In the past couple of years, Tammy “Sunny” Sytch has made more headlines for her personal problems than for her legendary career in professional wrestling. But, with a fresh outlook on life, a forward-looking professional plan, and a clean bill of health, she’s hoping to change that. A stop on that journey will be this Saturday’s BSE Pro / Max Pro Wrestling in Timmins, Ontario.
“It will be my first time in Canada in a while,” she told SLAM! Wrestling during an exclusive sit-down over WrestleMania weekend. “Every time I’ve been to Canada, I found the fans were great. For some reason, I think I have a stronger fanbase up there than I do in the U.S. I’m looking forward to it — it’s going to be a fun night.”
“Fun” is not necessarily something Tammy has had in spades recently — indeed, in the past year, she was battling cervical cancer, a fight that she ultimately won, though not without losing her uterus as a result of a hysterectomy. With a smile, she declared her triumph over the disease.
“I feel pretty good,” she affirmed. “I’m all healed up and cancer free. I had two surgeries to get it all — they basically took out everything in my pelvis that it could have spread into. But all of that was worth going through, instead of having to deal with cancer.”
Perhaps it was that recent experience that prompted her decision to go back to school to continue her studies in the medical arts.
“I’m going (back) to school,” she revealed. “I was pre-med back in the day, and was one semester away (from going) to get my Masters in Biology and had planned to go to med school. When I got hired by WWF (now WWE), I quit school to go on the road. So, I’m going back to finish my undergrad. NYU has a two-years Masters program to be a Physician’s Assistant. PAs do the same things that doctors do — they do the diagnosis, and they’re authorized to write prescriptions. So I’ll be practising medicine, I just won’t be a quote-unquote doctor, I’ll be a PA instead.”
Which is not to say that she’s leaving the wrestling business — indeed, as a 24-year veteran of the business, she says that would be nearly impossible.
“Once wrestling is in your blood, it never leaves. There are a lot of girls that come into the business that see this as a stepping stone, but I was raised in this business. My mentor was Jim Cornette, and he taught me all the history back from 1905. I’m probably the most well-versed woman ever in this business, except for Sherri Martel. I’ve been in this business for 24 years, no way I could just leave it.”
Rather, she said she will continue to take bookings at shows and conventions while pursuing her studies. And, in fact, will also be looking at other opportunities as well.
“I’m looking around for a regular straight broadcasting job,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s news, weather, sports, even if it’s a Hollywood gossip show. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I just love the whole broadcasting thing.”
If that weren’t enough, soon, she’ll have to squeeze in appearances to promote her upcoming autobiography, the release of which is still pending, but hopefully close.
“It’s in the finishing stages right now,” she confirmed. “Jim Cornette is writing the foreword. He’s got it, and we’re just waiting on him to finish up and send me the foreword. Then I have to get a few chapters out to a few people who will be writing some quotes for the back cover — Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Melina, Lisa Marie [Varon] — then it will be published. It’s been a lot of work, but it will be worth it.”
In writing the book, Sytch had to revisit all of the ups and downs of her life, not only in the past couple of years, but in its entirety. That exercise, she said, confirmed for herself how far she’s come in this business — and how strong she is as a person as a result.
“This business has affected me so much,” she acknowledged, “both in positive ways and in negative ways. But for some reason, they always turn out positive in the end. People call me ‘The Taminator’ because no matter what happens, I always come back stronger than before. I mean, I went to jail for four months because of my problems with my ex-fiancée, and I come back stronger. I went through so much with rehabs, and I come back stronger. It’s been a test for 24 years, a test of my willpower and my strength.”
“In the end, I’ve learned that I’m a pretty strong bitch.”