On January 23, 2003, Matt Cappotelli impressed the judges enough to become a co-winner of the season three Tough Enough competition. After John Hennigan was announced, Maven announced Matt as the co-winner of the competition. Matt thanked God, his family, and his fans, mentioning his grandpa and Joe, two people who Matt said were watching from above.
Cappotelli made a few appearances on WWE television, but really found his home while competing for Ohio Valley Wrestling. On August 3, 2005, Cappotelli won the OVW Heavyweight Championship after defeating Johnny Jeter. Cappotelli held the championship for three months. While the typical way of ending one's title reign comes after being defeated by their opponent, Matt had a much more severe opponent to fight.
During a usual OVW training session with Al Snow, Snow felt that it was best for him to get treated concerning some symptoms he was experiencing.
"He begged me not to go," Snow told WDRB. "I remember him sobbing. He didn't want [the WWE opportunity] to be taken away from him again."
Unfortunately, for Cappotelli, a tumor was found in his brain. As a result, he had to relinquish the championship on February 8, 2006.
"I know he was disappointed that he didn't get to live out his dream, but he always stayed positive and trusted in God's plan, even if it wasn't his," Lindsay told me during an exclusive interview. "He chose to make the best of the situation, to use his story to help and inspire others and to spread the love of Jesus no matter where God put him."
After successful surgery to remove 90% of the tumor in 2007, Matt announced 10 years later that the tumor has returned, larger and more aggressive. He received an operation to remove most of it, which was successful. However, the portion that was inoperable due to being too close to his brain stem, gave him severe complications. Matt would find out that he had Grade 4 glioblastoma, the deadliest form of cancer according to doctors. To make matters worse, this form of cancer has a rate of five percent of people surviving five years. Still, Matt stated that "it will in no way deter me from continuing my fight."
Nearly a year later, Matt's health, unfortunately, continues to decline. Lindsay recently wrote a heartfelt blog to share her both her strength and weakness through this journey, after providing an update that the doctor's told her that they should discontinue treatments.
It's hard to know how he feels about discontinuing treatment, because he can't communicate in full sentences most of the time. I know that it has to be hard for him though, because like me, he's kept the hope that there would be something that would help him survive this. I know that he wanted to keep fighting. The only thing he did manage to say to me that day about not continuing treatment was, "It sucks." Yeah, it does. While sometimes I may have eloquent words to say about this situation, other times that's the best way to describe what we're going through -it just sucks.
Sometimes I just can't even believe this is happening to me. Like, how do you imagine a life without the person who IS your life? It almost feels like I'm living in a dream. No, a nightmare. But it's not a dream. This is really happening. I'm really losing my best friend, my life partner, my whole world.
I don't know how much longer we have left, so I'm just loving him and kissing him and encouraging him with my words(I hope) and reading the Bible to him at night....making sure he knows that I'll be okay.
And I am okay...right now.
I'm okay right now, because I still have his hand to hold.
I'm okay right now, because I say "I love you", and I get to hear him whisper, "I love you, too."
I'm okay right now, because I still get to fall asleep with him by my side and wake up in the morning with my arm around him.
I'm okay right now, because I get to look into his beautiful eyes and see his smile and kiss his face every day.
I'm okay right now, because he's still here with me.
Despite the state that Matt is currently in, and Lindsay's lamenting expressions, she told me that he still remained steadfast through it all.
"He never became bitter or complained or felt sorry for himself," said Lindsay. "He just kept living life to the fullest. He continued to inspire and impact others, even if it wasn't in the wrestling ring."
Still remaining faithful, Lindsay shared in her recent blog post that, throughout this journey, she not only wants people to believe in themselves, be strong, or keep fighting. Most importantly, she wants "people to look at us and say, 'I want to know the God they know.'"