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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Kanyon plays wait and see with WCW


By ALEX RISTIC -- SLAM! Wrestling
Kanyon shoots a scene for the Jesse Ventura movie in Toronto before Monday Night Nitro, April 5, 1999. -- Ken Kerr, Toronto Sun

For those of you wondering about the whereabouts of one Chris Kanyon, the explanation is pretty simple -- he's waiting to see what's going to happen with WCW, especially now that Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo have returned to creative control.

Kanyon said last week that he is scheduled to appear at the April 10th Nitro, but wants to meet with the creative team first.

"I don't have loyalty to WCW, I have loyalty to Eric Bischoff and some to Dallas Page. I won't even give them any ideas I have until I see what they have planned."

All this came about when Bill Busch sent the word out that wrestlers interested in a release could obtain one simply by asking. Kanyon was one such ring general who decided to take the then-president up on his offer.

"It happened around February 14. I had heard that Bill Busch was giving releases to anyone that wanted to leave the company," Kanyon told SLAM! Wrestling. "I've been with WCW for five years and I told Bill that I didn't want to play for a second-place team anymore. I had 13-14 months left on my contract, and I didn't think that Kevin Sullivan, Gary Juster and J.J. Dillon could get the job done in the positions they were in."

Kanyon continued: "I asked Bill Busch for my release, and he told me he would get back to me in a week. I asked him 'Bill, are you going to get back to me, or am I going to have to come to you?' He said 'I'll come to you.' Sure enough, a week later there was no call, so I got in contact with Bill and they said they wanted to work something out. Like I said, I didn't want to play for a second place team anymore, and I told Bill that I thought WCW wasn't going to be able to pull it off."

He's been waiting the situation out since. Although some may think there's a light at the end of the tunnel with the return of Bischoff and Russo, Kanyon is hesitant, although slightly optimistic.

"Both Eric Bischoff and Russo have proven that they can put out good product; Russo moreso with the WWF. Eric put the company on top for something like 87 or 92 weeks, so he's proven that he can come up with a good TV product. But like I said, I still have 13 months on my contract, I think that enough time to turn things around. I will not sign a contract extension until I see an improvement. I can explore a lot of opportunities if things don't work out."

Some of those opportunities include a potential career in Hollywood. Kanyon has been involved in several aspects that have included wrestling and the silver screen, with Frdiay's release of the film Ready To Rumble, as well as his past efforts with the Jesse Ventura movie, aired by NBC, and the new Bif Naked music video. Kanyon tells of how it all started out.

"Well, I co-ordinated the Rodman-Malone match, and I helped Jay Leno with his. When NBC was doing the Ventura TV movie, the Tonight Show people told them about me. Even though it wasn't critically acclaimed, I picked up the Daily Variety in L.A., and they said 'Bad movie, bad acting, great wrestling,' so I still got something out of it."

Kanyon goes on to say that it was Eric Bischoff that sent him to help out in the filming of Ready To Rumble, and that he even stood in as a double for the tough wrestling spots of Oliver Platt's character in the movie, Jimmy King, yet he's listed as a co-ordinator in the credits. He also said that he's an educated individual, with a background in physiotherapy, so he's not worried about his financial future.

DDP winds up to hit Jimmy King (actor Oliver Platt) in the film Ready To Rumble, which is being released April 7.
WCW, much like the WWF, does give its stars some creative input, which is where Kanyon came up with his tag line "Who's better than Kanyon?" He says he first used on a Saturday Night taping, but Perry Saturn and DDP told him to keep using it, as it was a good catch phrase. As for "Innovator Of Offence," Mike Tenay used it during a broadcast, and it's taken off since.

Kanyon goes on to say that even though he has input into his character and angles, he doesn't get the final say, as evidenced by his recent Chris "Champagne" Kanyon schtick. Although Russo came up with the idea, he said it did have merit, especially with using the champagne bottle as a weapon, but when Sullivan took over booking, it all came to a halt. His programs with DDP and Bam Bam Bigelow were scrapped.

Time will tell if Chris Kanyon will be an integral part of WCW, or some other company, but as for wrestling talent, there be some better, but not many, and he would obviously be a welcome addition to the other two.

Mar. 17, 1999: Kanyon surprises Toronto fans