King Kong Bundy, who most notably achieved fame in the mid-1980s as Hulk Hogan’s opponent in the main event of WrestleMania 2, died Monday afternoon at the age of 61.
The news of Bundy’s death was first announced on Facebook by wrestling promoter David Herro, who posted a short statement paying tribute to his late friend. No cause of death was mentioned, but Pro Wrestling Sheet noted that Herro learned the sad news from Bundy’s family, who then asked him to post on Facebook to inform people of the WWF/WWE legend’s passing.
“Today we lost a Legend and a man I consider family. Rest in Peace Chris,” Herro wrote, addressing Bundy by his real first name. “We love you. Thank you for believing in me.”
Bundy was active on Twitter just hours before his death, as he let his followers know about an upcoming series of WrestleCon meet and greets with fellow WWE alumnus Al Snow. As noted in the tweet, the events were scheduled to take place on April 5 and 6, though fans had the option to contact Herro for “advance autographs and photo ops.”
Born Christopher Alan Pallies in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on November 7, 1957, King Kong Bundy entered the wrestling business in the early 1980s and, after wrestling for various promotions, made his official debut for the company then known as WWF in 1985, as recalled by Comic Book. At 6 feet 4 inches and 458 pounds, Bundy was booked as a near-unstoppable monster heel, as the company had him easily defeat lower-card talent S.D. Jones at the first WrestleMania that same year.
While Bundy was advertised as having defeated Jones in a record-shattering nine seconds, WhatCulture explained that the match actually lasted about 24 seconds, or a second longer than the previous record.
As Bundy continued to move up the card, he was booked to feud with then-WWF Champion Hulk Hogan in early 1986, with the rivalry culminating in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 2. While Hogan won that match by escaping the cage, Bundy would remain near the top for most of his first run with the company, which lasted until 1988. He would later return in 1994 as part of Ted DiBiase’s faction, the Million Dollar Corporation, though he was mostly used in a mid-card role until he left in 1995.
Although King Kong Bundy never won a championship in his two WWF runs, he remained active in the independent scene well into the 2000s. Like many of his contemporaries, he tried his hand at acting during the height of his fame, most memorably making two appearances on the sitcom Married… with Children. Per Sportskeeda, Bundy was also active in stand-up comedy as his wrestling career began to wind down.
In the hours since Bundy’s death was announced, several past and present WWE superstars have taken to social media to eulogize the late icon. Per NoDQ, the likes of Kevin Owens, Shane “Hurricane” Helms, Brutus Beefcake, and Mick Foley remembered Bundy as a funny and kindhearted individual, while Rusev looked back on how the super heavyweight was a “machine” who “never ran out of gas” and someone who was “ahead of his time” as a wrestler.