12 Years Since the Death of Chris Candido, NJPW’s Tokyo Dome Debut in 1989

Twelve years ago from the date of this writing, professional wrestling lost one of its most underrated workers when the death of Chris Candido was announced. He died of complications from ankle surgery following a devastating injury at TNA’s inaugural Lockdown event. During the opening match, Candido landed awkwardly after taking a dropkick and broke both bones in his lower leg as well as dislocating his ankle.

Before the death of Chris Candido he shows off in the ring with wrestler gripping him from the back of the head
Chris Candido, one of the most talented grapplers in the world, died this week twelve years ago.

A couple of days later, Candido had surgery to repair the injuries. Three days after that, he was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead after complications from surgery. During a 2016 interview with us, Candido’s brother, Jonny, revealed that Chris died from acute pneumonia, and not from a blood clot, as had been originally reported.

We wrote a few other posts before the death of Chris Candido, on his life you can read through on this very site.

The CHRIS CANDIDO Story – Part 1: The Beginnings

The CHRIS CANDIDO Story – Part 2: Drugs, Deception & Betrayal

The CHRIS CANDIDO Story – Part 3: Redemption Before Death

And we’ve put together a detailed look at the codependent relationship between Candido and Tammy “Sunny” Sytch here: The Sad, Sordid Eyewitness Testimonies of the Relationship Between SUNNY (Tammy Sytch) and SKIP (Chris Candido)

Also on this date in 1989, New Japan Pro Wrestling made its Tokyo Dome debut with Super Powers Clash, which drew 44,000 fans to see Big Van Vader defeat Shinya Hashimoto to win the IWGP heavyweight title.

Purchase this "Wrestling" in Japanese shirt on PWSTees.com today!
Purchase this “Wrestling” in Japanese shirt on PWSTees.com today!

The WCW title changed hands on this date at least twice, as well, with Ric Flair defeating Ricky Steamboat on a 1994 episode of WCW Saturday Night to reclaim the Big Gold Belt. And in 2000, Diamond Dallas Page defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the title during a steel cage match on Monday Nitro.

Last Week

Mauro Ranallo and the WWE officially parted ways. Expect this to defuse the JBL bullying story, at least for now. In fact, Ranallo said that his departure from the company had ‘nothing’ to do with JBL. Our take on JBL and bullying in WWE can be found here.

Politics seems like a siren’s song for a lot of professional wrestlers, but they often end up doing the J-O-B when seeking elected office. Glenn “Kane” Jacobs is the latest grappler to throw his hat in the (political) ring. You can read about wrestlers who have sought office in Strange Bedfellows: Politics, a Playground for Ex-Wrestlers.

Also, I was a guest on the Tapped Out Wrestling podcast. The hosts, Myron and Nick, are great guys, and we had a blast. You can hear us talk Southern-style wrestling (specifically Continental and Southeastern), bullying, and championship belts. What you CAN’T hear is the hilarity that happened off the air. It was a good time, and I hope I said some things that were decently smart and entertaining.

Joey Finnegan checked in with the latest installment of Huge Crowd Reactions in WWE, covering the debut of Tazz, and Marc Madison gave us an appreciation of former ROH and TNA world champion (and current WWE superstar) Austin Aries.

This Week

I’ll be debuting a piece on April 29 examining the moment in 1979 when six main-event wrestlers bolted an NWA territory (with one of them in possession of the territory’s top title!) and ran opposition. Stealing the Territory drops this Saturday, and I think you guys are really going to like it.

I’m also interviewing former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts on Wednesday, for a story that publishes next Tuesday, May 2. We’ll talk WWE, JBL, Chris Benoit, bullying, and what it was like to be a lifelong wrestling fan in a position to work for the Worldwide Leader in Sports Entertainment. And no, Wreddit, I will not ask him how big Batista’s dick is. OK, fine, I might ask him. Are you happy now?

Greg Phillips will be new to many of you, but he’s a great guy and a heck of a writer. He’s putting together a list of can’t-miss wrestling podcasts, and we’ll publish that tomorrow, so come back soon.

Grab bag

Hey, if you’ve stuck around this long, here are some recommendations. I caught The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a documentary about the Portland Mavericks, a single-A independent baseball team that played in the Pacific Northwest from 1973-1978. It’s a great documentary, and I recommend it highly.

When I have spare time (Ha! I have two kids under 7 years old! What is spare time???), I like to settle in with a good book. I’ve recently begun re-reading the Harry Dresden series, written by Jim Butcher. If you’re a fan of witty banter and great action (and if you’re not, what the hell are you doing here?), give these books a try. Start with Storm Front. You’ll thank me later.

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Bobby Mathews is a contributor for Pro Wrestling Stories as well as a veteran journalist whose byline has appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Birmingham News, The Denver Post, as well as other newspapers around the country. He's won multiple awards for reporting and opinion writing, and his sports journalism has garnered several Associated Press Managing Editors Awards. He has covered Division I college athletics and professional sports including MLB and NFL games. He has won awards from press associations in several states, including a General Excellence award from the Georgia Press Association while sports editor at The Statesboro Herald. He currently lives in suburban Birmingham, Alabama and can be reached on Twitter @bamawriter.