Last week, we profiled Austin Aries, who has been making dirtsheet headlines recently because his Tough Enough audition tape was declined. Today, we’ll take a look at Matthew Capiccioni, whose audition tape was accepted. Capiccioni, who has wrestled independently for a decade, will be one of the 14 contestants competing for a WWE contract on the reality show’s revival.
Matt Capiccioni, better known to the wrestling community as M-Dogg 20 or Matt Cross, is a high-flying risk taker who has developed his skills in CZW, Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, and UWA, among others. His style is perfect for the WWE – he’s technically sound on the mat and can take to the air with the best of them, not unlike Evan Bourne or John Morrison. His arsenal includes a standing shooting star press, a corkscrew 450° splash, and a nasty neckbreaker from a fireman’s carry position. He’s no slouch on the microphone either, which certainly bodes well for him heading into Tough Enough.
Whether he wins the competition or not, I see M-Dogg 20 competing in the WWE sooner rather than later. His style would make for great matches with guys like Daniel Bryan and the newly acquired Sin Cara, and he advocates the straight-edge lifestyle so he may be a natural fit as CM Punk’s partner.
Matt Cross got his start wrestling in his hometown of Cleveland, then soon moved eastward, competing in a few matches for JAPW and IWA Mid-South. It wasn’t long before he found himself in Philadelphia’s Combat Zone Wrestling, and it was there that he began to make his name. Gaining popularity as M-Dogg 20, Cross wrestled the likes of Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, and Jimmy Rave. In 2006, M-Dog had a cup of coffee in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, having matches with TJ Perkins and Jimmy Yang while there, and also tagging with Frankie Kazarian. He also appeared in MTV’s ill-fated Wrestling Society X around this time, where he teamed with Teddy Hart.
For the duration of 2007, Matt Cross wrestled mainly for Ring of Honor. He was part of Austin Aries’ Resilience stable for a while, feuding with Roderick Strong and the No Remorse Corps. Other notable opponents while wrestling with the organization included Delirious, Eddie Edwards, and the Briscoe Brothers. While wrestling for ROH, Cross was simultaneously appearing for Canada’s UWA Hardcore Wrestling, where he debuted a year earlier. He’s a 2-time UWA Champion, and his time in the Great White North was marked by memorable matches with Ultimo Dragon, Homicide, and Chris Hero.
In late 2009, Cross traveled with Hulk Hogan’s “Let the Battle Begin” Australian tour. He wrestled under the gimmick of Spartan 3000 b.C. at the events, and participated in a best of three series with Shannon Moore. After splitting the first two matches, Cross was victorious over Moore in a ladder match tie-breaker. Since then, Cross has appeared in a tryout match on an episode of WWE Superstars last summer. As stated earlier, he’s currently slated to be part of the upcoming Tough Enough series on the USA Network, and smart money has him cracking WWE’s television roster not long after the show’s conclusion.