Good day to you all GumGod fans out there reading this. I know that some of you eagerly anticipate each and every word that you read from me and that you sit at your computer desk daily, refreshing the GumGod.com page minute after minute just hoping to see a column written by me. For that, I apologize for the lack of updates. I have been busy on several fronts doing tons of things. Making moves as P. Diddy would say. But during my hiatus as the worldwide leader in singing my own praises, a tragedy struck professional wrestling. No, I am not talking about the Matt Hardy-Lita-Edge situation which Hardy so stupidly labeled a tragedy. I am talking about a real tragedy. A tragedy that transcends wrestling and affects real life. That was the passing of Mr. Chris Candido.
For those who do not know who Chris Candido is, then you probably should stop reading now and stop reading wrestling sites in general because you are an idiot and shouldn’t be here. I am not going to go into detail on who Chris Candido is because that would take to much time and frankly, someone of my caliber shouldn’t have to waste time explaining something to you. Today’s column is about an event. Today’s column is about Frank Goodman’s USA Pro/UXW “Chris Candido Memorial Show”.
If you are not schooled on USA Pro/UXW please click here and click here to catch up and then come back here and continue.
Now, I take you to the USA Pro/UXW “Chris Candido Memorial Show". The show was held on May 21, 2005, in Long Island New York approximately a little less than a month after Candido passed away. This show was scheduled prior to Candido’s death but once Chris passed away, it was decided to make the show a Memorial for him so that friends and colleagues can celebrate his life. Most of the proceeds at the door as well as all the merchandise went to the common-law wife of Candido, Tammy “Sunny” Sytch.
USA Pro/UXW was a fixture for Candido over the past two years. Candido used USA pro as a spring board to help resurrect his career. Having standout matches in USA Pro helped Candido re-establish his wrestling ability by working with the likes of Mike Kruel, Jay Lethal, Homicide, and other young and budding stars. Due to his strong work in USA Pro, Candido managed to get several bookings on the east coast, so many to the point that the majority of Indy shows out there had Candido on it. He was even considered for a return to World Wrestling Entertainment due to his relationship with Tom Pritchard and Jim Cornette. He did get signed by TNA wrestling and was in line for a big push except that push never came as sadly he passed away as the angle was starting.
Anyway, onto the show.
For those of you who have either bought a USA/UXW Pro show on DVD or attended live in person, you know that these shows always start on time and always run extremely, unreasonably long. Those who work the shows need to be there by at least 5:00 PM for a show that begins at 7:30 sharp. So my “client”, The Physical Phenomenon Poppalishus and I arrived at the venue at around 4:45 PM. Much to my surprise, not a lot of USA Pro people were there. Of course USA Pro promoter Frank Goodman was there as he is usually the first person in the building. TNA star, Trinity was also there with her gimmick table of shirts, pictures and magazines she has appeared on all set up. Some other non-USA Pro luminaries were also attendance already including the DOI’s Sean “The Mic” McCaffery and RF Video’s Rob Feinstein and Doug Gentry. Rob was set up with his video table and stated prior to the show that any Chris Candido dvd sold; the proceeds would go to Tammy Sytch.
Anyway, after staking out our locker room spot, Pop and I decided to mingle. We walked around and caught up with some people we haven’t seen in a while including The Christopher Street Connection, Oman Tortuga of the Outcast Killaz, Former WXW Champion Johnny “Bison” Bravado and others. This is where things started to get interesting. As I mentioned earlier, USA Pro shows, as long as they are/can be, ALWAYS start on time. This is why people started to worry because it was 6:30 PM and plenty of people had not arrived yet. After doing some digging, I found out that there were several shows running on that same day including the New York State Wrestling Federation (NYSWF) in Yonkers New York, Cyberspace Wrestling Federation (TNA Affiliate) in New Jersey and some Pennsylvania shows. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue since USA Pro draws a regular crowd of 500 + per show and this show was expected to draw double that. But the issue is, Frank Goodman dropped his rule of workers doing double shots. So at 6:30 PM, with heavy traffic going into Long Island, half the roster was not in attendance as fans were let into the buildings. So like usual, USA Pro had to reschedule the show from top to bottom.
Show time rolls around and there are still several wrestlers missing. Balls Mahoney, Candido’s best friend and USA Pro champion told Goodman to start the show already since, for the first time I can remember, the show was 30 minutes late. So at officially 8:11 PM, The show began.
“Back in Black” by ACDC, which was Chris’ entrance music, began playing. The entire locker room walked to ringside with over 50% of us in Chris Candido t-shirts. Everyone surrounded the ring while Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, Billy Gunn, Johnny Candido and Tammy Sytch entered the ring to a rousing ovation. Ring announcer Steven DeAngelis asked the crowd to quiet down so we can have a ten bell salute to our fallen brother. After the bell rang ten times, Balls and Tammy embraced, both in tears as “Back in Black” played again. An emotional moment as the crowd seemed somber and most of us surrounding the ring still seemed in disbelief that the man who made us laugh and treated us like his equal was gone.
1) The show then officially began with a match that was a blessing for most hardcore USA Pro fans. Usually, USA Pro shows feature at least three ticket seller matches. For those who do not know what these matches are, click here. But what made this match interesting was the fact that it was not any normal ticket seller match. It was the official “Candido Cup” match. A Royal Rumble type deal where it was a battle royal with someone coming into the ring every minute. Not only that, but it didn’t only feature ticket sellers. It featured real wrestlers who enjoyed this match for the sheer fact that they got the chance to beat the piss out of them. The match was basically one big schmozz but it was fun to watch established veterans like Bison Bravado, The Christopher Street Connection, Danny Demanto, Jimmy Hustler and Eddie Guapo kick the sh*t out of ticket sellers who had no business being in the ring. The match included Johnny TNT, Sugar Sean Sanchez, Jimmy Hustler, Heavy Metal, Mercenary, Greatness, Candy, Rednecks from Hell, Slugger, Blade Michaels, Brolly, Mike Campbell, Ken Sweeney, New Dynamite Kid, Equalizer, Devito, Eddie Guapo, Christopher Street Connection, “Ironman” Ron Sampson. Tony Lo, Johnny "The Bison" Bravado, Danny Demanto, Alere Little Feather, and more. The final two of the match were Johnny Candido and Balls Mahoney.
Once everyone was eliminated, it was a one on one match where over the top rope was no longer valid and you had to pin your opponent or make him submit. Tammy Sytch came to ringside at the halfway point of the match and tried to cheat to help Candido win by hitting Balls with a chain. Balls managed to kick out of the pin attempt by Candido. Tammy then distracted the ref when Justin Credible ran out from the locker room and hit Balls with “That’s Incredible” for the Candido win. After the match, Candido, Tammy and Balls all embraced (thus breaking kayfabe for the match that just took place) to applause. Normally I would sh*t on a finish like that since Credible had nothing to do with the match nor is going to feud with Balls but…..after doing some digging, I found out that D-Lo Brown, Balls opponent for later in the show, was scheduled to do the run in however he was busy doing a TRIPLE SHOT and was at another show. Yes folks, a triple shot. Three shows in one day. I guess someone was going to the Sizzler for dinner that night.
2) The next contest featured my client, “The Physical Phenomenon” Poppalishus (accompanied by yours truly, Matt Dawgs Da Infamous AYM) vs. Oman Tortuga of the Outcast Killaz. This was a solid match between two men who haven’t bean featured that prominently in USA Pro. Oman’s partner, Diablo Santiago, was injured at the hands of Havok of the Solution at the two UXW shows ago so Oman was going at it alone. Poppalishus hadn’t had a huge role in UXW since the departure of April Hunter. After the hot feud they had last summer, he has been kind of a UXW afterthought. So these two men were booked against each other and delivered. They started of fast and furious. Tons of power and innovative moves by both men. The finish came as I was on the apron distracting the referee when Eddie Guapo snuck into the ring and ended up hitting Oman with the “Guap Drop”. He then rolled the fallen Poppalishus on Oman for the win.
After the match, yours truly, cut a fantastic promo exclaiming that my new clients Eddie Guapo along with Poppalishus were going to dominate the tag team division and take on all comers. Especially since the independent wrestling scene has been on a nostalgia kick, they would be happy to dominate historic teams like Demolition, the Rockers or the American Males.
3) In a break from USA Pro tradition, the third match featured main event wrestlers. “Bas Ass” Billy Gunn defeated Justin Credible in what was a surprising good match. Let me just preface this by saying that backstage, Billy Gunn is one of the nicest, funniest people in wrestling. He is hilarious. Anyway, the match started off as a brawl with both men bailing the ring to fight in the crowd. Credible was a bloody mess after being rammed into the protective glass (since the show was held at a skating rink). Once back in the ring, they exchanged their usual trademark moves before Gunn finally finishing off Credible with the ”Famouser”
As Gunn celebrated in the ring, ”It’s Raining Men” began playing over the loud speakers and out came the gayest tag team in wrestling, Buff E. and “Eye Candy” Mace Mendoza, the Christopher Street Connection. Buff E. was a tad upset since Billy Gunn played a gay man on TV but is a fag in real life. He then said that since Billy and Chuck were “gay” he wants a piece of that Mr. Ass. He went into the ring to come onto Billy Gunn but Billy fought off both Buff and Mace. He then got on the mic and announced that at the September 24th Show in Queens New York, he and his partner will take on the CSC in a tag match. Which partner? His most famous one, “The ROADDOG” Jesse James. So there you have it, a New Age Outlaws reunion on September 24.
4) In what was an unannounced surprise, IWA Mid South Death Match champion, Corporal Robinson made his return to UXW and had a blood fest with Axl Rotten. Both men were bleeding gushers and this very innovative hardcore match saw scissors used by Axl to cut Robinson’s forehead as well as a plastic baseball bat with thumbtacks taped to it used by Robinson. Axl Rotten wins with a DDT.
5) The following match was for the vacant USA Pro United States championship. Chris Candido held the US Title at the time of his passing. This match was all the more special due to the fact that the two participants were hand selected by Tammy Sytch since Candido was a mentor to both. So officially, it was the Candido Protégé match. Mike Kruel, who was in Candido’s Stable ”the Elite” in USA Pro along with Jay Lethal, challenged Candido’s TNA Protégé and TNA Tag Champion Andy Douglas of the Naturals. (Originally Jay Lethal, Kruel’s “Elite” Stable mate, wanted to be in this match however he had a previous JAPW booking in Boston) Kruel pinned Douglas with his feet on the ropes after about 15 minutes of non stop straight wrestling. Fantastic match.
6) Up next was another UXW Title match. UXW X-Treme Champion, “Primetime” Elix Skipper pinned Kid Kash after the “Play of the Day” in a fantastic, fast paced exciting match. After reviewing the show so far, I have noticed that this show flowed smoothly and flawlessly. The matches were well placed and well booked. This show had tons of high risk maneuvers by both men and on another side note, with all the negative things I have heard about Kid Kash, he seems like a very nice guy. I guess America’s Most Wanted would disagree.
7) The Surprises kept on coming as a blast from the USA Pro past made her return to the promotion. Simply Luscious, who at one point was the best independent female around, came back and defeated Alere Little Feather in a short but solid match. I find it a bit upsetting as there are tons of talented independent females out there yet USA Pro fails to follow up. Kind of like WWE and Cruiserweights. If USA Pro were to just dedicate some time to females, they can have the best division on the Indies. With talents like Luscious, Alere, April Hunter, Luscious Lily, Alicia, Tara Charisma, and others, they can have solid, entertaining matches.
***NOTE*** SO FAR I HAVE BEEN GIVING AN OUTSTANDING REVIEW OF A SHOW. WELL NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. THE NEXT CONTEST WAS ONE OF THE DUMBEST THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN IN WRESTLING. ***END NOTE***
8) Here is where good booking goes BAD~!~! Up next was a special challenge tag team match. The Masked Maniac (who looks like USA Pro promoter Frank Goodman, only masked) and Shark Boy defeated The Christopher Street Connection.
Read that again.
The Masked Maniac and Shark Boy DEFEATED The Christopher Street Connection.
The Masked Maniac and Shark Boy DEFEATED The Christopher Street Connection.
The Masked Maniac and Shark Boy DEFEATED The Christopher Street
So try to understand this, an established tag team like the Christopher Street Connection, former USA Pro Tag team champions, lose to a makeshift tag team which consists of a gimmick wrestler and a promoter who is only capable of performing two moves, CLEANLY while the CSC is heading into the biggest tag match of their careers against the New Age Outlaws. Top that with the fact that they lost clean. No cheating. No Billy Gunn run in. Nothing. I don’t even want to discuss this lack of logic this had. The match itself was entertaining as it involved several comedic spots but the finish was just horrendous. Common sense people. That is all it takes to book something, common sense.
9) In my opinion, the next match was runner-up to match of the night. A returning CM Punk, who worked this show after requesting Frank Goodman to be on it (even though Rob Feinstein had a hand in helping Goodman book talent) defeated Ian Rotten in a wrestling match. Yes, a wrestling match. No blood by Ian. No plunder. No weapons. Nothing. Just straight up wrestling. Punk, who came out to a Johnny Cash song, defeated Rotten by submission with the Anaconda Vice. CM Punk and Ian Rotten both had their working shoes on. Punk even pulled out some Candido/USA Pro spots including wrestling for about 3 minutes with his tights pulled down and his ass literally showing. Excellent contest which showed me that Ian Rotten has wrestling ability. After the match, Rotten cut a promo on Candido letting everyone know how much of a good man Candido was, how much fun he was and how happy he probably is in heaven watching everyone entertain the fans like he did every single night. The crowd broke into a Candido chant as Rotten left.
10) UXW Tag Team Champions, Knight Life: “Final Cut” defeated Papadon and Havok, the Solution, w/ “Sure Thing” John Shane. Prior to the match, Tobin and Trent Acid cut a scathing promo which seemed to be bashing their fellow partner Billy Reil. Reil, who worked a retirement angle via the internet that no one cared about, planned this elaborate angle to return at the prior UXW show. After convincing Goodman to reform Knight life for the millionth time, they won the tag titles. So all of that work seemed to get flushed down the drain when Reil “no-showed” this event. Anyway, Acid said that since there was a p*ssy missing in the group (referring to Reil) stated that they were replacing p*ssy with p*ssy and introduced Trinity to their group. Mike Tobin then took the mic and said that they needed to be a more credible stable in wrestling. This, they introduced Justin Credible to Knight Life.
A decent match then took place with Acid having his working shoes on for the evening. Mike Tobin, in his version of a Candido tribute, wore the old Candido “Terry Funk” style trunks with the stripes on them. The stipulation of this match is that the losing team had to break up and wrestle each other on the next show. The Solution lost. Only thing is, I hear that while both Papadon and Havok wanted to separate, they don’t want to wrestle each other. So while they are no longer teaming, they won’t be facing each other.
11) The double main event then began as UXW Champion Balls Mahoney fought D-Lo Brown. Balls, prior to the match, cut a nice promo telling a Candido story to the fans. He was very emotional and crying during the promo and it was extremely heartfelt since he was Candido’s best friend dating back to elementary school. This was a solid match from what I saw but I must be honest, I missed a lot of it since I was saying my goodbyes to people who were leaving. Balls wins with the Nutcracker Suite.
12) in the final match of the show and my opinion, match of the night, The Sandman pinned Raven in a Raven’s Rules match. The original stipulation was a steel cage match however USA Pro Promoter Frank Goodman had to change it at the last minute as the cage he was renting from another promoter HAD NO DOOR. Welcome to Indie Wrestling folks.
Anyway, after the huge pop followed by the 15 minute Sandman entrance, the match was scheduled to begin. Raven didn’t want to do a Raven’s Rules match because he figured Sandman wanted revenge for the last time they were in the ring when Raven through a fireball at him. Raven figured Sandman would be out for blood thus, if there was no Raven’s Rules, Sandman would get disqualified. After Ref Savino was about to agree to declining the rules, Sandman caned him so he couldn’t agree. Out ran Ref Hanson who was about to start the match as a regular match. Only thing is, Sandman caned him too. Finally, MICK FOLEY’S music hit and he came out to referee the match to a huge crowd pop. The pop of the night came to Raven as he pulled out an EVIL SOCKO (a black sock with a face painted on it) Only thing is, it had no effect on Foley when he tried it. Foley instead bit Raven’s fingers. Finish came as Sandman hit Raven with the Russian Leg sweep with the cane.
END NOTES: One of the best UXW shows ever assembled. The show ran smoothly, even with the snafus of having several other shows running on the same night. The number of matches were only 12 rather than the usual 16 or 17 per show. It also ran only 4 hours rather than the usual 6. A few wrestlers no showed including Prince Nana and Matt Stryker. Some others either made the show too late and couldn’t get checked out by the Athletic Commission like Crowbar (who was the promoter of the NYSWF thus couldn’t leave until everyone else left) and Lowlife Louie Ramos. The UXW Attendance figure given was 925 paid however the realistic total was around 700 total.
For those of you who would like to donate to the Chris Candido Scholarship Fund, which has been set up by his family and will benefit a member of Candido's High School for their commitment to academics, the address is:
The Chris Candido Scholarship Fund
Bank of New York
3rd Avenue & Washington Street
Spring Lake, New Jersey 07762
To purchase this show on DVD, Click Here!.
MATT DAWGS is a special person. Without him, GumGod would be out of business, holding a GumGod One Night Only reunion roundtable. Matt, aside from being an agent/manager extraordinaire, is an all around nice guy, escorting Keith Lipinski and Derek Burgan around New York City. You can write Matt here:
Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.