Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Saturday, April 30, 2005
Pro Wrestling--- Anyone who has followed the pro wrestling industry for a long time can tell you that it is an industry filled with sadness and death. The majority of the pro wrestlers I grew up watching as a kid are now dead, many of them from drug overdoses (like Curt Hennig), many of them from enlarged hearts due to prolonged steroid use (like Davey Boy Smith), and some of them due to freak accidents (like Owen Hart).

The frequency of pro wrestlers dying doesn't make it any easier when someone else you grew up watching passes away, and this is especially true in a case like Chris Candido where it comes out of nowhere. When word came out late Thursday night that Candido had died at the age of 33, I was shocked, and I still am. Candido was a wrestler who had all the charisma and athletic ability needed to be a star on the big stage, as he was for a long time in ECW and a brief time in WWE. Like so many other pro wrestlers, Candido was plagued by drug addiction and was thought to be on the brink of death for several years.

In the last couple of years, something very common happened--- the drug-addled wrestler tried to refocus his life and get clean. However, in Candido's case, something very uncommon in pro wrestling happened along the way--- He actually succeeded for an extended period of time. For every story in pro wrestling about a wrestler who tried to get clean and actually succeeded and is still alive today (like William Regal), there are ten cases of a wrestler who tried to get clean before ultimately failing to do so and passing away at a young age (like Rick Rude).

By all accounts, Candido had been 100% clean since making his comeback to pro wrestling in August 2004, and drugs played no part in his death. Candido started over from the bottom of the pro wrestling industry, working small independent shows for very little money, before finally re-emerging on the national stage in NWA-TNA in just the past few weeks.

Then, last Sunday night on the "TNA: Lockdown" pay-per-view, a wrestler landed awkwardly on Candido during a routine dropkick. Though I didn't see the pay-per-view myself, the resulting snap of Candido's leg was said to be Joe Theismann-like in its brutality. Candido suffered a fractured fibula, fractured tibia, and dislocated ankle on Sunday night.

Candido was taken to the hospital and on Monday morning he underwent reconstructive surgery on his leg. Determined to fulfill all of the commitments that he made before the injury took place, albeit in a non-wrestling role, Candido showed up at the "TNA Impact" television tapings on Tuesday. Candido performed as a manger on the show while in a wheelchair, just 24 hours after his surgery. Candido would continue performing in a non-wrestling role for several months until he was medically cleared to wrestle, at which point he would return to being an active wrestler.

On Thursday evening, Chris Candido collapsed in his home and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Doctors determined that his death was caused by a blood clot that was brought on by complications from his surgery three days earlier.

The sudden and senseless death of Chris Candido has hit he wrestling industry very hard, as he had friends in many different wrestling promotions around the country, including WWE. Ring of Honor wrestler CM Punk may have best summarized what most of Candido's wrestling colleagues are reportedly feeling when he said, "Nothing f---ing matters. Not all the hard work, the miles, the sleepless nights... nothing. It's not right."

In closing, I will end this post with an excerpt of what the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer had to say in regards to the death of Chris Candido:

"There are times when pro wrestlers pass away and everyone starts talking about what wonderful people they were, and sometimes, you almost have to bite your tongue. This is not one of those times. Through thick and thin, through the bad times, and they were many, I don't think you'll find anyone arguing whether Chris Candido was a really nice guy. He made a comeback at a time when everyone in the industry had given up on him. He was recently brought into TNA just as a test to put people over, and wound up winning a roster spot and was liked by everyone.

Chris loved pro wrestling, even though it came close to killing him at one point in his life. It was more living out his childhood dream than making money. I think he enjoyed it every bit as much when he was barely making ends meet than when he was under a six-figure contract. He was on the road right out of high school. He had a bright future. He squandered that future. But he was determined to end the story of his wrestling career on a high note and with the respect of the people in the profession that he had at times let down. He was on the road to doing all that.

What happened is one of those things that happen in life. There is no rhyme or reason. Life isn't fair. You can question all you want about a guy who fought back from something that most never come back from, but then suffered a fluke broken leg, and suddenly, with no warning, this happened. Chris was very excited about his future in wrestling, particularly because he was starting to escape from the shadow of his past.

No death of someone at a young age isn't sad in some form, whether you know them personally, or followed their lives simply watching them work from a young age. Many people followed Chris from when he was a very young man, and some since he was just a teenager. But for many reasons, this one is harder than most. It's not just because it doesn't appear to have been self-inflicted, but because this was the phone call for years that many people feared we could get at any time. And just when we thought we knew that phone call would never come, it came."

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