Chris Pallies, who wrestled under the name King Kong Bundy in legendary cage match against Hulk Hogan in WrestleMania 2 during the halcyon days of the WWF, passed away at his home in New Jersey the age of 63.
Chris Pallies, a former bartender from northern New Jersey, is the man behind King Kong Bundy. The 6-foot-4 Brassie topped out at 450-plus pounds during his career.
During a match, announcer Gorilla Monsoon once said, “Bundy is a mountain of a man. He’s a mountain with arms and legs.”
Pallies, billed as “King Kong Bundy from an Atlantic City, New Jersey”, performed as a bad guy the majority of his career. Pallies did not mind playing the role of the heel, but King Kong Bundy never held a championship belt in a major wrestling organization during his journeyman career.
Early Days of Kong
Chris Pallies debuted as a professional wrestler in 1981 under the moniker “Chris Canyon” during the infancy of the World Wrestling Federation.
Pallies headed to Texas to train with the Von Erich Family on the World Class Wrestling circuit. They switched his name to “Big Daddy” and he played more of a redneck role with cutoff jeans and a rope for a belt.
Gary Hart took Pallies under his wing, who switched his stage name to King Kong Bundy. After he lost his hair, a bald Bundy donned black wrestling tights, which became his signature costume and part of his iconic image.
Five Count and Hulk Hogan Cage Match
Hart managed Bundy and he returned to the WWF in 1985. Hart and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan swapped wrestlers in 1985. Heenan became Bundy’s new manager, which featured roster of top-notch talent including Andre the Giant.
In 1986, Hogan and Bundy clashed in an epic cage match at WrestleMania 2. Their cage match occurred in Los Angeles. The paid-per-view wrestling event set in three-different cities simultaneously broke international PPV records at the time.
King Kong Bundy developed signature moves known as the Avalanche and Splash. In the Avalanche, Bundy threw opponents into a corner and followed up with a charge. The ensuing collision resulted into an opponent crashing into the turnbuckle. Bundy legitimately injured Hulk Hogan’s ribs utilizing this move.
King Kong Bundy relied on the Splash as a finishing move. To end a match, Bundy jumped on top and smothered an opponent on the mat. Bundy beat opponents so badly that he often demanded the referee give him a five count instead of the usual three count.
Andre the Giant and King Kong Bundy were featured in “The Colossal Jostle”, which occurred in September 1995. The match is considered a classic among wrestling connoisseurs.
Pop Culture Icon and Quickest Match
Although he is not put in the same category as the best thespians in Hollywood, King Kong Bundy became a pop culture icon. Everyone could pick King Kong Bundy out of a crowd with his black tights and bald head. WWF marketed Bundy’s image to sell action figures. The King Kong Bundy action doll was one of the most popular figures in the collection.
King Kong Bundy became an important pillar of pop culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His name inspired the family name in the television show “Married With Children”. Bundy made cameos in various films, television shows, and commercials.
King Kong Bundy never won a major belt, but he set records during his journey. Special Delivery Jones and Bundy fought the quickest match in WWF history. The first WrestleMania was hosted at the most-famous arena in the world, Madison Square Garden, where Bundy set the original record, before it was broken by a WWE wrestler.
The quickie eight second match with S.D. Jones featured three classic Bundy moves. It started off with a Bear Hug, then an Avalanche, topped off by a Splash.