge’ for the Nintendo 64, usually playing as Kanyon for his great move-set. Kanyon was always underused in my opinion, there was a time in WCW where he was arguably the most hated heel in the company because he could really cut a promo, which always left me torn because his offensive creations were something to behold. I’d encourage anybody to check out some of his work on the WWE Network, search for Kanyon or Mortis. You will probably see some moves that look familiar now, but nobody pulled them off with the same crispness. A true innovator, you may walk away asking yourself his famed catchphrase, “Who better than Kanyon?”.


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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