Kaye used sick days to wrestle as 'Matt Striker'

Updated: July 1, 2005, 4:44 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- A high school social studies teacher took 11 sick days so he could perform as a professional wrestler with moves he called the "lungblower" and the "over drive," investigators said.

I would have been better off beating a kid, because those teachers always seem to keep their jobs.
Matthew Kaye

The school system is seeking reimbursement from Matthew Kaye, 31, who has resigned.

According to investigators, Kaye told school officials he was taking the sick days in December and February to care for an ill sister, and he sometimes provided doctor's notes. They said they later discovered that his wrestling Web site listed him as being on tour for World Wrestling Entertainment on those days.

Kaye had his mother call in sick for him Dec. 16, according to a report issued this week by the New York City School District's Commissioner of Investigation.

When he returned to school after winter break, the report said, he informed the assistant principal that he had gone to California to care for his sick sister.

But the teacher's Web site revealed he had another life as a wrestler named Matt Striker.

"I recently realized that dream on Dec. 16 when I touched down in Tokyo to start my inaugural tour for the Zero One Company. I cannot express in words what this tour has meant to me as a person and as a professional wrestler," the Web site said.

Again in February, Kaye used a doctor's note as an excuse for a no-show at school, but his Web site entries for those dates showed photos of his appearance at a Pro Wrestling World Smackdown in Philadelphia.

Kaye's site says he has also performed under names including Matt Martel and Hydro, part of a tag team called Los Lunatics.

"He is known for his charisma, his ability to adjust and his innovative manuvers like: The Over Drive [a modified swinging neckbreaker] as well as the Lungblower and other unusual submission and impact moves," the site says.

Kaye, who taught social studies at Benjamin Cardozo High School, stepped down in April after investigators tried to interview him about his second career.

Schools special investigator Richard Condon recommended that Kaye not be rehired. Kaye said he was willing to repay the money and hoped to get his job back.

In a statement on his site, Kaye said he didn't realize sick days and personal days "were two entirely different things." He said he had good relationships with his students and many of them did well on their examinations "because I taught them!"

"I would have been better off beating a kid, because those teachers always seem to keep their jobs," he told the Daily News.