Bill DeMott – No Laughing Matter: His Controversial Story

Former professional wrestler Bill DeMott was a trainer for Florida Championship Wrestling, Deep South Wrestling, and WWE’s Tough Enough. However, his time in NXT garnered DeMott a swarm of controversy over multiple reported instances of unprofessional activity. What happened, and why? This is the sad saga of Bill DeMott.

Bill DeMott as Hugh Morris in WCW.
Bill DeMott as Hugh Morris in WCW. [Photo: WWE.com]

Bill DeMott – Early Career

Bill DeMott began training to become a professional wrestler in 1988 under Johnny Rodz in New York City. He’d soon begin plying his trade on the independents under the name Big Sweet Williams.

In 1992, DeMott found some success overseas in Puerto Rico as Crash the Terminator, capturing the Americas Wrestling Federation World Heavyweight Title. He would soon later jet off to Japan where he’d win the W*ING World Tag Team Championship with Mr. Pogo as well as their World Heavyweight Championship, before returning Stateside to wrestle for ECW.

On February 21, 1994, DeMott received a tryout with the World Wrestling Federation at a Monday Night Raw taping at Poughkeepsie, New York. Over the next two days, he’d wrestle on WWF Superstars of Wrestling and Wrestling Challenge, though his time with the WWF/E would come four years later.

Once leaving ECW in 1994, DeMott took a detour down south to Atlanta.

Time in WCW

Debuting in WCW as a member of the Dungeon of Doom, he wrestled under the name The Laughing Man on television (while wrestling dark matches billed as The Man of Question).

After the dissolution of Dungeon of Doom in 1997, he was rebranded as Hugh Morris, where he’d dub his moonsault finishing move the No Laughing Matter.

His most noteworthy accolade in WCW came after becoming the first victim of Goldberg’s streak.

Soon later, he would join Jimmy Hart’s First Family stable before the group quickly disbanded. 

DeMott then began one of his most memorable in-ring runs as he led the comedy faction Misfits in Action. M.I.A. featured future world champions such as Chavo Guerrero (then known as Lieutenant Loco), Booker T (G.I. Bro), and Bill DeMott, who would be rechristened at WCW Slamboree 2000 as Hugh G. Rection, or Captain Rection for short.

Bill DeMott as General Hugh G. Rection in WCW.
Bill DeMott as General Hugh G. Rection in WCW. [Photo: thewrestlingrevolution.com]
With his new double entendre name, he would lead M.I.A. in feuds against the Filthy Animals, Team Canada, and the Natural Born Thrillers.

 

During this time, DeMott (as Rection) became a 2-time WCW United States Champion, defeating Lance Storm for both reigns, before renaming himself as Hugh Morris.

Wrestling for WWE

When WCW folded in 2001, Bill DeMott migrated over to the WWF in the ill-fated Invasion storyline. Here, he was mostly used as an intruder who often lost to higher-on-the-card stars such as Edge, Chris Jericho, and Billy Gunn.

Once Team WWF won at 2001’s Survivor Series, the Invasion storyline ended, and Hugh Morris was fired on-screen by Vince McMahon.

While off television, DeMott worked in the company’s developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association. In HWA, he teamed with Raven to defeat Lance Cade and Steve Bradley for the HWA Tag Team Championship on March 12, 2002. They would lose the titles three days later.

After working in the HWA, he became a mainstay on both WWF Jakked and WWE Velocity before a legitimate motorcycle accident forced him to take time off.

During this time, he began training the next batch of superstars on the third and fourth season of Tough Enough.

Bill DeMott and the Controversies Surrounding his Training Career

After transitioning to a WWE trainer role, accusations started coming in about Bill DeMott’s “unprofessional, unacceptable” training methods.

Looking back on his training, season four Tough Enough contestant Daniel Puder deemed DeMott’s actions “unprofessional and unacceptable.” He continued, “If I ever saw someone doing that in my organization, I would immediately fire somebody.”

After season four wrapped up, DeMott trained wrestlers in Deep South Wrestling. It was here where he trained future megastar Kenny Omega.

In an interview with Title Match Wrestling, Omega stated that Bill DeMott “certainly took advantage of his power.” Omega added, “DeMott tried to train things he wasn’t qualified for doing.”

Bill DeMott while a trainer with WWE.
Bill DeMott while a trainer with WWE. [Photo: Sportskeeda]
Around this time, a notorious incident took place, as described by Devon “Hannibal” Nicholson.

 

Nicholson recalled, “There was an incident where there was a box of jelly doughnuts. Bill had [Luke Gallows] strip naked. In one corner of the ring, you had Zack Ryder, and in the other corner, there was a female wrestler. Bill took a doughnut, put it in Zack Ryder’s mouth, then Gallows ran and tried to smash the doughnut in the person’s face with his ass, rubbing it until all the jelly exited the doughnut.”

This was done to get a day off after a hard week of training. 

DeMott has confirmed the story, though he said it was not his idea. 

“They made a deal. They didn’t want to train. They made a deal. What’s the deal?” said DeMott. “[Gallows said to me], ‘I’ll give somebody a squisher bare-assed with a jelly doughnut in their mouth.’ I looked around at forty people, and I went, ‘Deal!'”

DeMott continued, “[Gallows] got naked, [Ryder] sat in the corner with a jelly doughnut in his mouth. [Gallows] ran across the ring, hits the Rikishi ass bump, and squished it all over [Ryder]’s face. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” admits DeMott.

“Everybody goes, ‘Okay, we’re done. Everybody can go home. No training, no nothing.’ That was the deal.”

DeMott explained that this incident surfaced six years after it occurred due to a disgruntled employee wanting to leak information after being fired from WWE. DeMott claims that there was no ill-will behind the stunt, but rather that it was a deal agreed upon by everyone who was in attendance.

DeMott admits, “Was it the smartest deal I ever made? No. But it was funny as hell.”

He continued, “You’re in a room with a bunch of people, all on the same page. They’re tired from the week. Give me a deal, and we’re out. They made a deal, and we stuck to the deal. Six years later, somebody who was let go from the company and wasn’t satisfied told a different story. ‘DeMott makes people train naked.’ I’m an internet sensation overnight.”

“There was no malice, there was no nothing,” DeMott continued. “It was a story innocent with a bunch of men and women who trained together every day.”

When asked if he had to do it all over again, he responded, “To be honest, I probably would do the same exact thing, but letting them know the repercussions. You start to feel entitled. ‘Now you’re paying me, and now I don’t want to do it, so you have to find a way to make me feel better about myself.’ So that was on me. That’s the one thing I would tell myself now. ‘Stick to what you know.’ Not, ‘Don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings or making them feel better about themselves.’ Help them realize early on what’s needed and what it is.”

Bill DeMott.
Bill DeMott. [Photo: 411Mania.com]
From 2009-2010, DeMott opened and ran his own promotion New Energy Wrestling in Georgia. 

 

In 2011, DeMott returned to the WWE to perform as head coach of Tough Enough. The following year, he took over from Tom Prichard as the head coach of Florida Championship Wrestling, which later became NXT. DeMott continued in this role after the WWE Performance Center was formed in 2013.  

Allegations of DeMott’s misconduct first rose to the surface in 2012. Future Lucha Underground star Ivelisse was one of the first to speak out, claiming in an interview with Pro Wrestling Junkies, “The whole thing really had a negative imprint on me. It’s very hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I feel like someone is demeaning me.”

Former trainee Kevin Matthews has been one of the most vocal critics about DeMott’s actions, saying DeMott “made that place a living hell for anyone who wasn’t part of his clique.” He described DeMott as a “rather disturbed, delusional, bipolar man who needs to seek professional help ASAP.”

With over a dozen wrestlers surmounting evidence against him and with his actions gaining significant media scrutiny, Bill DeMott resigned from his post as head trainer at WWE’s Performance Center in 2015. The #FireDeMott hashtag started trending on Twitter as DeMott left, with him claiming he was leaving his post to “avoid any embarrassment or damage to the company” whilst simultaneously denying the claims. 

Bill DeMott while head trainer at WWE.
[Photo: Pro Wrestling Sheet]
In the days following DeMott’s departure from WWE, Jim Ross opened up about the topic.

 

Ross wrote, “I do not endorse the old school method of coaching whether it be on an athletic field, the gym, or in pro wrestling classes. I believe in pushing students to improve in all areas of their game and their presentation and challenge them to achieve everything they envision earning as it relates to their career. The physical and mental toughness required to be a successful pro wrestler can be ascertained during drills and other exercises in the camp quite easily. Most talent evaluators can determine rather quickly, as in a few days, if someone has what it takes to thrive and grow in most pro wrestling camps.”

Ross continued, “I do not endorse any type of bigoted or bullying behavior in any walk of life and not just in sports or entertainment. How could any reasonable person embrace such behavior?”

Aftermath

In the aftermath of the controversy surrounding Bill DeMott, there were a few wrestlers who came to his defense.

Chris Jericho said in a since-deleted tweet, “Hey @BillDeMott is a good friend and a great trainer. If you can’t handle it, then quit. My training at #HartBrothers camp was 10,000 times worse!”

Luke Gallows also came out in support, saying, “My 2 cents. @BillDeMott was a great trainer and teacher of young men growing into the wrestling biz… #RESPECT.” This tweet, too has since been deleted.

DeMott himself explained in an episode of Talk Is Jericho, “You’re either going to hang, or you’re not. It’s not to break you down; it’s to prepare you.”

Bill DeMott while head trainer for WWE.
[Photo: alchetron.com]
Overall, the list of accusations against Bill DeMott includes ripping a t-shirt off Rusev (who had just gone through neck surgery), commonly telling wrestler to kill themselves, racist remarks, forcing wrestlers to do dangerous drills, homophobic remarks, slapping EC3 when he had a concussion, kicking Ryan Nameth in his medical boot after he had broken his leg, waving a firearm around, hitting wrestlers with a yardstick, and enabling/protecting a sexual predator.

 

Was DeMott’s training tactics reckless bullying, or just strict, old-fashioned training methods? It is up to you to decide, but it certainly was a cause for controversy for WWE that tarnished their training camp’s reputation for a period afterward. Hopefully, no incident like these will ever go overlooked or unreported again under the professional wrestling banner.

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Griffin Kaye is a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Stories. He is a life-long pro wrestling fan and historian with a love for '80s and '90s WWF, the NWA, WCW, ECW, and AEW. His favorite wrestlers include Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, William Regal, Tito Santana, Stan Hansen, Mr Perfect, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho. He can be reached by e-mail at GriffinKaye1@hotmail.com, on Twitter @GriffinKaye1, as well as on Instagram at @TheGriffinKaye and @WrestlingInTheYears.