Chris ‘Kanyon’ Klucsaritis 1970-2010

The wrestling world lost another familiar face this past Friday as Chris ‘Kanyon’ Klucsaritis, was found in his Queens, New York apartment dead, he was 40.

Dubbed “The Innovator of Offense” while in WCW, Klucsaritis used several moves such as the downward spiral, a modified Ace Crusher, a top-rope rocker-dropper and an electric chair drop, in addition to a bevy of moves out of the fireman’s carry, to finish off his opponents. He was also one of the first professional wrestlers to “steal” his opponents moves, creating unexpected matches that always entertained.

Held back by his apparent lack of charisma on the microphone, caused by a lisp, Klucsaritis never raised his career to the level many expected him to, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t an important figure in the sport. A former tag team champion in both WCW and WWE, in addition to being a former United States Heavyweight champion, Klucsaritis helped elevate many young wrestlers’ careers. You could say whatever you wanted about his ability on the microphone, but it would be impossible to say he wasn’t capable of having a great match with every wrestler he faced.

So, much in the vein of professional wrestlers the likes of Roddy Piper and Jake Roberts, Kanyon was often without a championship, mainly because he didn’t need one. Make no mistake about it, there was a reason why he’d often feud with stars that were on their way up in the sport. They needed someone to help them look good in the ring, to be believable, and this, essentially was what Klucsaritis was best at.

However unlike the aforementioned athletes, who attained superstardom due to their rebel personas and talent on the stick, Kanyon was always portrayed as the follower, whether it be to Bryan “Wrath” Clark, Scott “Raven” Levy, or Diamond Dallas Page. At 6’4, 270 pounds, he was a massive man, but had excellent athletic ability, possessing excellent speed and in-ring instincts. Nevertheless, he never got the push he needed or deserved, and was instead relegated to being everyone else’s lackey.

In spite of that, there were times when Klucsaritis showed the type of charisma needed to be a breakout star. When his friend and tag partner, Raven, was battling depression in early ’99 [kayfabe], WCW filmed several vignettes of Klucsaritis hanging out with his buddy trying to cheer him up. This softer and funny side of the often gregarious and annoying character he often portrayed was a step in the right direction, but was unfortunately never fully developed.

Later in his career, he showed more promise, especially in WWE during the WCW invasion, but was soon relegated to a jobber. A few injuries later and he was out of the sport for the most part and after a few indy showings and a cameo or two in TNA and WWL [where he wrestled like he hadn’t missed a beat, he was never back in the game.

In spite of all that, if judged primarily on his in-ring abilities alone, there weren’t many betta’ than Klucsaritis.

If you’ve never seen Klucsaritis wrestle, check out this tribute video from Youtube:

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12087 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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