If you dive into the history of Queensland Wrestling for a minute or two, chances are you will eventually come across the name “Kyote”. A man of monstrous height and a bellowing roar befitting of a giant, once you’re exposed to a man of such stature, you won’t soon forget the name.
A gentleman I have had the pleasure of knowing for several years at this point, sitting quietly as I did growing up, mesmerised by tales of wrestling history, this time of the trials and tribulations of the scene present on home soil. Of all the stories I have been exposed to since becoming acquainted with this gentle giant, one that has burned itself into my mind is one I was present for as it was happening. Though not in person, I found myself as a moderator for Kyote on the streaming platform Twitch. I yearned for the nightly notification calling me to my post, ready for another exciting night of wrestling chats.
However, once 2022 rolled around, things changed, and I worried for my friend. A lingering injury and gross mistreatment would cost the man more than just his career. I shall leave you, dear reader, with this somewhat rambling introduction as I divert your attention below.
I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down with The Giant Kyote, as we recap the injury and subsequent recovery that changed his life, as well we chat about injuries elsewhere in the scene. With 20 years of experience in the ring, I knew Kyote would have some thoughts on the topic. So let’s begin, my sit down with The Giant Kyote.
NOTE: This article features some images of a medical nature, including amputations. Be warned if you’re squeamish.
Q: We’re coming up on 5 years since the injury that led to your retirement from the ring, how did it happen and what was the aftermath of that moment?
Well surprisingly enough, at the time I didn’t know it would lead to in-ring retirement as I did return to the ring in 2019 for a few shows. The injury came from a freak accident. I was wrestling Caveman Ugg at Venom Pro Wrestling for the Heavyweight Title in the Main Event. During the match I shot Ugg off into the corner, I charged at him, he moved out of the way and shot to the ropes on my left side. As I turned to face him he was in the air with a running cross body. As I caught him, I bumped back and landed awkwardly.
We both got up and I could feel a warm feeling in my right foot and had thought maybe I had broken a toe or something. Once I tried to move on my foot, I realised I was unable to,. We ended the match quickly and safely, I then sat in the ring relaxed and chilled and grabbed the mic and spoke with the fans until the ambulance arrived.
Q: Was the injury examined and identified immediately? You mentioned that you continued to compete after this match, when did you officially retire?
I was taken to a hospital and was kept in overnight as the injury was first diagnosed as a ‘Lisfranc injury’. However, treatment for the injury didn’t start until August 2018, almost a month after the injury took place. I returned to everyday life, like work and training and wrestling, I did those few shows in 2019. However during 2019, in April and November, I did have medical screws pop out from my foot from the surgery in August 2018. So I never got to offically retire as I had wrestled in November 2019 at SuperNova in Brisbane. It wasn’t until November 2019 that we learned how truly damaged my foot was.
Q: Just how bad was the injury once it was properly diagnosed?
It was totally cooked. Turns out the initial injury was misdiagnosed and grossly mistreated. After removing the second popped screw in November 2019 at a different hospital, the team wanted to investigate what was going on. It turned out that the entire front half of my foot was not even attached and had slid into the arch of my right foot. Once we knew the real situation, I was scheduled for full foot reconstruction in March 2020.
However, due to the pandemic this was moved to October 13th, 2020. I had undergone full foot reconstruction surgery on the right foot where I had a leg halo placed on my leg with fourteen spikes and was in surgery for nine hours. I stayed in hospital in recovery from October 13th, 2020 to November 5th, 2020.
Q: What plans did you have once you were home? Was staying in the industry in some capacity still on the table?
Leading up to the surgery, the world was still in lockdown and I saw guys like Jake Nova & The Warship had started streaming on Twitch. I thought this would be a great thing to keep me busy. so I started my journey on Twitch on August 20th, 2020. The reason I did this, I knew I’d be laid up at home with nothing to do for at least six to twelve months with the halo on, and wrestling had pretty much stopped in Queensland at that point in time.
Q: How beneficial was streaming at that point? You’re still active to this day and it’s seemingly taking off.
Streaming kept me sane and gave me a new platform to perform and enjoy. Twitch has changed my life. When I started I went in with a plan and I smashed that plan in three weeks. I signed up to Twitch on July 29th, 2020 but I said I wouldn’t start streaming until I had fifty followers. Once I hit the fifty followers, I started streaming on August 20th, 2020 with just a PS4 & PS4 Camera. I hit Twitch Affiliate on August 26th, 2020. I have been streaming full time since, aside from when I was in hospital. I’m coming up to my three year anniversary and just shy of two thousand followers. I’ve also been lucky enough to be selected to take part in Twitch events and to build a truly wonderful community with people from all over the world.
Q: You were still recovering and wearing the leg halo in the middle of this, when was the halo removed and how did it affect you?
Yeah I was still streaming while wearing the halo. We called it the bear trap. The halo was hard work as I couldn’t take it off, I couldn’t put weight on it and I could not lay on my side or anything from October 2020 until April 2021. Once the halo came off, I had to have more surgery. I then had custom made metal rods from Europe, as they didn’t make rods big enough in Australia, put into my foot to try and build like a scaffold within my foot to keep it strong. After the surgery, I was moved into a crow boot, which looks something you would find in Gene Simmons’ wardrobe. I wore that boot full time from April 2021 until January 2022. I was able to take it off when going to bed and shower, I was also able to move around freely in it.
Q: Once you were free of constraints, what happened next?
In December 2021, I was told I was medically cleared to return to wearing shoes and weight bearing on my own, starting slow and going from there. Then just before Christmas, I developed a pressure sore on the ball of my right foot, Which was treated with a course of antibiotics and put into a leg cast. On Christmas Eve, I had the cast removed and everything seemed to be back to normal. Then in January 2022 same thing happens on the same spot.
Q: What was the cause?
They don’t really know. It just seemed like my body wasn’t handling full weight bearing but we honestly don’t know.
Q: What became of this? How did you handle it?
So on February 7th, I was home watching a movie and I felt my foot just click. It locked into place and ballooned. I spent the night at home in agony, feeling like my leg was on fire. I was rushed to hospital the next morning and over the course of February 2022, I had five different surgeries on my foot. We discovered that I had become infected with four different types of staph infection, that the imported metal rods in my foot had become compromised and we were losing the battle. After five surgeries, the decision was made to perform a below knee amputation. The surgery was booked for March 7th, 2022.
Q: How did you adapt to the situation after the surgery?
I woke up from the surgery and honestly I felt so free and at peace for the first time in almost four years. I had felt no pain or discomfort. I knew it was the right call the moment I woke up. Since that surgery, I’ve never let it slow me down or change me. I have dedicated so much time and effort into smashing goals, like Paralympic training and getting back into the Queensland scene as a mentor/trainer, as well as a ring announcer and on commentary.
Q: With recent injuries forcing wrestlers in the scene into retirement, do you have any thoughts on the situation?
I have been apart of this industry for twenty years. I have suffered two massive injuries from uncontrollable freak accidents with no one to blame. However, lately seeing the injuries take place in our industry is just so terrifying, and makes me wonder what in the hell is going on? What are the reasons these life changing injuries are happening? I understand there are risks in this sport and art we love but we are in control for the most part. We are trained to learn to perform these moves safely without fear of injury or worse. The questions that come to mind are, are people who are performing these moves A: Trained correctly? B: Understand how the move works safely? C: is the move necessary for that match and the story you’re trying to tell? D: Does the person taking the move understand how to take it? E: Does the promoter know these moves are going to be used? Why are people using dangerous moves that are BANNED in major companies for the sake of a handful of people in a crowd for a pop?
We are trained to be illusionists of pain and storytellers. We are meant to go out there and protect each other and put on a show. I hear so many horror stories of people not knowing how to take a simple bump because they haven’t been shown how to, or they have not been trained correctly or they’re afraid to say no. They’re not comfortable taking a move without the fear of being criticised or harassed or bullied for not taking a move. Training is so damn important and finding the right people to train you correctly and safely, not just some random guy who’s got no real training background or sporting qualifications. Pro Wrestling is a wonderful art but it’s also so very dangerous and your life can change in a heartbeat or worse. The risks are now worth a small reward. People who are causing these injuries more then once need to be reprimanded.
Q: How would you propose promotors help tackle the issue?
One of the biggest things that I feel needs to change is promoters and wrestlers need to show their backgrounds and training provided by someone with a reputable resume. Make sure there are protocols in place for wrestlers to ensure things are safe.
The Giant Kyote will be making appearances at upcoming events in Queensland, including Wide Bay Pro Wrestling on August 19th in Maryborough, Pro Wrestling League on August 26th in Chermside and Nightfall Wrestling Alliance on September 9th in Narangba.
You can find Kyote on social media below: