King Kong Bundy, one of the most prominent WWE wrestling stars of the 1980s and 90s, has died at the age of 61.
The wrestling legend, whose real name was Christopher Alan Pallies, took on Hulk Hogan in the iconic steel cage match at WrestleMania 2 in 1986. World Wrestling Entertainment said in a statement that it was “saddened” by the news of his passing. Pallies’ death was also confirmed by long-time friend and wrestling promoter, David Herro.
Late Pallies, who was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, started his wrestling career for the World Wrestling Federation in 1981 under the name Chris Canyon, before changing his name to King Kong Buddy.
He dominated the first WrestleMania event at Madison Square Garden in 1985, defeating S.D Jones in just nine seconds, setting a record which remained until 2008. He also challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 2, losing out to his opponent.
The event would nevertheless go down as one of wrestling’s most iconic moments. Pallies went into semi-retirement in 1988, before returning to the WWF in 1994 as part of The Million Dollar Corporation, and facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania XI in 1995.
He eventually retired from the WWF in 1995, starting a second career which included stand-up comedy and appearances in a number of films.