Serious allegations of sexual harassment, physical and verbal abuse levied against former NXT trainer Bill DeMott led to his resignation Friday afternoon. DeMott’s resignation via Twitter was also his first public acknowledgement of the allegations, which started with one-time NXT trainee Judas Devlin/Austin Matelson accusing DeMott of threatening and injuring students, as well as using racist and homophobic slurs.
I deny the recent allegations made about me, however, to avoid any embarrassment or damage to the (cont) http://t.co/1UpTIE1aXi
— Bill DeMott (@BillDeMott) March 6, 2015
The issue is an especially divisive one in the wrestling world. Matelson has his supporters, like Dolph Ziggler’s brother, Ryan Nemeth.
This is sad but (extremely) true. Please share if you don't want your heroes abused & mistreated. https://t.co/7g8n1DRRuI
— Ryan Nemeth (@HotYoungBriley) March 2, 2015
An uncorroborated account posted on Reddit delves further into the issue. Read with a healthy dose of skepticism to the post’s veracity.
This harsh look at how the proverbial sausage is made exposes some of the more unfortunate attitudes associated with wrestling. Tradition is such an important part of the industry, for better or worse.
Two traditionalist mindsets at play here: Pulling back the curtain too much is a no-no. The second and perhaps more significant is that enduring a brutal training regimen is a rite of passage that separates true wrestlers from pretenders.
It’s a necessary part of entry into The Biz.
A since-deleted Chris Jericho tweet came out in defense of DeMott — not to suggest the former Hugh Morrus was above such tactics, but rather comparing the allegations to the legendary viciousness unleashed on trainees in Stu Hart’s Calgary “Dungeon.”
Consider this defense wrestling’s equivalent of football fans who scoff at today’s safety precautions and defend negligent coaches on the grounds that Bear Bryant’s “Junction Boys” camps in South Texas were much more harsh.
Be that as it may, football has evolved past such archaic practices for the betterment of its players — and, as a cynic might point out, for the betterment of the sport’s growing public image.
Wrestling is not what it was two, three, four decades ago when fans weren’t wise to the goings-on of the industry. The popularity of public-traded company WWE with wrestling fans is probably as close to maxed out as it can be, and the only way to grow is to appeal to a more mainstream audience.
Mainstream audiences are not so cool with physical abuse, sexual harassment and homophobia. Go figure.