Friday, May 23, 2008

Chris Candito

Christopher Candito (March 21, 1972 – April 28, 2005) was an American professional wrestler better known by his ring name Chris Candido. Throughout most of his career, he was accompanied by his high school sweetheart Tammy Lynn Sytch, though despite a long-term relationship, the two were never legally married.

Candido held major titles in Extreme Championship Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, World Championship Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Federation. His highest-profile role was in the World Wrestling Federation as Skip, part of the successful tag team known as The Bodydonnas with Zip, and his girlfriend and valet Sunny.

Candito was the grandson of "Popeye" Chuck Richards, a wrestler for the World Wide Wrestling Federation, a precursor to the WWF. He started training at age 14 with Larry Sharpe and wrestled for Sharpe's World Wrestling Association. He began using the alternate spelling of Candido for his ring name.

While in high school, he met and fell in love with Tammy Sytch, and the two began a lifelong relationship. Sytch would later become his valet.

In the early 1990s, Candido was a part of Eastern Championship Wrestling (later Extreme Championship Wrestling). While in ECW, he was part of a stable called The Suicide Blonds with Johnny Hotbody and Chris Michaels. The trio had two stints as the Tag Team Champions; the first from April 2, 1993 to May 15 after winning them from Tony Stetson and Larry Winters. They lost the titles to the Super Destroyers, only to regain them the same day. They later vacated the titles when Candido left the promotion.

Candido became famous in Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW), alongside his manager and girlfriend Tammy Lynn Sytch.

On November 19, 1994, Candido won a 10-man tournament, defeating Al Snow, Dirty White Boy, and Tracy Smothers to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which had been won and immediately vacated by Shane Douglas and ECW that August.

Candido's reign came at a time when national exposure for the National Wrestling Alliance was at an all-time low, as there was no national television outlet for the organization. His title defense matches were mostly held in small independent federations and SMW. Candido dropped the belt to Dan Severn on February 24, 1995, whose subsequent reign lasted over four years.

Candido and Sytch moved on to the WWF where Sytch was dubbed Sunny and Candido Skip, the fitness fanatics The Bodydonnas. On March 31, 1996, Candido won the WWF Tag Team Championship with Zip (Tom Prichard) from The Godwinns during the finals of a tournament for the vacated titles. However, they lost the titles on May 19, 1996 at a house show. According to Tammy Sytch in interviews post Candido's death, Candito and Sytch had a brief separation behind the scenes while working for the WWF.

After leaving the WWF, Candido joined ECW again, becoming part of the revived Triple Threat stable alongside Shane Douglas. While in the Triple Threat, he developed a rivalry with fellow member Lance Storm, who was soon replaced by Bam Bam Bigelow. However, Candido teamed with Storm to win the ECW Tag Team Championship. They won the tag titles on December 5, 1997 from Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon. Despite being a reluctant team who hated each other, Candido and Storm had a lengthy championship run. The duo held the titles for approximately six months until they lost them on June 26, 1998 against Rob Van Dam and Sabu.

He also had a brief run in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which started when he was cleared to compete on March 16, 2000. During his stint there, he won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. He won the title on April 16, 2000 in a six-way match at Spring Stampede 2000 against The Artist, Juventud Guerrera, Shannon Moore, Lash LeRoux, and Crowbar. He lost the title on May 15 of that same year. Later, the Triple Threat reformed in WCW, with Candido, Douglas, and Bam Bam Bigelow. However, the reformation was short lived, after Tammy was released from WCW due to backstage problems with Kimberly Page.

Candido had two runs with Xtreme Pro Wrestling. The first was in 2000, and he won the XPW World Heavyweight Championship before leaving for WCW. The second run was from late 2002 until the company's final show in 2003.

Candido wrestled with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in early 2005, until he died from a post-surgery blood clot. Due to the fact that his last performance was taped to air later in the week, he was featured on an episode of TNA iMPACT! after his death.

In addition to wrestling, Candido also trained new wrestlers, including his brother Johnny Candido.

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