Chris Candido’s Brother Discusses His Brother’s Legacy, Shares Touching Coffee Table Book Hashtag Story, more

Feb 8, 2021 - by James Walsh

Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Chris Candido’s Brother Johnny Candido & John Cosper
Date: 02/08/2021
Your Host: James Walsh

Johnny Candido is the brother of late legendary wrestler “No Gimmicks Needed” Chris Candido. He along with his co-author Joh Cosper, join the Wrestling Epicenter to discuss the new Chris Candido biography book they’ve put out which you can get at Plus, they share killer Balls Mahoney stories, discuss how they handled talking about the controversial “Sunny” Tammy Lynn Sytch, and more. The This is a fun listen and the book is a MUST HAVE!

There are a lot of subjects covered in the actual audio of the interview that aren’t transcribed such as Jim Cornette’s perspective of Chris, Chris’ final days after TNA Impact Wrestling’s LockDown where he broke his leg which resulted in him flying home with the broken leg causing his passing a few days later. This is a great listen!

Plus, hear Johnny’s coffee table book story that nearly broke me into tears. I mean that. Touching stuff!


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To listen, visit


On why now was the right time for a Chris Candido autobiography:
Johnny Candido: “For me, it was just something I wanted to do for my brother because he’s gone but left a big mark on wrestling. People still talk a lot about him to this day. It is almost like a sigh of relief. His book is out there now and forever. That was kind of my goal.”


On how John Cosper got involved in the project:
“John Cosper: “The guy that put it in my mind was the last guy I did an autobiography with and that was Tracy Smothers. If you had asked Tracy who one of his favorite guys to wrestle was, he wouldn’t even hesitate… In some of the interviews I saw, they wouldn’t even get the question out. It was “Candido!” Tracy just thought the world of him and that spoke volumes with me as I was getting to know Tracy working on his book.”


On “Popeye” Richards being an influence on Chris Candido:
Johnny Candido: “Popeye” Richards was not biologically our grandfather. Chris and I are half brothers but neither one of us knew that. We both grew up in the same house. Chris’ father got re-married and her father was “Popeye” Chuck Richards. When Chris would go with his father on weekends, “Popeye” Chuck Richards would take him around the wrestling business. He’d say, “I was at my grandfathers and I was around all these big guys with cool hair and muscles.” He said he didn’t know what they did but he wanted to do what they did to be like those cool dudes. When he found out what he did, he became completely obsessed with professional wrestling.”


On Chris being ahead of his time and starting young:
Johnny Candido: “I don’t know if you know this but Chris started running shows in the town we grew up in, where my parents still live, at 13, 14 years old! This town in New Jersey, it was kind of an upper-class town… Not that wrestling… Anyway. I remember him in a shirt and tie at a city council meeting giving a propsal about why there should be wrestling in the town. He was completely obsessed.”


On Chris’ loving wrestling inspiring Johnny to wrestle:
Johnny Candido: “It did. But, we had different approaches. Chris was terrible at every other sport. We would be playing basketball and I’d shoot a hoop and he’d put me in a headlock and turn it back to wrestling. I was a pitcher, I’d gun a fastball to him and he would step to the side and paw at it and knock it in the air. I was like, “Dude! Catch it!” He said, “I can catch it and throw it at the same time, I’m so good!” (laughs) But, when it came to wrestling… My first match was when I was like 19. He and I were driving around to shows and he looked in the locker room and said, “Eh, I don’t know who any of these guys are. Me and you are going to wrestle in the main event.” I was like, “WHAT? Is this cool?” He was like, “Yeah! Just pretend we’re in the backyard. Don’t sweat it.” Yeah, he inspired me. But, there were different approaches. Like, Taz was very intense… Towel over his head. But, Chris was up and joking around, laughing… He was doing the sport that he loves. He loved every second of it. From the ride to the locker room to the event and after. Training. Everything wrestling, he loved!”


On John Cosper’s awareness of Chris’ career:
John Cosper: “I was very aware of him. My fandom of wrestling went up and down through the years from the 80’s with the Rock & Wrestling through the years. I was in college during his run in the WWF but my biggest memory of Chris was Skip Donna versus Barry Horowitz. I don’t know why that stuck with me. It could have been Sunny! But, there was something about that storyline that sort of just stuck with me. I hated their guts! I hated the Body Donnas. I hated her (Sunny) and her big stupid mouth! I hated him doing the stupid jumping jacks! But, Barry Horowitz. I didn’t know him but I had seen enough Superstars to know this guy never wins. But, to see him win and then win again, it was really a storyline that just stuck with you! It was really a pleasure to get to talk to all the guys who knew him over the years.”


On how John Cosper was inspired to write about Chris:
John Cosper: “I was telling Johnny the other day that I’ve written about a lot of wrestlers over the years but Chris is the one I can’t stop watching. I have a subscription to Impact Plus and I just watched his match with AJ Styles from January 2005 last night. I come from a background in theater before I ever started writing about wrestling. There are a few examples of actors you can watch and know they are having the time of their life and the two examples I always give are Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter – Not just in Silence of the Lambs but also in Hannibal. You could see he had so much joy playing that character. And, Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow. That is what I saw in Chris. He was having the time of his life. He was looking to entertain the fans, himself, and the boys in the back. No matter what match it is, if it was him and Dan Severn for the NWA World Heavyweight Title or an 8 man tag from IWA Mid South from their Strong Style Tournament that had CM Punk and Claudio Castagnoli who is now Cesaro… There were a few guys in that match who are big stars now. It was a wild match and it was all him (Chris) putting that thing together. It is just so much fun to watch him. I could watch his matches over and over.”


On how they tackle the sometimes polarizing subject of “Sunny” Tammy Lynn Sytch in the book:
Johnny Candido: “I think I should take this one. If you just let me go, I could tell a billion stories about how “This is what happened, this is what happened, and this is what happened.” John (Cosper) does a good job of reiling me in. In the book, he has it as “This is what happened.” Fact based instead of me losing my mind. Tammy is in the book where it is relevant. If she did something cool and it was relevant, it is in there. If she did something not so cool and it is relevant, it is in the book. I want to tell my brother’s story because she’s here to tell her story as much as she wants to. A lot of times, from like 2002 until he passed, she wasn’t really in the wrestling business. It was just me and my brother on the road. So, yeah. She is in there where it is relevant. But, John navigated it awesome.”
John Cosper: “The thing I kept bringing it back to is this is Chris’ story. She already wrote her book. There was one guy in particular, I won’t say who, that said you could write a whole other book about crazy stories involving her. I’ve never been one to dwell on the negative. I worked with “Dr. D” David Schultz. I know how to handle situations that are touchy. But, Tammy is a big piece of Chris’ story. She was there for a lot of it. She was an integral part of Chris’ story. This is Chris’ story.”


On ECW being where Chris really cemented his legacy:
Johnny Candido: “I think he had more creative control there. He started his career so young, he thought if he did what he was told, he would be rewarded. But, in ECW, he was able to be who he wanted to be. You know, knd of a cocky, good looking dude. I think his ECW work and the work towards the end of his life… Not that he ever stopped loving wrestling. But, when he kind of git reinvigorated in TNA, I would say those were my 2 favorite Chris Candido’s.”


On fun stories about Balls Mahoney:
Johnny Candido: “My mom always called us (Johnny and Chris) the “Moron Brothers. One day, Chris said, “Did you ever wonder what Balls Mahoney does in his house?” Balls lived like 2, 3 towns over from Spring Lake. He was like, “Lets go find out!” So, we jumped into my car, we drove over, I parked down the block, and we creeped up to his window and looked in. Balls was sitting there, in his underwear, about to eat a piece of bologna with a fork and knife. Me and Chris were just dying at the sight of it. So, Chris starts to tap the window and Balls freezes, gets all tense, and looks around… Then, goes back to trying to slice his bologna. Chris taps the window again, he freezes again. Finally, I knocked over some garbage cans and we ran away. We did that a number of times! We’d go by and knock on his windows and shit. He thought his house was haunted! He goes, “Guys, you wouldn’t believe it! My house is haunted!” (laughs)”


On how deep the book goes into Chris’ passing after breaking his leg at TNA Lockdown 2005:
Johnny Candido: “Pretty deep! Right, John?”
John Cosper: “Yeah, I would say we go pretty deep. We go into (TNA) Lockdown, his final days, and the funeral and the aftermath. We also go into detail on his legacy.”


On what Chris Candido’s legacy should be:
Johnny Candido: “I want my brother’s legacy to be as a pro wrestling purist who did everything he could to entertain the fans no matter if there were 10 people or 10,000 people. He impacted the locker room. I want my brother’s legacy to be maybe like a Doug Somers. You know, this guy was a work horse. He made everybody he worked with look better.”


On the coffee table hashtag:
Johnny Candido: “All right, I’ll tell this story. In 2003 or whenever, just before Chris really cleaned up his act, my brother was reading a Von Erich’s book and put it on the coffee table. My mother walked in and said, “Chris, is that what you want to be? A coffee table book?” Chris said, “Mom, if people remember me, I would be overjoyed to be a coffee table book.” So, that is kind of how the book starts and ends… With people taking pictures of the book on their coffee table.”


One Response

  1. Taxx W. Hoodchicken says:

    Loved Candido

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