OTTAWA – Global TV will be airing a mini documentary on former professional wrestler Devon Nicholson on this Saturday November 26th. The crew followed him for several days leading up to his retirement match earlier this year gathering interviews and footage of Devon, his friends, co-workers, personal training clients, doctors, lawyers and family.
WWE legend The Honky Tonk Man is also in the documentary as well as Abdullah The Butcher who makes his first video statements about Nicholson’s claims and comments on the infamous video where he cuts Devon repeatedly after cutting himself with a blade taped to his finger.
WWE was contacted by Global to have someone from the company come on camera to address their continual promotion of Abdullah despite the allegations against him, the Hep C problem in wrestling and Nicholson’s Human Right’s lawsuit against them but refused to let anyone appear on camera or make a statement.
When Abdullah did his phone pre-interview with Abdullah he assured them that he would have blood test results showing he was negative for Hep C by the time they did their in person interview with him in Atlanta. He never produced any such results.
Here is a quote from the producer of the show:
“All his life, Devon Nicholson dreamed about becoming a professional wrestler. Then, in 2009, as he was about to realize that dream, it was suddenly snatched away. On November 26that 7pm, Global TV’s weekly national news magazine program 16×9 takes you inside the strange, sometimes contradictory world of a pre-determined sport that often results in bloody, unpredictable outcomes. It is an intensely personal look at how Nicholson’s dream was shattered when he contracted Hepatitis C, why he believes the practice of double blood matches should be stopped forever, and his fateful encounter with Abdullah the Butcher, a wrestling legend famous around the world for violent, bloody matches.”
NetNewsledger recently had a chance to interview Devon Nicholson:
NNL: How does it feel to have a biography of your life about to be shown on a national network for all of Canada to see?
DN: I wish it was under better circumstances but I’m happy about it. Most people don’t know anything about me and a lot of wrestling fans only know me from my wrestling persona. I think the Global biography will humanize me a lot more. It will also show people how this Hep C situation has affected me in every aspect of my life.
NNL: What was it like having a TV crew follow you around for 3-4 days?
DN: It was strange at first but I got used to it. The sit-down interview was probably the toughest part. They asked me a lot of very personal questions and hit some topics that were really difficult to answer but I got through it. One thing they go into pretty deep is my relationship with my parents which has always been pretty tough since they never really wanted me to be a wrestler.
They thought I made a bad decision giving up amateur wrestling scholarships to go into pro wrestling and when I finally got my WWE contract they were really happy for me. Then of course the contract gets rescinded and I had to go through my first Hep C treatment which was a horrible, chemotherapy like treatment and they supported me through it but it didn’t end up working. Now I’m back at square one and feel like a complete failure. They are concerned about my physical mental and financial health and so am I. Not fun issues to discuss.
NNL: Were there any fun moments in the tapings?
DN: Yes it was quite funny having a camera following me around at work. Most of the members that go to the gym that I work at do not know about my situation or that I’m a pro wrestler so they seemed baffled that I had a camera crew following me. It was pretty funny to see the looks of confusion on some peoples face. At one point I was standing near the change room entrance and I older woman came out and was so shocked at the cameras she literally jumped in the air. Once we explained everything she was fine though.
NNL: You recently retired from pro wrestling. What made you decide to retire when in the past year you have had some of the best matches of your career, and you are at an age when are at your physical prime?
DN: I had been wrestling for over 10 years and dedicated my entire life to pro wrestling and trying to get into WWE from the time that I could talk. In those years wrestling has caused far more negative in my life then positive. For a long time everyone who cared about me had been telling me to stop. It was time I realized the WWE dream was never going to happen and I stop torturing myself.
NNL: Speaking of WWE they didn’t hire you because you have Hep C which is a “blood to blood” disease. With their current “no blood” policy that was apparently put in place to prevent the spread of disease why do you think they rescinded your contract?
DN: It’s hard to say what their real reason is. They have had Hep C positive employees in the past and they have kept people who have failed medicals such as Kevin Nash under contract. I think one of the main reasons is their “no blood” policy is a joke. I do freestyle Olympic wrestling and grappling tournaments. Those are real, high contact, physical sports where the chances of blood are high. I’m allowed to compete in these tournaments because those sports have true “no blood” policies.
If someone is bleeding they stop the match until the blood is controlled. When those type of incidents happen in WWE they do very little to stop the action. Randy Orton recently busted Cody Rhodes head open on Smackdown and he was bleeding heavily. The action continued despite the bleeding as you can see very clearly on the unedited Youtube footage.
If Hep C was such a big deal to WWE why wasn’t I tested for the matches on Smackdown and Heat that I had? Why wasn’t I tested when I was training in Deep South Wrestling working with contracted guys on a regular basis? Why wasn’t I tested before I did the try-out camp? I had 4 matches at the camp in front of an audience. In one of the matches I got busted open the hard way and was bleeding from my eyebrow and had trickles of blood coming down my face. The match was not stopped. Steve Keirn who was in charge of the camp even joked “you didn’t have to get juice” as I walked out of the ring and I cleaned it up myself. If they are going to have a policy they have to have a consistent policy and enforce it?
NNL: Has Abdullah produced any blood test results yet?
DN: Abdullah first told my lawyers in September of 2010 that he would soon produce blood tests. We are now nearing the end of November 2011 and we still haven’t received anything. You would think if he was negative he’d want to clear his name as soon as possible with the footage of him cutting me after cutting himself on the internet. Unfortunately I only put that footage out there in the first place to try to force him to provide them. I never had anything against Abdullah before this. I do have very good reason to believe he gave me Hep C and instead of proving he doesn’t have it he continues to give me the run around.
To make things worse WWE knows about my accusations and continues to promote him which is very hard to deal with. This is a deadly disease it’s cost me my dream job that I worked very hard to get and may cost me my life. I’ve already been through one terrible treatment that didn’t work. At some point I’m going to have to go through another. It is an awful situation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
NNL: You are now training for the Canadian Olympic trials in amateur wrestling and have been competing in tournaments. What made you want to get back into that sport and how are things going?
DN: Amateur wrestling in one of the toughest sports in the world. It requires incredible physical conditioning and hard work to do well in it. You can’t go into tournaments only half in shape when you could be wrestling up to 6 to 8, 6 minute matches in a day. I’m doing it mainly because I’m extremely depressed. Having to train twice a day, to prepare for tournaments, keeps my mind off of everything else going on in my life.
I’ve been doing well. I’m used to grappling tournaments now where the rules are quite different so I’ve been getting a lot of penalties but it’s fun and I’m in fantastic shape right now.
NNL: You know quite a few WWE wrestlers. What is it like watching people you have worked and trained with apply their trade on TV?
DN: Yes I do know a good amount of people in WWE and am truly very happy for them but it’s incredible hard to walk by TVs at work and see them on TV while I’m filling up water bottles and cleaning up weights.
I know I would have done great in WWE. All the legends I have met including Terry Funk and even Abdullah himself thought I would have been a big star. Pat Patterson told me I was by far the best in the WWE camp I was hired from.
After my promo at the camp Dusty Rhodes came out of the booth and told everyone that is the way you do a promo. Steve Keirn told me the office was “high on me.” I paid my dues and I paid them hard. It’s torture loving something so much, having the physical tools to do it. Then not being able to because you have a disease that you caught from someone taking advantage of you and the company you have dreamed of being a part of is using it as a reason not to hire you despite having a supposed “no blood” policy.
NNL: What are the main things that you want to come out of your lawsuits?
DN: The main thing that I would like to come out of these lawsuits is for me to be able to get treated by an excellent specialist and cured of my Hep C. The Canadian health care system is free but they don’t take very good care of you and the medication is not always covered. It is scary knowing I have something in me that is slowly destroying my liver.
I think about it constantly. I’m on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs to help keep my mind off of it. I can’t even afford mental therapy at this point and the Canadian medical system only covers you for that while on treatment.
Secondly I would like the practice of blading in wrestling to be stopped forever. The only way this can happen is for WWE to warn people of the problem as they are the “major league” of professional wrestling. WWE had a “no blood” policy from 1988 until about 1997. When ratings were down and they were losing the war to WCW they got rid of it and made their product more edgy. WWE wrestlers were encouraged to bleed and participate in “double blood” matches all the time. Why would any “wannabe” WWE wrestler say no to bleeding on the indy scene if that’s what their heroes are doing on TV or DVD’s and they don’t know any better?
WWE didn’t go back to a no blood policy until over 10 years later in 2008 when Linda McMahon ran for senate the first time yet they still put out DVD’s containing “double blood” matches. Yes they don’t encourage their wrestlers to bleed any more but do they do anything to warn up and coming wrestlers to “not try this at home?” They put out a toy of Abdullah the Butcher with blade marks in its head. They put out a DVD with bloody cage matches in June of this year with a picture of Abdullah the Butcher on the back cover. They put “Abdullah The Butcher”, a wrestlers famous for nothing other than bleeding and “double blood” matches into the hall of fame this year despite my accusations.
What kind of a message does that send?
I want young wrestlers to know about the dangers of “double blood” matches so this horrible situation does not happen to anyone else.
NNL: Thank you very much for the interview Mr. Nicholson. Good luck with everything!