Former NWA wrestler Chris Champion passes away

Aug 22, 2018 - by James Walsh

Chris Champion, a wrestler best know for his work in the NWA territories in the 1980s, passed away today at the age of 57.

Trained by the Malenko family (Boris, Dean & Joe), Chris Champion made his mark initially with Championship Wrestling From Florida (CWF), where he partnered with Sean Royal in the tag team The New Breed. They two were “time travellers” from the year 2002 and had been sent back in time to compete for CWF. They frequently referred to Dusty Rhodes as “Mr. President”, as in 2000, he was apparently elected to the highest office in the US.

The tandem also worked other territories, including Mid South and Continental Championship Wrestling (CWA) in Memphis. They held the CWF/NWA Florida Tag Team titles one time, with a lengthy feud with the Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong & Tracey Smothers). During his time in CWF, he also helped train other wrestlers, including Lex Luger and Ron Simmons.

In 1988, Champion moved to Jim Crockett Promotions‘ Mid Atlantic territory as a singles wrestler, competing against the likes of Larry Zybysko, Ron Simmons, Ron Garvin and others, but his stay was brief. In 1989, he headed back to CWA, where he formed a new tag team with his real life brother, Mark Starr, called Wildside. Together, Wildside had feuds with the likes of Rock N’ Roll Express and Midnight Express, capturing the CWA Tag Team Championship in 1989.

When CWA transitioned into the United States Wrestling Association (USWA), Champion stuck around and became more of a singles wrestler again, facing the likes of Doug Gilbert, Dirty White Boy and a young Mike Awesome. He also briefly worked under the guise of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, known as Cowabunga, working the US and Japan with Frontier Martial-arts Wrestling (FMW).

In 1993, Champion was hired by World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he was given an Asian gimmick, a character known as Yoshi Kwan, and managed by Harley Race. He had a lengthy feud with Cactus Jack, but his WCW run only lasted a few months, before he was back on the US independents. He continued to work the US indies for the remainder of his career.

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