Wrestling Reality: The Life and Mind of Chris Kanyon, Wrestling's Gay Superstar

Wrestling Reality: The Life and Mind of Chris Kanyon, Wrestling's Gay Superstar

Ryan Clark

Language: English

Pages: 312

ISBN: 1770410287

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A rare glimpse not only into the life of a professional wrestler, but the life of a gay man in a straight world, this tragic memoir is told in Chris Kanyon’s own words, with the help of journalist Ryan Clark. One of the most popular wrestlers of the late 1990s, Kanyon kept his personal life private from his fans until finally revealing his biggest secret in 2004: he was gay. Going through the various roles that Kanyon played, both in the ring and out of it, as well as his battle with manic depression, this book explores the factors that led to his suicide in 2010. In his voice and the way he wanted it told, these are Kanyon’s last words about his experience rising through the ranks to the top of the professional wrestling world while keeping his sexuality hidden.


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me, I clung to a way out, thinking of an exit strategy. Without warning, he kissed me. Stunned, I took a second to adjust, then gave in to the moment. It was my first real kiss. Where fireworks had been strangely missing from my first kiss with Eileen, there was now a pyrotechnic bonanza going off in my chest to rival the borough’s Fourth of July display. Our lips stayed locked for a minute. Then two. He was gentle; everything about the moment felt right. My hesitance vanished, and I

my brother, who as always, was supportive. It was therapeutic to see the old gang and visit our old hangouts. It was enough to make me believe I was getting better. My parents really had no reaction to my decision to stop wrestling. They always thought it was something I would eventually give up. And knowing this meant focusing on my career, they were comfortable with my decision. Every week I would count down the days and hours until I could leave and return to New York, where my old

wrestling, and passed his talents on to, among others, his nephew Afa and his grandson Rocky, who would go on to star in movies and develop a superstar following as the Rock. I loved the Samoans who were always good guys in their matches. Then I watched a match that made me rethink things. I saw the High Chief turn bad. He had aligned himself with the clean-cut champion, Bob Backlund, but in a shocking development, the High Chief turned bad and faced off against Backlund for the world

match with Saturn, but the storyline got jumbled as Saturn turned against Raven, so it became Saturn and me against Raven. We were good guys fighting Raven, but Saturn and I were also fighting each other. The crowd didn’t know who to root for. As each member of the Flock came out, I hit each of them with a different move. Then Kidman came out. “You ready?” I asked. He just smiled. We showed the crowd a move we’d practiced back at Afa’s — the second-rope pile driver. Kidman stood on

meant to set the stage for a good match.” On the other end of the phone, I could hear Luther laughing. “No, it’s OK — it sounds good,” he said. I swallowed hard and called Savage, and of course I got his answering machine. I left three minutes worth of apology, explaining that Raven and I had to charter the plane, and I was tired. I told the whole story. A few minutes later, I got a call back. Savage has the deepest, most raspy, fake-sounding — but real — voice any wrestling fan had

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