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Sunny’s “Cloudy” Career Choices

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After much speculation and rumors for the past few years, Tamara Sytch, known as the “original diva,” has officially signed with Vivid Entertainment to shoot an adult film. While this might seem “news worthy” to some media outlets, it’s not all that surprising since Sytch has dabbled in this line of work before, most recently offering Skype sessions with fans and exposing herself for certain amounts of money. There was also the infamous “Wrestling Vixxxens” video from 2001 where she did nude modeling so this isn’t something completely out of character. As much criticism as it might draw, you can bet it will sell and Vivid will make money on the deal, if only for the novelty of the project.

First of all, it should be noted that nobody should be judged from a moral prospective for their line of work and this announcement will surely bring criticism towards Sunny, but everyone has bills to pay and those criticizing her aren’t going to pay Sytch’s rent. That being said, the adult industry has well documented pitfalls, even somewhat similar to the wrestling business, but that seems to be a common theme in the entertainment business in general. Obviously, her previous substance problems and her criminal record are an indication that Sytch probably shouldn’t work within the entertainment business again, as her time in wrestling led to a rather sad downfall in recent years and maybe she could avoid some of those hazards if she avoided the spotlight. A prime example of some of the negative aspects of adult film is former WWE women’s champion, Chyna, who was very vocal about the dark side of the adult industry. There also seem to be some similarities between Sunny and Chyna in terms of their fall from grace after the spotlight faded, so the question is more so, is this another desperate attempt for Sunny to stay relevant?

Two decades ago, at the age of just 23, Sunny was named AOL’s “most downloaded woman of the year” in 1996 and she was one of the featured stars on WWF programming. Her success came relatively quickly as she had only started in the wrestling business three years earlier working alongside Chris Candido for Smokey Mountain Wrestling. In all fairness to Sunny, she could actually work ringside extremely well as a valet during her prime and she understood the role of a manager. Too often, valets assume the role of a manager is to stand at ringside and choke the baby face, while essentially being an extra ring post for 99% of the match, but Sunny knew how to work angles. During her initial run in the WWF, she was popular, but her time was relatively brief as she managed the Body Donnas in early 1995 and worked a variety of roles within the company before being released in 1998 after rumors of a drug problem. Behind the scenes during her time in the WWF, she had an extensive affair with Shawn Michaels even though she was together with Chris Candido at the time. Just a few years ago during a “Youshoot” interview with Kayfabe Commentaries, Sytch revealed that the infidelities extended further than just Shawn Michaels, as she claimed she was linked to the late “British Bulldog,” Davey Boy Smith.

While it’s unfair to judge anyone that’s doing work that’s legal to pay their bills, Sytch’s character as a person could be called into question here on a number of levels. I actually had the opportunity to meet Chris Candido a few times the year before he passed away and he was extremely polite so I would suggest that he deserved better than Sunny’s dishonesty. It’s also one of the tragedies of the wrestling business that Candido died from such a fluke as a broken leg that caused a blood clot, especially after he completely cleaned up his act and overcame a pain killer addiction to get his career back on track. He was also an extremely underrated talent and all things consider, he is an example of a success story because he overcame the substance problems before he passed far too young. There was also the subject of Stych revealing an affair with Davey Boy Smith more than a decade after he passed away and seemingly gloating about it during the interview. Obviously, Davey isn’t here to defend himself or give his side of the story and it’s somewhat classless to mention such a situation publicly, considering that it could cause harm to his family. What exactly did Sytch accomplish from revealing anything? She got a few internet headlines and caused emotional distress for the Smith family, which promoted Davey’s daughter to speak out against her.

After being released from the WWF in July of 1998, Sytch made an almost immediate jump to ECW, where he had being appearing occasionally anyway prior to the WWF departure. Sunny and Candido had a rather sporadic run in ECW as rumors of the pair’s drug use led to a hiatus from television in late 1998. When they resurfaced in the south Philadelphia based promotion, there was still much speculation about drug problems and Candido actually addressed the situation on the mic prior to a match with Taz in 1999. There was also the infamous ECW on TNN episode that featured Sytch talking about many of the rumored problems and many saw it as an attempt to exploit her. The duo made their way to WCW in 2000, but their run would last only a few months at the Turner company and they were released.

In the early 2000s, Sytch and Candido worked the independent scene and a six month stint in Puerto Rico, but most assumed their time as top performers were over. It turned out to only be the case for one of them. A healthy and clean Chris Candido reemerged in 2004 after taking most of the previous year off to get sober to refocus on his career. Candido’s work on the independent circuit impressed and he was offered a deal with TNA in 2005. At just 34 years old, the nearly twenty year veteran had rejuvenated his career and it seems as though he was going to get a second run on the national stage. Sadly, Chris Candido died after a broken ankle suffered at a pay-per-view caused a blood clot a few days after he had surgery to repair it. As a shining example of his dedication and passion for the wrestling business, Candido’s final wrestling appearance was when he managed The Naturals to win the tag titles from a wheel chair at ringside.

After Candido’s passing, Tammy Sytch began making news for all the wrong reasons. A few return appearances to the WWE over the years led to her induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, which provided her with an opportunity to gracefully bow out of the spotlight and conclude her career as the “original diva” instead of another precautionary tale of the pitfalls of the wrestling business. However, Sytch was arrested an astounding five times the following year due to domestic incidents, most of which occurred within a short period of time. During the legal circus, Sytch went to WWE sponsored rehab on a few different occasions, but she continued the substance problems. After the rehab, Sunny did a “Breaking Kayfabe” interview, a series designed to look at an individual’s life outside of the wrestling business, and she actually criticized WWE’s efforts to help her get clean, suggesting that the facilities weren’t as lavish during her repeated sponsored visits. So, the WWE paid to help her get healthy after her own destructive choices and she’s still going to criticize them? She made terrible choices on her own and she has nobody to blame but herself. During the interview, Sytch also claimed that she was going to clean up her act, but shortly after the interview was filmed she was arrested for a sixth time in early 2013 for another domestic incident.

Sunny made headlines again in 2014 when she began offering the previously mentioned Skype sessions with fans willing to pay specific amount of money and again while you can’t blame someone for working to pay their bills, it’s certainly somewhat trashy that she had to resort to exposing herself online after a twenty year career. Last year was more of the same for Sytch, as she was arrested three times for DUI in the span of a few months and she failed to appear for a hearing on the charges, which prompted her to be arrested again in September for the previous charges. Just a few weeks ago, she pled guilty to the charges and is scheduled to be sentenced at the end of this month. There’s no excuse for driving intoxicated and Sytch put other people at risk doing so, which could be another statement about her character as a person.

Maybe the legal woes are what prompted Tammy Sytch to sign on for an adult film, but can anyone see this situation going well? After nearly a dozen arrests, numerous stints in rehab, and a history of generally terrible decision making, is the adult industry really going to lead to any success for Tammy Sytch? It would seem that Sunny still enjoys the spotlight, as she gleefully told TMZ about the potential Vivid deal, but the attempts at publicity are pathetic. Let’s be clear here, this isn’t an attempt to smear Sunny because she’s done enough to tarnish her own reputation herself, but to point out that this new venture seems more like a desperate attempt to get in the spotlight again than anything else. The bottom line is, Sunny the “original diva” had a notable career, but Tamara Sytch the person tarnished much of that legacy through a series of her own destructive decisions.

Will there be some viewers for Sytch’s new film venture? Yes, but even a train wreck draws a few spectators.

-Jim LaMotta

@jimlamotta

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