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Chris Candido

Sport: Wrestling

Born: March 21, 1972

Died: April 28, 2005

Town: Edison

Christopher Barrett Candito was born March 21, 1972 in Edison. Wrestling was part of the family culture. Chris’s grandfather on his mother’s side was Popeye Richards, a pro wrestler in the 1970s. Chris wrestled for Red Bank Catholic and set his sights on a pro career of his own. He was blond, good-looking and powerfully built at 5’8” and over 200 pounds. One of his RBC classmates, Tammy Lynn Stych (below), took notice and they formed a lifelong, albeit tempestuous, relationship.

Chris trained in Belmar at the Monster Factory in South Jersey with Larry Sharpe, a trainer who had produced King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow and Raven (aka Scott Levy). Chris wrestled in the mid-Atlantic region beginning as a teenager and formed the Suicide Blonds tag-team trio with Chris Michaels and Johnny Hotbody. They won the Eastern Championship Wresting crown in 1993.

CCandido2Chris joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in 1994. Crowds loved to boo him and he happily played the role of a conceited “heel.” Off the mat, Chris was well liked by his fellow wrestlers. In the fall of 1994, Chris (who by this time had tweaked his last name to be more easily pronounced) captured the NWA heavyweight crown at a tournament in Cherry Hill. He defeated Tracey Smothers to become the organization’s youngest and shortest champion. He lost the championship the following February.

Chris moved up to the World Wrestling Federation in 1995 along with Tammy Lynn, and they were billed (along with veteran Tom Prichard) as the fitness-obsessed Bodydonnas. One of their gags was performing push-ups over fallen opponents. In 1996, they won the WWF World Tag Team Championship. Chris’s popularity began to wane in the years that followed. He left WWF and competed in smaller circuits and independently into his 30s.

In 2005, Chris signed with Total Nonstop Action (TNA Wrestling) and competed a couple of times a month, with varying success. On April 24, he was part of the pay-per-view Lockdown show in Orlando, an event in which each match was contested in a six-sided steel cage. During a tag team match, Chris fractured his tibia and fibula, and dislocated his ankle. The injury required surgery and the following day doctors inserted a titanium plate in his ankle. Three days later, back home in Matawan, he collapsed and was rushed to RWJ Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was diagnosed with acute pneumonia. He passed away that night.

 

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