The suicide Friday of former World Wrestling Entertainment performer Chris “Kanyon” Klucsaritis hasn’t yet gotten much media attention in Connecticut, where Linda McMahon continues on her merry way to spending $50 million trying to persuade voters that she belongs in United States Senate.
But it should – for two reasons.
In 2008 Klucsaritis was one of a group of wrestlers, led by Scott “Raven” Levy, who sued WWE in federal court in Connecticut to challenge their status as independent contractors. The plaintiffs said this misclassification cheated them out of health insurance, vacations, and other benefits. The company’s lawyers succeeded in getting the case thrown out because the plaintiffs were no longer working for WWE and hence had no standing to sue.
Klucsaritis’s WWE contract became part of the court record. A facsimile can be viewed at http://muchnick.net/kanyoncontract.pdf.
For further reading on this topic, see “’The Question’ – Senate Candidate Linda McMahon (Still) Can’t Answer It (complete 7-part series as a single post),” January 10, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/%E2%80%98the-question%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-senate-candidate-linda-mcmahon-still-can%E2%80%99t-answer-it-complete-7-part-series-as-a-single-post/.
Here’s the second reason Klucsaritis is important: he is now yet another statistic in the actuarially impossible body count from when Linda McMahon ran WWE.
Klucsaritis, who had wrestled for the now-defunct rival World Championship Wrestling, was with WWE from 2001 to 2004. There was no steroid testing whatsoever at WWE from 1996 to 2006. A “Wellness Policy” was instituted after WWE star Eddie Guerrero dropped dead in November 2005. The program not only is a joke – as we’ve seen in the December 2009 death of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu; it also was a day late and a dollar short in doing anything for the many, many wrestlers who developed, sustained, or worsened bad habits, chiefly stemming from steroids and prescription pharmaceutics, while WWE was busy making Linda and Vince McMahon near-billionaires and didn’t consider drug-testing to save lives “cost-effective.”
When I was in Connecticut the week before last promoting CHRIS & NANCY, McMahon campaign spokesman Ed Patru released this statement:
“He is peddling a for-profit book that has been routinely debunked by the facts. WWE has a very thorough wellness policy, and I don’t believe there is another entertainment company in America with a more comprehensive drug testing policy.
“He would have the public believe that Linda McMahon is responsible for the personal choices of every person ever associated with WWE even if that association ended years and years ago. People understand that many individuals in the entertainment business live healthy and responsible lifestyles, and many do not. Nobody in America blames Disney for Lindsey Lohan’s car accidents, or Warner Bros. for the Heath Ledger tragedy, or 20th Century Fox for the unfortunate turn of events surrounding Corey Haim.”
Later in the week I’ll resume my blog series exploring the WWE medical team members – especially cardiologist Bryan Donohue – who are headquartered at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.