Tamara Lynn Sytch, Tammy to friends and family, Sunny to the WWE Universe. 2011 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. The so-called “original Diva,” and at the peak of her popularity, the most downloaded woman on the internet. If you didn’t know who she is before reading this article, you’d probably guess she’s like Jennifer Lopez, Alyssa Milano, or other 1990s sex symbols who still look great at the present, now that they’re well into their 40s. But wrestling fans know the truth, and that’s the fact that Sunny has had a very rough go at things since the last time she worked regularly for a major promotion.
The good news is that things seem to be looking up for Sunny and her battle to stay clean and sober, but sadly, she’s still more likely to be conducting sexy Skype chats or doing something similar in the “other” industry than doing something in the wrestling business. And there seem to be just as many photos taken after her fall from grace (which would have been in the early 2000s or so) as there are from her heyday as arguably the hottest woman in pro wrestling.
With that said, here are 15 photos of Sunny that will likely make you miss those days when she was heating up TV screens on many a wrestling show in the 1990s.
15. 2017 Interview With TMZ
Now this photo arguably shows Sunny looking to be in a better place than she has been for most of the decade, and thankfully, this is the newest photo on the list, and the only one from 2017. Here, Sunny is cutting an interview with gossip publication TMZ, and explaining how the sober house she was living in at the time (April 2017) was worth it, despite the steep cost of $10,000 a month. Aside from her seven housemates, Sunny had several doctors and other specialists assisting her, all making sure that she doesn’t fall off the wagon.
We’re ranking this picture low because, once again, Sunny doesn’t look like the wreck she’s often been in the 2010s. Still, it remains sad in context, as there aren’t too many WWE Hall of Famers who pay so much to ensure sobriety, or have gone through so many relapses and arrests.
14. Mid-2000s Indie Show
For those who are wondering, Sunny’s last appearance for a major wrestling promotion (not counting one-off returns and Hall of Fame inductions) was in 2000, when she and then-boyfriend Chris Candido worked for WCW. At that time, she was having a harder time dealing with her personal demons, but at 27, her looks and her figure were still there. That’s why it’s a bit shocking that this is probably the earliest post-fall from grace photo we have of Sunny, as it features her at a November 2005 indie show, looking like she aged about a decade and gained at least 25 pounds between ages 27 and 32.
The woman whom Sunny is hugging is an independent wrestler called Athena, and no, she is not to be confused with Ember Moon, who also used the same ring name before joining WWE. At least Sunny looks happy at this indie appearance, which is more than what could be said about most of her other photos from the indies.
13. Sunny Pitches A (Legal) Painkiller
Back when she used to work for the WWE, many a wrestler was abusing painkillers, in order to keep up with the demands of competing in the ring on most days of the year, not to mention higher-ups who encouraged them to wrestle through pain. Although Sunny was primarily utilized as a valet, rumors suggested that painkillers were among the substances she allegedly abused, and those rumors were especially swirling when she cut that infamous worked-shoot interview with Paul Heyman in the original ECW.
That’s why it somewhat ironic that the photo shows Sunny chopping vegetables in a cheaply-made commercial for a product called TP Gold, an over-the-counter pain medication mainly used for arthritis. Fair play to her, she does deliver her lines with confidence, but the fact that she was appearing in such low-budget ads underscores how far the mighty had fallen.
12. Interview With Bill Apter
In a 2011 blog post, Bill Apter’s son, Brandon, shared a then-and-now photo featuring him posing with Sunny as a child, and then 15 years later as a young adult. In all fairness, the “now” photo was one of the better images of Sunny in recent years, and it’s interesting to note how much Brandon resembles his wrestling journalist dad. But speaking of Bill Apter, we’ve got him in the above photo, which shows him interviewing Sunny just last year, as she discussed a number of issues with the veteran writer, including her trip to WWE-sponsored drug rehab.
The Apter interview took place in July 2016, and if you’re doing the math, that’s less than a year and a half ago. Sunny’s weight has yo-yoed a bit over the past decade or so (considering how slim she looked in the 2011 photo with Brandon Apter), and since this is a very recent YouTube screen grab, it would seem that the “original Diva” was packing on the pounds once again at that time.
11. Sunny In Bed With A Fan
Get your minds out of the gutter, guys, it’s not what you think. But it’s truly an example of the bizarre extents Sunny has taken to make a living, remain relevant in the eyes of fans, and capitalize on her past reputation as a sex symbol. The above photo was taken sometime in 2013, when Sunny offered fans a chance to pose in bed with her. As you can see, Sunny is likely wearing revealing underwear under her robe, but otherwise, she and her male companion are fully clothed as they take part in what has to be one of the weirdest wrestler/fan photo-ops of all-time.
Looking at the man posing next to Sunny, there’s a good chance he would have been a teenager at the time she was at the peak of her success. That’s probably not how he imagined himself with Sunny, back when her ring music was telling fans she knows they want her.
10. With Torrie Wilson
In all fairness, Sunny doesn’t look all puffy and unglamorous in the above photo. Yes, the weight gain is still obvious, but she certainly looks like she put a lot of attention into her appearance for the photo, which shows her standing next to another 40-something female wrestler/wrestling personality in Torrie Wilson. (You might want to check this article out if you want a more complete list of 40-and-above female wrestlers who still look great, as well as those who haven’t aged that well since stepping away from the ring.)
Even with Sunny looking far more presentable than usual, you can still see the contrast separating her from Torrie, whose involvement in the fitness world has helped keep her looking young and shapely in her early 40s. Okay, maybe not THAT young, as she arguably has some much better-looking pictures on Instagram where she looks like she’s in her late 20s, but you get what we mean, as one of the women above has, by and large, dedicated herself to healthy living, while the other completely let herself go after her fame faded away.
9. Her Inmate ID
It’s something that goes without saying, considering all those stories of how far she’s fallen. Sunny’s been in and out of trouble with the law for most of the past two decades, and this list will more than back it up, with all the mugshots and courtroom pictures we have included. We might as well include this photo as well, which shows Sunny, or should we say Tamara Lynn Sytch’s, inmate ID at the Middlesex County Department of Adult Corrections.
Sunny’s picture in itself doesn’t really look all too sad – it appears to have been taken in her 20s, when she still had her beauty and body intact. But it’s definitely not as glamorous as she looked back then, when she was showing up on WWE television and giving young male viewers no reason whatsoever to change the channel to WCW Nitro.
8. Shoot Interview
Like many a wrestler from years gone by, Sunny has taken to the shoot interview circuit. Of course, she has – how else would she be able to tell all those wild and crazy backstage stories, as well as newer tales about her supposed fling with Dolph Ziggler? This photo shows Sunny appearing in one of those shoot videos, this time for RF Video.
It doesn’t take a genius to see how far removed from her glory days Sunny appears to be while cutting the shoot interview. The look in her eyes suggests that she’s totally out of it and possibly hung over from a night of drinking (if not a bit tipsy herself), and if pictures could talk, you’d probably hear her slurring her words and struggling to collect her thoughts and turn words into sentences. In other words, she looks like she’d rather be anywhere else than at the studio spilling some tea on her wrestling colleagues.
7. Pleading Guilty To DUI
What you see above has become quite a regular occurrence for Tammy Sytch. Despite previous denials, she ended up entering WWE’s sponsored rehabilitation program, and her battles with her personal demons got to be so nasty that she became the only rehab patient whom WWE gave up on, as they announced in 2013 that they would no longer be paying for her treatment. Indeed, the substance abuse-related arrests have continued since then.
This photo was taken in January 2016, as Sunny appeared in court to plead guilty to driving under the influence, in relation to three separate arrests in May and June 2015. She was originally sentenced to 90 days in jail in August, but since she spent 97 days in rehab before pleading guilty, that counted as jail credit, and she was instead put on probation. Go on to the next entry if you want to know how that turned out…
6. Sunny In Court (Again)
Although the judge in the earlier DUI entry placed Sunny on probation due to her previous rehab time, instead of sending her to jail, it wasn’t even three weeks after that when she was arrested once again for violating the terms of her parole. The specifics of that parole violation? Not showing up for her mandated drug and alcohol testing.
With Sunny in legal trouble so soon after she was seemingly given a chance to get her life back together, she was thrown in jail until February of this year, when she paid some fines and had some charges withdrawn. Sunny also agreed to return to rehab per the terms of her release, and while she seems to be on the good side of the law these days, she’s mainly focusing on her work in adult entertainment…while getting embroiled in some new controversy over comments she allegedly made in 2012, about not being attracted to black men.
5. Sunny And Her Teenage Crush (And Fellow Wrestling Wash-Out)
Yup, that’s two washed-up WWE legends in one picture, and in the case of the other “legend,” that’s probably stretching it. This photo, which may have been taken in the early 2010s, features Sunny in a rather revealing top or dress, as Marty Jannetty looks like he’s trying to plant a sloppy kiss on her cheek…or take a bite out of it. And while the other man in the photo looks like Sunny’s rumored ex-fling Dolph Ziggler, it isn’t, as he wouldn’t have had long hair yet at that time. That’s Sunny’s then-boyfriend, fellow wrestler Damien Darling, and it sure looks like he’s trying to “motorboat” his WWE Hall of Fame better half.
You’ll also notice that we included a letter Sunny sent to a wrestling magazine back when she was a teenage wrestling fan from New Jersey. The letter shows her clearly besotted with the “gorgeous” young wrestler Marty Jannetty, back in the days when he and Shawn Michaels were The Midnight Rockers and competing in the AWA. If only she knew how poorly Marty would age as a result of years of partying and hard living, to say little of her own similar decline.
4. 2015 Mugshot
It can oftentimes be hard to keep track of all the times Sunny was arrested in this decade alone. While most people who identified, or were identified as “wild child” personalities as teenagers or young adults tend to mellow with age once they reach their mid-late 30s or so, Sunny has been the opposite, as her reputation for getting in trouble seemed to ramp up as she reached her 40s. Up to now, we’re hoping that she somehow gains some semblance of order in her life, now that she’s just turned 45.
Going back to the topic of Sunny and her arrest record, the above mugshot was taken in September 2015, when she was arrested for missing three (yes, three) hearings for her DUI arrest from earlier that year. Aside from DUI, Sunny was also charged with careless driving and driving with a suspended license, and as mentioned in a few other entries, she barely avoided jail time…only to end up in the slammer shortly after due to parole violations.
3. 2016 Mugshot
And here’s another mugshot of the WWE Hall of Fame “original Diva,” this time taken just one year ago for that parole violation where she allegedly skipped her mandated drug and alcohol testing. Compared to the 2015 mugshot, this one arguably shows her in an even frumpier state, looking nothing like the young woman who managed several New Generation and Attitude Era tag teams in the WWE, or even the woman who took part in some horrid segments from the ’90s, such as that infamous “Fondle Me Elmo” segment with Todd Pettengill (yes, you’re reading that right) as a randy version of the Sesame Street muppet.
Save for the court photo relating to this particular arrest and her 2017 photo, this is the newest photo of Sunny in this list, as her Twitter account mostly includes pics related to her work in adult entertainment. And no, we’re not showing them here, as they’re just too non-PG for a site such as this one.
2. Hall Of Fame Induction
Although she had a bad reputation backstage and a bad falling-out with the WWE, Sunny’s contributions to the business could not be denied. She brought female sex appeal to a company that was, by and large, a sausage party circa 1996, and became a pop culture phenomenon in her own right. That’s why it was hard to argue WWE’s decision to induct her into the company’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
What makes this photo sad isn’t Sunny looking out of place in a photo with younger, then-active Divas such as Kelly Kelly, Natalya, Gail Kim, and Beth Phoenix. In our opinion, she doesn’t. Sunny got glammed-up for the occasion, and looks to be in better shape than what we now consider usual. What’s sad is the fact that Sunny’s Hall of Fame induction was followed soon after by multiple stints in rehab, numerous arrests and controversial statements, and reports that she was trying to earn some cash by pawning her Hall of Fame ring. (Those reports, however, were inaccurate – Pawn Stars advertised they’d be selling Sunny’s HOF ring, but it turned out to be Paul Bearer’s.)
1. Then And Now
There’s probably no sadder photo of Sunny following her fall from grace than those “then and now” photos that show circa-1990s Sunny looking like the drop-dead gorgeous “original Diva” she was back in the day, side-by-side with a photo of hers from more recent years, looking overweight and/or dumpy. That’s where you can truly see what a difference a few years made, as the real-life Tammy Sytch lost direction in her life and arguably stopped taking good care of herself.
To be honest, the “now” image in the above “then and now” photo isn’t as “now” as one would think; it seems to show Sunny at a time when her weight problems were far more obvious than they are today. But there’s really no doubt as to what fans would rather remember – young, beautiful, and shapely bikini-clad Sunny on the left, and not the shabbily-dressed, portly woman on the right who looks disgusted to be at the indie show she appears to be attending.
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