Candice Gargano née Dawson (born September 29, 1985) is a Canadian professional wrestler better known by her ring name Candice LeRae. She is best known for her work on the American independent circuit, for promotions including Pro Wrestling Guerilla and CZW. She is a former one-time PWG World Tag Team Champion with Joey Ryan as The World's Cutest Tag Team.
In 2017, Candice first appeared on NXT, participating in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship, held then by Asuka. She has made sporadic appearances in NXT since then. She also wrestled in the WWE Mae Young Classic, defeating Renee Michelle in the first round and Nicole Savoy in the second before losing to Shayna Baszler in the quarter finals. She was officially signed by WWE in January of 2018, and made her debut at Takeover: Philadelphia alongside real-life husband Johnny Gargano.
Candice LeRae Tropes!!:
- Action Girl: Having clawed her way up to stardom in wrestling despite a shitload of sexism, having established herself as the female wrestler in PWG (see previous comment re: sexism- Super Dragon won't employ other women) despite fierce opposition, and having taken a kick to the face where the foot in question was wearing a tennis shoe with thumbtacks glued to the sole- yeah, it's safe to say that she qualifies. And that's just the start of it.
- Adorkable: Combining her love of Disney with her general badassery gives her this look.
- In real life, turned Up to Eleven when she's drunk.
- Bare Your Midriff: As is typical.
- Bash Brothers: With Joey Ryan, obviously.
- Blood Is the New Black: During a tag match pitting herself and Joey Ryan against the The Young Bucks for the PWG Tag Team Championship she got superkicked with a shoe that had thumbtacks glued to the bottom of it. It was not a pretty sight.◊
- David vs. Goliath: Usually happens whenever she faces somebody who is visibly bigger in size that she is.
- Flipping the Bird: Does this occasionally to particularly heelish opponents.
- Groin Attack: One of her signature maneuvers, the Balls-Plex.
- Jobber: She's been one in both her NXT appearances, both of which were battle royales to determine a number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship. She didn't even get a titantron.
- Lost her only ROH match to Deonna Purazzo.
- Lost her only TNA match to Gail Kim.
- Lost all three of her SHIMMER matches to Athena (NXT's Ember Moon), Nikki Storm (NXT's Nikki Cross) and Kay Lee Ray.
- Subverted in the Mae Young Classic, where she got to the quarter finals before giving the rub to Shayna Baszler.
- Mistaken for Romance: She and Joey Ryan are intergender tag team partners and traveling buddies, Candice has taken a page from at least one of Joey's moves in the ring and they even shared a vlog of their travels with other wrestlers. Because of this, it's easy for people to think they're a couple. Except…they've never even kissed, Candice is married to NXT star Johnny Gargano, and Joey Ryan is married to female wrestler Laura James. Here's a tweet from Candice.
- Parts Unknown: Often billed as being from "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride".
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She's 5'2" and 110 lbs, yet is able to throw around wrestlers who are more than double her size with ease.
- Has regularly wrestled Awesome Kong, who is much bigger than she is.
- She once gave a successful balls-plex to Abyss.
- Her husband Johnny Gargano also counts as one, as does her tag partner Joey Ryan.
- Real Song Theme Tune:
- "I Believe in A Thing Called Love" by The Darkness.
- "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes
- Red Baron: Since debuting in NXT, fans have nicknamed her "Candice Wrestling."
- Shout-Out: She loves all things Disney, to the point that she bills herself from Mr Toad's Wild Ride.
- Her and Joey once wore matching ring gear inspired by Disney's Magic Kingdom.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Has had platinum-blonde/silver hair as well as a green ombre style.