Another brother in arms of the wrestling world has joined the alumni in the sky. News broke on Sunday, August 16th that former Ring of Honor champion John Bedoyra Jr., better known as John Xavier or simply Xavier, had passed away. The 43-year-old was trained by Tony DeVito of ECW fame and made his debut in 1997. The New York native became a staple around the New England independent scene, especially around his home of New York City. Xavier worked for companies such as Jersey All Pro Wrestling, East Coast Wrestling Association, ICW No Holds Barred, and USA Pro Wrestling, among others.
By 2001, he had become one of the bigger names of the NYC area, along with luminary colleagues such as Amazing Red and Low-Ki. These three caught the attention of Gabe Sapolsky who was in charge of the brand new Ring of Honor promotion. Sapolsky brought them in and they were integral to the early development of the company. Xavier made his debut at the first event on February 23, 2002, with a victory over Scoot Andrews. He was knocked out of the initial ROH World Title tournament by Amazing Red in the first round.
On September 21st, Xavier would de-throne Low-Ki as Ring of Honor champion. He would hold the title for 182 days with four successful title defenses. Xavier would beat back contenders in Paul London, AJ Styles, and Jay Briscoe. He would lose the title in March of 2003 to Samoa Joe to start his historic 645-day reign of terror. Later in his tenure with ROH, he would be part of both The Prophecy and The Embassy. Xavier would leave the promotion in 2007 but had a return planned for the ROH Past Versus Present show that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite being one of the inspirations to Sapolsky and the second-ever ROH champion, Xavier was never properly recognized in the sense of his contemporaries. In addition to his contributions to ROH, Xavier was also the first-ever ICW World Champion, holding it from late December 2000 to late January 2001. He also was a frequent enhancement talent for the WWE under the alias of John Jirus. Other top titles Xavier would hold are the ECWA, USA Pro, NEW, and Wrestling Superstars Unleashed Heavyweight titles. He would also hold the USA Pro Tag Team titles with Low-Ki and the ICW Tag Team titles with Christopher Daniels.
Xavier stepped away from the ring in a full-time capacity in 2011, but had one return match for ICW at their event One Night Only. There he reigned in victory one last time, over Indigo Child. Bedoya leaves behind a wife and one son, as well as extended family and friends. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been started to assist the family with the costs of his memorial, as well as providing for his son’s post-secondary education.
Last Word on Pro Wrestling sends our deepest condolences to John Bedoya Jr.’s family, as well as his friends, peers, and colleagues in the pro wrestling community. Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.