Former professional wrestler and current NXT trainer Bill DeMott has an old school reputation amongst his peers. He also has been levied accusations from several former WWE development talents that could have got him fired a long time ago.
For the last few days on the Squared Circle sub-reddit has been discussion and links to several former WWE developmental talents complaining about the abuse and treatment they have received at the hands of Bill DeMott. If this feels like something new it isn’t. Bill DeMott was once released by the WWE in 2007 after his failure as a trainer and booker at the Deep South Wrestling development program. He was brought back for Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Tough Enough and eventually brought back as a full-time NXT trainer.
Let’s take a look at some of the allegations levied against DeMott by several talents. Editor warning, some of the links contain strong language that may not be suitable for work or younger viewers. Some of the language involved in the sexual harassment accusations may be triggering.
Kenny Omega, now in New Japan Pro Wrestling, was one of the first to speak out on Bill DeMott when it came to former WWE development talents back in the day. Omega today expresses a problem with how clique-ish the training was and didn’t have an issue with how aggressive it was. Kevin Matthews (I’ll get to him later) expressed appreciation for how Omega didn’t allow DeMott to break him and left on his own terms. It’s believed that Omega’s walk out of the Deep South Wrestling system was one of the catalyst’s to DeMott being removed as head trainer in DSW.
Deep South Wrestling hazing
Devin Nicholson, better known as Hannibal, once discussed with Wrestling Observer on the hazing that would sometimes go on at Deep South Wrestling. The best known incident was where Bill DeMott would allow students to get out of training if Drew Hankinson, better known as Luke Gallows, did a stinkface to Zack Ryder and Melissa Coates with a jelly donut. Also he’d be naked.
While this wasn’t forced on the talents and they all agreed to do it, it’s textbook hazing and is one of the few things we have documented proof of happening (Warning: photo in link not safe for work). While not as bad as other accusations I’ll get to later, it paints a picture of the type of things DeMott is fine with seeing the future of the WWE do just to entertain him.
Hankinson has defended DeMott as a trainer on Twitter.
Joey Ryan, part owner of Pro Wrestling Guerrila and former TNA Wrestling talent has been vocal over the years on Twitter and interviews about the treatment he’s dealt with when dealing with WWE. Too often people throw “bitter” towards Ryan, ignoring the fact that even if he is bitter, being bitter doesn’t make you wrong.
Ryan posted multiple tweets on the situation and his encounters with Bill DeMott. Ryan linked to many of the same Reddit threads as well as how often the bullying, homophobia and general nastiness of DeMott is always swept under the rug by the WWE.
Ryan doesn’t have a horse in this game. Well, he does. That horse is professional wrestling. But he isn’t trying to get hired by WWE or take a shot at WWE. He’s trying to stand up for the business. Call him bitter, but look at the facts.
It doesn’t sound like this stuff was a surprise to former WWE superstar and current TNA star MVP.
If there was any justice, Bill DeMott would have been fired a long time ago. Back in 2013, a promising young female wrestler with the character of Audrey Marie was surprisingly released. Marie wasn’t the best in the ring but was improving, and her southern belle character stood out in the development program at the time. While Ashley Miller has never come out and stated it, several former development talents including Kevin Matthews and Briley Pierce have made tweets suggesting that Marie was released after Bill DeMott made sexual advances towards her, and that their releases came after they went to management to defend her.
Sexual harassment is a huge accusation to make, one that should not be made without serious contemplation. If the accusations were made, one would hope the WWE would take serious. Instead, most don’t remember these accusations from 2013 as the Briley tweets were deleted and more names released. While one would hope Miller comes out to confirm these accusations, if she is a victim of sexual harassment, she shouldn’t have to. The real onus is on the WWE to come out and admit to whether or not these accusations came to them, and if the talents who defended her were released with her. That’s pretty much all the proof one needs of a cover up.
Kevin Matthews came out with several allegations against DeMott back in 2013, a letter he sent to Canyon Ceman of the WWE. Matthews originally sent the letter at the behest of wrestling legend Harley Race and found himself released a few weeks after it happened. Matthews had taken to Twitter to show his frustration and was very public with the situation but it gained no ground against DeMott.
The letter included accusations similar to Judas Devlin, including a moment where Matthews came to DeMott about feeling light headed and thinking it was from a head injury and DeMott smacked him upside the head for acting like the situation was worse than what he said.
Back in 2007, Bucci (Nova, Simon Dean) had been pushing to have DeMott released back when he ran Deep South Wrestling. DeMott was replaced by Tom Pritchard, who still works in NXT Developmental. Bucci has discussed in several interviews his problems with DeMott, who used to try to get classes of wrestlers to puke through how hard he would train them. It’s interesting that DeMott tries to train talents that hard when he isn’t a fan of CrossFit.
Ethan Carter III
At first it seemed like the former Derrick Bateman was taking the whole DeMott situation in a laugh, using multiple tweets to make it seem like the accusations were for how he treated Rockstar Spud in a TNA storyline. However, that tone quickly changed early this morning.
I love/sacrificed for pro wrestling. A Hart can stretch me any day. A know nothing dipshit slapping me when I’m concussed is different.
— ec3™ (@EthanCarterTNA) March 4, 2015
EC3 is now in TNA Wrestling and didn’t look like he burned any bridges with WWE. He was merely released. But a lot of people notice EC3 now as an unquestionable talent that the WWE let go and is now thriving in TNA Wrestling. It doesn’t seem like he has much positive to say in the way of DeMott and if DeMott slapped him while he’s concussed, it’s proof of the danger he is.
The kickoff of the recent controversies came when Austin Matelson, once in the NXT Development system as Judas Devlin, posted a memo/transcript for the Vendetta Pro Radio 2K15 show in breaking his silence about Bill DeMott. Some of his accusations include:
- DeMott using homophobic language towards students
- DeMott putting pressure on a talent to work injured
- DeMott purposely executing a move improperly on a student
- Calling Oliver Gray “Joel Pedophile”
- Making an improper joke about the death of Davey Boy Smith to Dante Dash
- Telling a class of students to kill themselves only days after the suicide of Mike Graham
- Dropping Enzo Amore on his head as well as telling him to kill himself
- Told Osmund Cherry to go back to Africa
- Derogatory remarks on the sexual preference of Brandon Taven
- Ripping Rusev’s New York Jets shirt off forcefully by the collar when he just came back from neck surgery and was not cleared for physical competition
- Threatened to pull Oliver Grey from NXT tapings and the Royal Rumble if he sat out of a practice due to his back injury
The WWE did make a recent response to the allegations by Devlin, stating they did a full investigation and found nothing. This response prompted Ryan Nemeth, brother of Dolph Ziggler and formerly known as Briley Pierce to step up and say nobody ever spoke to him about Devlin’s accusations so he doubts a claim such as “full investigation”.
It seems like the evidence continues to mount up against Bill DeMott, not just as a trainer for the future of the WWE but as a good human being. DeMott isn’t without his defenders, as Chris Jericho was quick to go on Twitter and state that DeMott is a good friend and a great trainer. Jericho decided to bring up his training at the Hart Brothers camp for comparison, forgetting that was a defunct camp in 1990 (which Jericho and Lance Storm have both complained about for years in their career, Jericho complaining about in his own first book) while DeMott trains talent for a publicly traded company with millions upon millions of dollars at stake and serious corporate sponsorship. Jericho also forgets that just because he made it through a terrible situation doesn’t mean every person should be expected to.
There is likely more who support DeMott and feel like this is the argument that comes up in the film Whiplash, which J.K. Simmons won an Academy Award for portraying an aggressive, violent music teacher who pushed his pupils to the limit in order to unlock something special in them. The problem with that comes in the fact that NXT hasn’t really uncovered many great talents in his inception that didn’t already have some form of strong professional wrestling background. Roman Reigns had Samoan wrestling heritage. Paige is British wrestling royalty. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had considerable independent wrestling backgrounds. Even looking at current NXT talent, the stars are guys like Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville and Kevin Owens while Tyler Breeze spent his time training with Lance Storm before Bill DeMott ever got his hands on him. The people with experience from outside succeed in NXT, not the people who came in as diamonds in the rough.
But this isn’t really a discussion about if tough training methods are successful. You can be a tough but fair trainer and excel. There’s nothing wrong with being tough on a person in training. DeMott has been accused of racism, homophobia, sexual harassment and physical assault. None of which has anything to do with becoming a WWE superstar. Or rather, shouldn’t have anything to do with becoming a WWE superstar. WWE needs to do a better investigation on DeMott and think less about him being a good guy and an example of old school toughness and more about whether they need their company represented by such a person, and if such a person should be expected to mold the superstars of the future. Triple H likes to talk a good game about changing the business for the better. Might be time he stop appreciating fruit baskets and instead of working with the future? Work for the future.
Bill DeMott used to love tweeting #DeMottcracy. Maybe it’s time the WWE makes it clear these accusations are #NoLaughingMatter.
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