In the 1960s and the early 1970s, the California Hell’s Angels were a team that everyone wanted a piece of. Burning an American flag on live television for the first time in pro wrestling history, the team became a hated duo, but the arena was sold out the following weekend. Even though the wrestling program was taken off the air for the stunt, the arenas continued to be packed every week, and the California Hell’s Angels were at the top of the card almost every night.
Following a lengthy run as one half of the California Hell’s Angels, Chris Colt’s appearance changed significantly. Colt’s former tag team partner Ron Dupree was also his partner in life, so when he passed in 1975, Colt’s entire world changed, and not for the better. Colt began to suffer from depression and started using drugs heavily, which at the time, wasn’t so shocking in the world of pro wrestling. Colt began painting around his eyes like rocker Alice Cooper, and called his aura “The Chris Colt Experience”, becoming one of the first wrestlers to introduce the glam rock lifestyle into pro wrestling. According to wrestler “Flying” Bill Anderson, “He idolized Janis Joplin…and Joe Cocker. Those were his people. He lived every day like this could be his last.
He would’ve been the happiest guy on Earth to choke on his vomit just
like Janis did, because that’s the way he lived his life.”
Despite his shocking demeanor and obvious issues, some of Colt’s best work in the ring was done as a singles wrestler, according to many of his peers. In 1986, Colt retired from professional wrestling as Chris Von Colt, a Nazi wrestler who wasn’t welcome pretty much anywhere, but could draw heat like no other. In 1996, Chris Colt died from AIDS.
A duo known by many names, the team of Ron Dupree and Chris Colt are one whose story will paralyze some. Dupree (left) began wrestling as Golden Boy Dupree, but didn’t find much success until he began teaming with Chuck Harris. Harris changed his last name to match Ron’s, and the two began teaming as either the Dupree Brothers or the Golden Boys, a pair of brothers who wrestled in the South and Midwest where their look wasn’t exactly welcome. Onscreen, they were despised heels during the late 1960s, but offscreen, they weren’t welcome just about anywhere, as the two had began dating.
When the Dupree Brothers made their way to Detroit, they changed their appearance to resemble bikers and called themselves California Hell’s Angels, with Chuck renaming himself Chris Colt. From Detroit to the midwest, the duo became a successful team, working as brawlers rather than wrestlers and making fans believe they weren’t wrestlers, but rather actual bikers who just so happened to be hired. However, when one of the two were shot by an upset biker gang, they changed their name to the Chain Gang and started portraying hippies rather than bikers. The team traveled to Arizona where they became known as Los Comancheros, which was a callback to a John Wayne film from 1961. In Arizona, the team stayed on top, typically doing brawling-style matches where at least one of the four men in the match would be bleeding before the final bell. Dupree was the promo guy, with a core-shaking voice, while Colt was the mat guy who could twist you around before tagging out so Ron could slug you.
Sadly, in the early 1970s, Dupree suffered a heart attack that ended his in-ring career. He began working as Colt’s manager, but before long, a second heart attack in 1975 took his life as he was ring announcing. After Ron’s death, Chris began to spiral out of control, as depression and drug abuse took over his life. By the mid-1980s, he had joined the world of gay porn, clearly having left professional wrestling and cutting ties with everyone he once ruled the roads with. In 1996, a born again Christian, Chris Colt died in 1996 from the AIDS virus. Many of Colt’s peers would claim that he was one of the greatest wrestlers who ever laced a pair of boots.
“Chris Colt was probably the greatest wrestler that never made it. A lot of people
don’t know who he was. He never ceased to amaze me with his imagination
in the ring. He was an innovator. He was ahead of his time.” - Lanny Poffo