Who is Brad Maddox?
“Brad Maddox, why?”
Following the rogue ref’s shocking low blow to Ryback during Hell in a Cell on Sunday night, WWE Universe members packed inside Atlanta’s Philips Arena were left stunned when CM Punk, with an assist from Maddox, rolled up his rival for the pin. This interference stands as the most blatant rule-breaking act by a WWE official ever.
On Thursday, the suspended Maddox, a 28-year-old former wrestler with Florida Championship Wrestling, stood before WWE’s Board of Inquiry in Stamford, Conn., to answer for his actions. Meanwhile, dumbstruck fans are left to wonder: Who is he? What was his motive? Did he act alone? And why was the rookie ref placed in such a high-profile match at all?
( READ: MADDOX SUMMONED TO WWE HQ)
Details from Maddox’s closed-door meeting are now sealed, and Maddox’s attorney Jeffrey Goldblatt is refraining from making a public statement pending the conclusion of the inquiry.
While neither Goldblatt nor Maddox are talking, Maddox’s one-time trainer, Bill DeMott, is. The former Superstar, currently a trainer at WWE’s developmental organization, NXT (formerly FCW), has worked with Maddox since 2010, and describes him as “hardworking, but aloof.”
Was it Maddox’s withdrawn personality that kept him from fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a WWE Superstar? Or was it something else?
Long before Maddox got the call by Raw General Manager AJ Lee — to work as a WWE referee when Raw went to three hours in July — DeMott says he tried his hand at everything in FCW: announcing, commentating and even hosting a YouTube show called “The Brad Maddox Reality Television Show.” Maddox also recently enjoyed fleeting success as a wrestler when he won the now-retired FCW Jack Brisco 15 Championship in June.
“Trainers always got the sense that Brad thought he was better than he was,” DeMott said. “He’d talk about becoming the next Rock, the next ‘Stone Cold,’ but Brad never understood that talent gets you through the door. Letting people help you gets you to that next level.”
“When we were 7 or 8, a group of us wanted to be the [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles for Halloween, but Brad insisted on dressing as Ultimate Warrior,” Taylor said. “We were like, the Ultimate who?”
Taylor recalls Brad as studious in school, but easily distracted. “He was obsessed with WWE, and he’d always get in trouble for talking back to teachers as The Rock.”
This lifelong fascination would lead Maddox to the principal’s office and, many years later, into WWE. Even though Maddox finally scored his chance to walk down the entrance ramp in front of thousands of screaming fans at Hell in a Cell, his fellow referees say they get the sense Maddox was not satisfied with his role as a WWE official.
“We’re a very, very tight group,” veteran official Charles Robinson said of WWE’s referees. “What we try to do is teach one another and learn from one another. Brad was new, but he’d act like he knew what we were talking about already. He just didn’t listen.”
Senior official Mike Chioda shared the sentiment, describing Maddox as an “outsider,” which is why he was surprised when the rookie — and not a seasoned official — was selected to call such a high-profile match.
“I’m also surprised Punk didn’t contest the choice. Maddox wasn’t exactly on good terms with Punk,” Chioda added, referring to Maddox’s blown call in the John Cena & Sheamus vs. CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio bout six weeks ago on Raw, which infuriated both Punk and Heyman. ( WATCH | PHOTOS)
He’s also not on good terms with company officials or the WWE Universe. When Maddox returns home from Stamford today, he’ll be left to wonder what’s to come of his career. And fans will be left to wonder why a man with such passion for WWE could show such uncommonly poor judgment.