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    Chris Candido interview

    Part 1

    The wrestler also known as Skip. Conducted by Larry Goodman

    The following interview with Chris Candido was conducted at the October 23rd IWA Mid-South show in Highland, In.

    Q: At this point, what is motivating you to continue professional wrestling as a career?

    CANDIDO: To be bluntly honest, it’s all I’ve even done and all I’ve ever had any drive or ambition to do. And I had screwed it up pretty bad, almost to the point where I was going to have to do something else. So when the chance came to go to Puerto Rico, and I stayed down there for about 6 months, a lot of people thought that’s where I would end up staying and becoming another statistic like Eddie Gilbert did, or the guy that just works down there, which unfortunately, is like the bottom of the barrel place to be right now, and I didn’t want end up either of those things. So while going there sucked for the last couple of months I was there, it opened my eyes that if I want to do this, which is the one skill that I have, I mean I think I have a gift for it and I ****ed it all up, so it made me realize that I had to get my ass back in gear. I love it so much, and I disappointed a lot of people and myself, so I just hope I can turn it around.

    Q: I was wondering how it felt to be a veteran. I read with your interest your letter in The Observer where you gave advice to the young guys. What’s it like coming into the locker room now with guys that have considerably less experience than you?

    CANDIDO: It’s obviously not on the same level, because I never made it to that level, but I remember starting and getting to work with the Rock and Roll and stuff like that. I was so overzealous and so excited that I didn’t care. I would do anything for Ricky Morton. If he would want to throw me off a balcony through something on fire with chainsaws around it, I mean, I was just in awe to be working with those guys. And the first time I got to work with Ricky, he gave some reign in the match. He said, “Hey, give me some stuff to do.” I was so excited. I was rattling of these spots that I had seen him and Bobby do so many times, and he just looked at me like I was complete idiot. He said, “Let me teach the right way to do things.” I was never a Ricky Morton level guy, but I almost feel the same way to where some of these fellas, I’m just baffled by the things they do. I know what it’s like to be excited and want to really go out there, and there’s an age where you really don’t care about your body, and I don’t want to knock ‘em, but you’re just looking to please the sheets and the internet marks. And that isn’t necessarily going to make you a living. There was only one Sabu. It’s kind of glamorous to be the guy that’s insane and will do anything, but it stops being glamorous real quick when you’re so beat up that you can’t work anymore. And there’s no place to go from there, because we don’t know or want to do anything else. I hope that they take some of my advice, and I really am trying to help them. I wasn’t sure that they would take my advice because they looked at me as a guy that ****ed up, or look at me for the ability that I hopefully still have and would respect it. I hope that take it the right way.

    Q: What are your goals at this point? What would you like to do with the rest of your career?

    CANDIDO: I want to have a career in wrestling, basically. I’m booked more than I’ve been in a long time. Even in ECW, we only worked two or three days a week, and I’m working at least that, if not more, most weeks now. So that’s all I can ask for now. I screwed up my reputation bad enough where it’s going to take me a while to rebuild it. Jim Ross gave me a lot of his time and Johnny Ace did, and Vince just let me come around. At least they haven’t told me go away and never come back. I’m just hoping that I can still add something to the show.

    Q: You’ve gotten a lot of good notices since you have come back. What have you enjoyed the most since you’ve come back working a lot of indies in the US?

    CANDIDO: It’s just that after so long of getting a negative response, and I think, rightfully, it was a while before I deserved to get anywhere as negative a response as I was getting, which kind of threw me in a downward spiral, too. But that’s my own fault. I wasn’t mature enough to handle the things that were being said to me. But now, hearing good things after hearing bad, and then nothing for so long, it’s very motivating. Mike Kruel and I had a match for Frank Goodman’s USA Pro that I think was right up there with anything I’ve seen all year. I got to work with A. J. Styles the other day. Just to have a guy like that, who’s now kind of in the spot that I was when I was his age, with people looking at you as the next guy that’s going to be something, he came up to me and said, “I’ll just listen to you in there.” That really meant a lot to me.

    Q: Your thoughts on your time in SMW with Jim Cornette.

    CANDIDO: He’s one of the guys that I definitely think I let down. He really, really gave me start and let me work with guys like the Rock and Roll and Tracy Smothers down there. He just took the time to really teach me a lot, and that’s where I got to know Dr. Tom better. That locker room was just a bunch of guys that wanted to help me. That was a very good time too. It got Tammy started in the business. It was supposed to be just a six month run that become something that was a whole lot bigger. I don’t look back on anything that I did badly. The mistake I made outside of the ring, it was my own fault. The **** that I have on the tapes of myself from SMW, there’s nothing I look back on that I’m unhappy about.
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    Part 2

    Q: Do you have any regrets about leaving SMW to go to WWE when you did?

    CANDIDO: Well, the only thing, as a look back, that was bad about it, is I was just probably too young to be there. My ability might have been good enough, which as I watch back, there was a lot of **** that I did do wrong. But I just think that I was too young to be given that spot. At the same time, going there with your wife who was the same age and was being made into the star that she was, it was hard thing to be able to handle at that age. But the fact is that when I left the WWF, I was only 24 years old. There’s guys there now who didn’t get there until much later than that. There’s nothing I look back on in the ring that I regret, because I learned so much from all of it.

    Q: When you look back at your days in ECW, I’m sure there were some positive things and some that weren’t so positive. What do you remember most fondly about that time?

    CANDIDO: It was easily the most fun time, obviously, too much fun, that a person could ever have in his life. Just doing the stuff that me and Shane and Bigelow did. Just to be in there with two guys that you are that legitimately close with. And the stuff that Lance Storm and I did together was some of the best stuff. It took both of our strengths and just showed what they were. Last night we did an 8 man tag for IWA Mid-South (10/22 in Lafayette, In) that was the most ridiculous comedy match that ever happened in the history of wrestling. I would throw in a little bid of comedy with Lance to make up for his seriousness, and just the fact that he was so smooth, and we would do stuff as the team that hated each other, and we would start fighting with each other and do a spot with myself and him, and then go back to the guys we were working against. It was just a lot of fun. There was nothing there that I did in the ring that I look back on badly.

    Q: What happened between you and Paul Heyman?

    CANDIDO: I don’t know what really transpired there between me and Paul E. In his words, he was kind of attempting to hold me at a different level than the rest of the locker room, because we had been friends since I was a little kid, and he was trying to teach me some booking things and what not. ECW was a constant party. Everybody in the locker room had their own thing that they did, except Tazz. Everybody was into something. Do you know what I mean? But I got held to a different standard there. I got a few suspensions. Paul still paid me and took care of me, but he sat me at home a few different times here and there. I came back with Tazz and we did that deal where he broke my neck and I came out in the Halo. And then we built up to the pay-per-view. A couple of days before it, Paul E called me up. He has a way of however he wants you to answer a question, he can get you to say it by the way he leads into the question. He always knew that I was a big Jerry Lawler mark. King always had that way of constantly putting people of over but still keeping his heat by the way that he did it. Paul E was like if you want to be as good as him, you’ve got to be able to do that same thing. I said, “Alright, what do you need me to do?” Paul said he had this great idea. I would come out at the beginning of the pay-per-view and do a promo, and Tazz would come out and squash me. Then, Tazz and Bubba would work in the main event. I said, “Well, how does that help me?” Paul said, “Just do it for me, I promise.” I mean, what was I going to do? I could say no and just not get paid for the show. Or I could do it, and try to do it to the best of my ability, which is what I did. The real reasoning behind it, I don’t know. I came back and they put me together with Rhyno, and we worked a couple of shots with P. J. and Lance. Then, Paul E and I were on the phone, working out a finish because they were going to put the tag belts on me and Rhyno. We got off the phone, because each of us had to go to our respective airports to fly to go to TV in Nashville. I got to the airport, and for the first time in like two years, I didn’t by the entire company’s tickets, which had become my job. I would buy all the tickets on my credit card and Paul would pay me back. He did that one loop. I got to the airport, and for some reason my ticket was cancelled. He didn’t speak to me for a couple of months. He really never let me know why I was fired. But I had to go ahead and sign some kind of paper that I wouldn’t sue him or the company for the money he owed me, if he let me out of my contract to go to WCW. I don’t know if he did it to get me pissed off at him, so I would leave. Then that way, he knew he could get me to sign that agreement so that I wouldn’t go after him for the money he owed me. It was $170,000 in travel expenses that were left on my credit card. Not to mention back pay that I ended up having to eat. I had to sell my house to pay it back. A lot of people have asked me why I haven’t choked him death when I’ve seen him since that time. What it came down to is that if someone was going to suffer, you always like to be the big person and take the heat on yourself. When it came down to being able to get out of it somehow, I guess he had to what was best for him, and we’ve long since made up and brushed it under the rug. He obviously isn’t going to come over and hand me like 200 grand. And I really don’t feel going and fighting Paul E. So everything’s been all squashed. Although, I never knew the reason for it.
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    Part 3

    Q: So, at that point, you went over to WCW?

    CANDIDO: Yeah, I had a good time there. The company was definitely mismanaged in the way they were spending money, because I was making more money there than I did anywhere else for just sitting home. I was getting very good six figures for never leaving the house, and every time I would leave the house, including NITROs or Thunders, they would give me extra money, and paid the rental car and hotel. I loved it for the short time that it lasted. But it obviously wasn’t going to last very long if they were doing that for somebody at my level on the card. I couldn’t imagine what everybody else was getting.

    Q: What went down with your leaving WCW?

    CANDIDO: That was another fantastic circumstance. First, Tammy’s deal there ended. We had obviously had our problems in the past with whatever substances here and there, which was never anything really exciting. We were pain pill takers and the Somas, the big wrestler drug. But we got on that Nubain for awhile, the pain killer that the bodybuilders were all using and became big in the lockerrooms. We had been off that for over a year. We were adamant about not going near it. We still did some other stupid things but were not using that. One day at TV, Kimberly Page found a bottle of that in one of the women’s bathroom stalls and went and put the heat on Tammy, which flipped a lot of people out. Scott Steiner flipped out about it. He came running in the locker room at me saying, “What the **** did that **** do?” I’m going like Tammy did something, and know Scott Steiner is mad at her, and he’s going to kill me for it. But luckily, he was talking about Kimberly, not Tammy. I got hot about it. So, we were in the gorilla position about to go to the ring and Eric pulls Tammy back and says, “Well, you’re not going out there today because we have a problem.” So, I went out to the ring, which was my first opportunity to do anything with Ric Flair, he was running in the match with me and David. It took all the excitement out of being involved with Ric Flair away from me. We got back and found out what it was, and I blew my cork. Granted, we had used Nubain before and done a lot of other dumb things before, but we had tried hard to get off it, and had been off it for about a year. At the time, WCW had a good five or six girls that were all fitness models and were all from LA, which is where the stuff originated from, on the fitness and bodybuilding scene there. The main supplier of the stuff was somebody from out in that area, who had been close with all the fitness girls. But for some reason, the finger was pointed directly at us, so that really pissed me off. The next day, we showed up at Thunder and they made Tammy take a piss test. In typical WCW fashion, they lost her urine for three weeks. When it came back, she had tested negative. It was clean. But Eric was so pissed off about it because he got egg on his face that they just continued to sit her home. Then, they brought Bigelow back. And I had to go down and cut this promo to introduce Bam Bam, and we went ahead and worked with Kronic. Eric gave us a finish that was the ****s. We went to Russo, and he gave us a different one. We went ahead and did the match, and I broke my wrist. We came back and Eric screamed only at me, not at the three other guys that were involved in the match, about that being the finish he gave us and he didn’t like that ECW bs. He told us to go back out there and do it again. So a fricking TV company doesn’t have the capability to just edit in my previous promo. I had to go out in front of the same crowd and cut the same exact promo and act surprised when I bring Bigelow out. He wanted to keep this one spot in, the one I broke my wrist on in the previous match, and I broke my arm higher up on my forearm in another place. So, I come to the TV the following Monday. I had a cast on my arm that came to right above my elbow. Bischoff was hot at me that I broke my arm in the match that he made us do over and asked me to cut the cast below my elbow so I could go ahead and work. I figured the boss was telling me to do something, so I might as well go ahead and do it. I went and did it. I worked the NITRO and Thunder. We had three house shows. They asked if I wanted to go on the road or go home. I asked if I could go home for a day and get it reset, because the coach there in the back just cut the cast off and put another cast on, but the bone had moved out place again. I asked if I could get a better cast put on so that I could work with it, and I would make it back. It was like Yakima and Seattle, and I said I would make it back for the second town. So I went home, went straight to doctor, and got a new cast put on. When I got home, Terry Taylor called me and said, “Eric said he’s sorry but it’s not working out.” I said, “What the hell’s not working out? I came home just for this and I’ll be back there tomorrow.” Taylor said no. He didn’t
    let me in on the fact that if I had said that no, I can’t cut off the cast, I’m injured and can’t work, WCW would have had to go ahead and pay me for another two years. But because I proved that I could work, even though I really couldn’t, I just did what I was told, they only had to pay me for another 180 days. So doing what I was told screwed me in that department. But for the 9 months I was there, it was pretty enjoyable. Especially the stuff I got to do with Terry Funk in that barn, the fight inside the horse stall.

    Q: I’m kind of amazed that you still have the love for pro wrestling that you do.

    CANDIDO: I love the business so much. I love working so much. A lot of the stuff that happened was admittedly my own fault. Like with Paul E, when the checks started to come more slowly, I should have taken my credit card away from him. I shouldn’t have offered to do it in the first place, but for two years, every month I had a $30,000 or $40,000 credit card bill, and he would write me a check, and there was never a problem with it. It did great for my credit rating. I could go out a buy a house on a credit card. When it started to slow down, I should have pulled it out myself, but I wanted to be part of the company. I have no ill feelings towards Paul E. He did what he had to do. The only person I’m still pissed at is ****ing Eric. He’s a dick.

    Q: You mentioned the injuries and I know how physically brutal the ECW style was. Did you suffer a lot of injuries during your time there?

    CANDIDO: Everybody there was hurt all the time, but it’s amazing when you’re enjoying what you’re doing and working with guys…people say how the locker room was a family. Even when there was animosity, and there’s always going to be heat between some people, especially in performers, the only time it came out was the one time in my life I got main event on a pay-per-view, the six man at November to Remember ’98 with Sabu, Van Dam and Tazz (vs. the Triple Threat). That was the single worst main event in wrestling history. Why? I don’t know. Some guys didn’t want to do stuff with each other. People had issues with each other here and there. We were all taking sides. It was a bad situation. Besides that one time, even when guys weren’t getting along, everybody just went out there and gave it there all. We never intentionally hurt each other, but like when I got to work with Van Dam a lot, we never disliked each other, but we were never super close friends because of Sabu. It was unspoken thing that he would do his cool ****, and I would do what I could do. But we would always try to, not potato each other, but just work harder like Shawn and Bret at Survivors Series until the finish came. When they were working so hard trying so hard no to make each other look bad, but just to make the match that good. They were trying to speed up their steps and stuff. That’s the kind of way guys in ECW worked with each other when they weren’t getting along, and most of the time everybody was. It was just a fantastic environment. People got hurt there all the time. Shane was always getting in casts. Sabu, God bless him, I saw a table leg knock out the guys teeth and get stuck in his mouth. He just pulled the thing out of his mouth, spit teeth out, taped his face up, and just kept going in the match. He was the most amazing person out there. He ripped my ear off one night. It was hanging on by my ear lobe. I tore my bicep twice and never took any time off. Everybody there just loved what they were doing. Part of it was Paul E’s brainwashing. He would get you so fired up, but that’s what made the company what it was.
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    Part 4

    Q: Was there a point with the drugs where you knew it was out of control? Where you know something had to give?

    CANDIDO: It had gotten so far out of proportion. There was a time when I was so pissed off that I thought if we were going to get heat for it, we might as well ****ing do it. And we thought, enjoy it, because we’re going to get heat for it anyway. And that was obviously a stupid ****ing idea. But when you’re not thinking clearly anyway, and you’re young as we were and making money, you don’t always think intelligently. But nothing really, really hit me until we were in Puerto Rico and the money completely stopped. And I’m thinking I don’t want to be the next Eddie Gilbert or be stuck hear in this island for the rest of life fighting for 200 dollars a week. So we left. We went to Florida for a while and stayed with Hack Myers. We were all working down there. There was a lot of work in Florida but no money. I went to a MLW show in Orlando. What happened, I have no idea. I just know what the story is, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not, but somehow I wound up in the lobby of the hotel running around naked, and I was going to get arrested. Sabu and Raven convinced the police not to arrest me. Hack took us back to his house in Daytona. We came home to work a shot in Boston the next week, and we just moved back home. It was all over the internet. I had behaved myself in Puerto Rico the last couple months I was there. I was back in the states for a couple of months, working my ass off and behaving. No one heard a word about that. But one time I get ****ed up and run around in a hotel lobby naked, and the whole world knows about it. That was definitely the last straw. I’m not getting any younger. I’m still relatively young, but I’ve been around so long that I better do something about it now, if I hope to have any future.

    Q: Was that infamous deal on the LWE show in Texas as bad as it was made out to be?

    CANDIDO: Truthfully, I have no idea, because I have very little memory of it. I’m sure that it was. I remember sleeping over at Sandman’s house the night before, which was part one, not an intelligent ****ing move. It was snowing out, and the flight was delayed for seven hours in Philly, so we sat at the bar. We had already partaken in whatever presented itself at Sandman’s house. You can have your own idea. Then we got on the plane. Tammy and I had upgrade certificates. Sandman did not but he just went ahead and sat there anyway. How we did it, I don’t remember. I just remember taking the entire drawer from the alcohol cart in first class and dumping it into the seatback and proceeded to go through that. We got into Dallas really, really late. The show was about over. They brought a limo to the airport. We go to get in and from what I remember, I don’t know if it was just being intoxicated of if this was true, Mil Mascaras and Manny Fernandez were in the limousine. It was kind of surreal, you know? The limo pulled right up the ring in this barn. They played my music and I got out one side. They played Sandman’s music and he got out of the other side of the car, and we proceeded to have some kind of a match. I don’t recall a bit of it. All I remember was that Tammy was supposed to be involved in the finish. She got the stick, forgot who she was supposed to hit, and threw it long ways and knocked both of us out. The three of us all had Texas flag bandanas on our heads, great big Texas belt buckles and a shirt on it from the International Playas Club. We never knew how we got any of the stuff on, or where it came from or what. So that should have been a wake up call. But it was at a time when I was so damn depressed. I had gone back to XPW, and I had hurt my groin and my hamstring two weeks before. Me and Shane went into the finish and he was giving me the old Pittsburgh Plunge. I said, “Shane, please hold me tight, because every time I take a bump it feels like it’s tearing more.” He went to protect me and held me so damn tight that when I went, my knee was like past my head and my entire groin and hamstring tore. I was on a walker for a month. I had surgery to reattach my hamstring at 12 o’clock in the afternoon and went to work with Sandman, ironically, that night for Frank Goodman and USA Pro. I was doing stuff to not hurt as bad. I got out of shape because you don’t think about how much you have to push with your hips when you’re working out. It made everything the s***s. I had to miss a Japan tour because of it, and that’s where the real money was coming from. There was a whole bunch that was snowballing right then. It probably took going to Puerto Rico and seeing that this could be the end result, and it was not something that I wanted, to make me think about turning around.
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    Last part

    Q: How was your stint with New Japan?

    CANDIDO: I did every tour for a year and a half before the injury. That was really a great time. They treated you like kings over there. They gave you per diem money that was not part of your contract, just to eat on and stuff. You were first class on the train and hotels. You worked with great guys. Scott Norton was over there. Me and Pat Tanaka were going over there as a team. I got to work with Liger. It was fantastic.

    Q: Watching you here tonight (10/23/04 IWA Mid-South show in Highland, Indiana with Steve Stone vs. Dusty Rhodes & Ian Rotten), what jumped out was your selling and facial expressions being so far beyond most of the younger guys. Where did you pick up those skills?

    CANDIDO: Just from watching guys. Like last night, everybody was hanging out in this one hotel room, and nothing against any of them because these kids are a lot better athletes than I am or ever was, and they’re watching tapes of just themselves from the past month and stuff like that. I go through different phases. I’ve been watching Adrian Adonis and Buddy Rose and learning little intricacies because I think that’s a lot of what is missing nowadays and plus that’s the only thing that may be able to set me apart. When I was their age, the stuff I did was really, really cool but now, it’s old. And the stuff they do is so ****ing amazing that I have to have something to set me apart, and I guess that’s it.

    Q: So much negative stuff has been written about Tammy. How is she doing now?

    CANDIDO: Well, she decided to get out of the business because for all that she contributed, without her, there would not be any of the diva stuff going on. She was the first, and obviously, I’m biased, but I think by fare the best. Obviously, in the ring she wasn’t doing the same stuff that Trish is now, but she no one to do it with either, nor was that the idea behind it. I don’t think anybody, man or woman, is as good on promos as she was. I mean she did that long Phineus Godwinn promo where she got slopped, and there wasn’t one scripted bit in it. They just said go out and cut a promo and she did it. She got real sick when I was in Japan about a year and a half ago. Her pancreas gave out, and they called me and told me to get home because they thought she was actually going to die. She got better, but her pancreas screwed up her thyroid, which got her not in the shape she needs to be to stay Sunny, which got her kind of despondent. So no matter how her performance was, people were looking at that. So after all she’s given to the business, she was getting **** on and felt no reason to keep it up. But she still takes dates that are financially worthwhile or for people that we are friends with. Of course, she will still come to shows where if there are people she wants to see. I worked with Al Snow for a friend of our in Boston, Mike Sparta, and me and Al were going, and all of a sudden there she was at ringside. She got in and took the Snowplow and got the figure four put on her, because she loves it as much as I do. But she’s getting herself back in shape just for herself. She’s opened a tanning salon in Matawan, New Jersey. She’s venturing into the real world, so she can support my wrestling habit.

    Q: Is there anybody that you would like to work with at this stage of your career that you haven’t gotten the chance to work with?

    CANDIDO: Just looking at the immediate future for guys there’s a legitimate possibility with? Of course, if you want to go crazy, I’m a huge Kurt Angle mark, so that would be great. I got chopped by Ric Flair in a battle royal a few times. Working with him would be the ultimate. I don’t know the immediate possibilities of any of that happening. But right now on the indie circuit, I got to do a deal with Kruel, with A. J. Styles, Al Snow and I have been tearing it down. Getting to work with guys like Dusty Rhodes and Jerry Lawler, where they’re almost talking to me like I’m on their level. Just tonight (Candido & Steve Stone vs. Dusty Rhodes & Ian Rotten), Dusty got in there and said, “Chris, start with me. We’ll do our ****.” I mean I have **** with Dusty Rhodes now. And the only thing we came up with in the back was just one little spot that was in the finish. After the match, Dusty Rhodes was sitting there talking to me. He said, “Chris. you’re one intelligent, intelligent man.” First of all, I’ve never heard those words before in my life and hearing them from somebody like Dusty Rhodes means a lot. But working down here doing the stuff for Ian, I would like to work with Chad Collyer. He and I could have a helluva lot of fun. CM Punk and I had a good time with the comedy ridiculousness the other night, but I would like to have a real match with him. But all the guys down here who I don’t really know that well that I’m just becoming friends with, like Samoa Joe and those guys, they kind of work with the same people that work like them. I think me being different, we could do something different and really tear it down.

    Q: Anything that you would like to say in closing?

    CANDIDO: Just know that I know that I did a lot of dumb ****. I’m just happy that people are actually taking note that I’m really trying. I got my ass back in shape. My work is back up to par with anybody. And if you’re one of the ones that’s been noticing, I appreciate your noticing, and if you’re one of the ones that hasn’t and still say I suck, I hope to prove you wrong.
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    HAHAHA WHUT? Mrdummy's Avatar
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    GREAT post thanks I liked Candido and Sunny
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