Chris Melendez in Los Angeles, California September 2014
|Birth name||Christopher Melendez|
June 13, 1987|
New York City, New York, United States
|Residence||New York City, New York, United States|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Chris Melendez|
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||232 lb (105 kg)|
|Billed from||Harlem, New York|
Bubba Ray Dudley
|Debut||August 5, 2014|
Christopher Melendez (born June 13, 1987) is an American professional wrestler and a second-generation United States Army Veteran, best known for his time in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Melendez was injured in an IED attack that cost him his left leg in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006.
Growing up in New York City, Melendez felt compelled by the events of 9/11, and enlisted the military at 17 years old, serving as an Infantryman. While serving in Iraq, an improvised explosive device (IED) struck his platoon. Melendez sustained multiple life-threatening injuries, including the loss of his left leg. Combat Medics struggled to resuscitate him three times, before he was stabilized. As a result, Melendez was awarded a Purple Heart, and began physical rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center. He is of Puerto Rican descent.
In 2009, Melendez began working in film and television production as a Motion Picture Studio Mechanic. He went on to work on film sets for Tyler Perry, The Smurfs, A Late Quartet and television shows such as Law and Order and Person of Interest.
Professional wrestling career
Melendez began training at a small professional wrestling school in Brooklyn, New York called The Doghouse. Melendez was then introduced to Total Nonstop Action wrestlers Ken Anderson (a former Army veteran himself) and Bully Ray through the Wounded Warrior Project. They were impressed by Melendez's physical conditioning and attitude. Inspired by Melendez's story and his passion, Ray offered for himself and longtime tag team partner Devon to train Chris at the Team 3D Academy of Professional Wrestling in Kissimmee, Florida if he would drop everything and take the leap of faith.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2014–2016)
Melendez made his in-ring debut in his hometown of New York City on August 5, 2014, where he defeated The BroMans member DJ Z. On September 17, 2014 at No Surrender, Chris Melendez defeated Kenny King. MVP and Kenny King offered Melendez to join them. After Melendez declined, King berated Melendez for refusing to join them. King attacked and referred to Melendez as a “peg leg.” King then demanded a referee. MVP's distractions, allowed Kenny King to strike from behind as the bell sounded. King dominated the match, capitalizing on his pre-match antics. King’s rampage continues, but Melendez capitalized and scores the pinfall with a reversal.
Melendez teamed with Mr. Anderson, joining in the pursuit of the TNA World Tag Team Championship. On the October 22, edition of Impact Wrestling, MVP and Kenny King defeated Anderson and Melendez in the first round of the TNA tag team number one contender tournament. Chris hit King with a Fisherman’s Suplex. MVP then interfered and Mr. Anderson rushed back into the ring. MVP charged toward Anderson, but Melendez blindsides MVP and sends him out of the ring. Kenny King sneaks in with a roll-up and a fistful of tights for the win.
During the November 19 Impact Wrestling, Melendez defeated Kenny King via disqualification. King attempted a springboard attack but, Melendez used his prosthetic leg, and caught him with a big boot. Melendez connected with a Fisherman’s Suplex, then hoisted King onto his shoulders – MVP then interfered, viciously attacking him with a chair, causing King's disqualification leading to a hiatus from TNA. Melendez returned to television on the February 20, 2015 taping of Impact Wrestling taking part in a 20-man gauntlet in which he was eliminated by Bram. On March 17, episode of Xplosion, Melendez and Mr. Anderson (accompanied by Bully Ray) defeated The BroMans (accompanied by DJ Z and The Beautiful People). On September 23, Melendez finally defeated Eric Young in a lumberjack match to get his prosthetic leg back. On January 5–7, 2016 and March 17, 2016, he wrestled his final matches with TNA Wrestling in a losing effort in the feast or fired match, losing to Eric Young at TNA Rival 2016 and winning against Beauregarde at TNA Victory Road 2016. On June 15, 2016, Melendez announced his departure from TNA.
Melendez has a son, born in 2014.
Championships and accomplishments
- Conquer Pro Wrestling
- CPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time, current)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
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- "IMPACT Results: X Division Champion Crowned, Is HAVOK Still Knockouts Champion? Roode and Lashley Reach Tipping Point". Archived from the original on 2014-12-27.
- "NYC war hero who lost leg will make wrestling debut". NY Daily News.
- "CPW Heavyweight Championship". Cagematch. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2015". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved October 6, 2015.