The Laughing Man
William (Bill) DeMott
November 10, 1966
Married to Lacey
Crash the Terminator
The Laughing Man (WCW)
The Man of Question (WCW)
Hugh Morrus (WCW/WWF)
Captain Rection (WCW)
General E. Rection (WCW)
The Moonsault (No Laughing Matter)
No Joke (inverted swinging neckbreaker)
Americas Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Title (March 28, 1992)
W*ng World Tag Team title w/Mr Pogo defeating Headhunters (July 1992)
W*ING World Heavyweight Champion winning a tournament
Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling Heavyweight title winning a battle royal
WCW United States Title defeating Jim Duggan/Lance Storm
WCW World Tag Team title defeating Jindrak/O’Haire
Heartland Wrestling Association Tag Team Titles w/Raven defeating Steve Bradley & Lance Cade.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1990–1994)
DeMott was trained by Johnny Rodz in his New York wrestling school beginning in 1988. From there he began working at small independent promotions using the name Big Sweet Williams. In 1992 DeMott began wrestling for the American Wrestling Federation and started using the name Crash the Terminator. Under this name he found some success, first capturing the AWF Heavyweight title from Steve Strong in Puerto Rico, before moving on to the Japanese promotion W*ING and winning their World Tag Team Championship with Mr. Pogo. In 1993, while competing in W*ING, Demott won a 16-man tournament to be crowned their World Heavyweight Champion.
When DeMott returned to the United States, he wrestled for Extreme Championship Wrestling for a short time under his Crash the Terminator name before moving on to Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling, where won the latter promotion's World Heavyweight Championship upon winning a battle royal.
World Championship Wrestling
The Dungeon of Doom and The First Family (1995–2000)
Main article: The First Family
In 1995, DeMott was signed to a World Championship Wrestling (WCW) contract at the behest of Kevin Sullivan who had been impressed by him. He debuted in dark matches as The Man of Question and The Laughing Man, a strange gimmick that saw him wearing a singlet covered in question marks and laughing frequently. He made his television debut as a member of the Dungeon of Doom as "The Laughing Man" Hugh Morrus (a pun on the word humorous) on the November 18, 1995 episode of WCW Saturday Night in a vignette inside the Dungeon, where Kevin Sullivan told his (kayfabe) father, The Master, that he was giving him something he never had: laughter, and that he was giving him "the man from the Isle of Nowhere."
Upon the dissolution of the Dungeon of Doom, Morrus was relegated to the undercard. He gained the distinction of being the first wrestler to lose a televised match to Bill Goldberg during the September 22, 1997 episode of Nitro. As a part of the growing hardcore wrestling style in WCW, Morrus joined Jimmy Hart's First Family stable. Although the Family found success and received a push following a victory over their rivals The Revolution, the stable was suddenly disbanded.
At this time, DeMott took some time off from WCW. He returned in early 2000, utilizing the same name and ring attire, but squashing a number of wrestlers as an angrier version of himself. The angry Morrus gimmick came to a halt when Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff took over and aimed to take WCW in a new direction.
The Misfits In Action (2000–2001)
Main article: The Misfits In Action
After getting on Russo's bad side (in kayfabe), Morrus was fired from his New Blood stable along with a number of other wrestlers. These ex-New Blood members (including Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and Booker T) formed the comedic Misfits In Action stable, which saw its members adopt both military-themed names and attires. As the stable's leader, Morrus re-christened himself General Hugh G. Rection, and led the group in a feud against the Filthy Animals.
The group's comedic nature and the workrate of some of the wrestlers made the group immediate favorites with fans. Upon the introduction of the heel Team Canada, the Misfits In Action immediately began feuding with Team Canada based over the patriotism both stables had for their respective countries. As the leader of the Misfits, Rection feuded with Team Canada's leader and United States Heavyweight Champion Lance Storm, with the two trading wins until Rection defeated both Storm and a turncoat "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in a handicap match on October 29 at Halloween Havoc to win the title. Rection would soon lose the title back to Storm on the November 13 episode of Nitro before defeating Storm to regain the title on November 26 at Mayhem.
After his feud with Storm, the next night on Nitro, DeMott stood in the ring and spoke to the fans. During this segment, the WCW locker room emptied and many wrestlers from backstage stood on the entrance way clapping for DeMott; Bill Goldberg grabbed the microphone and, fondly recalling his first opponent in WCW, said "Hey, Goldberg's streak had to start somewhere, my friend." In perhaps one of DeMott's greatest achievements in wrestling, he gained respect from his peers.
At Sin on January 14, 2001, Rection lost the United States Heavyweight Title to Shane Douglas. Following the title loss, the Misfits disbanded when Rection announced that they were honorably discharged, which lead to Rection reverting to his Hugh Morrus name while the now former Misfits briefly feuded amongst each other. DeMott would then resume his pursuit of the United States Heavyweight Title until the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) bought out WCW.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment
The Alliance (2001–2002)
When WCW was purchased by the WWF, DeMott signed a deal with the WWF and became part of The Invasion angle under his Hugh Morrus ring name as a member of The Alliance. Morrus made his WWF debut on the June 4, 2001 episode of Raw by attacking Edge. Aside from a pay-per-view match at Invasion on July 22 where he, Shawn Stasiak and Chris Kanyon defeated Big Show, Billy Gunn and Albert and an Intercontinental Championship match on the August 27 episode of Raw which he lost to Edge via disqualification, Morrus was relegated to wrestling on the company's secondary shows Heat and Jakked much like his fellow WCW alumni. In September 29 episode of WWE Metal, Morrus made his first appearance at the show, where he takes on Billy Gunn, in a losing effort. When The Invasion ended at Survivor Series following Team Alliance's loss to Team WWF, Morrus was kayfabe fired by Vince McMahon. While off television, Morrus performed at house shows and worked in company's developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA). During his time in the HWA, he teamed with Raven to defeat Lance Cade and Steve Bradley to win the Tag Team Champions on March 12, 2002, which they lost only three days later.
In April 2002, Morrus was drafted to the SmackDown! brand. He made his television return on the April 6 episode of Jakked alongside fellow WCW alumnus Chavo Guerrero and defeated The Hurricane and Funaki. Morrus was soon relegated to being a mainstay on Jakked and later Velocity until late July 2002, when he was legitimately injured in a motorcycle accident and had to take a leave of absence. During his time away, he became a trainer for the third season of Tough Enough, WWE's reality television show.
When he had sufficiently healed, Morrus made his return on the November 23 episode of Velocity under his real name. DeMott made his SmackDown! debut on December 5 as a heel, where he defeated Funaki in a squash match. The victory saw DeMott immediately receive a push that saw him squash several established wrestlers, including Funaki, Shannon Moore, Chuck Palumbo, Crash Holly, and Rikishi weekly on SmackDown!. However, his came to an end soon and saw DeMott relegated back to Velocity beginning in February 2003. In May, DeMott made a face turn that also saw him tell knock-knock jokes as part of the turn. As the gimmick failed to get over, he remained on Velocity while continuing to win several squash matches. DeMott wrestled his last televised match on the June 14 episode of Velocity, where he defeated fellow WCW alumnus Chris Kanyon. Later that month, DeMott retired from in-ring action, citing years of knee injuries. He then moved on to become the color commentator for Velocity, beginning on the November 1 episode, and remained in that position until the end of 2004.
Deep South Wrestling (2004–2007)
When Tough Enough 4 wrapped production, DeMott did not make a return to Velocity. Instead, he became a full-time trainer for WWE and began working in the company's Deep South Wrestling developmental territory. DeMott also worked as a booker for DSW, although his direction in the promotion received criticism, most notably by former WWE developmental wrestler Kenny Omega, who soon requested to be released from his developmental contract due to poor treatment. DeMott was released from his WWE contract on January 19, 2007, with Tom Prichard taking his place as DSW's head trainer.
After parting ways with WWE, DeMott competed for several independent promotions, including the Carolina Wrestling Association and the United Wrestling Federation. In addition to wrestling, he also began operating his own wrestling school called New Energy Wrestling School from 2009 to 2010 in McDonough, Georgia, while also running a brief series of wrestling events in Locust Grove, Georgia.
Return to WWE (2011–2015)
In 2011, WWE announced that DeMott would return to the company to perform as the head trainer on the revived Tough Enough series. Following the conclusion of Tough Enough, DeMott replaced Tom Prichard as the head trainer for the Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory on June 2, 2012. After FCW was rebranded into NXT, DeMott retained his position as the head trainer, and continued in that role when the WWE Performance Center was opened in 2013. He was featured as a trainer in the WWE 2K15 video game.
DeMott resigned from the company on March 6, 2015 following widespread accusations of misconduct and abuse by a number of ex-trainees, allegations which DeMott denied.
Allegations of misconduct
"I have got it figured out, if you write it is must be the truth! And if you can add or comment it must make it more truthful!"
DeMott, following his 2015 resignation.
Several former FCW, DSW, and NXT employees previously working within or with the WWE developmental system made public allegations of misconduct by DeMott during his time as trainer, including accusing DeMott of making trainees perform dangerous drills, physically assaulting and bullying trainees, using homophobic and racial slurs amongst other derogatory terms, letting trainees train while naked, and condoning sexual harassment. These allegations were made by Kevin Matthews, Mike Bucci and Devon Nicholson in 2012, Chad Baxter and Chase Donovan in 2013, Curt Hawkins in 2014, as well as several wrestlers including Judas Devlin, Briley Pierce, Brandon Traven, Derrick Bateman and independent wrestler Terra Calaway from late February to March 2015. Devlin and Traven claimed to have submitted complaints to WWE management about DeMott in March 2013 when they were still employed with WWE, but only publicized the complaints in 2015. WWE released statements regarding some of the claims that came to light in 2013 and 2015, claiming that investigations were done and no wrongdoing was found. Pierce questioned the throughness of the investigations, stating that WWE did not question him despite him allegedly being one of the claimed victims. The allegations caused a negative reaction on social media in March 2015, with the #FireDeMott hashtag trending on Twitter. On March 6, 2015, DeMott publicly denied the allegations on Twitter, but also announced his resignation from WWE "to avoid any embarrassment or damage" to the company.