top of page

10 Things I Learned Watching Dark Side of the Ring: Chris and Tammy

It's been a while since I've reviewed an episode of Dark Side of the Ring, and Vice completed the fourth season of their documentary series. Over the next few weeks, I'll be reviewing each episode of the fourth season. In this episode, the focus was on pro wrestler Chris Candido and Tammy "Sunny" Sytch, and I've learned quite a bit from watching it. So, I thought I'd share the 10 things I learned from watching Dark Side of the Ring: Chris and Tammy.

10. How Chris met Tammy

The relationship between Chris Candido and Tammy "Sunny" Sytch began at a wrestling event, adding a touch of serendipity to their story. Chris was wrestling a match in New York against Johnny Hotbody, but an unexpected twist occurred during the match. In the midst of a headlock, Johnny Hotbody pointed out a blonde woman in the front row to Chris, suggesting he take a look. That blonde woman was Tammy Sytch.

Tammy's presence was so striking that even Chris's mother noticed her. After the wrestling event concluded, Chris and Tammy hit it off immediately. Their connection was strong enough that Chris went back to Tammy's house after the show, and from there, their relationship began to develop. This chance meeting at a wrestling event would go on to play a significant role in both of their lives.

9. Chris left his date at the prom to be with Tammy

The connection between Chris Candido and Tammy "Sunny" Sytch was undeniably strong from the moment they met at the wrestling event. Their bond grew so close that Tammy became Chris's second obsession in the world. Such was the intensity of their connection that Chris made the bold decision to leave his prom date at the dance and depart with Tammy in a car. While this might be considered a rather abrupt move, it underscores just how deeply he had fallen in love with Tammy. Love has a way of making people do unexpected things, and for Chris, his love for Tammy was evidently a powerful force in his life.

8. Chris was only getting paid 75 dollars a night with Smokey Mountain Wrestling

When Chris began wrestling, he received a significant opportunity to work in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, which was owned by Jim Cornette. Candido worked tirelessly to secure bookings, and this was a big break for him. However, there was one problem: the pay was only $75 a night for four days a week, and the promotion was located in Tennessee. Candido, at the time, resided in New Jersey, which presented a significant challenge. Cornette came up with the idea to make Tammy a manager and pay them both the same, making the decision easier for Candido to accept. Fortunately, Candido and Sytch agreed, and the rest is history.

7. The Disgusting Godwins Rib on Sunny

Oh gosh, you know its stories like this that make me feel disgusted with how some of the wrestlers acted behind the scenes back in the day.

The world of professional wrestling has seen its fair share of pranks and jokes, known as ribs, being played backstage. While some ribs are lighthearted and fun, others can be crude and distasteful. Unfortunately, the rib played on Sunny in 1996 falls into the latter category and is indeed quite disturbing.

During this incident, the Godwins, a tag team known for their pig farmer gimmick, brought their slop buckets backstage during a live event. They informed the roster that they planned to dump the contents of these buckets on Sunny that evening. Regrettably, this led some individuals to add unpleasant substances to the buckets, including spitting, urinating, and defecating into them. When the Godwins proceeded to pour the buckets over Sunny, the contents included this mixture of offensive materials.

Such a rib is not only crude but also deeply disrespectful and harmful. While personal conflicts and egos can arise in any competitive environment, it's essential to maintain a level of professionalism and decency. Say what you want about Tammy Sytch, but nobody deserves that. Any individuals who participated in this rib should be ashamed of their actions.

6. Lance Storm was originally going to be a Bodydonna

Now here is something that I did not know about. So at the time Sunny and Candido was joining the WWF, the plan was for Candido to be in a tag team that was going to be called the Bodydonnas. Storm was once considered to be a Bodydonna in the tag team. Well that ultimately did not happen as I believe WWF did not reach an agreement with Storm via contract and WWE decided to have Tom Pritchard. Which honestly was a blessing in disguise as the Bodydonna gimmick was garbage and even Tom Pritcherd in this documentary called it “...the worst time of my life”.

5. Tammy wonders if Candido knew about relationship with Shawn Michaels

Of course, when there is a documentary on Tammy Sytch, you have to include her relationship with Shawn Michaels. This is at the time when Shawn Michaels was a complete jerk and was one of the top stars in WWF. So, Sunny during her time with WWF was cheating on Chris Candido with Shawn Michaels and it was often common knowledge within the locker room.

The thing that is super crazy is that Tammy in her own words said that she wonders to this day if Chris knew everything. Which let's be real of course he did know as Terri Runnels even said, “Everybody knew, but Chris did not want to accept it.”. The worst part is that according to Terri Runnels Sunny felt that “Being loved by the top guy felt better than being loved by your boyfriend who was down here.” Which is a pretty damning thing to say. Even if Chris did accept it, he hardly couldn’t confront Michaels as he was the top guy it would have been career suicide.

4. How much pain Candido was in with his neck injury

Candido during his time with WWF and in a match he suffers a broken neck and that pain would really follow him into a bad drug addiction. Candido got hooked on Somas and apparently he was taking 6-7 of them a day, which is just insanity. Candido had started taking pill for pain and got to the point he used them to sleep and then to control his emotions. This is a guy who previously was clean and never took a single drug or drank alcohol, now he is a complete mess with the pills. That is how much pain he was in.

Candido worked so hard in ECW and that neck injury was just worse. That injury was so bad that a doctor thought he was in a car accident based off x-rays and other images. I mean insanity, but there have been previous stories of these brutal injuries in the past. One that often comes to my mind immediately is the Dynamite Kid. I mean the guy was injured so much with all the bumps he had; he was bound to a wheelchair at a young age. Its why I fear for Darby Allin when I see him take so many crazy bumps in AEW and apparently, he is dealing with a spine issue currently. I keep saying this, Neck and Spine injuries are no joke.

3. Paul Heyman is not painted well in this episode

Chris Candido Bodydonna gimmick was a complete flop and he left WWF. He then signed a new deal to work with ECW. Sunny would eventually join with the company as well and of course becomes Candido’s manager in ECW. When she entered the company, she was a full-blown addict and Paul Heyman who was the owner/booker of ECW wanted to exploit it. Yes, because it is such a wonderful and ethical idea to want to exploit someone’s personal problems with drugs in an industry that has been infested with that sort of problem.

What Paul Heyman does is have Tammy film a tell-all video. In this video he basically allows her to talk about her drug use and if you watch this video, it is absolutely disgusting just watching it. Tammy is crying on it and she is basically speaking about not wanting to wake up the next morning. That is clearly a cry for help and what does Heyman do, well he off camera and you can clearly hear Heyman saying this and decides to respond saying “tell us about that. Describe that feeling.” I mean this woman is crying for help and you're basically stating her to describe that feeling is just so angry. Cornette was pissed off about what Heyman did in that video just for TV ratings and still does to this very day, which I don’t blame him for feeling that way one bit. That is not all when Candido and Sytch were written of tv for a suspension, Paul Heyman decided to give them office jobs to keep them on payroll. What they did was arrange travel plans for pro wrestlers in the business. Candido was spending his own money via credit cards for this and the deal was for him to be reimbursed with the money. The problem here was that ECW was deep in debt and Candido & Sytch did not know that and it ultimately led to them going bankrupt as well. Heck they even lost their home as a result of this. Heyman basically screwed Candido and Sytch as a result of this.

Paul Heyman just does not come across well in this story at all. In fact there have been so many more stories of Heyman just screwing with many other ECW stars as well, but what happened here with both Sytch and Candido was just awful.

2. How Chris Candido brother found out about his death

The passing of Chris Candido was indeed a deeply tragic and emotional moment for many people within the wrestling community who knew and loved him. His decision to fly after surgery, which ultimately led to complications and his untimely death, highlights the risks and sacrifices that wrestlers sometimes make for their careers.

The recounting of how Johnny Candido found out about his brother's passing is incredibly heart-wrenching. Discovering the loss of a loved one in such a sudden and traumatic manner is an experience that leaves a lasting emotional impact. It's evident that Chris Candido was not just a colleague to those who knew him but a beloved friend and family member, as evidenced by the outpouring of grief and emotion from those interviewed in the documentary.

1. Tammy Sytch has no regrets

Almost everyone is aware of how much of a trainwreck Tammy Sytch is. However, something incredibly crazy mentioned in this documentary is that she has told many that she has no regrets in this world. None for what happened with Chris and her personal life. I believe it was Terri Runnels who said, 'I don’t know if anyone can utter those words and mean them.' Yeah, you'd think so. Especially considering the disgraceful actions she has done, and the fact that she has no remorse for them is insane.

In fact, with how many times she has been behind bars, you would think that she would have a hint of regret. Apparently not, as she keeps getting arrested time and time again. I swear this woman has been arrested so many times that she should be given her own American Penitentiary Championship belt. There was even one point, and this was not mentioned in the documentary, where she was arrested 5 times in 4 weeks. I don’t even know how that is even possible, but Tammy Sytch did it.

Tammy was even laughing about her high number of DUIs before killing someone in another one, which really angered me. Currently, she is in jail for a DUI and manslaughter-related charge and could serve 10-25 years in prison and was not able to participate in this documentary on her advice of counsel. The other thing that was not mentioned in the documentary is that even her own lawyer had enough of her nonsense and wanted nothing to do with her. I mean when your own lawyer wants nothing to do with you anymore, you know how screwed that you are.

I'm glad that this episode focused more on Chris Candido than on Tammy “Sunny” Sytch. Many people already know what a trainwreck Tammy Sytch is, but not as many people fully know about Candido. Chris Candido made a significant impact on others in his limited time. I do wonder, though, what if Chris Candido had never died? Would Tammy be as much of a trainwreck as she is now? I've often thought about that. If Chris Candido had never died, he would likely have continued working in the business as an agent, trainer, or become a much bigger star in TNA. Rest in Peace, Chris.


bottom of page