AEW superstar Brian Cage spoke with Bleacher Report Live to talk about his relationship with the late Chris Kanyon, who tragically took his own life in 2010. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Recalls a story of meeting Kanyon at a WWE event in Sacramento that made him want to be a wrestler:
I ran back down the stairs, blowing through man, woman, child, doesn’t matter. And I actually ran all the way down to the floor and hit the guard rail and fell over,” Cage said. “He’d seen me coming and said ‘Here you go’, and he gave me the “Who better than Austin” shirt he’d made for the event to give Stone Cold. I still have it to this day. I got it signed by him. The night was so important, special to me. And that was the reason why I wanted to be a wrestler. To return the favor and make some other fans like that. Memorable and special.
Developing a friendship with Kanyon:
We developed more and more of a friendship,” Cage remembers. “He knew I always wanted to be a wrestler and helped me out with plenty of ins and outs in the wrestling world. And then in 2006, he got me into Deep South Wrestling (a WWE developmental territory at the time) and I actually stayed with him for a while. I give a lot of credit to him as far as how he influenced my wrestling style. How he helped me get some extra opportunities. He was so underrated, so underutilized. He trained like every celebrity who’s ever worked in WCW. He had so many great ideas. He has a bunch of little unknown accolades. And he was such a nice dude. There’s not a lot of nice guys in the wrestling business. He helped out so many. And helped so many people break into the businesses, and get jobs or get opportunities.
How he dealt with Kanyon’s suicide:
He was the first person, significant in my life, to ever pass,” Cage said. “When I started wearing gauntlets, I found a way to put his symbol on them. Of course, he’s where the catchphrase ‘Who better than Cage’ comes from. A lot of my moves are his, or variations of his. He was a really good dude, really phenomenal talent. I owe a lot to him.Everybody wants to have the match of the night, including myself. But if I can’t have a match of the night, I always try to have some really awesome, cool, unique spot or move or moment. Something that sticks out to somebody in the audience just like ‘the Innovator’ stood out to me whenever he was on Saturday Night or Nitro, or Thunder. Where you think ‘Oh my God, that one spot was a major trip.’ Or ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ I always try to get that at least. And I’d say more often than not, I do. And that comes from Kanyon.