(Kanyon) Mortis vs Luchasaurus (Judas Draven)
As people discover Luchasaurus (aka Judas Draven), many are reminded of Mortis, a masked character played by the more-known wrestling name of Chris Kanyon in WCW (1997). Two dark, green, masked tall wrestlers with martial arts and Mortal Kombat influence. What would an encounter look like? Would one benefit from the encounter more than the other and, who would come out on top at the end of it all?
1992-1995: Chris Kanyon In 1992 Christopher Morgan Klucsarits graduated from the University of Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. During his time there, he was a member of the Mad Turtles, the University of Buffalo Rugby Football Club. Kanyon worked full-time as a physical therapist for three years before becoming a wrestler. After college, he began training under Pete McKay Gonzalez, Ismael Gerena and Bobby Bold Eagle at the Lower East Side Wrestling Gym in Manhattan. He wrestled his first match on April 5, 1992, in Levittown, New York at the Island Trees Junior High School, and wrestled one match as Chris Morgan before adopting the ring name Chris Canyon and later changed it to Chris Kanyon. Kanyon worked as a physical therapist for the next three years, wrestling on weekends and in the evenings, before finally deciding to become a full-time professional wrestler in 1995. Early in his career, Kanyon formed a tag team with Billy Kidman which saw both men wrestle in hockey uniforms. In late 1994, he made several appearances with the World Wrestling Federation as a jobber, facing wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Tatanka and Bob Holly. His friend and future manager James Mitchell saw potential in him and sent him for training with The Fabulous Moolah in South Carolina and with Afa at Wild Samoan wrestling School.
Kanyon made his World Championship Wrestling (WCW) debut in 1995 as a jobber. After several months he was placed with Mark Starr in a tag team called “Men at Work“. Their gimmick was that they were two construction workers turned wrestlers who wore jeans to the ring, and that Kanyon would cause the team to suffer losses by taking measurements with his tape measure at inopportune times. Kanyon was replaced with Mike Winner before the team disbanded altogether.
1997-1998: Mortis In 1997, Kanyon donned a mask and was repackaged as Mortis, a Latin word meaning death. Managed by James Vandenberg, Kanyon feuded with Glacier. Kanyon faced Glacier at Uncensored on March 16 in his pay-per-view debut but lost to the undefeated Glacier. Following the match, Wrath debuted, siding with Kanyon and assaulting Glacier. Glacier defeated Kanyon in a second match at Slamboree on May 18. After the match, Wrath and Mortis once again attacked Glacier. However, Glacier was spared a post-match beating when Ernest Miller ran to the ring to defend him. The four men fought one another over the following weeks, culminating in a match at Bash at the Beach on July 13 which was won by Kanyon and Wrath. Kanyon and Wrath continued to team together until the angle was quietly dropped in early 1998.
1998-1999: Kanyon In February 1998, Kanyon (still in his guise as Mortis) asked Raven if he could join Raven’s stable The Flock but was told that he could only become a member if he defeated Diamond Dallas Page for the United States Heavyweight Championship. Mortis failed to defeat Page for the title on the February 12 episode of Thunder, and he was DDT’ed on the entrance ramp by Raven as a result. This event led to Kanyon discarding the “Mortis” persona and beginning a feud with Raven, in the course of which he was dubbed “The Innovator of Offense” by play-by-play commentator Mike Tenay due to his unique wrestling technique, which included multiple moves performed from a fireman’s carry position. His matches almost always began with him asking the rhetorical question “Who Better than Kanyon” as the crowd would respond “everybody” (or “nobody“, if he was a face.) He formed an uneasy alliance with Perry Saturn in order to fight against The Flock, but eventually turned on Saturn and joined forces with Raven. After Saturn forced The Flock to disband by defeating Raven at Fall Brawl, Kanyon and Raven continued to team together until Raven, in storyline, was sidelined with depression and Kanyon took time away from his wrestling career to work as stunt coordinator and stuntman on The Jesse Ventura Story.
Kanyon returned in 1999, helping Raven and Saturn win the World Tag Team Championship, but soon abandoned them and formed a stable with Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page known as the Jersey Triad. The Triad feuded with Saturn and Chris Benoit over the Tag Team Championship, defeating them for the title on June 13 in the Baltimore Arena at The Great American Bash pay-per-view. During their reign, they were given special dispensation by WCW President Ric Flair to defend the title as a three-man unit, granting them a numerical advantage over their opponents. However, the ruling was overturned by Flair’s replacement Sting, and Kanyon and Bigelow lost the title to Harlem Heat at Road Wild on August 14, 1999. The Triad disbanded shortly thereafter, with Kanyon once again placing his wrestling career on hiatus to work on the WCW produced film Ready to Rumble, where he served as stunt coordinator and as the stunt double of lead actor Oliver Platt.
1999: “Champagne” Kanyon returned to WCW in late 1999 as Chris “Champagne” Kanyon, abbreviated to C.C.K., accompanied by J. Biggs, his “agent”, and two former Nitro Girls, Baby and Chameleon. He claimed that he had become acclimatized to the glamor of Hollywood and thus began indulging in luxuries such as champagne, women, and expensive cars. He feuded briefly with Bigelow and Page before being removed from WCW by interim booker Kevin Sullivan.
2000: “Positively” Kanyon returned to WCW once more on April 10, 2000, when Vince Russo replaced Sullivan. He teamed with Page for several months, which climaxed at Slamboree with him attempting to save DDP from being powerbombed by Mike Awesome on top of the triple cage which was also used in the Ready to Rumble movie. Kanyon saved Page, but Awesome turned his attention to Kanyon, throwing him off the triple cage onto the ramp below, ending the pay-per-view in dramatic fashion. Kanyon, after a storyline which saw him in a halo brace in a hospital and in a wheelchair, stepped out of the wheelchair and turned on Page at The Great American Bash costing him his Ambulance match against Mike Awesome. Kanyon then joined Eric Bischoff, the leader of the New Blood faction. In the course of his renewed feud with Page, Kanyon began imitating Page, renaming himself “Positively” Kanyon (a reference to Page’s autobiography, Positively Page) and wearing a long blonde wig. He eventually dyed his hair blonde and wore a “P.C.K.” (Positively Chris Kanyon) T-shirt. In the course of the feud he began using a version of Page’s finishing move, the Diamond Cutter, known as the Kanyon Kutter. He began arbitrarily delivering the Kutter to various WCW backstage employees, and at one point executed the move on Gene Okerlund and Buff Bagwell‘s mother Judy, leading to a short feud with the Bagwell family, which led to Buff Bagwell defeating Kanyon at New Blood Rising in a “Judy Bagwell on a Forklift” match. Kanyon left WCW shortly afterward.
2001: Kanyon returned to WCW on the February 5, 2001 episode of Nitro attacking Diamond Dallas Page renewing his feud with Page. Kanyon returned to the ring and defeated Page at SuperBrawl Revenge on February 18, 2001, but Page defeated Kanyon in a rematch the following night on Nitro. Kanyon began feuding with Ernest “The Cat” Miller in March 2001. During this time he had a small gimmick change including a more intense look, new entrance music and a black leather jacket he wore to the ring. The feud had not been resolved by the time WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in late March 2001.
2001: WWF On July 6, 2001, Kanyon made his WWF debut on SmackDown! as part of The Alliance, a group of former WCW wrestlers who were “invading” the WWF. He made his WWF pay-per-view debut at InVasion, a one-off show featuring WWF superstars against former WCW and ECW employees. At this show, he formed a team with Shawn Stasiak and Hugh Morrus in a winning effort against The Big Show, Billy Gunn and Albert in a six-man tag team match. On July 26, 2001, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T, at the request of Stephanie McMahon, gave Kanyon his WCW United States Championship. Upon being presented with the title, Kanyon began referring to himself as “The Alliance MVP“. Kanyon reformed his tag team with fellow Alliance member Diamond Dallas Page on the August 6, 2001 edition of Raw when Kanyon helped Page attack The Undertaker backstage. On the August 9, 2001 episode of SmackDown!, they defeated the Acolytes Protection Agency (Faarooq and Bradshaw) for the WWF Tag Team Championships. Their reign lasted until August 19, when they were defeated by The Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) for the title in a steel cage match at SummerSlam. Kanyon went on to lose the United States Championship to Tajiri on the September 10, 2001 episode of Raw. Kanyon then had a small feud with Matt Hardy over Kanyon hitting on Lita. Kanyon pinned Hardy on the September 24, 2001 edition of Raw. The feud eventually ended in early October after the Hardy Boyz defeated Kanyon and multiple Alliance partners, such as Rhyno, Lance Storm, Chuck Palumbo and Hugh Morrus, in a series of tag team matches. Kanyon then began working on the WWF’s B-shows. On October 29, 2001, Kanyon tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a dark match with Randy Orton. He underwent surgery with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama and was sidelined for the remainder of the Invasion angle. He would appear only once in a cameo role at the 2001 Survivor Series pay-per-view. At this show, a team representing the Alliance took on a team representing the WWF in a tag team match. A pre-match stipulation declared that the side represented by the losing team would all be released from their contracts (excluding title holders and the winner of the immunity battle royal, Test). As a result of the Alliance team’s loss, Kanyon was “fired” along with all the other Alliance members. Eventually, all Alliance members returned as WWE superstars, usually quietly without a storyline or announcement. This storyline allowed Kanyon time to recover from injury.
2002: WWE In May 2002, Kanyon was cleared to compete and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, a WWE developmental territory, through the end of the month to restore himself to full fitness. However, while wrestling Lance Cade in Lima, Ohio on July 13, 2002 Kanyon injured his left shoulder, suffering a humeral head contusion and supraspinatus tendinitis. He underwent surgery on July 21, 2002 but began experiencing breathing difficulties on July 25, 2002. As a result of an allergy to the medications with which he was being treated, Kanyon’s lungs filled with fluid and his blood oxygen level fell to 41%. He gradually recovered and was discharged from the hospital on July 28, 2002 having lost 32 lb (15 kg) in the interim. Kanyon returned to OVW in October 2002 and remained there for a further four months, while continuing working dark matches before Raw and SmackDown throughout late 2002 and early 2003. He made one appearance in a backstage segment with the APA, where they wanted him to attend a battle royal at the next pay-per-view event. Kanyon was among the challengers, but was largely inactive. On the February 13, 2003 episode of SmackDown! he returned to the main SmackDown roster, emerging from a large crate, from The Big Show, dressed as Boy George and singing the 1983 Culture Club hit “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” to The Undertaker, prompting The Undertaker to attack him. Kanyon made his televised in ring return on the April 19, 2003 edition of Velocity with his “Who Betta Than Kanyon?” gimmick and was defeated by Rhyno. Despite a few appearances on SmackDown, Kanyon was relegated to Velocity from that point on for the rest of 2003, in addition to wrestling on several dark matches and house shows as Mortis.
2004-2007 On February 9, 2004, after a year of facing two injuries and not being used in any major storylines, Kanyon was officially released from his WWE contract. He retired from professional wrestling on August 28, 2004, after losing a retirement match to Diamond Dallas Page in Wayne, New Jersey. In July 2005, he announced the end of his retirement and his imminent return to the independent circuit. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, he took part in several benefit shows. Kanyon appeared at the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) pay-per-view Turning Point on December 11, 2005, as Larry Zbyszko‘s choice, Chris K, losing to Raven. Kanyon also appeared in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla taking on PWG champion, Joey Ryan. Joey retained the title with help of distraction by someone wearing a Mortis outfit. On April 5th 2007, Kanyon announced his retirement.
2010: RIP Chris Kanyon had been suffering from bipolar disorder, and he threatened suicide in the weeks prior. On April 2nd 2010, his brother Ken Klucsarits found him dead in his Sunnyside, Queens, New York apartment with an empty bottle of antidepressants. He left behind a note of apology for his family. His death was acknowledged by WWE.
2009-2012: Austin Matelson holds a master’s degree in medieval literature, and resides in LA, California. He was trained by the Ballard Brothers Shane and Shannon and made his in-ring debut on October 25, 2009 in New Wave Pro Wrestling. During 2011, Matelson wrestled matches in the National Wrestling Alliance and it’s affiliate promotions including Championship Wrestling From Hollywood under the ring name “W“, when he was part of the wrestling stable The Disorder with teammate “M“.
2012-2013: NXT Austin Matelson signed a developmental contract with WWE and was sent for training at FCW where he became given the ring name Judas Devlin. On August 1, 2012, he made his FCW debut teaming with Corey Graves defeating Briley Pierce and CJ Parker. After FCW became rebranded to NXT, he had matches mainly in house shows during the months of August through November 2012. He continued wrestling in NXT House shows from January until March 2013. Judas Devlin and Baron Corbin almost joined the Wyatt Family before the monstrous Braun Strowman ended up making his debut on the WWE roster as part of the family.
“… I actually did a few promos with Bray Wyatt in front of the camera with Dusty [Rhodes]. They tried a few people, Baron Corbin kinda tried out for it as well. Ultimately, I think I could [have gotten] that spot, but then I got injured …” -Austin Matelson
2014-2015 Austin Matelson was released in 2014 after a severe injury. Austin was one of the first to publicize complaints against the NXT head trainer Bill DeMott which later would be known as the Bill DeMott scandal. It should be noted that most of the first few who complained about Bill DeMott were also let go by WWE. In the summer of 2015, Matelson appeared as a contestant in the 17th season of Big Brother.
2016 After three years away from the ring and three years since his release from the WWE, Matelson returned to independent promotions. He resumed his work with Millennium Pro Wrestling, after four years since his last appearance in MPW. He used the names Austin Draven and Just Judas during his matches in MPW. Matelson wrestled fellow WWE alumni including Damien Sandow and John Morrison. During the September 30, 2016 edition of MPW as Just Judas, he won his first title, defeating Danny Divine for the MPW Heavyweight Championship.
2016: Lucha Underground Matelson made his Lucha Underground debut as Vibora on the 2017-aired “Evil Rising” episode. Vibora came in with Pindar to form a trio tag team with Drago as The Reptile Tribe. They faced The Rabbit Tribe (Mala Suerte, Paul London & Saltador), and later faced Aerostar & Fenix in a Three-On-Two handicap match. Vibora instantly connected with the Lucha underground believers with a “Luchasaurus” chant. The Reptile Tribe successfully captured the Lucha Underground Trios Championship titles. Vibora wrestled in a Cueto Cup Tournament, and feuded with Paul London. The Reptile Tribe would later take on the team of Dante Fox (AR Fox), Killshot (Shane Strickland) & The Mack (Willie Mack).
2017-2018 Matelson made his Union Independent Pro Wrestling (UIPW) debut wrestling as Judas el Luchasaurio in January. By August 2017, he began wrestling under the name Luchasaurus.
2019 Luchasauruus appeared on televised shows in Impact, ROH, and other indies. On May 25, 2019, Luchasaurus debuted for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) at Double or Nothing as a part of the pre-show Casino Battle Royale for an AEW World Championship opportunity. He lasted until the final three, before being eliminated by Adam Page. Three days later it was revealed that Matelson had signed with the company full time, under his Luchasaurus persona. Luchasaurus began teaming with Jack Perry (Luke Perry’s son) better known as Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy would be seen mounted on the shoulders of Luchasaurus, and they appeared in Being The Elite comedy segments.
Tale of the tape:
|WCW, WWF/WWE||Known In||AEW, Lucha Underground, indies|
|Pete McKay Gonzalez, Ismael Gerena, Bobby Bold Eagle, Afa Anoaʻi, The Fabulous Moolah||Trained by||Ballard Brothers, Bill DeMott, Billy Gunn, Rick Rayson|
|Flatliner, Fireman’s carry neckbreaker, Fireman’s carry Facebuster, Cutter||Signature Move||Kneeling reverse piledriver, Burning Hammer, The Betrayal, Chokeslam, Standing Moonsault|
|“Champagne”,”The Innovator of Offense”||Known As||“The Post Modern Phenomenon”|
|Mortis & Wrath, Men At Work, The Alliance, New Blood, Revolution, Jersey Triad||Tag Teams/Stables||The Disorder, The Reptile Tribe, A boy and his dinosaur|
Who would win this rivalry?
Can it happen?
No, this is strictly a comparison. There are 2 years between the time of Kanyon retiring and Luchasaurus debuting. Chris Klucsarits (best known as Kanyon) passed away on April 2nd, 2010. May he rest in peace. The beloved characters of Mortis and Kanyon played by Chris will live on forever through our memories, and video game character creations.