iNDYS, iNTERNATIONAL, & THE uNDERGROUND – 07.01.2018: IN MEMORIAM | MATT CAPPOTELLI

Matt Cappotelli began his wrestling career fighting for a WWE contract. That Fighting Spirit carried Cappotelli all the way to his passing in June of 2018.

By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor


JUNE 29, 2018 – Matt Cappotelli, Ohio Valley Wrestling Coach and WWE 2003 Tough Enough Winner, dies of Stage 4 Brain Cancer in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Cappotelli was born on November 12, 1979 in Caledonia, NY. At age 23, thye world would see the first signs of his fighting spirit when he outlasted 11 other contestants to be the co-winner of season 3 of WWE’s Tough Enough on MTV. The other co-winner was John Hennigan, a former WWE Intercontinental and ECW Heavyweight Champion currently seen on Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling.

 

 

After making television appearances on WWE Raw and SmackDown, Cappotelli was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling to continue training. Cappotelli teamed with Johnny Jeter as The Thrillseekers. Former partners collided and Cappotelli defeated Jeter for the OVW Heavyweight Championship in November of 2005.

 

 

Cappotelli was forced to surrender the OVW Championship on February 8, 2006 when announced that he had previously been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Nearly 15 months later on May 1, 2007, Cappotelli underwent successful brain surgery. Cancer had been defeated at the cost of Cappotelli’s wrestling career.

 

Cappotelli’s spirit would not be broken as he would remain in the wrestling industry. In 2013, he became the lead trainer for OVW’s beginner’s program, working alongside Rip Rogers and OVW founder Danny Davis to train “Tomorrow’s Superstars…Today!”

 

 

In 2017, however, the cancer would return as Cappotelli was diagnosed with a Grade 4 glioblastoma tumor. In June of last year, Cappotelli endured a second surgery to remove 90 percent of the tumor that had returned. The remaining 10 percent was left untouched as it pressed on the brain stem and doctors considered it too dangerous to touch. Cappotelli told WDRB news at the time, “Though it seems unfortunate, I want it to be portrayed as a story of hope…unending hope.”

 

 

After years of perseverance and a positive outlook in the face of death, Matt Cappotelli passed away on June 29, 2018 at age 38 from brain cancer.

“Life is the most precious gift we’re given. If I can inspire others to not give up on the life they’ve been blessed to have, that’s what I’m trying to spread – hope.”
– Matt Cappotelli, as told to WWE.com

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