An article by Mike Mooneyham
A recent incident involving Tammy Sytch following an ECW show in Philadelphia has raised more concerns about a performer once dubbed the ” queen of professional wrestling.”
Sytch, 26, passed out in a chair in the ECW Arena locker room after the company’s Oct. 23 event. Sytch, whose troubled past involving substance abuse has been well documented, has denied taking drugs that evening and believes she may have grabbed someone else’s non-alcoholic drink by mistake.
“She was sitting down in a chair, put her head on top of her makeup case, and that was it. She was out,” ECW executive producer Paul Heyman said.
Speculation was that the designer drug GHB (Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate), or a derivative thereof, was involved. The drug, which has been linked to a number of wrestling performers, is a potent substance that has become the controversial designer drug of the late ’90s. The drug slows down the heart rate and burns fat while a person sleeps, but also has been blamed for causing unconsciousness, comas and convulsions.
Heyman said that Sytch, who has been on probation with the company, will not be fired because she passed a court-ordered drug test, adding that he was unwilling to accuse her of knowingly taking the sub stance because ” the facts don’t match up.”
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]“She had a (urine) test done by the court of New Jersey on the Tuesday after the incident, and they found nothing in her system,” said Heyman.
Heyman said he believes Sytch’s story.
“Everybody drinks from each other’s Gator-Aid bottles or Coke bottles (in the locker room),” said Heyman. ” Is it a possibility that someone else had GHB in their drink and she unknowingly picked up that drink? Yes, to the point where it raises enough reasonable doubt that I have to at least judge this from the perspective that there’s reasonable doubt not to fire her, and it convinced a judge in the state of New Jersey who has been monitoring her situation now for about eight months.”
Heyman said that Sytch readily complied with a request to do interviews following the ECW show.
“At 12:15 a.m. I pulled her aside and asked her if she was up to doing promos,” recounted Heyman. ” She had already changed and was actually leaving the building when we came up with the idea of a doing a promo. She said she didn’t mind and that she would get dressed. Now get ting dressed requires her to redo her hair, put on her clothes, redo her makeup. She would need at least 45 minutes. She goes upstairs, washes and blow-drys her hair, she does the curls, puts on a new dress. If she was going to get screwed up, why not just come to the studio on Monday, which was an option we gave her.”
Heyman also pointed to a lack of evidence.
” I don’t even know if she deserves the benefit of the doubt, but I will say this. I’m the son of a lawyer, and I know the difference between substantial evidence and no evidence. There’s no evidence there. If you find a dead woman’s body outside of O.J. Simpson’s house, it doesn’t mean he killed her. You can look at the track record, but that doesn’t mean that he killed her. Just because this girl who has acknowledged her problems at 1 o’clock in the morning put her head down on her case and admittedly had all the symptoms of taking GHB, the question remains: Why would she take it if she knew she had to do promos and get ready for promos? I can see it if she was a chronic user and this was her new substance and she was hooked on it. If she’s hooked on GHB, why hasn’t she lost more weight?”
Heyman, however, doesn’t deny that the drug was in her system.
” I would assume it’s in her system,” he said. ” I don’t have any delusions about that. I just don’t think she took it knowingly or willingly. I’m unwilling to convict her on this little amount of evidence simply because if she was a user of GHB, why hasn’t she lost more weight? Everyone is so willing to talk about her weight, but if she was on GHB, she wouldn’t be that heavy. She would have lost a lot more weight. That stuff will cut down your weight and fast. You can lose 10 pounds a week on GHB. Although with a drug addict it’s very hard to anticipate rational behavior and she’s admittedly taken GHB before and had a bad experience on it, I don’t think she would take it again.”
Heyman admitted he has been catching heat and has come under fire to take action, but there’s really no legal grounds on which to act.
“She’s not a popular person. But it doesn’t mean she’s a criminal either. She’s trying, and I think that merits some sort of consideration in this circumstance. She doesn’t have an attitude about it. She’s been more than cooperative with us and the court. I really don’t see where I can fault her right now.”
“Who the hell cares” was ECW TV champion Rob Van Dam’s response to the incident.
“She (Sytch) says she’s a new person and wants everybody to give her a chance. Look at her. Pick up her up and look at her,” said Van Dam. “They’re (Sytch and Chris Candido) not on my Christmas list,” he added.
Sytch recently returned to ECW with longtime companion Candido after a lengthy leave in which she dealt with sub stance abuse problems. She has publicly admitted problems with alcohol and prescription drugs, particularly somas, and of being suicidal. Sytch, who as the character Sunny once reigned as queen of the WWF and was the most downloaded female celebrity on the Internet, was given a full, unconditional release by Vince McMahon last year for what was termed ” erratic behavior.”
She and Candido later went to ECW but were suspended after no-showing an FMW tour in Japan. Sytch hit a low point when she was arrested in February and spent two days in jail for violating a restraining order imposed by her mother.
Heyman, who has known Candido since the latter was 9 years old, recently agreed to give them another chance, but under his conditions. As part of their return to ECW, Sytch and Candido both promised to stay clean and return to college. Heyman said that with the exception of this incident, there has been no cause for concern since their return to ECW. But he added he would ” fire them in heartbeat” if the rules were broken.
” I’m concerned about this incident and we’ve looked into to the point where we spoke to her court-appointed drug-tester so that they knew what to look for and what our suspicions were. She voluntarily went that day. She was tested. She appeared before a judge, who in his determination, had she done anything wrong would have been in violation of a court order and would have been arrested on the spot for contempt of an order. She then would have been placed in a court-ordered rehab for at least 30 days. The judge found nothing worthy of locking her up or calling for her arrest. I have a problem saying that this person knowingly and willingly ingested something into her system on that night.”
” If it happens again, it’s something we have to take even more seriously,” said Heyman. ” It’s not something we’ve taken lightly. We put them in a situation where they cannot have their jobs back if they don’t go to college, they cannot have their jobs back if they don’t go to psychological counseling, they cannot have their jobs back if they don’t submit to testing. They have done all of this. I don’t see anything else we can do for them at this time.
” I don’t see WCW doing this for Scott Hall. I don’t see the WWF doing this for their performers, although they’ve taken a more active role in recent months, including the Regal situation. They have taken a more active role in helping their guys who need help. I still think that our track record is better than either one.”
Sytch recently talked about her problems inside and outside the wrestling business and discussed a recent interview, portions of which have aired on ECW’s TNN telecasts, in which she ” cried for about an hour and a half of that, spilling my guts about everything.”
” At least I feel better,” she said. ” It’s like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was like the camera was my counselor.”
Sytch said her problems started seven years ago when her father died of natural causes and accelerated during her stint in the WWF.
“As soon as that camera turns off, there goes all the privacy, there goes all the respect.”
“About three years ago my niece, who was 16 at the time and was like my daughter, was brain dead in a car accident,” Sytch recounted. ” She died in my hands. She went cold while I was holding her. In the past year my mother kind of lost her mind and went a little senile and put a restraining order on me, so I was forced to move out of the house that I grew up in and was taking care of her in. It’s been rough. It feels like I have no one but Chris and my animals. I’m just trying to come out of it now. There were times when we weren’t working and I was so upset and depressed that I would lay on the couch watching TV for three days at a time. I wouldn’t shower, I wouldn’t eat, I was miserable. I was so depressed. I finally came out of that, which is a much better feeling, and I’m getting better. I feel I can go on now.”
During her WWF stint Sytch was approached by Playboy to do a spread, but she turned down an offer that was later accepted by Sable.
“Playboy came to me three years ago,” said Sytch earlier this year. ” I had a meeting in Vince’s office. I turned them down in five minutes and, believe me, they offered me a lot of money. Sorry, but I have morals, and I don’t even claim to be a good Christian.”
“The second I said no, she (Mero) jumped up and said she would do it,” Sytch said. “That started the downfall of Sunny because she got in the good graces of Vince McMahon because he wanted one of his girls to do Playboy, and I said no and she said yes. She exposed herself, but what’s next? I was 23 years old, and I figured if I take my clothes off now, what do I have to look forward to? There’s nowhere to go from here. At 23 years old, I’m not ready for that and it’s not worth it. And what does she (Mero) have to do now? Everybody’s seen her. Her talent can’t hold her up. She’s not good in the wrestling business, and everybody’s seen her naked three times. What does she have left?”