News & Politics

Matt Lowry Death Raises Pro Wrestling School Questions

Pro Wrestling SchoolThe mysterious death of an independent pro wrestler in Philadelphia has sparked a lot of questions. 22-year old Matt Lowry was rushed to the hospital after training at the famed ECW Arena. Lowry suddenly passed away as a result of a brain aneurysm. This tragedy should be used as an eye opener to a very dangerous business that needs oversight.

Little is known about exactly what happened minutes before Lowry was rushed to the hospital. Lowry allegedly stopped by the building to work out with some local wrestlers. Combat Zone Wrestling runs a school there and it is normal for local wrestlers to stop by and get some ring time in. The CZW crew and some local guys were there, and according to all reports Lowry didn’t even bump in the ring.  Lowry mysteriously died hours later of a brain aneurysm. Police are currently investigating.

The incident should be a big wake up call to the general public about pro wrestling. Let me just say this. I don’t know if the CZW school or its trainers had any part in this. I wasn’t there. I do know that there are tons of guys like Lowry that train at these schools everyday. The big problem is that none of these schools are regulated whatsoever. Anyone whether they have wrestled on WrestleMania or never even made it to a backyard can open up a school and call themselves trainers. I am shocked I haven’t read about more Matt Lowrys.

I worked in CZW as an announcer for over seven years. I have attended their training sessions. Anytime I saw a session, most of the guys just practiced basic stuff. I never saw any rookies or inexperienced wrestlers put into any dangerous positions. As a matter of a fact, I was impressed with the school. Anyone who ever walked in with aspirations of swinging a light tube at Zandig was immediately shown the door whenever I was around. I can only speak for what I saw then, and I can honestly say that I think they ran a pretty fine facility.

Unfortunately something went wrong somewhere. Accidents happen all of the time in pro wrestling. I just watched an MTV Made where AJ Styles was training a teenage girl. With less than two weeks of training, he had her doing backdrops. I cringed when I watched this and mentioned to my girlfriend that there is no way she should be doing something so dangerous. She had a better chance of breaking her neck than perfecting the move. Thank God she survived. The reason I point this out is that she could have gotten just as hurt as Lowry did. Would anyone have been questioning the skills of AJ Styles?

That girl shouldn’t have been taking backdrops and something went wrong with Lowry. There needs to be some kind of regulation when it comes to these pro wrestling schools. All trainers should be licensed and regularly reviewed by someone. I can’t go to a racing car without a licensed teacher. I can’t even learn a computer program at a local tech school without the teacher being certified. Shouldn’t these trainers no matter who they are have to answer to somebody? The responsibility of someone’s son or daughter is placed in the hands of someone who can attempt to teach them whatever they want. Something really needs to be done about this.

For every school that tries to do it right, you have plenty that have evil intentions. I remember reading a story a few years back about a kid’s parents that filed a criminal complaint against Austin Aries and some others. These “teachers” allegedly had a field day chopping the daylights out of some kid. What if the kid had a heart attack? Who gave these teachers there licenses? Let me tell you as someone who has been around this business for awhile, there are more people with evil intentions than there are with good hearts willing to help young kids truly become professional wrestlers.

I have run into more wrestlers over the years that opened up schools and take money from people than actual wrestlers who wrestled in the WWE. There are tons of easy marks with bright eyes and WWE dreams. Hell even some of the greats from Magnum TA to the Undertaker had their money stolen from guys claiming they would train them. It truly sickens me that these people can run around, open up these schools, and steal money without any repercussions. Do you want to know why the independent pro wrestling business is in the toilet? Go to a show and ask half of the guys who trained them. I bet you never heard of them either.

Let me make this perfectly clear once again. I am in no way casting blame on anyone for Matt Lowry’s tragedy. Obviously the brain aneurysm wasn’t the result of anything that happened in the ring. The point of all of this is to open up the eyes to a dangerous unrelegated business going on right in your home town. As of this writing police are still investigating the case. There are no indications that CZW or anyone at the arena did anything to contribute to the death of Matt Lowry.

So in the wake of Matt Lowry’s death, I think it would be a great opportunity to open up some eyes to the dangers of pro wrestling schools. As long as anyone with a ring is allowed to try and teach something so dangerous, there will be more Matt Lowrys. Regulate these schools and save someone else’s friends and parents from this kind of agony. It is time for the local governments and state athletic commissions to start doing their jobs. Pro Wrestling may not be a sport, but it is one of the most dangerous forms of entertainment in America. Trainers need to be accountable!

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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