King Kong Bundy, the 400-pound behemoth who once headlined WrestleMania 2 against Hulk Hogan, has died at the age of 61.
Bundy died Monday, said promoter and longtime friend David Herro. He posted on Facebook : “Today we lost a Legend and a man I consider family.” The cause of death and other details were not disclosed.
Described by the legendary wrestling figure Gorilla Monsoon as “The Condominium with Legs,” Bundy used his hefty frame to bully opponents, finishing them off by leaping onto them in the ring corner, a move known as the “Avalanche.”
Bundy a Frequent Headliner
Bundy received his first major break in Dallas, headlining a 1982 show at Texas Stadium — then home of the NFL’s Cowboys — against Fritz Von Erich, wrestling in his retirement match.
Known for his shaved head, Bundy wrestled around the country as a bad guy, utilizing his giant frame. He developed his trademark by pinning his opponent for a five-count instead of the requisite three.
After stops in Mid-South Wrestling (based in Louisiana/Oklahoma), Georgia — where he appeared nationally on TBS cable — and Memphis, Bundy returned to the WWF in 1985. Four years earlier, he debuted there as a preliminary wrestler known as Chris Canyon.
This time, Bundy headlined against the likes of Andre the Giant and Hogan. The latter two squared off in a big blue cage at WrestleMania 2 in Los Angeles in 1986. Hogan prevailed that night.
Bundy left the WWF in early 1988 for an acting career, with guest appearances on the TV show “Married… with Children” and the Richard Pryor movie “Moving.”
Bundy returned for one final run with the WWF in 1994, but could not replicate his top status. He fell to The Undertaker at the 1995 version of WrestleMania, and left the WWF for good months later.
He spent the rest of his career wrestling occasionally on the independent circuit and appearing at wrestling conventions.
A New Jersey Native
Bundy grew up in New Jersey, real name Christopher Pallies, and was billed for most of his career from Atlantic City. Trained by one-time wrestler Larry Sharpe, Bundy debuted under the Canyon name, losing on TV more than winning.
Arriving in the Dallas territory by 1982, Bundy appeared as a babyface — wrestling parlance for good guy — under the name of Big Daddy Bundy, a Nome, Alaska native and friend of popular Von Erich family.
Bundy later turned on the Von Erichs, and saw himself on the top of the card for the better part of 1980s wrestling.