The story of Chris Candido is one of heartfelt dedication, betrayal, redemption and eventual heartache. In Part 1 of our open and honest interview with Chris’s brother, Jonny Candido entitled, ‘The Beginnings‘, we took a candid look at Chris’s origins in Manasquan, New Jersey. We came to know the love he had for his family and the passion he shared for his sport of professional wrestling. Sharing some belly laughs along the way, we learned the tales of the spirited ribbing between Chris and Jonny as kids as well as the journey Chris took from childhood fan of pro wrestling to the squared circle by age twelve. We also discovered the secret ingredient in Balls Mahoney’s signature homemade dish, ‘Chicken Mahoney,’ which Chris so adamantly refused to eat (for good reason, too)!
Now it’s time to move on to a different side of Chris’s story, one which brings on an entirely different set of emotions.
When you think of Chris Candido, the thought of Tammy Sytch (or Sunny, as she was referred to in WWE) comes to mind. The thoughts are never pretty: Cheating, betrayal and drugs. When talking to Jonny, Tammy naturally came into our conversation, and I allowed him to share whatever he felt comfortable with talking about. I soon found out that he had a lot on his mind. Understandably, he went through a lot with her and his brother. While this piece is meant to celebrate the life of his brother, Chris, it is hard to share his story without talking about Tammy.
What Jonny attempts to do here in this series of interviews is put together a true and honest account of his brother Chris. In this part of the story, Jonny shares the downfalls of his brother’s struggle with drug abuse and depression while also giving his take on the rocky relationship between his brother Chris and Tammy. You’ve heard the rumors, now hear it from someone who lived through it.
This is the story of Chris Candido, as told by his brother, Jonny.
PRO WRESTLING STORIES: “You and I talked back in January. In this conversation, you mentioned Chris went through some depression. Of course, I respect it if you don’t want to talk about it.”
JONNY CANDIDO: “I can talk about it. I just don’t want to say the wrong s**t, you know? Or offend or get into an argument with somebody…”
PWS: “What you say is completely up to you and we respect that. Chris was very close to you. Your Twitter account is dedicated to him and I think it is absolutely wonderful what you do to keep his memory alive.”
JC: “That’s my brother.”
PWS: “It must have been quite hard for you to witness many of the things that he went through, especially with his relationship with Tammy. We haven’t really talked about that much, but he was with her from high school. They went through so much together. They got into wrestling together and then, of course, their relationship changed. They were introduced to drugs and a different lifestyle. Things changed.”
JC: “I just want to clarify: The things I am about to say, all the crazy, traumatizing s**t, is what sticks out most of all.
Growing up, though, you have to understand, Tammy was really cool. She’d babysit me and my sisters. And even later in life, after Chris passed away, after all of that crazy stuff happened, we still stuck together through a lot of s**t. She managed me [while I was wrestling] and I would always have her back. If anybody fucked with her, they fucked with me. So it wasn’t always so terrible.
It’s hard. You know, almost, in a way, I feel like people should understand what went on behind closed doors, but then I feel like they shouldn’t because it was behind closed doors. I want people to understand the dynamic, and how s**t went, but I also – let me put it like this: no matter what, I’m always going to have a certain affection in my heart for Tammy. No matter what she does. Whatever kinda crazy s**t she pulls or has pulled in the past, there’s always gonna be – I’m always gonna feel connected to her. Every time I talk to her on the phone, it’s like it’s two thousand and, you know, whatever again. So that’s why I feel bad saying bad things. But once I start talking about my brother in that time period, though, that’s just what comes to mind, and that’s what it was. So it’s hard to make up stories that weren’t true.”
PWS: “This makes sense. A lot of these memories naturally come back when you think about your brother. When you think about the things you might say, you don’t want to hurt anyone. You don’t want to bury anyone. You are just speaking what’s in your head and in your heart.”
JC: “I just wanted to put it on record that I do really have some closeness with [Tammy]. Even though, obviously, we’ve been through a lot. She was a part of my life since I was seven years old. I don’t want it to come off like I’m being cold, trying to bury her.
Let me just leave it at this: I’m very conflicted. I don’t want to leave a bad taste in people’s mouth. Coming from me, whatever she did – I know how she is, but I don’t want to leave my and her relationship just fuckin’ totally shot and end up hating each other, cause I don’t hate her. But it’s like this: if you ask me the questions, I will tell you what happened.”
PWS: “What was Chris and Tammy’s relationship really like? From what is out there already, to put it lightly, it wasn’t pretty.”
JC: “My brother was ten years older than me, so when [Tammy and Chris] were in Smoky Mountain, my brother was seventeen or eighteen, not even out of high school. So, you know, I was seven or eight and my parents would take me out there [to see him].
Once they had gotten to WWE [as Sunny and Skip] and started getting fucked up [on drugs], I was in eighth grade. I remember going over there and I would just see some fucked up s**t.
With ECW, like I said before, I used to come out with the Blue World Order and I used to find weapons for New Jack. My brother always used to pick me up and take me to all of the ECW shows. I would go to all of them.
One time they were in Florida so my brother Chris called me up and was like, ‘You have to come to Florida. It won’t be the same without you.’
So I went out to Florida to be with him and the ECW crew. On the first night, we were sitting at a big table. I’m sitting next to Tommy Rich and Tracy Smothers on either side of me and they were talking to me and giving me shots of Jack Daniels. Across from me was my brother, Tammy, Chris Jericho, his girl, the Dudley’s, New Jack, Raven, it’s this huge table of all of us. And Tammy has her first little bit of food and kerplunk. Fucking passes out in her food. Right? And I’m like, ‘What the f**k is going on?’
My brother is going, ‘Alright!’
Everybody got up. It was like a drill. Everybody knew what to do.
New Jack picked her up, Bubba picked her up behind the arms. New Jack is going, ‘Everybody get out of the way!’ We were not at this club, we were at a restaurant. So we cleared the room, they put her in the corner and they were trying to get her in the car. Tammy was staying with us, so I ended up staying with Tracy and Tommy Rich. My brother used to tell the story of how Tracy and Tommy Rich kidnapped me that night. [Tracy, Tommy and I] had gone out later that night and went to all the bars. It was great.
So the next day, I went to Chris and was like, ‘What the f**k happened to Tammy last night?’
He was like, ‘Oh, it was that time of the month slash someone gave her something and it affected her wrong. Just kayfabe mom.’
I was like, ‘Okay…’
So then Chris had bought this mega-mansion and I had gone there and they had gotten into a soma’d up, fucked up state and I was like, ‘What the f**k is going on?’
I started staying there all the time. It was really close to our family house, so I would stay there with them and they made me my own room there. So I was like, ‘Sweet, I’ll just crash at my fucking brother’s!’
So it started, and every single night would be like this, right? We would sit around and eat dinner, Tammy would get all fucking soma’d up and wasted and we would go to sleep. Around 2 am, I would hear screaming, ‘AHH! JONNY!! JONNY!! YOUR BROTHER’S TRYING TO KILL HIMSELF!’
And I would go, ‘WHAT?’
I’d go downstairs and my brother would be lying on the couch and she would just be raining punches down on his face. This is when they were Skip and Sunny when they were twenty-three. Bam! Bam! She would be hitting him. I would try to block them and cover him and then she would be hitting both of us.
Then she’d run and she would grab a fucking butcher knife and fucking go right after him. I’d stand in front of him and then he’d fucking come to and he would go, ‘Bro, this happens every night. Don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal.’
And she would fucking run, grab the fucking phone and go in the car and sit in there on the phone trying to call people, he’d then break the fucking window… Dude, this happened every single night. You have no idea.”
PWS: “Was this type of behavior typical for Tammy?”
JC: “Yes, this doesn’t even begin to cover it!”
JC: “My brother wasn’t a drinker but she was. She would get wasted and fucking attack him like a fucking wild animal. I’m talking about when I was younger. When I started getting older, she would do it to the both of us. And she would do it to other people! Do you know how many times I have gotten into fist fights with a group full of guys because of her? She would just smack and hit anybody she felt like once she got some drinks in her. I’ve got a million stories of times where she would just… pretty much anytime she was left alone with some booze, some s**t would start.
For instance, this is speeding up a bit, so let’s say this is 2003. She was no longer in the picture as far as coming on the road, and she hated that. She despised that because people were like, ‘Hey Chris, bring your brother because we can use him, but don’t bring Tammy.’
At the time, I started wrestling and nobody wanted to use Tammy, but sometimes she would finagle a way into a trip with us. There are so many stories like this, but this one time in Boston sticks out to me.
We were in Boston at a show and in the back was a little bar just for the boys and their friends. Everybody was in the back there drinking. I was at a table with Raven and a bunch of other guys, and at the bar, some dudes were buying some drinks. All of a sudden, Tammy fucking hauled off and went after one of them. The guy grabbed her arm and we all rushed him. I was the first one there. I grabbed the guy, dragged him out to the alley and I’m about to put my boots to him when he was like, ‘Dude, dude, please, don’t! I swear to God, she just popped me out of nowhere!’
And then I heard my brother going, ‘Time to go, time to go!’
I go inside and people have their camera phones out and are taking pictures of it. So at this point we all fall into the back of the car, and this is before my brother got clean, and he was like, ‘Fuck, I could really smash some somas tonight…’
I’m like, ‘Ah bro, I’ve got some weed if you want to smoke a joint?’
Tammy wakes up out of her fucking soma-induced coma and goes, ‘You’re going to smoke weed?’
She thought weed was the worst thing ever.
She goes, ‘You’re going to smoke weed? You mother fuckers!’ And she attacked both of us!
Mind you, I’m underage, I’m 19 and I’m driving in Boston in the rain wasted. She’s in the backseat swinging her arms, kicking me in the back of the head and she reaches over and fucking bites my brother on his face.
At this point, I pulled off the exit, pulled into a parking stop in some strip mall and my brother and I tried to walk away from this b***h. But as we go to leave, we see a cop pull over next to our car. I’m thinking, ‘Just what we need, f**k…’
So I go running back, she jumps out of the backseat and goes, ‘I woke up and these two were on top of me beating me!’
I go, ‘What, you crazy b***h?’ as she’s trying to take a swing at my face right in front of the cops. The cops are going, ‘Woah, woah! What the f**k?’
And I go, ‘Listen, I’ll get them back to the hotel and everything will be fine.’
To make a long story short, I got back to the hotel and [Chris] was eating every punch. He put her on the bed and he was saying, ‘Babe, what’s wrong?’ Bang! She’d clock him. ‘Babe, what’s wrong?’ Bang! She’d hit him again. ‘Babe, stop!’
One time, she fucking kicked him with her foot right in the face and threw him into the lobby, right into the hallway. I was like, ‘Dude, do not go back in there. You’re not going back. You need to be out!’
So he said, ‘Okay, let’s go for a ride.’
We took a ride for a while and we talked. He said, ‘You’re my brother and as far as this business, I feel like I’m responsible for her.’
After our long rides, she’d be back in the hotel room dusting off the TV and cleaning everything up and it was all, ‘Hey guys’, kisses him, goes to kiss me. I would always go, ‘Dude, I don’t want to be kissed!’
This sort of thing probably happened too many times. You’ll hear me say this a lot. She used to do this all the time.
And as far as the whole cheating thing goes, my brother, I think he was kind of naïve towards women because he and Tammy got together at seventeen, you know? So I don’t think he had an idea. Some people used to think they were swingers. No. Not at all. She would just get wasted and f**k anybody I guess, man. I saw her flirting with this one guy once and I was like, ‘What the f**k are you doing?’ She is the definition of a psychopath. She doesn’t care. I’m sorry, I know I’m on a rant…”
PWS: “While Tammy was doing this, hooking up with other guys, Chris must have known, right?”
JC: “No, no he didn’t. He had no fucking idea. Okay, he had an idea, but he had the thought that everyone was hitting on her because she was the only girl there and you’re going to do what you’re going to do. But the only one he thought of was Shawn Michaels.
What many people may not know is that my brother fucked Jenna Jameson. You know, the p**n star? He just fucked her because he felt like he needed to get back at Tammy. And then he felt terrible about it.
So he had told me, ‘You’re going to come across Shawn at one point or other. Please, don’t do anything.’
My brother is a pacifist; I’m more of a hot-head. My brother wasn’t like that all. If he had to, he would, but he wasn’t a fighter.”
PWS: “This Shawn Michaels story has been circling around for a while now. In fact, Tammy had a bit of a nickname that followed her because of it: ‘The Kliq Chick’. While all of this was going on under his nose, none of the guys were telling Chris?”
JC: “Well, it was because of the somas. When Chris wasn’t in the ring, he was just fucking comatose, man. He wouldn’t do somas during the day. He was really good about going to work. But at night, he would get so fucked up. And when Tammy wasn’t around, he would get fucked up then, too.
I would always go, ‘Cook,’ this is what I would call him, ‘Cook, what are you doing?’ I would write him letters saying, ‘Dude, you’ve got to stop with this s**t.’
I think he was doing all of that, all of those drugs, just to block out [the thought of Tammy cheating]. He didn’t want to believe it, do you know what I mean? He desperately didn’t want to believe it because she would come home to him every night and he literally had this unconditional love for her. He was so nice and so naïve, he would fucking believe anything she told him.
I’m like him, I always give people the benefit of the doubt. If they tell me something, I’m going to take them at face value and not think they’re lying to me, and that’s the same way he was. He would just go, ‘No, these are just rumors.’ He would just believe her. And that’s the end of the story, you know?
Then I started hearing things later on about oh, ‘She fucked so and so.’”
PWS: “At Chris’s funeral, during a time of mourning, you mentioned some unfortunate events transpired involving Tammy. Do you want to talk about what happened?”
JC: “There was so much that went on the night of Chris’s funeral.
Later in the evening, a whole bunch of us went to this club that we used to hang out at. Pretty much everyone in the wrestling business was there. I was sitting at the bar when Billy Gun came over to me. Like I said, I grew up with all of these guys and I knew all of them. He was like, ‘Can I talk to you for a second?’
I was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’
He asked me, ‘Are you fucking Tammy?’
I was like, ‘Fucking no! What the f**k are you talking about?’
That night I hadn’t really been noticing it, but she was leaning all over me, you know, hugging me and trying to get close up on me. So I was like, ‘Are you crazy? No. Fuck Tammy? Are you nuts?’
And he just went, ‘Oh, alright.’
Maybe ten, fifteen minutes later, Raven comes over and he’s like, ‘Dude, you’re not fucking Tammy, are you?’
I’m like, ‘NO, are you fucking insane?’
Then my uncle came and he was like, ‘Dude, what the f**k’s going on? Are you fucking Tammy?’
I go, ‘What the f**k are you guys talking about?’
He was like, ‘Well, it sure looks like it because she’s hanging the f**k all over you!’
At that time, I was the NWA Midwest Champion and she was my manager, so she would be coming out there with me. We wouldn’t share hotel rooms, we wouldn’t do anything like that. I fucking despised her because, well you know. We put on a happy face when I was with her and we acted like we were cool and pretended we were friends, but I knew she had done all this stuff.
Not long later, this girl I was with called me saying, ‘Tammy is all up on this drug dealer.’
And then Al Snow called me at 2 o’clock in the morning and he was like, ‘I have to tell you some crazy s**t.’
I was like, ‘What’s up?’
Now Al and my brother go way back. Al’s been to my family house and hung out at barbecues with us. He was like, ‘Tammy was fucking some drug dealer tonight and she crashed your brother’s car.’
My father had got my brother a new car for his birthday and she kind of just took it over, and on this night of all nights, she fucking crashed it on the way back from the drug dealer’s house who she was fucking the night of my brother’s funeral. Even while we were at the funeral home.
So let’s fast forward to like two days later. We were doing something in the park, playing frisbee or something, and I saw my brother’s car going down the street. I was like, ‘That’s odd…’
So then, I go back to my parent’s house and all of my brother’s s**t was gone. Everything. He had a ton of stuff up in his room. My NWA Midwest Title, his jacket that said ‘Candido ECW’ that he gave me when I was seventeen was gone, his Kiss jacket, anything that was worth anything, his gear, everything was gone out of the house. I knew right away who took it, you know? I’m like, ‘Mother fucker…’
At the funeral, Ed Chuman (long-time NWA promoter) said, ‘We’re going to put the NWA Midwest Title on you, so just hang onto this belt, and when you come out, you’ll have it. Just take it with you.’
So I was talking with him [about what happened] and he was going, ‘Get that fucking belt back. That thing is worth like 20 grand! If she puts that thing on eBay, I’m going to fucking charge her and she’s going to go to fucking jail.’
I’m like, ‘I’ll get it back.’
So I had to meet her at a fucking restaurant. And she was all soma’d out and passed out in her food. I had to call my cousin. He came over and we had to carry her out of the fucking restaurant.
I ended up getting the belt back, but I didn’t get all the other stuff back. She ended up selling most of the stuff up on eBay. This was right after he fucking died, do you know what I mean? And she wonders, actually, I don’t know if she wonders. I really don’t think she remembers any of the s**t that she did because she was always so fucking fucked up.
For instance, we were in Puerto Rico once and I stopped her from being raped by a group of fucking crack heads. Me, my brother, Pablo Marquez, José Estrada Jr. and a bunch of guys were in San Juan at this bar shooting pool. I went outside to smoke a cigarette and all of these crackhead dudes started pulling all the windows down. I looked over and I could see Tammy passed out in the back with her legs spread. She had no underwear on.
At this point, we were all trying to rip the fucking windows open to get back in there to her. When they saw us doing this, the crackheads bolted, and she never woke up. Luckily, when I got back in, the guys I was with already had her… Like I said, crazy stuff like this always happened.”
PWS: “Back in December, Tammy lashed out at your family on Facebook in a heated rant over an upcoming documentary that you’re currently working on with Turnbuckle Magazine. How did you and your family react to this?”
JC: “After she wrote that thing going, ‘Everybody blames me,’ that whole gimmick, ‘Chris was a drug addict, his brother did this and that…’ you know? Saying I made a false documentary about everything, I figured I wasn’t even going to start. I’m not even going to get involved in this.
But then I called her and brought it straight up. I needed to see how she was doing and why she was saying this. When we started talking, she began crying, sobbing, like wailing. She was going, ‘Everybody blames me! Everybody blames me!’
I was like, ‘Tammy, chill out…’
She continued, ‘I can’t (continues crying).’
She’s sobbing. So now I’m stuck in this predicament of trying to have to talk her down from freaking out. I’m trying to talk to her and calm her down, even after what she said about me and my family.
Then the next day, I texted her again, because even though she was being awful, I’m like my brother and have a good heart, so I went, ‘Is everything okay with you?’
She said, ‘How dare you say anything bad about me!’
I said, ‘What the f**k? It was you that said something bad about me, idiot!’
And then I made a list of all the crazy s**t that I had protected her in. After my brother died, I protected her a million times. It was like you had to babysit her because she would fucking go insane. So, I listed all these things and she was like, ‘None of those things ever happened.’
I’m like, ‘Really? I don’t have this vivid of an imagination,’ this that and the other. I went, ‘Tammy, you’re ridiculous.’
The thing that kills me was the cheating on my brother and that other people saw it. It made him look like an idiot because he was so fucking naïve, you know?
I wanted to crack people’s heads open because I hear, ‘She’s fucked this guy, she fucked that guy,’ and my brother was right there not even paying attention!
You know, the way we were brought up, we were brought up in a really big family where everyone is close and everyone hugs one another. That’s kind of our nature. He probably thought she was being friendly, I don’t know what he thought, you know? It was just too fucked up…
When you take somas, let me explain for those who have never taken them before, let’s say you take three. You wait five minutes, then you eat and all of a sudden all of the somas hit all at once. It’s like instant wasted. You’re on a different planet. You’re drunk, you can’t walk, you can’t talk, you can’t do anything. This goes for a good half hour to forty-five minutes. Sometimes you’ll pass out and sometimes you fucking kick out…
She was always trying to sabotage our family. Mine and Chris’s family are really awesome. We have the coolest family in the world. I love my family to death. We would always have Thanksgiving’s at our house. I remember I had to go pick up Chris and Tammy for one Thanksgiving. I go pick them up and get to their house and we’re getting ready to go back over to our parent’s house, and he’d go, ‘Tammy, don’t fucking get all gimmicked up again like Christmas and last Thanksgiving!’
She’d go, ‘I’m not!’
Sure enough, on the drive over to my parent’s house, she started kicking in, getting all wasted. Chis was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’
So we had to stop at a gas station or 7-Eleven or whatever and we were feeding her coffee. We were trying to snap her out of the state she was in.
Meanwhile, my mom was calling us asking, ‘Where are you guys?’ you know?
And this was every single fucking holiday. Every time we made up some excuse for her and she would literally try to sabbotage all of our outings. And in our eyes, me and him would be giving her coffee, giving her espresso, trying to get her Red Bulls trying to snap her fucking out of it. So me and him would be okay and the rest of the family would be going, ‘What the f**k is wrong with her?’ you know? My mom and dad would say, ‘Christopher, are you kidding me? What’s wrong with Tammy? Why don’t you put her to bed or something?’
She’d end up going to bed upstairs sleeping in my little sister’s room. It was just crazy awful.
Like I said, there are so many instances like this that I can’t even explain, and for her to mouth publicly and say anything about me and my family? Come on…
It’s twisted, it really is. This just shows the type of person that she really is.”
JC: “Let’s talk about this. My brother was going to Japan and he told me, ‘Dude, watch Tammy.’ He was going to be gone for like three weeks or whatever. ‘Watch Tammy,’ you know?
I was like, ‘Alright.’
He continued, ‘Pick her up, take her out, do whatever you do.’
So I picked her up one night, I’m underage, mind you. I’m about nineteen at the time. Where we lived, we grew up right across the street from the beach, so I have a whole pool of surfer dude friends and we were all like, ‘Let’s get Tammy to buy us all beers!’
She was like, ‘Alright.’
So it’s about midnight or whatever, we drive over to this beer joint and I drive over with her in my car and my buddies are in their cars, and we give her a time when we can go meet her inside.
We wait and we wait and she’s not coming out. It was a bar/liquor store. So finally, I go in and she’s sitting at the bar with her head down. I go, ‘Are our beers ready?’
She says, ‘Hold on,’ proceeds to walk over to a bunch of dudes playing pool who have money on the table and she just takes the balls and swings them everywhere, throwing them all over the table. It was these English dudes.
They were not thrilled. They were going, ‘Fuck you, you piece of s**t!’
We used to throw parties at [Chris and Tammy’s] mansion when they weren’t in town. My girlfriend at the time was there and she tried to calm everyone down when all of a sudden a friend of mine goes up to Tammy and innocently says, ‘Oh, I saw your house, it’s so beautiful!’
Tammy went, ‘You’ve been to my house?’ and she turns around and starts wailing on me. She starts attacking me like a maniac.
The bouncer is going, ‘Alright, alright, time out, let’s go!’
I’m like, ‘Guys, this is my friend. Let’s leave.’
So, I’m driving the car with one hand and fending off her trying to punch me in the face and gouging my eyes out with the other.
When we got back to the house, she was passed out in the car, but all of a sudden she got right back up. When we went to go inside, she said to me, ‘Jonny, I’m sorry. Can I have a hug please?’
I was like, ‘Yeah, sure…’
As I go to give her a hug, WHAM! She palm strikes me right in the fucking nose.
I go, ‘Mother fucker!’ and out of anger, I went to the door, ripped it off the hinges and threw it across the room. Tammy just thought all of this was hilarious. I was destroying everything in the house because I knew I couldn’t hit her. I was so fucking pissed.
Again, there are so many worse stories than this. I can’t even begin to say how awful she was. She was just so awful.”
PWS: “Why did Chris put up with this for all those years?”
JC: “Because every time we would have this discussion over the last two years [of his life], every time I would go, ‘What are you doing with Tammy? Please just get rid of this girl already!’ he would always go, ‘Dude, you don’t understand, I brought her into this business.’
And it’s not like girls didn’t pay attention to him. We would be on the road and girls would throw themselves at him, but it was either he didn’t know he was being hit on or he would sort of just brush them off.
My brother, he slept, drank and ate wrestling. He pretty much had a one track mind and that was just wrestling. That’s all he gave a s**t about.
He said, ‘I brought her into this business, I’m responsible for her. I took her in.’
And I would go, ‘No you did not!’
He would literally do everything for her. She would run around being a fucking a*****e, doing whatever she wanted. On top of that, for instance, if she wanted some tomatoes and some Diet Pepsi at two in the morning, we’d go to fucking get her tomatoes and Diet Pepsi at two in the morning! Literally, we have done this before.
He thought he brought her into this crazy world that he and I knew, and she didn’t, and now she is in this world, so he felt that he had to take care of her and watch out for her, even though she was doing all of this scandalous s**t behind his back.”
JC: “Chris lived like a mile away from my family house, this is when he cleaned up his act. Everything was great. They had this awesome house right on the river in Manasquan, New Jersey and it was a haven for all of my friends. It was a block from the beach. My brother was like the older brother for like twenty other dudes. We all hung out, surfed together and we would all chill and change at his house.
One day while we were all eating dinner together, he pulled all us of all aside and said, ‘Listen, guys, you can bring beer over here and six packs or whatever, but any hard alcohol you need to kayfabe. If Tammy gets her hands on it, it’s going to be trouble.’
And all of my friends knew that. She had a problem. When she started drinking, she got insane.
It was one of my friend’s birthdays. He was a good friend of mine and a good friend of my brothers. He pretty much lived at my brother’s house, you know? My friend was there all of the time doing landscaping for him. It was his twenty-first birthday, so me, my brother and my friend went kayaking. While doing this, my friend said to Chris, ‘Listen, Cook, I’m having my twenty-first birthday. I really, really want you there, but I’m scared if Tammy is there, things are going to happen…’
Chris was like, ‘Man, it’s going to be tough on her. I can’t tell her I’m at a party with everybody, but I will do my best to try to hang out and celebrate my birthday with you.’
Later on that evening, my brother and I snuck away acting like we were going to shop or something and instead went to Leggett’s for the party. This is a bar in New Jersey. We were there for maybe forty-five minutes and guess who shows up? Tammy. And she was already fucking smashed.
A long time before this, there was a kid who had stolen some things from my brother’s house. He was a heroin addict. It’s a long story, but me and my brother had to actually go and find him and we eventually got all of the stuff back. But anyway, he died of a heroin overdose. Tammy didn’t know this.
So anyways, at Leggett’s, his dad was sitting right there at the bar when somebody went, ‘That’s so-and-so’s dad!’
Tammy freaked out and attacked the fucking dead kid’s dad. Not to mention, this was my friend’s birthday party. It totally ruined everything. She was throwing beer bottles at this kid’s father and was going off on him.
What she didn’t know was that the kid had just died not even a week ago before this due to a heroin overdose. She was just attacking his dad. She was literally a nightmare, man.”
PWS: “It without a doubt sounds like it. And with Tammy doing Skype and p**n now…”
JC: “This is part of the reason why I didn’t freak out in December when she came to me crying, because she’s fucking gimmicking herself with a dildo on Skype for a living.
Here’s the thing, and I have to reiterate, when she was around my family, she was cool. We accepted her. We wanted to accept her. We knew her since she was a kid. She didn’t start getting fucked up until she was twenty-one or twenty-two. There were many years there when she used to babysit my little sisters and me when she was growing up and everything was fine. She was totally normal. Wouldn’t touch a beer, wouldn’t touch a drink, she wouldn’t touch drugs.
Like I said, she used to take my little sisters and me to get ice cream sundaes. My brother would be off wrestling, my parents would be out with their friends, out to dinner or whatever, me and my sisters were little and Tammy would take us to get ice cream and it was great. We had a great relationship. And then once she got some money, she just turned into a fucking heel. Really bad, man. The things I have told you now don’t even begin to scratch the surface. I really can’t even explain. I’ve seen the craziest and been through the worst. I honestly think I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to a lot of that s**t.
My brother tried to kill himself one day. I had to fucking cut him down with hedge trimmers because he was trying to strangle himself. This was after one of the numerous fights he had with Tammy. He was trying to hang himself in the garage. It was insane. I ended up freaking out at him saying, ‘Dude, if you kill yourself, what the f**k am I going to do?’
He then responded with, ‘I am so, so sorry,’ and started crying.
It was madness the things she put him through.
It helps to tell the truth, but I want the focus to be on my brother, not all this other s**t. She’s had numerous shoot interviews where she’s said this and that. She said she was in a nine-month exclusive relationship with Shawn Michaels. Nine months? Get the f**k out of here! I never went more than nine days without seeing her. That’s a complete lie. She just lies about everything, man.
I’m actually making this whole fray a lot less than it actually was, it was a fucking insanity every day. The true insanity of it all cannot even be described. It was insane.”
PWS: “You have to feel for your brother. He was a genuinely nice person. He showed great dedication to his high school sweetheart, even when all of those horrible things were happening under his nose. And in the end, it was his sincere and kind nature that was taken advantage of. It’s a shame. It really is.”
JC: “I know it. He was too fucking nice, man. That’s really what it was. That was him. He was never mean. It wasn’t in his nature to put his foot down, I guess. He kind of just let her run s**t. He just believed people at their word. This was pretty much what his deal was.”
PWS: “He was one of the good ones, but as you said, he was naïve, too.”
JC: “He really was, man.”
PWS: “Let’s change focus for a while. We all know Chris was a talented wrestler. Tell us, what are some of the things we may not know about him? Did he have any lesser known talents or hobbies outside of the squared circle?”
JC: “I don’t think so, man (laughs). I think it was just lifting weights and hanging out with us. His passion was his livelihood. His passion was wrestling, his passion was lifting weights. And in his downtime, he just wanted to hang out around the house and watch old wrestling tapes, hop on the kayak to go for a ride or we’d start up the boat to go fishing.
I have a funny story which will hopefully change the mood. Chris used to live on this inlet, which was this huge bay that goes out to the Atlantic Ocean. That was kind of the hangout for me and all of my buddies.
One day we went out to go fishing. We went out around 10 o’clock. Fish were literally jumping into the boat. There were fish everywhere. Snappers, baby blue fish, they were jumping literally into the boat. We were catching them left and right.
Around 11 PM, it started to rain a little bit. At this point, we were out at the tip of the inlet. From the tip of the inlet to his house, it was probably about five football fields. About 500 yards.
Chris goes to start the boat, but the boat doesn’t start. We begin to think, ‘Holy s**t…’
Now it’s really starting to downpour. He tried pulling the cord, but it’s not starting, it’s still not starting. And now it’s pouring rain down on all of us. There’s a boat full of fish and there’s six dudes in this small little boat. Now we’re starting to drift out to sea…
Out where we were, there were these jetties that come after the regular jetties. I was like, ‘Dude, if we go any further, I’m jumping out of this fucking boat and I’m swimming to those jetties!
My buddy was like, “No, that’s my boat! No, f**k that! No! Everybody take your seat cushion and use it as your paddle!”
So we all started to do that, and mind you, the Navy monitors the inlet. Where we were, there was a great white shark they nicknamed Samantha or something like this. It was a 15-foot female great white shark. So we’re paddling this little tiny boat when me and my brother looked at each other and said, ‘Dude, we’re not getting anywhere paddling with these little a*s seats!’ So we jumped out of the boat, kicking behind it, taking the risk of meeting Samantha while our friends pushed with their little seat cushions.
Finally, after 4 or 5 hours, we pushed the boat into where these reeds were and we maneuvered it all the way to the yacht club, which was in another town over. My buddy got out, brought his truck over and we loaded all the fish up. At this point, the sun was starting to come up and Chris was like, ‘Goddamnit, we are eating these fucking fish!’
We go to his house and filleted them all up. The sun was coming up and we were sitting by Chris’s grill, grilling fish as 6:30 in the morning drinking beer. This is one of my favorite memories. That house was so much fun. We had some the best times over at Chris’s house.
At other sports, he was the worst. I remember when I was younger I could throw like 90 mph when I was 12. I would say, ‘Bro, let’s play catch.’
I’d give him the catcher’s mitt and he’d be sitting there with his bodybuilding clothes on and I would be gunning fastballs at him. He’d take his mitt and try to hit the ball with it, and the ball would ricochet into the air and he would grab it and he would say, ‘See how good I am? I can catch it and throw it at the same time!’
All he really cared about was wrestling and lifting weights.”
JC: “You know, his other hobby was art. That m**********r could draw. I put some of his pictures up on my Twitter account. He was a great artist. He would draw KISS and the Grateful Dead. He was a big KISS fan and a big Grateful Dead fan. He would go to Grateful Dead shows [in high school]. I actually went to a couple of KISS show with him, as well. Me, him and Jim Cornette went to a KISS show together.
You asked if he had any hobbies outside of wrestling and one of them, of course, was lifting weights. Here is a quick story which shows his dedication to lifting and to others.
When my brother was in high school, there was a guy he grew up with named Fooge. His real name was John Fudge, but everyone called him Fooge. He was really good at football. He was a big, strong guy, but he wasn’t that fast. He wanted to go to college on a football scholarship but it wasn’t looking good due to his speed.
My brother said, ‘Fooge, look here. I’m going to come by your house every morning at 5:30 and you and I are going to run the boardwalk.’
Fooge lived a half mile from us on the same stretch of the boardwalk as we did.
As promised, for the entire second half of Fooge’s junior year and the whole of his senior year, my brother would come to his house at 5:30AM, and the two of them would run the boardwalk. The boardwalk from Spring Lake to Belmar, New Jersey and back was like two and a half miles. Chris would make the two of them run it right before they went to school each day.
Fooge ended up getting his college scholarship. I speak to Fooge at least once a week and he’s always like, ‘Everywhere I go, I always say the only reason I got to play college football was because of your brother, Chris.’ That’s how dedicated my brother was with his training and as a friend.”
On this positive note, we conclude part two of ProWrestlingStories.com’s exclusive interview with Jonny Candido.
Catch the final installment of The CHRIS CANDIDO Story entitled, ‘Redemption Before Death,‘ where Jonny shares more heartfelt stories that will leave you laughing out loud as well as fighting back tears. Jonny has some more funny stories to share including one from Bam Bam Bigelow’s Bam Fest, he addresses and debunks more rumors, including one surrounding Chris’s departure from WWF, he goes into the positive mindset of his brother in his final days and so much more. You will not want to miss the final piece of this story!
If you have enjoyed what you have read, do us a favor and share this story by using one of the social media share links at the top or bottom of this post and don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: While the accounts shared in this part of Chris Candido’s story may come off as a bit one-sided, it must be remembered that these are the words being relayed by Jonny the way he saw them and the way they were reported to him by his brother. If there’s one thing we must always remember, though, and Al Snow said it best, “There’s always three sides of the story: His, hers, and the truth.”
We will end this installment with this recent statement in full from Al Snow, a good friend of both Chris and Tammy:
“I don’t know how [Tammy] treated Chris, and the reason I don’t know how she treated [him] is because I’m not Chris.
I can tell you that I saw things between the both of them. I saw both of their behaviors. Who is it for me to judge, do you know what I mean?
Tammy has been one of my dear friends for years because of Chris, you know? I met the two of them together and I always knew them together and I always saw all of the shenanigans with them.
[Chris] never got rid of her, you know? They never broke up. So whatever it was between the two of them, apparently it worked. I don’t know if it was good. I don’t know if it was bad. I didn’t have to wake up with it and I didn’t have to go to bed with it, so it wasn’t for me to judge, because if it didn’t affect my life, then what do I care?
I care for Chris and I used to get upset, but there was at one point when I finally realized if Chris isn’t getting upset, then why should I? I just don’t understand. This isn’t going to impact my life – I’m not dating her. I’m not living with her. I’m not sleeping with her. So what do I care, you know?
And I don’t know what [Chris may have been] doing on the other side. Because you have to remember, there’s always three sides of the story: His, hers, and the truth.”
TAMMY SYTCH UPDATE: We are thrilled to hear that Tammy Sytch has been sober and booze free for 90 days after spending the last three months in rehab with the help from WWE. According to TMZ, Tammy says this is the best decision she has ever made. We wish her all the very best on her road to sobriety.
*A BIG thank you to Kevin Meeker, Moris as well as Joey from Nerdopotamus.net for helping out with today’s story. An additional thank you goes out to Turnbuckle Magazine for your continued support. You can check out the trailer for their upcoming Chris Candido documentary below: