IRVING, Texas — Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the statement provided by Nicholson to WFAA, his video response to the situation and quotes from professional wrestler Miranda Gordy.
A Texas pro wrestling referee is recovering after a wrestler appeared to stab him multiple times in the head with a metal spike -- an alleged attack that the referee has insisted went far beyond any attempt at staged showmanship.
During a World Class Pro Wrestling match at the "Christmas Star Wars" show in Irving on Saturday night, Devon Nicholson -- a 29-year-old performer also known as "Hannibal" or "Blood Hunter" -- reportedly used some sort of metal spike to repeatedly stab the promotion's 50-year-old referee, Lando Deltoro, after he was declared the loser in a match.
A YouTube video of the conflict has been posted by the "Infinite Pro Wrestling" channel. [WARNING: It is an age-restricted video, and parts can be difficult to watch.]
The gruesome encounter took place at the Irving event space Southern Junction Texas during a night that was set to include appearances from pro wrestling legend Mick Foley (WWE's Mankind) and members of Dallas' vaunted Von Erich wrestling family. The event advertised that kids aged 13 and under would get into the show for free when accompanied by a paying adult.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Deltoro, who served as a hospital corpsman in the Navy during the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, said he agreed prior to the match to take a razor to his forehead to stimulate bleeding during an expected altercation with Nicholson.
But Deltoro said Nicholson didn't think the ref cut himself "enough to his liking," which is what seemed to have spurred the alleged blows from the spike that followed.
After reportedly going into hypovolemic shock in the ring, Deltoro was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors told him he lost three pints of blood as a result of his experience. Hypovolemic shock happens when the loss of blood or fluids makes the heart unable to pump enough blood and can cause organ failure.
"I haven't seen that much blood since Fallujah," combat veteran Deltoro told the Daily Beast. "It was scary."
While at the hospital, Deltoro received seven staples to his head, as well as emergency surgery to repair a severed artery in his skull.
In the days since, Deltoro has posted frequent updates about his health to his Twitter account, including photos of his recovering wounds. On Tuesday, he tweeted that he had a blood infection as a result of the incident. On Wednesday afternoon, he revealed that he was returning to an emergency room in Fort Worth for additional tests.
For his part, Nicholson has since been banned from future events with the independent World Class Pro Wrestling promotion.
"I cannot, will not condone what happened last night," World Class Pro Wrestling CEO Jerry Bostic said in a statement released on Facebook Sunday. "It was one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen."
Bostic said he is working to put together a fundraiser show to help cover Deltoro's medical bills.
"I will never understand how somebody can do that to someone else, especially over a wrestling match," Bostic said. "I let people down. People involved with me. People that worked for me. The people that attend our shows. The people that brought their children. And I don't take that lightly... I apologize for anybody's trust I broke last night."
An online crowdfunding page has been started by one of Deltoro's friends, Kelsie Gibson, with a goal of raising $10,000. As of Wednesday afternoon, it has raised $7,365.
"I never in my life thought I would encounter a situation like this related to wrestling, especially with my product," Bostic added.
TMZ reports that, in a since-deleted video shared to Nicholson's YouTube page in which he tried to explain what happened on Saturday night, the wrestler claimed he never meant to hurt the referee. He said he believed Deltoro was in on the ruse, and that the ref was simply "selling" the attack. He reportedly also noted that he would've stopped if Deltoro asked.
Added Nicholson in a statement exclusively shared with WFAA on Thursday: "The attack on the referee after the match was a scripted angle. The company provided the prop and had put the match just before intermission as they planned to change the canvas after the match due to the blood. The referee was hired only to take part in that attack; he was not scheduled to referee any matches that night to my knowledge. The referee sold himself on the job based on the fact that he had bled before in matches and knew how to bleed well. I feel horrible that he got hurt, and I am regretful about what happened -- even though it was not intentional."
Deltoro has denied that his injuries were part of a sell and has said on social media that there was nothing he could do to stop Nicholson.
Tweeted Nicolson: "It's very hard to talk when there is a 300lbs man’s knee on your back."
When visited by Irving police in the hospital in the immediate wake of the incident, though, Deltoro declined to press charges against Nicholson.
On Thursday night, professional wrestler Miranda Gordy spoke with WFAA about the altercation between Nicholson and Deltoro. She is the daughter of Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy, who was part of the Fabulous Freebirds -- a faction that rivaled the Von Erichs in the Dallas wrestling circuits of the '80s.
Gordy wasn't part of the card on Saturday night but has worked with Deltoro before, and also wrestled for Texas-based independent promotion SWE Fury alongside Nicholson.
She showed WFAA text messages she sent to World Class Pro Wrestling CEO Bostic in June, in which she warned that Nicholson was unsafe and "bad news."
"I've worked with Lando a bunch, and he's a sweet and passionate guy, and he put his trust in Nicholson," Gordy said. "There's a difference between a tiny cut versus someone assaulting you with a spike. It was unnecessary -- it didn't do anything to help their storyline, and Lando didn't deserve it. You don't do that. It was a blatant assault on him."