As I See It: Remembering Chris Candido
The door opens, and it's Chris and Tammy (who had already broken up in storyline, but even the kids in the parking lot knew better to ask) with a collective "What are YOU doing here!?!?!" We said our hellos and they drove into the building. Until the doors to the Cow Palace opened, I then had to listen to at least a hundred kids screeching at me without end... "You know Sunny?!?!?".
Somehow, I can imagine Chris laughing his ass off as they pulled away to go into the wrestler's entrance at the Cow Palace for the night's show..
In October 1996, Chris went to ECW, debuting to a standing ovation as a surprise during an ECW Arena event, defeating Spike Dudley. Candido worked as part of the "Triple Threat" and as Tag Team Champions with Lance Storm.
Candido and Sytch had well-documented problems with painkillers and other drugs beginning from their days in ECW, which eventually caused their release from the company. These problems continued during the subsequent period Candido in which worked various independents; until he got a brief gig with WCW, in which Candido broke his arm, tore the cast off to show Eric Bischoff that he'd work hurt...and was still fired for getting hurt in the first place, in the usual employee-friendly WCW style.
After WCW, Candido seemed to take seriously that he needed to clean up. So did Tammy for the most part, anyhow...
Tammy stayed out of wrestling, but Candido went back to the indies and started over a two year period to begin resembling the guy we all remembered from years past (thankfully, so has Tammy). Most recently, he'd started working in higher profile Northeast independents and in TNA, working the undercard and working with The Naturals tag team.
The last match I saw Chris Candido in was for Jersey All Pro Wrestling as a surprise match against JAPW's E.C. Negro. Negro (think your basic delusional heel character) had come out, only to be told by announcer Steve DeAngelis that he wasn't on the lineup. Negro went into a promo how he wasn't leaving until he got a match, telling the crowd how tonight the ECW Arena was the "E.C. Negro Arena"....and on and on.
The lights went out..."Back in Black" cranked up...and the loudest pop of the night ensued, as Chris Candido came out to a standing ovation that seemed to truly shock him. Chris was on that night, looking like the Candido of old, with a sick looking table bump after Candido put Negro on a table and went for a legdrop off the turnbuckle. Negro got out of the way, with Candido plowing through the table like a freight train.
What seems so damned unfair with all this, is that Chris had beaten drugs, had gotten his life together, was working independents again... and working well. He was sharing his knowledge with lots of up-and-coming indy talents. He'd gotten his gig in TNA and was the Chris Candido we all remember... the goofy, old school heel who loved the hell out of what he did.
In his last TV appearance, taped less than 48 hours before he died, even after his broken leg and from a wheelchair; he was getting over a young tag team, The Naturals, for the NWA Tag Team Titles.
As Mike Johnson commented on PWinsider.com just after Chris's passing... if there's any justice (and right now it's difficult to find any at all in his passing), Chris is sitting somewherewith promoter Dennis Coraluzzo, sharing the first of a hundred glasses of Dennis's infamous ice teas, listening to one of Dennis's newest schemes aAnd thinking up one or two of his own)... with a big grin on his face. He's hanging out later with Brian Hildebrand and Eddie Gilbert to watch what will no doubt be the first of a thousand wrestling tapes. Somehow I imagine WWE 24/7... or something a lot better is available where they all are right now...
Until next time...