Chris Candido: Gone Too Soon.

At the age of 19, Chris Candido got his big break, wrestling for the USWA. The New Jersey Native was a product of the Monster Factory. It was in 1992 that Candido took his first trip to Japan with FMW one of the top Japanese Indies at the time and what would be the harbinger of hardcore wrestling and would open the doors for ECW.

Chris Candido won the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship at the age of 22. Two months earlier Shane Douglas won and subsequently tossed the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship to the ground to help kick off Extreme Championship Wrestling. Candido would win a tournament put on with Smoky Mountain Wrestling and NWA Championship Wrestling America. Candido would defeat Al Snow in the first round, Dirty White Boy in the second round, and Tracy Smothers in the finals.

It is no surprise that a wrestler from Smoky Mountain Wrestling would win the Championship, but what might have been shocking was the lack of defenses of the title. In between his feuds with Boo Bradley, Cactus Jack, and Tracy Smothers, Candido didn’t defend the Ten Pounds of Gold. In his one and only defense, on February 24th, 1995, Dan Severn defeated Chris Candido to win his first NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship.

Shortly thereafter Candido became a regular for the WWE and by May of 1995 was on the roster. He would team with Zip as the Body Donnas and would win the WWF Tag Team titles in 1996. Candido would emerge in ECW in the late 90s as part of the New Triple Threat in ECW winning the tag team championship with Lance Storm on three occasions. In 2000 Candido would return to the NWA and win the NWA Jersey Heavyweight Championship before joining the WCW roster and winning their Cruiserweight Championship.

In 2005 he would win the NWA Midwest Heavyweight Championship and begin appearing on TNA Impact. A fully rejuvenated and rededicated Candido was making dates for many NWA territories at the time and looked primed for the spotlight. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after his match teaming with Lance Hoyt against Apolo and Sonny Siaki.

Candido never truly reached his full potential and was a great student of the game. Although Candido literally won Championships in most of the major wrestling promotions, his true value was never realized. One could only express the sadness that his time came too soon. Candido will forever be one of the few to hold the Ten Pounds of Gold and will be forever missed.

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