What Impact did Chris Kanyon Have on Pro Wrestling?

Feb 16, 2021 - by James Walsh

In a recent edition of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff discussed Vince McMahon launching the XFL in 2001, Chris Kanyon’s impact on pro wrestling, and much more. You can read his comments below.

Eric Bischoff on Vince McMahon launching the XFL in 2001: “I was watching it pretty closely. I was fascinated by it, and I was excited about it to be honest. I think the reason XFL version 2.0 didn’t work was entirely different than what Vince experienced in version 1.0. My feeling when the XFL was announced was that football is a seasonal sport. People have been conditioned for decades upon decades to look forward to fall football, not spring football…..football is important to most people’s lives. It’s as important to their lives as many things.

“But the vast majority of the United States, once the Super Bowl is over, if they’re really big sports fans, they’re either moving into the finals in the NBA or getting excited about baseball or a lot of other traditionally seasonal sports. So, my instinct told me people weren’t gonna watch football in the spring, especially with a bunch of players they didn’t really know. They did populate the XFL with some names, but for the most part, these were guys who were on their way to play football in Canada that the average NFL audience probably didn’t know. So, I didn’t think it was going to be successful, but my impression of Vince, especially in 2001, was don’t ever bet against him. I was betting on him, even though my gut told me otherwise.”

On Chris Kanyon’s work being underrated and his impact on the wrestling business: “There’s a song I listen to. I think it’s by The Band Perry called “When I Die Young.” It’s a really good song because it tells a story about a young girl who dies at a very young age before she’s ever had a chance to be in love or experience the things most young girls grow up hoping to experience. One of the lines in that song is ‘Your songs are worth so much more when you’re a goner.’ My response is similar to that in regards to Chris Kanyon. Now that he’s gone and we look back at his body of work – there’s still enough of it to go, ‘Wow, he was way better than we realized.’ I think his impression that he made on the audience and the things he innovated in the ring – his ability to tell a story in a physical manner, which is the art-form we call professional wrestling – was so far ahead of everybody else’s in terms of innovation that nobody appreciated it until he was a goner. I’m referencing the song, not making light. It’s unfortunate, but I’d like to hope that Chris recognizes now that we’re recognizing him.”

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