Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Frost
Spike Dudley in ECW and WWE
Currently Known For:
1996 - 2007
August 13, 1970
Spike Dudley in ECW and WWE
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Back in the 1990s, it seemed that pretty much everyone was a pro wrestling fan. Most were watching WWF or WCW, but there was a group that got into Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). Known for its hardcore matches and risque nature, many ECW wrestlers ended up being big stars in pro wrestling and wound up working for the two larger promotions. One of the more memorable ones was Matt Hyson, who’s better known as Spike Dudley.
Hyson had started training in 1993, saying that “I was watching Saturday morning wrestling when a commercial came on, asking ‘Do you want to be a pro wrestler?’ I didn’t hae any friends, I didn’t know anyone (in San Francisco), I had no social life, so I said ‘What the hell? I’ll give it a shot.’” At the time, he was a third grade teacher’s assistant, and then started working on the independent scene for a few years before he got the call from ECW to join the popular Dudley Family faction. Hyson’s Spike Dudley character was the small one of the family, standing at just 5’8” and around 150 pounds compared to his much larger “brothers.”
Dudley got a big push early in his career, especially during one spot where he was thrown out of the ring and into the audience, crowd surfing his way through the arena. Dudley would end up leaving the two main members of the family (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and was one of the biggest stars of the company for an extended period. During his time there, Dudley would win a pair of World Tag Team Championships. Not with either of the Dudley brothers, but with Balls Mahoney.
In 2001, the Dudley Family reunited, but this time it was with the WWE around the time that the company purchased WCW. Dudley got involved with some notable storylines in the early 2000s, and he stuck around the company for four years. That might not sound like a long time, but Dudley was able to win a total of 11 championships, including eight in the Hardcore Division. His time was cut short along with many of the others that came over from ECW in a budget reduction, leaving all of the Dudleys looking for new jobs.
Dudley would rename himself Matt “LSD” Hyson, which was a throwback to his time in ECW as Little Spike Dudley. He spent some time in the independent circuit, but then signed a contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling where both Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley had signed. Since none of them could use the Dudley name with the company, Hyson became Brother Runt along with Brother Ray and Brother Devon.
Things would slow down for Hyson in 2007, and he was ultimately let go from his contract. He was able to get the Spike Dudley name back, which has allowed him to get some drawing power in the smaller independent shows across the United States. A lot of his success has come from Big Time Wrestling, where he held the championship for several months, and he even made a couple of appearances with TNA over the years.
For the most part, the 47 year old has stepped away from full-time wrestling as he’s a husband and father of two. “I met a woman who I fell in love with and we wanted to start a family,” he said. “I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” when talking about wrestling. With that, he started working as a financial planner. “I’m helping people live a better life and take care of their families. It’s beyond rewarding,” he said.
Some of Dudley’s clients just happen to be wrestlers themselves. He knows that some people don’t properly prepare for life after wrestling, a profession that has a shelf life. “A lot of the guys have gone through what I’ve gone through,” he said. “You’re on top of the world, making decent money and then, when that money stops, what do you do?”
“You hear stories all the time of athletes that made millions being broke,” he added. “I want to become an educator, to show people there are ways to plan for the future...I’ve never been happier. I’m proud of my career, but I’m in a new phase and it’s about my wife, (my children) and my new career.”
In 2015, there were rumblings that Dudley could make a return to the WWE after an interview that Bubba Ray Dudley conducted when he and D-Von returned themselves. “If we ever needed Spike, if we ever needed our little brother, if we ever needed the runt of the litter...he’s no more than a phone call away, and he’d be right there by our side.” He added that “I think the WWE (fans) would go absolutely crazy to see Bubba, D-Von and Spike standing together in the same ring again.” However, it doesn’t seem that Spike is too interested in a return.
The championships that he won were rewarding for Dudley, but not as rewarding as helping people and raising a family. It’s been a couple of years since he’s had his last match, but you might be able to catch him at a wrestling fan convention signing autographs.