You approached Christopher Pallies. He was a huge man and had that look of a pro wrestler. Though, Pallies, who passed away Monday at the age of 61, had a huge heart in and out of the wrestling ring in the role of King Kong Bundy.
Sadly, and again this is the third one in as many weeks, the passing of another pro wrestling legend and too young at the age of 61. That heart was never going to die, but the 6-foot-4, 458-pound wrestler, like some many others, went into seclusion and was battling health issues over the years since his final matches with the WWE and appearances on the independent circuit.
The name was appropriate. There was a Giant, “Andre” who also died too young. Then there was King Kong Bundy who epitomized that villain who became a part of the resurgence and modern pro wrestling era of the 1980’s under the Vince McMahon owned WWF now known as WWE Entertainment.
His biggest match, WrestleMania II, and trying to dethrone the legend known as Hulk Hogan in a steel cage match as the main event back in 1986. Every wrestler in the WWE, for that matter in the business, they will say being a part of that grand stage known as WrestleMania was the highlight of a career. Whether you were the main event or were on the card, that was the pinnacle of hard work.
And there was never a doubt about Chris Pallies, that other gentle giant when out of character. He entertained and became that top heel. The hard work paid off as the name King Kong Bundy earned him praise with the roster, “The Guys” backstage in an industry that is all about who gets the most heat in an arena.
Bundy was classified and associated with the greats. Other legends who have passed, he worked alongside and against. The names, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, The Undertaker. His second stint back with the WWE was a huge angle and the script called for being a protective force for the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase.
Of course, King Kong Bundy was best known for the referee counting to five. He did not want a three count to finish off his opponent with the classic “Bundy Splash.” The count was his ability to destroy an opponent, again what has been said here about a wrestling show going with the script.
Later, Chris would leave WWE and work on the independent circuit. He always had a thing about comedy and pop culture which led to some roles on television.
Oh, the King Kong Bundy Splash. That personalized his character and it developed from being a heel to a fan favorite. Many years later, after those hectic and competitive days with the WWE, the Splash of a big man on top of the victim was still at a height.
The match was over. The term being stretched out and assisted to the locker room became a constant when they opposed King Kong Bundy in the ring.
Believe this columnist about the Splash. Those years in the wrestling business, on the independent circuit, the gentleman known as King Kong Bundy was in the ring. The ring announcer on a scheduled show in the Bronx, yours truly. The task of making the introduction and going over the script backstage went beyond to get the crowd going.
Except, Chris Pallies was sympathetic after the ring announcer became his latest victim of a King King Kong Bundy splash. He grabbed the mic, that was planned. He went beyond and put those big hands to the neck that visualized a choke.
And then, those big hands prompted an unexpected Bundy slam and the splash. Down on the mat and this 400-pound body coming down for a splash. Try and visualize a bug being splashed by your foot and it was Bundy and you the insect.
On a stretcher and assisted backstage, and days later the hurt was felt. He went overboard and the crowd promoted Bundy to go the whole route.
“I am so sorry,” he said. “Are you okay. I am so sorry,” King Kong Bundy was now the real person and showed passion as Chris Pallies backstage. All wrestlers for the most part forget their ring persona when it’s over. That night, yours truly and this wrestling superstar developed a bond.
That Bundy Splash to yours truly is being told. And it is part of a top story to tell during those years spent in the wrestling business along with the “Iron Sheik” showing the twists and turns of the “Camel Clutch”.
However, this script has become more of a reality. Pro wrestling legends passing on and much too young, partly attributed to the rigors of a job that takes a toll over the years.
King Kong Bundy was a legend and there is little to debate about that. When you event WrestleMania, that is enough to be classified as a legend.
Rest In Peace my friend. That Splash to yours truly and others will live on.