Lando Deltoro Stabbed by Wrestler Devon ‘Hannibal’ Nicholson at World Class Pro Christmas Star Wars Series

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A referee stabbed in the head multiple times by a pro wrestler during a choreographed stunt gone haywire says he’s a disabled combat veteran whose PTSD was triggered by the shocking episode.

Lando Deltoro, who served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he went into hypovolemic shock in the ring—extreme blood loss that can cause the body’s organs to suddenly shut down—which a still-woozy Deltoro said set off a panic attack as he was rushed to a Dallas emergency room.

“I haven’t seen that much blood since Fallujah,” said Deltoro, who served in the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War before retiring from the service. “It was scary.”

Deltoro’s injuries, which came at the hands of 39-year-old Devon Nicholson—known professionally as the “Blood Hunter” and “Hannibal”—required seven staples and emergency surgery to repair a severed artery in his skull. Deltoro said he was told he lost close to three pints of blood.

The gruesome assault occurred in the aftermath of a match in the “Christmas Star Wars” series, an event annually hosted by indie promotion World Class Pro Wrestling.

Deltoro, who is going on 50, said he grew up attending Christmas Star Wars in the 1980s with his uncle and parents. But after his wife died in July, he decided to take a break from the wrestling scene. However, when World Class Pro Wrestling asked him to ref the bout last Saturday, he reluctantly said yes.

“Because it was an actual paid gig, with Christmas coming up, I needed money for Christmas,” Deltoro explained. “So that’s why I decided to do it. Because mentally, I don’t think I was ready. Emotionally, I don’t think I was ready. But you know, you buck up and you do the job,” adding, “It was kind of full circle for me.”

He said he was paid $75 for the night, but asked for an additional $125 after his hospitalization.

The agreement Deltoro worked out before the match was that Nicholson “was going to hit me with a spike.” Deltoro would then surreptitiously “blade” himself with a razor, a time-honored pro wrestling move also known as also known as “juicing,” “gigging,” and “getting color.”

A proper blading requires three things, according to Deltoro: “Aspirin, preferably a shot of whiskey—to thin your blood—and you also need sweat, to mix in with the blood, to make it look like you’re bleeding profusely. Well, I hadn’t worked [yet] at all that night, so I wasn’t sweating.”

I guess I didn’t blade hard enough to his liking.

Deltoro said the plan was for him to “go down, blade, and then roll out and just wobble off. I guess I didn’t blade hard enough to his liking.”

However, Deltoro claimed he couldn’t find Nicholson before showtime.

“He was not around, and normally, as a ref, I like to talk to the people I’m working with to get an idea what they want, exactly where they want me, and how we’re going to do this,” Deltoro said.

In video footage taken on Saturday night, horrified audience members can be seen screaming at the 280-pound Nicholson to stop as blood flows down Deltoro’s head and face.

Blaze, Nicholson’s girlfriend who also works as a manager for Great North Wrestling—a Canadian promotion company owned by Nicholson—climbed into the ring and attempted, unsuccessfully, to pull Nicholson away from Deltoro.

Another match official, Colby Cowperthwaite, finally grabbed Deltoro’s legs and pulled him to safety. Paramedics were called, and Deltoro was taken to Parkland Hospital.

Cowperthwaite took to Reddit after the event to allege that “something was off” with Nicholson that night.

“Bloodhunter went totally off the hinges and refused to listen to me,” he wrote. “He tore the other referee up, then hid the weapon he used to do it.”

Cowperthwaite said that Nicholson had stumbled and meandered on his way into the ring. The wrestler allegedly fought to keep his balance as he climbed up on the turnbuckles to taunt the crowd.

A day after the incident, World Class Pro Wrestling CEO Jerry Bostic said Nicholson had been banned from the promotion.

“World Class, moving forward, will not be associated with Devon Nicholson… in any way, shape, form, or fashion,” he said in a video statement. “I cannot, will not, condone what happened last night. I didn’t see the actual incident. I didn’t see anything until I came out and Lando was laying on the ground and it was one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen.”

On Monday, Nicholson uploaded a video to YouTube, insisting he’d been the one to end his relationship with World Class Pro Wrestling, not the other way around.

After he sent an email to Bostic saying that it would be best for him “to focus on running my own company in Canada for now,” he said Bostic “put out a video two or three hours later claiming they were the one ending it.”

“It was actually me,” he repeated, adding later that he thought the World Class Pro Wrestling team were “scumbags” for “trying to say they fired me, when I clearly quit.”

Nicholson said Deltoro had been hired because he was a “bleeder,” and that Deltoro had not worked any other matches on the card that night. “His sole purpose of why he was hired was to bleed,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson said he’d never seen or handled the spike prop before it was handed to him “by someone” in the ring.

“Apparently it was the actual spike that was used with Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Sullivan in the ’80s,” he said.

Nicholson claimed he thought the bottom of his hand had been covering the spike. Deltoro gave “zero indication to me in the ring that he wasn’t just selling, and [was] legitimately hurt. He never said, ‘Stop.’ He never said, ‘No.’”

It’s kind of hard to say ‘stop’ or talk when there is the knee of a 300-pound man on your back, jabbing you in the head with a spike.

However, Deltoro took issue with Nicholson’s assertion that he could have stopped the attack at any time.

“It’s kind of hard to say ‘stop’ or talk when there is the knee of a 300-pound man on your back, jabbing you in the head with a spike and then at the same time he turns around and chokes you and is jabbing you,” he told The Daily Beast. “So as far as me giving no indication that he was hurting me, I couldn’t because I was starting to pass out.”

Nicholson called Deltoro after he got out of surgery to apologize, according to Deltoro.

“He asked for forgiveness,” said Deltoro, who described himself as a devout Christian. “I forgave him… I don’t want anything bad to happen to the guy. If the man has demons, if the man has problems, I want him to get help. I want him to be more safe in the ring.”

Deltoro said his pillow was still “covered in pus and blood” when he woke up on Tuesday. No charges will be filed, said Deltoro, explaining that the police took a report but have already closed the case.

In a month’s time, Deltoro will be tested for Hepatitis C, as Nicholson infamously contracted the viral infection during a bloody bout in 2007 with Larry Shreve, or Abdullah the Butcher, a WWE Hall of Famer ironically known for his excessive use of blading.

“I am 90 percent sure I don’t have it,” Deltoro said. “Because [Nicholson] wasn’t bleeding when I was in the ring with him… But at the same time, you know, there’s that 10 percent. You want to be absolutely sure.”

A GoFundMe campaign to help Deltoro with his medical bills has raised a little more than $4,700 as of Tuesday afternoon.

“I was hired to do a job and it went off-script,” Deltoro said. “It went way off-script.”

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