The World Wrestling Federation as it was known in the 1980’s became a monstrous organization that rivaled in popularity to other sports and entertainment artforms. Children of the 1980’s would wake up every Saturday morning to watch King King Bundy of the heinous Bobby “The Brain” Heenan family of “Bad Guys”.
His biggest moments in the sport came when he appeared at the first ever WrestleMania in 1985. Little did he know he would be a pioneer for what would become the SuperBowl of professional wrestling. It is still one of the fastest matches in the event’s history.
In the 1980’s everything was about being “larger than life” and with Bundy’s massive size he would be used as a contender against the most popular wrestler in history Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 2. The two fought inside a blue steel cage which was revolutionary at the time due to the WWE changing from the traditional fenced cage of earlier decades. It was done due to the size of Bundy and Hogan, due to their girth it was easier for them to climb the cage in the big blue steel. The bout took place in Los Angeles and had the legendary LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda doing the ring introductions.
The popularity of King Kong Bundy in 1986 due to WrestleMania and being showcased on Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC saw his namesake being used for a new sitcom that would feature the loveable losers of America. According to the book, “Film and Television In-Jokes,” the show’s creators, Ron Leavitt and Michael Moye named the Bundy family after King Kong Bundy, who was the pair’s favorite wrestler. Also, the Bundy’s next door neighbors, the Rhodes family, were named for NWA wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes.
He left the WWF in 1988, but would return at WM 11 in 1995. Although the business by that time was no longer as hot as it was during his hey day. He would help the company promote the new generation of wrestlers at the time such as Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Bret Hart in commercials.
King Kong Bundy was announced dead at the age of 61 by promoter and longtime friend David Herro on Monday. Herro posted on Facebook: “Today we lost a Legend and a man I consider family.” The cause of death and other details were not disclosed.
Bundy, whose real name was Christopher Pallies, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters), 458-pound (208-kilogram) wrestler made his World Wrestling Federation debut in 1981.