A Star Shattered: Chapter Three
Tammy’s relationship with Chris Candido continues into spring of 1991 as she follows him along on every independent booking he has on the southeastern shoreline. She would photograph and record Candido’s matches. Somehow her pictures got in the hands of magazine editor Bill Apter. Apter offered her a freelancing gig for his magazines. She thought it would be easy money.
Instead, it turned out to be rather difficult. She had to get all the pictures developed and then send them to Apter for him to pick which ones he wanted to use. He’d send her a check for each picture used, but often times she’d end up breaking even or losing money. She did get one of her shots in a colored centerfold. It was a picture of Ricky Morton tarred and feathered.
Candido got booked to work a show for Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, which was run by Joel Goodhart. Candido wanted Tammy to escort him to the ring, but Joel wasn’t going to pay Tammy. That didn’t matter to Tammy as she was just excited about being in the business and working a show. She ended up buying a dress worth $200 just because she was excited to be on a show.
At the show, Tammy met Nancy “Woman” Sullivan and made a complete ass out of herself when she didn’t understand what Nancy meant when asking Tammy if she was a “face or heel.” Tammy had been kind of smartened up to the wrestling business but didn’t know all the terms. Despite that, Tammy kept a good relationship in following years prior to Nancy’s tragic death.
While working on a show for Dennis Corraluzzo in South Jersey, Tammy met Eddie Gilbert and she noticed that Gilbert liked Candido and herself. This would lead to Candido getting booked in Memphis for his first television exposure in wrestling. As they drove 19-hours to Memphis, Candido’s car died 17-hours in. It was a Friday night and Candido had to work the Memphis Coliseum the following day.
Luckily, they found a gas station to fix the car. Apparently, the water pump completely died. They were on the road within a few hours. As they pulled up to the Coliseum they were met by a dirty looking man. That man would end up being Downtown Bruno, formerly known as Harvey Wippleman in the WWE.
They went to their hotel room in Memphis and quickly realized why the hotel was only charging $19 a night. The bed was sunken in the middle and the carpet was disgusting. Tammy took a shower and noticed that her feet got dirtier as she stepped out. They left the room and found a new room down the road for $40 a night.
As they returned to the arena for the show, they met Rob Van Dam, Sabu and Tex Salinger (Phineas Godwin in WWE) for the first time. They all became instant friends due to this being their first real wrestling gig. Sabu and Candido really hit it off.
Tammy and Candido survived in the USWA despite the lack of pay. Candido’s pay ranged from $15 to $40 a night for six nights a week. $40 only came on Monday’s when USWA held their big show in Memphis. The only money was only enough to make it to the next town. Luckily for Tammy and Candido, Tammy’s father was very generous and would never allow his daughter to sleep in the car.
She recalls Candido having to take a 9-hour bus ride to Dallas for TV tapings and she wasn’t allowed on the bus. There was a rule against girlfriends traveling on the bus. That meant Tammy had to stay back in Memphis and she hung out with Eddie Gilbert. She wasn’t old enough to rent a room in Memphis since she was only 17. So, she had to go back to Gilbert’s apartment and he’d rent the room for her. The employee at the desk had a surprised look when it happened the first time likely because she thought Tammy was a hooker or something.
Years later, Tammy found out the real reason why Candido got a shot in USWA. It was because Gilbert had told Jerry Lawler about Candido’s good looking blonde girlfriend that he’d likely bring along to the USWA. Apparently, Lawler and Gilbert had talked about getting Tammy in bed either one on one or with both of them. Tammy insists neither ever happened. She mentions you can read Lawler’s book, too.
After leaving Memphis, Tammy remained friends with Eddie Gilbert. Meanwhile, Candido and Sabu formed a brotherhood. Tammy had to go back to college while Candido continued to work the independents.
Chapter Four coming soon!
Also, check out the first episode of ICOPOD below! Reviewing the first two episodes of Monday Night RAW from 1993!