Hold Off On The Gay Panic After Kanyon's Suicide

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Yes, former WCW star Chris Kanyon was found dead yesterday. Yes, it was probably suicide. And yes, he might have been gay. But let's not overstate the importance of that last one.

Kanyon, nee Chris Klucsaritis was inexplicably one of my favorites growing up. He was never particularly popular starting out as a Mortal Kombat ripoff, nor particularly skilled, despite his "innovator of offense" moniker, nor particularly charismatic as part of the Jersey Triad. But I still liked him, for reasons that still escape me.

So I was sad to read about his death yesterday from an overdose of prescription drugs. It was most likely suicide, from the sheer number of pills and some alleged suicide notes left behind.


The story's already turning into a discussion of Kanyon's purported homosexuality. Every mainstream headline emphasizes that he was "openly gay." And the wrestling blogs, rarely a source of discretion, have already begun the speculation that his sexual orientation somehow contributed to his decision to end his life.

First off, it's a murky antecedent. Kanyon's big "coming out" took place as part of an independent wrestling show, in which he claimed that the WWE had fired him because he was gay. It was supposed to be his big angle, and get him more work. When it didn't, he told a few different outlets that it was merely part of the show, and not true. Later on, he backpedaled again, saying that his initial coming out was the truth, and the denials were false. So who knows.


But depression doesn't require sexual confusion, or living a lie. And from the statements of his co-workers, it's clear that Kanyon had dealt with depression for a long time, and even talked of suicide — as recently as last week.

So when the story of Kanyon is written, it's natural that his claims of being the first openly gay wrestler play a part. But they shouldn't be the lede.


Openly Gay Former Wrestler Dies at 40 in Apparent Suicide [The Sun]